1 (edited by anvilmusic 2021-04-07 12:47:18)

Topic: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

I've heard on forums like gearslutz that on windows it's possible to link multiple RME interfaces into one ASIO driver, as long as the driver is "the same type".

I'm running a setup where I need a lot of incoming ADAT connections, that I'd like to use in Cubase. My UFX (not 2 or +) has both ADAT's full, my question is whether I can use the DigiFace USB on the same computer as the UFX to get 4 more ADAT I/O into Cubase?

If it works, is there a serious cpu penalty or instability problems?

Grateful for all guidance!

2 (edited by ramses 2021-04-07 14:17:33)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

An application like a DAW can only load one ASIO driver.
You can use multiple interfaces of either same or different type, if at least supported by the same ASIO driver.
You need digital ports or WC to clock synchronizes those interfaces and to take care in the RME driver settings, that all interfaces use the same ASIO buffersize.

There are a few things to consider. Each of the interfaces will be controlled by an own instance of TM FX and you can't route channels across the different physical interfaces / TM FX instances.
As workaround you would need to use the DAW to route between ports of different interfaces.

A better solution would be to look for a solution where everything runs inside of one TM FX instance to have more flexibility in terms of routing without any limitation.

Another thing to consider is, whether your computer hardware is able to support the amount of channels if you aggregate several RME interfaces.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

3 (edited by vinark 2021-04-07 14:15:35)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Ufx and digiface usb are not the same driver. Ufx2 and ufx+ are. Will just a digiface be enough? You can use the ufx as inputs to the digiface via adat. 1 digiface is 4 adat ins, 2 digifaces is 7 adat ins. You lose one for syncing, except when your AD's are in sync then you have 4 and 8 with 2. Not sure how many digifaces are supported on one machine.
The old ufx and digifaces can be on one machine. Just not as one driver

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Such a setup is a little bit more complicated to operate
a) because of the mapping of channels and
b) you always need to work with two different TM FX instances.
I would consider to migrate to an UFX+ / MADI based solution offering more channels.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

A setup with a digiface and the ufx as AD is easy to operate as the ufx is set once. It all depends how many inputs the op needs and what he/she will use for DA.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

BTW .. was in no way meant as a criticism, I did not have so much time for the answer ...

It is IMHO a bit "matter of taste". I also had a setup like this when I thought that PCI/PCIe drivers should be more efficient than USB drivers (because of less protocol overhead). That's why I bought a RayDAT and connected the UFX as preamps in front of it. Based on the experiences I made my personal impression is, that operation is a little bit "bulky" in handling.
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … ME-RayDAT/

Basically you're right, you can set everything possible in advance and operate UFX even in stand-alone mode, but as soon as you need to use e.g. Mics, perhaps need to adjust the gain, then you need TM FX again or need to operate by using the display which also needs some practise. Then it might be better to work with two different TM FX instances.

Then it also depends how skilled / fit you are to set this up. In the end, everyone has to decide for himself, I just wanted to bring in this operational aspect for the sake of completeness, so that he can find a suitable decision for himself. MADI (or AVB) are options that can be at least considered as it brings more advantages in terms of cabling, cable lengths more channels.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

7 (edited by anvilmusic 2021-04-07 18:52:36)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Thanks for the replies! I'm on windows 10 by the way.

I don't really mind if there are two TotalMix instances, and I also don't need to route audio from one interface to the other. The only thing I really need is to have all the channels in my DAW.

Question: If FireFace UFX and Digiface USB don't have the same driver, does anyone what current RME interface DOES have the same driver as the UFX?

I basically just need a lot of ADAT I/O (48+ channels) in one ASIO driver. Would something like multiple RayDAT cards or multiple DigiFace USB allow this?

The reason I'm not looking into MADI/AVB/Dante is that I have so much invested in ADAT already, and those solutions are not cost-effective for my needs.

8 (edited by ramses 2021-04-07 19:33:09)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

anvilmusic wrote:

Thanks for the replies! I'm on windows 10 by the way.

I don't really mind if there are two TotalMix instances, and I also don't need to route audio from one interface to the other. The only thing I really need is to have all the channels in my DAW.

Question: If FireFace UFX and Digiface USB don't have the same driver, does anyone what current RME interface DOES have the same driver as the UFX?

You can see it best on the old download page on archive server, alternatively in my Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/

Direct link to Excel Sheet: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … 0-08-xlsx/. See line 20 in the Excel ..

This excel only contains the USB/FW/TB interfaces, but it will give you already a good overview.

In short:
- The PCI/PCIe cards have a completely different driver: HDSPe
- Older USB recording interfaces have the old USB driver
- The newer USB recording interfaces have the new MADIface USB driver (which uses another USB transfer mode)
- UFX+ has an own driver for using thunderbolt
- AVB / Dante interfaces have madifacenet driver.
Some cards have a special optimized HDSPe driver (HDSPe MADI FX).

anvilmusic wrote:

I basically just need a lot of ADAT I/O (48+ channels) in one ASIO driver. Would something like multiple RayDAT cards or multiple DigiFace USB allow this?

The reason I'm not looking into MADI/AVB/Dante is that I have so much invested in ADAT already, and those solutions are not cost-effective for my needs.

What about the combination of e.g.
- MADIface USB and ADI-648 or
- UFX+ and ADI-648 (offering 8x ADAT I/O) ?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

ramses wrote:

You can see it best on the old download page on archive server, alternatively in my Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/

Direct link to Excel Sheet: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … 0-08-xlsx/. See line 20 in the Excel ..

What about the combination of e.g.
- MADIface USB and ADI-648 or
- UFX+ and ADI-648 (offering 8x ADAT I/O) ?

Thanks for the information, very useful spreadsheet!

The combination's you mention would work, of course, but are an investment in the $4000-$5000 range, which is too much for me. For comparison, getting 3 x DigiFace USB and linking them together would be just ~$1000 if it would work. But thanks for the suggestion!

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Ok when using 3 Digiface USB, then don't forget that you need to clock sync them and to use the same ASIO buffersize in the RME driver settings for each of the devices. The other question is whether your computer supports 3 Digiface USB. You need to try it out.

Device #1           #2                         #3
---------------------------------------------------------
ADAT OUT ------- ADAT IN
                          ADAT OUT ---------- ADAT IN

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Also what ad are you going to use...if your ad all is synced, you can set all digifaces to slave.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

How about a 2x RayDAT Pcie solution with sync via optional WC module? Do you think the ASIO driver would work well aggregated?

13 (edited by ramses 2021-04-08 07:17:28)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

Maybe aggregation is the wrong term, its an ASIO driver accessing multiple recording interfaces, that are detected / supported by the driver.

From RME driver perspective even three cards would be supported, the question is whether your computer is capable to support that (mainboard design, DPC latencies). When using the RayDAT you need also to check, that your PC case has enough slots. Per RayDAT you need 1 PCIe x1 slot for the card plus one for the daughter card.

By using WC you do not need so "sacrifice" 1 ADAT ports for synchronization purposes between cards.
The WC module you do not need necessarily, only if other external devices need to be connected through WC.
There is an internal 3-pin connector for WC out and WC IN that you can use for that purpose, see manual ch 6.2:
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/raydat_d.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/raydat_e.pdf
This would save you a 3rd slot in the cases.

Some add-on information: the RayDAT is also a very nice product, as it offers to you also WC and other I/O ports that you need in a studio setup / project studio (AES, 2x MIDI I/O, ADAT4 witchable from ADAT to TOSLINK protocol). Its a full digital card, no analog I/O ports present.

Unique for the Digiface USB is, that all 4 ADAT ports can be switched from ADAT to SPDIF protocol, the only RME interface where this is possible on all ADAT ports.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

14 (edited by vinark 2021-04-08 08:50:17)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

What I am still missing here about sync is that it is not about the 2 cards being synced to each other, but the whole setup. If you sync card one to an ad and the other card to another ad that is synced to the first ad all is fine, if the rest of the ad are in sync too.
There are many ways to achieve this all dependent on your choice of converters.

Edit...
Put simple there must an can be only one master clock. That can be one of the cards, one of the converters or a separate master clock device.
The rest must be in sync to the master, but not directly per se.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

15 (edited by anvilmusic 2021-04-08 17:08:13)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

vinark wrote:

What I am still missing here about sync is that it is not about the 2 cards being synced to each other, but the whole setup. If you sync card one to an ad and the other card to another ad that is synced to the first ad all is fine, if the rest of the ad are in sync too.
There are many ways to achieve this all dependent on your choice of converters.

Edit...
Put simple there must an can be only one master clock. That can be one of the cards, one of the converters or a separate master clock device.
The rest must be in sync to the master, but not directly per se.

I don't necessarily understand what you mean about sync here. As I understand it any ADAT out from the RayDAT will provide sync to outboard gear normally? My outboard gear is mainly AD/DA converters with ADAT connections, so I will run ADAT out and ADAT in to every piece and they will be in sync.

If the RayDAT already has internal connectors for syncing with other RME PCIe internal interfaces, doesn't this mean that using multiple interfaces is well supported and RME thought of it? I'm a bit unclear whether using multiple interfaces is "officially supported" or just a hack that might work really badly?

EDIT: Sorry to mention other manufacturers, but it seems that Marian PCIe cards have clear, official multi-card support with a special cable you can use to (internally) connect interfaces to one another so that they are seen as one interface. I'd rather go with RME because I know them so well, but this seems tempting.

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

It is official multi card support not a hack. It is just that it is supported on the same type of cards, thus using the same driver. It is even supported, which is special, on different types of cards IF they use the same driver.
The thing about sync is that you don't have to loose a port if you use the digiface usb if you set it op right. If you use the raydat with internal or wc sync this point is not that interesting, although understanding syncing in detail can be handy.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

vinark wrote:

It is official multi card support not a hack. It is just that it is supported on the same type of cards, thus using the same driver. It is even supported, which is special, on different types of cards IF they use the same driver.
The thing about sync is that you don't have to loose a port if you use the digiface usb if you set it op right. If you use the raydat with internal or wc sync this point is not that interesting, although understanding syncing in detail can be handy.

Thanks for the information!

Another stupid question though: Where is this official support stated? You'd think that multi-card support is a major feature, yet I can't find information on it anywhere on the RME website. Much less an official compatibility chart that would show which driver is in which interface...

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

It's in the manuals. Most RME ASIO drivers support up to three devices (in theory), the HDSP/e driver supports up to 6.
All devices that share the same ASIO driver can be used together in ASIO based DAWs.

19 (edited by anvilmusic 2021-04-08 18:55:55)

Re: Linking / aggregating multiple USB interfaces?

RME Support wrote:

It's in the manuals. Most RME ASIO drivers support up to three devices (in theory), the HDSP/e driver supports up to 6.
All devices that share the same ASIO driver can be used together in ASIO based DAWs.

Thanks very much for the clarification. From a consumer/customer perspective I would still ask why you added "(in theory)" to the statement that up to three devices are supported? Related to variety of PC setups?