Is there a place for MADI audio interfacing in the project studio? SSL believe there is, and offer a range of interfaces to fill it.
SSL are one of the world’s best-known console manufacturers. While their current range still includes large digital broadcast and analogue music consoles, product development seems increasingly to be focused towards workstation consoles and DAW controllers, as well as an extended collection of outboard equipment and various studio ‘glue’ products.
Adhering (sorry!) to the top of the list of ‘glue’ products are the Alpha-Link MADI-SX and MADI-AX devices.These 2U products both feature 64-channel, fibre-optic MADI interfaces and 24 channels of analogue I/O, but they differ in their digital interfacing. The SX includes 24 channels of AES3 in and out, while the AX provides 24 channels of ADAT Lightpipe. Popular and capable though these products are, they’re also inherently expensive and provide more facilities than may be required in simpler installations.
To address this, the company recently launched a pair of more affordable 1U MADI-analogue converters called the Alpha-Link MX 16-4 and MX 4-16. The MX 16-4 model features 16 analogue inputs and four outputs, and is intended as a multi-channel input device, but with enough outputs to handle artist and studio monitoring feeds. The partnering MX 4-16 version provides the reverse, with four analogue inputs and 16 outputs. This would typically be used as an interface for analogue summing, with sufficient inputs to record the mix and other local sources.
Alpha-Link MX interfaces can be used as individual MADI break-out boxes, or up to four can be cascaded in any combination, to access up to 80 channels in total. Depending on the units in the chain, the I/O channel counts are then 64/16, 52/28, 40/40, 28/52 or 64/16, respectively.