Avid S3L and 3rd-party AVB Devices

This article describes how to connect and use MOTU AVB audio interfaces with the Avid S3L-X console.

[Update: 2021-03-22] I recently released a video on YouTube that demonstrates this. See my [Vlog] HOWTO Connect a MOTU AVB Device to the Avid S3L blog entry for more information.

For years, I have wanted to connect my MOTU AVB audio interfaces to my Avid S3L console, but have had no luck. After recently finding some information on the internets, I’ve found a way to reconfigure the S3L to talk using 8-channel AVB streams, which my MOTU devices require, and with some effort I now have bi-directional audio working!!

I’ve written up a document, and shared it as a public Google doc. I’ll eventually write it up here, but don’t feel like messing with WordPress right now.

Avid S3L-X and 3rd Party AVB (a Google Doc)

I’ve also started collecting data as I discover it in a wiki (https://wiki.forestent.com/Avid_S3L).

I look forward to any feedback!!


  1. Hello! I was wondering if you can use a Presonus SW5E to be able to record multitrack on 2 or more different computers from an Avid S3LX console? Thanks for your advice!

    1. (Replying with the answer I gave Israel via email.)

      It is possible, yes, but requires jumping through some hoops. I’ve tested this with the Presonus SW5E and know it works. Make sure to connect to the 3rd port as it does not work on the 1st or 2nd AVB port.

      I have a document that I was working through for documenting the process that includes working for the MOTU devices I have. You can ignore the XML changes necessary for the S3L in the doc, but look instead at using the `avbutil` command (specifically the AVDECC controller) of macOS to establish multiple connections.


      For background, when macOS connects normally to the S3L via AVB, it configures a “master” connection which blocks other connections. When you use the `avbutil` though, you have full control over what connections are configured, and can configure multiple listeners. I will say though that while the settings are usually stable while running, it usually requires manual setup each time.

  2. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing your formidable knowledge.

    As I’m sure you’re well aware, with the end of life of the E3 engine approaching, it seems it’s becoming impossible to record to Pro Tools from the S3L-X using current DAW’s or OS’s.

    I’ve looked at your post from Dec 2020, but was wondering if you’ve had a chance to look beyond that.

    In attempting to record 32 tracks from my S3L-X to Pro Tools on a Macbook Pro 2019 into Pro Tools 2021.6, using a direct connection from the B port on my S3 to MBP usb-c, my mac doesn’t see any AVB device listed in the Network Device Browser, nor an E3 Engine option available in the PT Playback Engine menu.

    It indicates “connected” in the PT Peripherals/VENUE dialog, and VENUE LINK indicates a connection, but no indication, or grayed-out, in the External Devices window in VENUE.

    Any thoughts on why, or a solution you may know of?

    I hear the Digiface AVB may be a solution.

    Any insight would be vastly appreciated.

    Thank you ahead of time.


    MBP macOS 11.5.2
    Pro Tools 2021.6

    1. Hi Rob, in all of my experience, Pro Tools *must* be connected to Port C. If the S3 console is connected there, then Pro Tools must be connected to the second port on the S3 console. I’ve spent *many* hours fighting with the S3L until I figured this one point out. Let me know if that works.

      P.S. Sorry for taking so long to get back. Apparently, I’m not longer getting comments forwarded to me so I completely missed this.

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