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Author Topic: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?  (Read 10455 times)

Haolemon

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How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« on: October 31, 2006, 12:58:48 pm »

I'm planning to connect a certain blue-faced AD/DA unit to a DAW interface with an ADAT connection.  The converter unit has AES XLR I/O, so I was considering using the Alesis to interface the converter with the DAW.

My question is-does the AI-4 operate as a single purpose computer, such that it does this conversion more or less perfectly, or will it somehow degrade the signal?

Also, are there units which do a better job of this?

Thanks
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PookyNMR

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2006, 01:25:44 pm »

My understanding of the unit and of transferring digital signals from one format to another (AES <--> ADAT <-->SPDIF) is that once the signal is digital that no harm is done to it by such transfers provided that the proper connections with the appropriate cabling are made.

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Nathan Rousu

danickstr

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2006, 01:38:11 pm »

something just sounds wrong to me about running a lavry into an Alesis. Sad
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Nick Dellos - MCPE  

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Tomas Danko

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2006, 10:17:15 am »

danickstr wrote on Sun, 05 November 2006 18:38

something just sounds wrong to me about running a lavry into an Alesis. Sad



Why, if it's digital and transparent should it matter? Other than having to stare at a "lesser logo". Very Happy
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danickstr

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2006, 06:46:56 pm »

Thomas I would honestly like to think it makes no difference but it seems that every time I assume something is transparent (like a cable) it turns out it is not.  I would not use a Hosa cable out of a 1073 into the board because I know it is not going to perform well.  How does this apply to digital?  I ahve yet to see a librarian that did not put something in the wrong place every now and then, and in this case I mean bits.  Theory = no problem.  Reality = some kind of problem in execution.  

Should a hard drive write data perfectly? Yes, but it does not always do it.  The throughput device has to move a lot of data quickly through its multiple ports and I guess my first question would be how well regulated is its power supply.  

Well these are just a few thoughts about the jitters of digital data crunching.  Could be I am completely wrong.  Dan would know better than I how much these factors are able to affect the sound.

I do hope Dan chimes in here since I think this is a valid issue - converting the AES digital from a box into lightpipe for a board.
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Nick Dellos - MCPE  

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Tomas Danko

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2006, 08:06:39 pm »

There's someone around these webforum premises having a signature stating that there are no homeopathic properties in ones and zeroes.

If a harddrive wouldn't be able to read and write correctly you wouldn't even be able to boot your OS. This is not the same issue as a CD audio player. Checksum to the rescue.

If the unit can input and output the correct bit depth and sample rate, and it's not broken, it should be able to perform a bit transparent throughput.

ADC and DAC's aside, digital audio information already captured is not going to alter merely because of some S/P DIF or TOSlink connections. Assuming the hardware is not broken, of course.

1073 -> Hosa -> console is not even remotely close to the same scenario. But I know you're aware of that already.
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danickstr

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2006, 08:39:22 pm »

the cable thing is a bad example, I agree.  Zeroes and ones seem unlikely candidates for getting messed up, and that was why they were invented in the first place.  I wonder if the Alesis takes the AES and drops it to SPDIF levels and then spits it out an led, sinc e there is always the possiblity of a 20 bit cutoff in that case.
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Nick Dellos - MCPE  

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Jon Hodgson

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2006, 05:14:30 am »

danickstr wrote on Sat, 11 November 2006 01:39

the cable thing is a bad example, I agree.  Zeroes and ones seem unlikely candidates for getting messed up, and that was why they were invented in the first place.  I wonder if the Alesis takes the AES and drops it to SPDIF levels and then spits it out an led, sinc e there is always the possiblity of a 20 bit cutoff in that case.


The ADAT Lightpipe is a 24 bit connection.
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danickstr

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2006, 11:52:56 am »

Like I said, the cable analogy was not necessarily appropriate.  But let's look at this thing from a different perspective.  Dan has chosen not to put toslink connectors on his higher end units.  Is this because he cannot afford to charge his customers an extra 10 bucks for a toslink circuit?  Or is there another reason.  I admit that toslink or a toslink converter is all but necessary in this digital world, for the sake of convenience.  It just seems odd to me that the only solution at this stage for translation is to make one yourself or use a 400 dollar box from a company with a reputation for making low-cost basic gear as a gap-filling measure.
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mdemeyer

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2006, 01:19:45 am »

If you are using the unit for format conversion in a data transfer, then the only question is whether it transfers the data unchanged.  

If you are using it to feed a DAC for playback, then the box could introduce audible effects even if the data transfer is accurate since (I believe) the ADAT data stream contains an embedded clock, and your DAC might be of less than perfect design/performance and could be influenced by timing variations (commonly called jitter) on the clock embedded in the data stream.

Which way are you using it - data transfer or playback?

Michael
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danickstr

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Re: How Well Does the Alesis AI-4 Work?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 06:12:13 pm »

Dan I researched this topic as saw that you had done some math on this topic in March, and I was wondering if this is something that would make a worthwhile project box for those people that want to take a few parts (toshiba toslink, toriodal tranformer, IC and a box of wires to make a worthwhile converter.  It seems like it is mainly a voltage change and the whole thing could be done with the right parts and some soldering in a matter of an hour or less.

Spec'ing the right parts is where it gets tricky.  I guess I could ask in the tech section, but thought you my have an idea.
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Nick Dellos - MCPE  

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