Alright, so a couple years back, I bought the M-Audio ProFire Lightbridge, and to this day I really don't understand why I didn't get the FireStudio Lightpipe instead. I already had two Digimax FS, so it would have been the obvious choice... So, I just found an FSLP on eBay and fixed a long-standing judgement error. Yay!
I opened a project in Studio One and set up the outputs to run the Main out through ADAT 1+2 and got sound... in mono. No amount of fiddling would fix it. Tried it in Adobe Audition as well, with the same results using a stereo output on [1S] ADAT 1+2.
I've used MOTU's mixer software, so I kinda had a clue what was going on with Universal Control, but again, not much luck there. I could click the "on" button to toggle the headphones and main out mix from MIXER to DAW1+2 / 3+4, but nothing actually changed when I did this. The mixer portion grayed out, but the sound didn't even skip a beat regardless. I tried panning and moving the faders, but again, no difference whatsoever to the sound. It appears the mixer has absolutely no influence on what comes out of the box.
Incidentally, the "ASIO Control Panel" button in Studio One and Adobe Audition doesn't appear to do anything either. The control panel icon is in my systray, and I can open it from there, but it doesn't pop up or respond at all from the DAW button.
One last thing -- I had recently used the M-Audio FireWhatever, and things did not go well with both drivers and control panels installed together. The PreSonus control panel was temperamental as heck.. would stop responding, lock up, show driver version "0.0.0.0", and all kinds of stuff. Audio would work for about 1 sec, then cut out for 1 sec, then work for 1 sec, so on. I uninstalled the M-Audio and PreSonus drivers both, rebooted, installed the PreSonus drivers again, rebooted, then it started working as described above.
Never mind. User error... (kinda.) Google fodder:
The mix control panel has two .. I dunno, "tabs"... on the right. One for Main Out, one for Headphones. The power button (...?) on each toggles between Mixer and DAW outputs. I was using headphones and hearing the output from the DAW (on channels 1 and 2) regardless whether the power button thingy was supposed to be using the mixer or channels 3 and 4. Hmm. Moving faders and panning made no difference, and neither did mute/solo.
Well, with a mixer attached to the Main Outs instead of plugging 'phones directly into the front panel, I started hearing those changes, and it lit a bulb over my head. I clicked the Headphones tab (not on the power button this time) and it brought up a second mixer view. I had no idea that was supposed to be clickable. THOSE faders DO affect the sound out of the headphones. Gee whiz. Who knew?
So after doing the stereo-link toggle thing, I got stereo sound. Clicking the power button to go back to DAW 3/4 kept it in stereo, presumably with my last mixer settings. Good enough.
I don't quite understand how selecting channels 1/2 in my DAW, and "DAW 3/4" on the headphones ends up with sound in my headphones, but whatever. Not terribly intuitive, but it works, more or less.
Now the bad news... It turns out my dear PreSonus Firestudio Lightpipe (that I was so excited to finally have) uses the exact same horrific TC Dice interface chip that the %!$# M-Audio hunk of wasted time and money uses. aw maannnnn.... I was really hoping to get away from that monster. PreSonus at least has the decency to keep the drivers up-to-date. (Thanks guys, that's really appreciated.)
OK, I should've known... and after looking at some of the development collateral on that thing, I see why vendors were falling all over themselves to implement it at the time. But HOLY COW is that the worst thing to ever happen to pro-audio or what? I dunno if it's fundamentally broken silicon or if both (!) OEMs just butchered the reference drivers and software. Amazing feature set, but completely hopeless implementation. A tragedy.
Oh well. When it works, it works pretty well. Or at least the Lightbridge did. It was just random friggin chance whether it would work or not, and the Lightpipe seems to have the same tendencies, but it fits in a rack case, which is nice.
PRESONUS.. HEY... YOU GUYS! Maybe you could cook up a new ADAT bridge box, eh? Just, please, for the love of audio, stay away from TCAL this time. OK, the Jet PLL is pretty great, so use that. But that's it! I honestly don't care if it's Firewire, USB, Thunderbolt, or Lightning. Anything that might be on the side of a laptop.
.... well, almost anything. I'm not so sure about AVB. I make a living off of supporting Ethernet, so I have no doubt the industry (and its userbase) will find all kinds of clever ways to get that one wrong. Oughtta be entertaining though.
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