Pro Tools Tip Of The Day: Make Your 002/003 An 8 Channel AD/DA Convertor

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Have you ever needed 8 more Inputs or Outputs? Perhaps you have an Output Expansion Card in your 192 and would like another 8 Inputs? Simply grab another Digi 002 /003 (Rack or Control Surface), a Opitcal Cable, follow a few tweaks and you are ready to go. Seeing as 002 Racks now go for less than $500 on eBay, this is a great cheap way to get yourself 8 More Ins/Outs with some added features. Follow me to the jump and I will show you how!


Preface
The first thing I will say about this method is, it is not going to be “Technically” correct. This is not for people who are going to freak out about “jitter”, “clocking issues”, and “phase coherency”. This is for people who need to get some more inputs and work with what they have on a budget. I have probably recorded 100+ songs using this setup. I can give you these details:

  • If there is latency it is not significant, from what I know of conversion it should at least add on a millisecond of latency. I could be wrong about this though. What I would say is this: if you are recording drums, I would not suggest putting one side of the overhead on this converter and the other on your main converter. My usual implementation is to record the Scratch tracks and sometimes Room Mics. I doubt this method is totally phase coherent, but it works to get the job done. I would just be conscience of potential phasing issues, so avoid micing setups where this will be a problem
  • It sounds like a DIGI 002/003 despite being clocked “improperly.” It still sounds like this piece of gear sounds @ 48K. Despite technical fear, that this could reduce your audio quality to that of a Soundblaster 16, I assure you that is not the case.
  • I have done this at numerous studios, and there are no glitches to be had, I get no audio drop outs or crazy clocking error problems. 5 years of using this technique and it works without an error.
  • Even if you record at 24Bit/96Khz/88.1khz you can still do this. I don’t know technically why, but I only record at 88.2/96khz and it works for me!

Application
Whether you need more Ins or Outs, you can use this by  adding a 002/003 to your system. Whether you already have an 002/003 needing more Ins for live tracking or a 192 and you need more outputs for mixing OTB. This solution will work in all of these solutions!

How-To
The First thing we need to do is hook up your 002/003 to a computer running PT LE. We will then need to start a New Session. Choose your Bit Rate that you will be recording your session at on your main rig. If you are recording at 96 or 48 Khz select 48khz for your LE session. If you are recording at 88.2 or 44.1 Khz select 44.1khz for your LE session. Once you do this go to Setup>Hardware. Now select ADAT under the Optical Format. Next go to Setup>I/O, click both the Input and Output tabs Default button. Next, as a precautionary measure, (I don’t know if this is needed or not) select Setup>Playback Engine, turn the H/W Buffersize to 32 Samples (Depending on your system this may not be available, turn it as low as possible). Now we need to make 8 New Aux Input Tracks.

For 8 More Inputs
Inputs.jpg The next step is to set each of these 8 Auxes to sequential Inputs 1-8. Then set each Output to 9-16 (click picture for more detail). Once this is done you can quit your session, disconnect your 002/003′s Firewire port. Don’t worry, if you need to power off your 002/003 it will save this setting! Next plug your optical output into the input of your Main Interfaces Optical in. Make sure your Hardware is setup properly depending on your Interface. Enjoy!

For 8 More Outputs
output.jpgThe next step is to set each of these 8 Auxes to sequential Inputs 9-16. Then set each Output to 1-8 (click picture for more detail).
Once this is done you can quit your session, dissconnect your 002/003′s
Firewire port. don’t worry if you need to power off your 002/003 it
will save this setting! Next plug your optical Input into the Output of
your Main Interfaces Optical Ouput. Make sure your Hardware is setup
properly depending on your Interface. Enjoy!

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.