Question on ADAT and Optical Connections From a Newb

Good Afternoon, I have a question that I am hoping some of you can help with. I have been looking at proper (although cheap) interfaces for a while now and am debating on which route to take. I was mainly considering all the larger Behringer interfaces and a few Tascams since they are in my small budget. Now I am looking at the ADA8000 and ADA8200. So is 8 channels of ADAT supported by anything that has toslink/fiber optic connection? If my integrated computer sound card (HP Beats Audio) has a toslink/fiber optic/light pipe input can it support 8 channels coming from the ADA8000? Or would I need to get a new proper interface that is designed to handle 8 channels of ADAT?

Thank you.

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It depends on the sound card. Some sound cards use toslink for stereo/spdif connections as well. My saffire40 allows you to choose either, so you can hook it up digitally to a stereo receiver or something.

If its an 8channel device, it should simply work, unless you want to get into the slippery slope of wordclock and bnc connectors and jitter and external sync boxes.

Thanks for reply. It’s a “fancy” HD 7.1 surround sound card. That’s really all I know. So basically a cheap soundcard with Beats Audio added to the name so you think it’s awesome when you buy your computer. Ive been using my Behringer mixer interface as a interim solution since my external soundblaster card started acting up. Hmmm that has a toslink input as well…maybe I should buy the ADA8000 and just see what happens.

I do not think this will work, if it is ADAT it will be clearly stated so…

Information is hard to come by but I think you are right. Seems to be SPDIF and not ADAT so it supports fewer channels.

ADAT requires very strict clock and jitter management, using a very good PLL. Any Toslink that’s good enough for ADAT will be marked as such. Wavefront semi makes specialized ADAT receiver and transmitter ICs.

However, lots of Toslink ports can carry Dolby AC3 or DTS compressed multi-channel audio in addition to stereo PCM. Less- or uncompressed surround formats such as Dolby Digital Plus or evolved DTS such as DTS HD-MA requires tons of bandwidth and are usually sent through HDMI ports as Toslink or SPDIF doesn’t quite cut it.

Yeah, if the interface supports ADAT/‘Lightpipe’ Optical input and output, it will be advertised as such. My feeling is that your interface probably supports TOSLink connections, but not 8-channel ADAT-interface devices, so though the ADA8xxxx could physically be connected, it won’t work.

I have a MOTU 828 Mk.3 with dual ADAT Optical I/O ports which also operate as (stereo, I presume) TOSLink connectors, and I have a Behringer ADA8000 connected to it. Works fine!

I’ve also connected the Word Clock output of the 828 to the clock input on the ADA via a short BNC cable and the two seems to stay synched nicely.

The only thing I’m not happy with is the mechanical fragility of the ADAT ports on the 828. Considering it’s meant to be a ‘professional’ interface format, the optical sockets are ridiculously fragile. The tiny sprung plastic covers on the 828 Optical sockets snapped off almost as soon as I tried to use them, and the optical leads aren’t really held in at all without them. When they fall out (as the often do), you get a deafening blast of digital noise…


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To be said in fairness, there is no option to an ADA 8000/8200 when it comes to bang for the buck.
They clearly work and nodody should expect more. These are capable as line extenders, but shurely are not usable as preamps or for tight and snappy drum recording. For this you’ll have to spend (a lot) more money.

I use these to move 8 Channels of Audio from a to b - but I’m old, hence analog…

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@fcd72 ADAT Optical has been around for quite a while, too…

I’m happy with my ADA8000. It’s just always worked.

Having said that, there is one small clue to its cheapness, in that the gain pots of the 8 channels aren’t calibrated properly. To get the same volume on the left/right channels of a stereo pair, the gain pots on consecutive channels have to get set to significantly different values. Plus, the pots have quite course clicks, so it’s not always possible to exactly balance pairs of channels. It’s very easy to correct with a tiny bit of panning in the DAW, but it’s not ideal.

Can’t complain about anything else, though, particularly as the unit was less than £100 from Thomann…


Thanks everyone. I learned a lot today. I will probably go with something like that newly announced Behringer Uphoria interface when it’s released. The FCA1616 looks nice, but I’m still not sure about that one. I can always add an ADA8000 to that if needed.

also you might consider just getting a 8 channel soundcard, as the beats by dre card is probably not exactly pro.

I don’t even use the Beats. I upgraded to a Creative X-fi HD USB sound card a while ago, but that started acting up when my SSD hard drive died…although it could be another issue.

I have had a MOTU Ultralite (original, not Mk3) for years and have been totally happy with it. Lots of analog line I/O for its size, perfectly fine preamps when I need them, and you can get them used for pretty cheap. No ADAT but does have stereo SPDIF on coax jacks.

With just that box I have my synths, drum machine, and effects always hooked up and I can route things however I want in the DAW (or with the CueMix routing software or front panel). I am out of inputs so I recently got a small 4ch line mixer to use for less frequent devices. You can also use most MOTU devices with Silent Way or other CV software, though I haven’t yet.

Only hangup is that you have to have FireWire for the original one, only the Mk3 Hybrid has USB.

Alternatively if you have FireWire you could get a MOTU 828mk2 for about the same price and have even more I/O and ADAT if you need to expand later.

Those certainly look nice, but I don’t have firewire and the new ones are expensive, not that they aren’t worth it, but I don’t really need something that nice. The 8pre looks great.

If you don’t meed mic preamps, maybe the Cymatic Audio Live Recorder LR-16 might be an option? You get 16 tracks of recording, either to USB media or directly onto your computer as an USB 2.0 interface. You should be able to get one new for slightly under €300.

That looks nice, but still a bit pricey. I’ll probably start saving though and just record stereo for now.

I was under the impression that the Behringer ultragain pro-8 converter could be used as an interface. I have a small Behringer MA400 mixer. I plan to run both to my laptop and record music from my Yamaha Keyboard and microphone.

Can I use the Behringer ultragain pro-8 converter as an interface to run to my Yamaha piano keyboard and microphone to ny laptop to record.

If you mean the ADA8000 or ADA8200, then no. They are expanding your existing interface with an ADAT connection. What you want is an audio interface with USB (or thunderbolt) to connect to your laptop.