What is the ADAT input for on my interface?

RME ADAT InterfaceMasses of interfaces on the market at the moment – from some of the popular Focusrite Scarlett range to the awesome Universal Audio Apollo interfaces to the new Audient ID22 – feature an optical ADAT input. Not many people know it, but this unassuming connector is actually the key to massively expanding the usability of your interface.

Why? Let us explain…

Many interfaces have only 2 mic inputs, meaning you’re limited to recording either a stereo signal or only two signals at once (such as an acoustic guitar and a vocal). What that little ADAT connector on the back of your interface offers is an amazing extra 8 inputs! And all over one cable.

This massively widens your recording potential: with a total of 10 mic inputs, you can record a full drum kit, a whole band, a chamber orchestra and more.

Behringer ADA8200Of course, you need a bit more gear to get going with this – an ADAT expansion such as the Behringer ADA8200, SM Pro Q-ADAT, or Focusrite Octopre and an optical cable to plug one into the other – but often the cost of a basic ADAT-equipped audio interface plus the cost of one of these is actually lower – and the outcome more practical – than buying an interface with masses of inputs on board.

Why more practical?

Think about it: even if sometimes you need lots of inputs, do you really need to be lugging a 1U or 2U rack unit around with you all the time? A more elegant solution is to have a small desktop interface that you use for your day-to-day editing and basic recording at home, plus a separate rack for when you’ve got a big job on.

So when you’re in the market for an interface, make sure you’ve got ADAT onboard. Even if you don’t buy an expansion now, it massively future proofs your interface for a time when you may be looking to expand your recording horizons…

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