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8351 - analog vs. digital, difference in sound qual? Best usb audio interf?

soundman23, modified 5 Years ago.

8351 - analog vs. digital, difference in sound qual? Best usb audio interf?

Youngling Posts: 1 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts

I just purchased pair of Genelec 8351s and my main use will be Ableton Live and Djay Pro softwares on MacBook Air + MacBook Pro 17". I've been trying to figure it which USB audio interface would be the best for my needs - RME Babyface Pro ( ) seems to have everything what I would like to have, except AES/EBU connection. It does have S/PDIF I/O and ADAT I/O though. I found at least one USB audio interface in this price range called Yellowtec PUC2 ( ) which has AES/EBU connection, but it lacks quite a few other things what Babyface Pro has. I've done a lot of research on this subject of analog vs. digital, but not really got the clear answer - is it really the case that digital connection will give me much better sound quality than the analog connection? Is it super important to use the AES/EBU connection instead of analog XLR as I've already spent quite a lot on my sound gear? What about using Babyface Pro's  S/PDIF connection through some converter, would I get more or less the same quality as AES/EBU connection with that? Am I totally missing the true pontetial of the mighty 8351s if I would use the analog connection instead of the digital one? How important is the quality of the cables, is that more important than digital vs. analog aspect?

Thank you so much for all your help! :)

daiyama, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: 8351 - analog vs. digital, difference in sound qual? Best usb audio int

Padawan Posts: 73 Join Date: 1/4/16 Recent Posts

If you would miss a lot Genelec probably would not have given the 8351 an analog input. ;-)

So I think you will not miss the true potential of the 8351. The true potential is its 3 way coax design in combination with the wave guide and the GLM calibration software. All these advantages you will have also with analog input and personnaly I do not worry about cables at all but others swear that expensive cables are better than cheap ones.

thebuckness808, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: 8351 - analog vs. digital, difference in sound qual? Best usb audio int

Youngling Posts: 0 Join Date: 12/25/21 Recent Posts

I am just going to chime in here and hopefully help someone else who reads this.

Analog vs digital inputs: Depends really more on the interface. My Lynx E44 sounds fairly the same with Analog/Digital. My BLA Revolution 2x2 Sounds fairly the same with Analog/Digital.


Both interfaces compared to Digital vs Digital comapred to each other. Miles different. Lynx is Smokin Joe Frazier good. 


I went from RCA/SPDIF to AES/XLR 75ohm to 125 ohm using an impedance matching unit. From what I understand, probably wasn't necessary, it's recommended when using long lengths. 

Cables do matter, but not really so much with the Genelecs. In my experience with 10+ pairs of various grade loudspeakers (usually 3 way active speakers) over the past couple years alone, cables do make a difference. Yet again, these Genelecs will spit out fire with anything you throw at it given the quality of the loudspeaker as a whole, however, in my experience cabling makes a "difference" and the interface DEFINITELY makes a difference. Getting a better than good interface will definitely allow these puppies to sing.

Regarding your question on SPDIF vs AES, if an interface has both digital output connections, that would be the tell tale way to really test the quality of the connections, then again, you're breaking the current flow with an impedance matcher when using SPDIF 75ohm and there will be voltage drops and again depending on length this may vary on outcome from use case. 

If you are asking this question of AES VS SPDIF regarding two completely different interfaces, you are now comparing the clock quality from two entirely different circuits. This is not a test of "AES vs SPDIF" but the desirability of the sound coming from the interface. 


The conversion of A/D/A in the Genelecs are very smooth and really depends on the clock of your interface of how it will actually sound.