Topic: Two ff400 and two converters

Hello to all! Good to be here

So I'm going to put my eggs in the RME basket and I got to the conclusion that I have three options on my budget line -

Currently plan is to get a digiface 2 and two ff400 along side my motu 8pre and ADA 8200 all feed via litpipe to the digiface. AFAIK it gonna work, and synced.

A bit cheaper option is to get only ff400 pair and use each one adat i/o for my converters. Both ff400 daisy chain and each getting the lightpipe
Will this work? Is it possible to use all digital connectivity while daisy chainring?

My 3rd and most expensive option is to get an ff802.  It a monster but.. will leave me with almost nothing on the other stuff (cabling etc. )

I have read a lot over the web and in this forum, no specific answer to my case
So thanks in advance to all!

Cheers
-Rei

2 (edited by ramses 2020-06-28 09:35:28)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

For an interface comparison, see my blog, I put together an excel with useful information.
The much older interfaces like FF400/800 are not part of it, because they are not being sold anymore for a long time.

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/
Here the direct link to the Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … 0-04-xlsx/

I would recommend you a few things, but I am not sure whether budget reasons are your main driver here.
1. Avoid Firewire, its a "dead horse"
2. using multiple interfaces has the drawback, that you can't route between the channels of different recording interfaces, because you have one TM FX instance per recording interface and you can only route inside of one TM FX instance
3. working with multiple TM FX instances can become challenging, as it needs more space on the screen
4. you need to clock sync both interfaces by sacrificing one digital channel for that
5. you need to take care of, that both interfaces always use the same ASIO buffersize otherwise you get offsets in audio

The FF802 is a nice interface, but for me it would have the drawback, that it has as fully analog gain control.
Its not possible to digitally control and store the settings of the Mic inputs by using TM FX.
After years of operating UFX and UFX+ interfaces its one of the key features that I like and need to store my full setup digitally.

If you want to spend a little bit more, then I would recommend you to get one of the two flagship interfaces UFX II or UFX+.
The only difference between these two interfaces is, that the UFX II has no MADI (64ch via optical fiber at single speed).
And because its a 30ch interface like the former flagship UFX it requires only USB, USB is capable to carry 68ch (at least for RME) therefore it has only USB2, because USB3/Thunderbolt is not required for this amount of audio channels.

The Flagship interfaces give you several clear advantages
- the use the new MADIface driver which is capable to operate with 32 samples ASIO buffersize, this might be interesting for those people who require lowest latencies when working with VSTi. The old USB/FW driver has 48 samples as minimum, which is tbh fine enough .. but I only want to mention this
- USB Class Compliant Mode is supported
- You have the AUTOSET feature which is fine to quicker find the proper gain level for MIC/Instr inputs
- The Instrument Inputs are terminated with 1M Ohm which is very good for guitar pickups
- The UFX II/UFX+ supports DURec which is excellent for supporting backup recordings in case the DAW would have a hang situation, then with the DURec recording in the backhand nothing is lost
- DURec is even phantastic to make recordings in stand-alone mode, so to be able to use the UFX II/UFX+ as a tape deck. For me this is a big time saver not having to fire up the DAW to quickly record some ideas
- Both devices have now a real-time clock built-in, so that the DURec recordings get a proper timestamp
- All outputs are dampened when powering on/off for most of the other interfaces this is only the case for the phones output. I think this could be useful not to blow monitors / ears depending on how well you matched levels, see this useful info in regards to this topic here from MC: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=25399

I personally recommend to everybody when you have to choose between UFX II and UFX+ to get the UFX+. Why ?
A) The price difference is so small, that you should get the possibility to choose between USB2, USB3 and Thunderbolt.
You have a great flexibility to connect the UFX+. Even by USB2 to operate it without MADI.
The Thunderbolt driver has additionally the advantage to support the "pitch" function, shall you need it, which could not be implemented into the MADIface USB driver. Technically not possible with the USB transfer modes that are being used.
B) Another big advantage is that you can connect so much more devices (preamps, converters) by MADI and with much much longer distances compared to ADAT. ADAT supports 10m officially, with a little luck 15m. With MADI you can have up to 2km distance between each of the up to 8 devices on a MADI Bus (ring structure).
C) if you should work with higher sample rates at times, then you loose quickly channels by multiplexing.
So with only two ADAT I/O you very soon have only 2x4 instead of 2x8 channels at double speed (88.2/96)
Ok, the ADA8200 supports only single speed (44.1/48). But think about the future.
If you buy now, then it can be that you run the device for over 10 or even 20y, think about the long RME driver support.
So its an investment into the future and then it would be nice not having to replace your recording interface, if your demands would raise in the future.

I will also mention the cheapest options to get the ADA8200 connected:
- PCIe based: RayDAT .. offers you 4x ADAT I/O. All very nicely in one TM FX instance
- USB based: Digiface USB ... offers you 4x ADAT I/O as well

Those two products offer different features, you need to compare them side by side

RayDAT:

    36 Eingänge / 36 Ausgänge
    4 x ADAT I/O
    1 x AES/EBU I/O
    1 x SPDIF I/O
    2 x MIDI I/O
    TotalMix
    optional: Time Code Option (TCO)
    optional: Expansion Board WCM
    optional: Expansion Board TEB


Digiface USB:
•    66 Kanäle: 32 In / 34 Out
•    4 x ADAT/SPDIF Eingang
•    4 x ADAT/SPDIF Ausgang
•    1 x Kopfhörer TRS Stereo Ausgang
•    TotalMix FX
•    Kein externes Netzteil erforderlich

The Digiface USB has a unique selling point, all 4 ADAT ports can be switched to optical SPDIF protocol.
The RayDAT and UFX II/+ support this only for their last ADAT port (ADAT4 / ADAT 2).
But this should be only rarely needed.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

3 (edited by innerzone19 2020-06-28 09:52:46)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

It seems that you really like the ufx+  . But no, too expensive for me.

So best for me is to use two ff400 as converters  after i deal with their routing i can save it to hardware and work as stand alone. This is what im getting from your answer.

Digiface + ARC + 2*ff400 + motu 8pre + ada8200
All set to 44.1 and monitor by ASIO using cubase.

Should work ?

(I can get some more motus or behringer, i just want at least 8 high-end analogue outputs to go with my digiface


ramses wrote:

For an interface comparison, see my blog, I put together an excel with useful information.
The much older interfaces like FF400/800 are not part of it, because they are not being sold anymore for a long time.

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/
Here the direct link to the Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … 0-04-xlsx/

I would recommend you a few things, but I am not sure whether budget reasons are your main driver here.
1. Avoid Firewire, its a "dead horse"
2. using multiple interfaces has the drawback, that you can't route between the channels of different recording interfaces, because you have one TM FX instance per recording interface and you can only route inside of one TM FX instance
3. working with multiple TM FX instances can become challenging, as it needs more space on the screen
4. you need to clock sync both interfaces by sacrificing one digital channel for that
5. you need to take care of, that both interfaces always use the same ASIO buffersize otherwise you get offsets in audio

The FF802 is a nice interface, but for me it would have the drawback, that it has as fully analog gain control.
Its not possible to digitally control and store the settings of the Mic inputs by using TM FX.
After years of operating UFX and UFX+ interfaces its one of the key features that I like and need to store my full setup digitally.

If you want to spend a little bit more, then I would recommend you to get one of the two flagship interfaces UFX II or UFX+.
The only difference between these two interfaces is, that the UFX II has no MADI (64ch via optical fiber at single speed).
And because its a 30ch interface like the former flagship UFX it requires only USB, USB is capable to carry 68ch (at least for RME) therefore it has only USB2, because USB3/Thunderbolt is not required for this amount of audio channels.

The Flagship interfaces give you several clear advantages
- the use the new MADIface driver which is capable to operate with 32 samples ASIO buffersize, this might be interesting for those people who require lowest latencies when working with VSTi. The old USB/FW driver has 48 samples as minimum, which is tbh fine enough .. but I only want to mention this
- USB Class Compliant Mode is supported
- You have the AUTOSET feature which is fine to quicker find the proper gain level for MIC/Instr inputs
- The Instrument Inputs are terminated with 1M Ohm which is very good for guitar pickups
- The UFX II/UFX+ supports DURec which is excellent for supporting backup recordings in case the DAW would have a hang situation, then with the DURec recording in the backhand nothing is lost
- DURec is even phantastic to make recordings in stand-alone mode, so to be able to use the UFX II/UFX+ as a tape deck. For me this is a big time saver not having to fire up the DAW to quickly record some ideas
- Both devices have now a real-time clock built-in, so that the DURec recordings get a proper timestamp
- All outputs are dampened when powering on/off for most of the other interfaces this is only the case for the phones output. I think this could be useful not to blow monitors / ears depending on how well you matched levels, see this useful info in regards to this topic here from MC: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=25399

I personally recommend to everybody when you have to choose between UFX II and UFX+ to get the UFX+. Why ?
A) The price difference is so small, that you should get the possibility to choose between USB2, USB3 and Thunderbolt.
You have a great flexibility to connect the UFX+. Even by USB2 to operate it without MADI.
The Thunderbolt driver has additionally the advantage to support the "pitch" function, shall you need it, which could not be implemented into the MADIface USB driver. Technically not possible with the USB transfer modes that are being used.
B) Another big advantage is that you can connect so much more devices (preamps, converters) by MADI and with much much longer distances compared to ADAT. ADAT supports 10m officially, with a little luck 15m. With MADI you can have up to 2km distance between each of the up to 8 devices on a MADI Bus (ring structure).
C) if you should work with higher sample rates at times, then you loose quickly channels by multiplexing.
So with only two ADAT I/O you very soon have only 2x4 instead of 2x8 channels at double speed (88.2/96)
Ok, the ADA8200 supports only single speed (44.1/48). But think about the future.
If you buy now, then it can be that you run the device for over 10 or even 20y, think about the long RME driver support.
So its an investment into the future and then it would be nice not having to replace your recording interface, if your demands would raise in the future.

I will also mention the cheapest options to get the ADA8200 connected:
- PCIe based: RayDAT .. offers you 4x ADAT I/O. All very nicely in one TM FX instance
- USB based: Digiface USB ... offers you 4x ADAT I/O as well

Those two products offer different features, you need to compare them side by side

RayDAT:

    36 Eingänge / 36 Ausgänge
    4 x ADAT I/O
    1 x AES/EBU I/O
    1 x SPDIF I/O
    2 x MIDI I/O
    TotalMix
    optional: Time Code Option (TCO)
    optional: Expansion Board WCM
    optional: Expansion Board TEB


Digiface USB:
•    66 Kanäle: 32 In / 34 Out
•    4 x ADAT/SPDIF Eingang
•    4 x ADAT/SPDIF Ausgang
•    1 x Kopfhörer TRS Stereo Ausgang
•    TotalMix FX
•    Kein externes Netzteil erforderlich

The Digiface USB has a unique selling point, all 4 ADAT ports can be switched to optical SPDIF protocol.
The RayDAT and UFX II/+ support this only for their last ADAT port (ADAT4 / ADAT 2).
But this should be only rarely needed.

4 (edited by ramses 2020-06-28 10:04:19)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

> It seems that you really like the ufx+

Yes indeed, I started with an UFX 6y ago and then switched to a MADI setup. Reasons detailed here, it describes my setup and use cases, for me its perfect:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … -DURec-DE/
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … 8-RME-UFX/
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … Cber-MADI/

Its of course your decision. I only wanted to give you an opportunity to gather more facts / information to be able to decide what the best choice for you considering all of your requirements.

But I also gave you other possible options which are in the price range between €357 (Digiface USB) and €585 (RayDAT).

> So best for me is to use two ff400 as converters  after i deal with their routing i can save it to hardware
> and work as stand alone. This is what im getting from your answer.

No .. I would connect the ADA8200 and the Motu directly to the Digiface USB / RayDAT via ADAT.
Both preamps have ADAT INs, so you can clock them directly via ADAT from either Digiface USB or the RayDAT.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

So i think you mis understood me there. But you still kind of got it.

Fireface 400 (1)
Fireface 400 (2)
MOTU 8pre
ADA 8200

All connected via lightpipe to the
Digiface usb

Thats my plan s for now
I might just bring one ff400 unit and another 8pre
Donno, will see on the money time.

ramses wrote:

> It seems that you really like the ufx+

Yes indeed, I started with an UFX 6y ago and then switched to a MADI setup. Reasons detailed here, it describes my setup and use cases, for me its perfect:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … -DURec-DE/
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … 8-RME-UFX/
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … Cber-MADI/

Its of course your decision. I only wanted to give you an opportunity to gather more facts / information to be able to decide what the best choice for you considering all of your requirements.

But I also gave you other possible options which are in the price range between €357 (Digiface USB) and €585 (RayDAT).

> So best for me is to use two ff400 as converters  after i deal with their routing i can save it to hardware
> and work as stand alone. This is what im getting from your answer.

No .. I would connect the ADA8200 and the Motu directly to the Digiface USB / RayDAT via ADAT.
Both preamps have ADAT INs, so you can clock them directly via ADAT from either Digiface USB or the RayDAT.

6 (edited by ramses 2020-06-28 10:41:24)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

Ah ok .. I really misunderstood and though the FF400 should be between Digiface USB and the other two preamps.

And why not sell 1 or 2 of the two FF400 and get 1-2 more ADA8200 for it ?
The ADA8200 gives you a certain flexibility to have
a) 8 Mic/Line inputs
b) 8 analog outputs

Not the quality of RME, but maybe sufficient. I'd say if the FF400 are already there maybe keep it. On the other hand it could also be an opportunity to get rid of firewire cards in your PC if you would not have to maintain the FF400 anymore ...

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

The main reason for the ff400 other than another motu 8pre or ada8200(which are half of a price for the ff400) ,is decent d/a converters and outputs, as the ADA 8200 allready have outputs, but I wanted at least for the monitors decent d/a converters.

So I can get an 8pre and ff400
This will be much cheaper indeed..

And no matter what I'll need my FW card for other stuff wink
Thanks for the help!!



ramses wrote:

Ah ok .. I really misunderstood and though the FF400 should be between Madiface USB and the other two preamps.

And why not sell 1 or 2 of the two FF400 and get 1-2 more ADA8200 for it ?
The ADA8200 gives you a certain flexibility to have
a) 8 Mic/Line inputs
b) 8 analog outputs

Not the quality of RME, but maybe sufficient. I'd say if the FF400 are already there maybe keep it. On the other hand it could also be an opportunity to get rid of firewire cards in your PC if you would not have to maintain the FF400 anymore ...

8 (edited by ramses 2020-06-28 10:44:05)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

You're welcome wink

BTW I had a typo in my post #6 (corrected) that you quoted , not "Madiface USB" -> "Digiface USB"

BTW2, another nice thing of the Digiface USB, it has an analog utput for phones (TRS plug).
So its maybe even useful for travel ...

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

9 (edited by hselters 2020-06-30 20:24:42)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

ramses wrote:

BTW2, another nice thing of the Digiface USB, it has an analog utput for phones (TRS plug).
So its maybe even useful for travel ...

Yes, it is great as a mobile dac, only wish it would be Class Compatible, at least for the Headphone Out...

About the topic: I am also using the Digiface in conjunction with a FF400 and UCX here (+ another ADAT Converter).
Working fine besides some recent crashes of the driver when using videoconferencing apps, especially Skype.
For daily office things or mixing in the box I stopped to use it now and rely on the UCX via Thunderbolt/Firewire (which still stays clocked to the Digiface). No issues since that. As a Mac user I must say that FireWire (via Thunderbolt) still works better for me than USB. Also long FireWire cable runs are working well, so I can have the interfaces far away from the computer. And the UCX just slaves to the FF400 so I only need one long FireWire run. So much better than USB.

If I need all the tracks for recording on a lot of tracks then I load another Workspace and use the Digiface as a Master.
All in all it's a bit cumbersome with the different instances of Total Mix, especially when changing things or reconfiguring it can take a while to wrap your head around things. I would probably be better off with an UFX in the studio, but this would have less channels and I would need to keep at least one of the small units for their portability which is the main reason I was going that route.

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

In regards to Apple and Thunderbolt/Firewire .. ok I have to admit, that I am using Windows and didn't think about that.
So thanks for this remark :-)

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

Well
After long thought I'm going for the digiface usb and 4 converters, when only one of them will be the ff400 in stand alone mode..

What do you mean that the digiface is not class comptiable, with which class?

12 (edited by ramses 2020-07-01 11:03:04)

Re: Two ff400 and two converters

He means "class compliant" .. pls google for that, you will find many hits like e.g. this one:

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/class-compliant/

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB