Alesis ADAT FIREPORT User Manual

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Essentials of Exporting and Importing

There are still some very important things to cover regarding exporting and importing. They are mostly related to the differences in the ways files are handled by PC and Macintosh computers. You probably won’t have to do anything special to WAV and AIFF files, but the other two formats require a little more effort on your part.

Exporting and Importing SD2 files

Sound Designer II (SD2) files are used by many professional audio applications such as Digidesign’s Pro Tools. But an SD2 file taken straight from one platform to the other generally won’t be recognized properly without a little bit of doctoring.

Flattened vs. un-flattenedfiles

Generally, Macintosh files have two “forks”: the resource fork and the data fork. The resource fork contains “header” information that tells the Macintosh about the contents of the data fork.

On the other hand, PC files have no resource fork. All the essential information is there, but it is contained in a single stream of data. This is what is known as a “flattened” file; i.e., it is all one file, laid out in a row like dough “flattened” by a rolling pin. Conversely, a dual-forkedMacintosh file is known as an“un-flattened”file.

So in order for a PC to view a Mac file as “one of its own,” so to speak, the Mac file must be flattened. And in the case of a PCgenerated SD2 file, in order for the Mac to handle the PC file properly the PC file must be un-flattened.

Exporting SD2 files to a Macintosh application

The first thing to do is use the Internet to locate a free software utility called MacBinary II+. It is a Macintosh application that alternately flattens andun-flattensfiles, depending on the initial state of the file. As of this writing, MacBinary II+ is available at http://www.mac.org/utilities/macbinary.

Once you have done that, follow this procedure to make the PC file Mac-ready:

1.Export the file from the FST drive using FST/Connect. Make sure the Format button is set to SD2.

2.Using a network connection or a form of storage medium recognized by both the PC and the Mac, get the file into the Macintosh.

3.Inside the Macintosh, drop the file onto the MacBinary II+ icon. An “un-flattened”file will be generated.

4.Open the un-flattenedfile inside the Macintosh’s audio editing application.

Operations 2

If the Macintosh audio editor application will only open 16-bitfiles, remember to select the 16bit Export option under the Transferpull-downmenu. For more information, see page 28.

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2 Operations

Importing SD2 files from a Macintosh application

Once you are done editing the audio file on the Macintosh, here is what to do in order to get the resultant file back into the PC:

1.Inside the Macintosh, drop the file onto the MacBinary II+ icon. A “flattened” file will be generated.

2.The resultant MacBinary II+ file will have a three-letterextension of .bin. Change this to .sd2.

3.Using a network connection or a form of storage medium recognized by both the PC and the Mac, get the file into the PC.

4.Import the file into the FST drive using FST/Connect.

Exporting and Importing DIG/SD files

Sound Designer I files do not contain a resource fork, so they do not need to be flattened or un-flattenedwhen exchanged between a PC and a Macintosh. This makes the process simpler, but there is still one extra step involved.

Exporting SD files to a Macintosh application

First, locate a freeware utility like Type and Creator Changer or Apple’sResEdit. These applications allow you to change the File Type and/or File Creator information of Mac files. As of this writing, Type and Creator Changer is available at http://alphaomega.software.free.fr/ and ResEdit is available at http://www.mac.org/utilities/resedit/.

Once you have that, here’s how to make the PC file Mac-ready:

1.Export the file from the FST drive using FST/Connect. Make sure the Format button is set to DIG/SD.

2.Using a network connection or a storage medium recognized by both the PC and the Mac, get the file into the Macintosh.

3.Using the software utility, change the file’s File Type from TEXT to SFIL. You won’t need to change the File Creator.

4.Open the file inside the Macintosh’s audio editing application.

Importing SD files from a Macintosh application

Once you are done editing the audio file on the Macintosh, here is what to do in order to get the resultant file back into the PC:

1.If the Mac’s audio editor did not keep the two-letterextension of .sd, add this to the end of the file name. Thethree-letter .digextension is acceptable as well.

2.It will not be necessary to revert the File Type to TEXT.

3.Using a network connection or a storage medium recognized by both the PC and the Mac, get the file into the PC.

4.Import the file into the FST drive using FST/Connect.

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If the Macintosh audio editor application will only open 16-bitfiles, remember to select the 16bit Export option under the Transferpull-downmenu. For more information, see page 28.

Other notes about importing

Bringing files from a PC into an FST drive is similar in some ways to copying tracks between songs on an HD24. If the segment you are pasting fits within the destination song, then when the track is pasted the song length does not change. But if the song is shorter than segment you are pasting, it must be lengthened before the pasting can take place.

The same is true of importing a file. If the song on the FST drive needs to be lengthened in order to fit the track you are importing, FST/Connect will do so. The good news is, since in many cases the tracks being imported are altered versions of the original tracks, no lengthening of the song may be needed. It’s likely that the tracks will be imported more quickly than they were exported! The song is already “expecting” them.

Two other important points about importing: First, the sample rate of the destination song must match that of the tracks being imported. If this is not true, you will see an error message.

Second, you need enough tracks in the destination song to receive the tracks being imported. If you are trying to import too many tracks, an error message will alert you to this as well.

Import destination

When you tell FST/Connect to import a file to your FST drive, the first thing it will do is check the file name, starting from the end, for a number that looks like a track number. If the file has a valid number in its name, FST/Connect will automatically import it to that track number. But beware! Any number can be

interpreted as a track number if it is the last or only number in the filename. For example, if you are importing a file called “Take_5_Vocal.wav” into a 16-tracksong, FST/Connect will assume you want to place that track on track 5. But if you’re importing a file called “Take_23_Vocal.wav” into the same song, a screen prompt will ask you to choose the destination track

(since there aren’t 23 tracks in the song).

Likewise, if you import multiple files at once and they all have valid numbers in their names, FST/Connect will import each file to its track number. If any of the track names have out-of-range numbers, a screen prompt will ask you to choose the destination track before it imports each file.

Here’s one scenario: Let’s say you have a 16-tracksong on your FST drive, and you have selected tracks9-24for importing into that song. After you click the Import button and answer “Yes to All,” tracks9-16will go immediately to tracks9-16on the FST drive. Then for each track between17-24you will be given the option to place the files at any one of the first 8 tracks.

Did you catch that? FST/Connect is smart. It knows you already imported to tracks 9-16,so it assumes you don’t want to select any of those tracks as the destination for the remaining files. And once you’ve used track 1 to import track 17, it removes track 1 from the list of possible choices.

Operations 2

Attention Mac users!

Don’t forget to add the twoor threeletter extension name to the files you are trying to import (.sd2, .aif, etc.). Otherwise you won’t be able to see the files in the Track window.

The Import/Export functions can be used to reclaim unused hard drive space on the FST drive.

For an explanation of this concept, see page 33.

Warning! Importing a track will overwrite the destination track on the FST drive. Be sure this is what you want to do before initiating the import process.

Be careful! A number in the filename not intended as a track number may lead to loss of data! It could cause FST/Connect to overwrite a track on the FST drive that you wanted to keep. A final screen prompt will show you the track’s destination; be sure to read this before you import the track.

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2 Operations

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3 Applications

In this chapter we’ve compiled some points of interest about FST/Connect. They are divided into two categories: Tips and Tricks, with some timesaving tips and practical uses for FST/Connect, andUseful Information, which offers details about the way FST/Connect is integrated into the Windows environment on your PC.

No doubt you will develop some unique procedures of your own. If you come across something you think will help people get even more out of their FirePort 1394 systems, please e-mailthe suggestions to us! We may include them in a later version of this manual, or put them on our website.

Tips and Tricks

HD24 memory conservation

As you may know, when you create a song on an FST drive you define the “track depth,” or number of tracks in the song, from the very beginning. Even if you only record on one track, the HD24 will reserve hard drive space for each of the as yet unrecorded tracks in the song. This goes a long way toward preventing hard drive fragmentation, which in turn ensures that the HD24 will be able to access your tracks with a minimal amount of delay, no matter how far apart your locate points may be.

But occasionally you may discover that you reserved too many tracks; for instance, you may decide that a given song sounds better with fewer tracks than you originally anticipated. Instead of 24 tracks, you’ve only used 16 or less. So are you stuck? Is there nothing you can do to reclaim the unused memory?

The old standby method was to transfer the tracks to another Adat-compatibledevice through the optical ports in real time, and then back the same way. Besides being somewhattime-intensive,this process also requires a couple of extra Adats!

The FirePort 1394 will be a great help in scenarios like this. To solve this problem even more quickly and accurately, export all the song’s tracks into your PC, create a new 16-tracksong at the same sample rate, and send the tracks back to the FST drive. After you delete the original song, this will have freed up the hard drive space being occupied by 8 tracks of audio for the entire length of the song. For a 48k track of 4 minutes in duration, that’s a lot of memory freed up!

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3 Applications

Window Navigation and Shortcuts

As you work with FST/Connect’s main window, you’ll want to remember that there are a number of keystrokes and key combinations that can make FST/Connect even easier to use.

The first thing to know is that you can jump from one window to the next by using the Tab key.

We’ve also built in several ways to select the different options in the smaller internal windows that have pull-downarrows to their right.

For example, once you’re at the desired window, you can use the Up/Down or Left/Right sets of cursor keys to increment and decrement the choices. Holding one of those keys down will “race” through the list.

“Exploding” windows

Another option is to hold the Alt key and press the Down cursor key to make that window’s list “explode.” That will show you a list of some or all of the choices available at that window. Then you can use the cursor keys to select an option from there. When you’ve made your choice, either hit the Return key or hit the Escape key to close the list.

There are some keyboard shortcuts that are more specific to their functions. They are listed on the pages in Chapter Two where those functions are first introduced.

Free Space Preview: Using the numeric keys

You can use the numeric keys as an aid when selecting the sample rate or track depth for the Free Space Preview window. Once you’ve chosen the “kHz” window, press 9 to select 96k, press 8 for 88.2k, or press 4 repeatedly to toggle between 48k and 44.1k.

The “For” window has different sets of responses to the numeric keys, depending on the selected sample rate. As stated earlier, if the sample rate is 44.1k or 48k you can have up to 24 tracks, but you can have no more than 12 tracks for the higher sample rates of 88.2k and 96k. Some of the available choices are different for that reason.

So once you’ve clicked somewhere in the "For” window, your choices are as follows:

for 44.1k/48k, press 2 repeatedly to toggle between 2 tracks and 24 tracks; use the 6 key to select 6 tracks, the 8 key to select 8 tracks, or the 1 key to select 16 tracks.

for 88.2k/96k, press 2 to select 2 tracks, press 6 to select 6 tracks, press 8 to select 8 tracks, or press the 1 key to select 12 tracks.

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Applications 3

Selecting certain tracks for import/export

When you’re working in the Track window, you don’t have to select only tracks or files that are all in a row. If desired, you can “leapfrog” over tracks which you do not want to import or export. To choose specific tracks, click on the ones you want to transfer while holding the Control key.

Another selection shortcut is to Select All (Control A) and then de-selectthe tracks you don’t want to transfer by clicking on those tracks while holding the Control key.

Making imported tracks go where you want

An easy way to tell FST/Connect where you want certain tracks to be placed on the FST drive is to navigate within Windows to the folder that contains them, and then rename them using the desired track numbers somewhere in the file names (before the twoor three-letterextensions).

Useful Information

How the PC views your FST Drive

When you start using a hard drive with FST/Connect for the first time, you should use FST/Connect to format it. If you use Windows’ Disk Management utility to format the drive, you will still need to format it using FST/Connect before you will be able to use it with FST/Connect.

Once you have used FST/Connect to format the drive, it will show up as an unrecognized drive in Windows. This means you will not be able to locate it using Windows Explorer. Also, your PC will not recognize the FST drive’s format when you look at it using the Disk Management utility. It will be identified as “Unknown.”

After there is FST data on the drive, you should not attempt to format the FST drive using Windows. If you do you will destroy your adat FST data.

It is also not possible to partition the hard drive so that it contains a combination of an FST partition and a Windows partition. The two formats are incompatible.

Neither should you attempt to defragment the FST drive using any form of disk utility. The Alesis file system was designed to keep file fragmentation to the absolute minimum. Besides, the FST drive has a proprietary method of file organization that a third-partydisk utility would be highly unlikely to interpret properly.

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3 Applications

Starting and restarting FST/Connect and

FirePort 1394

You may start and restart FST/Connect without turning off the power to the FirePort 1394. But if you want to turn its power off you should dismount the hard drive first using the taskbar tool, as described on page 19, and then turn off the FirePort 1394.

But if you only go halfway by dismounting the FST drive without shutting off the FirePort 1394, then when you start FST/Connect again the program will display “No Drive Communication” in the Drive Name window. You will not see any Project, Song, or Track window information from the FST drive even though it has spun up normally.

In order for everything to operate as it should once more, you’ll have to shut down the FirePort 1394, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back on.

Naming things: Characters you can use

The following chart shows the list of characters that are available to you when creating a name for a Drive, Project, or Song. Keep in mind that file system 1.10 has an extended character set available for use:

Letters and Numbers

A-Z,a-z,0-9

 

 

Characters

(space)

 

 

Additional characters (1.10 only)

! # $ % & ‘ ( ) + , - .; = [ ] ^ _ ` { } ~

 

 

Naming things: Forbidden characters

There are some characters that you will not be allowed to use when creating a name for a Drive, Project, or Song. The use of these characters might cause conflicts with the file system, and if you try to use them you will not be allowed to save the name until you remove them or choose one of the allowable characters from the chart above.

Here’s the list of characters that are disallowed when creating a name:

Illegal name characters

\ / : * ? “ < > |

 

 

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4 Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Index

Symptoms

 

Cause

 

Solution

FST Drive contents don’t

 

FirePort wasn’t powered

 

Turn off FirePort and turn

show up in window/ “No

 

down after HD was

 

it back on again. For more

Drive Communication”

 

disconnected from system

 

information, see page 19.

message in main window

 

via taskbar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HD is attached, but

 

Turn on FirePort.

 

 

FirePort is turned off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad cables.

 

Replace the cables.

 

 

 

 

 

PC folder contents don’t

 

Wrong Format button

 

Select the proper Format

show up in window

 

selected

 

button in the Format

 

 

 

 

window. For more

 

 

 

 

information, see page 27.

 

 

Directory path is incorrect

 

Use the Browse button to

 

 

 

 

navigate to the proper

 

 

 

 

folder. For more

 

 

 

 

information, see page 25.

 

 

 

 

 

No output when

 

Amplification system not

 

Turn on amplification

auditioning tracks

 

turned on

 

system.

 

 

Sound card can’t play back

 

 

higher sample rate files

 

 

 

My audio editor won’t

 

Audio editor is expecting a

open the FST file

 

16-bitfile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refer to your sound card’s technical documentation. You may need a different sound card if you want to preview 88.2k or 96k files.

Select the 16-bitword length export option in the Transferpull-downmenu. For more information, see page 28.

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4 Troubleshooting

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