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Making use of your S/PDIF digital connections

Many audio interfaces offer an additional pair of stereo inputs and/or outputs in a digital format. One of the most commonly used is the Sony/Philips digital interface, or S/PDIF, which you’ll usually find connected on RCA coaxial phono-type connectors, although S/PDIF digital connections can also be carried optically. Although regular phono cables will fit on the coaxial jacks, make sure and use proper digital cables to ensure that the digital signal doesn’t degrade.

So, having sorted that out, what can you use your extra stereo pair of inputs and outputs for? If you have a compact interface, such as the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 or Presonus Firestudio Mobile, you might find that, by the time you’ve added a few pieces of gear to your studio, you’ve run out of analogue I/O. Using your digital connections can let you get an extra piece of gear (or two) into your setup without having to constantly repatch cables.

Why not use that extra I/O to add a hardware effects unit, like the excellent TC Electronic M-One XL, to take some of the strain off your computer? Or use the inputs to connect the digital output of your workstation keyboard, such as the Roland Fantom or Yamaha Motif, or digitally-equipped sampler, sound-module or groovebox like the Akai MPC1000. An additional benefit of using the digital connections is that you avoid extra stages of signal conversion that could degrade your signal.

All in all then, there are plenty of uses for those S/PDIF digital connections you’ve currently got sitting unused on the back of your interface, so why not think about digital connections when you’re making your next gear purchase and save some wear and tear on your interface’s connections!

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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