USB Drives

Find out about all things related to USB thumb and hard drives pertaining to Cymatic Audio products.

ARE USB THUMB DRIVES OK?

USB THUMB DRIVES

Cymatic Audio does not recommend the use of Thumb drives or solid-state drives (SSD) for Direct-to-USB recording of multi-track songs. Please use a traditional “spinning platter” USB2.0 or USB3.0 hard drive for all your recordings. Always attach the drive to your Cymatic Audio device and then format the drive with the device’s built-in format option. Thumb drives (also known as flash drives) offer very high peak read/write speeds, but are subject to occasional pauses in data writing. This makes them unsuitable for a multi-track recording device that needs to constantly write a data stream to the attached drive . Although with thumb drives, the recording may look fine for some time, there is no guarantee that dropouts may not occur later. In contrast, when using your Cymatic Audio device solely for playback, thumb drives can be used. To ensure smooth playback, make sure to test the complete playback of your material before the real performance. Many thumb drive manufactures make unannounced changes to their drives’ chipsets due to cost, and this makes endorsing any specific model of thumb drive very difficult.  Having said that, listed below are some 3rd-party recommendations:

Who Rates It?

Please use a traditional “spinning platter” USB2.0 or USB3.0 hard drive for all your recordings.

CAN I FORMAT MY DRIVE ON A MAC/PC?
Please do not format the drive using your computer. You should always attach the drive to your Cymatic Audio device and then format the drive with the device’s built-in format option. Cymatic Audio devices use the FAT32 file system, with a default cluster size that is optimized for your device’s performance. When formatting a drive in FAT32 with other systems like your computer, the cluster size may vary depending on the disk size, and this may cause dropouts during your recordings.
Note: As usual, when formatting a USB device using the format function of your Cymatic Audio device, all data and partitions on the drive will be deleted.
IS MY CYMATIC AUDIO DEVICE COMPATIBLE WITH THE USB 3.0 STANDARD?
Yes, all of our devices are compatible with the USB 3.0 standard. However, USB 2.0 drives are also fast enough for recording, so there is no specific advantage to using a USB 3.0 drive.
IS MY CYMATIC AUDIO DEVICE COMPATIBLE WITH A RAID SYSTEM?
The Cymatic Audio products do not support disk drives set up in a RAID configuration. There are, however, some RAID drives which show up as a single USB drive, and these drives should work. For example, the RAID drives of Glyph Technologies show up as a single USB drive, so uTrack24 and uTrack-X32 with firmware versions higher than 2913 support these drives. However, LR-16 and LP-16 cannot support these products due to special communication behavior.
HOW MANY SONGS CAN I HAVE ON MY USB DRIVE?

The uTrack24 and uTrack-X32 support an unlimited number of songs.

The LP-16 can handle up to 100 multi-track songs. In the music folder up to 200 folders are supported, each with up to 200 separate stereo songs.
WHY IS MY HARD DRIVE NOT RECOGNIZED?

USB hard drives used for recording have to be fully compatible with the USB 2.0 specification, without requiring custom software or drivers. If your hard drive requires drivers, it will be looking to communicate with them on a Windows or OS X computer, and will not recognize the file system of Cymatic Audio products.

Additionally, some users have tried using external hard drive enclosures as well as adapters for SD cards.  Many of these devices also require drivers to operate correctly.  We consistently recommend using newer USB hard drives for the best results (we’ve had good experiences with Seagate Backup Plus drives).
I HAVE DROPOUTS WITH MY RECORDING, WHAT COULD BE GOING WRONG?

There are a few reasons that could be causing dropouts. Please follow these rules:

  • Do not use a thumb drive or SSD drive. Instead always use a USB2.0/USB3.0 hard drive for your recording, for the reasons explained above.
  • Before using the USB drive, make sure to format the drive using the Cymatic Audio device’s format option. Cymatic devices use the FAT32 file system with a default cluster size that is optimized for your device’s performance. When formatting a drive in FAT32 with other systems like Windows or OS X, the cluster size may vary depending on the disk size, which may cause dropouts.
  • Avoid using USB cables longer than 1m for the hard disk drive . Due to voltage drop that occurs when using long cables with power-hungry hard drives, some drives go into a power saving mode and the read/write speed slows down as a result, causing dropouts. Our devices’ USB storage connectors supply sufficient power to run external USB hard drives, but depending on the hard drive’s power consumption, an additional power supply for the hard disk may sometimes be needed.
  • Some hard drives have internal protection for damage that may occur when there is a lot of movement. When the music in a live sound environment is too loud (especially with low frequencies) the vibrations to the hard drive may cause the drive to move its head to a “park” position for a while. This causes the data transfers to be stalled for a period of time, resulting in dropouts. Put a soft, vibration-absorbing material underneath the hard drive, such as a thick mouse pad or a sheet of foam.

Connecting

Find out about the various cabling options on the uTrack24, LR-16 and LP-16 and the options how to connect to Dante Devices.

WHAT CABLES CAN I CONNECT TO THE LP-16?

The LP-16 has unbalanced outputs on 1/4 inch TRS jacks. Their pin assignment is:

LP-16 Out The LP-16 also has a stereo line input on a 1/8 inch TRS jack. Its pin assignment is: LP-16 Input
WHAT CABLES CAN I CONNECT TO THE LR-16?

UNBALANCED INSERTS

The LR-16 is best connected to recording sources that provide per-channel inserts. Connect your recording source with standard TRS to TRS ‘insert cables’ to the LR-16 rear panel inputs. TRS insert Cymatic Audio Studio Core 8 Channel Direct Loom is now available in North America

UNBALANCED MONO OUTPUTS

Since the  LR-16 uses insert style inputs, it is recommended to use a special cable where only the tip is connected and the ring is left unconnected. Always use a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) connector on the LR-16 side, to ensure it receives a proper unbalanced load, and to avoid attenuation of the signal. MONO unbalanced

BALANCED MONO OUTPUTS

This case is similar to the unbalanced mono output above: Do not connect the ring. TRS symmetrical Please refer to chap 11 in the LR-16 manual (Downloads).

HOW DO YOU USE THE LR-16 WITH INSERTS IF YOU ALREADY ARE USING THE INSERTS WITH EFFECTS?

The solution needs to fulfill two requirements:

  1. The insert path must be closed.
  2. The TRS cable going to LR-16 should have the ring disconnected.

Usually a Y cable between mixing console and effect unit solves the first requirement. Depending on your effect unit, you might consider using a special cable from a second effect unit output to the LR-16, just make sure the ring is disconnected.

CAN I USE MORE THAN ONE LR-16 AND SYNCHRONIZE THEM TO GET A 32-CHANNEL RECORDING?

Unfortunately, there is no formal synchronization function on the LR-16. However, there are some workarounds:

  • Use the stereo output on one LR-16 to connect to the 2nd LR-16, then daisy chain as many units as you like.  This will provide a guide track for you to physically align your tracks in your DAW later.  When using this method please keep in mind that:
    • You will need a USB drive for each unit.
    • The LR-16 records to standard wave format and does not include time stamp.
  • You can feed a metronome click track to multiple units to create guide tracks.

In any case, you need to manually align your recordings in the DAW, to compensate the time offsets caused by delayed starting your recordings, and also to compensate the (very small) speed drifts of your unsynchronized recorders.

WHAT CABLES CAN I CONNECT TO THE UTRACK24?

The uTrack24 has 24 balanced inputs and 24 balanced outputs, available on 8-channel DB25 connectors following the Tascam standard:

DB25 analog Please visit the Cymatic Audio webstore for purchasing your XLR and/or TRS looms.
HOW TO CONNECT TO DANTE DEVICES?

Please refer to this document for connecting Cymatic Audio AUDIOLAN products to Dante devices.

I/O Routing and Settings

Tips and tricks for various routing options.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO RECORD FROM BOTH DIGITAL AND ANALOG SOURCES ON A UTRACK24 WITH A DIGITAL OPTION CARD?

uTrack24 handles the inputs in three separate 8-channel blocks. Each 8-channel block can be configured for either digital or analog source. You can assign inputs to each block using the uTrack24’s submenu “Inputs”, located in the “Settings” menu.

Note: In 88.2 and 96 kHz mode, uTrack24 only records 8 channels, and thus uses only the first 8-channel block.
HOW CAN I SET THE PROPER ROUTING FOR THE UTRACK-X32 INPUTS AND OUTPUTS?

For detailed information, please refer to the X32/M32 console’s User Manual, and its instructions for routing audio in and out of the console.

The uTrack-X32 can record from, and playback to, various channels in your mixing console:

  • To select the audio channels that you plan to record, go to the console’s menu “Routing” / “Card Out”. For example, to record the X32/M32 console’s analog inputs, select “Expansion card outputs 1-8” to “local 1-8”, and so on.
  • To configure the playback channels, go to the console’s menu “Routing” / “Home”. For example, to playback from USB harddisk to the mixing console’s local analog inputs, select “input 1-8” to “card 1-8”, and so on.
 

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