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Triple treats from Sonic Core

Cut-down DSP interface, 64-bit compatibility and MADI A-D/D-A converter unveiled

German company Sonic Core have announced a new DSP-powered audio interface, the Xite 1D. A somewhat cut-down version of their existing Xite 1, which itself is derived from Creamware’s Scope range of PCI cards, the Xite 1D is a 1U rackmount device that interfaces with your computer via a PCIe card and connecting cable.

It features an impressive 36 audio inputs and outputs, in both digital and analogue formats: two line-level inputs and outputs are present on XLRs, as are stereo AES3 I/O (also on XLR), and there are also two pairs of ADAT lightpipe sockets, for a further 16 digital ins and outs. The other 16 I/O come courtesy of two Z-link sockets, which look like Firewire ports but are in fact a proprietary format for connecting to a Sonic Core A16 Ultra or A16 Ultra XLR A-D/D-A converter. In fact, the only difference in I/O count between the Xite 1D and the Xite 1 is that the former lacks the latter’s two front-panel mic/line/instrument inputs, and the headphone out. Like the Xite 1, however, it features three five-pin DIN sockets for MIDI In, Out and Thru.

The Xite 1D’s processing capabilities are taken care of by 10 Analog Devices SHARC chips — the same kind as can be found in Sonic Core’s flagship Xite 1. Four of these run at 333MHz (there are 12 of this type in the full-fat Xite 1), while a further six run at 60MHz (these are the same type as can be found in the older Creamware PCI cards, and handle the Scope platform’s complex routing, while maintaining compatibility with older Scope plug-ins). DSP performance is said by Sonic Core to be around 40 percent of that of the Xite 1.

The Xite 1D is shipping imminently, and carries a full retail price of 2390 Euros.

In related news, Sonic Core have announced the release of version 5.1 of Scope, the routing, mixing and processing software that takes advantage of the DSP power available in the Xite 1, Xite 1D and Scope PCI cards. The functionality is largely unchanged from version 5, but the update does bring with it full compatibility with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 — something for which Sonic Core customers have been waiting quite some time!

And finally, the aforementioned A16 family of A-D/D-A converters has gained a new member: the A16 MkII. A 1U rack, the A16 MkII is in fact a FerroFish (www.ferrorish.de) product, but has been designed in cooperation with Sonic Core (indeed, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the latter company's converters). Like the A16 Ultra, it offers 16 channels of simultaneous A-D/D-A conversion, but it improves on its predecessor in a number of useful ways. The conversion itself has been upgraded (the new version uses AKM chips, apparently, for reduced noise and greater bandwidth), while the front panel replaces the earlier version’s five-segment input-level meters with two high-resolution TFT displays, which show both input and output levels. Additionally, the A16 MkII can handle sample rates up to 192kHz, whereas the older model only went up to 96kHz. Like the A16 Ultra, the MkII can send and receive digital audio via two pairs of ADAT sockets, but where the Ultra model offered two Z-link sockets hooking up to Sonic Core interfaces, the MkII provides MADI connectivity, making it suitable for high-end studio, theatre and broadcast environments.

MIDI In, Out and Thru connectors are also present, but rather than shuttling CC data and note on/off commands, these are designed to allow you to control the A16 MkII’s routing options, using the supplied routing editor software.

Despite its MADI nod to the big-money side of pro audio, the A16 MkII is surprisingly affordable: recommended retail price is a highly reasonable 1399 Euros, including tax.

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