X32 expansion card

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#26517
Holger SchwanbeckHolger Schwanbeck
Participant

and while am am at it, let me insert that my experiences here as well….

Hello All,
Having followed this thread, I also had doubts, as there seem to be many different opinions on this utrack card.
Did however decide to take the plunch as my regular band was pushing me to record many gigs as they want to collect live material for a CD.
I opted for the utrack as I am a one-man tech-crew for this band doing setup/FOH/Monitor/teardown, and I needed this additional job as simple as possible with as little as possible additional hassle. So I got mine delivered from Thomann last week.

First of all, have to say that installing the utrack in the x32 was a breeze and I was making the first recording within minutes.
From that perspective, the card seems to do exactly as advertised; you connect a drive, and push the rec button.
During this first recording I did however get dropouts on my brandnew 500gb seagate disk as utrack needs to formatthe usb drive itself for optimal performance. So once I did that, the further recordings when flawlessly.
For the first 2 gigs, I did not even bother to connect network and tablets. Just connected the usb drive and pushed the rec button, and went on to continue with FOH/monitor mixing.

On 3rd gig I hooked up the uremote software, as I used utrack in the soundcheck, playing back the earlier 2 gigs. That worked flawlessly and you should have seen the faces of the band when they came in and heard themselves playing! 🙂
So the virtual soundcheck indeed is a very nice feature that I am going to use more often in the future.
However for recording only, uremote does not bring any further functinoaly to the recording process besides remote control and it is yet another distraction from my main job of mixing the band. So for my particular use, I will not use uremote for the recording process as I like to keep it as simple as possible.

Next day I then took the drive, installed the uTool sw on my pc.
This utool really requires some getting used to and is not as intuitive as you would expect. Nevertheless, once I got the hang of it, it transferred the recordings flawlessly on to my internal computer disks.
During this proces, the utook creates neat directories with mono wav files for each recording.
As I made a backup of the recordings before converting the files with utool, I did notice that the copy process with utool went faster than normal copying. This even though utool is converting the files to mono wavs. Not sure how they do that, but it is a nice little bonus because every little help counts when copying 85gb of data.
Both ProTools and Cubase imported the mono wav files without any problem.

Now the real bummer: At the last gig, I did not stop the recording immediately after the show (silly me…) and the x32 was cut off from power before I could stop recording. You probably can imagine my fears when I connected the drive to my laptop to check the recordings later that night, and I can’t tell you what a relieve it was to find that no harm was done to the recordings! All the recordings where there and utool converted them as expected.
As it turns out that utrack actually makes a new file every 10 min or so. So if something stupid happens (like a power cut in my case….) the worst that can happen is loosing the last minutes of your recording. The rest remains unaltered. I can’t tell you how relieved I was and if this is the reason that cymatic choose the different format, I gladly take the conversion into account!

Another interesting experience with the native files from utrtack is that I noticed that cubase can actually read the native file format from the utrack card! By simply dragging an original utrack file into Cubase, Cubase was able to extract the recording neatly into 24 seperate channels itself! I was not able to find any documentation on that topic anywhere so far, but I can confirm that it works!

So after 3 gigs and having recorded now well over 10 hours of material, my experience with the utrack card so far is that it does exactly what it says. No bells and whistles whatsoever, but solid recording and playback of 32 channels.
The option to do virtual soundcheck is also nice.
I will continue to record gigs over the coming weeks and will share my experiences on this forum.

Holger