M-Audio FireWire Audiophile can't lock to S/PDIF source

I have a weird problem with M-Audio FireWire Audiophile 2496. When I connect my DAT to the S/PDIF input and select "external" for sync source - I can CLEARLY hear the sound, but it says "unlocked", and the front panel LED blinks green! I can't record digitally. The source is 48kHz, 16 bit. I tried changing cables, restarting etc.

To be completely clear: when I say that I can hear the sound coming out from the DAT, it means that it is coming through the S/PDIF connection and M-Audio soundcard; there are NO OTHER connections from DAT to the speakers (analog or digital) except for the one going through the soundcard. So the signal IS coming through, but the M-audio SW/HW has some weird issues with it?!

OS: Win 7 64-bit SP1
Panel: 5.10.0.5058
Driver: 5.10.0.5058
Bootloader: 2003/10/06 10:00:41
Firmware: 2007/05/04 10:22:12
Hardware: model: D version: 1
GUID: 000D-6C03-00F4-4E90

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  • Hi,

    Sorry you are having trouble with that!

    Are you sure your DAT is properly sending Sync? What tells you this? It's very possible the Audiophile will take the signal in regardless of the sync status and play it out but you may end up with some clicking or dropouts.

    Is the Audiophile also set to 48k, 16 bit?

    Is this a S/PDIF specific coaxial cable you are using?

    Can you test this with another device or try testing the sync in the opposite direction?

    Let me know!
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  • Hello Corey!

    ***EDIT: after everything I tested and wrote here in the second part, I've re-tried the DAT connection and all of the sudden it works! Literally nothing has changed in the meantime regarding the setup; I can only assume that I have re-started the PC in the meantime, although I'm not even sure that I did. For two days now, it works... Nevertheless, I'm leaving the second part of my original post, just in case someone else have the same problem. And not only DAT's S/PDIF now works, but also my AES/EBU to S/PDIF signal converter, that was NOT working previously as well (it was the same issue: audio signal can be heard but not recorded, and Audiophile FW reports "unlocked"). END OF EDIT*** :-)

    My "original" post:

    It seems that you might be right regarding the possibility that my DAT is not "properly sending Sync". It never even occurred to me that this can happen! I have tried connecting my MiniDisc and it properly locked to its signal.

    BUT, I still have doubts regarding my Audiophile FW card, because:
    (1) I have another M-audio card, Audiophile Delta 2496. My DAT's S/PDIF output works perfectly with it! I used the same cable.
    (2) My Audiophile FW had exactly the same issues with S/PDIF not syncing (but with audio present at the soundcard analogue output) with ANOTHER device. I thought it the issue was with the source and not with the Audiophile FW (I hand-made a simple "converter" from AES-EBU digital output to S/PDIF; It's a "Resistor Impedance Matching Voltage Divider" which is a relatively crude way to do it but most modern devices should work with it). But now I've checked and this "convertor" works PERFECTLY with my Audiophile Delta 2496!
    (3) When I send my DAT's S/PDIF signal through Audiophile Delta 2496 and then pass it on to Audiophile FW, the soundcard(s) sync without any issue...

    So, while I can say that Audiophile FW DOES work with SOME S/PDIF input signals, it seems that the card is "picky". Or, that Audiophile Delta 2496 is "less picky" when it comes to digital sources.

    I guess that there's nothing more you can do to help me, but I wanted to share the findings with others, in case someone else had the same or similar problem...

    (How do I even check my DAT's digital output "signal quality/correctness"?!)

    Finally, to properly answer your questions:
    Q: Is the Audiophile also set to 48k, 16 bit?
    A: Yes for the 48k, but there is no option to choose bitrate at Audiophile FW. (Or is there?!)

    Q: Is this a S/PDIF specific coaxial cable you are using?
    A: Yes. And I tried several.

    Q: It's very possible the Audiophile will take the signal in regardless of the sync status and play it out but you may end up with some clicking or dropouts.
    A: While I was not aware that this is possible (it's not logical to me that the "sound/signal" is obviously present but the device does not lock and I can't record the signal) there was NO clicking and dropouts, at least none that I could hear.

    I did not yet try "sync in the opposite direction", i.e. sending the S/PDIF signal towards DAT.
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  • Yes, thank you for all of this and leaving the post up. I'm glad that you were able to sort it out!

    Still not sure what the problem is but I think "picky" may be an appropriate description. My assumption is it has something to do with the process in which it is booted up that's affecting it's ability to latch and restarting the computer helped boot it properly? Maybe this will be something to look into it if it happens again.

    Let me know if you have any more questions!
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  • I'm also having a similar problem: My hardware specs are identical to the topic starter's.

    My issue comes when outputting a digital signal (spdif) from my mixer to the spdif input on my firewire audiophile. Despite every configuration and trying with other spdif devices, I still can't manage to get a input signal from the audiophile mixer.

    What's happening?
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