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AES/EBU vs Analog XLR Input

Martin

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I am considering purchasing a pair of Genelec (8351B or 8361A) speakers based upon recent reviews by @amirm. I note that these speakers have both digital AES/EBU and analog XLR inputs. I am wondering if there are any inherent advantages or disadvantages toward using one input over the other?

I assume the analog XLR input is converted through an ADC to the digital domain for DSP then back through a DAC to the analog domain to feed the internal amplifiers. I also assume the digital AES/EBU input bypasses the ADC and is fed directly into the DSP section then through a DAC to the amplifiers. Is my understanding correct?

So in my system to use the analog input my chain would look like this:
piCorePlayer --> USB --> DAC --> XLR --> Genelec analog XLR input
and for digital:
piCorePlayer AES/EBU "hat" --> XLR --> Genelec digital AES/EBU input

For the analog chain I could control volume via piCorePlayer, the DAC or a preamplifier. I would likely use a preamplifier to also connect an analog source. For the digital chain I assume I would have to use piCorePlayer to control the volume.

Does all this sound correct? Any pros or cons to either setup?

Thanks,
Martin
 

JayGilb

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I assume the analog XLR input is converted through an ADC to the digital domain for DSP then back through a DAC to the analog domain to feed the internal amplifiers. I also assume the digital AES/EBU input bypasses the ADC and is fed directly into the DSP section then through a DAC to the amplifiers. Is my understanding correct?


Thanks,
Martin
Yes, that is correct. In addition, the digital AES/EBU input may go through a sample rate conversion depending on the requirements of the active speakers.
 
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Martin

Martin

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From the number of responses I have received I assume there is no preference for one input over the other…

One other question: When using the digital AES/EBU input would I daisy chain the speakers?

I.e.: AES/EBU hat —> XLR —> speaker 1 digital in | speaker 1 digital thru —> XLR —> speaker 2 digital in

Thanks,
Martin
 

Tangband

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From the number of responses I have received I assume there is no preference for one input over the other…

One other question: When using the digital AES/EBU input would I daisy chain the speakers?

I.e.: AES/EBU hat —> XLR —> speaker 1 digital in | speaker 1 digital thru —> XLR —> speaker 2 digital in

Thanks,
Martin
The sound gets better with a good digital spdif or AES signal to Genelecs , yes .
Inside each Genelec monitor , at the AES input , there is a transformer for galvanic isolation and a sample rate converter .

Cheaper SAM Genelecs have 48 KHz sampling A/D and more expensive ones 96 KHz .
 

maverickronin

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One other question: When using the digital AES/EBU input would I daisy chain the speakers?

I.e.: AES/EBU hat —> XLR —> speaker 1 digital in —> speaker 1 digital thru —> XLR —> speaker 2 digital in

Yes. The speaker should have a dip switch or something to select which channel from the AES input it will play.

From the number of responses i have received I assume there is no preference for one input over the other…
piCorePlayer AES/EBU "hat" --> XLR --> Genelec digital AES/EBU input

IMO an important consideration with feeding digital signals into such a powerful active monitor is the chance of something flaking out and setting the volume to maximum. The stability of a single purpose/dedicated Linux music appliance should be better than a typical multi function device, but personally I would insist on some kind of hardware volume control external from the player software.

That's easiest if you go analog as you can just use a DAC with volume control or a standard preamp. The RME ADI-2 Pro has an AES output which is volume controlled. Lake People have what is essentially a digital preamp. Since you're going specifically with Genelecs, they have a couple options to control the volume in each speaker digitally via GLM if you buy the kit and keep the control ethernet cables hooked up all the time.
 
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dfuller

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The RME ADI-2 Pro has an AES output which is volume controlled.
The AES out is not volume controlled on that unit - I have one. I wish it was though.
 

Tangband

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Controling the volume with GLM is the best option, soundwise . This is also what Genelec recommends. The digital regulation is that way done after the dsp crossover .
But you can get really close , and better than analog, if you use GLM to lower the volume to -30 dB internally and saved into the speaker and use an external digital source with digital volume regulation such as a xu208 using 24 bit resolution and dithering .
 
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maverickronin

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The AES out is not volume controlled on that unit - I have one. I wish it was though.

Really? The manual makes it sound like it can.

MeJCa3K.png
 

Lambda

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hang on a minute, did someone on an internet forum just admit to being wrong. i think we all need to take a minute to realise the importance of this event.
i was thinking the same thing. :p
Specially on this forum i hear his almost never so good jobdfuller


piCorePlayer AES/EBU "hat" --> XLR --> Genelec digital AES/EBU input
This is what i would do and what gives you best performance.
 

tmtomh

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Is it petty to be a little bit pissed off that one has to spend $100-$150 just for a digital-to-digital impedance converter in order to connect most common equipment to the Genelecs' digital input? :)
 

Tangband

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i was thinking the same thing. :p
Specially on this forum i hear his almost never so good jobdfuller



This is what i would do and what gives you best performance.
Good suggestion with this AES hat from audiophonics. If using a computer as source, and less than 8 metres to the first Genelec monitor input, the Douk U2 is also good sounding. I have one and it works flawless with Mac . A small sound improvement compared to Yamaha wxc50 and digital out. Further small improvements can be had with even better USB bridges.
Dont go analog with these fine monitors.:)
 
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lewis

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I would like to connect my 8330 monitors and 7350 sub digitally using the ASE-EBU cables.

The question is. Do I connect to the sub first and then out to the monitors or the monitors first and then the sub?

Is it important in what order I connect from the interface?

Thanks, Lewis.
 

JayGilb

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I would like to connect my 8330 monitors and 7350 sub digitally using the ASE-EBU cables.

The question is. Do I connect to the sub first and then out to the monitors or the monitors first and then the sub?

Is it important in what order I connect from the interface?

Thanks, Lewis.
No, the order should not matter. Each device will act as a pass thru to the next.
 

somebodyelse

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There's also some 3rd party code to control volume and some other properties via GLM. I'm not sure how easy it would be to integrate with piCorePlayer though - I'd guess relatively easy to trigger from IR remote buttons, but harder to integrate with the LMS volume control.
https://github.com/markbergsma/genlc
 

Tom C

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Cool thread. Thank you, Martin!
 
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