WaveCenterPCI Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the differences between WaveCenter/PCI and the original WaveCenter-ISA card?
- What are the main differences between Dakota and WaveCenter/PCI?
- I don't see MIDI connectors on the card. How can I connect my keyboards to WaveCenter/PCI?
- How fast a computer do I need to run WaveCenter/PCI?
- I see that WaveCenter/PCI and Dakota support 24-bit I/O on the ADAT lightpipe, but I've got a 16-bit ADAT. How do Frontier Design's cards deal with 16-bit I/O?
- Will WaveCenter/PCI co-exist with other sound cards in my computer?
- Can I record and playback AES/EBU audio with WaveCenter/PCI?
- How do I record digital audio from my CD-ROM drive?
- Can I use an IDE (ATAPI) hard drive with WaveCenter/PCI?
What are the differences between WaveCenter/PCI and the original WaveCenter-ISA card?
Here are the basic differences between the cards:
- WaveCenter/PCI uses the PCI bus, rather than ISA, resulting in faster transfers of audio data between the card and your computer's motherboard. In addition, the plug-and-play nature of the PCI bus makes installation a snap.
- WaveCenter/PCI's MIDI configuration is 2x2, rather than the 1-input, 3-output configuration on WaveCenter-ISA.
- All 10 of WaveCenter/PCI's digital audio inputs may be used simultaneously. With WaveCenter-ISA, only one input format (ADAT, S/PDIF coax, or S/PDIF optical) at a time is enabled.
- WaveCenter/PCI includes MacOS support, in the form of an ASIO driver for digital audio, and an OMS driver for MIDI.
What are the main differences between Dakota and WaveCenter/PCI?
The differences are mainly in three areas: number of channels, synchronization, and expansion capability. Dakota includes 16 channels of ADAT lightpipe, as opposed to WaveCenter/PCI's 8. Dakota also includes a SMPTE reader/generator and ADAT 9-pin sync as standard features. Dakota also has several expansion options for customers with larger studios or specialized needs. The options include:
- Montana: adds 16 additional channels of ADAT lightpipe, along with a combination video/word clock input, and ADAT Sync out.
- Sierra: a high-performance rackmount 8x8 MIDI interface, with dedicated 1/4" SMPTE input and output.
I don't see MIDI connectors on the card. How can I connect my keyboards to WaveCenter/PCI?
WaveCenter/PCI includes a MIDI breakout cable that provides the 2 MIDI inputs and 2 MIDI outputs on standard MIDI (DIN5) jacks.
How fast a computer do I need to run WaveCenter/PCI?
While you can certainly use WaveCenter/PCI with any computer that has an open PCI slot, multitrack digital audio is an application that requires a lot of CPU horsepower and disk space. We generally recommend going with at least a Pentium-II or similar CPU, and a fast disk subsystem with a 7200 RPM UDMA or SCSI hard disk. Slower CPU's and disks will still work -- but you won't be able to have as many simultaneous tracks.
I see that WaveCenter/PCI and Dakota support 24-bit I/O on the ADAT lightpipe, but I've got a 16-bit ADAT. How do Frontier Design's cards deal with 16-bit I/O?
The drivers for the card will operate correctly with 16, 20, and 24-bit I/O. Basically, the S/PDIF and ADAT digital interface can each handle up to 24 bits of resolution on each channel. When an application asks to talk to the card in 16-bit mode, the least-significant bits of each sample are simply zero-filled.
Will WaveCenter/PCI co-exist with other sound cards in my computer?
Generally, the answer is yes. Your computer will be able to see both WaveCenter/PCI and the other card, and audio applications usually allow you to select inputs and outputs from either card. However, you will want to avoid using both cards at the same time.
Can I record and playback AES/EBU audio with WaveCenter/PCI?
Yes. The WaveCenter/PCI control panel lets you set the output channel status bits to either Consumer (S/PDIF) or Professional (AES/EBU), and you can connect WaveCenter/PCI's RCA/coax jacks to an inexpensive converter, like the Hosa CDL-313. See the application notes for more details.
How do I record digital audio from my CD-ROM drive?
Here's the process for recording from CD-ROM to (or through) WaveCenter/PCI:
- Verify that your CD-ROM drive has a fully-functional 2-pin digital audio output. Some drives have a 2-pin output, but it's not connected to anything inside the drive! The Dakota FAQ page of our website has a list of CD-ROM drives that have a fully-functional 2-pin digital audio output.
- Make sure the ribbon cable (included in the WaveCenter/PCI package) is properly connected from the drive's 2-pin output to WaveCenter/PCI's internal CD-ROM connector.
- In the Clock/Device Status tab of the WaveCenter/PCI control panel, set the "S 1:2" device to CD-ROM, *and* set the "Clock Source" to Dig In S/PDIF. (CD-ROM drives are automatically set to Internal sync, so WaveCenter/PCI must be slaved to the CD-ROM drive.)
- Load an audio CD into the CD-ROM drive, and begin playback. (Some CD-ROM drives only have active output if an audio CD is spinning and the drive is actually counting playback time.)
- If you want to listen to the audio through WaveCenter/PCI's outputs connected to a D/A converter, open the Patchbay tab of the WaveCenter/PCI control panel and route the S/PDIF inputs to the desired (optical or coax) outputs.
Can I use an IDE (ATAPI) hard drive with WaveCenter/PCI?
Yes. If you hear audible noise during playback and are using an IDE (ATAPI) hard drive, check to make sure that DMA is enabled for that drive. You can check by going to the Device Manager (Start->Settings->Control Panel->System->Device Manager), clicking the "+" next to "Disk Drives", double-clicking on the listing for the hard drive in question, going to the "Settings" tab, and making sure that "DMA" is checked under Options. You'll need to reboot for this change to take effect.