Cabling an RME AE8-O to poweramps - help!



I've just picked up an RME DIGI 9636 with AEB8-O and am hoping to get cables made up for it to feed my poweramps directly for a 5.1 setup (hopefully going 7.1 when theatertek supports it).

I was wondering how the cabling on this goes, four of the channels is easy I guess 1/4" TRS jack to dual phonos, but what about the LFE. On my m-audio revolution the centre and sub channels share a socket, is this true of the RME? Will I need to get a cable with an subwoofer cable and a standard audio cable built into the same jack? I'm a bit tempted to use an adaptor on that channel as the sub cable is the most expensive - in case I have to reuse it.

What do you think?


I'm looking to go down this route with a 9632 look forward to see how you get on, this maybe of help .
Owain Thomas I think has done this might be worth a PM
at a guess, just use one of the 1/4 jack outputs as you usally would.

I don't have the same expansion board as you (I use a 4 channel AO4S) but as I understand it the 1/4" TRS jacks on yours are stereo. If this is correct then your assumption is right and you may well prefer to use adapters plugged into the board, followed by good quality audio cables (traditional phono-phono ones).

I'm not sure how easy it would be to get good quality analogue cables made to the spec you'd need, for example I don't think that the stuff mark grant makes can be squeezed into a single TRS jack - a single line out of each TRS works fine, but two out of each, I'm not so sure.
hi there, I have rme cards and I've been talking to mark grant about making up specail cables for us rme lot. Give him a pm and I'm sure he'll sort you out.

I also use madnat connections so I can run my unbalanced cables over cat5 (good for long runs).

I've already talked to Mark about this - that's where the question comes from. It looks like he can make up cables for the normal channels, I'm just wondering about the sub connection. I'm going to pick up the card tonight anyway and I've got some adaptors already, so I can probably try it out over the weekend.


I've already talked to Mark about this - that's where the question comes from. It looks like he can make up cables for the normal channels, I'm just wondering about the sub connection.

I'm not sure what it is you're wondering then. If mark can make TRS-to-2 phono lead then I'm sure he can use sub cable for one and normal analogue cable for the other. you just need to find out which connector (tip or ring) is the sub one and let him know (test this with a cheap maplins cable/adapter to be sure). certainly adapters would give you more flexibility in the future but custom cables should be better in terms of sound quality.

"you just need to find out which connector (tip or ring) is the sub one and let him know" - that's basically the problem, which channel is the sub on these cards? or whether it's user definable, so I could have it on it's own socket if the sub cable is too thick.

I was hoping that someone had an aeb8-0 and would just say - oh, output 6. It's no hassle, I can work it out I was just hoping to order the cables in advance.


riiiiiiight, now I get what you mean :) I've had a bit of a think about it and I don't think it matters all that much:

you can use the matrix software with your RME to set which channel goes to which output. for example I feed the stereo signal from my sky digibox into the RME's analogue1+2 inputs. I then route it like this:

input 1 - output 1 (left front)
input 2 - output 2 (right front)
input 1+2 -output 3 (centre)

This gives me a sort of "pseudo-prologic" effect and means that my centre channel is used as well. I tried various options (including routing the L channel to the rear L output) but this one sounded best.

What this means is that you can output your sub info from any of the inputs you like, since you have the AEB8 then I suppose you have the option to have the bass coming out of an unused output socket.

How about this as a solution:

for now TT can only do 5.1 - 6 channels in total. Get 4 TRS to single phonos made up, just connect, say, the "tip" on each of them to the signal pin of the phono. you'll also want a pair of phono-phono cables (to go from the main L+R outputs of the RME - on the breakout cable from the main card).

You could then setup the RME to output L+R from the main card and one channel each from the 4 outputs of the daughter card - you'd be leaving one channel empty per stereo pair on the daughter card, if that makes sense.

If/when TT supports 8 (7.1) channel you could output, say, L+R from the main card, 2 channels from the first daughter-card output, 2 from the second, centre from the 3rd and sub from the fourth. this would mean getting mark to re-terminate the cables for you but that doesn't cost as much as buying them from new.

As a side note I'm not sure if there are any definite plans to make TT 8 channel at present, so this may not be a consideration for some time yet.

HTH (and that I haven't just made the issue all the more confusing!)


PS - have you had a play with the RME and the daughter card yet? have a look at the matrix thingy and you'll see what I mean about it.

That's great, very helpful, I had a suspicion that something like the channel mapping would be possible. The 9636 is digital only, so I'm limited to the four ports, but I'm not holding my breath for the 7.1 tt upgrade so I may split the centre and sub onto seperate ports. I'll talk to Mark and see what's feasabile in terms of cable.

At least I know that it doesn't really matter what channel the LFE is on when I have the cables made up if i can swap them round.

I'm only picking up the card tonight (ebay purchase) but I'll get it into a PC to have a fiddle asap.


Ok, I've got all the cables, wired it up to my poweramps and IT'S REALLY LOUD, like quickly flick the power off loud. A pair of 20dB Rothwell attenuators later, it's still a bit loud, but bearable.

Playing a track through foobar the sounds starts fine but within a few seconds is crackling badly. No Sound though theatertek. Hmmm.

Is there anyway of having a system wide volume control or do I have to set volume in the apps?
I'd guess there's a volume control somewhere in the card driver, sounds like you're not using this the way things are configured..

With both of my MAudio cards, the default setting was -0Db, which pushes everything out as loud as your power amps will go... sounds like this is what you are getting :devil:

Have a look around in the driver setup, and see what you can find... Owain & co will be able to help much more obviously...

Theatertek..... what is set as the output device in Theatertek? it might be set to 'default directsound device' which may need tweaking a bit to use your RME driver properly... again, Owain is your man for this as he's using HDSP9632, multichannel analog, and TheaterTek IIRC.. :)
hi spamboy,

the volume control for RMEs is not that easy to use but can certainly be done on a system wide basis. open up the hammerfall control panel and you'll see a layout of the input and ooutput channels. you can link channels together so that you can raise or lower their volumes as a whole. I'd suggest you link all six of the channels you are using and drop them RIGHT down, putting them through at 0dB is likely to damage you/your kit.

you can use the buttons on the right of the control panel to setup some presets for volume conditions, you can do as many as 8 IIRC, these can also be selected via keyboard shortcuts. It will depend on you power amps/speakers but you will likely never need to get anywhere near 0dB. When I had a go at this I set the volume to the maximum I would ever realistically want it to be and worked out 8 steps in equal proportions between there and maximum attenuation. this gives a reasonable set of volumes to step through but fine tuning may be required with the mouse when listening to specific music/films.

as far as the foobar problem goes I'm a bit puzzled. what output are you using? try the ASIO one as this works best for me.

as for theatertek you need to set it to multichannel output and RME 96321+2 (from memory). this should work fine.

You can use volume control on a per application basis if this suits you better, it just comes down to what works best for you (and how you control your system the majority of the time - keyboard/mouse or IR?).

HTH, let me knwo if thats just made things worse!
In foobar set "show clipping warnings" I had mine set @ 0db in foobar volume control and only realised I was overloading my amp when this was ticked.
Now set @-10db in foobar and -10dbv in dsp settings,no clipping and now use the software volume control in the mixer,sounds much better.
Right. After some fiddling about it's working!

I set multichannel and default directout in theatertek (with the rme set as default in audio properties) all the channel volume sliders at minimum.

I closed down all other programs and foobar stopped misbehaving.

The sound quality is amazing. Foobar with music sounds better than anything I've heard on my own systems (and this is my home cinema system I'm playing it through).

Movie soundtracks are excellent too.

Thanks for everyone's help (esp. Owain). It was well worth it, I'm extremely happy.

Unfortunatly the digi 9636 doesn't seem to have a funky mixer app like the newer cards, so volume control is still a problem (although only to my neighbours :devil: )

I'm looking forward to putting a pc together for music playback through my main system next...
forgot to say earlier, turn all windows sounds off, that will help with avoiding crackles and pops when using the RME cards.

glad its all working right. does the 9636 have the matrix app I was talking about before?
Only the HDSP series have the mixer/matrix app.
After some more fiddling...

I've upgraded to theatertek 2.2 and that gives me volume control for dvd's (although it's stuttering slightly, grrr), divx etc invokes different codecs which don't use the tt volume control, but I've got ffdshow installed which seems to intercept these. The audio side of that has a volume control that works.

It still crackles occasionally with certain content (dvd's seem fine, divx more variable) I had system sounds turned off already, I've got 20-30dB of attenuation on all the apps, don't want system sounds at full volume. I will probably put some rothwell attenuators on at some stage. I've been planning a reinstall on this pc for a while, it seems a bit slow for it's spec, that might help too.

btw. I've already got the output set to the lower level, it's set using jumpers on the aeb8-o.

So it's a bit fiddly, but it works. I'd love to have volume control on the card, the 96/8 PAD and the HDSP 9632 have options to do this, but this card doesn't seem to. That said, I got the card and the aeb8-o for 125 quid, so I can't compain. Best value upgrade ever, I'd say. Oh and if you're looking to do this, buy Mark Grant's cables, they're great and he's been extremely helpful.

Anyone want to buy a revo ;)
Right, quick update. A couple of days of happiness. Sound quality in stereo is amazing, surround great too... untill I tried to play divx's, terrible cracking, jumpy video.

I've tried various codec, ffdshow, reclock, then a total XP reinstall all to no effect (although tt2.2 no longer stutters)

Ah well, so I decided to try to compare the stereo quality of the rme to tne emu, moved the pc over to the other side of the room where the stereo amp is and the sound stopped working. The aeb8-o card now shows an error light that indicates that it's not connected over adat. arghhhhh. Lots of fiddling later, no joy, I think something's died.

Oh, the joys of htpc...

I've now got a dilemma, the sound was fantastic for a brief while although the divx thing is a bit of a showstopper, so I'm tempted to buy more RME kit (maybe something newer), but it was a major PITA to setup and died on me. hmmm.
hi spamboy,

bad luck on all of that mate :( don't you just hate it when one problem with a PC seems to end up spewing forth a ton more.

I'll have a go with some DIVX files later and let you know if they work ok or not. what media player were you using? still TT2.2?

Personally I'd recommend sticking with the RME idea, I agree its a bit of a pain to get up and running but mine has been perfect for a good amount of time now with no maintenance whatsoever.

If you do go for more up to date RME kit you'll find the control panel of the 9632 and the matrix very easy to use so this may ease some of your setup worries.

good luck
I'm using windows media player for divx, but tried tt too. The ones I'm looking at were using the xvid codec.

I'm half tempted to buy the mediabay for the emu (which does sound good btw), which will give me 8 channels and then get another aeb8-0 or a 9632 for my stereo system. A 9632 plus the new 8 channel card looks like quite an expensive option. Hmmm. It's a shame I don't know which bit has died, but I think it's the expansion card, the power connector that came with it was a bit dodgy and it was getting power intermittently, I think that could have caused the problem, either that or the adat cable, will try to get a spare to test.
just a quick update, I've tried a few Divx/xvid files through TT and they played fine, no jumps or crackles at all. keep plugging away I'm sure you'll get there in the end!

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