01 March 2008

AtmoSphere Studio Tech (Part 5)

Since I have a lot of digital audio signals I need to be able to creatively patch and merge signals. Again I made a stripped version of the studio schematic in the picture on the left. Here you see two boxes called 'DMX12' and 'DMX32'. These are Friend-Chip digital patch bays / audio routers. The DMX32 is another very important piece in my studio. It is able to convert SPDIF to ADAT and back. It can also patch an input signal to multiple outputs. And doing all this it can also convert the sample rate at the same time. As I said before my whole studio runs on 48 Khz. I try to put the output sample rate of my digital synthesizers on that sample rate where possible , but some synthesizers are only able to send out 44,1 Khz. The DMX32 is able to set this all straight. That sounds easier than it actually is. I'm sure Friend-Chip has to do a lot of magic for that.

On the right you see the DMX12 and DMX32 from the front and the back. These pictures are not mine, but come from the Friend-Chip website. The DMX12 is a standard product so it looks exactly the same as mine. It has 3 coax inputs and outputs and the rest is Toslink. It is able to patch SPDIF coax to Toslink, but it can only patch ADAT from Toslink to Toslink. No samplerate conversion on this box. So basically the DMX12 is just a automated patch bay and that is exactly what I use it for. It has a midi input and output as well so that you can configure it remotely and select presets.

The DMX32 as is much smarter. It is chassis based and you can add configure it like you want with modules. I inserted just one SPDIF coax board with 4 inputs and outputs and the rest Toslink. There are also 2 MAQ interfaces in it. These ones are able to fold 4 SPDIF signales (4 x 2 channels) into 1 ADAT channel (1 x 8 channels) and also the other way around. With this module I can patch a digital synthesizer with SPDIF out directly into an ADAT channel on the MADI interface. I also have digital effect equipment attached to it so I can easily route signals from my audio PC through it or put a synthesizer through an effect unit before it goes into the ADAT channel. That makes my setup extremely flexible. Friend-Chip offers a nice Java based program that looks like a matrix. You can make patches just by the click of the mouse and save complex setups as presets and recall them later. Like the DMX12 this is controlled by Midi. I really love these boxes. You can find more information on the Friend-Chip website: http://www.friend-chip.de/

1 comment:

Z1 said...

A really interesting article on a solution for getting multiple digital inputs together. I have a few synths with digital ins and outs and they never play nice. Lately been using 2 Lucid 9624s for format conversion and sample rate matching.
In the US, Z-Systems sells modules that convert and distribute different formats but they are very expensive; around $2500 US and up for 8 channels of conversion/distribution.
Friend-Chip is relatively unknown in the US and this is the first time I have read about an artist using Friend-chip.