Tech Tip:An Introduction to Hard Disk Recording, Part 2

An Introduction to Hard Disk Recording
presented by the Roland Corporation

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

What's the big deal about hard disk recording?

Let's answer this question with an analogy:

What's the big difference between a typewriter and a word processor?


When you write something on a piece of paper with a typewriter, it's there to stay. If you want to change the order of the words, add a paragraph in the middle of the page, or correct a mistake, you are out of luck. You have to start all over again. This is similar to analog or digital tape.


Word processors give you the creative freedom to move paragraphs, copy sections, insert new material, easily fix mistakes, or save several versions of a document.


That's one of the biggest differences between hard disk recorders and linear recording, either digital or analog tape.

HDRs enhance your creativity. They allow you to reorganize your material, fix mistakes and try different ideas to see how they might sound.


Read on to find out about some of the great features HDRs give you, including:

  • Random Access
  • Virtual Tracks
  • Non destructive, pointer based editing
  • Digital mixing
  • Digital effects
  • SMPTE, MIDI, and extensive syncing options

HDRs allow you to try many ideas with your music.


How do I record music with an HDR?

Dedicated HDRs with digital mixers are easier to use than any type of tape recorder and mixer combination.


Just plug in and start recording, just as you would on an old fashioned tape recorder.


You record right onto tracks just like a tape recorder. When you are finished recording, you can listen to what you recorded and record more material on other tracks.


This process is quite simple because the HDR takes care of all of the work without you having to worry about it!


Recording is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Recording music with HDRs is very easy


Recording to an HDR is similar to any tape recorder!

It is also easy to integrate HDRs with:

  • Drum Machines (using MIDI)

  • Keyboard sequencers

  • Computer sequencers

  • Video

  • Other forms of recorders, such as Digital Tape recorders


Where does the audio go in hard disk recording?

Just as a tape recorder stores your music on tape, a hard disk recorder stores your recordings on a hard drive. The hard drive can be inside your HDR, or your HDR may be connected to an external hard drive with a SCSI connector.


The great part: the HDR takes care of the details for you. You really don't have to think about it any more than you would with an old style tape recorder.


HDRs record audio onto a hard disk.


What do I do when the disk gets full?

A large hard disk can hold many songs. Just as a tape gets full, a hard disk also gets full. What do I do then?

Some hard disk recorders have removable media built-in. When you want to start a new song, you just pop out the removable cartridge and put in a new one. The cartridges are very inexpensive and as easy to find and buy as tape.


On other systems, to store your songs and free up space for new recordings, all you need to do is "backup" your recordings onto some form of removable media. Removable media types include Zip drives, Audio DAT, Magneto Optical drives, and even CD-R (recordable CD). You can backup songs onto media for future use, or to free up disk space for more recordings.




It's easy and economical to back up a hard disk recorder to removable media






HDRs can backup a LOT more than audio!

This type of digital backup has some distinct advantages. Unlike analog tape, which only stores your recorded takes, some HDRs can also store all of your mixer settings, effects settings, virtual tracks, edits, different versions of your song, and even all of your Undos! This gets you going very quickly and accurately when you want to work on the song again.


Backing up an HDR to removable media stores lots more information than an analog or digital tape.