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In need of a safety/back-up for live recordings Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 13th September 2011
  #1
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Talking In need of a safety/back-up for live recordings

Hello All,
I have been doing a bit of live recording at shows. Right now I use a Roland Octacapture and a Macbook pro. Recently my macbook froze and I lost the whole set I was recording. My interface has 8 direct outputs and I would like to route them to something like an Alesis HD24. I don't want a zoom or one of those porta-studios like that. What I am looking for should be rack mountable. The HD24 is a bit pricey and I was wondering if anyone knows of something different. Something I can have for a back up that is reliable in case my mac crashes again (which according to loads of people never happens...). I looked around, but there isn't any new products like it. I've seen the RME:Fireface UFX, but that's way too expensive and does so many things I don't need. I welcome all your suggestions. Thanks.
Old 13th September 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

There isn't many choices on multi-track rackmountable recorder yet not expensive.
For 8 tracks, you may consider Tascam DR-680. It's not rackmountable, but affordable.
Old 13th September 2011
  #3
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 

Consider RME FireFace UFX.

It's About the price of an Alesis HD24XR which is no longer sold new. It's a multichannel recorder, mixer, 4 mic preamps, etc. etc.

1 Rack Unit.

P.S. RME software will allow you to use your computer as a backup recorder (DigiCheck).
Old 13th September 2011
  #4
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John Willett's Avatar
 

How about a JoeCo Black Box?
Old 13th September 2011
  #5
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sonare's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
How about a JoeCo Black Box?
OP:
Quote:
I've seen the RME:Fireface UFX, but that's way too expensive and does so many things I don't need.
A Joeco is several times the cost of an HD24.

Rich
Old 13th September 2011
  #6
Gear Nut
 

OP also needs to test whether his/her interface will pass audio if the computer crashes or freezes, and the answer may be different depending on the type of crash. For this reason splitting after the mic pre or A/D is the common practice. Apols if that is not very helpful information for you.
Old 13th September 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick View Post
Consider RME FireFace UFX.
That's a standalone recorder? From the specs I looked at, it looks like it's only an interface. Must be missing it ... it has an internal hard drive that it records to?
Old 14th September 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
OP:

A Joeco is several times the cost of an HD24.

Rich
A JoeCo is about $2500, which would not probably buy you two used HD24XLs in good shape. It's a great box but works best (for me) with a console, not with a rack of pres (unless the pres have insert points).

The UFX is a pretty darn cool thing.

phil p
Old 14th September 2011
  #9
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brackish View Post
That's a standalone recorder? From the specs I looked at, it looks like it's only an interface. Must be missing it ... it has an internal hard drive that it records to?
The latest firmware update lets you record all the channels to USB drive hooked up to the front USB port of the device. It works as a standalone recorder and an interface. Almost all its functions can be accessed without using a computer.
Old 14th September 2011
  #10
Get the HD24XR. I've never had a single problem in 10 years of use, I bought one of the first HD24s and the first EC-2 upgrade kit back in 2000.

I just used it out in the high desert last Sept. 4th. It was 104 degrees in the shade and it worked flawlessly. Every live show done on laptops have had problems, I'll never, ever use one of those live again. You only get one shot to screw everything up. Don't be that guy.
Old 14th September 2011
  #11
The UFX is a great solution, however I have a reservation about depending on it for a standalone recorder since there is no way that I can see of monitoring the actual recording while it is going down. In that respect, the HD24 wins hands-down.

Not sure if the JoeCo allows for monitoring exactly what is going to drive.

However, the HD24 is a bit bulky and heavy, not to mention the use of IDE drives which are hard to come by. Also, I have not had it happen to me yet, but I have seen the machines drop out of record during high-SPL bar/club type recordings. Knock on wood, but so far my HD24's have been very reliable in all kinds of circumstances.

So far, in my experiments the UFX has performed well as a standalone recorder (see the thread in this forum).

I'll add that a cheap solution is not always a good one. On some level, your backup machine should be at least as reliable as your primary, if not more so. Sometimes it pays to save up more than you would like to spend and then invest the money wisely.
Old 14th September 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
The UFX is a great solution, however I have a reservation about depending on it for a standalone recorder since there is no way that I can see of monitoring the actual recording while it is going down. In that respect, the HD24 wins hands-down.

Not sure if the JoeCo allows for monitoring exactly what is going to drive.

However, the HD24 is a bit bulky and heavy, not to mention the use of IDE drives which are hard to come by. Also, I have not had it happen to me yet, but I have seen the machines drop out of record during high-SPL bar/club type recordings. Knock on wood, but so far my HD24's have been very reliable in all kinds of circumstances.

So far, in my experiments the UFX has performed well as a standalone recorder (see the thread in this forum).

I'll add that a cheap solution is not always a good one. On some level, your backup machine should be at least as reliable as your primary, if not more so. Sometimes it pays to save up more than you would like to spend and then invest the money wisely.
How does a HD24 monitor exactly what is going to the drive? Does it have "read after write", where you can listen off-disk as you roll? (SD recorders can do this, but with tremendous delay--you could never mix listening to that output.) The JoeCo returns all its audio channels to the console--if you have it on the inserts and are hearing through your console, you are hearing thru the JoeCo. It has a headphone monitor output too, that looks at an internal mixer, but I'm sure it is not read-after write.

phil p
Old 15th September 2011
  #13
Good point Phil - I guess I don't know for certain that I am truly hearing after the drive. However, I am usually feeding the HD24 digitally, so I guess at least I know I am listening post conversion.

With the JoeCo analog BBR, I am under the impression that the insert snake is wired in parallel so that even if the unit loses power, the show can still go on without a hitch, so that would imply that you're not listening back after the recorder.
Old 15th September 2011
  #14
The HD24XR monitors through the conversion, both sides. What you hear is what is recorded to the drives, no changes. It allows you to monitor the results without any latency. The fact that I can record a live show that is sent to the HD24 first, routed back to the console, then sent via aux to the house and monitors without timing delays says it all, no one even knows that what they are hearing has been digitized, no one.

As too convienience, I remember bringing 24 track decks on tours. Frank Zappa always brought them as did Stevie Wonder or we used the trucks. 500 lbs and a couple hours alignment after each truck trip never made that fun. We used 2 as one was running as the other ran out of tape, more fun. No wonder we recorded every show as most had some technical issues.

The HD24XR is the same size and weight as my D-5 Fostex DAT machine and 122 Tascam cassette machine. It's like carrying a small box under your arm, no complaints after my 500 lb 2" experiences. I've never had the SPL issues some have had. Last week it was behind the drummer and keyboards, those were cranked through a 4x10 bassman amp. The vibration fix is easy if you need to sit it on top of a subwoofer or something, just remove the card cage and bolt the drive down. Connect the ribbon directly to the drive, no more SPL issues.

There are converters to use SATA drives with it. Solid state SATA drives are ideal, no moving parts. There are still thousands of unsold IDE drives still out there, I got a 500 gig from Fry's for about $80. That gave me over 50 hours recording time.
Old 15th September 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post

There are converters to use SATA drives with it. Solid state SATA drives are ideal, no moving parts. There are still thousands of unsold IDE drives still out there, I got a 500 gig from Fry's for about $80. That gave me over 50 hours recording time.
have you actually tried a SSD in the HD24 ? Im curious to know of anyone who has tried this ?
Old 17th September 2011
  #16
Read the testimonials over at the HD24 yahoo users site.
Old 17th September 2011
  #17
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Don S's Avatar
 

The problem may be with your interface. Both FF800 and 400 will continue to pass audio (via total mix) to a backup recorder if the computer connected to it crashes. Just one of the reasons I bought one! Combine it with HD24, 680 or spend extra on the ufx and you're almost bullet proof!
Rob - total mix shows you levels going to the UFX. If the computer crashes, you're having bigger problems at the moment than not seeing levels.
Old 17th September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
The HD24XR monitors through the conversion, both sides. What you hear is what is recorded to the drives, no changes. It allows you to monitor the results without any latency. The fact that I can record a live show that is sent to the HD24 first, routed back to the console, then sent via aux to the house and monitors without timing delays says it all, no one even knows that what they are hearing has been digitized, no one.

.
How is it that there can be no latency at all when the sound is going thru a full ADAC tour? That doesn't seem possible somehow. Even on a 2 track digital recorder (like SD) I can hear that my headphone feed (the full ADAC) is slightly delayed from real time! For the return to have no latency at all wouldn't you have to be monitoring off the input electronics? In any case, although you may be hearing through the full conversion, with or without latency somehow, you are still not hearing off the drives. Your only indication that that digital audio is being recorded is a drive activity light. This is true for all computer based digital audio recording systems that I know of (and the HD24 is controlled by a dedicated onboard computer, as is the JoeCo etc), so we're all in the same boat on this pretty much.

phil p
Old 18th September 2011
  #19
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Fostex D824. 200/400 dollars
Old 18th September 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Read the testimonials over at the HD24 yahoo users site.
im aware of the yahoo group but i cant see any posts on there since i last visited in march 2011 which would suggest anyone has got SSD working properly.. Ive seen a lot of people make suggestions but ive found no clear evidence. Do you have a link to a post from someone who has gotten solid state SSD working ? Especially on sata as you suggested ?
Old 19th September 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSDj View Post
I don't want a zoom or one of those porta-studios like that. What I am looking for should be rack mountable.
Not sure if the OP is around or AWOL, but the Zoom R16 is rack mountable, if you get a 1U rack tray and carefully screw upwards through the tray into the rubber feet on each corner of the R16. This'll give you 8 tracks of 24 bit, 44.1 on an SD card....press record and forget (after level setting) until the show's over. I know he didn't want to hear about Zoom....but still, there it is.
Old 19th September 2011
  #22
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Beyersound's Avatar
Another vote for the HD-24. Been using one six days a week for about 2 years now as a backup for my Radar 24. Flawless, and $50 or less gets you a second hard drive for the other bay. That redundancy factor, and/or much more recording time, is a great thing to have.
Old 19th September 2011
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
Rob - total mix shows you levels going to the UFX. If the computer crashes, you're having bigger problems at the moment than not seeing levels.

Hi Don

Nothing wrong with the meters - it's just that I want to hear what's going down to tape, er, HDD.

Trusting meters alone isn't something I am comfortable with.
Old 19th September 2011
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
How is it that there can be no latency at all when the sound is going thru a full ADAC tour? That doesn't seem possible somehow. phil p
These have been used for years without those timing issues. If your beliefs were true, no one could do overdubs from the latency delay.

Yes, there is delay. There is delay on your analog gear too. It's called propagation delay and it's never been a problem with audio. We operate too slow to notice.
Old 19th September 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
These have been used for years without those timing issues. If your beliefs were true, no one could do overdubs from the latency delay.

Yes, there is delay. There is delay on your analog gear too. It's called propagation delay and it's never been a problem with audio. We operate too slow to notice.
Well, if you say so. I assume since you do upgrades on those machines that you know where the analog audio outs are picked off from. If it is true that the analog channels outs are post ADAC, wouldn't that then mean you are vulnerable to the loss of return if the machine fails or loses power? This is a small risk but a risk nonetheless, and is the reason that JoeCo did go with an analog loop thru (back to the console insert points)--it will continue to pass signal through even if the recorder powers down completely. (I understand this was a demand of FOH people, who are the major market for this machine.) In any case I still don't see how it tells you if anything is being recorded to the drives, ie the system isn't read-after-write?

Did Alesis ever give a reason why they stopped making HD24s? It seems odd since they are so popular....(or maybe a stripped down version w/o all the editing features for recording only).

phil p
Old 20th September 2011
  #26
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
These have been used for years without those timing issues. If your beliefs were true, no one could do overdubs from the latency delay.

Yes, there is delay. There is delay on your analog gear too. It's called propagation delay and it's never been a problem with audio. We operate too slow to notice.
Yeah, the usual propagation delay on a full digital console AD in to DA out is approx 2-3ms. It could be even be a bit less on a device that just records and plays back. That is not something that would disrupt even incredibly acute musicians/singers, it can in fact, help them to hear themselves a bit more clearly at times.
Old 20th September 2011
  #27
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Mats H's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
How is it that there can be no latency at all when the sound is going thru a full ADAC tour? That doesn't seem possible somehow. Even on a 2 track digital recorder (like SD) I can hear that my headphone feed (the full ADAC) is slightly delayed from real time! For the return to have no latency at all wouldn't you have to be monitoring off the input electronics? In any case, although you may be hearing through the full conversion, with or without latency somehow, you are still not hearing off the drives. Your only indication that that digital audio is being recorded is a drive activity light. This is true for all computer based digital audio recording systems that I know of (and the HD24 is controlled by a dedicated onboard computer, as is the JoeCo etc), so we're all in the same boat on this pretty much.

phil p
Most converters have about 1 ms of AD and 1 ms of DA latency. The UFX has an ADDA latency roundtrip of less than 1ms, not that easily noticed... I've used it's predecessor, the Fireface 800 for FOH mixing, using VST plugins for compression/gating and the audience didn't notice the several ms delay. Ymmv.
Old 20th September 2011
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Well, if you say so. I assume since you do upgrades on those machines that you know where the analog audio outs are picked off from. If it is true that the analog channels outs are post ADAC, wouldn't that then mean you are vulnerable to the loss of return if the machine fails or loses power? This is a small risk but a risk nonetheless, and is the reason that JoeCo did go with an analog loop thru (back to the console insert points)--it will continue to pass signal through even if the recorder powers down completely. (I understand this was a demand of FOH people, who are the major market for this machine.) In any case I still don't see how it tells you if anything is being recorded to the drives, ie the system isn't read-after-write?

Did Alesis ever give a reason why they stopped making HD24s? It seems odd since they are so popular....(or maybe a stripped down version w/o all the editing features for recording only).

phil p
HD24's are still available new, the XR version was discontinued but the EC-2 upgrade 96k analog converters are available too.

Yes, outputs are fed from the DAC's, always. There is no analog run through. If power fails, so does the audio. However, using this inline at an important live show is not something anyone would do, it would be fed from direct outs or another non-inline connection. The fact that I have done it says it will work fine that way, if power goes down, so does the PA so there would be other more important technical issues to address, like a pissed off crowd.
Old 20th September 2011
  #29
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And realistically all the joeco box would be doing is a passive Y split anyway, the "feature" is almost pointless.. Do the joeco people suggest you take the XLR loom from the stage box directly into your external pre amps then feed the joeco from those pres and out of the joeco into the FOH console ? In other words you rely on your pre amps in that chain not to fail also.. You have a Y split which will save you if the joeco looses power but will be of no benefit under any other scenario.. You would be better off buying a bunch XLR Y splitter cables for $10 each and split the loom straight from the stage, one side into the FOH console and the other into the recording..

Or do they suggest its supposed to be used with inserts ? If thats the case you need to then run your comps and gates in series which isnt that elegant.. Probably ok for in house systems but still, the only time it could be of any help is if the joeco is the only thing that looses power which is a fairly unlikely scenario.
Old 21st September 2011
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebulb View Post
And realistically all the joeco box would be doing is a passive Y split anyway, the "feature" is almost pointless.. Do the joeco people suggest you take the XLR loom from the stage box directly into your external pre amps then feed the joeco from those pres and out of the joeco into the FOH console ? In other words you rely on your pre amps in that chain not to fail also.. You have a Y split which will save you if the joeco looses power but will be of no benefit under any other scenario.. You would be better off buying a bunch XLR Y splitter cables for $10 each and split the loom straight from the stage, one side into the FOH console and the other into the recording..

Or do they suggest its supposed to be used with inserts ? If thats the case you need to then run your comps and gates in series which isnt that elegant.. Probably ok for in house systems but still, the only time it could be of any help is if the joeco is the only thing that looses power which is a fairly unlikely scenario.

No, it's not. It has happened to me, more than once. Accidents happen in the chaos of shoots and concerts, sometimes even to those who consider themselves too expert to ever have them happen to them. When I go into a venue and ask the FOH guy about recording off the console inserts, they are always very glad to hear that no problem with my rig could interrupt their audio. It also means that if the mixer the inserts are from is your own (how I work mostly) the JoeCo going down will not affect the outputs of the mixer which are feeding cameras, monitoring and other recorders. JoeCo has a couple of different scenarios for getting inputs, including AES, MADI, Lightpipe as well as analog ins. The one I use is the version designed to pass an analog console's inserts. It has 8 insert returns on its rear panel for using outboard gear in line if you want. I find it a little interesting that some people would like to give the impression (belief even!) that the HD24 recorders are immune to problems, when a simple internet search, even on this forum, shows that is not the case. To those that have had excellent service and luck with theirs, great! The JoeCo machines are a good alternative with a more recent design, much lighter and smaller, that uses a variety of drives obtainable anywhere and was designed with the expressed purpose of recording live events, with no somewhat irrelevant extras regarding multitrack overdub recording and editing, and with the timecode and XML features than are a dealbreaker for the HD24 in film/TV etc work, at least mine!

phil p
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