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Discussion in '2488 and DP-24/32 Digital Portastudios' started by cmaffia, Jan 7, 2019.
TC-Helicon is incredible.
I'd never come across these units before, they look good for both live and recording. In the UK, the GT-X and the Play Acoustic are both available for around the same price (the Electric is a fair bit more pricey).
The acoustic looks more configurable, and reading the manual it looks like you can split the outputs to dry vocal on one out, and combined effected/harmony vocal plus guitar on the other:
Outputs: Mono setting ► All effected Vocal and Guitar sounds are sent via the left XLR output. ► Dry vocals (with Tone and pitch correction, if you have set the Pitch Cor Amt parameter on the Input page to a value other than zero) are sent via the right XLR output.
There's also a gtr level control, I'm assuming that will let you mute the gtr completely (does anyone know for sure?) to give a solo'd harmony vocal:
Guitar Level parameter Use the Guitar Level parameter to adjust the output level of the guitar signal. This control is also dependent on the Guitar input level, set in the Setup menu. Make sure to set your input level according to the instructions and use the Guitar Level parameter to set your “overall guitar output volume”.
I guess another option would be to set the key/scale manually so that the unit won't need any musical input aside from the vocal. Is that how these units work?
[EDIT] Ah! I see that you can set the Aux mode to 'monitor' which removes any aux input from the main outs:
Monitor setting Use the Monitor setting to remove incoming Aux signals from the main output. This allows you to hear Aux audio via headphones, but not pass that audio to the PA. This is a great solution for cost effective in-ear monitoring.
There's another option as well, as the unit will use Aux In material to set the harmonizer if no gtr signal is present. I can see where my Casiotone might go! Or any send from the DP24...
Here's how I use my DP-24 to create automatic vocal harmonies using the TC-Helicon Voicetune Harmony G-XT.
The G-XT is meant for live performing by a singer/guitarist. It can create very credible harmonies on the fly based on the vocal and either the chord being played in accompaniment, manually entering the song's key, or the using song's key saved in a pre-set (the G-XT has 20 pre-sets).
It also has several doubling, reverb and echo effects to chose from, an auto-tune feature, and auto gating, compression and EQ, all of which can be turned on/off or used in various setting combinations.
It has an XLR LowZ mic input, 1/4" TS (mono) phone HiZ guitar input and pass through, and XLR LowZ stereo harmony output or left-harmony/right-dry vocal output.
Connect mic and guitar to G-XT inputs
Set G-XT output to left-harmony vocal/right-dry vocal
Select two harmonies that compliment the song (e.g. a 3rd higher and a 3rd lower)
Use the pass through to connect the guitar to DP-24 1/4" TRS HiZ phone Input H
Set Input H to line (not guitar) and turn trim pot full left
Connect the G-XT left/right XLR LowZ outs to DP-24 XLR Inputs A & B
Set Inputs A & B trim pots full left initially, and adjust as needed
Set G-XT input/output levels to unity gain
Assign Input A to Track 1 (Harmony); Input B to Track 2 (Dry Vocal)
Assign Input H to Track 3 (rhythm guitar)
I now have two harmonies on Track 1 in mono; my dry vocal in mono on Track 2; my rhythm guitar in mono on Track 3 and Step 1 is complete.
Remove mic and guitar cables from the G-XT
Connect DP-24 Send 1 to the G-XT XLR LowZ mic input using a Shure HiZ to LowZ stepdown transformer
Connect DP-24 Send 2 to the G-XT 1/4" TS (mono) phone HiZ guitar input
Set DP-24 Track 2 (Vocal) Send 1 to "Pre, 100" and Master 1 to "100"
Set DP-24 Track 3 (Guitar) Send 2 to "Pre,127" and Master 2 to "127"
Assign DP-24 Input A to Track 4 and Input B to Track 5
The G-XT relies on rhythm guitar chords to establish accurate harmonies, so it's necessary to send the now pre-recorded Track 3 rhythm guitar back to the G-XT HiZ guitar input via DP-24 Send 2, but there is no need to record the rhythm guitar again.
[I've also programmed all the major and minor keys into the Pre-sets so it isn't always necessary to use the guitar to establish the harmonies. For example, if the song is in C Major, I use Pre-set #1, which is set to Hall Reverb, Natural Stereo Doubling, 3rd Hi Harmony on left output/3rd Low Harmony on right output. All the effects can be changed easily if the song calls for a different combination of effects and harmonies.]
Set the G-XT to unity gain
Set G-XT to stereo harmony output (left/right)
Select the same two harmonies used in Step 1 (e.g. a 3rd higher and a 3rd lower)
On the DP-24 reset the song to the beginning
Play the pre-recorded vocal (Track 2) and rhythm guitar (Track 3)
Record the harmonies again this time in stereo: Track 4 (Harmony a 3rd higher up) and Track 5 (Harmony a 3rd lower down)
Repeat on additional tracks (6/7; 8/9; etc.) for a third harmony part (e.g. 1 octave low) or alternate harmonies (e.g. two high, two low, etc).
With only one live pass of the vocal and rhythm guitar, I now have available:
The dry vocal on Track 2
The dry rhythm guitar on track 3
Two harmonies in mono on Track 1 that I can use as filler or offset slightly for a double track effect to blend with the stereo harmony tracks
One harmony part on Track 4 (3rd up) with full control over blend level, sound field placement, etc.
One harmony part on Track 5 (3rd down) with full control over blend level, sound field placement, etc.
MOVING CUSTOM USER SETTINGS TO A NEW SD CARD
Custom User settings created for Effects:Reverb/Delay/Chorus; custom User settings created for Master/Compressor, and for Master/EQ, are stored in the DP-xx.sys file.
Once you've created custom User settings, as long as you keep all your songs on the same SD card, those custom User settings will be available universally to songs you create on that SD card
BUT, if you change SD cards, reformat an old card, or format a new card, those custom User settings do not migrate from the old SD card to the new SD card.
READ THIS BEFORE YOU GO FURTHER:
(1) Proceed at your own risk/discretion.
(2) If you are not fully confident of your ability to perform the steps described, then don't proceed.
(3) Do NOT use your computer's card reader to carry out this process.
(4) The SD cards must be in the DP-xx and interfaced with the computer using the DP-xx USB port.
(5) The transfer and renaming steps all must be done using the DP-xx USB interface with the computer.
(6) If you don't rename the default dp-xx.sys file created by the formatting process, it will be overwritten. Make sure you've made the backup copy of the default dp-xx.sys file beforehand so you can reverse the process if necessary.
(7) Only make the transfer to a newly formatted SD card. This transfer process has NOT been tested on SD cards that already have songs on them.
(8) Before recording a new song on the new SD card, make a short test song, save it, turn of the DP-xx, and reboot to confirm the custom dp-xx.sys file will work properly on the new SD card. If there's a problem, you will see a "card error" message; you will not be able to use the custom dp-xx.sys file; and will need to do a quick format to reinstall the default dp-xx.sys file.
If you want to move your custom User settings to a new SD card, you can copy the DP-xx.sys file from an SD card that already has the custom User settings to the newly formatted SD card.
Boot the DP-xx using the SD card with the customized User settings.
Use the DP-xx USB port to connect the DP-xx to the computer.
Use the computer to copy the dp-xx.sys file with the custom settings from the SD card to your computer.
Disconnect the DP-xx USB port from the computer following the proper procedure.
Turn off the DP-xx.
Remove the SD card with the custom User Settings from the DP-xx.
Boot the DP-xx using the new SD card and follow the standard format procedure.
Once the DP-xx boots into multitrack mode, use the DP-xx USB port to connect the DP-xx to the computer.
Use the computer to rename the dp-xx.sys file on the new SD card to dp-xx(1).sys (e.g., rename dp-24.sys to dp-24(1).sys)
Use the computer to move the dp-xx(1).sys file to the Utility folder on the new SD card for safekeeping in case a problem comes up.
Use the computer to copy the dp-xx.sys file with the custom User settings from the computer to the new SD card.
Disconnect the DP-xx USB port from the computer using the proper procedure.
Turn off the DP-xx.
Boot the DP-xx using the new SD card.
Once bootup is complete:
Open the location of your Custom User Settings (e.g. Effects)
Turn on the Effect.
Scroll down the Library choices to the User section, and you should see your Custom User settings.
Thanks Mark! Very useful indeed.
Today I discovered that plugging a cable into the Send 1 output jack does not break the "normal" to the internal effects. I found it quite interesting that I was able to send the signal both to the internal effects, and an external effects device. So, I can run a cable to the patchbay and leave it inserted in the Send 1 output jack with no effect (pun intended!) on the signal going to the internal effects. Cool!
CREATING A GAPLESS PRACTICE LOOP
The DP-xx "Repeat" function is designed for practicing Punch In/Punch Out, and for auto-punching multiple takes on virtual tracks.
As such, the "Repeat" function does not have a gapless looping capability.
If you need a gapless loop for practice purposes, here's what I would do as a work around:
Record 8 bars on a Track
Mark the In/Out points
Starting at the Out point, Copy/Past as many bars as you care to play along with, up to 99 times (e.g. copying 8 bars 25 times gives you a total of 208 bars to use to get your groove going).
While your getting your groove, record your playing on another track. Perhaps use Auto Punch/Repeat to automatically start/stop the play-along recording. That will fill up to 8 virtual tracks of your playing. Who knows what magic might happen.
When you're done you could Copy/Paste the best magical sections of the various virtual tracks to another empty track, stitching together the perfect take. Now your changing over from musician to audio engineer/producer. Have some fun.
TASCAM APPROVED SD CARDS
Updated: January 06, 2020:
As of January 1, 2020:
Approved list for DP-24/24SD (57.9KB pdf file):
Approved list for DP-32/32SD (33.2KB pdf file):
Mark, I haven't compared the lists, but are the cards different for the XX vs: XXSD?
mk, I think there might be some differences.
One that stands out is the 64gb card for the 32SD that I don't think is on any other list.
Mark, I'm afraid to even try that 64g card, tbh.
A fellow dp user discovered the German manual included with his dp machine was longer than the English version. Seems it contained a full list of effect parameter settings - see attached photos - may be useful.
Phil, now you got me wondering what the Japanese language version says.
Ok, I successfully navigated the Japanese Tascam site (in spite of not being able to read Hiragana), and downloaded the DP-32SD manual in Japanese. There is no additional information in that manual that I can discern, from English. So, I wonder why the German version has that additional info? Nevertheless, we all have it now.
THE BASICS OF SYNCING A DP-24/32 WITH A MIDI DRUM MACHINE
In this example, I'm using the MIDI features on my DP-24 and on my Beat Buddy drum machine to sync the Beat Buddy with my DP-24. Other MIDI drum machines may have some differences in their set up in order to work with the DP-24/32.
If you have a DP-24/32 SD, there are workarounds discussed elsewhere in this forum for using MIDI. Phil Tipping's free video #13 (found in the forum's Sticky section) also demonstrates a way to use MIDI with a DP-24/32 SD.
These are the settings I used to sync the Beat Buddy with the DP-24:
BEAT BUDDY: MIDI IN (slave)
(the BB default settings did not need any changes. Some drum machines may need to be set to Slave.)
DP-24/32: MIDI OUT (master)
DP-24/32 MMC Settings:
DP-24/32 REMOTE CONTROL Settings:
PGM CHANGE EFF............................OFF
DP-24/32 SYNC GENERATOR.........CLOCK
The DP-24/32 MIDI settings aren't saved as a global setting. The MIDI settings must be turned on for each new song, and then are saved with that song. The work around is to add the MIDI settings to your default song template (see the Stickey with Phil Tipping's free videos if you're not familiar with creating song templates).
The DP-24/32 does not read a song's Tempo (BPM) and Time Signature (4/4, 3/4, 6/8 etc.). These first must be set manually for your song in the Metronome Screen prior to tracking, and will be saved with the song once set.
This may help find the BPM of a previously recorded song if the BPM wasn't entered initially in the Metronome screen when the song was first recorded: http://www.tascamforums.com/threads/share-dp-24-32-sd-production-tips.5747/page-3#post-30545
The DP-24/32 BAR Display screen should be ON for convenience, but that's not essential. The ABS screen display can be on instead.
The Beat Buddy takes on and syncs to the Tempo that shows in the DP-24/32 Metronome Screen and Bar Display.
The Beat Buddy does not take on and sync to the Signature in the DP-24/32 Metronome Screen. To sync properly, the Beat Buddy also must match the Time Signature of the DP-24/32 song. In other words, the Beat Buddy and DP-24/32 Time Signatures must match and must be set manually. Other MIDI drum machines will likely behave the same way.
The DP-24/32 must always be re-wound to Bar 1/Beat 1 for the Beat Buddy to start/sync when the DP-24/32 Play button is pressed. (This is essential if building multiple drum sound tracks, e.g. overdubbing a hand percussion beat track to a previously recorded Bossa Nova beat track.) Other MIDI drum machines will likely behave the same way.
I have the DP-32, a Korg keyboard, Roland drum machine and TC-Helicon processor all connected together using the Midiplus 4x4:
This device does not have pass through, so devices must be patched. I use Miditrix and the whole setup works flawlessly. I can use Miditrix to patch any available MIDI device to any other and even all together. The Midiplus 4x4 is USB powered, and makes MIDI connections with the computer and connected devices possible too. It's become indispensable to my production workflow.
Update: January 06, 2020:
Western Digital has acquired Sandisk. The following links are no longer valid.
Please check this link for information about the Sandisk Extreme PRO series of SD cards.
HOW TO READ A SANDISK PRODUCT NUMBER
Product / Size / Sales Region & Packaging Type
According to the SanDisk website, these are all the same product:
( https://www.sandisk.com/home/memory-cards/sd-cards/extremepro-sd-uhs-i )
(scroll down the screen and click on "Product Numbers")
Amazon's sales region & packaging code also might be different, but what matters are the first two segments.
The V30 means:
4K UHD-READY With UHS Video Speed Class 30 (V30)
---Capacity: 32 GB
---Read Speed: up to 95 MB/s (1)
---Write Speed: up to 90 MB/s (1)
---Video Speed: C10, U3, V30
(1) Full HD (1920x1080) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) video support may vary based upon host device, file attributes and other factors. See: www.sandisk.com/HD
The SDSDXXG (HC I 3/10) is 4k UHD video ready (V30):
The SDSDXPA (HC I 3/10) is not:
The SDSDXPA is on the most current "TASCAM Approved" list:
UNDERSTANDING dBu & dBFS IN THE RECORDING AND MIXING PROCESSES
dBu, dBv, and dBV are power ratings. They are commonly used for audio equipment as a measure of the voltage (power level) a particular electrical circuit can receive or send without distorting.
dBu is an Analog Measurement.
Zero dBu (0 dBu) and Zero dBv (0 dBv) are in reference to .775 volts (i.e., 0 dBu / 0dBv = .775 volts). Zero dBV (0 dBV) is referenced to a different voltage level: 1.00 volt, and is not relevant to this discussion.
The pro audio (studio) standard is +4 dBu = 1.228 volts.
The home recording level standard is -7.78 dBu = 0.3162 volts.
Plus 2 dBu (+2 dBu) = 1.000 volt. If you look at the DP-24/32/SD Level Diagram in the OM, on the Mic circuit, a +2 dBu Mic input level produces a 0 dBFS level after A/D conversion to digital.
The Decibel is an Analog Measurement.
The decibel is a logarithmic measure. A sound with an intensity that is twice that of a reference sound corresponds to an increase of little more than 3 decibels. In common practice, the reference point of 0 decibels is the minimum threshold of hearing.
A decibel is just an analog ratio that represents the relationship of two analog sounds. A decibel has no intrinsic value. Doubling the sound level produces a 3dB logarithmic change of the second sound in relation to the first, regardless of what the actual first sound level is. Because the decibel is logarithmic, there is no linear correlation between voltage and decibels.
dBFS is a Digital Measurement.
dBFS is "Decibels Relative to Full Scale". Full Scale is only relevant in the digital world. It is the point beyond which there is nothing but distortion when converted back to analog. For D/A conversion purposes, in the digital domain everything is 0 dBFS or less; there's no such thing as +3 dBFS.
The Track Fader is a digital device and functions within the digital domain. Adjusting the track fader causes its digital value to range from "0" (infinity) to "127" (+6).
There is no standard correlation/conversion of dBu to dBFS. The analog average power scale (e.g. a VU meter) is not equivalent to the digital peak scale (a dBFS meter). You can't match dBu and dBFS. dBu is volts; dBFS is a binary number.
A 1kHz .775 volt (0 dBu) signal into Line Input A of my DP-24 with the Trim Knob set to unity gain (about the 1 O'clock position) produces about -6 dBFS on the Track 1 Meter; and with the Track 1 Fader set to zero, about -6 dBFS on the Stereo Master Bus Meter with the Stereo Bus Master Fader set to 0 dBFS.
Moving the Track 1 Fader to +6 raises the Stereo Master Bus Meter to about -1 dBFS with the Stereo Master Bus Fader set to 0 dBFS. (n.b. the Track 1 Fader has no affect on the Track 1 dBFS meter.)
A 1kHz 0.3162 volt (-7.8 dBu ) signal into Line Input A of my DP-24 with the Trim Knob set to unity gain (about the 1 O'clock position) produces about -12 dBFS on the Track 1 Meter; and with the Track 1 Fader set to zero, about -12 dBFS on the Stereo Master Bus Meter with the Stereo Master Bus Fader set to 0 dBFS.
Moving the Track 1 Fader to +6 raises the Stereo Master Bus Meter to about -9 dBFS with the Stereo Master Bus Fader set to 0 dBFS. (n.b. the Track 1 fader has no affect on the Track 1 dBFS meter.)
Both tests demonstrate that perhaps the best practical way to look at the Fader Scale is "variance from Unity Gain".
“0” on the Track Fader scale is Unity Gain. The incoming signal being converted A/D going to the track, and the outgoing converted D/A signal, are at the same level as shown on both the Track and Stereo Bus dBFS meters:
.775v in TEST 1 produces an internal digital -6 dBFS going in and coming out;
.3162v in TEST 2 produces an internal digital -12 dBFS going in and coming out,
This occurs with both the Track Fader and Stereo Master Bus Fader at the 0 position.
The Track Fader position as indicated in the Mixer screen dB scale and on the Track Scale then could be considered plus or minus so many dB relative to Unity Gain.
Moving the Track Fader effects the cumulative digital signal going to the Stereo Bus D/A converter (either "not distorted" or "distorted" as indicated by the Stereo Master Bus dBFS meter).
Application to Recording and Mixing
Behind the scenes, between the A/D and D/A conversions, there are only two states: the internal digital signal processing is either "not distorted" or "distorted". So the important things to watch are the Track dBFS meters and the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters.
(a) The Input's red distortion light should not trigger;
(b) The Track dBFS meter should not exceed -12 dBFS to -9 dBFS; and
(c) The red distortion light at the top of the Track dBFS meter should not trigger.
Remember that when recording, the Track Faders are only used to set the playback level to the Stereo Master Bus for monitoring purposes. While the individual Track Faders can be set to provide the desired overall balance for monitoring purposes, the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters should remain between -12 dBFS and -9 dBFS, and the red distortion light at the top of the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meter should not trigger. Re-balance the Track Faders if necessary to control this.
Those with little or no prior recording experience should work at even lower dBFS levels (between -18 dBFS and -12 dBFS). It's better to have a slightly softer song than have it ruined by the unpleasant sound of digital distortion. A soft recording/mix can be raised to a louder level. A distorted song is permanently damaged.
(a) The individual Track Faders are used to create the desired overall balance of the mix.
(b) The Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters should remain between -12 dBFS and -9 dBFS, and
(c) The red distortion light at the top of the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters should not trigger.
If the red distortion lights at the top of the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters trigger, keep things out of the red by adjusting the relative playback positions of the individual Track Faders, not by lowering the Stereo Master Bus Fader (which should always be at 0 dBFS except for fade in/fade out so that you don't alter your primary point of reference - the Stereo Bus Master dBFS meters.)
TO PUT THE CAP ON SD CARD ISSUES:
The Owner Manual is quite clear (in my case for the DP-24 on page 9, OM version D01159020F):
"Use of SD cards that have not been verified for use with this unit could result in the unit not functioning properly."
File Errors, write errors, unit freezes/lockups, etc. have all been traced to use of SD cards not on the TASCAM approved list, counterfeit SD cards, out-of-date firmware, or all three.
A full format should be done for a new SD card, and when the firmware is updated (after first backing up the SD card content to a computer or other backup device). A full format will also check the TASCAM approved SD cards for physical memory errors (bad sectors).
More on buying SD cards here (thanks to the efforts of Sam Trenholme):