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Masterlink to replace DAT: "Yum" or "Blec

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by erockerboy, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Hola amigos,

    My doddering old DAT machine is on the verge of giving up the ghost, and I'm leaning towards replacing it with one o' them newfangled Alesis Masterlink doohickeys. Any solid reasons NOT to do this? I'm mostly thinking of reliability, data integrity, longevity of the medium, etc... DAT has proven to be (for me anyway) a fairly robust medium, and while I haven't had any consistent major prob's with CD-R's (at least not yet), I'd feel better about ditching DAT if you guys had good things to say about Masterlink in this regard.

    Any comments, experiences, etc. much appreciated!

    -e
     
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Masterlink burns off an internal hard drive, right? Make backups if you're worried.

    And make sure your media is good. I remember some brew-ha in Mix in the early 90's that some columnist inadvertantly put TDK on the defensive because their CD-R's were crap because they used inferior materials. Don't know if any of that is in their online archives or still valid info, so ask someone who knows about longevity.

    Playing a CD-R, if it survives, will doubtless be an easier proposition down the line than finding a deck to play audio DAT's.

    Bear
     
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I'm not all that slick when it comes to alesis stuff, but it seems from what I've heard that the 'Masterlink' has all kinds of "mastering functions", perhaps I'm wrong about that.

    There are a whole bunch of CD writing machines on the market, my personal favorite so far has been the HHB, I don't know if it's considered to be a good one or not...but I could read the manual and make a CD with it on the first try...which for a digital idiot like me was a really good thing.

    As always, YMMV
     
  4. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    I've had a Masterlink in the studio for the past year or so. Good machine. Decent sound, no reliability problems so far. Using mostly TDK discs. Sony, Taiyo Yuden, and Maxell have also been good. I don't buy the 39-cent kind from Office Depot.

    Roger Nichols, George Massenburg, and friends say the sound of the Masterlink can be improved by using outboard converters. I don't doubt that this is true of any $1300 digital machine, but I haven't had the budget to find out yet.

    I'd also like to get a bigger hard drive for it. At 16-bit 44.1 k you have just over 5 hours of recording time. But at 24/96 this is reduced to just over an hour.

    The built-in mastering tools are useful, with a few odd quirks. They put the compressor in front of the EQ, for God's sake! Anyone who knows anything about mastering knows how hard it is to equalize something after its been squashed...

    Whatever, so I don't use the compressor. But I like the machine, and it's well worth the money otherwise. My DAT hasn't been used all year...

    SC
     
  5. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Playing a CD-R, if it survives, will doubtless be an easier proposition down the line than finding a deck to play audio DAT's.

    Yea, this is kind of my theory as well. My only question there is the longevity of the physical CDR media. I have plenty of ancient DAT's that still play back w/ no problem, whereas I have had some (albeit cheaper) CDR's disintegrate on me... sketchy things like the reflective coating peeling away from the plastic disc. I use Mitsui Gold blanks now and things seem to be kewl, but even then I get the odd unreadable disc. KnowwhutImean?

    There are a whole bunch of CD writing machines on the market, my personal favorite so far has been the HHB.

    The thing about the HHB (if it's the one I'm thinking of) is that it's a straight CD recorder that burns right to a CDR blank. I definitely prefer the idea of recording to the Masterlink's HD first, and then being able to burn multiple CD clones of my mixes, either hi-res or red book compatible.

    Roger Nichols, George Massenburg, and friends say the sound of the Masterlink can be improved by using outboard converters.

    Will use this thing w/ my PSX-100, so converters ain't an issue. It does seem like a fair number of mastering houses are jumping on the Masterlink ship, which makes me feel better about it. :)

    I'd also like to get a bigger hard drive for it. At 16-bit 44.1 k you have just over 5 hours of recording time. But at 24/96 this is reduced to just over an hour.

    This thing is user upgradeable with stock IDE drives, right? Anyone know?
     
  6. Faeflora

    Faeflora Member

    Yes, you can upgrade to something like a 45GB drive. Get a 5200 RPM drive since 2 tracks don't need much hard drive buffness.

    there was a thread about this on the musicplayer forum. check it out, it's got the info you're looking for.
     
  7. etnier

    etnier Guest

    Some notes:

    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>If you can upgrade the HD it's not an Alesis-approved mod. They have been promising support for this for a long time, but it's a new ball game now that they're owned by a DJ supply company.
    <LI>The "mastering" functions on the Masterlink are considered by everyone I've heard from to be total crap. What do you expect for the $$$? It's a great hi-res recorder/CD burner ! Best leave any and all processing bypassed at all times.
    <LI>The most significant advantage Masterlink offers over DAT is in resolution. Error-rate and longevity issues probably wash out across the two systems. But you can easily store and transfer hi-res audio with Masterlink. Among DAT recorders only one Tascam unit supports this. It's a unique box and it's mechanically noisy- already sort of an albatross. Mastering houses are reporting an immense increase in the volume of work submitted on Masterlink discs, substantially supplanting 1/2".
    <LI>...oh, and the user interface sucks the big one. Straight out of Korean VCR land. Be prepared to suffer a bit.
    [/list]

    And now, your Graemlins of Zen for 6/13/01:
    :) :) :) :) :(
     
  8. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    What John said, except I don't have a problem with the user interface- figured out most every function in a few minutes of pushing buttons. It's nice to be able to send 24 bit .aif files to mastering. I will admit to using the limiter (just barely, mostly for the automatic makeup gain) for roughs-to-band-members and such, and if you just kiss it a few times through a song it's not awful. EQ and compression are, but then, I'd have bought the box without them, so that's no big deal. For the few times I've used the converters, I have been pleasantly surprised- not amazing, but certainly better than my Otari DAT.
     
  9. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    By the way, is anyone else troubled about Alesis's sketchy future, and what it might mean for future parts, support etc. for the Masterlink?? Tried to buy one today at my local Shittar Center and was told that they were out of stock and had no idea when/if they'd be getting more Alesis stuff. Is Alesis even manufacturing anything right now? Methinks this duzn't bode well....
     
  10. etnier

    etnier Guest

    Originally posted by EJolson:
    Is Alesis even manufacturing anything right now? Methinks this duzn't bode well....

    No, it bodes very well. The NuMark Masterlink will be improved, with a slip mat on the CDR platter, and all cabling will have nifty grain-of-wheat bulbs along its length, for a "chaser" effect. Optional "coffin" roadcase.

    Zen Zen, it's Graemlins again....


    :eek: :eek: ;) ;) ;)
     

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