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What is production? Part 3: Recording

Alesis ADAT - Affordable Digital Multitrack (part 7)

Multitrack recording usually involves going over the same sections again and again and by the end of the session the tape may have passed the heads at least hundreds of times, so there is the distinct possibility of error rates creeping up.

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Tape Wear

Multitrack recording usually involves going over the same sections again and again and by the end of the session the tape may have passed the heads at least hundreds of times, so there is the distinct possibility of error rates creeping up. The ADAT won’t cycle automatically for more than half an hour so my intended overnight cycling test didn’t work. I thought the next best thing would be to take a five year old standard VHS tape which has been re-used many times in my video and record on it. It certainly isn’t recommended to use anything less than the best tape, but I have to say it sounded absolutely perfect.


BRC - the Big Remote Control

Alesis plan to make a bigger version of the remote control which will supply the facilities the ADAT lacks. If you wanted to criticise ADAT as it stands then you would be saying things such as:

  • You lose an audio track for timecode.
  • There’s no provision for digital synchronisation to other equipment (which one day soon will be very important, mark my words).
  • No record ready switches on remote control.
  • Only three locate points.
  • No editing possible.
  • Buttons not very positive.

Alesis are not saying very much about their plans at the moment, but I suspect that at the very least the first five points will be answered.


Other ADAT Accessories

RMB Remote Meter Bridge

Designed to mount above the BRC remote control. Provides 32 channels of LED meters.

AI-1 Interface

The ADAT has only a proprietary eight channel optical digital input and output. The AI-1 will be able to translate this to AES/EBU (professional) and S/PDIF (domestic) digital formats. Apparently this will also include a sample rate convertor.

AI-2 ESbus Interface

One of the unfulfilled dreams of professional audio is that all equipment should have a standard synchroniser interface. ESbus is such a standard defined by the EBU and SMPTE but it hasn’t made as much progress with manufacturers as it should. Full marks to Alesis for supporting it.


Professional applications?

It is usually thought that any piece of equipment, in any field, that has the word ‘professional’ printed on it is definitely for amateur use only. But the Alesis ADAT will find its way into many professional applications simply because the sound quality is good and it works with the minimum of fuss. Very sensibly Alesis have provided, as well as jack inputs, a multiway input and output connector that operates at balanced professional levels. If the Fostex E16, G16 and G24, and also the Tascam MSR16 and MSR24 can be used to make money out of recording, then there is absolutely no doubt that the Alesis ADAT can too.

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By David Mellor Thursday November 29, 2012
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