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jonandtice

Helix LT AES/EBU to Interface S/PDIF

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In case anyone is wondering about connecting the Helix LT through the AES/EBU digital out I'll share my thread on this topic over at TGP.

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/helix-lt-aes-ebu-to-interface-s-pdif.2227695/

 

Original post:

Quote

I have a Helix LT and a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB audio interface. I had TS cables connecting the Helix to the interface but then I thought, why not keep everything digital if I can? So I got an XLR to RCA cable, put the XLR end in the Helix AES/EBU out, put the RCA end in the Scarlett S/PDIF in, and it worked!

Then I started hearing clicks in the audio every couple of minutes so I'm guessing either the 10' XLR cable is too long for digital signals or it's a sync problem (I'm guessing from reading about S/PDIF in the Focusrite manual). So I set the sync source for the Focusrite to "S/PDIF" and, as fare as I can tell, no more clicks.

Should this have worked? I feel like I'm cheating. I had initially thought I would have to buy a box like this to connect the two. I'm guessing the Focusrite can't act as the clock source for the Helix (box or no box) since it is a one-way digital connection? Is this correct and are there any downsides to having the Helix be the master clock?

I'm really happy to be connecting this way since it removes one set of digital-to-analog conversions. The Scarlett 8i6 is able to direct monitor the S/PDIF signal even when my computer is off which I also wasn't expecting. Next, I plan on doing a comparison of the digital signal and the analog signal through interface so I can see how much time I'm wasting to achieve an imperceptible benefit.

 

Someone will probably ask:

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Why not just use the Helix as your audio interface?

 

My response:

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Since my Helix LT goes in and out of the house about once a week, it isn't always at the computer. Sometimes I just plug straight in to the audio interface, use Helix Native, and don't bother taking the Helix out of the bag. I use the computer for a lot more than just playing guitar so it is more convenient and it keeps things more consistent to have the studio monitors permanently pulgged in to the audio interface.

If I was to do any serious recording where I wanted to do reamping I would either:

  1. Use the audio interface and Helix Native.
  2. Use the Helix LT as the audio interface.

If Windows/ASIO allowed multiple audio interfaces to be used by the same DAW, that would be the dream. This is possible with Linux/Jack.

 

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It's same format, but protocols are different (there is an extra bit, CH STAT, carrying info in a different way), and also there are impedance differences (as well as different Vp-p).

 

Id grab a converter to avoid the problems you are getting.

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15 minutes ago, PierM said:

It's same format, but protocols are different (there is an extra bit, CH STAT, carrying info in a different way), and also there are impedance differences (as well as different Vp-p).

 

Id grab a converter to avoid the problems you are getting.

To clarify, if I set the clock source on the audio interface to S/PDIF, I don't have any problems. I don't think that "problem" would go away with a converter because the clock still has to be synced between the two devices and Helix LT isn't able to receive clock from other devices.

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I can confirm this as a valid solution. I'm using my helix lt with an rca>xlr cable into the spdif in of my presonus studio68. Just don't forget to sync the audio interface to the helix clock and you're good to go. I use this for recording dry tracks in my daw. The benefit is, that my helix native patches sound absolute identical as me plugin into the real helix since i'm basically using the same input section instead of a different interface Preamp.

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I tried giving this a shot.  I bought this converter cable: https://livewire-usa.com/ssrfxf/.  I am not able to get any signal.  Is this connector the issue?  I am running out of the AES port into a Focusrite 18i20 3rd gen SPDIF input.  I have tried everything and am not getting a signal.  

connector pic.jpg

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46 minutes ago, tdiecidue said:

I tried giving this a shot.  I bought this converter cable: https://livewire-usa.com/ssrfxf/.  I am not able to get any signal.  Is this connector the issue?  I am running out of the AES port into a Focusrite 18i20 3rd gen SPDIF input.  I have tried everything and am not getting a signal.  

connector pic.jpg

 Yeah, that’s not going to work... That’s simply an analog XLR to RCA converter. You need and actual digital converter to go from AES/EBU to S/PDIF... Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000068OGS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_RRGJE1XWZNJ0PV9EHF3J

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I got this and it works

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/XRF110--hosa-xrf110

 

Just to revisit what has been said in this thread before:

Technically, you should use S/PDIF connectors and cable meant for digital signals but for short lengths of cable, RCA and instrument cable work. The AES/EBU digital signal is technically different than what the S/PDIF is expecting to receive but they are similar enough that they do work together in most cases.

 

So your issue is probably that the connector isn't wired correctly, or that the connector + your RCA cable has too much signal loss for the digital signal.

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