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Author Topic: x32 USB recorder quality issues  (Read 1592 times)

Landon Lewsaw

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x32 USB recorder quality issues
« on: September 30, 2020, 08:38:02 PM »

Much like the real bands, my little rock cover band was restricted to online recording collaborations through the lockdown.  Lots of fun figuring it all out, had some real successes.  As a live sound guy, I wanted to mix on my x32 rather than in the box, which I'm not experienced or skilled at.  I used the computer only to record and edit (in Reaper) and then shipped everything out to the x32 to process and mix.  Sounds great on the monitors or in the cans, but the file that writes to the USB drive doesn't seem to have the same resolution, level or quality. 

I'm sure when I eventually give in and do everything in the box the render will be better, but just wondering if anyone else finds the quality of the USB recording to be somewhat diminished.
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Russell Ault

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2020, 12:59:48 AM »

[...] Sounds great on the monitors or in the cans, but the file that writes to the USB drive doesn't seem to have the same resolution, level or quality.  [...]

Just to be clear, the USB recorder doesn't have the same resolution or quality as the monitors or the cans.

Internally, the console uses floating-point math for all its operations. When that data needs to leave the console, whether through a D/A, AES50, or the card slot, it always does so as 24 bit (signed) integers...except for the USB recorder, which is 16 bit instead.

Of course, if you're gain-staging is setup to constantly drive the USB recorder into just-before-clipping, ideally with some mastering compression, then you almost certainly will not hear a difference between it and a 24-bit recording (Red Book CD-quality audio is, frankly, just fine most of the time). If you're doing the typical live-audio thing and leaving a couple (or several) bits worth of extra headroom (y'know, just in case), then you may well start to hear a difference.

If you'd like to mix on the X32 (and if that works for you then, hey, why not), I'd suggest taking your recording mix buses and dumping them back into Reaper through the card slot (at 24 bits like everything else). That way if it turns out you need to, say, boost levels to normalize the tracks before export, then at least you're not starting with an extra 48dB of quantization noise.

-Russ
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Landon Lewsaw

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2020, 09:27:02 PM »

Great info, thanks Russell.  I'd love to send the 2-track mix back to Reaper and bypass the USB recorder; I'm not sure how I would route that since I think Reaper only "sees" my preamps and nothing further downstream. How would you route this? 
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Russell Ault

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 01:53:29 AM »

Great info, thanks Russell.  I'd love to send the 2-track mix back to Reaper and bypass the USB recorder; I'm not sure how I would route that since I think Reaper only "sees" my preamps and nothing further downstream. How would you route this?

How familiar are you with routing on an X32? Reaper sees whatever signals are being routed to the X32's card slot; by default that's Inputs 1-32, but you can change it to be whatever you'd like.

-Russ
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Landon Lewsaw

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2020, 12:05:04 AM »

Got it, thanks!
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Russell Ault

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2020, 12:10:58 AM »

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Re: x32 USB recorder quality issues
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2020, 12:10:58 AM »


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