Do I need an interface with s/pdif?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by ChrisA, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I want to buy an audio interface for use with Logic Express

    I want something with two XLR mic inputs. My question is not about the mics it's about S/PDIF. I know what S/PDIF is, but wonder if I will want this later. I don't think I have a need for it now.

    I'm looking at the Tascam US-122L and the Tascam US-144. They both look the same except the 144 has s/pdif in and out. I'm wonder what I'd use this for in a small home recording system.

    The other interface I'm looking at are the e-mu 0404 and the e-mu Tracker Pre. The main difference again is the 0404 has S/PDIF

    What is s/pdif typically used for? I'm guessing for ripping sound off a CD or DVD.
  2. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    To be honest you won't. It's mainly once you get into the true 'pro' arena that you start needing SPDIF for things, mainly using the best conversion hardware you can, which is generally quite expensive.

    I wouldn't really let it sway your decision when it comes to choosing an interface.

    Ripping from a CD or DVD is better to do straight from your Mac's optical drive - there will be no difference in the results.
  3. mcpryon2 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008
    SPDIF probably won't be something you use unless you need to connect to something with coaxial cable. I find it handy when I want to input into a home theater receiver with a coax input, or I'm at the theater where I work and I can use coax to input into the DTS unit. But you can also just get monitors and use the RCA jacks to output them.

    If it's something you'll be doing at home and you already have a home theater receiver with a SPDIF input you could save some money by using it instead of buying dedicated monitors just for your recording setup.

    I have an Mbox 2 and use both the monitor outputs and SPDIF. It's convenient for me to have SPDIF, but if you don't need it there's not much point in paying for it.
  4. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Don't modern Macs alrady have s/pdif built in? At least for output.

    My question really was if there was a used for s/pdif input in a home studio. I had guessed "no" but I figure a beginner might have over looked something.

    I have a pair of speakers I'm thinking about using as monitors. I'd actually thought of picking up a used HT receiver to drive them and feeding it with the iMac's s/pdif.

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