Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

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Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:34 am

Hi guys,

Is anyone using a standalone HD recorder (or 2 or 3....)? Wondering how widely used they are and if anyone here has experiece with them.

Reading the blurb on this Ta@#$% X-48 it looks like a good rack device - it only has an 80GB HD which is pretty limiting but the no-brain operation looks good. $ for $ it is more expensive than a WinPC DAW but cheaper than a Mac DAW....
http://Ta@#$%.com/product/x-48/overview/
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby headman » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:24 am

I have a Mackie HDR that I keep for old times sake, and one client who uses it when he wants to record Hammond or piano (just brings his removable disk drive). No longer made, but I would suspect that the HDR, MDR and the Alesis recorders are still around, being used and very cheap.

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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Kurt » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:40 pm

I have a Fostex D2424, I bought a network card for it ages ago but need to get the firmware updated to be able to actually use it. Getting stuff off it is pretty painful without the network card.

80gig doesn't seem very limiting to me, that's several hours of 24 tracks.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Engininja » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:17 pm

I'm pretty sure you can pop the lid on the Ta@#$% and drop a larger drive in them.
I did this with the Mackie HDR and MDR. Even went as far as putting a Video card in the MDR, drilled holes exposing the Keyboard and Mouse ports, copied the EPROM HDR chip and turned the MDR's into HDR's giving us 5 editing machines. It was cool and those machines worked like a charm. The 5 Mackies were very reliable for us but I do know of folks that had stability issues with them.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby NathS101 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:28 pm

I used two X48s for a 64trk theatre record towards the end of last year fully sync-ed and it worked great.

One of the issues was that I could only fit a single 2 hour show on the internal drives so I had to dump the files to the ext drive between performances. I would have tracked straight to the ext drive but it was only USB2 and not firewire and I only had one external drive to share between the 2 machines.
And the other issue was that my external drive was mac formatted when it requires windows formatted drives so the machine kept crashing when i was trying to format on the recorder itself. After formatting on a standalone computer it worked fine.

Other than that I had no dramas, it came up sounding great.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby audioio » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:09 am

headman wrote:No longer made, but I would suspect that the HDR, MDR and the Alesis recorders are still around, being used and very cheap.

Didn't the Alesis units use some proprietary format? Someone told me the only way to get your tracks into a DAW is to play them out.

Re the X48: I've spied a couple of newies on ebay (US) in the past couple of months, but they only have TDIF I/O. Not sure what the default configuration is. And how many converters have TDIF these days?
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:28 am

Interesting replies so far - thanks gentlemen.

My desk has 24 T/DIF I/O (and firewire) so I was hunting around to find something that I could use on that T/DIF interface - and that led me to the x48 and the HD recorder question.

The x48 is about the only recent version of this technology that I could find - I thought there would be more of a market for this sort of device..... (devices are very common in the enterprise IT world).

Any thoughts of future trends in this direction for audio?
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby GlennS » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:43 am

audioio wrote:Didn't the Alesis units use some proprietary format? Someone told me the only way to get your tracks into a DAW is to play them out.


I use an Alesis HD24. It does have a proprietary format, but when you transfer to a computer via firewire you select what format you want it converted to & it does it during the transfer (which is very fast). You do need the additional firewire interface to do this however.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby NathS101 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:19 pm

You can buy AES-TDIF dB25 converters if you have AES gear that you want to interface with something like the Ta@#$% or your desk for that matter.
Also the A/D & D/A converters in the Ta@#$% are quite good.
The Alesis looks to be pretty good too.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Ausrock » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:12 am

Not really answering the specific question but I've had a Fostex D160 for years, yes, it does have it's own "format" and being an older model, some limitations compared to the D2424 but it's synched to my 1" 16 track R2R and hasn't let me down yet.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Suburban Studios » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:36 pm

I picked up a Mackie HDR (AU$600) and SDR(AU$450) very cheap from the states. They are great for simple no-fuss recording duties. I have used them for high-school concert recordings, paired up with Audient/Mackie 8 channel rack units (interfacing via AES or ADAT). They are significantly less complex than your average DAW, but what you lack in features is more than made up for in ease of operation. They can also use remote control units attached via standard ethernet cable; a simple 24 channel unit and a large 48 channel unit with LCD screen, all the front panel options and even a scrub/jog wheel. I use the remotes as I am a drummer who wants to control recording and track arming etc from my drum stool. (I am sure the same could be achieved these days with your DAW controlled by an Ipad, or a laptop set up as a remote machine control surface).

The HDR has limited editing capabilities via mouse/keyboard and attached VGA screen, but comes with removable I/O cards in different flavors (Analogue/ADAT/TDIF/AES), whereas the SDR is limited to fixed Analogue/ADAT I/O, has very few editing features, and its A-D converters are a step below the removable one found in the HDR/MDR. One downside to keep in mind is that they use the older and increasingly difficult to find IDE hard drives (in contrast to modern SATA drives), however you can use a small PCB converter board to change the interface both on the internal drives and even within the removable caddies, if you are into some modding. People are even using flash drives for no noise operation. As Engininja mentioned, with an updated Eprom, the MDR/HDR's can handle up to 120GB drives due to motherboard BIOS limitations. (One fixed internal, and 1 removable caddie). The SDR can handle up to 2 terabyte drives, but these are too large, as file maintenance operations take too long with drives this size. I use a bunch of removable 120gig caddies that I can use interchangeably between machines.

What is nice about the Mackie units is that they write Broadcast Wave Files as standard, and files can be transferred to your DAW using simple Firewire/USB caddie frames, or even a custom connector that was available for a limited time that interfaces the rear of the removable caddie directly to USB (I purchased one of these just before they were phased out).

They can be a little flaky as regards stability if you don't periodically reseat/adjust the ribbon cables, or purchase one of the newer hardware revisions (The older SDR hardware revisions had problems, and are impossible to upgrade as they were an outsourced design manufactured by Sydec in Belgium). Other than these precautions, they have been reliable and hassle free. They are basically good workhorse units that are ridiculously cheap given the AU$ and how many US sellers are offloading them for other options.

These newer options are things like the JoeCo boxes, or the RME UFX which can record straight to USB sticks/drives standalone, as well as being a good ASIO DAW interface. I think the new RME is a great do-it-all option that you can use both in your home/project studio and on the road. I have heard mixed reports on the Ta@#$% X-48. Fine as a recorder, not so great when attempting to use its editing/mixing functions. It took a long time to get a stable software release, but the original teething problems seem to have been sorted. Worth a look but still pricey compared to how cheap the Alesis and Mackie units currently go for.

Anyway, that's my take as a happy Mackie HDR/SDR user, using RME interfaces with my DAW.

Cheers,
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders? - got one

Postby Drumstruck » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi all,

Resurrecting an older thread - after much pondering / research / ebay watching the opportunity arose and I pounced on an x-48 HD recorder for a bargain price!!!

After I connect an SSD this doover will hang of my DM-4800 via 24 TDIF I/O for no-brain recording - sometimes you get lucky - I can hear the PT9 Mac crying in the background :))
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Kurt » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:44 pm

Did you check out the soon to be released Allen and Heath ICE16?
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:31 pm

I didn't know about that one Kurt - thanks

Checked it out ... nice unit but no TDIF so it wouldn't suit me ..... and (yuk) RCAs on the back :ymdevil:
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Kurt » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:31 pm

Looks great for the way I would use it as a live recorder, bands could bring a nerd stick and leave the gig with the multitrack files in their pocket! The RCA are only outputs, I wouldn't really use them, at least not in that application.

Drumstruck wrote:I didn't know about that one Kurt - thanks

Checked it out ... nice unit but no TDIF so it wouldn't suit me ..... and (yuk) RCAs on the back :ymdevil:
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:33 am

Kurt wrote:Looks great for the way I would use it as a live recorder, bands could bring a nerd stick and leave the gig with the multitrack files in their pocket! The RCA are only outputs, I wouldn't really use them, at least not in that application.

Drumstruck wrote:I didn't know about that one Kurt - thanks

Checked it out ... nice unit but no TDIF so it wouldn't suit me ..... and (yuk) RCAs on the back :ymdevil:


Yes, similar approach to the JoeCo and other 1RU devices - great idea. RCAs though.... as soon as I see them I think "domestic product" and low line level ... and another $100 worth of cable snakes ....
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:30 am

yes i use them all the time
since the beginning really - having owned multiple MX2424 units (and recorded a truck load of live shows) as well as albums on them

i have one for sale actually if you want a cheap live multitrack recording solution

now i use all JoeCo machines for my live tracking and broadcast
we have both the balanced analogue versions, and the MADI 64ch digital ones
awesome

the thing about hard disk recorders is that they are really built to do a job. for that job they are perfect. if you try and push them to do something they arnt really meant to, you will quickly find them limiting (but sometimes thats good!)
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:36 pm

Woohoo!! an x48 arrived this morning :D

Power up took about 1 min and all looks good - next step to replace the internal HD with an SSD and the fan with a low speed jobby for (near) silent operation.

more to come .....
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby vege-mity-mite » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:44 pm

I can't believe how cheap you got that unit. Well done!
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:48 pm

vege-mity-mite wrote:I can't believe how cheap you got that unit. Well done!


Thanks - I can't believe it either ..... I hope you weren't the other bidder ..... if so, sorry about that :(
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby gigpiglet » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:25 pm

out of interest guys - what did it go for?
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:00 pm

$680 + freight ;)
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby NathS101 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:51 pm

:-o
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Thirteen » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:41 am

Unbelievable. Bargain of the decade.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby gigpiglet » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:39 pm

yes and no.
thats a good price - but what they are/ will be worth

they are on quit lists from all the distributors so you can get the new for 2000 - 2500

a great machine and a great price though.
just a bit like some of the HD rigs for sale at the moment!
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:21 pm

You'd need a chisel to get the grin off my dial :D

Just ordered a 240GB SSD to replace the original 80GB HD - I'll let you all know how it goes in a week or two when that is installed.
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Re: Standalone Hard Disk recorders?

Postby Drumstruck » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:59 pm

The SSD HD is now installed and running (man, those factory assemblers must have tiny hands and fingers!!!)

From a press of the power button to "ready to record" is 58 seconds now :D

And it's a few dB quieter - no hard disk whine - now I need to find a quieter power supply fan to make it really silent.
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