Behringer ADA8000

Even in the music business I learn something new every day. I always knew I could add more inputs to my old Motu 828 via the ADAT interface but I never really looked into exactly how to do it. In fact, it’s been something that’s been nagging me recently because I like many people are getting more and more back into hardware. In addition, with Ableton Live’s wonderful External Instrument device and routing it’s really easy to integrate hardware synths and even hardware effects units into your workflow. I looked at what RME was recommending. They said go for their ADI-8. The problem is that’s a $2600 unit. I posted over at Gearslutz and expected more expensive answers but low and behold it seems an old Behringer ADA8000 will do the trick easily. Maybe I am being captain obvious today but I am pleased. The ADA800 is about $200. Sound on Sound Magazine gave it a good review (link). So anyone using one of these? Or do you all recommend something else?

“In my own studio, I plan to use an ADA8000 to utilise the ADAT input port on my MOTU 828 interface, so that I can have access to more mic and line inputs over and above the existing analogue inputs. The tests I’ve done so far confirm that this works perfectly, with no fuss, provided that you remember to set the 828 to its ADAT optical sync mode.” – Sound on Sound

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

19 thoughts on “Behringer ADA8000”

  1. That was a catch. Even SoS liked this unit. I don’t have enough HW gear to justify something like this, but my thinking was always that if I needed more inputs I would hook a 12-channel mixer with good quality between.

  2. I’ve been using two units for a couple of months now, and they’re great! Never had any problems with them, they’re both hooked up to a MOTU 828 MkIII.

    In my configuration I had to make sure that MOTU and ‘unit A’ get their clock from ‘unit B’ otherwise I get strange (not in a good way) noises, but as soon that I got everything up and running, it all behaves perfectly stable. Incredible value for money!

    1. O dear, I wish I had read your post before buying my new setup (to play back 24chn audio works). Motu 828Mklll, and 2x behrimger ADA8000’s. The unit fed by the Mtou’s opticalA works fine, but the one feeding off the opticalB output ‘goes to sleep’ just as you say. It is easy to miss at first, but becomes a real problem with short duration files, separated by silence.

  3. incidentally watch out for newer units if you’re going to be using this as an adat output device. the dac goes into a sleep mode after a couple seconds or so of silence and takes around half a second to ramp back on after signal reappears. it’s super annoying and the only workaround is to add some very low volume noise to your signal.

  4. We used a Presonus DigiMax 8 for a long time into a MOTU Traveller. It was very good for a lower price unit. Admittedly it’s about $400 … more than the Behringer I know …. but Presonus does have good support and people on the phone you can talk to!

    I have limited Behringer gear experience … it can’t be beat price wise, but it is cheaper in other ways too!


  5. yeah wish my motu ultralite had adat, I’ve been considering grabbing an old 828 and the ADA8000 combo for a while now, but went down the multichannel mixer path instead. Might revisit these options again . cheers

  6. I don’t know the unit, but I have had some Behringer Stuff in the past.
    I know, Behringer has sort of a bad name, when it comes to quality, infact, you’re always gonna find some a**h*le who never produced a track but thinks he needs to tell you, that the gear sucks.
    But well, I used a Behringer mixer for live, cause I was scared for my Mackie. Aside of the bad name of Behringer my experience is, that the bad quality part is true in terms of things breaking. I had to return my first mixer a couple of times, till I finally got a new one which worked fine.
    I think the risk with Behringer is, that your unit might suck. If you are lucky and catch a unit that is healthy, than you are gonna have a lot of fun for little money.

  7. I’ve got an Alesis AI3 which I picked up for £80 second hand, and does the same thing as the ADA8000, with reputedly better convertors. works a treat

  8. I have one of these – have used it to provide 8 channel XLR inputs to my M-Audio FW1814. Works fine. One little catch – the outputs on the back of the unit are not simply “pass through” of the front inputs. These are outputs from the ADAT Input signal. This is mentioned in the SoS review, but bears repeating. It would have been lovely to have this feature since it would have opened up monitoring possibilities while recording. Still, for the price it’s a good ‘un.

  9. I’ve had good luck pairing this with my RME Fireface 800 and its was an unbelievably easy way to substantially increase the value of my live rig. I passed on the Presonus Digimax because it’s AD only (right?). I’m using the Behringer primarily for DA but I’ve been happy with both the recording and playback I’ve done in live setups. Watch our for the sleep issue as lukem says — I lost a few hours troubleshooting a 16ch playback rig in the first week.

    If I were going to spend big money, I’m more likely to spend it on a digital mixer with ADAT than to spend it on AD/DA alone. I’ve no doubt the ADI-8 ($1900) sounds better than the Behringer, but I would wonder how much better it sounds than I mixer I can get for 2-3k.

    Shopping budget and nice for rack, I also looked at Aphex Systems 141 and 142 ( 1/2 rack units.

  10. Think of your ADAT lightpipe inputs as giving you the ability to create a custom headless virtual mixing console with modular components of various type and manufacturer. We all likely have decent control surfaces for managing the software mix, so what’s really needed are high quality inputs, preamps and compression circuits. This is a smarter and more cost effective long term approach than buying a huge monolithic mixer no matter how good, like a Yamaha 02R series. My thought is grab some tube PREs & solid state PREs to give you 24 digital inputs of various creative flavors:

    Behringer ada800 = 8 XLR clean PREs
    ART TubeOpto 8 = 8 XLR warm, fuzzy, dirty, overdriven tube PREs
    Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic = 8 XLR Focusrite PREs w/ solid state compression

    you get the picture. Using this modular digital headless console approach, you get to design your own megastudio, and keep it digital. With 24 channels of XLR digital inputs your MOTU 828 could become a dedicated Volta box that just aggregates the other inputs. Anyway, there is so much tech these days, that there are tons of underexploited uses for even existing gear is the main point.

  11. Personally, I do this using an old motu 2408. A friend had one but no longer had the pci card. Turns out I can put it in stand alone mode and it will output all it’s ins to the lightpipe. Works great and the 2408s seem to be selling for near zero these days.

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