JBL monitors - unbalanced out to balanced input - is my wiring OK? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old October 31st, 2007, 05:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Martin Pauly View Post
....

Back to the noise problem. Given that my balanced Tascam outputs have produced great sound (but only in stereo), I am tempted to go ahead and replace the M-Audio 410 with a higher-end audio interface, one with balanced line outs. These beautiful speakers really should be treated to a great audio interface! I am not sure if a PCI card (this would be in a Mac Pro) or a FireWire-based interface would be best (did a search here on "PCI" and "FireWire", but did not see any useful hits).

I like the idea of PCI, because
- it frees up a FireWire port for other stuff
- I don't need mobility for this interface
- my experience with FireWire in the past has been less than excellent

But then I've never owed a PCI audio interface, so I am wondering if those have their own set of problems that I am just not aware of yet.

One interface that looks very nice is the Echo Layla 3G. Looking at the specs, it's worlds apart from the 410, assuming they are not overstating the performance. I've gotten recommendations in the past for the Echo AudioFire8, which also has great specs but uses a FireWire interface.

...
Any thoughts on the PCI vs FireWire question?
I have an AudioFire8 that sounds superb. Personally I like Firewire as it gets everything out of the electrically noisy computer innards, unlike PCI. Echo's latest WDM drivers for the AudioFire series fully support surround sound playback from DVD etc and of course there's multichannel ASIO as well. The AudioFires also allow you to daisy-chain multiple interfaces if at some point you find you need more channels, for instance chaining an AudioFire8 with an AudioFire12 through the Firewire ports for a total of 20 channels of I/O. Do take note that with both their Firewire and PCI interface lines Echo's assumption is that you'll be setting recording levels with a mixer upstream from the interface - the console software allows you to control the levels of each input being sent directly to an output for direct monitoring but it doesn't control the actual recording levels sent to the DAW and most recording programs don't give you control of input levels either. I feed mine with a Mackie 1642.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 10:15 PM   #17
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Do take note that with both their Firewire and PCI interface lines Echo's assumption is that you'll be setting recording levels with a mixer upstream from the interface - the console software allows you to control the levels of each input being sent directly to an output for direct monitoring but it doesn't control the actual recording levels sent to the DAW and most recording programs don't give you control of input levels either.
I didn't know that, thank's a lot for pointing this out! I don't think it affects what I do much, since I'll use it primarily as an output card for said JBL monitors. I have a completely separate solution for recording. On the rare occasion that I do want to record something straight into my computer, I'll just use my SD302 to control levels.

FYI, the firmware update fixed the can't-turn-all-speakers-off problem. One less thing to worry about! :-)

- Martin
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 10:04 PM   #18
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Martin,

I had a Firewire410 at my old office to monitor surround in FCP.

I can barely think of a buggier, noisier device than that. It was very cantankerous with regards to syncing with FCP correctly, and at odd times would produce small or large amounts of noise to it's outputs, mostly of the digital traffic/firewire ground loop sort.

While all of the above advice could take care of things...I'd try another device if possible.

I just got my LSR4326s (how I found this thread) hooked up to my Kona via AES and it's dead quiet...I wonder if there's a way to get AES out for 5 channels?
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 07:45 PM   #19
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Nate,

yes, going digital to the speakers... But I'd need an audio interface that provides 6 channels of audio on AES. Does something like this exist for the Mac, in a price range similar to the Echo devices mentioned earlier?

- Martin
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Old December 1st, 2007, 03:49 PM   #20
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Just wanted to post the resolution of this case, in case anyone is interested. As I am writing this, I am listening to absolutely beautiful sound coming out of my JBL monitors. I ended up dumping the M-Audio and bought the Echo AudioFire 8, what a nice device! With balanced connections all the way, all my troubles are gone.

From first ordering to getting the setup completed took over two months - the replacement for the damaged speaker arrived yesterday - but now that it's all working, I am very pleased. Now, where's that project file that needed a better 5.1 mix? :-)

- Martin
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 04:45 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Martin Pauly View Post
Just wanted to post the resolution of this case, in case anyone is interested. As I am writing this, I am listening to absolutely beautiful sound coming out of my JBL monitors. I ended up dumping the M-Audio and bought the Echo AudioFire 8, what a nice device! With balanced connections all the way, all my troubles are gone.

From first ordering to getting the setup completed took over two months - the replacement for the damaged speaker arrived yesterday - but now that it's all working, I am very pleased. Now, where's that project file that needed a better 5.1 mix? :-)

- Martin
Glad it's all working out for you! I think you'll be happy with the AudioFire - to my reckoning it seems to lie somewhere in that hazy borderland between prosumer / project studio devices and the really big ticket boutique professional studio interfaces. The big thing for me is that with the Echo interface and the JBL monitors I have absolute confidence that what I'm hearing is in the sound recording and not an artifact, for better or worse, introduced by the playback/monitoring chain. If your experience is like mine has been, a bad mix will hit you like a hammer.
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