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Old 7th November 2015, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Getting started in Digital Audio - Looking for Input

Hi all.

I've been working with analog audio for quite some time now. I've been in the broadcast industry working on studios, transmitters, etc. I've built a few mixers and amps over the years as home brew, fill-gap solutions.

Lately I've been getting back into digital for some other projects. More and more I'm wanting to get into digital audio. There are a lot of resources out there...not the least of which is all you on these forums. Some many different viewpoints and ideas to accomplish the same goals. I really appreciate the knowledge.

As luck would have it I had a friend approach me recently wanting to replace on old analog audio snake. While looking with him for a replacement I ran across digital snakes. I knew they were out there but I really had not given them much thought.

It got me thinking: How does a 24-channel digital snake work under the covers. There's got to be more to it than just ((ADC + a bunch of wire + a DAC) x 24) and you have a 24 channel digital snake.

So...for the education of it all...I had my first project: design and construct a digital snake (maybe 8 channel). I think my prototype will be targeted to provide CD-quality audio (44.1 MHz - 16-bit) or maybe a little higher if the codecs dictate.

I've been researching this for several weeks now and have been having a blast. The issue I've been having is understanding how to effectively move the audio from source to destination. ADC and DAC...I get it.

I even looked at some codec chips that offer TDM multiplexing (CS42436 from Cirrus Logic) can transport 6 channels. Cool stuff. Cirrus Logic sent me 4 samples. Good bunch of people over there.

Then I found CobraNet. It kind of blew my mind and got me thinking on several tangents as to what could be done. I downloaded all the PDFs that Cirrus Logic had on CobraNet. I went to the CobraNet community web site and scoured it. I've searched this forum back and forth on all the CobraNet threads I could find.

I've ordered a few CobraNet chips:

2 x CS181002 - Audio DSPs 2-Ch 48-96kHz CobraNet Processor
1 x CS181012 - Audio DSPs 8-Ch 48-96kHz CobraNet Processor
2 x CS181022 - Audio DSPs 16-Ch 48-96kHz CobraNet Processor

...and I've reviewed the documents and reference design schematics but I have a few questions. So I decided to register with the forums and make my first post. Maybe someone here can point me in the right direction.

Question 1: Looking at the ICs and Reference appears that the CobraNet devices are not actually doing to conversion of Analog to digital and back. It appears to me that I need to provide them audio in a digital format already. However, I can't seem to find what format of audio I need to provide to the various digital inputs so CobraNet can wrap-n-send it down the line. Is there a specific format that CobraNet is looking for me to provide it?

EDIT: I found by re-reading the input info again (closer this time) that "...typically the synchronous serial is wired to ADCs and/or DACs..." So...that answers that.

Question 2: Say I wanted to be able to send audio from the stage to two separate mixers: house and monitor. Obviously...CobraNet should be able to send one copy of the stream to 2 destinations via multi-unicast or pure multicast (if the network is dedicated to CobraNet alone). Do I understand this correctly.

Question 3 (somewhat non-CobraNet related): in your opinion what is the best open standard for audio-over-ethernet that hobbyists can play with? I take it that most of the reference designs for these open standards are probably based around FPGA or something related? I have some FPGA hardware so I understand what it going on with it. If there is a viable option out there...maybe I'll steer clear of CobraNet and give away my DSPs to whoever is the most helpful.

Seriously...thanks much for any thoughts, links, or insights you might be able to provide! Maybe audio-over-ethernet isn't the way I should be looking? I'm open to playing and experimenting.


Last edited by Dataweasel; 7th November 2015 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 7th November 2015, 01:22 AM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Relocated to Digital Line Level as the answers you seek are more likely here than in the construction thread.
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Old 7th November 2015, 03:50 AM   #3
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I appreciate you looking over my shoulder! Thanks.
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