RME Newsletter January 12, 2001
1. The revolution in mobile hard disk recording:
2. ADI-8 DD: 8-channel 24 bit/96 kHz universal format converter
3. Update: USB kills audio
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1. The revolution in
mobile hard disk recording: Hammerfall DSP (Top)
A real revolution in mobile recording is introduced with
the new Hammerfall DSP series. The system consists of a PCMCIA type II card
as computer interface and various I/O boxes optimized for different applications,
offering several analog, digital and MIDI I/Os.
In order to demonstrate the power of this notebook card, RME has in the first
place realized a highly extended version of the PCI card Project Hammerfall
(DIGI9652.) The I/O box of the Hammerfall DSP system called Multiface has
3 ADAT optical I/Os, ADAT-Sync In, S/PDIF I/O and word clock I/O like its
predecessor. On top, there are 2 MIDI I/Os and a separate analog line out.
All this can be used on usual notebooks with the same 'zero cpu load' and
low latency (down to 1.5 ms with ASIO) as on a desktop PC!
The Hammerfall DSP technology also includes a hardware mixer in TotalMix
technology. Any input can be routed and mixed to any output. On top, every
input and output can also be mixed to the analog output (submix.) TotalMix
not only leads to perfect and complete ASIO direct monitoring, but is also
useful without ASIO. Thanks to a proprietary mixer surface, submix and Zero
Latency Monitoring can be used with all audio applications. An external mixer
thus becomes unnecessary in many cases.
Hammerfall DSP implements RME's DIGICheck in hardware: level metering of
54 channels at the same time with a minimum CPU load, because the data for
display is already calculated in the hardware. The hardware catches both
peak and RMS values.
Hammerfall DSP will be shipped March 2001. Further I/O boxes will follow
during the second quarter: Anaface offers 8 analog inputs and outputs, S/PDIF,
ADAT and MIDI. Proface offers digital I/Os in AES/EBU format. Portaface is
the professional broadcast solution, with 2 microphone inputs, phantom powering,
Limiter, S/PDIF I/O and analog monitor output.
More information can be found on our website.
2. ADI-8 DD: 8-channel 24
bit/96 kHz universal format converter (Top)
The ADI-8 DD is the all-in-one format and sample rate converter
for every application, from 2 to 8 channels. It converts ADAT optical and
TDIF to and from AES/EBU. 4 AES/EBU inputs and outputs each (XLR) and two
ADAT optical and TDIF inputs and outputs each allow for full 8-channel operation
at up to 24 bit/96 kHz. Switchable sample rate converters (SRC) in 24 bit
quality allow for both highest quality sample rate conversion and clock decoupling
of all AES/EBU inputs.
The compact device with 19" width and 1 HU has numerous exceptional
features like Intelligent Clock Control (ICC), SyncCheck, SyncAlign, Bitclock
PLL, digital patchbay functions, active jitter reduction per SD-PLL and 96kHz/24bit
sample rate conversion. 16 LEDs on both input and output display the actual
state of the incoming and outgoing signals and the operations within the
device in a clear way. The rear of the ADI-8 DD is fitted with two ADAT optical
and TDIF I/Os each (for 8 channels @ 96kHz), word clock I/O and 4 AES inputs
and outputs on XLR jacks. Thus the ADI-8 DD also represents an ideal AES/EBU
front end for the Hammerfall series.
Like all other ADI-8 the DD too includes a useful patchbay functionality.
Thanks to the easy to use Copy Mode all attached devices can send signals
to each other without the need to rearrange the cabling between them.
The ADI-8 DD shows an unsurpassed flexibility and compatibility together
with a sensational price point. The ADI-8 DD is the long-awaited link in
the semi-professional and professional area, from project studio to broadcast
More information can be found on our website.
3. Update: USB kills audio (Top)
Shortly after NAMM an updated version of our Tech Info 'USB
kills audio' will be uploaded to the website. Here is the most important
In the last weeks we have done many comparison tests, and were able to track
down the real cause behind the effect of USB-caused distortion at low latency:
it's the well-known Intel BX-chipset!
The contained USB controller 82371AB hogs the PCI bus, in case (as already
described in the Tech Info) the Bulk transfer mode is used. BUT: this is
only true for older BX-based motherboards, like the Asus P2B series, or the
popular P3B-F. To be more precise: it only affects BX-boards that have only
2 USB ports!
On all newer boards having more than two USB ports the hogging no longer
occurs, even when using the BX chipset (for example Asus CU-BX.) It seems
the additional hub de-couples the controller, or changes the way it is used.
This also shows a simple solution for all owners of older boards, how to
solve this problem: simply get yourself a (cheap) USB PCI card, and use its
USB ports instead of those on the board.
According to our tests boards with Intel's i815, VIA's KT133 and 694 also
work problem-free in critical USB usage.
The RME Team
Copyright © Matthias Carstens, 2001.
All entries in this Newsletter have been thoroughly checked, however no guarantee
for correctness can be given. RME cannot be held responsible for any misleading
or incorrect information provided throughout this document. Lending or copying
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