Alesis ADAT FIREPORT User Manual

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Routine connections

Once you have everything working, these are the steps to observe when connecting an FST drive to the FirePort 1394:

1.Make sure the power switch on the FirePort 1394 is set to OFF.

2.Connect the FST drive to the FirePort 1394.

3.Turn the FirePort 1394’s power switch to ON.

4.Start FST/Connect. (If you were swapping FST drives, this step is not necessary because FST/Connect can be left active while you do so.)

Disconnecting an FST drive

When you want to spin the FST drive down and take it back over to an HD24, or if you would like to connect another FST drive with the FirePort 1394, follow these steps:

1.Use the Add/Remove Hardware utility in the Control Panel and go through the procedures to unplug a device. At the final step of this process, check the box that says “Show Unplug/Eject icon on the taskbar.” You will only have to do this step the first time you disconnect the FST drive.

2.If you’ve already gone through step 1 above in previous disconnections, move your cursor to the lower right-handportion of your monitor (the taskbar) and look for the following symbol:

3.Click on this icon and watch for a prompt to arrive on the screen that looks like this:

4.Click on that prompt, and a message will be displayed on the screen that tells you that the FST drive may be “safely removed from the system.” This means it’s okay to turn off the power to the FirePort 1394.

5.After the power has been turned off you may disconnect the FST drive from the FirePort 1394.

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You don’t have to shut down FST/Connect when swapping hard drives. Therefore, if FST/Connect is already running when you want to disconnect, simply follow the disconnect procedure and leave FST/Connect active.


1 Getting Started

Installing FST/Connect

The brain behind the FirePort 1394’s “brawn” is FST/Connect. This is a software program developed by Alesis, and you will find it on the CD-ROMthat was in the box with the FirePort 1394.

Installing FST/Connect is simple. Put the CD-ROMinto your PC, navigate to the CD drive (usually the D drive), and locate the file called setup.exe. Clicking on this application and responding appropriately to all of the prompts will run the InstallShield Wizard, which will automatically choose the files needed to make the FirePort 1394 work in conjunction with FST/Connect on your computer.

To uninstall FST/Connect, use Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel folder.

The big picture

Below is an example of what you might see during a typical session with FST/Connect.


2 Operations

The FST/Connect Main Window

The main window of FST/Connect has four major subdivisions, each of which contains between two and nine functions. There are also five pull-downmenus with additional functions. Everything you can do with FST/Connect happens from here, so let’s go through the windows and menus one by one.

The Drive window

The boxed-insection in the left upper half of the main window is called the Drive window. It looks like this:

From this window you can see the name of the selected FST drive, its file system version, the number of projects it contains, and how much recording time it has available.

The Drive window has three sub menus that allow different choices. The first, “Name,” has a pull-downarrow on the right side that allows you to select which FST drive you are using. This is for use with multiple FirePort 1394 systems.

The second and third sub menus with selectable options are inside the Free Space Preview (FSP) window. As you can see, the smaller box “Length” does not have a pull-downarrow to its right; it will change automatically as you adjust the two boxes immediately below it. The “At” box allows you to select between four sample rates for the FSP reading (44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96). The “For” box allows you to select the track depth for the FSP reading: its choices can be 2, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24 (depending on the sample rate selected in the “At” box). So on this particular hard drive you would have one hour, 30 minutes and 17 seconds available for recording a24-tracksong at 48 kHz.

Window Navigation

and Shortcuts

If you are new to using a PC, you may want to check out the section on window navigation and keyboard shortcuts found in Chapter Three: Applications. There are keystrokes that will be very familiar for long-timeWindows users that you may find to be very useful. To see this information, turn to page 34.

It is possible to give the FST drive a name of up to 64 characters in length. This and other functions are handled inside the Drive pull-downmenu. See page 28 for details.


2 Operations

To get the FSP reading for recording time available at 96 kHz, click anywhere in the window to the right of the “At” box and select the number 96 from the menu. If your 48k song has 16 or 24 tracks, the number in the “For” box will change automatically to 12. That’s because 12 is the maximum number of tracks an FST drive can hold at a 96 kHz sampling rate. The Length, however, will remain the same in the example shown (half as many tracks at twice the sample rate uses exactly the same amount of memory).

The Project window

This is a small window with a big view: it allows you to call up the various Projects, or sets of Songs, that reside on the FST drive. It looks like this:

The window labeled “Name” is used to select the current Project. If your hard drive uses file system 1.10 or higher, there can be up to 99 of them! Use the numeric keys, the cursor keys or the pulldown menu on the Name window’s right side to make your choice. And as you call up each Project, the second window shows how many Songs the Project contains.

You can use the numeric keypad as a quick way to select the sample rate or track depth for the Free Space Preview window.

For more information, see page 34.


The Song window

As stated earlier, each Project can hold up to 99 songs if you’re using file system 1.10. The Song window is the one that allows you to choose the current Song within the Project. But it also contains five other fields that hold important information: the number of tracks in the song (also called “track depth”), the length of the Song, its sample rate and word length (sometimes referred to as “bit depth”), and a checkbox for write-protectingthe current song.

Selection of the Song within the Project is handled in the same way it is with other right-sidepull-downmenus. Click anywhere on the Name window and it will “explode,” showing you up to nine Songs out of the possible 99 in the Project. If there are more than nine Songs available, a scroll bar on the right side will allow you to navigate through the Song list until you find the right one.

As with other windows, you can use the numeric keys to type in the number of the song you wish to access. You may also call up Songs one after the other by using the cursor keys. The Up and Left buttons decrement the choice, while Down and Right increment the choice. You can also “race” through the list by holding down one of the cursor keys.

Operations 2

It is possible to give the Song a name of up to 64 characters in length (file system 1.10).

This and other functions are handled inside the Song pulldown menu. See page 28 for details.


2 Operations

The Transfer window

Occupying over half of the main window, the Transfer window sports a majority of the features found in FST/Connect. It is here you will select which tracks to send which way, decide where they will wind up, and determine what their format will be when they get there. Here’s one view of the window:

We’ll go through the functions contained in this window one by one, starting with…

The Transfer tabs

At the top of the window there are two tabs: adat FST Æ PC and PCÆ adat FST. These determine which direction transferred files will go. Selecting the adat FSTÆ PC tab means you are able to transfer tracks from the FST drive into your computer (export), while selecting PCÆ adat FST means FST/Connect is ready to send tracks from the computer into your FST drive (import).


To switch between the two tabs, click on one or the other with the cursor, or use the Left and Right cursor keys. You’ll notice that as the tabs change, the button below the Preview box will change automatically from Export to Import or vice versa.

The Directory window & Browse button

The skinny little bar right below the Transfer tabs is called the Directory window. It displays the “path” you would follow to find the files related to the larger Track window immediately below.

This needs some careful attention, because the Directory path means different things depending on which Transfer tab is selected. If the PC Æ adat FST tab has been selected, the Directory path indicates the source folder on the PC from which audio files will be transferred into the FST drive. This is known as the “Import” option.

However, the illustration on page 24 shows the adat FST Æ PC tab having been selected. (This is also known as the “Export” option.) Those familiar with a PC will know at a glance that “C:\ProgramFiles\Audio\Demo Project” means that the tracks about to be exported from the FST drive will wind up on the C drive (a hard drive inside the PC) inside a folder called “Program Files,” and that further inside that folder is another folder called “Audio,” wherein resides a folder called “Demo Project.” This folder will be the final destination of any exported track.

Unless you do something about it. There are two ways to select a different import/export folder. First, the Directory window has one of those pull-downarrows on the right side. If you click on that you will see up to five different paths. These are the last five folders you’ve selected as an import/export path.

The second way to choose a new import/export folder is to use the Browse button immediately to the right of the Directory window. Click on that to navigate to a new folder on one of your computer’s hard drives. This new location will show up as an available choice in the Directory window list.

One other point regarding the Directory window: unlike the other “skinny” windows, you can’t “explode” the Directory list by clicking within the Directory field. Doing this will highlight the entire Directory path. A second click will place the cursor at that spot in the Directory path name, ready for editing.

Selecting and Previewing (single tracks)

There are several methods for selecting a track within the Track window. The first few are obvious: click on a track, or use the Tab key until the cursor lands in the Track window. After that you can use the cursor keys to select different tracks; the Up and Left keys move the cursor up through the Track list, and the Down and Right keys move the cursor down.

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Import or Export: keeping it straight

Is there an easy way to remember which term applies to which tab? We find it helpful to keep in mind that the focus of FST/Connect is the FST drive. A useful analogy is to think of the FST drive as your “country.” When you send files from there into a PC, you are “exporting.” If you are bringing files into the FST drive, you are “importing.”

The Import/Export tabs each have their own set of five paths, so it is possible for the Import path to be different from the Export path. FST/Connect keeps track of these independently.

You may not see any files listed in the Track window when you have the PC->adatFST Transfer tab selected. They may be in a different format than you have selected in the Format window. Try the different format buttons before using the Browse button to go look for them.


2 Operations

If you have a single track selected, you can listen to it through your computer’s sound card. It doesn’t matter whether the file is on the FST drive or on your PC’s hard drive; if the file shows up in the Track list, it can be previewed. To do this, find the button labeled “Preview” to the right of the Track window. When only one

track is selected, the triangle inside the button will be black. Click on this button and the track will begin to play. As it does, the numeric counter will increment, displaying the current location within the audio file.

Selecting multiple tracks

It’s also possible to select multiple files at once for importing or exporting. If one track is already selected, hold the Shift key and click on another track. All tracks between the two you’ve selected will be highlighted, indicating that they will be exported or imported when you click on the button below the Preview window. Of course you can select all the tracks in the Track window at once using the Control and A keys.

Once you’ve determined which tracks you want to export or import, look for the button below the Preview window. It will be labeled “Export” or “Import” depending on which Transfer tab you have selected at the top of the Transfer window. Once you click on this button, the transfer will begin. If you are exporting to your PC, the tracks you have selected will be transferred to the folder listed in the Directory window. If you are importing to the FST drive, the folder listed in the Directory window shows you the source folder that contains the tracks you are transferring.

The Format window

This is actually a sub-windowinside the Transfer window, but it handles such an important task that it needs its own section in this User Guide. Depending on which Transfer tab is selected at the top of the Transfer window, the button selection made inside the Format window will either translate an FST file into one of four audio formats as it is exported to your PC, or it will decide what sort of files you will be able to view within the Track window as you are preparing to import audio files into your FST drive.

PC Æ adat FST

This is the simpler of the two tabs to describe, so we’ll start here. When it is selected, the Format buttons tell FST/Connect which of the four possible audio file types you want to see. In turn, FST/Connect will filter out audio files of the other three types, blocking them from view. All four may actually be inside the same folder on your PC, but only the type you select with the Format buttons will be displayed.

Once you have selected the file type you want to see, you then may select one or more of those tracks in preparation for importing them to the FST drive. During the “Import” process, the audio file will be translated from its current format to the FST format.


Some sound cards may not be capable of playing back files that were recorded at the higher sample rates (88.2k and 96k). If you are having trouble playing back files of this sort, refer to your sound card’s technical documentation.

Only one track may be previewed at a time. This is why the Play button is grayed out when more than one track is selected.

Remember, if you don’t see any files listed in the Track window when you have the PC->adatFST Transfer tab selected, try checking the other three format buttons before using the Browse button to go look for the files.

For crucial notes on importing sd2 and dig/sd files, see pages 29-30.

adat FST Æ PC

When this is the selected Transfer tab, the Format buttons tell FST/Connect which of the four possible audio file types you want the exported FST tracks to become as they are transferred to your PC’s hard drive.

We have given you these four options because they are the most widely used in audio editing platforms. They are:

WAV This is the audio file type most prevalent in PCcompatible computers.

AIFF This format is more likely to be found in Macintosh applications.

SD2 Also aMacintosh-nativefile type, the Sound Designer II format has made large inroads into thehigh-endmusical andpost-productionenvironments.

DIG/SD This is the file type generated by Sound Designer I. It is expected by most audio applications to be a16-bitformat. If this is the file type you would like to generate, be sure to see page 28 for information on setting the export format to16-bit.

The Pull-DownMenus

As in most applications, above the main window of FST/Connect you’ll see a series of pull-downoptions. The first four correspond to the smaller windows inside the main window.

When you press the Alt key, you’ll notice the first letter of each word in the pull-downmenu has its first letter underlined. These indicate which key to press in order to access the contents of that particular menu. For example, Alt + P opens the Project pulldown menu as in the picture below:

Pressing the C key will access the “Create” sub-menuof the Projectpull-downmenu, as shown.

Each pull-downmenu provides most of the features and information found in the corresponding window, with the exception of the Transfer window. However, all of thepull-downmenus offer features that are unavailable anywhere else in FST/Connect. These features are described on the next page.

Operations 2

In order to use either of the exported Sound Designer file types in a Macintosh computer, certain procedures must be followed. SD2 files the must be “unflattened,” and DIG/SD files must have their File Type changed. These procedures are necessary because of differences in the way Macs and PCs handle files. For detailed instructions, see the section on pages 29-30.


2 Operations


There are five options here:


Switch between multiple FirePort 1394 systems


Completely erase or format an FST drive


Convert 1.0 FST drives to 1.10, leaving data intact.


This option is grayed out if the FST drive is 1.10.


View FST drive model, size, and give it a name


Quits FST/Connect


This menu has four options:

Select Switch between Projects via the usual keysCreate Make a new Project

Delete Choose and throw away a Project and its SongsProperties Name the Project and view how many Songs it has


There are four options here:


Switch between Songs via the usual keys


Make a new Song; define sample rate & track depth


Select and delete a Song


Name the Song and view its track depth, length,


sample rate, word length, and write-protectstatus


Only one choice here:

Options Choose whether exported files will be24-bitor 16bit. If you have an audio editor that can’t open 24bit files, select the16-bitoption. FST/Connect remembers this setting after you shut down.


Only one choice here as well:

About… Displays the revision number of FST/Connect

Naming conventions

Names can be up to 64 characters in length (file system 1.10 only), and may contain any letter, number, or character with certain exceptions. An error message will let you know if you have used an illegal character.


File system 1.0 allows only 10 characters in a name, and only letters, numbers, and spaces may be used in the names.