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Alesis HD 24 xr as IO? Audio Interfaces
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Alesis HD 24 xr as IO?

Hey Guys,

This will be the First of my Three posts.


With PT 9 open, I'm considering taking my Alesis HD 24 xr using it as my IO and light piping everything into my Mac.


To get it into the Mac, Frontier Dakota has been mentioned along with it's Montana extension, but I've seen them listed as discontinued. Is this the same card as RME?


Also, Clocks? Antelope? Big Ben or I've read about a new $500 clock that reviewed as great, but just can't find the mag.


Please share your opinions and ideas please.


Thanks,


Bob
Old 21st December 2010
  #2
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msquared's Avatar
 

Unless you're going to keep using the Alesis as a recording device, I'd sell it and go with something like a Fireface 800 or a used Lynx Aurora setup.
Old 21st December 2010
  #3
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Seeing as you already have the HD 24 XR, I wouldn't suggest ditching it...

Furthermore I've read the the A/D on them are really rather good.

(I have the standard HD24 so can't comment directly)

Also the beauty of the HD24 is you've got 24 ins and outs ready to go...
If you go lynx or other you're looking at multiple units to get that many IO
...but higher sample rates would be available to you.

You could keep the HD24 and look at getting an MAUDIO Lightbridge and feed pro tools via that.

My mobile setup is 3 x Octopres lightpipe split to a Lightbridge / Protools 9 and an HD 24.

I've also got an optical switch on the first 8 of the HD24 if I need to go A/D in bypassing the octopres.. it works rather well.

I have a cheap little hosa word clock (had to fix the dry joints first though!) feeding the Lightbridge, HD24 and octopres..

But you could just have the HD 24 clocking internally and clock the Lightbridge to the incoming optical.

I've also read that HD24's (the non XR at least) tend to perform marginally better clocking internally to 48khz that to an external clock at 44.1.

But then again.. do a search as I may have dreamed that one : )

Al
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Al,

Thanks for the information. MAudio? Hmmmm Never new they made such a device. Learn something everyday.

I actually have 2 HD 24 xr units. I also just picked up a Trident London 24 (36x24) with a patch bay built in.

My idea is to run the 24 bus outs of the board into the HD 24 and light pipe it to my Mac. PT 9. Then out (If I wish) 24 tracks back to the board if desired.

Clock? I'm still not sure what to do here but will follow your suggestions.

Thanks again,

Bob
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
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Hi Bob,

That sounds like a great little setup !

Having the 2 x XRs is really good as you can use one for A to D and one for D to A

Soo....

I'd set it up like this:

Direct / Group outs from Trident to Analogue ins on 1st HD24.

1st HD 24 Lightpipe out to Lightbridge Input 1 to 24.

Lightbridge out to 2nd HD24 Lightpipe Input 1 to 24.

2nd HD24 Anaolgue Outs back to Trident monitor returns.

And just have both HD24s on Input Monitor.

This way you can clock the 1st HD24 internally, Clock the Lightbridge to the incoming Optical and the 2nd HD 24 to the incoming optical from the lightbridge.


FYI - You may read some about people havig bad experiences with the Lightbridge. One thing you have to remember is to not "Double power" it. Ie: do not use the supplied power supply and just have it bus powered from the firewire connection.

I've had NO problems with it, and you can get down to 64 samples latency in pro tools 9 using it as an aggregate device. The minimum being 128 samples when recognised as a "plug and play interface".

I'm running a mac so YMMV.

Al
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
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Bob, I have run a similar rig with a Fostex 2424LV into my old Trident desk with ProTools M-Powered 7/8 running through a ProFire Lightbridge. It has worked reasonably well but there were driver and software issues at some points. Overall, not bad though.

To Al, how has your Lightbridge been running under ProTools 9? I've been holding off implementing the upgrade. Which Mac are you running?

Cheers RAy
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
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Assuming you are running Pro Tools 9 Native (LE, M-Box, and HD need specific interface hardware) then just pick up an RME interface card and be done with it. If you have a PCI slot then grab a used RME 9652 for $300 (newer version with 2 midi I/O). If no PCI slots then grab a RME Raydat (PCIe). Both will let use all the channels on the HD24XR (24 I/O at 44.1k or 48k sample rate) (12 I/O at 88.2k or 96k sample rate). Just lightpipe between the two units with the HD24XR as master (internal clock), clock signal will go to the RME interface card via the lightpipe. The HD24XR I/O is assignable in pairs with simple button pushes on the front of the unit so just set the unit up for each phase of recording to take advantage of all of it's I/O (the only time you would have it set to 12 in / 12 out would be using outboard gear for an ITB mix). Tracking from an analog desk would be all 24 out to the DAW (moniter off the desk) or 22 out to the DAW and 2 back in to moniter the DAW. Mixdown with an analog desk and recording the stereo mix back in the DAW would be 22 out from the DAW and 2 back into the DAW. Other threads here will get into this more, use search as it's been covered before. You can buy multiple HD24XR's and RME's for one of the best bang for the buck ways to use a large frame analog desk with DAW's. Older RME software allowed for three cards in a computer (72 channels, rock solid with very low latency) newer versions have allowed for 6 RME cards but I don't know how well that is working (144 channels). When you start looking at the other options out there, many severely limit how many interface cards you can use together (how many total I/O you will end up with when you expand). If you are going the large frame analog desk route with DAW then you need lots of I/O (what's the point of having 72+ channels at mixdown on an analog desk and not having an equal number of conversion and interface channels?).
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
Bob, I have run a similar rig with a Fostex 2424LV into my old Trident desk with ProTools M-Powered 7/8 running through a ProFire Lightbridge. It has worked reasonably well but there were driver and software issues at some points. Overall, not bad though.

To Al, how has your Lightbridge been running under ProTools 9? I've been holding off implementing the upgrade. Which Mac are you running?

Cheers RAy
Hi Ray,

The Lightbridge seems to be is working great with PT9. I had an all day session with it last week and it worked fine.. that and I stressed tested it to hell beforehand trying to make it fall over and it was ok.

I'm using a mid 2008 2.4Ghz macbook pro with it.

Al
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 

If you've got the cash, I would definitely recommend going with the RME Raydat over the Maudio lightbridge. RME has a long track record with their cards, and I'd take PCIe over firewire. I'm a computer build away from doing the same with a Radar 24 and RME ADI-8 hooked up to the Raydat. 32 i/o. woo-hoo!
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

The word on the HD24 is that it sounds better using its own clock.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Bassmankr

Bassmankr,

My exact set up would be one or both of two Desks. I have a Trident London 24 (36 X 24) and Otari Status (36 X 24) in two different rooms. Both have HD 24 xr's and PT.
One room (Trident) is running PT 9, and other room, PT 8.
I've heard about the RME cards (the Alesis guys are hot on them) and you're right, seems the way to go.

I didn't totally follow your routing recommendations but, I'll review it again.

Thank you,

Bob
Old 23rd December 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 

You need to reveal some more info, is the Pro Tools 9 DAW running the Native version? If so then you can use RME interfaces with that DAW. What hardware and version are you running with your Pro Tools 8 DAW (LE - HD?)? All versions of Pro Tools 8 requires specific Pro Tools interfaces which the software needs to see in order to run. Will you be using both 36 channel analog desks at the same time (running both rooms at the same time)? Is there a shared mechanical room? You basically need 1 converter channel for every channel you are going to be running on the analog board, 36 channnels on the analog board at mix time means at least 36 converter channels from the DAW. You have 2 Alesis units (48 channels total) but two rooms, each with a 36 channel board and it's own DAW).
Old 23rd December 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Bassmankr,

With the Switch to 9 being open (I'm assuming that it will work with all outboard now) we were hoping to First take the shortest expense to getting some IO in place with our Ana. concoles.

This is why we thought of the Alesis HD 24 xr already racked and ready.

The idea was to use the IO for at least 24 ins and then mix what ever on the board, under 22 channels (If desired) or mix all in the box.

Our research has pointed us in the direction of the RME cards. One of those seemed that it would do the trick for a way to operate quickly without buying a ton of converters right off the back.

The Longer story of it all is that we're getting ready to break ground on a new studio. We want to go to the Well once and only once but in the meanwhile Get working with our New Old Trident in place.

I hope this helps to some degree.

Again thanks for your expert guidance. We appreciate it all.

Merry Christmas,

Bob
Old 24th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Since the studio is not built yet hopefully you have designed a common/shared mechanical room for your two control rooms. If you will be using both control rooms at the same time, each will need it's own DAW which is what I'm assuming you will have. If you upgrade both DAWs to Pro Tools 9 Native then yes you can use RME cards for the interfaces. The next question to answer would be with your DAW computers, do they have PCI or PCIe slots available on the motherboards to determine which RME interface you would stick in it? If the answer is PCI then go with two RME 9652 PCI cards (the newer version of the card with 2 midi I/O) to give you 48 channels I/O. If the answer is PCIe the you would be looking at sticking in two RME Raydat PCIe cards for 64 channels I/O. It looks like you would use 2 HD24XR's per control room/DAW, so with your two control rooms/DAWs you would need 4 units. The hookup between those two HD24XR's and your DAW's RME cards would be 12 lightpipe (ADAT) cables (HD24XR units to the RME cards). For clocking make one of the HD24XR units master. From that master unit run a short ADAT 9 pin sync cable to the other HD24XR unit which is in slave mode. Both of the RME cards will be in slave mode. The first RME card gets it sync info via lightpipe from the master HD24XR unit. Run a 6" BNC cable from that RME card to the other RME card for it's sync info. On that second RME card jumper select it so the 75 ohm termination is on the BNC. In the RME software you will srt the first card to slave, ADAT sync and the second unit to slave, Wordclock BNC sync. That will give you 48 channels I/O (conversion) for each control room/DAW. Since you have a 36 input analog desk in each control room I would just set the HD24XR's like this: The I/O are assignable in pairs (do a search here about it or crack the manual) with a few button pushes. Just set the two units for a total of 12 ins to the DAW and 36 outs from the DAW. Now you are set for recording up to 12 sources at a time and all set for analog mixing. If you need more inputs at tracking (up to 48) just push some buttons on the HD24XR's. Post pics of the studio construction in the construction forum here so we can see your progress and good luck with your build. Ny the way, the RME software drivers are rock steady with low latency under full load which is NOT the case with some other interfaces. If we ever meet up you can buy me a beer!
Old 24th December 2010
  #15
Gear Nut
 

I use an hd24xr for the converters, could never get the lightbridge working properly and got an rme raydat which has been rock solid.
Old 25th December 2010
  #16
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Bassmankr,

Once again, there you go with all that knowledge. Thanks.

I must clarify though that my studios Are built. We are going to break ground on a New facility soon.

Currently we have, at the office, One A suite Recording Studio and two Daw stations.

We are replacing a 3500 Tascam console with the Trident. For the time being, before the new build, we will use the HD 24's as our IO and buy an RME.

The second Room, is at my home. I have an Otari Status R18 wtih 36/24. I also have a HD 24xr in that room as well. The idea is to also go PT9 native there as well. And, for the time being, use the HD 24 as IO.

In the new construction, I hope to get an SSL (Which I know very little about) and use the Trident in the B suite. The two rooms will share some Iso's.

I hope this helps with the whole picture.

I will send plans and keep everyone up on the construction step by step.

Thanks, again, and now I will not buy you a beer..... I'll buy you Two.

Bob
Old 25th December 2010
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Madestew's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun Bob View Post
Bassmankr,


In the new construction, I hope to get an SSL (Which I know very little about) and use the Trident in the B suite.

Bob
Why???

I can safely tell you that purchasing an ssl desk is totally and financially unnecessary. There are too many desks available for much cheaper, most of which sound better imo than an SSL. And thats from a guy who worked on an ssl desk for a while... Don't buy sh+$ just because you've heard about it...LEARN about it.
Old 25th December 2010
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Madestew,

I truly appreciate your remark.

Please understand that although I've worked in the business for several years, including on a few SSL's (always with an ENG.), I'm located in an area where they're not many big classic desks... so we go with what we're often told. Many feel that the SSL was still over all the best in the land.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I research the heck out of everything and seek out those in the know.. Like YOU. To stay in business as long as I have has taken working bigger and better sounds with less. We've been fortunate but, timing is right and I need to build a real... Right room. So please offer what ever help and knowledge you have. You will not offend, only help me.

Tell me what you think should be the right desk, work-flow, outboard, plugins, and so on. I'm all ears.

If you'd like to know more about what we are doing and plan to do more of in our rooms, just let me know.

Take care, Happy Holidays and thank you,

Bob
Old 16th January 2013
  #19
Gear Nut
 
Flexable's Avatar
What is a good way to connect a hardware reverb as a insert in PT10 using the hd24xr and profire lightbridge?
Old 17th January 2013
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Up Date on Project and more

For all those that helped me, especially BassMnkr - I want to thank you,

I Took all of your advice into consideration. I took both of my nice analog consoles and ran all 24 ins to my HD 24 X and out, via Light Pipe to my New RME Ray Dat Cards. (One to a PC with PT 9 and Vegas 11 and One to an 8 Core Mac Pro with PT 9) Out puts back to the HD 24 to the console OR through the Box...Your choice.
I take the 2 track digital outs of the Ray Dat cards and drive my Master Link for monitoring and quick CD Reference.
I used the additional 8 Channels of the Ray Dat Cards to drive my Hear Back Systems via digital. SUPER CLEAN.
All is fine and world class... Near Perfect.

For Flexable, Basically you'll need to run the output of your Reverb to an input and drive the Reverb with an output that you'll drive using PT routing.

OR buy the Lexicon plug ins like I did. I have several of the older Lex 200 (big ones) and 224 and wanted to do the same. After hearing the new plugs, they are primarily collection dust.

Take care and again, thanks to all.
Cajun Bob
Old 17th January 2013
  #21
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skythemusic's Avatar
Anyone ever use the HD24 series with SSL Alphalink madi system? I want to use the adat outs on the alphalink into the HD24 to get extra outputs into my console for mixing and monitoring and I'm wondering if I'll have issues.
Old 17th January 2013
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
Skythemusic,

It sounds easy. Adat out from the Alphalink into the HD 24, Analog outs to the console for Mix. Switch the HD 24 to dig input.

NOTE though that the HD 24 and the HD 24 xt sound very different. The Alesis Guys did confirm that the ADA converters are Very different and much better in the XT. We proved it in our place, having multiples of the units.

Regarding the Fireface 800 and The Lynx. We did try the Fireface 800 and it worked well but, in our opinion did not sound nearly as good as the HD 24 xt. The Lynx though has a great reputation.

I have simply utilized equipment I had available and although I had availability of 3/Fireface 800's, we all (Engineers/producers) chose the HD 24 xt's.

I might be missing something but, your set up sounds simple.

Note that when it comes to MADI - The RME Guys are on top of it all and willing to talk to anyone.

Lastly, Robert Williams, at Sweet Water, (Sales) is also a great source of information. He's my go to guy there and has never been wrong... OK Once.

Take care and Good luck.
Cajun Bob
Old 17th January 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Glad you are happy with the setup. I LOVE my Raydat.

Not sure if you've tried this, but it lets you mirror the input and outputs to any channel at any time. This has let me use more hardware inserts inside of PT even though my Radar and the HD24 are one way converters at a time.

It also lends itself to pretty flexible routing using the matrix for cue sends.
Old 17th January 2013
  #24
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
j2,
Whooo. Over my head. Nope. Didn't know about mirror-ing. I'll have to check into that feature. Should you have a Mirror-ing for dummies, step by step guide hanging around, please send it my way.
Thanks,
Bob
Old 17th January 2013
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Flexable's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun Bob View Post

For Flexable, Basically you'll need to run the output of your Reverb to an input and drive the Reverb with an output that you'll drive using PT routing.

Cajun Bob
Would you explain?
Old 17th January 2013
  #26
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Aux send from PT going out through the converters to your outboard 'verb, then back into an aux channel in PT through the converters. Automate the aux as you see fit.
Old 18th January 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun Bob View Post
j2,
Whooo. Over my head. Nope. Didn't know about mirror-ing. I'll have to check into that feature. Should you have a Mirror-ing for dummies, step by step guide hanging around, please send it my way.
Thanks,
Bob
Pretty simple actually. Just open the DSP mixer, choose the Matrix, and you'll see all the INPUTS and OUTPUTS cascaded in a grid. By simply clicking a box, you are "mirroring" that input/output to that digital channel.
For instance, PT typically designates outs 1+2 as the main outs. I can use a diff DA to monitor those outs by simply clicking, let's say, AES L+R in the DSP matrix. Doing so mults the output to ADAT 1+2 AND AES L+R. Pretty cool. Easy to do converter tests that way....

You can also creat mults for mixing that way as well.
Old 18th January 2013
  #28
Gear Nut
 
Cajun Bob's Avatar
J2,
OK Better.
I must open everything and do it as I read your email.
Thanks though. And note, any other bits of wisdom are welcomed.
Take care,

Bob
Old 18th January 2013
  #29
Gear Nut
 
Flexable's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by j2dafo View Post
Aux send from PT going out through the converters to your outboard 'verb, then back into an aux channel in PT through the converters. Automate the aux as you see fit.
Can i use just one channel on the HD24XR for this function? Say digital in to HD24XR channel 10 (from PT10 via lightpipe) then analog out channel 10 from HD24XR to (mono) reverb in. Then (mono) reverb analog out to analog channel 10 back in and digital channel 10 out via lightpipe back to PT10? If so, how?
Old 18th January 2013
  #30
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waveterm's Avatar
 

No you cannot.

You can only use the HD24 for one direction at a time. It´s either converting analog input to ADAT, or, converting ADAT to analog output.

WT
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