Ferrofish A32 MADI
This Ferrofish A32 is used. There is some 'rack-rash' but the front and rear of the unit are in fine condition.
The A32 has grown naturally from the success of the A16, and offers double the analogue inputs and outputs.
The 32 analogue I/O can all be routed between 64 MADI and 32 ADAT digital I/O in a fully assignable way, and the headphone monitoring facility allows the user to check any individual or stereo pair of channels, or any of seven headphone mixes of any channel combinations.
The A32 is surprisingly easy to set up and control using just a rotary encoder knob and a couple of buttons, working in concert with a quartet of crisp colour TFT screens.
The A32 has 25-pin AES59 (Tascam D-sub) sockets. As each socket carries eight balanced inputs or outputs, eight sockets are provided in two rows of four.
The ADAT I/O are presented on four pairs of F05 ‘lightpipe’ sockets, with the inputs and outputs distinguished by coloured ‘dust-doors’ (black for inputs, white for outputs). The S/MUX2 protocol allows ADAT operation of 16 channels at double sample rates, but quad sample rates aren’t supported over ADAT — these optical ports are all turned off automatically when operating at 176.4 or 192 kHz. The fourth pair of ADAT connectors (channels 25-32) can be reconfigured via the unit’s operating system to accommodate a stereo optical S/PDIF signal, and an automatic sample-rate converter then becomes available to accommodate a non-synchronous or different sample-rate input signal.
MADI connectivity is catered for by both dual BNC sockets and a duplex SC-Plug, for multimode optical fibres. The A32 also has various automatic switchover modes to support redundant backup connection configurations. A second pair of BNC sockets accepts an external word-clock input and provides a clock output, and firmware updates can be delivered via a USB B-type port.MIDI control and transport is catered for with a pair of five-pin DIN sockets, as well as the MIDI-over-MADI format, and there are options to route MIDI signals between them.
The Ferrofish A32 ships with an external universal line-lump power unit (providing 3A at 12V DC, and accepting AC mains between 100 and 240 Volts). The coaxial DC connector is a secure, stable and reliable screw-locking type; and second, there are two DC power inlet sockets, allowing a second PSU (not included) to be attached, to create a dual-redundant power source — a very useful feature for live sound or broadcast!
A wise precaution, given the amount of audio connectivity, is that each power supply is a Class-2 (double insulated) type, using a two-core C7/C8 (figure-of-eight style) mains cable connector, neatly avoiding any risk of creating a ground loop via the mains safety earth (although the possibility naturally remains via the case grounding through the rack, of course).
On the front panel, there’s little to describe. A lone headphone socket sits on the left, and the centre is dominated by four, square-ish, colour TFT screens. The default display provides the analogue input signal levels on the two left screens, with 16 channels on each, while the two right screens carry 16-channel blocks of bar-graph meters for the analogue output channels. All four screens carry various status labels along the bottom, indicating the clock source, sample rate, and which digital inputs are active. Various other display modes re-allocate these screens to show things like digital signal levels, I/O routing, headphone mixes, and all the usual setup and configuration menus.
To the right of the displays are a rotary encoder labelled Select, and Menu and Power buttons— the last serves both as a ‘Home’ button when navigating the menus, and switches the unit in and out of standby. There’s no mains-isolator function because of the external line-lump power supply. A white LED near the power button illuminates when the unit’s powered up.
When the default analogue meter screens are displayed, the Select encoder governs the headphone level, and a headphone volume display and meter instantly appear on the right-most screen. The two left-hand screens are then re-purposed to display all 32 input and output channels, while the other right-hand display provides a useful ‘help’ screen, with information about the control functions available in this menu mode.
While the headphone screen is shown, pressing the Menu button selects either the monitoring source or the channel number, and the encoder knob can be used to change the selection. Source options include analogue input, analogue output, MADI in, MADI out, ADAT in, ADAT out, and Mix 1-7. The channel numbers can be selected individually or in pairs, while the Mix 1-7 options select previously user-configured mixes (stored as presets) of any or all source channels. A brief press of the Power button exits the headphone menu.