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Background:

I have a Yamaha LS9-32 mixer and I'm getting a new sound card for my PC to interface with the mixer.

From the Yamaha LS9-32 User Manual:

2TR IN DIGITAL jack
This is a coaxial jack that inputs a stereo digital audio signal in consumer format (IEC-60958). The signal input from this jack can be patched to any input channel.

S/PDIF on the LS9 <-- This is the coaxial S/PDIF in on the Yamaha LS9 mixer.

I was looking at this sound card with an S/PDIF out.

S/PDIF out on Sound Card <-- This is the coaxial S/PDIF out on the potential sound card.

Question:

  • How well does this type of interface work between a (low end) PC sound card and a "prosumer" mixer (Yamaha LS9-32).
  • Would I be better off going sound card's RCA out --> direct box --> mixer?
  • Does anyone have any experience with this?
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I'm currently using the integrated sound card which has a ridiculous hiss. It's not too bad when you're working with source audio recorded at a reasonable amplitude but we occasionally get a poorly produced DVD that was recorded at a lower amplitude than the amplitude of the hiss (which is a problem) so you can only barely hear the source over the hiss. –  advs89 Mar 27 '11 at 18:50

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How well does this type of interface work between a (low end) PC sound card and a "prosumer" mixer (Yamaha LS9-32)?

In my experience, coupling things together via S/PDIF is hit and miss. If both the sender and receiver can't find a sampling frequency and bit depth that they agree on, it isn't going to work. For example: I could run S/PDIF out from my AxeFx to my audio capture unit, but I'd have to run my projects at 48kHz/23-bit because that's all the AxeFx outputs and trying to use it with a project running at any other sampling frequency or bit depth is sonic suicide. It just won't work.

Try it. But do so knowing it's all fraught with peril.

Would I be better off going sound card's RCA out --> direct box --> mixer?

For sheer interoperability convenience: yes. It'll Just Work(tm) if you do it that way. You are introducing another D/A and A/D conversion if you go this route (since the mixer is digital), but only your ears can tell you if that's bad. And as an aside: how strange it doesn't have an RCA connection for a tape unit input -- most mixers do for FoH music between sets and what not.

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Yeah - an RCA input on the mixer would've been great. –  advs89 Mar 27 '11 at 19:31
    
I ended up going with the S/PDIF. It seems to output great sound but I keep getting a "sync error" on the Yamaha mixer. I was able to suppress the error under [preferences] but is it something I should ignore or might it become a problem? I tried all the different frequencies that the sound card would allow me to use but I got the error on all of them. –  advs89 Mar 31 '11 at 21:42
1  
If you can't hear digital distortion (that weird, choppy, nasty harsh sound you hear when a Skype call starts to devolve) then I wouldn't worry about it. But welcome to the world of S/PDIF sync'ing...also known as the outer circle of hell. :) –  Ian C. Apr 1 '11 at 0:51
    
Thanks - I'll just suppress the error. –  advs89 Apr 1 '11 at 1:44

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