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Author Topic: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII  (Read 6024 times)

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Offline jimbee

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After searching the forum, I'll break down and ask what I hope is not a dumb newbie question. 

Is there such a thing as a cable that would go from XLR female to male 3.5mm TRS (with three black rings and four metal conductors) and also convert the AES/EBU output to S/PDIF, which I believe is 110 ohm to 75 ohm?

In searching, I noticed a post that mentioned Tapers Section cable builders, so maybe they could do this, but how do you contact them?

Also, has anybody with a MixPre-D tried this, and does it give you a much better recording than you would get from the Tascam DR-100 MKII by itself?   Or if no one has tried that, how about going from the MixPre-D line output into the Tascam XLR line in?  Is there a big improvement in the recording?

Thanks for any advice,
jimbee

Offline Popmarter

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2012, 06:26:53 AM »
Talk to Ted, he is a great guy and makes great cables (i bought a few from him.) See: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=133186.0

He made me a digital cable to connect my mixpre EAS out to edirol r44 digital in. probably that is what you need.
Currently in use:
Recorders: Edirol R44, Sony M10 & Sony D6
Microphones: Milab VM-44 Links (cards), AT853 (cards) & Nakamichi CM300 (all CP-s)
Preamps: JK Laboratories DVC-X-17b, Naiant IPA & Nakamichi MX-100 modded for 9v battery use
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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2012, 08:20:40 PM »
contact Ted or darktrain. They can build you exactly what you need  ;)
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Offline H₂O

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2012, 11:15:56 PM »
I was under the impression that the Tascam DR-100 mkII didn't play nice with the MixPre-D's digital out

See:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=153082.0


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Offline DigiGal

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 08:18:49 AM »
Regarding the MixPreD this is quoted from the manual...

"Master Outputs/AES Output:  Balanced AES3 Out on Right XLR connector, 110 ohm, 2 V p-p, AES3 and S/PDIF compatible with RCA adaptor."



I was under the impression that the Tascam DR-100 mkII didn't play nice with the MixPre-D's digital out

See:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=153082.0

That dr-100 review only tried it with an older mini me, not sure if the mini me is listed as S/PDIF compatible.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 08:23:17 AM by DigiGal »
Mics: AKG CK91/CK94/CK98/SE300 | Shure VP88 | Senn ME66/K6/K6RD Cables: Gotham GAC-4/1 "StarQuad" w/Neutrik EMC | Gotham GAC-2pair w/AKG MK90/3 connectors | DigiGal AES>S/PDIF cable Preamp: Sound Devices MixPre-D Recorder: Marantz PMD 661 Edit: 27"3.4GHz QuadCore i7 iMac | OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 | Wave Editor | xACT  | Transmission | Final Cut Pro X                                                            

Offline H₂O

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 10:50:11 AM »
Someone did mention they could not get the DR-100 to sync to their MixPre-D above 16bit 44.1Khz with a Mercenary Audio AES>SPDIF cable.


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Offline SmokinJoe

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 01:01:44 PM »
Just because someone CAN make a cable that plugs into boxes A and B doesn't mean you should do it.  Most people are smart enough to realize you shouldn't make a cable that goes from 110v wall socket to XLR and plug it into your mic, but beyond that it becomes murky about what is OK and what is not.  And just because something works, doesn't mean it's a good idea.  I can put my drunken body into a car, start the engine and drive away... so it works.  But that doesn't make it a good idea.

I think normally AES toggles on/off 5V, although this box puts out 2V.  SPDIF normally operates on 1/2 volt.  Will the recorder tolerate 2V instead of 0.5v?  Probably.  Then they are talking slightly different binary protocols... let's say the recorder is expecting "English" and the A/D puts out "English, but with a couple of words of French at the beginning of each sentence".  Between the fact that the voltage is ONLY off by a factor of 4, and the fact they ONLY use a couple of words of French at the beginning of each sentence they call it S/PDIF compatible... in their mind any decent recorder should tolerate the voltage and ignore the French words it doesn't understand.  Maybe that's a poor analogy, but the bottom line is "DR-100 might tolerate it, and it might not".  You won't know until you try it.  Just because an R44 doesn't choke on it, that doesn't make it a universally good idea.

If the box has SPDIF out, that's what you should use.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 02:02:48 PM by SmokinJoe »
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Offline DigiGal

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 01:56:03 PM »
If the box has SPDIF out, that's what you should use.

Repeating quote from the MixPreD manual...

"Master Outputs/AES Output:  Balanced AES3 Out on Right XLR connector, 110 ohm, 2 V p-p, AES3 and S/PDIF compatible with RCA adaptor."

Sound Devices is stating the output is on an XLR as AES3 and that it is compatible with S/PDIF.
  I went on that premise and consulted with Sound Devices via e-mail prior to ordering a MixPre-D for clarification and the bottom line is that it works with the PMD661's S/PDIF input just fine.   

Now the DR100 may be different, I don't have access to one but from my experience and the SD manual quote I'd expect them to work provided the DR100 is standard S/PDIF, of course ymmv. 

If you're serious about the combo, purchase a MixPre-D with the option to return if it doesn't do what you want.  And by all means report back with your results so others can benefit from the knowledge.  If it doesn't work you could go with a SD USBPre2 instead for about $100 less, though you will trade off some features between the two units.
Mics: AKG CK91/CK94/CK98/SE300 | Shure VP88 | Senn ME66/K6/K6RD Cables: Gotham GAC-4/1 "StarQuad" w/Neutrik EMC | Gotham GAC-2pair w/AKG MK90/3 connectors | DigiGal AES>S/PDIF cable Preamp: Sound Devices MixPre-D Recorder: Marantz PMD 661 Edit: 27"3.4GHz QuadCore i7 iMac | OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 | Wave Editor | xACT  | Transmission | Final Cut Pro X                                                            

Offline SmokinJoe

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 02:10:14 PM »
My apologies.  I thought the box had both an RCA S/PDIF and an AES out (like a V3 or Minime) and you just wanted to use the AES "because I want to".  If SD only has one digi output, and they say it's S/PDIF compatible, then it's a specially crafted compromise for just such a situation.   Again, you won't know if a Tascam will choke on it until you try it.

My rant would still apply to a V3 or Mini-me AES out, but not for the MixPre-D.
Mics: Gefell M200's & M210's / ADK-TL / AT853's / DPA4061's
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Daughter's rig:  AT4050ST > Busman Hybrid R4
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kirk97132

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 02:10:46 PM »
Tascam decks are known to read incoming digital stream by the header info rather than the actual info contained.  Thus the USBPre2 had to have a software patch after it was released in order to use it with my Tascam DR-680.  Now does that apply to all Tascam products?  I don't know.  Some Sony decks had the same issue too.  BUT, the DR-680 will automatically read AES info.  All I'm saying is that the compatibility issue might not be just in getting the correct cable and/or conversion.  It could be that the deck will not read the preamp info correctly. 

Offline DigiGal

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 02:31:24 PM »
Tascam decks are known to read incoming digital stream by the header info rather than the actual info contained.  Thus the USBPre2 had to have a software patch after it was released in order to use it with my Tascam DR-680.  Now does that apply to all Tascam products?  I don't know.  Some Sony decks had the same issue too.  BUT, the DR-680 will automatically read AES info.  All I'm saying is that the compatibility issue might not be just in getting the correct cable and/or conversion.  It could be that the deck will not read the preamp info correctly.

The MixPre-D in question does not have a software update and since it was released by SD after the USBPre2 they probably got it right on the MixPre-D before shipping them.  Can't speak for the Tascam unit you'll have to try it yourself.  Definitely make sure to order a MixPre-D with the option to return if it doesn't work for you.  Many vendors will do this but confirm with your vendor before you order.

Hmm, upon further thought, however, regarding S/PDIF specifically with the DR100.   The DR100's S/PDIF input is an odd derivative of an 1/8" connecter right?  That poor quality connector could just be the Achilles Heel inhibiting the practical use of S/PDIF input on the DR100.  It could realistically work alright for a while then develop connector problems that would be detrimental to the digital signal.   
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 03:45:06 PM by DigiGal »
Mics: AKG CK91/CK94/CK98/SE300 | Shure VP88 | Senn ME66/K6/K6RD Cables: Gotham GAC-4/1 "StarQuad" w/Neutrik EMC | Gotham GAC-2pair w/AKG MK90/3 connectors | DigiGal AES>S/PDIF cable Preamp: Sound Devices MixPre-D Recorder: Marantz PMD 661 Edit: 27"3.4GHz QuadCore i7 iMac | OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 | Wave Editor | xACT  | Transmission | Final Cut Pro X                                                            

Offline DSatz

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 09:54:46 PM »
People: AES/EBU and S/P-DIF differ as to voltage, characteristic impedance, connector types, and balanced vs. unbalanced cabling. But they also differ slightly in the actual content of their signals. A few "flag bits" (important ones) are defined differently between the two signal formats.

So even if you can overcome, or get away with ignoring, the issues of voltage, characteristic impedance, connector type and balanced vs. unbalanced cabling in a given instance, the two signals as signals are still slightly different from one another.

Thus you should realize that you are basically lucky if you can connect a device with one type of output to a device of the other type of input and have it work at all, let alone work correctly and reliably. And that luck isn't necessarily transferable to other pairs of devices. Nor can you reason, or argue, or whine your way into making it work if it's not going to work.

Basically, the way to make it work reliably is either (a) to stick with one standard--connect AES/EBU sources to AES/EBU inputs, and S/P-DIF sources to S/P-DIF inputs, or else (b) use an adapter that takes apart the digital bitstream from the one format and generates a correctly formatted signal in the other format. Obviously such a device (such as the old Digital Domain FCN-1) would need to be electrically active and would need its own power supply; a passive device such as an adapter cable or a transformer can't do that.

Always remember: There are professional audio standards, and there are consumer audio standards, but there are no standards for connecting professional audio equipment to consumer audio equipment.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2012, 11:29:17 PM »
Nor can you reason, or argue, or whine your way into making it work if it's not going to work.


You're just a party-pooper...   :P

Terry
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Offline DSatz

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2012, 09:23:17 AM »
Terry--finally, someone who understands where I'm coming from! The photo to the left of my messages is NOT merely a suggestive visual approximation; it is an accurate portrait of my truest self, and shows where I have been forced to live because of my inability to get along with the rest of humanity.

--In all seriousness, there's some room for "play" with these signals, and sometimes the equipment manufacturers are playing a bit loose with the standards themselves (creating confusion but also opportunity in some cases). But people shouldn't get their hopes up too far--these non-standard hookups will always be a "case by case" or "YMMV" type of situation, and there can never be a simple adapter-type approach that will always work. (Same thing goes for connecting balanced microphones to the unbalanced inputs of consumer recorders.)

--best grouchy regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Todd R

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Re: MixPre-D cable question: AES to S/PDIF into Tascam DR-100 MKII
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2012, 11:19:43 AM »
People: AES/EBU and S/P-DIF differ as to voltage, characteristic impedance, connector types, and balanced vs. unbalanced cabling. But they also differ slightly in the actual content of their signals. A few "flag bits" (important ones) are defined differently between the two signal formats.

So even if you can overcome, or get away with ignoring, the issues of voltage, characteristic impedance, connector type and balanced vs. unbalanced cabling in a given instance, the two signals as signals are still slightly different from one another.

Thus you should realize that you are basically lucky if you can connect a device with one type of output to a device of the other type of input and have it work at all, let alone work correctly and reliably. And that luck isn't necessarily transferable to other pairs of devices. Nor can you reason, or argue, or whine your way into making it work if it's not going to work.

Basically, the way to make it work reliably is either (a) to stick with one standard--connect AES/EBU sources to AES/EBU inputs, and S/P-DIF sources to S/P-DIF inputs, or else (b) use an adapter that takes apart the digital bitstream from the one format and generates a correctly formatted signal in the other format. Obviously such a device (such as the old Digital Domain FCN-1) would need to be electrically active and would need its own power supply; a passive device such as an adapter cable or a transformer can't do that.

Always remember: There are professional audio standards, and there are consumer audio standards, but there are no standards for connecting professional audio equipment to consumer audio equipment.

--best regards

Exactly!  And to confound the matter, there seem to be a number of manufacturers out there -- [cough]Mytek[cough] -- who claim that their A/D's output both AES and spdif digital signals, but if you read closely to what their technical and service people will tell you, their A/D's do not supply a spdif signal, they supply an AES signal on an RCA connector.  I have no idea what voltage or impedance specs they are meeting, but the format data conforms to the AES standard, not the spdif standard.

And then, whoa, who would've figured, the A/D's don't work right with spdif recorders like the DR100 mkII, the Sony D50, the PMD-661, etc.  Unfortunately, then those recorders get a reputation for being flakey with accepting digital inputs.  They work fine, as long as they get a true spdif signal.

Personally, I think those fast-with-the-truth A/D makers claiming to have spdif outputs should be shamed or sued into getting their marketing departments to tell the truth.  Unfortunately their marketing people prey on people's misunderstanding of these standards and they are more than happy to let their customers point their fingers at the recorder companies.  As much as I think that Mytek makes a great A/D that sounds excellent, I really have no respect at all for that company anymore and would never buy their gear based on their willingness to lie to their customers.

I just spoke to Michal at Mytek and he was very clear in explaining the issue withthe Mytek and Tascam not communicating digitally. They can get the units to talk at 44.1 as has been established, but the problem (being recollected by my amateur ears) is that they (Mytek) use chips that conform to the AES standard, and those chips come to them hard coded and cannot be altered. They spent time trying to find a method of conversion, but could not and they say it would require a firmware upgrade from Tascam.

Quote from: Mytek
Stereo192 ADC Specifications

Conversion:                 Linear,     128x oversampling at 44.1/48kHz
                                                         64x oversampling at 88.2/96/176.4/192k

Resolution:                 24 bit

Sample rates:             44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz
                                       or wordclock 25-200kHz

Dynamic Range:         123dB A-weighted, 120dB Total

THD+Noise:                 -107dB (<0.0005%)

Internal clock jitter:        <10picoseconds

Analog Inputs:             +4dBm balanced or unbalanced, 10kOhm

Digital outputs:             Hi-speed (25-200kHz) AES/EBU and SPDIF

External Sync.:             Wordclock in and out. or 256x Superclock
                                        Wordlock Out
                                        used as house clock: 15 LS TTL loads max.

                                        Can be terminated.

Power:                             100/115V-220/240V 50/60Hz switchable               
                                           or 7-12V External Battery


Dimensions:                 1/3 rack space wide x 1U high x 8” deep
(5.5”x 1.6”x 8”)

Weight:                            3.5 pounds
 
Mics: Microtech Gefell m20/m21 (nbob/pfa actives), Line Audio CM3, Church CA-11 cards
Preamp:  none <sniff>
Recorders:  Sound Devices MixPre-6, Sony PCM-M10, Zoom H4nPro

 

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