Topic: MADI connections

Hello

This may seem a simple question to those who know but I am struggling to find the answers!

I have a UFX+ and am connecting it to an Antelope MP8d using MADI optical connections. What I am unable to resolve is if I need a single cable Antelope out to RME in, or dual to create a loop?

I am also wondering if it is better to use the RME as master clock or the Antelope. I am also attaching a Focusrite CLarett Octopre via all ADAT ports so will need to share the clock all round

Any help most welcome!!

2 (edited by ramses 2022-02-06 14:09:09)

Re: MADI connections

Regarding MADI

MADI: you connect one or more devices in a serial fashion, in your case with only one device (preamp):
UFX+ MADI OUT -------> MADI IN - Antelope
UFX+ MADI IN   <------   MADI OUT - Antelope

To connect each of the up to 8 - or even more - devices on a MADI bus, patchcables are available from 0.5 up to approx 50m.
Longer ranges - up to 2km between each of the devices (!) - are possible, just in case the equipment is distributed between different rooms / floors. There you might have optical inhouse cabling where it is important not to mix the optical cable standards, either OM3 or OM4, in such a serial ring of devices on one MADI bus.

But if everything is in a rack you only need a short cable of approx 1 or 2m to be flexible, e.g.:
https://www.kabelscheune.de/LWL-Kabel-L … 4-2-m.html
You can also use 0.5m if the devices are very close to each other, but take care not to bend optical cables too much.

Word clock - possible, but not required

To use word clock is not a strong requirement. You can also use the clock signal which is part of every digital connection (ADAT, SPDIF, AES, MADI). According to RME there is not difference in quality and RME devices with Steadyclock (FS) technology are anyway capable to remove the clock jitter from WC and any digital input, to refresh the clock and perform AD and DA conversion by using it's own local clock. So every RME device is also a perfect clock slave by RME's Steadylock technology.

RME Steadyclock

More information about Steadyclock here, both available in English and German:
- Product Page from webserver: https://www.rme-audio.de/steadyclock-fs.html
- Interesting Youtube video from Matthias Carstens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti0aHW-zYcs

Option 1) UFX+ as clock master

You could make the UFX+ to clock master
- Octopre Clarett could learn clock through it's ADAT input
- Antelope could learn clock through it's MADI input

The benefits of using the recording interface (UFX+) as clock master: you only need to set the clock in the DAW project, this sets the clock at the UFX+ by the application through the ASIO driver and all clock slave learn it automatically from it's digital inputs.

But note: it could be the case that only sample rate changes in single speed between 44.1/48 kHz are recognized properly by all clock slaves, because with ADAT and MADI higher clock rates (as double and quad speed) are reached by multiplexing/"bundling" two/four channels, there it is not possible to distinguish between single/double/quad speed. In such cases you need to readjust at the device. Then it's good if all devices can also be operated remotely depending on where they are located. Premaps most likely close to or in the recording room.

Option 2) Antelope as clock master

If you prefer to use the Antelope as clock master, this is also possible.
Also here WC cabling is not required, UFX+ can act as clock slave, Steadyclock - as mentioned above - will remove any potential clock jitter from MADI, refresh and further distribute the clock to the Clarett.

Depending on the location of the Preamp in your or in another room it could be a big disadvantage to use Antelope as clock master, as it can only be operated through USB which has length restrictions.

A review of the Antelope at Bonedo tells, that they regard it as disadvantage that you need the control software and thus an USB connection between Antelope to the PC to be able to operate the preamp.
At the front of the preamp you only seem to have controls for mic gain but not more.
Not even for the volume of phones output and - if I see it correctly - also not the possibility to change the clock.

This gives away all the possibilities of MADI to place the devices directly in the recording room, because the way to the monitoring room will be much longer than 5m (USB2 max cable length) in many cases.

https://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzelans … est/2.html

Some recommendations / proposals for the future

Allow me a few comments, maybe this is beneficial to you for future planning and as your recording solution is based on the UFX+ with TotalMix FX.

I think it would be more beneficial to use a RME preamp like the 12Mic in combination with a RME recording interface with TotalMix FX because of the unique RME features that you get with such a combination.

Advantages of the 12Mic

- high port density in only 1 RU (rack unit)
- transparent high quality preamps that match the quality of those from UFX+ with +75dB Gain
- high quality FS (femto second) clock / Steadyclock FS
- Autoset (automatic gain reduction preventing overloads caused by too high gain setting)
- fully operational at the display
- easy and intuitive operation at the device using combination of button for port selection and 4 buttons +1 Encoder
- high quality phones output, where the volume can be set at the device
- supports MADI and AVB
- different remote control possibilities
  - Browser based through network
  - by using the new MIDI remote software
  - Auxdevice Support (hopefully soon, promised by RME, delayed by corona/chip crisis)
- Standby by pressing big encoder in the front, full power-off by switch at the back
- integrated PSU and PSU redundancy
- Prices per port: 12Mic: €2449, €208 per port
   // Antelope (price from 08/2015) €2195, €274 per port
- RME: long product lifecycle, long term driver support
  // Antelope: product not being sold after ~5-6y, last control software from 2016
- Antelope: control software needed and thus needs to be supportby the operating software and work with USB

Auxdevice Support

Auxdevice  to intergrate the 12Mic into UFX+ like the Octamic XTC.
This is really a very useful and impressive feature making operation very quick and comfortably.
Allows you to control the 12Mic with TotalMix FX by using RME's "MIDI over MADI" feature.
You can not only remote control the most important Preamp functions, but also save and recall these settings through TotalMix FX snapshots and workspaces.

MIDI remote software

But you can not only control the 12Mic locally through display / knobs or broswer based through network.
RME roffered for the time being MIDI remote software, which is very useful for live installation where you have no LAN/WLAN.
Then you can control the 12Mic e.g. "on stage" remotely using MIDI over MADI through the MADI cable, see here:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 02#p183202

12Mic - flexibility in placement

With one or two 12Mic you can position a preamp for example in any recording room "close to the action", so you would also have shorter cable runs for XLR cables in the rooms, which reduces costs and also keeps the cable clutter in check.

12Mic - final thoughts

By all these features you do not only have a preamp of very high value & quality, but also a lot of options regarding operational comfort which I regard as important as technical quality so that daily work/operation is vey smooth and comfortably.

Furthermore you are future prove as the 12Mic supports besides MADI also AVB. You can use the 12Mic even in AVB networks to integrate "old" MADI components to it, see my review below.

12Mic - Reviewed

If you want some further information, you can read this review:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … XTC-DE-EN/

Direct link to PDF:
EN: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … n-1-0-pdf/
DE: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … e-1-0-pdf/

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub12Pro

Re: MADI connections

Hi Ramses

Many thanks for such a clear and exhaustive response, that’s really helpful and answers the questions that I had.

With regards to the antelope interface and the restrictions that it places upon me in comparison to the flexibility of a 12 Mic, there is one variable that rather shifts the equation at this moment. The 12 mic would cost me over £2000, whereas the antelope cost me £799! I will certainly look to invest in the Rme option in the future but at this time adding eight quality pre-amps for only £799 was too good an offer to miss!

4 (edited by ramses 2022-02-06 14:12:09)

Re: MADI connections

EDITED

mufrgr wrote:

Hi Ramses

Many thanks for such a clear and exhaustive response, that’s really helpful and answers the questions that I had.

With regards to the antelope interface and the restrictions that it places upon me in comparison to the flexibility of a 12 Mic, there is one variable that rather shifts the equation at this moment. The 12 mic would cost me over £2000, whereas the antelope cost me £799! I will certainly look to invest in the Rme option in the future but at this time adding eight quality pre-amps for only £799 was too good an offer to miss!

Sure, only wanted to mention it, because I think some very good RME features are not so evident if you never worked with it. And I really enjoy also operational comfort.

Well, and I wanted to "discreetly" point out where I see the weak point of Antelope.
While I think software that runs on Windows 10 could also run on Windows 11, I don't like such a dependency on a control software as everything but Mic Gain needs to be controlled through this software.
So you do not need only OS support but also the communication through USB needs to work.
Who knows what Microsoft might change there in the future, what would need updates of the control software.
The question is then what Antelope would do seeing:
- short product lifecycle of approx 5-6y
- last update of the control software from 2016
The question is whether Antelope would spend efforts to still support their old products, that are not being manufactured anymore. From what you can read in the net, Antelope suport is frankly said "so so".

Why I personally would have spend more money in favour to be able to operate such a device also standalone and in the future without any hassles, seeing that RME has driver long term support up to 20y for some devices.
Or in other words, am not a friend of "short savings" I prefer sustainability of the investment as you usually save money on long term.

Another thought, £799 would then be completely lost money.
In terms of used gear prices: 799 of 2000 is only 39%.

In contrast to that look at the prices of used RME gear. You  can exect ~70-80% of street price and even firewire interfaces like FF400/800 are still quite popular and you can sell still at a good price compared to their age. And one important thing for this success is not only overall quality but also the design (FPGA based, no 3rd party USB chips, can get firmware updates if needed) and the long term driver support.

EDIT: but don't get me wrong, of course I also know that you can't always afford everything, but if you could, then you would have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages or what you could get as cash back if you would need to sell it.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub12Pro

5 (edited by ramses 2022-02-06 17:52:52)

Re: MADI connections

One more idea. If you want to make your setup more future-proof in terms of features, sustainability after purchase, long term driver support, etc, then I would do it soon for two reasons:

1. possibly you will achieve a better resale price for both preamps because of the chip crisis
2. a 12Mic could also become more expensive in the future, similar to the UFX+.

At the moment the price of the 12Mic is even a little lower compared to ~1+ year ago (€2449 vs €2484).
In contrast to that UFX+ raised from €2198 to €2699 (+23%).

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub12Pro