Hex Editor...how often do use one?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by redrabbit, May 21, 2005.

  1. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    How essential is it in your studio?

    I'm in the first situation where , if I knew a "bit" :) about Hex, I could find the problem, or even fix it.

    Is it worth the time to learn?

    I have some 24/96 .wav files that won't play correctly, as the recorder I used has a known bug. They play fine from the machine, but don't transfer correctly to a PC or Mac. There is a fix promised, but nothing as yet (3 weeks).

    I downloaded "Hex Workshop" (35 day full trial). There is a 'compare' function......but I don't know what differences to look for when compared to a reference (working) file.....and what constitutes a 'header'.

    I'm currently researching the subject, and any tips would be appreciated.

  2. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    OK - I'll be the first to admit I'm not anywhere near a Mastering Engineer, but I can say that I am a 'real' engineer.

    I view this as a kind of a Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle issue: With a Hex file editor you can measure how much (amplitude) but you are a bit lost about where (time).

    I say a 'bit' because the file is linear and you can know exactly what sample you are viewing, but not in the context of the music. And, if you are in an interleaved stereo .wav file, it's just more details you need to know to be able to edit the file.

    When you are in your DAW, you can at least hear where you are in the music and then edit the waveform (graphically).

    Seems to me that a Hex Editor is a lot of work and there is a better way of file editing.

    My $0.02. I'll be interested in what the experts have to say on this one.
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    OK - I'm also a "real" engineer (but not audio related), and also in Indiana :eek:
    If you're needing to edit the "header", then a hex editor is the right tool to use. The header is usually a small bit of data at the front of a data file that contains information such as format, the application used, it might have user info, or other tidbits that might useful for future reference. The contents of the header will depend on the application that created the file and the file format.

    You'll need to study the header of a good file - you can usually see text characters in the header - and it doesn't usually occupy much data - after a few lines on the first screen of the file, it will likely be into the raw data of the file. You won't want to use a hex editor to edit the audio data - it's the wrong tool for that task.
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Some PC audio programs (I think sequoia) can fix the header in a wav file. I have never used a hex editor, I can usually find a program that will recognize is.
  5. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    What would qualify as a "good file".

    Could I create one in Wavelab?
    RME has some test files, but I did not see a 24/96.

  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I figured you knew what the problem was, since you said your recorder has a known bug. If you don't know what data is getting screwed up in the header, it's not likely you'll be able to figure it out by trial and error.

    What is it that you're working with that's causing the trouble?
  7. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    It's a new model Marantz PMD671 portable recorder.
    It's maybe TOO new, if you know what I mean........

    ...as evidenced here:

    (Midiot = me)


    Some suggestions are also given here:

  8. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    Dang - and I have been selling the GM at the radio station that the new Marantz recorders are perfect for field work - due to their ability to transfer audio as files. Gonna have to wait this one out.

    Sounds like you will need to know the exact details of the .wav file format (it's on the 'net) and compare it to what you are getting from the 671 before you can attempt to Hex edit it into the proper format. My guess is that by the time you get this figured out Marantz will have a fix.
  9. TotalSonic

    TotalSonic Guest

    A couple cool PC freeware tools to fix corrupted files can be downloaded from
    http://www.railjonrogut.com/WAV Saver.htm

    Best regards,
    Steve Berson
  10. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    ^^^ Pretty cool stuff, Steve. Thanks
  11. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    Yes, thanks for the links Total/Steve. I have not tried them yet, but I emailed the maker, and asked if they were "ProTools only" and the reply was NO, works for any WAV file ( which makes sense).

    Got off the track a little, but the topic is still open,

    How often do use a Hex editor in your studio?

  12. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I used a hex editor one time, and that's it.
  13. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Back in the day :? , I used hex editors all the time - when a Commodore 64 was almost a "real" computer. I don't recall why I used them, but I was always going in a flipping bits in data files for this or that. It was also useful for checking datafiles related to programs I might be writing. Those days have long passed - it's very rare (like once every few years) than I need a hex editor for anything at all.
  14. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    (re: Marantz671)

    Until there is a fix, this app (CD Wave) has been used with success:



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