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Thread: ADAT Lightpipe vs. TDIF

  1. #1
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    ADAT Lightpipe vs. TDIF

    If I have a choice between ADAT lightpipe or TDIF, does one offer any sonic advantage over the other? (All devices are clocked with Mytek work clock) Are there any inherent drawbacks that make you steer away from one in favor of the other? I searched around on this and a couple other forums and have not hit upon the answer just yet.

  2. #2
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    I'm pretty sure that adat is always limited to 48Khz.

  3. #3
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    No direct sonic advantage, though you might be able to make a point for the problems involved in poor implimentation of optical, or poor optical cables, both of which would be valid concerns.

    However, the ADAT/Lightpipe format is rather pervasive, and the TDIF format much less so. For Tascam and Aardvark it may be their primary I/O choice, but most of the rest of the world uses Lightpipe, and if they include TDIF, it is mostly as an added 'feature'.

    So, if you are interfacing with DA-88s or a bunch of other Tascam gear, you probably want to go with TDIF. If you are interfacing with most everyone else, you want Lightpipe.

    Your choices are wider with Lightpipe, too.

    Once I had TDIF and Lightpipe, and format converters and I thought that I needed to be compatable with the world. These days I find that my RME/Mytek Lightpipe rig does the job, and if I need something else, I'll rent it when the need arises, and back-charge the client.

    Bill

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by TomM:
    <STRONG>I'm pretty sure that adat is always limited to 48Khz.</STRONG>

    I haven't looked up the spec in a while, but just looking at available products, TIFF appears to have the same limitation. Light Lightpipe, the units that offer 24/96 usually halve the number of available channels or add a second connector and require twice as many channels on the send or recieve device.

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Very helpful guys. Thanks! I was also able to learn that if a lightpipe device is "S/MUX" capable, it can do 88.2 and 96K but only with the halving of the number of inputs that you pointed out. The last update for the TASCAM DM-24 noted the addition of S/MUX capability (version 2.10 of the software). I Googled "S/MUX" and found out what it meant.

    Do you have a particular brand of cable you recommend and is the length critical? Seems like Lightpipe allows at least 5 meters. I've been a TDIF man for years and am now taking the Lightpipe plunge.

    Note to Lynn - Wow I sure appreciate this forum and the quality folks it attracts! Thank you! I have been a faithful student of your musings and advice for over a year now.

    [ April 24, 2004: Message edited by: Robbyns_Studio ]

  6. #6
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    I'm running 10 meter light pipe cables to samplers in a machine room, and things seem to be working fine. You need to make sure your bends are gradual, and certainly eliminate any kinks.

    One thing I really like about light pipe is that there's never any possibility of a ground loop.

    BTW, if you need longer light pipe runs, there are companies that make glass cable converters. They're pretty expensive, though.

    Lee Blaske
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

  7. #7
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    Jeff,

    Yeah, I was a TDIF guy, too. I was early into DA-88s, and had a rack of them.

    These days I have a few Mytek converters feeding RME I/O. The typical length in my racks is a foot, though I think that I have a couple of 1 meter cables here, too. They have all been supplied by the manufacturers of the gear, so I don't have any suppliers to recommend.

    As was mentioned, you can buy expensive glass fibre cables. I didn't. I made my Lightpipe connections last, so everything else in the racks were already wired... that way there is no cable laying on the Lightpipe, or pushing it into any sharp bends. I also chose to use those short Lightpipes to avoid having a bunch of length snaking around the racks to get caught or smashed. It's really pretty robust, but there is no reason not to take a little extra care.


    Bill

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