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Thread: Apollo - Optical from MacBook into ADAT

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    Apollo - Optical from MacBook into ADAT

    Hey guys!

    First post here. Been a very informative place to get info from since getting my Apollo a few years back

    My current setup is a silver Apollo firewire connected to a new trash can MacPro desktop. I'm now trying to incorporate my Macbook into this setup. I've bought an optical cable and am running light pipe out of my macbook's headphone out jack into the ADAT input of the Apollo. I'm getting no sound what so ever :/ The Macbook it seems has switched over to Digital Out (as evident in Audio/Midi Setup), but I've tried playing audio through iTunes and VLC and nothing is coming through into the console app on the Mac Pro desktop.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Stephen

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    Moderator Don Schenk's Avatar
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    Hi stephen, Welcome. Glad you finally made it here.

    I believe my MBP only only sends optical S/PDIF through the headphone jack. Is your Apollo a Twin or a rack-mount?

    I have the SF Apollo Quad rack-mount, and its ADAT is optical of course, but the only S/PDIF I/O it can accept is coaxial. On the other hand, the Twin's ADAT is optical, and can accept an optical S/PDIF instead of the ADAT.

    If your Apollo is a Twin, it should work. If your Apollo is a rack-mount, then you probably need an optical-to-coaxial S/PDIF adapter, unless there is a way to makd the MBP output an ADAT signal.

    Let's see in anyone can back me up on this.

    :- Don

    EDIT: I just looked at a photo of the back of an Apollo 8 and and Apollo 8p. The 8 has coaxial S/PDIF connectors, but there are not any S/PFIF connectors on the 8p. I wonder if an 8p can accept an optical S/PDIF through one of its ADAT ports?

    Then to the manuals...

    In the Apollo 8p manual: "Lightpipe I/O can be switched to S/PDIF optical with sample rate conversion"

    In the Apollo 8 manual is this: "Two channels coaxial S/PDIF I/O with sample rate conversion"

    In the Apollo SF is this: "The S/PDIF ports provide two channels of digital I/O with resolutions up to 24-bit at 192 kHz via female phono (RCA) connectors. For optimum results, use only high-quality 75-ohm cables specifically designed for S/PDIF digital audio."

    In the Twin manual is this: "Two channels S/PDIF optical with sample rate conversion"
    Last edited by Don Schenk; 10th January 2017 at 08:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post
    Hi stephen, Welcome. Glad you finally made it here.

    I believe my MBP only only sends optical S/PDIF through the headphone jack. Is your Apollo a Twin or a rack-mount?

    I have the SF Apollo Quad rack-mount, and its ADAT is optical of course, but the only S/PDIF I/O it can accept is coaxial. On the other hand, the Twin's ADAT is optical, and can accept an optical S/PDIF instead of the ADAT.

    If your Apollo is a Twin, it should work. If your Apollo is a rack-mount, then you probably need an optical-to-coaxial S/PDIF adapter, unless there is a way to makd the MBP output an ADAT signal.

    Let's see in anyone can back me up on this.

    :- Don

    EDIT: I just looked at a photo of the back of an Apollo 8 and and Apollo 8p. The 8 has coaxial S/PDIF connectors, but there are not any S/PFIF connectors on the 8p. I wonder if an 8p can accept an optical S/PDIF through one of its ADAT ports?

    Then to the manuals...

    In the Apollo 8p manual: "Lightpipe I/O can be switched to S/PDIF optical with sample rate conversion"

    In the Apollo 8 manual is this: "Two channels coaxial S/PDIF I/O with sample rate conversion"

    In the Apollo SF is this: "The S/PDIF ports provide two channels of digital I/O with resolutions up to 24-bit at 192 kHz via female phono (RCA) connectors. For optimum results, use only high-quality 75-ohm cables specifically designed for S/PDIF digital audio."

    In the Twin manual is this: "Two channels S/PDIF optical with sample rate conversion"
    Hi Don!

    Thanks so much for the reply and the welcome - It's great to be here!

    My Apollo is the silver face rack mount. It has both ADAT and SPDIF on the back.

    So I'll need an adaptor? There's no way to switch it over? I don't think its possible for the MacBook to output a different digital signal, as far as I know anyway.. There is a red light coming through on the other end of the cable once its plugged into the Macbook, so its doing something.

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    Moderator Don Schenk's Avatar
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    Yes. I'm using the SF and an MBP. The only S/PDIF with the SF is coaxial. I do input an S/PDIF signal in Console, but it is from a pair of outboard channel strips (ISA-430) that have a coaxial digital output. I send that into the SF Apollo's coaxial S/PDIF inputs.

    It would be this kind of device:

    From Amazon - Converter

    From B&H - Converter

    I don't know anything about the quality of these devices. You can also probably find one at your local computer store. If you are in the United States, I suspect Best Buy and/or Microcenter might have them.

    :- Don

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    Note that S/pdif is 2 channels only, not 8 like ADAT.

    Hope that is all you need for whatever your plans are with the MBP.
    Don Schenk likes this.
    Justin Newton
    Audio Engineer
    www.jntracks.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post
    Yes. I'm using the SF and an MBP. The only S/PDIF with the SF is coaxial. I do input an S/PDIF signal in Console, but it is from a pair of outboard channel strips (ISA-430) that have a coaxial digital output. I send that into the SF Apollo's coaxial S/PDIF inputs.

    It would be this kind of device:

    From Amazon - Converter

    From B&H - Converter

    I don't know anything about the quality of these devices. You can also probably find one at your local computer store. If you are in the United States, I suspect Best Buy and/or Microcenter might have them.

    :- Don

    Quote Originally Posted by jnTracks View Post
    Note that S/pdif is 2 channels only, not 8 like ADAT.

    Hope that is all you need for whatever your plans are with the MBP.
    Yes, I only need two channels. I just want to use my Macbook to play back audio and video through the Apollo's inputs. My analog inputs on the Apollo are all taken up and I'm not using the ADAT, so I figured it would just use the first two channels of that if I connected it to the Macbook.

    So what you guys are saying is, the Macbook does indeed output optical audio / light pipe, but encoded only as spdif? And the Apollo can only accept that signal in its spdif input and not the ADAT input?

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    Yes to the first one.

    My Apollo is a BF unit and I believe it's switchable... You should consult your manual with regards to the optical connection.
    Justin Newton
    Audio Engineer
    www.jntracks.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnTracks View Post
    Yes to the first one.
    Ah.. Thats really annoying

    So really the only solution here is to get a mini toslink - toslink cable (which is what I have) and an adaptor for the one end to spdif/rca? There's no single cable that can do the trick?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnTracks View Post
    My Apollo is a BF unit and I believe it's switchable... You should consult your manual with regards to the optical connection.
    Checked the manual but no info on switching.

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    Moderator Don Schenk's Avatar
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    Yes, the adapter takes the optical S/PDIF from the MBP headphone jack and converts it to a electrical digital signal for coaxial S/PDIF.

    But I don't know whether it is 2-way (from and to MBP). I've never used that. That may depend on the type/brad/model of adapter. Maybe Justin knows...

    :- Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post
    Yes, the adapter takes the optical S/PDIF from the MBP headphone jack and converts it to a electrical digital signal for coaxial S/PDIF.

    But I don't know whether it is 2-way (from and to MBP). I've never used that. That may depend on the type/brad/model of adapter. Maybe Justin knows...

    :- Don
    Both of the links are for uni-directional conversion, so will work for getting digital signal out of the macbook to apollo, but unable to return audio from your system back to the macbook.
    Don Schenk likes this.
    Turn the knobs 'til it moves ya...

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