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Sound Devices 970, 270i, 260i - PIX Caddy or eSATA


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Both approaches work. The Drive 3 and Drive 4 ports are eSATAp ports - I have some basic eSATAp to SATA-3 cables so I can plug in 'naked' SSD drives and power them from the 970. Personally, I haven't tried actually recording to an externally powered drive from these ports. As I do mainly long-form Concert recording, I tend to record Mono BWAV files more often than Poly BWAVs, and in that case one can only record to two drives at once anyway. I find that recording to two Caddies in the internal slots creates too much heat for my liking, so if I'm required to record to two drives per machine, I'll do one Caddy and one 'external' SSD on Port 3. Some of my 'Reality show' colleagues happily use two Caddies, so don't let me stop you!

 

The advantages of Caddies are primarily in the built-in USB-3 and FW800 ports for offload. I've had a couple of the Thunderbolt docks that take the Caddies and found them totally unreliable on a variety of Mac computers for some reason or other - Caddies often didn't mount - so I gave up on them. The only other thing with Caddies is the 970 (not sure about the others) can only save/load setup files and load firmware from Drive 1 (one of the Caddy slots).

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Thanks! This is all great info. Much appreciated. A couple of questions:

 

I’m guessing that when you said you hadn’t used an externally powered drive from the eSATA port, you meant that you’ve only used the port to power the drive, not a drive powered by a wall wart. Is that right?
 

How are you deriving your inputs? Dante?

Are you recording to 2 drives simultaneously, with one as a backup?
About how many tracks, on average, are you recording during a concert?
I’m just curious what is the output voltage of your main AC power supply. Mine is 12v, which is at the very low end of the 10-27v the recorder wants. When recording to 2 drives, I’m wondering if a 12v power supply is adequate.

 

EDIT

I forgot one question. Any reason an eSATA to USB-C cable can’t be used to record to the newer SSDs from Sandisk, etc?

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On 1/14/2021 at 3:07 AM, Ira Seigel said:

Thanks! This is all great info. Much appreciated. A couple of questions:

 

I’m guessing that when you said you hadn’t used an externally powered drive from the eSATA port, you meant that you’ve only used the port to power the drive, not a drive powered by a wall wart. Is that right?

--Yes
 

How are you deriving your inputs? Dante?

--MADI mainly, usually with Dante, AES or Analog adding in odd channels like Audience Mics

 

Are you recording to 2 drives simultaneously, with one as a backup?

--Sometimes 2 drives (I prefer having full backup machines) but the second drive is usually for quick hand-off to clients after the show while I keep a copy for safety.


About how many tracks, on average, are you recording during a concert?

--Usually all 64, often there are two or three 970s making up a full 'Main Recorder' system for up to 192 channels.


I’m just curious what is the output voltage of your main AC power supply. Mine is 12v, which is at the very low end of the 10-27v the recorder wants. When recording to 2 drives, I’m wondering if a 12v power supply is adequate.

--12v is fine - while there is provision for 12v in eSATAp, the 2.5" SSDs only run off the 5v rail.

EDIT

I forgot one question. Any reason an eSATA to USB-C cable can’t be used to record to the newer SSDs from Sandisk, etc?

--I'm really not sure about converting in that direction, and I don't usually use SSDs in an enclosure with an interface anyway.

 

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I think the only reason to record to a Poly WAV file is that it's a lot easier to delete! I was hoping that PIXNET would allow a deletion of multiple files at a time, but it doesn't. Is there any way you've found to delete tracks other than one-at-a-time, which is VERY cumbersome, AND you have to do it to all your drives.  What's the secret you've discovered?

 

I won't do the eSATA-to-USB adapter cable. Not worth the risk.

 

Thanks,

Ira

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I don't delete files from recording SSDs - I treat them like tape. They only get re-formatted when the Project is fully delivered (or on a Reality-type show, when the Data Wrangler has ingested them to multiple storage drives).

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Good point.  I never delete "captures" until they are backed up to (at least) two sites, on in the studio, one in the ether.  I am a bit hard headed about that and it has paid off a few times.  After a year or so, those files get relegated to a large spinning drive that I put in the safe.  I have more than ten years of shows on it and every once in a while, I spin it up.  I know that the drive may (will) fail some day, but in ten years, I have never needed to retrieve a file from that drive.  Knock on wood.

 

My boss, after a year or so, offers the files to the ensemble if they want it.  Few do.  I don't, even as I believe that the files do belong to the groups.  Just don't for some reason.  Other guys don't offer files but they are mostly mixers and don't want to let someone else fuss with their tracks.

 

D.

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21 hours ago, Ira Seigel said:

I think the only reason to record to a Poly WAV file is that it's a lot easier to delete!

further to this, though I suspect it was sarcastic...

I choose Poly vs Mono file capture based on the following:

1) Is the material going to be Posted by someone else (about 50/50 for me) - and if someone else, are they and Audio Mixer or Video editor? Video Editors are more used to Polys nowadays as that's what they'd see from a 'normal' narrative film sound recordist.

2) Are the lengths of the takes going to cause an 'auto-split' in the Poly files (every 7.5min for a 970 recording 64 tracks of 48/24) which is confusing to Editors and in my experience freaks them out more than getting Mono files. Also - some Editorial situations the Picture Editor only wants certain tracks in their NLE (mixes, LTC, specific ISOs) where as the rest are only of interest to the person subsequently doing Audio Post. Mono files mean the Assistant Editor can pick which ones to ingest and not clog up their NLE project.

3) How many takes in a delivery day and am I using multiple recorders to capture larger numbers of tracks - which increases the ingest time to the DAW or NLE session for the Assistant Editor. Poly is generally easier/quicker with lots of takes.

4) do I feel I need to use the Metadata Notes facility in the 970s WHILE ROLLING, and am I recording lots of tracks to 2 drives - if so DON'T USE MONO - you are very close to a crash due to the data transfer overhead of writing the metadata to 128 separate files (64 on each drive) while still trying to maintain record (especially if the filename scheme is one that gets changed based on some other Metadata entry like take number). If you were recording Polys - that's only one file (and set of metadata) to write to each drive, so it can easily handle the extra load. I'll use an external Sound Report app if rolling Mono wavs and expecting to need to make notes.

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21 minutes ago, nickreich said:

I'll use an external Sound Report app if rolling Mono wavs and expecting to need to make notes.

Speaking of, have a look at this:
https://www.videotoolshed.com/product/livelog/

(I did not (yet) build in a 'sound report' option, but that would be a breeze.)

 

And that reminds me, did you ever toy with the video slave mode of my LTC reader?

 

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Hi Bouke, Livelog looks interesting - I look forward to trying it. I've been using an iPad app (Logster) for this, but in some setups having something that can run on a Laptop works better, so I've been using Boom Recorder (actually recording one track's files which I may then discard) simply as a LTC Logger / report generator - using a cut-down version of Gotham Sound's applescript to trigger from the SD970s via Pixnet.

 

Yes I did try out "LTC Reader's" video slave mode, it works great but as I already own licences for the software from NLE called "Video Slave" which does a similar job and I'm familiar with it - I've stuck with that (and there hasn't been any real work for almost a year in my Industry anyway due to COVID!).

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Hi Nick,
If you toy with LiveLog, keep in mind that it was intended to log with minimum effort, hence the customizable comments / shortcuts.
I've used the previous version myself for logging just markers / comments in very long lectures, where I was busy controlling and switching 2 cams / powerpoint, so not much time for writing notes.
(I had to post myself, and did not want to go trough the whole shebang again.)

But that was with a Avid Marker TXT files.
Now the same client is going to record the lectures themselves (the local university), and I've build a lot of stuff in to accommodate for that. (Hence the PP / image viewer that you probably never will use...)


For your type of work, you probably want to put it in 'Marker' mode rather than In - Out.
For outputting (besides CSV that's already there)
I could build in an option to put Cue's in Wave, but not sure if that is still used.
It can do XMP to Mp4, Mov and MXF, have not tested Wave but that 'should' not be an issue.


What does Gotham Sound's applescript do?



 

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2 hours ago, Bouke said:

What does Gotham Sound's applescript do?

it bi-directionally copies transport control (and Metadata in one direction) between a Sound Devices 970 recorder (using it's built-in web server) and Boom Recorder software on a mac (being used as a secondary or backup recorder) so you don't have to enter it in both places. They coded it for a Reality Show client and then made it available on the web. I just borrowed the bit that reads play and stop messages from the 970 to Boom Recorder so it makes 'files' in sync - for the purposes of making the 'sound report' as described.

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