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X48 results so far....
Old 13th May 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Talking X48 results so far....

Hello,
This was also posted on the Nuendo post forum.

The X-48 is finally out, and we've been hoping it would be our dtrs-killer. Our recordings for later post average between 64 and 96 tracks wide and while we sometimes use SloTools or Nuendo systems, the media of choice for later import into daw's has been dtrs because everyone has one. We've been waiting for a good alternative that functions like a toaster - you plug it in, you push record, you get good audio. It will record 48 tracks of 48k/24 to an external fw drive, and supposedly at 96k as well.

We're using it this weekend in NY on a well-known popular tv show. It comes standard with tdif and we're using the tdif fed from a dm2k, switching to analog fed from multitrack busses of the Calrec Q2, depending on the act. Here's what we've found -

Video sync "...aligns the audio playback and and time code to exactly a frame edge." It is NOT a clock source. If you want to clock to something external you have to use wc.

The tdif card in the sending device has to be set for tdif 1 or 2 (forgot which). It won't deal with the other. Annoying.

When you start the machine and it comes up with the Startup or Last project, or everytime you load an existing project, the front panel comes up indicating 44k1 and no TC options. The hardware appears to be operating at 48k correctly, the gui indicates 48k, and the settings dialog says 48k, but no panel indication. The settings dialog indicates the wrong tc settings however. You have to go into the settings and change it to some other sample rate, then back to 48k, then change the tc to what you want. Neil from Tascam says that bug will be fixed in a coming update.

Recalling a project does NOT recall the input mapping.

Using the front panel key combo (shift + sw) to select All Input, there's no indicator on the panel to show this so you don't know which mode you're in. The Gui indicates correctly.

You can only format an NTFS drive, not Fat32. Pita for Mac users. I always copy the original anyway so importing isn't an issue, but I can't copy my stuff back to the original drive as Macs don't write NTFS.

It only exports OpenTL and AAF. For OpenTL -
When you select the OpenTL export there's no progress dialog, the only indication being disk activity, but you're locked out of the machine until it's finished. Appears to be locked up but it's not.
The export process takes enough time and disk activity to be combining every audio file into an embedded file, but it's not embedded. Have no idea what's taking so long.
OpenTL in Nuendo imports tracks, but the tracks are named per the directory structure under the OpenTL project folder, so you get -
"\wonky\showname band dig\Track files\Track 1_0_0" = label on Track 1
"\wonky\showname band dig\Track files\Track 2_1_1" = label on Track 2
"\wonky\showname band dig\Track files\Track 3_2_2" = label on Track 3
etc. for EACH track name. Kind of unuseable.
The audio files have unnecessarily long names as well but they are identifiable per track number and take number.
However, Nuendo OpenTL doesn't import ANY media no matter how you select the few options available. The empty tracks are there but no media is positioned in the Nuendo project, nor are they in the Pool. OpenTL works in Nuendo, so I suppose Tascam changed the format a bit.
Manually importing the audio files into the pool then importing into the project, you get the usual "one track / different track" dialog, and putting them on different tracks results in a track for each file. They are positioned at the correct tc locations, so consolidating the tracks is not hard, but it's pretty silly to get hundreds of tracks until you combine them.

AAF - has a Tascam-acknowledged bug that won't export anything beyond 2G. This limits you to less than 5 minutes of recording. Hmm...

The unit will only import OpenTL, not AAF.

The Bwave files have correct timestamps so you can import them raw into whatever you'd like.

The Disk Management tool is the XP disk tool, and it shuts down the machine after it's used.

There's an I/O Reference Level item that you can change between several settings ranging from 20dB to 9dB. It appears to make no difference at all.

We won't try the workstation functionality as there's not time.
Despite the front panel, there are a number of items that you need the gui for unfortunately.
After all this time I expected better. It's v1.00 software so we're hoping it improves.

If I find more in the limited time I have for testing I'll post.

H
Old 13th May 2007
  #2
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Nice report so far. thumbsup
Old 31st May 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Hello,

Used another unit (v1.01) on a large TV show May 25-27 and we found some more problems -

The timestamps in the bwf files seem to be 1 or 2 frames behind where they should be.

TC chase is not fully invented.
With offset set to "0", if the received tc starts before audio files then the machine syncs quickly. About 1 time in 7 it jumps to 4 seconds behind and continues there.
With offset set to "0", if the received tc starts in the middle of an audio file then the machine chases correctly for a few seconds, then jumps to where it was previously playing before tc stopped and plays for a few seconds, then jumps to 4 seconds behind the correct tc and continues incorrectly behind. The tc display on the machine always indicates correctly but the audio does not.
With offset set to "4 sec", the machine chases 4 seconds ahead for a few seconds, then jumps to where it was previously playing before tc stopped and plays for a few seconds, then jumps to approximately where it should be. The tc display on the machine always indicates 4 seconds ahead, to match the supposed offset.
If you set the offset to "4 sec" (!?) you end up with chasing approximately correct, but it can take 10 seconds to lock up due to jumping around.

Deleting files in the File Manager app is very slow. Deleting a bunch locks the machine up. Deleting a folder full of files is quick.

The Track Overview does not always indicate correctly, often not showing files. They're still on the timeline but not the overview.
Overview resize is very buggy, doesn't resize correctly.
When resizing the scroll mode often turns off by itself, so you have to turn it back on.

Disabling the "Disable Mixer" function allows mixing the channels to the output for monitoring, but the individual track outputs (1-48) are post-fader, so you can't use it as a monitoring mixer if you're monitoring through the machine. There should be an option for this.

I can't find an option to remove unused files in a project.

The File Manager window doesn't show file sizes so you can't make decisions about what to delete.

H
Old 31st May 2007
  #4
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

It seems you're checking this unit very thoroughly, while I can understand you like a standalone machine better, have you tried the latest version of PT? I like it's new destructive punch mode (allthough I does think that some limitations should be overcome, like having to render a audiofile of a pre determined length before recording and also the file has to start at the session start, which I also find annoying, but still it works great).
Old 31st May 2007
  #5
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Another option is to use the Ardour ( ardour | the new digital audio workstation ) workstation on a mac with an RME MADI card for I/O. Depending on what type of I/O you need, this could be way cheaper.

Ardour syncs really fast and well to MTC ( reportedly within +/-60 samples ). It has a really solid destructive record mode, and of course you can expect file deletions, etc to work on your Mac

If you need more horesepower you can get the same thing plus 9pin/video sync, more I/O, and factory support from the Harrison Xdubber ( Harrison X-Dubber ). This is a turnkey product for film dubbing. Not sure if that's what you need but since this is the Post forum.....
Old 1st June 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Hello,
I appreciate your comments on the latest PT versions - for a number of shows we bring in a PT or Nuendo system(s) to record and/or playback, depending on what the client wants. I also use daw's in post, usually Nuendo (I'm fastest in that format), with PT when needed. Everyone has their favorite daw's, often the subject of religious-like fervor. The issue is that unlike a studio environment live large-scale entertainment television production is very fast. Any daw requires bookkeeping that occupies a full-time operator. Also a huge amount of rack space unless it's a Nuendo madi system. In a production truck the 2nd engineer often is doing patching, audio cue loading and playback, and up to 96 tracks of live recording, sometimes with a duplicate backup system. Putting all that into a truck is done but it's tight and there's often no room for the time overhead of a daw.

The "audio appliance" concept - small, plug it in, turn it on, record good audio - is an ideal that everyone in this community is looking for and the x-48 has that potential but it's not there yet.

H
Old 2nd June 2007
  #7
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

I get your point of a hardware recorder opposed to a PC/Mac based DAW. You just want a machine where you hit record and then it'll start to record and also no file housekeeping.

But to me there's not such a large difference, except for the amount of space a setup takes... there you got a valid point.

If you'd work with easy templates most PC DAW's are as easy as standalone machine, and to some point easier because you can see more easily what's happening, while with a standalone machine something can go wrong too, and you won't notice it till after the show (I've witnessed this one time... in this case with a MX2424, we had to resort to less quality backups on DA88).

Also troubleshooting on a standalone machine can be very troublesome, troubleshooting on a PC isn't a lot of joy either, but you can always resort to putting back a disk image of a fully working operating system + software install.

And also if you don't install any 3rd party plugins and such it can be remarkedly stable as well.

Still I understand your point and enjoyed reading your report. How about an IZ Radar or like I mentioned before a Tascam MX2424?
Old 2nd June 2007
  #8
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No4PCs's Avatar
" Computer is good to make buildings, not for music " - Chet Baker-
Old 2nd June 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HughH View Post
Hello,
I appreciate your comments on the latest PT versions - for a number of shows we bring in a PT or Nuendo system(s) to record and/or playback, depending on what the client wants. I also use daw's in post, usually Nuendo (I'm fastest in that format), with PT when needed. Everyone has their favorite daw's, often the subject of religious-like fervor. The issue is that unlike a studio environment live large-scale entertainment television production is very fast. Any daw requires bookkeeping that occupies a full-time operator. Also a huge amount of rack space unless it's a Nuendo madi system. In a production truck the 2nd engineer often is doing patching, audio cue loading and playback, and up to 96 tracks of live recording, sometimes with a duplicate backup system. Putting all that into a truck is done but it's tight and there's often no room for the time overhead of a daw.

The "audio appliance" concept - small, plug it in, turn it on, record good audio - is an ideal that everyone in this community is looking for and the x-48 has that potential but it's not there yet.

H
Did you guys look at the Sadie LRX2? I assume you looked at the Tascam MX2424--why didn't that fly for you?

Philip Perkins
Old 2nd June 2007
  #10
Gear Head
 
cppi's Avatar
 

We have been waiting for the bugs to get out of the X48 as well. We want a solid 48 track machine for back up for our RADAR's in our truck. We have been using 2 HD24's for back up and if you ever have to use the files it takes a 3rd party software program to transfer large files on long shows (it seems the hd24's only well let you do a couple of hours and most of our work is longggg live shows for re-brodcast). The only thing we don't like about the RADAR is doing the file transfer to the client's drives, nobody uses the RADAR's drives and it's an extra step for us to do and if the client want's their drives that night you have to budget in the extra time to do it and sometimes you can't because ant the end of the the gig you have to work with the venue to keep power on, and get packed up ect,ect The RADAR's are solid, well built and sound great and in the future when they get their act together and allow us to record to external 3rd party drives it will be great. But we will still need a pro back up machine. Time will tell if the X48 gets the bugs out and Tascam will still support it after a couple of years, we might have to bite the bulit and buy more Radar machines but right now its cost prohibated. Thanks for all the status reports, some of us are lurking and waiting to see what happens.
Old 3rd June 2007
  #11
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yrplace's Avatar
 

The X-48 seems to have most of the major bugs worked out save for the AAF export function. We've been using it as a backup machine and are quite happy with the results so far. Finally did a remote using the analog cards and lined the tracks up so I could compare to the much more expensive converters in my Genex 9048. Couldn't hear any significant differance.

My biggest crtitique is the metering which is much to broad to be really useful. I've spoken to Tascam about offering a dedicated meter screen so that you could really see what your levels are.
Old 11th June 2007
  #12
Here for the gear
 
wirebox's Avatar
 

New (different) observations

Hello All,
I also purchased a first run X-48 and have had trouble with it.
Installed ADAT cards to run with our Yamaha digital desks. When i installed the cards i did a fair amount of poking around the chassis. First surprise was the SATA drive. All documents and marketing have pointed to a EIDE drive installed from factory. Only half the RAM slots are filled.
I tested the machine briefly and sent it straight out to a new TV show. The A1 I have known and worked with for 15 years (trust is not a factor).
The A1 also updated the firmware to the current version 1.02.
Issues listed below were reported to my by the A1.

1. After recording 40 tracks to the internal drive for 45-50 minutes the machines drops out of record or locks up completely, only reset option was to pull the iec cable. This only happens when locked to timecode from external source (tc gen. is locked to house black). Freewheel is fine as well as lock and drop.
All data recorded before lockup is ok.
The only issue i can see here is the house black may have been out of phase by the time it got to the x-48 and the machine could not resolve to the black and code....?????

2. Only one external drive can be mounted per buss. You cannot mount 2 firewire drives or 2 usb drives but you can mount a firewire and usb drive.

3. I only had 3 hours to check the machine when it came back. I recorded 48 tracks for 2 hours w/o problems, not locked to any timecode or blackburst. When playing back i heard dropouts on all tracks during playback only. After hearing a dropout I would rewind and the dropout would not happen in the same place.

I plan a severe test session for next week.
1. Record 48 tracks locked to timecode w/o blackburst.
2. Record 48 tracks locked to timecode w blackburst.
2.5 try the above test with Miditimecode.
3. Resync playback and check frame sync.
4. Record pinknoise and export to Nuendo, zoom in and check samples for dropouts.
5. Test multiple external drives.

Are there any other tests anyone can recommend?

Also,
exploring the possibilities of:
Installing a jumbo SATA drive (after warranty period)
Thereby separating the OS and data drives which we all know is a big issue.
ESATA (external SATA)


Maybe we can all get together and get these issues resolved for Tascam, i guess 2 years of R&D wasn't enough.

thanks for your thoughts...
Old 12th June 2007
  #13
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yrplace's Avatar
 

I haven't tried recording locked to timecode for that length of time, but I am not clear why you would run that way rather than lock and release. I would have thought that running locked to blackburst or wordclock would solve any sync issues in post just as well.

We often run the X-48 and Genex decks on wordclock and with TC ref for concerts and the amount of drift over a two hr show is only a few frames. Not an issue since the shows get cut up anyway.

The problem I find w/ constantly locking to code is that if the code drops out or gets unstable, the deck may drop out of record and stop but if its locked to wordclock or black and set to flywheel it will keep on going .

At any rate the machine should run locked to code regardless, but we've had no trouble with long sessions of 48 track recording onto an external Firewire drive.

Always want to have a backup deck tho...... Mark
Old 12th June 2007
  #14
Hey Tim,
Couple of comments.
WRT installing a large internal SATA drives, there is a problem. You can't access the drive as a record drive from front panel. You need to go into Windows XP to manually select it as a record drive.
The next problem is that all record drives need to be FAT-32 volumes or the files are un-readable by other devices. The rub is that Windows XP(Which is what this box runs under the hood) will not format a FAT-32 volume larger than 36GB. This means that you need to format the drives ahead of time and install them in the second internal slot. We finally got it working after a long trial and error period, but you still need to use the keyboard and mouse if you want to use the extra internal drive.
To format the second internal drive FAT-32 you can use any Macintosh, or on PC you can use Acronis Disk Director Suite. Once we figured this out, using the extra internal SATA works without any real problems, even more reliably than the external Firewire in our experience.
All the best,
Mark
Old 13th June 2007
  #15
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Adebar's Avatar
Very helpful, Mark.
Is there a limitation in the size of the external formated internal second drive?

Would be great if one could order the X-48 with a big second internal HD.
Would also be great if it was possible to select that drvie without using mouse and screen. May Tascam implements that in a next update?
Old 13th June 2007
  #16
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I prefer the external drive as we always move the project to Pro Tools after recording. Slightly more expensive than installing another larger internal drive, but imo more practical.

Mark
Old 13th June 2007
  #17
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synthetic's Avatar
 

Some those problems were fixed in version 1.02, like the front panel LED problem.
Old 13th June 2007
  #18
There are two issues at hand here, whether the X48 will recognize and mount large volumes and if the machine will format the drives.
We had no problems mounting and using very large internal drives on a pull-out and external drives. (500gb) However, the X48 will not seem to format large drives in anything other than NTFS, which we all know is an issue. It requires formatting by an external machine.
All the best,
-mark
Old 18th June 2007
  #19
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synthetic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
There are two issues at hand here, whether the X48 will recognize and mount large volumes and if the machine will format the drives.
We had no problems mounting and using very large internal drives on a pull-out and external drives. (500gb) However, the X48 will not seem to format large drives in anything other than NTFS, which we all know is an issue.
It's a Windows machine. FAT32 drives can't be bigger than a few GB. There are solutions for transferring files to a Mac, or you can just use Gigabit Ethernet.

Quote:
It requires formatting by an external machine.
No, you can format disks from the X-48.
Old 18th June 2007
  #20
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synthetic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wirebox View Post
After recording 40 tracks to the internal drive for 45-50 minutes the machines drops out of record or locks up completely, only reset option was to pull the iec cable. This only happens when locked to timecode from external source (tc gen. is locked to house black). Freewheel is fine as well as lock and drop.
All data recorded before lockup is ok.
The only issue i can see here is the house black may have been out of phase by the time it got to the x-48 and the machine could not resolve to the black and code....?????
X-48 doesn't use Video clock as a sample clock. Your choices are Internal, ADAT or Word Clock. If you use video clock for frame-edge TC reference, it needs to be resolved to the sample clock. Perhaps you can run video clock to the Yamaha, then ADAT or Word clock out of that to the X-48.
Old 19th June 2007
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthetic View Post
It's a Windows machine. FAT32 drives can't be bigger than a few GB. There are solutions for transferring files to a Mac, or you can just use Gigabit Ethernet.
But if you try to use the files recorded on an NTFS volume on a PC, the permissions are set wrong and the file headers are non standard. The files will not even be viewed by the OS(Win 2k or XP). We were not able to make these files work in any workstation we have here in house. (Pyramix, Nuendo, Sequoiatude, Wavelab, Protools). However, FAT-32 worked fine. The files play back fine fromthe NTFS volume in the X48, just not in a computer.
Gigabit ethernet is fine for a 10 min 48 track file, but it is not viable to transfer a 300gb drive. (It takes more hours to transfer the files than it takes to record them in the first place.)
Quote:
No, you can format disks from the X-48.
See above. NTFS formatted drives have bad permissions........Hmm, Where did I hear that before? ;-)
All the best,
Mark
Old 6th July 2007
  #22
any more news?
Old 9th July 2007
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthetic View Post
It's a Windows machine. FAT32 drives can't be bigger than a few GB.
This is incorrect. FAT32 supports partitions over 2TB, larger than any drive made today, depending on how large the cluster size used.

What you are mistaking is the arbitrary 32GB partition size limit that WinXP imposes for formatting FAT32 drives. There are formatting utilities available to make FAT32 volumes much larger. Up to 8TB with 32K clusters, IIRC.

For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to force users towards NTFS when using larger partitions. However, if OSX could write to NTFS partitions, the world of file transfer would certainly be a little easier to deal with.
Old 9th July 2007
  #24
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Interesting, have you tried formatting a drive with one of these other programs and connecting it to the X-48? If it works in WinXP then it should work.
Old 12th July 2007
  #25
firmware 1.02 in use?

Have all these issues been tested under 1.02?
Old 8th August 2007
  #26
Here for the gear
 

whats the current status of these units? with version 1.03
Old 21st August 2007
  #27
Any news?

bump

From the releasenotes version 1.03

Version 1.03
New Features
• The File Manager now displays file and folder sizes. File sizes are displayed automatically. Click on a folder to display its size.
• The network name of the X-48 can now be changed. This is the name that appears in your computer’s network UI when connected to the X-48. To change this name, select Set X48 Name under the File menu in the VGA UI.
• Clip names are now displayed in the upper left corner of audio regions in the Edit Window of the VGA UI.
• It is now possible to specify a name for audio files resulting from a Consolidate operation. When selecting Consolidate from the Process menu, a dialog will prompt for the desired file name.
• Informative progress bars are now presented for OpenTL export and File Manager copy operations.
• It is now possible to perform AAF exports as either embedded AAF files or non-embedded AAF projects. When selecting Export Project from the File menu, the Export Filter will present the new AAF choices along with the already existing OpenTL choice.
o Embedded AAF files contain all the project information and audio files in one single file. Such a file cannot exceed 2GB in size.
o Non-embedded AAF projects contain an AAF file and separate copies of the original audio files, all in one folder that can easily be copied or moved to another system without affecting the original source data. While any single audio file within a project is subject to the same 2GB file size limit, the total size of a Referenced AAF export is not limited.

Maintenance Items
• Changes have been made to reduce or eliminate instability when creating/loading/saving a project, or when editing.
• Previously, automation playback was not functional. This has been fixed in 1.03.
• Previously, files created on the X-48 had permissions set such that they could not be copied to certain Windows OS configurations. This has been fixed in 1.03. In order for these changes to affect existing data, the following steps must be followed:
o Update to 1.03
o Copy all data to another drive (or back up the data)
o Format the source drive using Disk Management from the File menu
o Copy all the data back to the original source drive (or perform a Restore)
• Previously, when set to 2X sample rates, the X-48 would not chase time code unless audio data already existed in the project. This has been fixed in 1.03.
• Previously, imported audio would incorrectly reference the source media upon playback until the source media was unmounted. This has been fixed in 1.03.
• In very rare cases, the X-48 could lose lock when resolved to video and chasing time code.
• Previously, multiple-DVD backups could cause instability. This has been fixed in 1.03.
Old 21st August 2007
  #28
That's typical Tascam...

Anything Tascam will not work as promised...


T...
Old 21st August 2007
  #29
Gear Head
 

Fostex

Anyone try the Fostex DV824 or the D2424? It would be interesting to have a shoot out with these two and include the Alesis 2424HD for kicks.
Old 21st August 2007
  #30
LX3
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Good to see Tascam actively bug-fixing. Bodes well surely.

Paul
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