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Q. Where can I find a Lightpipe/ADAT connection?

By Paul Wiffen
Published January 2001

I have a Mac Powerbook running Pro Tools 5.0.1 Free, which is great for editing (I import waveforms from a CD, two tracks at a time) and I'm looking for a way to transfer from my Powerbook back to ADAT, eight channels simultaneously, via my USB or FireWire ports using a Lightpipe/ADAT connection but I'm not sure where to find such an item.

Robb Song

Paul Wiffen replies: I wish I could give you a straightforward answer like "buy this product or that". However, I have been trying for two years now to get one of the numerous PCI ADAT card manufacturers I work with to produce a PCMCIA card with an ADAT Optical I/O on it, but, so far, I have been unsuccessful. Additionally, I have established that USB will never carry eight channels reliably and that while FireWire has the bandwidth to do it in its sleep, mLAN is still not a shipping standard yet. However, at a recent mLAN event at AES in LA, one manufacturer confided that they were thinking of producing an mLAN/ADAT optical converter box. I wouldn't hold your breath, though, as Yamaha are only just now sending out the evaluation mLAN chips.

Nevertheless, it is possible to acheive what you want to do currently and I do this all the time, but by a more circuitous route. I have the Wall Street Powerbook (the one which still has serial ports and SCSI) and I use this with the Magma PCI expansion chassis which connects via the expansion buss (where you plug the batteries and drives in). In the past I have used the Korg 1212 and Sonorus card in this chassis to get the ADAT I/O. I currently use the Korg OASys card to do this.

If you have the most recent Powerbook (known as the Pismo) with both USB and FireWire, as I deduce from your email (if you had the Lombard which has USB and SCSI, you would be out of luck), then Magma have just released a new expansion chassis which works with this Powerbook via PCMCIA. I have already received it for review, so I will be testing it in the next couple of weeks. I already know that the 1212 and the Sonorus both work in it but will be trying as many other ADAT I/O cards as possible.