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Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording
Old 3 weeks ago
  #31
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I bought a second hsp-82 and have used the two units synced together for about 12 gigs so far - with really fantastic results, except in two cases. Twice now, when I go to align the audio from the two recorders in Reaper, moving them to their BWF position, they do not properly align. In fact, neither set of audio starts where I would expect it to - rather than starting several minutes into the session, the files start only 2 seconds in - I reset the TC on the master a few minutes before the set starts, so there's no way it should start 2 seconds into the session. I have the recorders connected by BNC on both TC & WC, leaving the cables connected the entire time, and the units appear to be locked based on the menu screens. I've contacted Tascam, and the only suggestion they've made, which I'll try this week, is to update the firmware so both units are on the same version, which they aren't right now...

I'll report back, but in the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to maintain my sanity while trying to lock the tracks from the 2 recorders? I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so this is kind of driving me nuts. I can align the two recorders by looking at some waveforms, and it sounds fine mostly, but how do I know it wouldn't sound better slipped in a different direction by 50, 100, or 1000 samples? Should I align the DI & Bass Mic waveforms, which were split across recorders, or maybe the snare hitting in open mics across recorders, etc. - it all sounds a little different, and I'm not sure what's "right" other than by listening, and again, there's so many options on how much to slide the audio that it's a bit overwhelming to test...and different sources may sound better than others with different alignment settings.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #32
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

If you have word clock set up and connected correctly, you shouldn't need to make any alignment adjustments besides just lining the start of the files up. Word clock and timecode do two different things: timecode tells the units where the files should begin (and only affects the very start of the files), whereas word clock governs the inter sample relationship of the files.

It sounds to me from what you posted that something got messed up with the timecode in a couple of instances, which should affect only the very start of the files. As long as only timecode was affected all you need to do is line up the starts. If word clock was consistent the two files should be spot on from there.

-Mike
Old 3 weeks ago
  #33
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hmmm...I'm definitely confused! With the hsp-82s, there is no cascade function, so I have to hit record independently on the two recorders. I assume this means they don't actually start recording at the exact same moment, no matter how hard I try to push them simultaneously. I figured that's why selecting all of the files, then choosing "align to BWF position" would use the TC stamps to align the files, which it did just fine for 10/12 gigs so far. But, on this one that's messed up, when I align the start of the two recorders, it actually sounds pretty good...which kind of confuses me more.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #34
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I don't think simply lining up the start of the files works in this case. It sounds "fine", but so do innumerable other slightly shifted positions...Since I'm hitting record separately on each recorder, I don't see how aligning the start of the files makes sense in this case, but please correct me if I'm wrong! I could try a thousand times and never hit the record buttons to begin at literally the exact same moment.

Here's what I've settled on for a "quick-fix" with last gig's non-synced recorders. I've routed the 2nd recorder to it's own bus and inserted Voxengo Sound Delay. Then I bounced around the session, comparing waveforms from tracks on the 1st and 2nd recorders - the bass mic and DI were split across recorders, and I think the drum overhead and vibraphone mics were fairly equidistant from the snare drum, so that's a reference too. Then I compared the difference in samples between peaks, getting numbers like 2797, 2889, 3309, 3345, and 3719. Those are all roughly 1/32 of a second, probably the difference in hitting the record buttons. A few of these values sound good enough that no one would notice anything was ever "wrong" with the session, but I feel like I'll never hit on the 'magic' of perfectly aligned phase from all of these high quality mics in a live room (Josephson, Schoeps, Gefell, Royer, etc.) - this might drive me nuts trying to hit on the perfect match, so I'll likely pick good enough and then start manipulating phase with the MAAT RSPhaseShifter to see how much I can get everything to sit the way I want.


I'll test firmware this weekend, but on the next few gigs I'll probably keep the recorders running after the session, then talk into a vocal mic with a y-splitter into both recorders so at least I have a firm reference if it happens again...that or try the keyboard hack for the hsp-82 that may allow me to start them both at the exact same time as well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
How often do you find that you have to adjust the tracks in your DAW beyond the timecode matching up? I'm thinking that most recordings will be 15 minutes, then I'll cut in between songs and start again, so it shouldn't be that much time to drift. Plus I wouldn't put stereo pairs, or even drum channels, across the two recorders. It doesn't seem like drift would be that big of an issue in that case, but I've never tried this before.
I don’t think time code is useful at all. What is your process when manually aligning?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
I don’t think time code is useful at all. What is your process when manually aligning?
Without timecode, how will I possibly align the two recorders? From my understanding, word clock ensures each unit takes a sample at the same moment, and time code is used to align the start of the two recorders since I can't press both record buttons at the exact same time, and these units have no built-in way to hit one record button for both recorders.

Here's a comment from the aforementioned thread on JWsoundgroup that makes me think I'm doing it right, and also an image from another thread showing the connection of many hsp-82s in a configuration that's far more complex than mine, but still shows the use of Timecode to align the tracks from each recorder in post.

I described my process for manual alignment in the post above.
Attached Thumbnails
Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-hsp82_tc.jpg   Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-h2p82_complexsetup.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #37
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From reading your thread it seems like your experimenting looking for a solution.
Tascam TC will drift one frame every 5 minutes.

If you have the same track, either DI or bass, on both machines and the exact same take split to both; what is your process for manually aligning them? That alignment will far exceed any TC or starting 'button push' and is solid, reliable and reproducable.

I agree though that something did shift with your time code. I just contributed earlier before you got the second machine and my whole process is based on manual allignment.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #38
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Here are pictures from the setup, starting with the physical connections (matching the diagram above w/ TC & WC cables), and then pictures from the screens with TC & WC info. The top recorder is the master, and the bottom is the slave.
Attached Thumbnails
Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-hsp_2.jpg   Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-hsp_1.jpg   Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-hsp_3.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #39
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By manual alignment I mean in your DAW
Old 3 weeks ago
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
From reading your thread it seems like your experimenting looking for a solution.
Tascam TC will drift one frame every 5 minutes.

If you have the same track, either DI or bass, on both machines and the exact same take split to both; what is your process for manually aligning them? That alignment will far exceed any TC or starting 'button push' and is solid, reliable and reproducable.
Recording the exact same track to both recorders wastes a channel (unless I do it after the musicians stop, which seems amateurish and clunky), and I'm already having to make difficult decisions on what to drop or not record on some of these gigs, so I'd rather not stripe the same source to both recorders.

If the TC cable is running from the master to the slave, and the slave is set to "Jam Sync", and it's constantly being synced via a cable, why would it drift at all? I never disconnect those cables until the gig is over and the recorders are off. From my understanding, this should give me a rock solid sync.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
By manual alignment I mean in your DAW

yes, i described above how I am manually achieving this in my DAW. I've routed all 8 channels from the second recorder to a stereo bus, on which I've placed a sample delay plug-in. I then adjust the value to equally shift all 8 tracks from the 2nd recorder to align better with the first. For this gig, since I have no matching source striped to both recorders, the best I can do is compare peaks from the bass DI and bass Mic, since those were located on separate recorders. I compared values at different locations by zooming in as closely as possible, notating the sample # of the peak on the DI, doing the same on the mic, then notating the difference. Then I put that # into the sample delay plug-in. The results are "fine", and not obviously smeary, phasey, etc., but I'll never know if they're really locked in as much as they could be.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #42
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So it did work alot and then the two timecodes got misaligned?

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
yes, i described above how I am manually achieving this in my DAW. I've routed all 8 channels from the second recorder to a stereo bus, on which I've placed a sample delay plug-in. I then adjust the value to equally shift all 8 tracks from the 2nd recorder to align better with the first. For this gig, since I have no matching source striped to both recorders, the best I can do is compare peaks from the bass DI and bass Mic, since those were located on separate recorders. I compared values at different locations by zooming in as closely as possible, notating the sample # of the peak on the DI, doing the same on the mic, then notating the difference. Then I put that # into the sample delay plug-in. The results are "fine", and not obviously smeary, phasey, etc., but I'll never know if they're really locked in as much as they could be.
I do that but manually by grabbing all 8 tracks and aligning the exact same track from 'the first eight' to the same peak. Even then its difficult.

So your contention and experience and complaint is - it work a bunch of the times and now the TC component of your process is messed up.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
So it did work alot and then the two timecodes got misaligned?
Yes; as far as I can tell, I've done the exact same procedure for about 12 gigs so far, and twice now I've had tracks that will not sync automatically in post. I do not think I've done anything different on the two gigs that didn't work. It just seems like the TC wasn't properly printed onto the tracks, but I don't really know another way to explain it. I don't see how the firmware being different would make any difference on the TC going from one recorder to the other, but I will update tonight and test as much as possible before this Wednesday's gig.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
Yes; as far as I can tell, I've done the exact same procedure for about 12 gigs so far, and twice now I've had tracks that will not sync automatically in post. I do not think I've done anything different on the two gigs that didn't work. It just seems like the TC wasn't properly printed onto the tracks, but I don't really know another way to explain it. I don't see how the firmware being different would make any difference on the TC going from one recorder to the other, but I will update tonight and test as much as possible before this Wednesday's gig.
Does the DI and BASS MIC waveforms ever look the same?

Anyways goodluck!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
Does the DI and BASS MIC waveforms ever look the same?

Anyways goodluck!

Thanks! It's never going to be a perfect fix at this point, but it is what it is...there are times when the bass DI and mic waveforms look similar enough, but after taking values from a few different spots, I'm not getting the exact same numbers every time - always in the 3,000 sample range though.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
Thanks! It's never going to be a perfect fix at this point, but it is what it is...there are times when the bass DI and mic waveforms look similar enough, but after taking values from a few different spots, I'm not getting the exact same numbers every time - always in the 3,000 sample range though.
I use the same track in both eight, zoom in to see individual waveforms, find the same point and place the cursor. Grab and shift the 2nd eight and align the same point on the common track from the second eight.

Not sure what you’re indicating regarding ‘taking values from different spots and the 3000 sample range’. If I had to give one up i’d Lose the DI if it’s stand up or lose the mic if it’s electric.

and try different bnc cables-they sometimes have ‘ghosts’.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
Not sure what you’re indicating regarding ‘taking values from different spots and the 3000 sample range’. If I had to give one up i’d Lose the DI if it’s stand up or lose the mic if it’s electric.
If I had a point of reference that was the exact same on each recorder, yes, this would be very simple to do. I do not have a solid point of reference, so the best thing I have is the Bass DI vs. Bass Mic. So, after importing my files, I'm trying to figure out exactly how many samples apart the two recorders are by looking at the biggest peaks on the bass tracks, noting the sample # of each from my DAW's timeline, then subtracting to find the numerical difference. Whatever number I get is the number I put into the sample delay plug-in so all 8 tracks from the 2nd recorder are adjusted by the same number of samples.

I could have simply chosen the biggest peak from the entire performance, compared the DI vs mic, gotten the value, then called it a day. However, I decided to see what value I would get when judging other peaks during the performance. For 2 different peaks, I got differences of 2797 and 2889. I could look at other peaks and would likely end up with slightly different values for each. The question is, which is "right", and why are they a little different? Perhaps the EQ on his bass head makes the speaker behave differently, or would the speaker excursion be different if a peak is from a trebly slap versus a bassy thump? I don't know, maybe it doesn't matter, and at this point it's just shades of different and not necessarily better.

I'm not even so concerned about the Bass DI vs. Bass Mic interaction, though I would like to use both. The ZOD sounds epic on DI, but so does the Royer 121 on his cabinet. My main concern is actually the way the c700s (drum overhead - recorder 2) interacts with the open mics on piano (c617set - recorder 1) and vibes (CMC54s - recorder 1). There's a magic that can happen with all of these open mics in a live room, and I don't think I'll be able to hit on that "correct" value no matter how much experimentation I do at this point.

I've attached a picture that shows the roughly 3,000 sample difference between the two peaks, with arrows pointing at what I believe are matching peaks w/ flipped phase.
Attached Thumbnails
Synchronizing Tascam HS-P82 with Zoom F8/n during recording-reaper1.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #48
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do you leave the phase as is?

thanks for engaging

I think the red arrow needs to move to the right 1/2 a wavelength to the positive peak

Last edited by emenelton; 3 weeks ago at 03:02 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
do you leave the phase as is?
In the past I've started with the drum overheads, using those as the "anchor" track, never changing phase - then when I add other channels in, I flip the phase on those to see how they interact with the drum overheads. Now that I've got a much better monitoring setup (Merging Anubis, Spiral Groove Studio Ones, and HD800 headphones), I really want to dig deeper with the "MAAT RSPhase Shifter" plug-in and experiment going beyond a simple 180 degree phase shift, similar to the little labs in between phase box, but in post rather than pre AD. Unfortunately I don't think this particular recording will be the best one to judge the merits of the RSPhase Shifter since I don't have the two recorders fully locked. I think it'll still be a useful tool, but it's not a best case scenario.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #50
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The reason I asked is because you have one arrow pointing to a positive and the other pointing to a negative which is a problem.

I think you need to adopt a solid alignment technique.

Experimenting with aligning your two machines is ‘not’ good.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
The reason I asked is because you have one arrow pointing to a positive and the other pointing to a negative which is a problem.

I think you need to adopt a solid alignment technique.

Experimenting with aligning your two machines is ‘not’ good.

I know they're flipped - just a couple of posts ago I said "with arrows pointing at what I believe are matching peaks w/ flipped phase."


I realize this is not good - the 'solid alignment technique' is using timecode like I did on 10/12 gigs which synced absolutely perfectly, and as described in the image I attached a few posts back from Philip Perkins, a member on JWSoundGroup: "For the audio machines if you have WC lock and TC that is also locked to WC then it doesn't matter where you stop and start the individual decks: the files can be snapped to their original TC addresses in a DAW or NLE.....Nearly every live music recording I do is done on at least 2 machines, so the first task in post is to layup all the tracks from all the machines vs their original TC stamps."

What he describes is exactly how it worked for me on 10/12 gigs, is how the very complex setup of 6+ recorders are connected and synced, and is also correct according to Tascam tech support.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
I know they're flipped - just a couple of posts ago I said "with arrows pointing at what I believe are matching peaks w/ flipped phase."


I realize this is not good - the 'solid alignment technique' is using timecode like I did on 10/12 gigs which synced absolutely perfectly, and as described in the image I attached a few posts back from Philip Perkins, a member on JWSoundGroup: "For the audio machines if you have WC lock and TC that is also locked to WC then it doesn't matter where you stop and start the individual decks: the files can be snapped to their original TC addresses in a DAW or NLE.....Nearly every live music recording I do is done on at least 2 machines, so the first task in post is to layup all the tracks from all the machines vs their original TC stamps."

What he describes is exactly how it worked for me on 10/12 gigs, is how the very complex setup of 6+ recorders are connected and synced, and is also correct according to Tascam tech support.
It’s frustrating good luck


Old 2 weeks ago
  #53
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I didn't have time to thoroughly test firmware updates on two machines before the gig, so I opted to leave them as-is and repeat my setup as usual. The only difference is that I left the units running after the show and connected a 58 with a y-splitter, one split to each recorder, then recorded a few claps and snaps. Turns out this was important because once again the units aren't syncing in post. Here's the thing: after aligning the two recorders to their TC positions in reaper, the snaps are exactly 3200 samples apart, and null perfectly when one is delayed by this amount and I flip the phase. 3200 samples out of 96,000 per second is exactly 1/30th = 1 frame @ 30fps . I don't see how this could be mere chance or coincidence - what are the odds? This number also aligns well with the numbers I got on the previous recording when I tried to align the Bass DI with Bass Mic, and the 3200 value sounds great in that session now as well (I took values from 5 different peaks on that recording, and the average difference was 3247). This weekend I should have time to test this theory a bit further, then update firmware on both machines and test more.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #54
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That’s a great report. It slipped forward 1 frame; 33 msec , knowing it’s a simple frame is significant
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