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AES (digital) I/O Worth Using?

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Jeff Lelko:
Greetings - quick question about AES I/O - is it worth using at the professional level?  My guess would be yes as it significantly reduces the number of analog to digital and digital to analog conversions, but Id like to hear input on reliability for professional applications before converting. 

My typical rig for audio playback is something like (Computer or Solid State Media Player ) to (dLive DM32) to (dbx DriveRack VENU360) to (amps and speakers).  I count 5 conversions in that signal chain.  Going with the AES I/O which is present on all my sources, DriveRack, and dLive via the AES3 option card, Id only have one.  Ive never used AES I/O before, so Im asking is this bulletproof enough to rely on versus the trusty analog?  The cables would be proper data cables and the cable lengths would all be under 1 meter.  All input is appreciated.  Thanks!

Roland Clarke:
There are as you are pointing out, advantages to using aes/ebu outs and ins, reduced latency probably the biggest advantage.  There are a number of empirical observations that suggest even as many as 10-15 AD/DA conversions have little or none in terms of detrimental effect on sound quality, but why not purify the audio path as much as possible?  A large number of powersoft and other top amp manufacturers who include DSP, have AES/EBU, arguably possible to have only one AD/DA from mic to speaker! 😁

Caleb Dueck:
A rule of thumb I read a while back - AES3 for 2 channels of audio, Dante for anything more than 2 channels. 
AES3 can be thought of as the professional version of S/PDIF.

Jeff Lelko:
Thanks Roland and Caleb!  I agree that the numerous conversions have no real detrimental impact to the audio - especially in the live production environment.  I just noticed that basically all my FOH gear has this option and questioned if its worth using.  I just dont want to take a hit on reliability in any way.  One other advantage of AES is not chewing through inputs on my DM32.  The single AES3 option card would handle all the I/O I need! 

I agree with you on the Dante argument too Caleb.  My only issue with that is none of my FOH equipment has Dante built-in.  I know A&H makes a dLive card for that too, but my media players and DSP would be left out, and my playback computer currently doesnt use Dante.  I think Dante would push the worth it question to the not, but AES is only the cost of a single card and some cables.  Thanks again!

Mike Caldwell:
For my main system I use the the AES out of my Allen Heath QuPac into a DBX360,
works and sounds great.

Each one of my amp racks has it's own DSP in the rack, when I
need to drive two racks I use the Whirlwind SP1X2 AES splitter.


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