Tango24 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I buy a Tango24?
  2. Why should I use ADAT lightpipe? I don't have an ADAT.
  3. Why use external converters?
  4. Will Tango24 work with audio programs that don't support 24-bit data?
  5. What are Tango24's clock-source options?
  6. What do the front panel indicators do?
  7. How does the metering work?
  8. What soundcards and equipment does Tango24 work with?
  9. How many Tango24s can I use at once?
  10. Can I use Tango24 to improve the sound of my original ADAT?
  11. How does Tango24's sound quality compare to the ADAT-XT's?
  12. How do I set the input and output levels?
  13. What is the ADAT Thru connector for?

How do I buy a Tango24?

As of November 2006, Tango24 is no longer in production, and no longer available from Frontier Design Group. However, we continue to provide support for this product.


Why should I use ADAT lightpipe? I don't have an ADAT.

The ADAT optical digital audio format is an industry-standard interface for multichannel audio. Originally developed by Alesis Corporation, the ADAT interface transmits 8 channels of digital audio optically (not electrically), preventing ground loops in your studio setup. You can run optical cables up to 10 meters (33 feet) long, creating flexibility in your studio layout ó now your A/D and D/A converters can be mounted in a rack, far away from the noises in your PC. Youíll find the ADAT Optical Digital Interface on the original Alesis ADAT and the Fostex RD-8, as well as on the more recent ADAT-compatible tape machines ó the Panasonic MDA-1, the Fostex CX-8, the Alesis ADAT-XT and M20, and the Studer V8. Beyond these "modular digital multitracks," you can find the ADAT optical connector on digital mixers such as the Yamaha O2R and O3D, in addition to signal processors, keyboards, and digital format converters. Of course, youíll also find it on Frontier Design Group sound cards and converters..

Alesis Corporation publishes a booklet that includes feature lists and information about ADAT-compatible products available from a variety of hardware and software manufacturers. To obtain a copy of this ADAT Group Product Guide, you can contact Alesis Corporation at 310-841-2272 (http://www.alesis.com)


Why use external converters?

In the past, many PC users have been frustrated with the poor audio performance typical of soundcards. Even cards that use good components and circuit-board design techniques are not immune from the noise sources found in the typical PC. Complaints range from pop and clicks associated with hard disk drive head movements to high-pitched tones from a graphics card, disk controller, or other high-speed digital logic.

Tango24, along with an ADAT digital I/O card such as Dakota or WaveCenter, eliminates these problems and lets you concentrate on what's important: your audio! By optically isolating the audio A/D and D/A converters from the PC chassis, and by powering the sensitive analog circuitry with a separate power supply, Tango24's 24-bit A/D's and D/A's won't be undermined by noise and hash coming from a computer that was never meant to be kind to sensitive audio signals.

Another advantage is that with the ADAT optical lightpipe, you can locate your converters up to 10 meters (33 ft) from the computer. Other products limit you to just a few feet of cable, making studio setup inconvenient, and not providing enough distance from the fan noise produced by your computer.


Will Tango24 work with audio programs that don't support 24-bit data?

Tango24 always provides 24-bit data from its A/D converters, and uses 24 bits of output data for D/A conversion. This means that an audio program running on the PC which only handles 16-bit data will work, and an audio editing program that supports I/O at higher resolutions can use full Tango24 precision. Since there are 8 bits to a byte, the next logical sound file resolution is 24 bits. SAWPro, Cakewalk Pro Audio, Samplitude Studio, Cool Edit Pro, and Steinberg's Cubase VST and WaveLab support 24 bit audio storage today, and more manufacturers will be adding support for it over the coming months.


What are Tango24's clock-source options?

Tango24's clocking options are flexible to meet a wide variety of studio applications. Tango24 has internal clock sources at the industry standard rates, 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. The sample rate may also be derived from the incoming ADAT lightpipe signal. Finally, for flexibility in larger studios, wordclock I/O is provided so that multiple units can be locked together using standard BNC cables.


What do the front panel indicators do?

In addition to the input/output metering LED's (see next question), Tango24 has 3 LED's on its front panel which indicate power, clock status, and optical input lock.


How does the metering work?

Tango24 has eight sets of LED meters, which are switchable between input-metering and output-metering modes. The LED's indicate:

  1. Signal present (40 dB below full-scale)
  2. Warning (3 dB below full-scale)
  3. Clipping (signal is outside analog input range)


What soundcards and equipment does Tango24 work with?

Of course, Tango24 works great with Dakota and WaveCenter, our acclaimed digital I/O cards for the PC. It's also compatible with other soundcards, ADATs, digital mixers, and any other equipment based on the ADAT digital I/O interface.


How many Tango24s can I use at once?

If your computer interface is a WaveCenter/PCI, you can connect one Tango24 for eight channels of analog audio I/O. With a single Dakota card, you can connect two Tango24s for 16 channels of analog I/O. And yes, with a Dakota+Montana system, four Tango24s will provide 32 great-sounding channels of analog audio in and out of your computer.

You can also use multiple Tango24s with other systems that support ADAT Optical as their digital interface. Digidesign's 001, digital mixers from companies like Yamaha and TASCAM, and other gear that incorporates ADAT optical can all benefit from Tango24's powerful, high-quality external A/D and D/A converters.


Can I use Tango24 to improve the sound of my original ADAT?

Tango24's 24-bit delta-sigma converters provide much better-sounding A/D and D/A conversion than the original ADAT. To use Tango24's D/A converters with your ADAT, simply hook up an optical cable from the ADAT's optical output to Tango24's optical input.

You can also use Tango24's A/D converters to improve the sound of the original ADAT. Simply set Tango24's clock source to 48 kHz Internal, and turn on the ADAT's Digital Input switch.Connect an optical cable from Tango24's lightpipe output to the ADAT's lightpipe input, and start tracking!


How does Tango24's sound quality compare to the ADAT-XT's?

The ADAT XT is an excellent sounding digital audio recorder, with 18-bit A/D's and 20-bit D/A's. However, only 16 bits are recorded on tape, and 16 bits are transmitted and received on the ADAT optical lightpipe interface. Tango24, on the other hand, provides 24 bits of resolution on the lightpipe, resulting in cleaner reverb tails and better sonic definition. Careful listening tests reveal that audio program material that fades down into (and even below) the noise floor retains its character, and doesn't "break up."


How do I set the input and output levels?

Tango24 is preset at the factory for +4dBu audio signal levels, but each input and output channel on Tango24 can be programmed to either -10dBV or +4dBu. All it takes is moving a single jumper inside the box.


What is the ADAT Thru connector for?

Similar to the MIDI Thru connector on a synthesizer, the ADAT Thru connector on Tango24 provides a buffered copy of the signal presented to the ADAT Input connector. You can use this connector to chain data coming from your computer back to an ADAT tape machine. That way, audio coming from the computer's ADAT output will be converted back to analog by Tango24 or can be transferred back to the ADAT for archiving without recabling.


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