HOW TO use multiple Blackmagic-Design cards in one Mac for multichannel input or output ?


Which Blackmagic-Design card can you use for multiple in/out ?

Most Blackmagic-Design card only have one input and one output, even though some have multiple connectors such as the Decklink Extreme 4K. 

These cards only have a single video input signal or a single video output signal. It is also important to note that your card will be either in input mode OR in output mode and thus you can not use one card to both ingest and playout at the same time, except if it's a card with multiple in/outs such as the Decklink Duo (2 independent inputs or outputs) or the Decklink Quad (4 independent inputs or outputs). These 2 cards only have SDI embedded audio.

This is somewhat confusing because a look at these cards reveals that these cards have two different SDI inputs and two different SDI outputs. However, these inputs and outputs are not independent. It is important to note that these are either: 1. mirrored outputs (e.g. to send the SDI output to two different destinations), 2. Dual Link 4444 outputs (as per SMTPE – RP-175-1993) or 3. left-eye, right-eye outputs for 3D viewing.

Softron users who need multiple inputs or multiple outputs can use these cards providing that they have slots in their computer to accommodate them. If the computer system does not have the available slot space available the user can use one of the multi-channel I/O cards available from Blackmagic Design

Read here more info on how to do multiple in/out on one single card.


Can I do multi in/out with Thunderbolt devices ?

The Blackmagic-Design Thunderbolt devices only have one Thunderbolt port. Which means you can not daisy chain them. However you can :

  • use a Mac with multiple Thunderbolt ports (some MacBook Pros have 2 Thunderbolt ports)
  • use an expansion chassis (from Sonnett for example) and stick  a Decklink Duo or Quad inside which will then allow you to have multiple in/out with one single Thunderbolt port.


How to set up your Blackmagic-Design cards ?

Note that unlike with AJA cards where you need to go in the AJA Control Panel to select which card you want to use with your Softron software, with Blackmagic-Design cards, there is nothing to be done, all the inputs and outputs will be directly available from the preferences of your Softron application. Note the example of OnTheAir Node with a Decklink Quad card installed, all the 4 outputs are available:


But if you need to change the downconversion or disable the "Remove field jitter when paused" option (very important for all our playout solutions), you can go to the System Preferences > Blackmagic-Design preference pane.

On the top of the pane, you will be able to select which card you want to setup (example here with one Decklink HD Extreme 3D+ installed and a Decklink Quad where the 4 in/out are independently configurable:


Once you have selected the card you want to configure, you can change all its settings.

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