Alesis ADAT-LX20 User Manual

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ALESIS

ADAT LX20

Reference Manual

 

Contents

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

5

How To Use This Manual

6

Conventions

6

1 SETTINGUP ANDMAKINGCONNECTIONS

7

Unpacking and Inspection

7

Operating Environment

7

Thermal Considerations in Rack Mounting

7

Mounting on a Shelf or Non-RackEnclosure

8

Avoiding Electromagnetic Interference

8

AC Power Hookup

8

Avoiding Ground Loops

9

Line Conditioners and Protectors

10

Analog Audio Connections

11

About Audio Cables

11

Rear Panel Input and Output Layout

11

Inputs

11

Typical input jack hookups

12

Outputs

13

Sync In/Out

14

Digital Audio Connections

15

About Digital Audio In/Out

15

Footswitches

16

2 LX20 ESSENTIALS

20

About The Display

20

Time Counter

20

Meters

20

Record/Input Lights

20

Blocks

21

Status Indicators

21

Interpolation Indicator

21

Buttons and Controls

21

Power Switch

21

Record Enable Buttons

21

Transport Controls

21

Eject Button

21

Input Select Buttons

22

Pitch Control Buttons

22

Location Buttons

22

Edit, Format, and Select Buttons

22

Auto Motion Buttons

22

Differences Compared to Analog Recording

23

“Threaded” vs. “Unthreaded” Tape

23

Digital Distortion and Headroom

23

Choosing the Right S-VHSCassette Tape

24

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

1

Contents

 

What is Tape Formatting?

24

3

POWER-UPANDTAPEFORMATTING

26

 

Power-upand Tape Insertion

26

 

Setting Tape Length

27

 

How to Format Tapes

28

 

About Type I and Type II Formats

28

 

Defeating The Write Protect Tab

28

 

General Formatting Procedure

29

 

Recording While Formatting

31

 

Re-Formattinga Previously Formatted Tape

31

 

Notes About Formatting

31

 

Recording a “Benchmark” Tape

31

4

RECORD ANDPLAYBACKBASICS

33

 

Understanding the Time Counter

33

 

Change Display Format

33

 

Set the Input Mode for Analog Audio

33

 

Choose Analog Or Digital Input

34

 

Digital Input Re-Routing

34

 

Select Track(s) for Recording

35

 

Tape Motion Control: The Transport

35

 

Stop

35

 

Play

36

 

Record

36

 

Other Transport Buttons

36

 

Step-By-StepProcedures

37

 

Recording

37

 

Playback

37

 

Reviewing and Cueing

38

 

Monitoring

38

 

Default Mode

38

 

Auto Input

38

 

All Input

39

5

AUTOLOCATION ANDLOOPFUNCTIONS

41

 

Autolocation

41

 

Return to Zero

41

 

Locate Points

41

 

Auto Play

42

 

Auto Return

42

 

Looped Playback

43

 

Loop Limit

44

 

Deferred Play and Record

44

6

PUNCHING ANDAUTOMATEDRECORDING

45

2

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

 

 

Contents

 

 

Manual Punching Options

45

 

Transport Controls

45

 

Record Enable Buttons

45

 

Footswitch

46

Automated Recording

46

Looped Recording

47

Rehearsing

47

Adjusting Punch Crossfade Time

48

7

PITCHCONTROL

49

8

ABOUTDIGITALAUDIOIN/OUT

51

 

ADAT Optical Interface Basics

51

About 16-bitand20-bitsignal transfers

51

Selecting The Digital Output Mode

52

 

Type II (20-bit)to Type II(20-bit)

52

 

Type II (20-bit)to Type I(16-bit)

52

9

USING THELX20 LRC REMOTE

53

10

MULTIPLELX20/ADAT OPERATION

55

Overview

55

Synchronizing Machines

55

 

Automatic Renumbering

56

 

Master/Slave Interaction

57

 

Achieving Lock

57

 

Independent Slave Mode

57

Formatting Multiple Tapes

57

Recording Digital Audio

58

 

Bouncing Tracks Between ADATs

58

 

Reassigning Channels to Different Tracks

59

 

Making Digital Backups

60

 

Making a 16-bitcopy from a20-bitmaster

61

 

Recording Digital Audio from Other Sources

61

 

Digital Clock Considerations

62

Combining LX20s and ADATs

62

 

LX20 Transport Speed

62

 

Sample Rate vs. Pitch Control

62

 

Input Monitoring

63

 

Polarity Differences

63

 

Connections

64

11

APPLICATIONS

65

Overview

65

Combined Multitrack/Mixdown Deck

65

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

3

Contents

Live/Long-TermRecording

66

Locking to Video: Code-OnlyMaster

66

Libraries and Archives

67

Modular Recording

67

Computer Control and MIDI

67

MIDI Systems: Virtual Tracking

67

MIDI Systems: Automated Mixdown

68

MIDI Systems: Virtual Tracks and Automated Mixdown

68

MIDI Machine Control: Virtual Remote Control

68

The ADAT Optical Interface and Hard Disk Recording

69

Digital Audio Transfer Options

69

Typical applications

70

The ADAT-PCRComputer Interface

70

A Real-WorldExample

71

Sync Issues

 

71

Hard Disk Backup

71

Pre-Masteringwith the LX20

72

APPENDIXA

DIGITALRECORDINGCONCEPTS

73

Analog Recording Basics

73

Digital Recording Basics

73

The Advantages of 20-BitRecording

74

Why S-VHS?

 

75

APPENDIXB

TROUBLESHOOTING

76

Re-Initializing:Try This First

76

Troubleshooting Index

76

Checking Software Version

77

Error Rate Display

78

About Error Rate Readings

78

ADAT Head Life

79

ADAT Head Maintenance

79

Drum Time Display

79

Tape Care and Maintenance

81

Maintenance/Service

82

Cleaning

 

82

Maintenance

82

Obtaining Repair Service

83

APPENDIXC

ERRORCODES

84

Automatic Brake Calibration Procedure

86

Steps To Take Before Calling For Help

87

APPENDIXD

SPECIFICATIONS

88

GLOSSARY

 

90

 

 

 

4

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

Introduction

INTRODUCTION

Thank you for purchasing the Alesis ADAT-LX2020-BitDigital Audio Recorder. To take full advantage of the LX20’s functions, and to enjoy long andtrouble-freeuse, please read this manual carefully.

Here are some of the LX20’s most significant features:

Low tape cost. The LX20 can record over an hour of audio on a standardS-VHStape cassette.

Superb fidelity. The LX20 offers20-bitrecording to tape using the ADAT Type II format, along with a choice of a 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling rate (with 64 times oversampling), forbetter-than-CDquality sound.

Digital and analog inputs/outputs. In addition to conventional analog inputs and outputs, a “master” digital I/O carries all eight tracks simultaneously via optical cable, allowing for lossless signal transfers between ADAT interfacecompatible devices (tape recorders, hard disk recorders, synthesizers, signal processors, etc.).

Easy expandability for more tracks. Multiple LX20s can be synchronized without any external hardware, and without giving up any tracks, to expand your digital recording system. Two LX20s give 16 tracks, three LX20s 24 tracks, and so on. Up to 16 LX20s or otherADAT-familydigital recorders can work together, and all are locked within 20 microseconds (1 sample) accuracy.

Included remote control. Each LX20 comes with the LRC (Little Remote Control) for remote control of transport, autolocation, and input select functions.

Optional remote control. The BRC (Big Remote Control) allows for sophisticated synchronization and overdubbing functions for multiple ADATcompatible machines, remote control of virtually all recorder functions, and SMPTE read/generate.

International no-hasslespower compatibility.The LX20 accepts any AC voltage between 90 and 250 volts, so you can use it whether you’re laying down tracks in L.A, mixing in Munich, or synching in Seoul. (Or dealing with a brownout in New York City, for that matter.)

Built-in time code. Each LX20 tape is formatted with a proprietary time code that is much more accurate than SMPTE, andtime-stampsthe tape with singlesample accuracy. This allows for machine synchronization without giving up an audio track, accurate tape counter readings without “slippage,” and intelligent autolocation functions.

Compatibility with multi-channelmixdown formats.The LX20 is ideal for quadraphonic, surround, and theatrical sound applications that require more than two channels for the final master.

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

5

Introduction

HOWTOUSETHISMANUAL

Though we recommend you read through the entire manual once, those having general knowledge about multitrack recorders should use the table of contents and index to reference specific functions while using the LX20. Here’s how the manual is organized:

Chapter 1: Setting Up and Making Connections. This covers installation issues as well as how to connect up the LX20 to other gear in a system.

Chapter 2: LX20 Essentials. This section provides a brief tour of LX20 highlights, dsecribes some of the buttons and controls, and discusses how to choose the right tape.

Chapter 3: Power-Up and Tape Formatting. Time to turn on the power and format a tape before recording.

Chapter 4: Recording and Playback Basics. Here’s the lowdown on shuttling tape, recording, and playing back.

Chapter 5: Autolocation and Loop Functions. The LX20 can find specific points on tape, as well as loop continuously between two points.

Chapter 6: Punching and Automated Recording. This chapter describes how to replace sections of previously-recorded tracks.

Chapter 7: Pitch Control. If you’re ever had to retune a piano to a track, you’ll appreciate the LX20’s ability to tune a track to piano instead.

Chapter 8: About Digital Audio In/Out. AllADAT-compatibledevices include a fiber optic interface that can carry 8 channels of audio simultaneously. This chapter tells how to get the most out of this advanced interface.

Chapter 9: Using the LRC Remote. The LX20 comes with a remote control unit that duplicates many front panel functions.

Chapter 10: Multiple LX20/ADAT Operation. ADAT-compatible devices can work together synergistically to create a sophisticated recording system, as detailed in this chapter.

Chapter 11: Applications. There’s a lot more to the LX20 than meets the eye, such as “snapshot” automation, combined master/mixdown deck, virtual MIDI tracks for instrument parts and signal processor control, and more.

Appendices. Features an explanation of digital audio recording concepts, troubleshooting, maintenance and service information, specifications, a Glossary and an Index.

Conventions

All front panel buttons and rear panel connectors are referred to in this manual just as their names appear on the LX20, using all capital letters (Examples: PLAY button, AUTO INPUT button, etc.).

When something important appears in the manual, an icon (like the one on the left) appears in the left margin. This symbol indicates that this information is vital when operating the LX20.

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ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

Chapter 1 - Setting Up and Making Connections

CHAPTER1

SETTINGUP AND

MAKINGCONNECTIONS

UNPACKING ANDINSPECTION

Your ADAT-LX20was packed carefully at the factory. The shipping carton was designed to protect the unit during shipping. Please retain this container in the highly unlikely event that you need to return the LX20 for servicing.

The shipping carton should contain the following:

ADAT-LX20with the same serial number as shown on shipping carton

Power Cable

Optical Cable

LRC remote control unit

This instruction manual

Blank S-VHSST-120cassette

Alesis warranty card

Register your purchase so that you may be informed of upgrades. If you have not already filled out your warranty card and mailed it back to Alesis, please do so now.

OPERATINGENVIRONMENT

THERMALCONSIDERATIONS INRACKMOUNTING

You can mount the LX20 in an equipment rack (taking up 3 rack spaces) or place it on a table or shelf. When you install it, note that heat is the major enemy of electronic equipment. Please observe the following:

The LX20 is designed to perform properly over a range of ambient temperatures from 10° C to +40° C (50° F to 104° F), in up to 80% non-condensinghumidity. These are not absolute limits, but Alesis cannot guarantee that the LX20 will meet its published specs or remain reliable if operated outside of these ranges.

Always allow adequate ventilation behind the LX20. Do not seal any enclosure that holds the LX20. It is not necessary to leave an empty rack space above or below the LX20 unless it runs hot enough to affect equipment above or below it. If your environment is unusually warm and not air conditioned, space between units will help the units run cooler and may lessen tape oxide shedding.

Do not mount the LX20’s rack at a an angle. The LX20 should not be angled back or mounted vertically.

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

7

Setting Up and Making Connections - Chapter 1

MOUNTING ON ASHELF ORNON-RACKENCLOSURE

To mount the LX20 on a shelf or other flat surface, Alesis recommends attaching stick-onrubber feet to avoid scratching the shelf’s surface with the deck’s bottom. Please observe the general comments on thermal considerations given under “Thermal Considerations in Rack Mounting” no matter where or how the deck is mounted.

AVOIDINGELECTROMAGNETICINTERFERENCE

Like all tape machines, the LX20 uses magnetic tape that can be sensitive to electromagnetic interference. Generally this is not a problem, but avoid mounting the LX20 next to devices that generate strong magnetic fields such as power amplifiers, monitors and video display devices, speakers, etc.

AC POWERHOOKUP

With the LX20 off, plug the power cord’s female end into the LX20’s POWER INPUT socket, and the male (plug) end into a source of AC power. It’s good practice not to turn on the LX20 until all other cables are hooked up.

The LX20 works with any AC voltage from 90 to 250 volts, 50 to 60 Hz. This eliminates the need for transformers or voltage switches. Your LX20 was supplied with the correct power cord for your country or local area, however only the following alternative power cords are approved for use with ADAT:

For 90-120VAC 50/60 Hz operation in the US, Canada and/or Japan, use Alesis UL/CSA power cord#7-41-0001.

For 240 VAC 50 Hz operation in England, use Alesis Power cord #7-41-0004.

For 220 VAC 50 Hz operation in Europe and Scandinavia, use Alesis EU power cord #7-41-0002.

For 240 VAC 50 Hz operation in Australia, use Alesis AS power cord #7-41-0003.

The LX20’s IEC-specAC cord (do not substitute any other AC cord) is designed to feed an outlet that includes three pins, with the third, round pin connected to ground. The ground connection is an important safety feature and should never be “lifted.”

Unfortunately, the presence of a third ground pin does not always indicate that an outlet is properly grounded. Use an AC line tester to determine this. If the outlet is not grounded, consult with a licensed electrician.

Alesis cannot be responsible for problems caused by using the LX20 or any associated equipment with improper AC wiring.

8

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

Chapter 1 - Setting Up and Making Connections

AVOIDINGGROUNDLOOPS

In today’s studio, there are many opportunities for ground loop problems to occur. These show up as hums, buzzes, or sometimes radio reception, and can occur if a piece of equipment “sees” two or more different paths to ground, as shown below.

 

shielded

 

 

cable

 

Device A

 

Device B

 

path 1

 

 

path 2

To AC power service

One path goes from device A to ground via the ground terminal of the threeconductor AC power cord, but A also sees a path to ground through the shielded cable and AC ground of device B. Because ground wires have a small amount of resistance, small amounts of current can flow through ground and generate a voltage along the cable shield. This signal may end up getting induced into the hot conductor.

The loop can also act like an antenna into which hum is induced, or can even pick up radio frequencies. Furthermore, many components in a circuit connect to ground. If that ground is “dirty” and contains noise, it might get picked up by the circuit. Ground loops cause the most problems with high-gaincircuits, since massive amplification of even a tiny bit of noise can give an audible signal.

Most ground loop problems can be solved by plugging all equipment into the same grounded AC source. However, it is important to make sure that the AC source is not overloaded and is properly rated to handle the gear plugged into it.

For really tough cases, you may need to break the connection that causes the loop condition. If your circuits are balanced, one way to do this is to simply break the shield of the shielded audio cable at some point, usually by disconnecting it from ground at one jack. (The other end should remain connected so that the shielding properties are retained, even if there is no direct path for ground.)

Please note that not all hums and buzzes are caused by ground loops; your cables must be of high quality, particularly with -10dBV setups.

ADAT LX20 Reference Manual

9