Alesis BRC User Manual

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ALESIS

BRC

Reference Manual

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION

 

1.0

ABOUT THE BRC..............................................................................................

1

1.1

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS

 

MANUAL...................................................................................................................

4

1.2

OVERVIEW OF MAIN FUNCTIONS...........................................................

4

 

1.2A Transport.................................................................................................

4

 

1.2B Record/Monitor functions...................................................................

5

 

1.2C Autolocation...........................................................................................

5

 

1.2D Punching..................................................................................................

5

 

1.2E Rehearsing...............................................................................................

6

 

1.2F Digital Bus................................................................................................

6

1.3

“ENGAGED” VS “DISENGAGED” TAPES................................................

7

1.4

BASIC OPERATION..........................................................................................

7

 

1.4A Displays....................................................................................................

7

 

1.4B Display Type............................................................................................

8

 

1.4C Display Mode...........................................................................................

8

 

1.4D LED Indicators.........................................................................................

9

 

1.4E EDIT Button.............................................................................................

9

 

1.4F Cursor Buttons........................................................................................

10

 

1.4G Numeric Keypad....................................................................................

10

 

1.4H UP/DOWN Buttons..............................................................................

10

 

1.4I NAME Button..........................................................................................

11

 

1.4J COPY TAPE LOCATION Button..........................................................

11

CHAPTER 2 - HOOKUP

 

2.0

POWER................................................................................................................

13

2.1

SYNCHRONIZING MULTIPLE ADATS......................................................

13

 

2.1A Hooking Up Multiple ADATs............................................................

13

 

2.1B ADAT ID (identification) Numbers...................................................

14

 

2.1C Independent Slave Mode.....................................................................

14

2.2

DIGITAL I/O.......................................................................................................

15

 

2.2A Connecting the Digital Bus..................................................................

15

 

2.2B Connecting the AI-1...............................................................................

16

2.3

SMPTE IN/OUT.................................................................................................

17

2.4

MIDI IN/OUT.....................................................................................................

18

2.5

48 KHZ CLOCK IN/OUT..................................................................................

18

2.6

VIDEO SYNC IN................................................................................................

18

2.7

RMB REMOTE METER BRIDGE....................................................................

18

2.8

FOOTSWITCHES...............................................................................................

18

2.9

RACK-MOUNTING..........................................................................................

19

2.10 ROLLAROUND STAND................................................................................

19

CHAPTER 3 - GETTING READY TO

 

RECORD

 

3.0 POWERING-UP.................................................................................................

20

3.1

FORMATTING TAPES.....................................................................................

21

 

3.1A Additional Formatting

 

Considerations...........................................................................................................

23

3.2

TRACK/RECORD MONITOR CONTROLS.................................................

24

 

3.2A Track Bank Select...................................................................................

24

 

3.2B Record Enables........................................................................................

25

 

3.2C Auto Input...............................................................................................

25

 

3.2D All Input..................................................................................................

25

 

3.2E All Safe......................................................................................................

25

 

3.2F All Clear....................................................................................................

26

 

3.2G Groups 1 Through 4..............................................................................

26

3.3

TRANSPORT CONTROLS..............................................................................

27

 

3.3A Play............................................................................................................

27

 

3.3B Stop............................................................................................................

27

 

3.3C Record.......................................................................................................

28

 

3.3D Rewind/Review.....................................................................................

28

 

3.3E Fast Forward/Cue...................................................................................

29

3.4

RECORD XFADE (CROSSFADE)....................................................................

29

3.5

REHEARSE..........................................................................................................

30

3.6

TRACK DELAY TIME.......................................................................................

30

CHAPTER 4 - PITCH,

 

AUTOLOCATION AND

 

 

PUNCHING CONTROLS

 

4.0

PITCH CONTROLS............................................................................................

33

4.1

AUTOLOCATION CONTROLS......................................................................

34

 

4.1A Reset 0......................................................................................................

34

 

4.1B Locate 0.....................................................................................................

35

 

4.1C Setting a Locate Point............................................................................

35

 

4.1D Naming a Locate Point..........................................................................

37

 

4.1E Locating a Locate Point...........................................................................

38

 

4.1F Manual Locate.........................................................................................

39

 

4.1G Footswitch Controlled Autolocation.................................................

40

 

4.1H Using the LRC Remote Control.........................................................

41

 

4.1I Auto-Play...................................................................................................

42

4.2

LOOPING.............................................................................................................

42

 

4.2A Setting Loop Points...............................................................................

43

 

4.2B Automatic Looping................................................................................

44

4.3

AUTO-PUNCH...................................................................................................

44

 

4.3A Setting Auto-PunchPoints..................................................................

45

 

4.3B Auto-GroupRecord...............................................................................

47

 

4.3C Footswitch Controlled Punching........................................................

50

4.4

PRE-ROLL&POST-ROLL................................................................................

50

4.5

TAPE OFFSET.....................................................................................................

51

 

4.5A Offsetting ADATs..................................................................................

52

 

4.5B Continuous Play and Record...............................................................

55

4.6

WHAT IS A SONG?..........................................................................................

57

4.6A Setting a Song.........................................................................................

58

4.6B Naming a Song.......................................................................................

60

4.6C Locate Song..............................................................................................

60

4.6D Copy Song................................................................................................

61

4.6E Delete Song..............................................................................................

62

4.7 DIGITAL BUSSING...........................................................................................

63

4.7A Digital Input............................................................................................

63

4.7B Bouncing tracks......................................................................................

64

4.7C Using the AI-1.........................................................................................

66

CHAPTER 5 - SYNCHRONIZATION,

 

BACKUP

 

AND MISC CONTROLS

 

5.0 SMPTE..................................................................................................................

69

5.0A SMPTE Formats.....................................................................................

69

5.0B SMPTE Start Offset.................................................................................

69

5.0C External Sync...........................................................................................

70

5.0D Generate Sync.........................................................................................

74

5.1 TEMPO MAP.......................................................................................................

75

5.1A Creating A Tempo Map........................................................................

76

5.1B Displaying A Tempo Map....................................................................

77

5.1C Deleting A Tempo Map Entry.............................................................

77

5.1D Erasing A Tempo Map..........................................................................

78

5.2 BACKING UP.....................................................................................................

78

5.2A Save Setup To Tape...............................................................................

79

5.2B Load Setup From Tape..........................................................................

80

5.3 MIDI/UTIL BUTTON.......................................................................................

81

5.3A MIDI Echo................................................................................................

81

5.3B Dump Sysex.............................................................................................

81

5.3C Tape Status...............................................................................................

83

5.3D LCD Display Contrast............................................................................

84

5.3E Group Buttons Enable/Disable............................................................

85

5.3F Copy Tape Location Mode....................................................................

85

5.3G Software Version...................................................................................

86

CHAPTER 6 - APPENDICES

 

6.0 APPENDIX 1

 

SPECIFICATIONS............................................................................................

87

6.1 APPENDIX 2

 

MAINTENANCE/SERVICE

 

INFORMATION.......................................................................................................

90

6.1A Cleaning...................................................................................................

90

6.1B Maintenance............................................................................................

90

6.1C Servicing..................................................................................................

90

6.2 APPENDIX 3

 

TROUBLE-SHOOTING...................................................................................

91

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.0 ABOUT THE BRC

Congratulations! You’ve just purchased an incredible tool that will assist in streamlining your recording projects. The BRC master remote control is the key element that makes the most of the ADAT digital recording system. Whether using it in a professional commercial studio, recording a live performance, or working in postproduction, here are some of the features that illustrate the type of control using the BRC/ADAT system will afford you:

Sample accurate syncing capabilities. Using ADAT’s exclusive Proprietary Synchronization Interface, the BRC can control up to 16 ADATs for a total of 128 tracks, and lock them together in perfect synchronization. Each ADAT tape is “formatted” (a simple operation that can be done before or during recording) with a proprietary Alesis time code that is much more accurate than SMPTE or other time code systems. This process time-stamps the tape to an incredible single-sample accuracy; that is, 1/48,000th of a second.

Because of this incredibly tight sync performance, multiple ADATs are virtually free of the evils of incoherent phase between tracks playing on different machines. This means that when you lock two or more ADATs together, you’re really creating the equivalent of one large digital tape recorder.

And since the ADAT/BRC sync system is internalized and sample accurate, you get machine synchronization without giving up an audio track (which would otherwise be required for SMPTE); accurate tape counter readings without annoying slippage; and intelligent sample-accurateautolocation functions.

Easy and familiar front panel controls. If you’ve ever used a large remote control for a multitrack tape recorder, then you probably already know how to use many of the functions on the BRC.

Familiar controls like play, record, fast forward, rewind and the track select buttons perform the majority of functions you’ll need. Other functions (like Auto-Punch,Looping,Pre-Rolland PostRoll), may be toggled on and off by pressing their respective button; an LED set inside each button will light to indicate when a function is turned on. These same functions can be edited by first pressing the EDIT button, and then the toggle button whose function you wish to program.

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Modular recording. This is the feature that makes ADAT and the ADAT/BRC system perhaps the most flexible multitrack recorder ever designed. Because ADAT’sS-VHStape format is so inexpensive, you can easily afford to record alternate versions of vocals, solos, background accompaniments; whatever your creative urge requires.

Modular recording means you can build as many tracks as you desire while you’re recording and do composite editing with the BRC and ADAT’s Optical Digital Interface (see next section) before the final mixdown.

Tapes can be offset with pin-pointaccuracy. This feature is particularly useful for recording extended live performances when a 40 minute tape would not fit the entire recording. By offsetting the time location of a second ADAT by 30 minutes past the first, the second will take over while you change tapes on the first unit. Thus, a continuous recording can be preserved digitally on multiple cassettes, creating the equivalent of one very long seamless piece of tape.

Optical digital interface. In addition to conventional analog inputs and outputs, the ADAT’s Proprietary Multichannel Optical Digital Interface carries up to eight tracks simultaneously via optical cable, allowing for perfect,degradation-freedigital dubbing between ADATs. The BRC Remote Control allows you to assign any part of a track to any other track in a multiple ADAT system. This means you can do comprehensive editing of recorded tracks, all in the digital domain.

SMPTE, MIDI and external time code control. The BRC is capable of generating MIDI Time Code (MTC) and generating and reading all six SMPTE formats. It can also provide MIDI-Clock based on a user-definable Tempo Map. Generating SMPTE or MTC provides sync for external devices, such as sequencers and drum machines. Reading SMPTE allows for the syncing to external devices, including other multitrack machines of different manufacturers. Other synchronizing options include 48 KHz clock in and out, and a video sync in (accepts composite video as well as black burst video inputs).

Storage of setups. To insure instant recall of the BRC’s settings, all setup information can be saved to the beginning of each ADAT tape for later retrieval. This information is known as the “table of contents”, or TOC. This information can also be stored via MIDI, by dumping the BRC’s data as System/Exclusive information to a MIDI storage device, such as the Alesis DataDisk.

2

Digital interface and sample rate converter option. If you need to integrate your ADAT recordings to digital recording equipment from other manufacturers, an optional accessory box, the Alesis AI-1, can isolate the digital audio signal of two tracks at a time from any single eight-track ADAT in the system, and assign the pair to the industry standard AES/EBU and S/PDIF interfaces. This allows for direct digital connection, with sample rate conversion, to and from other digital audio recorders, DAT recorders, CDs, hard disk recorders, synthesizers, and more.

Meter bridge option. The RMB Remote Meter Bridge provides localized viewing of 32 channels of LED meters. It’s designed to mount on top of the BRC so that you can install your ADATs in a remote rack and control functions and view critical metering of the recording directly from one location. The RMB may also be installed in any standard 19” rack.

LRC Remote Control. Each ADAT is supplied with the LRC Remote, which duplicates some of the ADAT’s front panel functions. Up to two LRC Remotes can be connected to the BRC for additional sets of transport and locate controls.

Fast and easy hookup. Connection of the BRC is accomplished via a single 9 pin sync cable connected to the first ADAT in the system. Successive ADATs are connected in turn – sync out to sync in – using the same 9 pin style connector. When the BRC is turned on, it automatically becomes the system’s master, and assigns each ADAT an identification number, from first to last in the chain. The BRC also automatically checks which units have a tape installed, and if the tapes are formatted. Finally, the BRC automatically autolocates each slave ADAT to the position of the first ADAT. This entire routine allows you to setup and be ready to record within minutes. The BRC may also berack-mountedby removing the top, bottom and side panels, or mounted on an optionalroll-aroundstand.

Voltage tolerant power supply. The BRC accepts any AC voltage between 90 and 250 volts.

For more information on digital recording, see Appendix 1 in the ADAT manual. Appendix 2 in the ADAT manual is a glossary of digital recording terms that may be helpful as you read this manual.

3

1.1 IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS MANUAL

This manual has been divided into two separate books, of which this is the first. This book is designed as a reference to assist the recording professional in learning the basic operation of the BRC. All functions are explained in a clear manner, using step-by-stepinstructions and illustrations for setting up and performing various operations. However, it is assumed that you already have some understanding of multitrack recording in general. It also assumes you have read the ADAT manual and comprehend its operation.

If you have little or no previous experience with multitrack recording, please read the second book of this manual, entitled BRC Concepts and Applications. It will give you an understanding of how an ADAT/BRC system works, and the types of things you may expect. It explains why certain features are significant, and how to employ them in your recording routine. Most importantly, there are simple tutorials for commonly performed operations, which illustrate exactly how to put it all together.

Regardless of your level of experience, it is important that you read through section 1.3 on the difference between “engaged” and “disengaged” tapes, and section 3.1 on formatting tapes. These describe recording concepts that have no counterpart with analog recorders, and which must be understood before you start using ADAT and the BRC.

In this manual, buttons and LEDs are spelled with all capital letters (such as RECORD LED or FORMAT TAPE button).

1.2 OVERVIEW OF MAIN FUNCTIONS

Here is a brief rundown of the BRC’s main functions.

1.2A Transport

The transport controls are just like most standard remotes. Tape motion controls include play, fast forward, rewind, stop, and record. The tape location counter at the top shows elapsed time in SMPTE time, real time, or bars/beats/sub-beats.

For more information on transport controls, see section 3.3.

1.2B Record/Monitor functions

4

The BRC can control as many as 16 ADATs for up to 128 tracks. The track select section of the BRC provides access to 32 tracks at any time. Four buttons let you switch between TRACK 1–32,TRACK33–64,TRACK65–96and TRACK97–128.The button that has its LED lit will indicate which group of tracks is currently selected, as will the LEDs centered in the track select area, above. If you find yourself using the TRACK97–128button often, consider yourself a lucky person.

The BRC and ADATs do much of the recording/monitoring switchwork for you. Generally, tracks monitor what’s on tape until you put them into recording ready, at which point they will monitor the inputs, so you can hear what is about to be recorded. The ALL INPUT button lets you monitor the inputs of all channels, regardless of record status. AUTO INPUT lets you monitor the tape on tracks that are in record ready, until you go into record at which time you will be monitoring the inputs. ALL CLEAR takes all tracks out of record ready, while the ALL SAFE button will temporarily disengage all tracks from record ready so you can instantly put the same tracks back into record ready later. You can also program up to 4 groups of record-enabledtracks for instant recall.

For more information on recording and track monitor controls, see section 3.2.

1.2C Autolocation

Besides locating to zero, you can store 20 different locate points per song, which can also be used by other functions including Loop, Auto-Punchand Tape Offsets. Each locate point can be named, and the BRC even gives you a list of typical names to choose from (like “Intro”, “Verse A1”, “Chorus 2”, etc.). You canfine-tunethe position of each locate point with the accuracy of a single sample step. Each set of locate points may be saved with each ADAT tape.

For more information on Autolocation and Song controls, see sections 4.1 and 4.6.

1.2D Punching

In addition to ADAT’s seamless punching ability, the BRC provides you with many more advanced features to help you get your tracks down in record time, including: Auto-Punch,Loop,Pre-Roll,PostRoll, and a variable Record Crossfade time to allow a smooth transition of original audio to new audio.Auto-GroupRecord lets you continuously loop between two locate points and will automatically record each take to a different track, or set of tracks.

5

For more information on Auto-Punchand related controls, see section 4.3.

1.2E Rehearsing

This works just like a real recording, but instead lets you “audition” exactly how a punch is going to work. By pressing the REHEARSE button, you can test out and change the settings of the various recording functions to get the results you want without being destructive in the process. When the punch-inpoint is reached, therecord-enabledtracks will monitor their inputs, but no recording will occur. This way you can measure twice (or more) … and cut only once.

For more information on Rehearse mode, see section 3.5.

1.2F Digital Bus

With both the sync and digital bus cables connected, the BRC/ADAT system offers powerful digital track bouncing and copying functions.

Let’s say you want to replace the chorus vocal on track 15 with the one you liked on track 2. This is easy to do with the two connections that all ADATs in the system share: the sync cable, carrying the timing and sync information, and the optical cable which carries the digital audio bus. The new chorus on track 15 will be an exact digital duplicate of the one on track 2.

If you feel particularly inspired one day, but can’t make up your mind about which lead solo to go with, fill five or six tracks of a single S- VHS cassette tape with your hottest playing. This is easy using the Auto-GroupRecord function to automatically advance the record track(s) for playing multiple takes. Later on, you can take the best performance, or the best parts of each one and recompose the entire solo onto a new track. All in perfect sync, all sample accurate, all in the digital domain. The popular recording practice of composite vocals is just as easy, and more effective than ever with ADAT to support your efforts.

For more information on bouncing tracks, see section 4.10B.

1.3 “ENGAGED” VS “DISENGAGED”

6