Interfacing Linux: Yamaha AD8HR

In 2004 Yamaha debuted the AD8HR AD Converter. The 8-channel AD8HR provides head amplifier circuitry inherited from the acclaimed Yamaha PM5000 analog mixing console and supports sampling rates of up to 96kHz. Up to 255 of these chonky blue boys can be daisy-chained together using a standard 9-pin RS422 and provide digital out via AES/EBU. All this could be had for the low low MSRP of $2,200. While that might sound pricey it was a bargain compared to offerings from Aphex, Grace, Rocknet and others.

In 2021 you can yoink a used AD8HR for a under $300 and that got me thinking. Can I find a way to get it working with Linux for under a $1000? This is my story.

Yamaha AD8HR (eBay)
RME HDSP 9632 (eBay)
Twinkle Bay DB25 (Amazon)
Twinkle Bay DB9 (Amazon)

Business end:

DB25 / DB9 wiring:

Wiring diagram: In this configuration we’re able to get two channels in/out from the AD8HR. The two channels in are used for clocking.


Yamaha AD8HR:

RME HDSP 9632:

General specifications:

Internal processing 32bit
Sampling frequency rate Internal “44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz “
External 44.1kHz/88.2kHz (-10%) – 48kHz/96kHz (+6%)
Total harmonic distortion Less than 0.01% (20Hz-40kHz)
Frequency response 0, +1, -1.5dB 20Hz-40kHz
Dynamic range AD+DA: 110dB (Use DA824 for output)
Hum & noise level Equivalent input noise -128dBu (Use DA824 for output)
Crosstalk -80dBu
Power requirements Depend on area of purchase; AC100V, 120V or 220-240V; 50/60Hz
Power consumption 35 W
Dimensions W 480mm; 18-7/8in
H 45mm; 1-3/4in (1U)
D 383.5mm; 15-1/8
Net weight 5kg; 11lbs
Accessories Owner’s manual, AC Cable, 4x Rubber Foot


There’s no kill like overkill and the Yamaha AD8HR is exactly that for my little studio. It’s genuinely in a different league compared to my Golden Age, Focusrite, Presonus, ART, Apogee, and MOTU preamps. If you’re comfortable Macgyvering cables and have an interface that accepts AES/EBU it’s an absolute steal at $200.

Now get out there and make something awesome.

Yamaha AD8HR

6 out of 10
Works out of the box
1 out of 10
Ease of setup
6 out of 10
10 out of 10
7 out of 10


Eight preamps.

-63 dB gain.

Banked phantom power.

High Pass filter.


No combo jacks.

No analogue outputs.

Extremely blue.

AES/EBU only.


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