The proliferation of new Digilink compatible interfaces which have been made available since Avid embraced third party HD interfaces and introduced the Digilink Licence in Pro Tools 12.6 have proved very popular and an inevitable consequence of this has been a surplus of second-hand Avid IOs available for purchase.
Pro Tools I/O Is Only For Pro Tools Isn't It?
Conventional wisdom suggests that there is only as much demand for Digilink only I/O boxes as there are available HD, HD Native and HDX systems to pair them with but as this video from our friends at DiGiGrid points out, using a DiGiGrid DLI or DLS as a Digilink bridge is is possible to use Digilink only interfaces on any DAW using Soundgrid Studio to interface between the DAW and the Digilink equipped I/O.
This is an interesting idea as there are lots of grey-fronted HD I/Os available on auction sites, typically around half price for what appears to be a brand new unit and if you want to buy an old blue and silver 192 then these can be bought for as little as 10% of the cost of a new 8x8x8 HD IO.
Up To 64 I/O Unless You Are Using Software-Only Pro Tools
Of course people running Pro Tools in this way will still be limited by the 32 IO limit imposed on non-hardware HD systems, even more frustrating if you are running Avid I/Os but this configuration from Pro Tools' perspective is a Core Audio configuration as the software is "seeing" Soundgrid Studio, not the Avid hardware as there is no HDX card or HD Native card installed. However, if you are using another DAW you can run up to 64 channels of IO.
If you use a DiGiGrid DLS in place of the DLI, you get the same Digilink bridging capability, allowing you to use Digilink hardware with Soundgrid Studio but with the added capability of running a plug-in server in exactly the same way as the DiGiGrid IOS so you can run Soundgrid compatible plug-ins from Waves and third parties such as Flux, Plugin Alliance and Sonnox.
Does this idea appeal to you? Have you tried it? Let us know in the comments below.