Topic: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Hi, I use Fireface UFX+, and have it connected to my PC through USB. I recently came across a bargain deal of ADA-8XR, and bought it for mixing & mastering. It was such a good deal that I could not resist. I have been very happy with AD/DA conversions of UFX+, but given this opportunity to buy ADA-8XR at the rock bottom price, I wanted to explore what can be done with ADA-8XR.

ADA-8XR came with 1 module of Audio Interface with 8-channel A/D, 1 module of 8-channel D/A, 1 module of 8 channel AES3 I/O module (it comes with a “squid” cables), and 8C-PTHDX PRO TOOLS HDX I/O module for ADA-8XR inferface.

FIY, I am running Cubase on my PC, and I don’t have Pro Tools HD, and I do not have anything installed on my PC’s PCM Slots either.

What would be the best way to connect my PC (Cubase) and ADA-8XR? Currently, my PC is connected to Fireface UFX+ through a USB cable. There is limited information listed on the manual of ADA-8XR but here are what I think as the potential cases/scenarios for connecting ADA-8XR:

Case 1: Buy Pro Tools HD/HDX, and connect ADA-8XR to PC (and Pro Tools).

Case 2: Connect ADA-8XR to UFX+

Case 3: Connect ADA-8XR directly to PC, using AES3.

For Case 2, is it possible to connect them? Do I use AES digital cables? How do I set it up?

Is Case 3 possible at all? If so, do I need to buy a PCI card? (please specify the models that may work). If I need to spend money on PCI cards under Case 3, I am willing to do so. Please let me know the product names and how it could possibly connect with AES’s squid cables.

Any inputs would be appreciated smile

Thank you!

2 (edited by ramses 2022-04-02 14:53:42)

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Hi fireball23,
from what I can see in terms of available modules for the device I see no possibility to connect through either MADI or ADAT.

It would have been easier and more straight forward to get an AD/DA converter supporting MADI.
Also if I compare the specs of the ADA-8XR with e.g.
- RME M32 Pro A/D or D/A or
- RME M1610 Pro
then I see no advantage of the ADA-8XR, the technical specs of the above mentioned RME converter seem to be better and would fit much better into your current UFX+ based setup.

The only way to connect the Preamp digitally to your UFX+ is by using AES.
But for that you would need 4 AES ports (stereo) to support the 8 analog channels IN and OUT.
The UFX+ has only one AES port (2ch IN and OUT) this is not sufficient.

So you need one more device offering 4x AES through either ADAT or better through MADI to keep the ADAT ports free for other purposes.

From RME product line this could be:
- a format converter / preamp like the Octamic XTC which offers the required x AES I/O (IN and OUT)
- or something dedicated to AES with 4 or even 16x AES ports like
At the moment it might be difficult to get one new, maybe from used marked.

IMHO .. if you see the add-on cost it would have been better to choose one of the RME converter with MADI support which have excellent value and technical specs and would fit perfectly into your UFX+ based environment.

Where you mentioned Protools HD .. a move to Protools HD does not bring you any further.
You use Cubase and have an excellent (the best) recording interface that you can get on the market, the UFX+.
DAW hopping and getting rid of this excellent interface because of this HW purchase makes absolutely no sense to me.
A switch to Protools HD makes no sense, those devices are very expensive and then you are stuck to Protools.

My recommendation to you for a very good UFX+ based setup:

  +-----MADI------------------RME M-1610 Pro 16/8 analog I/O
      [ optional ]
  +----USB--------------------ARC USB
      [ and at a later point perhaps even with ]
  +-----AES/ADAT-------------RME ADI-2 Pro FS R BE (monitoring: active monitors / phones) (*)

(*) Further information about ADI-2 Pro and integration into your setup, see my blog: … our-Setup/ … ses-EN-DE/

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Hi ramses,

Thank you so much for your thorough and greatest advice, and many apologies for a late reply. I took some time to read up on the matters mentioned by you.

About the 3 “Cases” that I’ve mentioned in my last post, you are absolutely right about all 3 cases. The Case 1, where I purchase Pro Tools HD/HDX, is out of question. Like you correctly pointed out, it is a waste of money, and I’ll be “locked in” with Pro Tools for many decades. On top of that, as Pro Tools related hardware depreciate at the speed of bullet, it makes not sense to incorporate Pro Tools into my system at this stage.  The Case 3, where I connect ADA-8XR directly to PC is ambiguous, as there is no specific and apparent solution in place. The Case 2, where I connect ADA-8XR to UFX+, undoubtedly, is the best way forward.

Your recommendation to use MADI/AES converter is fantastic. You have kindly recommended two RME converters (RME ADI-642 and RME ADI-6432),and I believe these two are the best MADI/AES converters for my set up.

Given your great advise, I proceeded to search for used piece of ADI-642 and ADI-6432, and I found a few of them. I then made a a purchase of  ADI-6432 R BNC (not ADI-6432), which was my mistake. Yes, it is almost like a joke.

Being a beginner, I did not know the differences between AES (110-Ohm, XLR or D-Sub cables are used) and AES-3id (75-Ohm, BNC connection). To quote some of the descriptions on AES and BNC:

“AES3 (hereby referred to as AES for simplicity) specifies balanced 110-ohm interconnects; however, AES-3id calls for unbalanced 75-ohm connections, which make its hardware requirements the same as S/PDIF connections, though usually AES3id is implemented with BNC connections instead of RCA-type connections. While the two formats (AES & AES3id) have different hardware transmission methods, the data contained within the transmission is identical.”

At the back panel of ADA-8XR , there is a D-Sub (25 pin) I/O connection points. This is to be connected to a squid cable (provided by Prism Sound, XLR cables with 110 Ohm). On the back panel of ADI-6432 R BNC, there are unbalanced 75ohm I/O connection points.  So in connecting ADA-8XR and ADI-6432 R BNC, some new question arise:

Q1) Would it be possible to connect the ADA-8XR and ADI-6432 R BNC,  through the squid cable (XLR, 110-Ohm) attached to ADA-8XR, with BNC I/O (75-Ohm) connection points of ADI-6432 R BNC?

I presume the answer is “Yes”, if there is a good digital audio impedance transformer (which is also known as Balun) for interfacing the XLR cable (110-Ohm) and BNC connection points (75-Ohm) of ADI-6432 R BNC. For example:

XLR(Male) - BNC (Female) … 3EQAvD_BwE

XLR(Female) - BNC(Female)

Q2) Say, the issue under Q1 is fine & sorted. Then the next question is how to ensure these impedance transformer (Balun) can efficiently transfer signals without any losses, noises, etc? And any band width issues to deal wtih? Some impedance transformers like that one below is able to accommodate up to 6M Hz, it states.  Would that be sufficient for my set up? I have no idea on the sufficiency & benchmark here.

Q3) Would it be easier and convenient if I sell off ADI-6432 R BNC and get ADI-6432? In this way, I do not have to deal with impedance transformer (“Balan”)?

I found some information on the RME forum about the compatibility of BNC and below. Although the case mentioned in the form below is different from my situation, there are some information that are useful. … ences.html

Some issues of conversion are mentioned on the write-up below: … aes-inputs

And here is the question that I need to answer for my ongoing action. Should I proceed to sell off this ADI-6432 R BNC and buy ADI-6432? As I purchased ADI-6432 R BNC at a good price, I don’t think I’ll loose any money if I sell this off. I would appreciate if you could point out the right direction for my next move!

On a separate topic, for the last few days, I forwarded my enquiry to Prism Sound about how to incorporate ADA-8XR into my system. In short, they were quick in getting back to me (3 days) but I was mildly disappointed with their very general answer that does allow me to take any actions. sad Well, no manufacturers offer the same level of support as RME, I guess. Here is the answer I’ve got from Prism Sound.

Your ADA-8XR has AES and Pro Tools HD connectivity. So it can probably connect to your computer via the AES i/o on your UFX+. So this is case 2 but it only gives you two channels.

Case 1 works but is expensive and locks you into Pro Tools software I believe.

Case 3 maybe your best option and would involve buying an AES sound card for your PC such as one made by RME perhaps.

Also for case 3, you could buy a firewire card for the ADA-8XR and a PCIe firewire card for your PC assuming that it doesn't already have firewire. However firewire support is becoming increasingly difficult so I don't really recommend this 100%.

On a separate topic,I’ve read your write-up on ADI-2 Pro. You really know your stuff, and you really write so well! Very logical and thorough, as always. And I am now very keen on tyring out M-1610 and ADI-2 Pro! But first thing first, I need to sort out this issue on ADI-6432 R BNC for UFX+ and ADA-8XR!

Thank you for reading my leanthy post ramses. Your valuable input on my next potential actions would be much appreciated!! smile

4 (edited by ramses 2022-04-05 08:59:06)

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Sorry, I have currently not so much time, as if I could dive more and more into this setup which seems to need more and more add-on components (transformer, etc).

Regarding MADI BNC. My personal preference in terms of MADI setups is fiber based because I like the idea of having galvanic isolation between components.

I think still that the best idea is to create a simple and straightforward MADI setup out of two components: UFX+ and M-1610 Pro even if it hurts a little from cost perspective at the beginning. But then you do not have to take care about so many things additionally and do not pile up so many add-on equipment only for the sake to get AES running to support the ADA-8XR. Mentioning AES was simply to show you what efforts it would need to get it running.

The M-1610 Pro is not so expensive compared to two M-32 Pro. If you compare technical data you will see, that the M-1610 Pro is an excellent device as well, simply with a different port layout.

Option: at any point you can (no must for it), as many of us do, add the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE to your UFX+ (through either ADAT or AES) to get very nice features for your monitoring section additionally.

With the UFX+ and M-1610 everything would even fit nicely into a small passive cooled 3 RU rack with 23cm depth.
1 RU to be able to keep a little more distance between the two devices for a better airflow.

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Thank you for your fast reply. No apologies required, as I am in owe with all your full-hearted advice. I really appreciate it. You went miles, out of your way, with the previous post.  If you ever need to know any product/services/auction prices of Japanese hardboard equipment, I am right here!

As for the ideal system, I am moving forward with an idea of getting ADI-6432. Per your suggestion, I will search for a used M-1610 and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE and in due course. I'll sort out my ADI-6432 issues first!

Thank you again, ttfn, and stay safe! smile

6 (edited by ramses 2022-04-05 11:23:25)

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Thanks, same to you :-)

> getting ADI-6432

But also here think twice, then all connected equipment needs to have AES inputs/outputs which might be rare.
Far more flexibility and less efforts you will have by making a serial chain of MADI based equipment, there are many interesting devices there and there are even hw mixer with MADI I/O available.

Also from cabling perspective .. a small optical cable which can be up to 2km between each of the (usually up to 8) madi devices in a serial chain. See also the old RME MADI page.

With the M-1610 you have also the option to jump on the AVB bandwagon, once this should give you real advantages (maybe to use structured ethernet cabling in an office building or if you have a house).

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Yes, I'm thinking again ramses! haha, this is funny, being swayed to the left & right but clearly taking the steps forward in deriving solutions! And I'm learning & I don't lose money on 6432 R BNC! smile You have been fantastic ramses, in giving me various info & options! I'll do more research & most importantly, work out how many digital devises, with AES, XLR connection, I would need in due course. If I foresee myself to have more & more AES/EBU/XLR driving digital devices (for example, old digital reverb, old AD/DA converters etc), then it makes sense to get one ADI-6432. As for M-1610, I've read on RME's Forum that ADA-8XR and M-1610 come very close in many aspects, with M-1610 providing more smoothness, and ADA-8XR providing clear & good low end. Well, I'll do my research & we'll see how things unfold in the next few weeks! smile Cheers! smile

8 (edited by ramses 2022-04-06 14:00:31)

Re: Best ways to connect ADA-8XR? (potentially with UFX+)

Less expensive might be to get an Octamic XTC, then you have a preamp, where the Mic inputs can also be used as line inputs. It has 4x AES, together with the UFX+ you have then 4+1 = 5 AES ports (all stereo).
If you need more analog I/O get the M-1610 Pro.
Not sure whether you really need so many AES ports..

One reads again and again that converters with today's quality no longer have such large audible differences. The pleasant thing about RME devices is that the conversion is done with the goal of high quality / transparency. In this respect, I don't know what mojo you still expect from other devices. I would put the Prio in any case, that the converters leave the sound as it is and the whole preferably nothing added, what is not there. The best thing would be an A/B comparison, but logistically you will hardly be able to get all the devices at once and compare them in blind tests.
And on any full-bodied statements on the Internet I would not listen so much, because everyone has not only a different taste but also a different room and a different hearing.
I would put the priority on the fact that the Enviroment is easy to operate and involves as few follow-up costs as possible.

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13