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Cymatic UTrack 24
Old 12th August 2015
  #1
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Thread Starter
Cymatic UTrack 24

Has anyone used the UTrack in the field yet? It seems to be a very tidy solution to a lot of current problems. At an historically competitive price.

I'm wondering how the sound of the conversion might stack up against, say for example, an RME UFX or JoeCo Black Box?

It operates as a standalone 24 track recorder, recording to an external USB drive with 24 analog I/O on DSub, and 2 units can be synchronised for 48 I/O recording and playback. It also has a virtual soundcheck facility.

It can also be used as a 24 I/O USB interface, (with additional network and USB connectivity to computer). Options include a MADI I/O card, with an ADAT I/O card coming. No word yet about Dante connectivity, but there is also an iPad control app and a playlist editor app.

Priced at $995 per unit, I'm quite interested.

Has anyone used one yet? Interested to hear more.

Cheers Ray
Old 12th August 2015
  #2
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Plush's Avatar
I am also quite interested in this box. Especially with its ability to be fed from a MADI input. Cymatic has a MADI card option coming out soon.

This way I bypass the onboard converters.

I have not heard this box, so I cannot comment on its fidelity.

Maybe is good conversion on board. This is really the big question mark in my
opinion.
Old 12th August 2015
  #3
Gear Maniac
Hi there guys, my name is Dan Steinberg, I work as a freelance product manager for Cymatic Audio and assisted in the development of the uTrack24. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the device.

In terms of audio quality, I should refrain from making any subjective statements as I am obviously biased. I will say that users of the product have reported the conversion to be very clean and accurate sounding in general. It is also correct that we have a MADI card coming out soon, and further on down the line, an ADAT card is also planned, so in the longer term of the product you can also use your A/D and D/A conversion of choice.

The original poster did a great job summarizing the features of the uTrack24. One other cool development I will mention is the more recent 'uRemote" software, which gives you remote control of all operations, remote metering, quick and easy song loading, etc. It runs on iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X, and we even designed separate interfaces for both phone and tablet sized screens.

More info at HOME - cymatic audio

Thanks!
Old 13th August 2015
  #4
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Seems like a great cheap MADI bit box.

phil p
Old 13th August 2015
  #5
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Thread Starter
Dan,

Thanks for your response. The URemote app seems like a fabulous idea, particularly if it will run on multiple OS's (IOS, Android, Windows, OSX).

I've looked at a few Youtube videos and taken in the feature set, but I'm wanting to get in to a bit more nitty-gritty detail.

One question relates to the suggestion in one of the videos that the UTrack can function as a standalone show playback hub, with no need for a computer. A great idea.

So, integrating multitrack audio playback, with playback of MIDI files and triggering of MIDI events. The suggestion here was that a lighting-LED-Visuals show could be triggered through MIDI Events/Notes, or synchronised with audio/MIDI playback, and/or MIDI MTC. Have I understood this correctly?

Which leads me to this question. Can you suggest a scenario for how Video playback might be integrated into the timeline of a song/project?

Secondly, let's say I load a combination of MIDI files and audio files (for example, from the one ProTools song/project). Does the UTrack recognise Starts, Timestamps, Markers, Events, and Tempo Maps or Timecode (MTC)?

Is there a list of supported DAWs and their file formats?

Finally, I hope this isn't jumping too far ahead, but has there been any R&D development on Audio Over Network? Or discussion with Audinate about Dante integration, or possibly a Dante network card?

I have to say I'm really impressed by the feature set, and the build quality (by most reports) which seems solid and sturdy. The large rubberised buttons are also a great feature.

Any ideas, comments or suggestions are appreciated. If there are any links to more videos or explanations that show the "hows" and functions of the unit, then paste away.

Cheers RAy

Last edited by ray_subsonic; 13th August 2015 at 06:45 AM..
Old 13th August 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
Thanks for your response. The URemote app seems like a fabulous idea, particularly if it will run on multiple OS's (IOS, Android, Windows, OSX).

It does indeed run on the following platforms

OS X and Windows (native application, not web browser based)
iOS
Android

For iOS and Android, we not only made separate GUIs for phone sized screens and tablet sized screens, burt we also made separate GUIs for portrait and landscape. Basically, whatever size screen you are running and however you wish to orient your device, we tried to make sure the GUI and each screen's contents were optimized for that specific scenario.


I've looked at a few Youtube videos and taken in the feature set, but I'm wanting to get in to a bit more nitty-gritty detail.

One question relates to the suggestion in one of the videos that the UTrack can function as a standalone show playback hub, with no need for a computer. A great idea.

So, integrating multitrack audio playback, with playback of MIDI files and triggering of MIDI events. The suggestion here was that a lighting-LED-Visuals show could be triggered through MIDI Events/Notes, or synchronised with audio/MIDI playback, and/or MIDI MTC. Have I understood this correctly?


Correct. Using our "uTool" software, you can create a "song" to load into your uTrack24, that consists of up to 24 wave files plus a single accompanying MIDI file. The MIDI file will play out of the uTrack 24's 5-pin MIDI output, in sync with the audio tracks.

Which leads me to this question. Can you suggest a scenario for how Video playback might be integrated into the timeline of a song/project?

There are probably a few ways to do this, since there is a variety of video playback software out there, but in essence, the uTrack24 can take a MIDI file and play it back in sync with the audio files it is playing back.

So for example, say you had a DAW session that contained:

-some audio tracks
-an imported video track
-a MIDI track you created that has a "note on" message at the beginning of the track

Using our uTool software, you can set up a uTrack 24 "song" with up to 24 mono wave files from the DAW session, plus a MIDI file (in this case one you created in that same session)

What you would need for playback at that point, would be some sort of video software that can start playing back a video file in response to an incoming MIDI note on message. I am sure there is video software out there that can do that.

Let me know if that makes any sense, I am not sure if I explained it clearly.

Other applications for the MIDI file that plays back in time with the audio would be:

-live synths and samplers playing back MIDI tracks in time with pre-recorded audio tracks

-lighting software that changes lighting cues in time to MIDI messages that are playing back in time with the audio.

Secondly, let's say I load a combination of MIDI files and audio files (for example, from the one ProTools song/project). Does the UTrack recognise Starts, Timestamps, Markers, Events, and Tempo Maps or Timecode (MTC)?

I will have to check on that with the engineers. I am not sure if it supports all of those extras, what I believe it supports at a minimum is basic MIDI data (note on/off/velocity/program change, etc.)

Is there a list of supported DAWs and their file formats?

The files you record on the uTrack24 are compatible with any DAW that supports mono wave files (which is all of them as far as I know) since recording works as follows:

-The uTrack24 records the audio as a single "multi-channel wave file" also known as a "polyphonic wave file"

-You then open up the multi-channel wave file in our uTool software and quickly save it as a folder of 24 standard mono wave files

-Those 24 mono wave files can then be imported into any DAW

With some DAWS, you don't even need to do the conversion in uTool, you can just import the 24-channel wave file right into your DAW session, and the DAW itself will split them up into 24 separate tracks automatically. I believe Pro Tools does this, not sure which others.

Finally, I hope this isn't jumping too far ahead, but has there been any R&D development on Audio Over Network? Or discussion with Audinate about Dante integration, or possibly a Dante network card?

No formal plans for a Dante card yet, but we are always open to suggestions.

At the moment we have the MADI card coming out shortly, and are developing an ADAT card after that.

On this thread I welcome anyone to chime in what favors of digital IO they would want and what products/use cases they would use it with.

I have to say I'm really impressed by the feature set, and the build quality (by most reports) which seems solid and sturdy. The large rubberised buttons are also a great feature.

Thanks for the kind words. The crew at Cymatic are an amazing bunch of folks and I myself am super impressed by the product they came out with at this price point. When we were designing the product, I kept asking for more and more of certain features and they always found a way to make it work in the end.

Any ideas, comments or suggestions are appreciated. If there are any links to more videos or explanations that show the "hows" and functions of the unit, then paste away.

At the moment we do not haver any specific training videos for the uTrack24 or the two pieces of software, but it is something we are looking into doing, as know these are very useful. Having said that here are a bunch of direct links to the different documentation and actual download.

uTrack 24 main product page
uTrack 24 – Live Recorder & Player - cymatic audio

Product videos do not have their own link but are on the right hand side of the page

uTrack 24 user's manual
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d...nual_EN_01.pdf

I wrote the manual for the product and tried to make it as complete as possible. We do a new updated version every time there is a firmware update, which means that you can always read about all of the product's features in one single document. No messy addendum, etc. to deal with


uTool User's Manual
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d...ual_EN_101.pdf

uTool Download for Windows
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d..._1.0.1_Win.zip

uTool Download for OS X
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d..._1.0.1_OSX.zip


uRemote Users' Manual
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d...nual_EN_01.pdf

uRemote OS X Download
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d...SX_1.1.003.zip

uRemote Windows Download
http://www.cymaticaudio.com/images/d...in_1.1.003.zip

uRemote iOS download (or just search on Apple app store)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cyma...0126?ls=1&mt=8

uRemote Android Download (or just search on Google Play Store)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...m.cymaticaudio

One thing to keep in mind, Cymatic requires the user to make a user account to download copies of the software (uTool, uRemote). You can download the user's manuals with no account. When you make an account your email is never shared with any 3rd parties.

Thanks and keep the questions and feedback coming!

Last edited by Dan Steinberg; 13th August 2015 at 10:50 AM..
Old 13th August 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Seems like a great cheap MADI bit box.

phil p
Agreed, and with the MADI card we tried to do certain things with the product, such as:

1-Keep the price of the option card relatively low (projected to street at no more than a few hundred dollars) so that the combination of a uTrack24 and the card is still fairly down to earth.

With a lot of MADI gear out there, you see some very high prices since it is assumed that anyone who needs it has a huge budget. We know this is not always the case and are trying to bring MADSI recording capabilities to a wider audience.


2-Offer flexibility in connecitons: The card offers in and out in both optical and coaxial formats


3-Offer flexibility of routing. The uTrack24's new firmware contains assorted MADI related menus, when the card is installed, that allow you to pick and choose:

-which 24 channels, of the 56 or 64 channels in the MADI stream, feed the 24 recorder inputs

-which 24 channels of the MADI stream are fed by the 24 playback outputs of the uTrack 24


We also made sure to include settings for 56 or 64 channel format, different sample rates and clock sources, etc. Our goal is to make sure a MADI equipped uTrack 24 fits into as many MADI setups as possible.

Thanks!
Old 13th August 2015
  #8
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Thread Starter
Dan,

Thankyou for these detailed responses.

Cheers
Old 13th August 2015
  #9
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Steinberg View Post
No formal plans for a Dante card yet, but we are always open to suggestions.
Dante is nice, but how about an AES67 (Ravenna) interface? I'd love to be able to use one of these as a backup recorder on a Merging Horus/Hapi network.
Old 13th August 2015
  #10
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Dante is nice, but how about an AES67 (Ravenna) interface? I'd love to be able to use one of these as a backup recorder on a Merging Horus/Hapi network.
No specific plans yet on an AES67 card either, but again its something we are open to in the future.

For anyone reading, we are always interested in everyone's opinions on what networked audio protocol you feel makes the most sense to make a priority (since it's not an option, at the time. to just develop all three in completely in parallel).

There's Dante, and AES67, and AVB. All have their own advantages and their own set of products that a card could interface with.

We are open to any opinions about why one protocol makes the most sense to work with sooner than later, would offer compatibility with the most consoles and installed networks out there, etc.

This is always an issue we are researching ourself, but nothing beats good feedback from the user base. You guys are the ones out there "in the trenches" every day and your opinion matters.

Thanks!
Old 31st August 2015
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Rigg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Steinberg View Post
Agreed, and with the MADI card we tried to do certain things with the product, such as:

1-Keep the price of the option card relatively low (projected to street at no more than a few hundred dollars) so that the combination of a uTrack24 and the card is still fairly down to earth.

With a lot of MADI gear out there, you see some very high prices since it is assumed that anyone who needs it has a huge budget. We know this is not always the case and are trying to bring MADSI recording capabilities to a wider audience.


2-Offer flexibility in connecitons: The card offers in and out in both optical and coaxial formats


3-Offer flexibility of routing. The uTrack24's new firmware contains assorted MADI related menus, when the card is installed, that allow you to pick and choose:

-which 24 channels, of the 56 or 64 channels in the MADI stream, feed the 24 recorder inputs

-which 24 channels of the MADI stream are fed by the 24 playback outputs of the uTrack 24


We also made sure to include settings for 56 or 64 channel format, different sample rates and clock sources, etc. Our goal is to make sure a MADI equipped uTrack 24 fits into as many MADI setups as possible.

Thanks!
Could a full routing matrix that included all of the digital, analog, and recorder I/O be implemented in a future firmware update?

This would allow you to use the unit as an a/d & d/a convertor and redundant recorder if you connected to a separate interface and computer. I'm assuming that you can't use the uTrack as an interface and recorder at the same time. Correct?
Old 3rd September 2015
  #12
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigg View Post
Could a full routing matrix that included all of the digital, analog, and recorder I/O be implemented in a future firmware update?

This would allow you to use the unit as an a/d & d/a convertor and redundant recorder if you connected to a separate interface and computer. I'm assuming that you can't use the uTrack as an interface and recorder at the same time. Correct?
You are correct, you can not use the uTrack24 as an interface and as a standalone recorder at the same time. It's one or the other.

When you plug an external hard disk into the front panel USB port, the unit goes into "recorder mode" automatically, even if the rear panel port is connected to a computer.

This is not likely to be able to change in a firmware update due to limitations in the architecture of the product.

As for a full routing matrix, I am not sure if that's something you would still need/want when the recorder/interface mode is either/or, but we do allow the following level of flexibility:

-When a digital option card is used, you can choose between analog and digital inputs, 8 channels at a time

-The full 24 outputs are always available on the analog and digital outputs ta the same time

-If a digital protocol is used that has more than 8 channels (such as MADI), you have flexibility in which 8 channels of the 48/56 channel stream are used for going in and out of the recorder (again 8 channels at a time).

Thanks!
Old 3rd September 2015
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Rigg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Steinberg View Post
You are correct, you can not use the uTrack24 as an interface and as a standalone recorder at the same time. It's one or the other.

When you plug an external hard disk into the front panel USB port, the unit goes into "recorder mode" automatically, even if the rear panel port is connected to a computer.

This is not likely to be able to change in a firmware update due to limitations in the architecture of the product.

As for a full routing matrix, I am not sure if that's something you would still need/want when the recorder/interface mode is either/or, but we do allow the following level of flexibility:

-When a digital option card is used, you can choose between analog and digital inputs, 8 channels at a time

-The full 24 outputs are always available on the analog and digital outputs ta the same time

-If a digital protocol is used that has more than 8 channels (such as MADI), you have flexibility in which 8 channels of the 48/56 channel stream are used for going in and out of the recorder (again 8 channels at a time).

Thanks!
Thanks for the reply Dan. Very cool product by the way. I guess my thought was it might be a nice feature if you could route the signal analog in>recorder in>recorder out>digital out>daw interface in> daw interface out> digital in> analog out. That way you could make 2 recordings at the same time and use the analog out as d/a from the daw instead of from the uTrack inputs.

Hope that makes sense. Thanks!
Old 13th October 2015
  #14
Ray's initial thread was about using one of these in the field. I've used mine on a few projects so far.

Pros:
-No computer.
-No daisy chain firewire for higher track counts.
-It works.

Cons:
-No 96K with more than 8 channels.
-The metering is hard to read. The orange /red led are really similar.
-Doesn't seem to have as much headroom as I'm used to.
-Low headphone output.
-Manually adjusting EVERY mixer channel higher than 40 to hear / monitor.

All that being said, I'm getting used to it. I've got no complaints with the converters (I'm using Audient mic pre's). This combination is much cleaner sounding than what I was using (MOTU896HD, Black Lion mod).

The highest track count I've used so far was 20. I was using a standard Western Digital external HD, 5400RPM. No problems.

Using the uTrack24 is a lot less stressful when out in the field, compared to a computer based set-up. No worries about crash, drivers, and all manor of computer based anomalies, etc.
Old 14th March 2016
  #15
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by davernoise View Post
Ray's initial thread was about using one of these in the field. I've used mine on a few projects so far.

Pros:
-No computer.
-No daisy chain firewire for higher track counts.
-It works.

Cons:
-No 96K with more than 8 channels.
-The metering is hard to read. The orange /red led are really similar.
-Doesn't seem to have as much headroom as I'm used to.
-Low headphone output.
-Manually adjusting EVERY mixer channel higher than 40 to hear / monitor.

All that being said, I'm getting used to it. I've got no complaints with the converters (I'm using Audient mic pre's). This combination is much cleaner sounding than what I was using (MOTU896HD, Black Lion mod).

The highest track count I've used so far was 20. I was using a standard Western Digital external HD, 5400RPM. No problems.

Using the uTrack24 is a lot less stressful when out in the field, compared to a computer based set-up. No worries about crash, drivers, and all manor of computer based anomalies, etc.
Thanks Dave and good on you replying. All interesting comments btw.

" - Manually adjusting EVERY mixer channel higher than 40 to hear / monitor. " If you're out there could you discuss this a bit further?

Cheers RAy
Old 15th March 2016
  #16
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Old 15th March 2016
  #17
Gear Maniac
Old 15th March 2016
  #18
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Is Cymatic still in business? I went to Introducing uTrack-X32 Live Recorder and Player - cymatic audio and all the sub pages 404ed. B+H says they have stock of the 24 tr machine. Is anyone using either the 24 or 32 track Cymatic?
I'm using the 24 track box here with good results. I send the signal from my converters to the Cymatic via MADI. Seems more stable than the Britbox.
Old 15th March 2016
  #19
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Is Cymatic still in business? I went to Introducing uTrack-X32 Live Recorder and Player - cymatic audio and all the sub pages 404ed. B+H says they have stock of the 24 tr machine. Is anyone using either the 24 or 32 track Cymatic?
I'm using the 24 track box here with good results. I send the signal from my converters to the Cymatic via MADI. Seems more stable than the Britbox.
Old 16th March 2016
  #20
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
There appears to be some major problem with their website. Almost ALL the pages are "404 Not Found".
The home page and the "STORE" page are the only ones I could see.
And the "STORE" page has some weird HTML going on.
Old 16th March 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I'm using the 24 track box here with good results. I send the signal from my converters to the Cymatic via MADI. Seems more stable than the Britbox.
Do you mean more stable than JoeCo? (As a recorder taking a multitrack digital input?) Interesting, thanks. Glad to hear they did not disappear. Is there now a Dante version too? Anyone tried the 32 track machine?
Old 16th March 2016
  #22
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Plush's Avatar
Yes, more stable than Joeco. The whole machine running in any mode is very stable.
Old 17th March 2016
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Do you mean more stable than JoeCo? (As a recorder taking a multitrack digital input?) Interesting, thanks. Glad to hear they did not disappear. Is there now a Dante version too? Anyone tried the 32 track machine?
I read a little closer after I was able to get their site to work for me. There isn't a 32 track Cymatic (bummer), it's a card for the Beh X32. No Dante, MADI and Ravenna though. Wish they had Dante--that's what the venues I'm often in use...
Old 17th March 2016
  #24
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Plush's Avatar
The box is $999.

Requests for Dante, Ravenna, AES 67, etc. seem out of line at this price point.

Those formats are available for around $2500-$5000 and up.

Open the pocketbook and get the format you require.

My fascination with this box is in its economy and features as is.
Old 17th March 2016
  #25
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
There is nothing particularly expensive to implement Dante, Ravenna, AES 67, etc. It is essentially firmware. Ones and zeroes.
The only barriers to budget implementations are R&D costs (mostly already done) and whatever licensing fees.
And, of course the manufacturer's perception of the size of the market vs. development costs.
There are certainly popular-price devices these days made possible by the digital revolution which seemed impossible 10 years ago.
Old 17th March 2016
  #26
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
There is nothing particularly expensive to implement Dante, Ravenna, AES 67, etc. It is essentially firmware. Ones and zeroes.
Pretty much. Dante, Ravenna (AES 67), etc. run on top of Ethernet. Adding a 100MB Ethernet chip to a design is dirt cheap. Last I saw (many years ago) Ethernet chips were less than $1 in thousand lot quantities. Which is why every computer motherboard made for the last decade includes one. Having Dante or Ravenna, etc. run on Ethernet is just adding modules to the protocol stack. As you say, ones and zeros. And you can probably buy this and not bother developing it yourself.

Madi (AES 10) is somewhat different. What I remember (and a very quick search seem to confirm, yet I could still be wrong) is that it's a point-to-point protocol. The sender demands that the receiver be listening, or the data is lost. That sort of thing. So it's usually implemented as a Token Ring (as in FDDI). Apparently most folks implement the firmware in a FPGA. A very quick search didn't turn any single chip implementations, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Bottom line is that the engineering for the various interfaces is probably minimal. But it adds stock keeping units (SKUs) to the manufacturer's lineup, and marketing hates adding SKUs. It's this marketing cost that probably keeps this functionality from being offered.

Last edited by Bruce Watson; 18th March 2016 at 03:16 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 18th March 2016
  #27
Gear Head
 
Constantin's Avatar
 

This box is a time saver. Using it with Horus as backup recorder or main recorder when going mobile. As I rarely use more than 8 mics (doing classical), the 8 channel 24/96 limit isnt a problem for me. Attractive price and working flawless so far. Ipad remote not tested. Wish it would take ravenna.
Old 18th March 2016
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
The box is $999.

Requests for Dante, Ravenna, AES 67, etc. seem out of line at this price point.

Those formats are available for around $2500-$5000 and up.

Open the pocketbook and get the format you require.

My fascination with this box is in its economy and features as is.
AUDIOLAN Option card - cymatic audio

Old 18th March 2016
  #29
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Plush's Avatar
Damn sir!
Old 18th March 2016
  #30
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hughesmr's Avatar
Any comments re the quality of the on-board conversion of the UTrack 24?

Last edited by hughesmr; 18th March 2016 at 05:11 PM..
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