Tech Tip:An Introduction to Hard Disk Recording, Part 8

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


Time Compression

Some HDRs include the option of Time Compression. Since the information on an HDR is stored as numbers (binary info just like a computer), it's possible to process these numbers several ways.



One way is to change the length of something without changing the pitch.
OR, fix the pitch without changing the length.




So now you can fix that flat vocal note, or slow down a rushed drum fill in an otherwise perfect take!



SCSI (Small Computer System Interface)

A SCSI connection allows your HDR to connect to extra storage (hard drives) for more recording space. It also makes it easy to backup and store your songs for later use to SCSI removable media like Zip and magneto optical drives.



A SCSI buss may allow you to interface directly with a computer for audio file integration with a sequencer. In some cases SCSI will allow you to record a CD directly from your dedicated Hard Disk Recorder, or even to backup song information including all Virtual Tracks, all mixer settings including EQ, effects, scenes and automation, and all editing and UNDO levels.



Hard Disk Recording offers extensive advantages over other recorders. How many people who have gotten familiar with the flexibility of a word processor would ever go back to using a typewriter? HDRs give you this same kind of power with your music.


HDRs have the ability to:

  • Use Virtual Tracks to record and edit many different solos on one track

  • Keep background vocal takes in case you want to re-mix them later

  • Have access to the quality and control of built in digital effects

  • Record and edit without fear of losing your valuable material due to many levels of Undo

  • Be able to try many different arrangements of your song

  • Use mixer automation

  • Record an entire song, mix, & effects in digital domain

  • Master a CD directly from your HDR

  • Jump from Intro to the last chorus instantly without having to wait for fast forward (or rewind)

  • Synchronize easily with MIDI, video, and other recorders

  • Connect multiple units together in sync for more tracks


All of these advantages truly will help you make better sounding music, whether its a demo of your songs, a sound track for a film, or a finished CD made digitally right from your HDR. Enhancing your creativity is what Hard Disk Recorders are all about.


The Roland VS-880EX

The Roland VS-880EX includes all of the great HDR features and advantages we have been discussing.

  • 128 Virtual Tracks

  • 999 levels of Undo

  • Fully automated 16 channel digital mixer

  • Two built-in stereo digital effects processors with: COSM mic, amp, and speaker modeling; 3-D effects; reverbs; delays; graphic and parametric EQs; compressors; limiters; guitar effects; etc.

  • 1,000 markers

  • 32 bands of digital EQ

  • Waveform editing

  • Integration with computer based systems

  • Portability

  • SCSI port for expansion

  • Extensive syncing methods

  • Digital In & Out

  • 'TurboStart' video included


The Roland VS-1680

For even more power, the Roland VS-1680 includes:

  • 16 Channels of Track Playback

  • Internal 16 Track to 2 Track bouncing

  • 8 Tracks of simultaneous recording

  • 256 Virtual Tracks

  • 26 Channels of Fully Automated digital mixing

  • 4 onboard digital stereo FX processors (with optional FX boards)

  • Crossfading and advanced editing capability

  • SCSI support for computer integration and direct CD burning

  • COSM microphone, guitar amplifier, and speaker modeling

  • and much more



Analog Audio Storage: Constantly changing voltages stored on magnetic tape.


Arming tracks: Selecting a track to record on. Also called "Record Ready".


Audio DAT: Audio recorder that stores 2 tracks of material on magnetic tape in digital format. Often used for pre mastering storage and usually has

stereo digital inputs.


Automated Mix: Storage of fader movement, panpots, and all mixing controls to allow very precise control over the final mix.


Back up: To archive or save a second version of the material you have recorded and edited to some form of removable media. This frees up space for new songs. The fastest back up is via the SCSI port to removable media. Other forms include digital back up to Audio DAT.


Bouncing Tracks: Combining several tracks to a mono or stereo track. Used to free up tracks for more recording. Usually the original tracks are then recorded over, erasing the original recordings. With Virtual Tracks, the original tracks can be saved for re-mixing later, if needed. Computer based recorder: Digital Audio Recording that uses a computer for control. This method usually requires software, audio cards, external sync boxes, and audio interfaces.


Digital Audio Storage: Audio is converted to binary numbers and stored on hard drives, or tape.


EZ Routing: A fast & easy way to set up Recording, Bouncing & Mixing. Makes mixer and routing settings after you answer on-screen questions.


HDR: Hard Disk Recorder. A Digital Recorder that stores audio on a hard disk.


Hard Disk: Mechanism used to store digital information for computers and HDRs.


Hiss: The background noise common to all analog recorders. This is more noticeable in smaller tape formats such as cassettes and is additively increased during any copying process such as track bouncing.


MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A language allowing note information and control information to be communicated from keyboards to sound modules and to be recorded on MIDI sequencers.


MIDI Clock: Timing information derived from Tempo Maps used to synchronize MIDI sequencers and other devices.


MMC: MIDI Machine Control. Transport commands such as Play, Stop, and Locate that are used to control one audio or MIDI device from another.


MTC: MIDI Time Code. A representation of real time in Hours: Minutes: Seconds: Frames: Subframes communicated via MIDI and used for synchronizing audio or MIDI recording devices.


MiniDisk Recorders: Record audio onto data type MiniDisks. Usually combined with analog mixers, they can only play back up to 4 tracks.