The chances are that if you have ever done any kind of recording using a DAW then at some point in time you have probably lost something you recorded. Often this is no fault of your own as hard-drives do fail, power does trip out from time to time and hardware does fall over, crash or just give up the ghost. If this hasn’t happened to you, trust me it will at some point and it will be at the least opportune moment. This is not an article about backup solutions, we have plenty of content on the site already about that, and you should read it. This article is about a very neat way to have a second or what is known redundant recording solution running along side you DAW recording rig.
I have been doing a lot of mobile recording recently. Last week it was a string quartet in a church, this past weekend it was a 100 strong children’s choir in a school hall. Very different recording challenges I’m sure you will agree but the rig I have been using is pretty much the same and it is all connected together using Dante.
As I have said in previous articles, Dante gives me a huge amount of flexibility when it come to positioning of the recording system, controlling the mic preamps, signal routing and flow. Dante also makes it very easy to duplicate the signals and route them to multiple devices and one of the devices I have been using as my secondary or back-up recorder is the Tascam DA-6400dp hardware recorder fitted with a Dante card.
The DA-6400pd from Tascam is a 1U rack mounted 64 channel, (up to 48KHz) or 32 channel (up to 96KHz) hardware digital recorder. It records to an internal hard disc which is mounted in the caddy, which can in turn be removed and hooked up to your host computer using the USB3.0 port on the caddy.
The DA-6400 I have in my rig is the dp version which comes pre-fitted with a Dante card and a MADI card, which features both optical and coaxial connectivity. These cards are swappable, so if you only need MADI over Coax there is an optional card for this along with analogue I/O over D-Sub connectors or AES/EBU.
However, I have just been using the DA-6400 as a backup/redundant recorder for live performance recording, hooking it into my router and feeding it from the Dante network.
The rear of the unit is also where you find connection for Timecode, Word-clock, Serial control and the twin power supply inputs which is where the dp bit comes from (duel power supply).
If at first you don’t succeed, keep it simple. I know thats not how it goes but in this case it works for me and Dante.
Below you can see how I have routed all the signals from my RedNet MP8R 8 channel mic preamp and my RedNet X2P to inputs (Dante Receivers) 1-10 on the DA-6400. The signals are still being routed to the Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) which is running with Pro Tools but this is a much nicer way to split the signal to a second device rather than a hardware splitter box and all the extra cables that go with it.
For this weekend choir recording I also had to provide playback from Pro Tools as the choir were singing to a pre-recorded piano backing track. Using Dante Controller I was able to route from the Transmitting channels of DVS (3&4) into Receiving channels 11 &12 on the DA-6400. So that’s 10 channels of mic preamps and 2 channels of backing track all routed with only 1 extra cable from the network switch to the DA-6400.
The DA-6400 is a really simple unit to use. Once you have checked your mic preamp levels you’re good to hit the very lovely feeling Record and Play buttons to start recording.
The main record monitoring screen also doubles up as the 19 page menu screen which is accessed using the Multi-Jog wheel. I only had to dive into the menu once to check I was recording at the correct sample rate and bit depth for my Dante rig but other than that it just worked.
I think it’s fair to say you only find out how good your backup or redundancy solution is when your primary rig goes down and that didn’t happen on any of the jobs I have been using the DA-6400 on. However, I have pulled the drive out and loaded the recorded files into Pro Tools and they are exactly the same as those recorded straight to Pro Tools. The audio nulls out when phase reversed with the Pro Tools original, which makes total sense as there are no A-D or D-A processes involved the DA-6400 is just recording the Dante stream which is exactly what the Pro Tools system is doing. You can’t really ask for more than that.
So if you do lots of live recording and you are thinking about that some kind of redundancy recording solution would be a good idea I can’t recommend the Tascam DA-6400 highly enough. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and I’m sure if I ever need it, it will be there for me.
You can find out more about the Tascam DA-6400 from the Tascam website.