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Interface for stand alone and computer operation

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Trick, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Trick

    Trick Guest

    Well, I've changed my mind on getting a laptop...I think I'm going to go with a rack mount computer from sonica labs. Do they make specific rack cases for a computer system - for the rack tower, monitor and keyboard, etc?

    Now, here's what I'm looking for. An interface that will give me up to 24 channels (may have to purchase multiple units), have adat optical i/o and gain level knobs so I can have the option of a stand alone unit and send to a hd24, and when not using as stand alone be able to connect to the computer via pci or whatever connection will give me high quality, low latency recordings (I'm just assuming pci because that's the best way to send audio in, right?)

    First off, is the configuration of being able to use an interface as a stand alone unit and also be able to hook it up to a computer via pci not such a good idea. Or should I just keep it seperate and buy preamps for the stand alone operation and then go with an audio interface for the computer? If I have to go with two seperate interfaces, what are some good quality units for stand alone and desktop operation? The rig I'm trying to build will mainly be used for live recording, and then edited at home studio.

    For example, I'm looking at the MOTU HD192 system. Would that work for the configuration I want. It doesn't look like the unit has preamps. Do I use external preamps, or connect from a console?
    How about the connections of the entire system. Does the console's outputs (bus, direct out, etc.) feed the audio interface (such as the HD192), then I have the option to send the XLR outs from the unit back into the console? How about the monitors, does the output come from the console? Then what happens if I'm not using the console, I have to route it out of the computer? Am I able to switch between both without physically switching the output?

    I'm discovering more and more of my uncertainties
    Again, Thanks for the help....I just want to get my search over with already
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you're trying to put yourself through too many Tricks? Sure there are cases for rackmount computers. Many different types padded and not padded.

    But why do you want to go through these audio contortions? What do you believe the benefit would be? A good recording is largely dependent on your first input stage front end, i.e. the microphone preamps. Most of these high-quality computer audio interfaces and the standalone HD 24XR by Alesis requires the use of microphone preamps or a console with microphone preamps and some type of direct outputs.

    The way I'm doing it these days is with the outboard API microphone preamps when the HD 24 is not in the truck with the Neve. I then take the HD 24 hard drive and connect it to the optional IEEE 1394 FireWire interface and dump to an external hard drive through the laptop. I can then import into Adobe Audition, Sony Vegas or ProToolsLE. Various corrections and enhancements can be accomplished within the computer, laptop. If I should decide to complete the project in the box, no problem. Otherwise, I can still make my corrections, overdubs and other DSP functions in the computer and save those changes. I can then backfeed from the computer back into the FST hard disc drive and pop that back into the HD 24 so that I can mix down through the Neve. So I have numerous choices without having to schlep a desktop machine.

    The HD 24XR, is a lovely sounding machine. But beware. It has 2 front loading disc drive bays. You should always have 2 disk drives. Upon completion of your initial tracking session, you should immediately create a mirror backup to the second disk drive in the HD 24. It's that drive that you should remove and utilize. Take the original disk drive and put it on the shelf. I don't screw with it. Only the backup since it's identical. I've already had a catastrophic failure after having transferred the drive through the computer, as the backup but when I was putting the drive back into the HD 24, it indicated invalid format! I was extremely upset and have not received any kind of customer support nor reply to my e-mail. It's OK. I'm going to NYC for the AES and I will go right to the Alesis Booth first! I'm really upset by this. The dump to the computer to the hard drive was going to be my backup of the HD 24 drive to .wav on the NTFS computer drive. But it crashed the computer and didn't complete the transfer. So it's a total loss. In valid format my ass! My mistake for being stupid! Moral of the story, if you can back it up in the machine, back it up in the machine first before you ever remove the drive.

    Stupid girl!
    Name withheld to protect my stupidity.
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    All I gots'ta say is....glad I'm not the Alesis rep who'll be there THAT day :shock:


    (I've had more bad customer service in the past few years than anyone should tolerate. Go get'em Remy!):cool:
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yes sir Kaptin! I'm going to Krunchem' good.

    Customer service? Customer support? What's that?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. Trick

    Trick Guest

    Would this setup work?

    Preamps to MOTU 2408 MK3 via optical, then optical out of 2408 to HD24. The 2408 will also be connected to computer via audio wire going to pci card.

    Would I be able to record to both at the same time?
    If so, how would I clock this?
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Remy, I'm surprised. You of all people should know that you won't likely get any service, support or satisfaction from a trade show? Boths from companies like Alesis usually only staff them with sales and marketing bozos who are only able to give BS lip service and promises. What is it that you expect them to do? Fix the product? Huh! Not in this lifetime.

    Your first comments were the real fix. When you are done recording, make a backup before you do anything else. This is the correct method for any recording device used, and even if the HD24 worked perfectly all the time. I have not had any HD problems yet with my HD24, but I am not about to trust or take the risk.

    Good luck!
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You would have to check with MOTU to see if this is a supported data flow in the 2408. I've not used the 2408 Mk 3, but my guess is that the data on the optical out is output from the computer only.

    However, I'm a bit confused by your post when you talk about linking the preamps to the 2408 via an optical connection. What type of pre-amps are these? To have optical outs, they must have their own AD converters. If this is indeed the case, connect the preamp optical outs to the HD24 optical ins then the HD24 optical outs to the 2408 optical ins. The HD24 can be set up to copy the data on its optical ins to the optical outs.

    If instead you are using analog preamps, a certain route is preamps to HD24 analog in, then HD24 analog out to 2408 analog in, or use an XLR splitter. However, unless you have the HD24XR, the recorded data will be of lower quality than the computer data because of the HD24 AD converters. If you have an HD24XR, which has the high-quality AD converters, go preamp outs to HD24XR analog ins, then HD24XR optical outs to 2408 optical ins.

    Clocking is straightforward. If you are using the 2408 optical ins, set the 2408 clock source to ADAT. If by chance the 2408 can be configured to have the digitized data on the optical outputs, set the HD24 clock source to be "digital".
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yup, AudioGaff, this was pretty funny stupid of me. (I think I can see Boswell's eyes rolling around in his head?) This was going to be the backup. In that, I figured the dump, through the HD 24's fire wire adapter, through the computer to the secondary external NTFS file format disk drive, would be the backup. Sometimes, I'm not always the brightest LED in the console. We both figured this backup would go as smoothly as the previous one did. Obviously, in hindsight (which probably looks better since I've lost 50 pounds) was not really a backup but a conversion process. Duh. The NTFS backup did not go smoothly on this pass, as it did on the previous pass. I'm not ruling out a problem with the IEEE 1394 adapter from Alesis, albeit brand new, built in China. Thankfully it does not appear to have any red paint with a high lead content to it? So there was no recall on television like for the other toy manufacturers. I think I'll have to send it back?

    My client used to work for Wang (which obviously indicates he is in the late forties) and continues to work in the computer field today. We were both sitting there, quietly talking, smoking, when we heard the FST hard disk drive's RPMs started ramping up and down and then boom. After this happen, I did a couple of tests and believe that the IEEE 1394 adapter and/or the power supply to power the disk drive, is defective. As this repeated again when I continued to do more tests, after the crash and seems to be a quite inconsistent IEEE 1394 adapter from Alesis. Made in China!

    This is a new machine to me and I put my faith in something that is virtually new out-of-the-box, since on the only other prior occasion, it worked great. My impression of what I was doing and his, was that this is an acceptable way to make a backup. Obviously not. And since the HD 24XR has dual drive bays, I'll always look at it as something more akin to a RAID as opposed to an alternate or secondary drive and I'll make an "FST" backup before the tracking drive is ever removed from the machine again, after a recording.

    Thankfully, this is a great client and he is always quite pleased with my rough mixes of the live shows we've done through the years. He really just wanted to do minor corrections. He loves my work and coming from a a Berkeley guy, I'm always quite flattered. We've worked together for 17 years and he's looking forward to the next sections because he loves what I do and especially with my Neve, since 1996. He knows a good thing when he hears it.

    I would also like to say to Boswell and to you, AudioGaff, I've always highly respected your technical backgrounds and prowess. Your answers are always the best and the most technically accurate. This in comparison to my half assed, "It's only rock-and-roll and I love it , love it. Yes I do" background. You guys are far more educated and competent that I am. Thank God you guys are here to provide people with good information!

    The lighter and still obviously clueless
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. Trick

    Trick Guest

    Boswell thanks so much for helping me out with all of this.

    I'm still undecided with the exact preamps I'm going with...but no matter what, I want them to have optical outs...the pre's I have in mind right now are the Digimax FS, Mackie Onyx 800R, MOTU 8PRE. Just to clarify...I am using an ADAT HD24 not the xr version.

    So, this will copy in real-time to the PC. Meaning as I record to the HD24 the signal will pass thru to the 2408? I just want to make sure, that's why I'm asking again.

    Also, I had a discussion a little while ago about wanting inserts or analog direct outs on the preamps so I can compress. If I go with the MOTU 8PRE for example I won't have inserts or analog outs, but down the road could I get a D/A converter, which I believed you mentioned the Apogee, and then use compression, etc. If this is possible how does it connect with the system, just for future notice. OR should I just get preamps that are analog, then I could insert, and run them into an A/D converter out to the HD24. I have a feeling the latter would be the most expensive though.
    What's your opinion on all of this?

    once again, thanks
  10. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Not to hijack the thread from Trick, but...

    Don't beat yourself up to much Remy. We all make dumb ass mistakes. I've also had my share of goofs and blunders but I'm too ashamed to admit them in public. If I had not done some homework on the HD24 first in the HD24 Yahoo gorups, I would of one day likely had the same kind of problem and kick myself like you are doing.

    I thank you much for the kind comments. Although I have a real electrical and semiconductor engineering background, I still find that I don't always know as much as I think I know, or as much as I should know. You have paid your dues and seem to have more real world experience than I, that is for sure. You are certainly no sloutch in audio education and I know for a fact that your advice is greatly appreciated by many around here. I for one am glad your on our mod squad.

    Let us know how it goes at AES at the Alesis booth. I am curious as to how they will respond. Beat them up for your problem and for the lack of a dedicated remote for the HD24 like they promised several years ago. I give them crap every time I see them about that and how they just gave up on their X2 console that had so much potential as a Mackie killer.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Thanks AudioGaff. Not to confuse poor Trick here that must be wondering " WTF?"

    I always find it entertaining (along with the associated stress and embarrassment), when as a professional, I make doodie. Don't get me started on my mistake on Meet The Press in 1984.

    OK, since I started already, this is quite funny. I was transferred from radio entertainment division at NBC, into the television network news division in Washington DC. They knew how good an engineer operator and technician I was in radio and almost immediately made me A 1 (the primary audio engineer) for Meet the Press. It was quite an honor for me to work on that prestigious show especially with people like David Brinkley. But with only a couple of weeks of training, I told them I really wasn't ready to go solo. But they said I would do fine. For my first three weeks of shows all went well. But on the fourth week, as I was still settling in to the routine, it was the first fund raiser for America's farmers. It was with Willie Nelson and called Farm Aid, which many of you may remember. I was told "we might possibly open the show with a feed from that event". While I was concentrating on our standard opening which included the John Williams music, live announcer and an animated open. Well, as you may have guessed, I missed the director telling us that we had the feed. So it's "4, 3, 2, go to black. Roll the opening". Now being a live network show, they rolled the tape but they didn't take the tape. It was a safety backup just in case. But, I took the tape and so Meet the Press opened with people standing onstage pickin' and scratchin', but the sound was the John Williams orchestral opening. (DOH!) At that point, the director shouts "No! No! The other feed! The other feed!" So I immediately take Farm Aid and the technical director immediately switches the video to the animated open with, pickin' and scratchin' music instead of John Williams music. Then the director yells " Nooo! Kill that!" Just as the announcer says "... and brought to you by Ford Mo..........(silence). The show was a complete running stumble after that for everybody! Probably the worst show in the history of that show? It was a comedy of errors but not quite a comedy. The show is repeated as a tape playback after the first live feed throughout the network and its affiliates. So we get the chance to do the opening again but the entire show was so screwed up, they didn't bother to fix any of it and we had to sit through the repeat and watch and listen to what we did again! OY VAY it was painful.

    Of course, big management meeting with engineering follow that fiasco and I was told that my upcut on the Ford Motor commercial, cost the network as much as my entire year's salary. I was told "we're not going to take you off the show..." And for the following week and thereafter, I was reassigned to the John McLaughlin shows, which I did for over 10 years. LMAO! It wasn't until years later when suddenly one day, the primary audio engineer for the show that replaced me suddenly took ill. I was told I had to do the show. I told them "no. I don't do the show. I don't know the show anymore or its routine since it changed" and I said if "you want me to do this, I want an assistant director in the booth with me." They accommodated me. The show went on without any problems but I never did it again. The show that is. But yes, it was a stupid misstep. I've embarrassed myself plenty through the years so it's nothing new to me. Besides, I prefer Chevrolets anyhow. I laugh every time I think about that one.

    The stories I have of bloopers by newscaster's and other events makes for some incredible comedy. I've actually been told to put some things on the air that has never been said or heard anyplace else in the country, ever on television. Such as one of our former mayors of Washington DC, Marion Barry. Quite some years ago, he was busted by the DEA/FBI for cocaine. We had a special exclusive and broke the story. We had the DEA/FBI tape. Every other word out of this guy was the "F" word that was repeated over and over again. I don't think anything like that has ever been said that many times on commercial television at four o'clock in the afternoon on a weekday, ever, ever! None of the other television stations had this tape. They had a different copy with different embedded time code burned into the bottom of the picture. I think one of our newscaster's who had a similar substance problem that went to the Betty Ford clinic and was a good buddy of the mayor, they did that stuff together. I think, he may have provided the information to make this happen? He's never admitted it. But deep down inside, I know he tipped somebody off.

    I'll stop here but there's more to come after these messages.....
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. sparganue

    sparganue Guest

    HD 24 hard drives

    QUOTE: I've already had a catastrophic failure after having transferred the drive through the computer, as the backup but when I was putting the drive back into the HD 24, it indicated invalid format!

    Sorry, not to be a pain as a new poster... but did you say you put your Alesis Hard Drive in your computer? I don't believe that they are formatted at all the same that might be why both your computer crashed and the drive failed. Windows is a control freak and probably messed up the drive while looking for the NTFS file system. In my limited knowledge (I researched the HD24XR myself, bought one) Alesis invented their own disk file system which writes files in a strait line instead of all over the place - therefore better suited to audio only disk usage. Its not like APPLE vs PC difference, its more like plugging an old parallel peripheral's chord into a SCSII slot.

    My $.02

    Still losing a project is the worst. Been there-done that. My condolences.

    And if I'm wrong - just ignore me :)

  13. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    I am sure he is using the firewire adapter that you just plug the drive into.
  14. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    He who?
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Thank you sparganue. Yes, I already knew that. This situation has occurred yet again but this time, I had backed stuff up and was totally prepared. I'm just not really happy Norton encouraged by the fact that every time I have transferred an FST drive through their FireWire adapter and then followed the proper, safe removal, shut off procedure, the drive when reinstalled into the HD 24 is again indicating " invalid format. Format now?". Of course not.

    Now, I either go to the backup FST and/or I use HD 24 tools to reestablish the corrupted header. This is just not making me a happy camper! It's more bull crap to have to constantly deal with. It's not like any of this has had any kind of hard use. ITS BRAND FREAKING NEW! I'm just not impressed with many designers or programmers anymore. Most work is so shoddy it's hard to comprehend.

    I'm beautiful you know and you can refer to me as
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  16. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    So Remy, I never got to hear about your visit to ALesis at AES?

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