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Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

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Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:31 pm

Hi all

Since SSL decided not to support their Nucleus controller (the audio interface bit of it anyway) post-Yosemite :madas:, I've been thinking about what to do when it's no longer feasible to work without upgrading the OS / machine, i.e. about now.

The Nucleus works well as a controller, the preamps are good, and there is enough monitoring flexibility so I can and would like to keep it if I can find as simple as possible 2-channel solution for computer I/O.

The SSL AD/DA is probably good already, so I could use the optical S/PDIF, this seems the most efficient way, but I've not seen any S/PDIF only solutions. Alternatively there are post-preamp analogue outputs and a pair of external inputs on XLR as well, so line level into a standard interface is possible.

I could get something that does both, running the Nucleus through S/PDIF, with probably a couple of extra preamps available from the new interface, but I don't need them, and what I want to reduce, or with luck avoid altogether, is another set of buttons, gain pots, etc. post-Nucleus, potentially confusing things - the installation is used by a number of not necessarily savvy people, so ideally it would just be cabled up and sit out of the way without the need/temptation to be fiddled with.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

p
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby Mixedup » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:54 pm

I couldn't see on the SSL site (I think it's an area for registered users) but... could you run the Nucleus with Windows 10? That should install quite happily on your Mac. Unless you're running Logic or Final Cut most audio software will run quite happily on Windows too.

Though I appreciate some people have an attachment to one OS or the other...
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:42 pm

Thats a good thought, it does work on Windows 10 apparently but the main DAW used in this setup is Logic, and there're a whole load of other software uses (mainly video) for which the monitors attached to the Nucleus need to be used. So don't think that's an option for now, cheers though.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:55 am

I suppose this would do the job:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_dr_dac_prime.htm

It's one of the very few I've seen lying between prohibitively expensive and suspiciously cheap.

Do S/PDIF only interfaces exist? Seems like mostly a hifi / surround sound / consumer thing.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:12 am

Oh and this one

https://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_u24_xl.htm

Possibly ageing though.

Any other suggestions welcome.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby Mixedup » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:28 pm

Well, there are loads of interfaces around with S/PDIF inputs and outputs. Any of them should work and get you up and running. But based on this experience, perhaps you'd rather invest in something for which the drivers will be developed on an ongoing basis so you don't have to solve this problem the next time Apple force you to update the OS to use their latest software? So, either something with class-compliant drivers, which one would hope Apple won't abandon any time soon ( :headbang: ), or something by RME.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:24 pm

Mixedup wrote:...perhaps you'd rather invest in something for which the drivers will be developed on an ongoing basis...

Well quite. I've read about the problems SSL had with their USB card manufacturer

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/product-alerts-older-than-2-months/543720-ssl-nucleus-official-info-released-58.html

but who would have known the original Nucleus would only be supported for about 4 years.

Well, there are loads of interfaces around with S/PDIF inputs and outputs

They all tend to have lots of other things not needed, other than the example above. Perhaps this the wrong place to ask, as who need S/PDIF only, except Nucleus owners.

something by RME

Too many £ unfortunately.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby Mixedup » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:17 pm

I think you should be able to feed an AES signal to a SPDIF input if the cable's short... but I could be wrong (where's Hugh when you need him? :headbang: Maybe he or others can advise on this point... I know my RME interface has a SPDIF out that I'm successfully feeding to the AES in of another device... but I can't recall if that's the case universally, or just with these bits of kit). If that *is* the case, something like the Yellowtec PUC2 Lite would tick your boxes. Not particularly cheap, but cheaper than RME (and a drop in the ocean compared with a Nucleus!!!) and it does cut out all the other stuff that you seem to find so potentially annoying!
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby James Perrett » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:19 pm

Mixedup wrote:I think you should be able to feed an AES signal to a SPDIF input if the cable's short... but I could be wrong (where's Hugh when you need him? :headbang:

It is one of those things that will probably work but the signal levels are different so there are no guarantees that every combination of gear will work.

Personally I'd look at the RME Digiface USB which will not only give you optical SPDIF in an out for the Nucleus but also gives you a huge amount of potential expandability for the future. You also buy into RME's legendary driver stability and long term support. While a little more expensive than a standard 2 in 2 out interface it isn't that expensive compared to the original cost of the Nucleus.
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Re: Options for SSL Nucleus workaround

Postby plodsmeade » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:07 pm

Ah crap, just discovered the Nucleus requires the USB driver for the S/PDIF I/O, possibly to run the clock.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/product ... ed-61.html

So that just leaves analogue I/O, which I guess would be fine. Any recommendations for a simple 2in 2out device with no preamps? Or something with a couple of preamps and a couple of line ins. An RME, again, I guess.
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