Hands-On Review:LX20, XT20 & M20: A recorder for every application and budget!


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Alesis ADAT Series

It has been nearly a decade since Alesis first set the recording industry on its ear with the introduction of ADAT. Its cost, performance, and ease of use wowed audio engineers everywhere, and ADAT quickly emerged as standard equipment in professional and project studios. (In fact, ADAT’s arrival on the scene was instrumental in the evolution of project and home studios enabling small-budget operators to produce pro-quality work.) Since then, Alesis has continually upgraded and expanded its range of recorders so that today, there is an ADAT suitable to just about any application or budget.

LX20-Breaking the grand barrier

Whether you’re a musician, home or project studio owner, or you already own an ADAT and want to expand your present system, the LX20 presents an affordable solution. With Musician’s Friend’s incredible discount, you can actually get into ADAT for under a grand.

 

Though this is the most affordable deck Alesis has offered to date, it doesn’t stint on features. Sharing the same 20-bit ADAT Type II digital recording format as the XT20 and M20 recorders, it is capable of producing thoroughly professional work. The LX20’s compatible with all ADAT recorders as well as peripherals such as the BRC, digital consoles, and more. It uses the same Optical Digital Interface and Synchronization Interface as other ADATs, making it a perfect add-on deck to expand track capabilities.

 

This is a dead-easy recorder to operate. It has five specialized locate points which, when used with the Auto Play, Auto Return, Auto Record, and Auto Loop functions, help you navigate through your work easily.

 

Connectability is also excellent. Hooking up to an analog mixer or other gear is supported with 16 unbalanced -10dBV inputs and outputs on RCA connectors. The LX20 also has an Optical Digital Interface that carries eight digital tracks at once, entirely in the digital domain, allowing you to connect to other ADATs in a system or to any other devices that use this transfer protocol.

 

My dad waited years before buying the family’s first color TV. He argued that until they worked better and cost less, he wasn’t interested. Well, digital recording has arrived at that juncture where it’s a fully mature technology and has become eminently affordable. So, with the LX20, there’s really no longer any reason to resist the digital recording revolution.

Raising the ADAT bar

 

Although the XT20 has created new standards in the digital recording arena, it is fully compatible with over 150K plus ADAT recorders already in use. It uses ADAT Type II, the only modular digital multitrack recording format that writes 20 bits to tape, producing world-class sonic excellence. By recording eight tracks of true, linear 20-bit digital audio without the use of external multiplexers or converters, the XT20 has trumped all earlier ADAT machines. No other modular recording format matches this level of performance.

 

The leap from 16- to 20-bit recording produces a quantum gain in sonic quality. It’s not an arithmetic gain—rather than a 25% improvement as you might expect, the jump to 20-bit recording produces audio quality that’s sixteen times as detailed. That results in wider dynamic range, lower quantization distortion, greater headroom, and lower noise. And its 20-bit oversampling digital converters perfectly complement the enhanced recording bit depth. Like its stablemates, the XT20 also has an Optical Digital Interface for simple connection to other ADATs in a system.

 

For efficient production work, the XT20 provides editing functions such as Track Copy, Track Offset, and Track Delay. To help you nimbly navigate through your projects, there is a 10-point autolocater/ numerical system. To get audio to and from tape, there is both a servo-balanced 56-pin connector and unbalanced I/O on RCA connectors.

The M20: no-compromise ADAT

 

It’s a no-holds-barred, full-blown professional machine that’s up to the challenges of the most demanding recording tasks. Its world-beating combination of superior audio quality, sophisticated features, and rugged transport make it the ideal choice for commercial recording and post-production work.

 

The M20 is a great tool for advanced sync applications and sound-for-picture recording as it has a built-in synchronizer letting it chase or become master in any system. The built-in SMPTE/EBU time code reader/generator operates at all standard frame rates referenced to internal or external word clocks and video sync.

 

The M20’s exclusive features include a true jog/shuttle wheel, a special analog aux track for scrubbing and cueing, 100 nameable onboard locate points, adjustable I/O level controls, and much more.

 

The transport used in the M20 is made for Alesis by Matsushita and has been proven in millions of hours of industrial VTR and duplication operations. Superb feel and control coupled with inherent reliability means you can trust it to handle your most critical projects.

 

If your work demands cutting-edge capabilities, you need look no further than the Alesis ADATs. The good news is that when you’re ready to step up to Alesis excellence, the folks at Musician’s Friend price these recorders so they’re easy to own. And with their Platinum Card program, you can afford them today!

Alesis ADAT Specs:

 

LX20:

  • 8 audio channels
  • 20-bit linear codec
  • 64X oversampling
  • Record (A/D) 20-bit
  • Play (D/A) 20-bit
  • 44.1/48kHz selectable sample rates
  • 20Hz-20kHz response
  • 97dB dynamic range
  • Distortion 0.009% THD
  • Analog I/O: 16 RCA (8 in, 8 out)
  • Digital I/O: 8-channel ADAT optical (1 in, 1 out)

 

XT20:

  • 8 audio channels
  • 20-bit linear codec
  • 128X oversampling
  • Record (A/D) 20-bit
  • Play (D/A) 20-bit
  • 44.1/48kHz selectable sample rates
  • 20Hz-20kHz response
  • 97dB dynamic range
  • Distortion 0.003% THD
  • Analog I/O: (balanced) 1 ELCO connector (I/0); (unbalanced) 16 RCA (8 in, 8 out)
  • Digital I/O: 8-channel ADAT optical (1 in, 1 out)

 

M20:

  • 8 audio channels, 1 auxiliary
  • Record (A/D) 24-bit, 64X oversampling Delta-Sigma
  • Play (D/A) 24-bit, 128X oversampling Delta-Sigma
  • 44.1/48kHz selectable sample rates
  • 20Hz-20kHz response
  • Dynamic range: A/D 113dB; D/A 103dB
  • Distortion <.002% THD
  • Analog I/O: 56-pin ELCO; 18 XLR (9 in, 9 out)
  • Digital I/O: 2 EIAJ (1 in, 1 out)
  • Communications protocol: ADAT MultiChannel Optical Digital Interface (24-bit, 8-channel)