What Is ADAT?
Do you ever wonder how your interface has so much I/O, but you’re unsure how to tap into it other than the 2 XLR ports on the back? You might be like many other engineers out there who have a Universal Audio Apollo Twin and are looking to record more complex projects like a drum kit or integrate your outboard gear. Have you ever noticed the optical ports on the back of your unit labeled ADAT? These inputs and outputs are the keys to unlocking more of the I/O that’s at your fingertips and expanding your setup without the need to spend loads more cash.
Today we’re going to take a look at the options you might already have when it comes to the ADAT capabilities of your interface.
The History of ADAT
ADAT first came into existence in 1992 as an eight-track Digital Audio Tape recorder from Alesis (Hence the ADAT moniker) that stored data on VHS tapes. Today, ADAT refers to the Multi-Channel Transfer Protocol that is mainly used to add more input channels to your interface via additional microphone preamps or audio interfaces. Combining the inputs of two interfaces can make a big difference in your production possibilities. It can give you more inputs for microphones and line-level I/O for synthesizers or integrating your analog mixer with your DAW.
Mic up your entire drum kit with extra inputs, giving you total flexibility to capture your recordings with more detail. Go beyond the limits of your XLR connections.
Combining the I/O capabilities of multiple interfaces can allow you to integrate your analog mixing desk with your DAW so you can record and mix with ease. Print your stems and perform your final mixdowns outside the box to gain complete control over your tracks.
Integrate your analog and digital synthesizers with additional line-level I/O so you can leave all of your favorite instruments patched and ready to go.
Let’s start by checking out the back of one of today’s most popular audio interfaces, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin.
What Is Optical In?
That little port labeled “Optical In” packs a punch and can dramatically increase your system’s inputs. With one small cable, you can expand your system by eight channels and utilize more of its full potential. This gives your Apollo the ability to record ten inputs simultaneously, and maximize its recording power.
With something like the new Focusrite Clarett+ Octopre, you could add eight inputs to your Apollo Twin or any interface with one single cable. Its eight mic pres, crystal clear conversion, and insert points offer flexibility at a price point that makes expanding your system easy and friendly on your wallet (close to $100/channel with 36-month financing available now through Westlake Pro). This makes the Clarett Octopre the perfect match for smaller interfaces and studios in need of more I/O without breaking the bank.
Opening Doors With ADAT
Utilizing your ADAT I/O can drastically improve your recording capabilities. The vast majority of professional recording interfaces offer ADAT I/O to add more channels to your setup. That old 8×8 line level interface can be added to your system to double (if not quadruple) your available inputs. This could open up a whole new world of microphone configurations or help you get the full functionality out of your sixteen-channel mixer by integrating it seamlessly into your DAW. Your band can finally record together live, and you can mix and print your stems through the console taking your analog sound to the next level. All of these possibilities can become a reality by using the inputs your interface already has available to you.
So if you’ve just gotten your feet wet with an interface and you’re wondering what the next step might be, consider growing your channel count via ADAT. Units like the Focusrite Clarett Octopre offer solid mic pres and stellar conversion that can integrate easily into your existing setup. If you’re looking to expand your I/O without changing your interface, it could bring something huge to the table for you and your projects, and you can kiss those two-channel blues goodbye.
Have Any Questions?
Still have questions about ADAT?
Our Pros are glad to answer any questions you may have and help find the best option for you!