Hard disk recorder

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A hard disk recorder (HDR) is a system that uses a high-capacity hard disk to record digital audio or digital video. Hard disk recording systems represent an alternative to reel-to-reel audio tape recording and video tape recorders, and provide editing capabilities unavailable to tape recorders. The systems, which can be standalone or computer-based, typically include provisions for digital mixing and processing of the audio signal.

Direct-to-disk recording (DDR) refers to methods which may also use optical disc recording technologies such as DVDs, and CD optical discs.

History[edit]

Prior to the 1980s, most recording studios used analog multitrack recorders, typically based on reel-to-reel tape. The first commercial hard disk recording system was the Sample-to-Disk 16-bit, 50 kHz digital recording option for the New England Digital Synclavier II in 1982.[1] The high cost and limited capacity of these solutions limited their use to large professional audio recording studios, and even then, they were usually reserved for specific applications such as film post-production. Stereo audio was not immediately available due to data input and output limitations on hard drives of that time.

With the arrival of the compact disc in 1982, digital recording became a major area of development by equipment makers. Several affordable solutions were released during the late 1980s and early 90s; many of these continued to use tape, either in reels, or in more manageable videocassettes. However, in 1991, Fairlight ESP Pty Ltd developed the MFX2, the first 24 track disk recorder.[citation needed] In 1993, iZ Technology Corporation developed RADAR (Random Access Digital Audio Recorder distributed by Otari), designed to replace 24-track tape machines. By the mid-1990s, with the steady decline of hard disk prices and the corresponding increases in capacity and portability, the cost of hard disk recording systems had dropped to the point where they became affordable for even smaller studios. Hard disk systems have since become the preferred method for studio recording.

On January 14, 2004, Engineers from Fairlight, WaveFrame and AMS were awarded Academy Scientific and Technical Awards for the development of hard disk recording technology[2]

Operation[edit]

One major advantage of recording audio to a hard disk is that it allows for non-linear editing. Audio data can be accessed randomly and therefore can be edited non-destructively, that is, the original material is not changed in any way. Non-linear editing is not inherent to every hard-disk recording system, however. Different manufacturers implement different degrees of this facility.

Hard disk recorders are often combined with a digital mixing console and are an integral part of a digital audio workstation (DAW). In this form, complex tasks can be automated, freeing the audio engineer from performing a final mix in real time.

A personal computer can be used as a hard disk recorder with appropriate software; nowadays this solution is often preferred, as it provides a more flexible interface to the studio engineer. Many studio-grade systems provide external hardware, particularly for the analog to digital conversion stages, while less expensive software systems can use the sound card included with any modern computer.

The major constraints on any hard disk recording system are the storage capacity, transfer rate, and processor speed. Some systems use lossy audio compression to minimize the first two factors. This solution is becoming increasingly rare, thanks to rapid increases in hard disk capacity.

Popular hard disk recorders[edit]

Stand-alone[edit]

Alesis
AKAI professional
  • DPS Series (Digital Personal Studio)
    • DPS12 (Nov 1997) - 16-bit 32/44.1/48 kHz, 12 tr (Rec8tr), 20 ch mixer, Jaz drive
    • DPS16 (1999) - 16/24-bit 32/44.1/48/96 kHz, 16 tr (Rec10tr), 26 ch mixer
    • DPS24 (2002) - 16/24-bit 32/44.1/48/96 kHz, 24 tr, 46 ch mixer, CD-RW
Datavideo
  • DN-Series
    • DN-60 DV/HDV (Digital Field Recorder)
  • HDR-Series
    • HDR-50 SD/HD-SDI (rack-mounted video recorder)
Fostex
  • D-Series (Digital Recorder)
    • D-80 (1996) - 16-bit 44.1 kHz, 8 tr
    • D2424 - 16-bit 44.1/48 kHz 24-bit44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz, 24 tr (analogRec8tr, ADAT-optical 24 tr)
  • LR16 (16-channel Live recording mixer) 16-bit 44.1/48 kHz 16 tr (Rec16tr)
  • VF-Series (digital multitracker)
    • VF-16HD (Jun 2000) - 16-bit 44.1 kHz, 16 tr (Rec8tr w/digital 16tr)
    • VF80(20GB) (Feb 2002) - 16-bit 44.1 kHz, 8 tr (Rec2tr)
  • MR-Series (digital multitracker)
    • MR-8HD (Oct 2006) - 16-bit 44.1 kHz, 8 tr (Rec4tr)
    • MR16HD (May 2007) - 16-bit 44.1 kHz, 16 tr (Rec4tr)
iZ Technology Corporation
KORG
  • D Series (Digital Recording Studio)
    • D888 (May 2006) - 16bit 44.1 kHz, 8tr(Rec8tr)
    • D3200 - 16/24bit 44.1/48 kHz, 32tr(Rec16tr)@16bit; 16tr (Rec12tr) @24bit
  • MR Series (1-Bit Professional Mobile Recorder)
    • MR-1 - 1bit 2.8824 MHz (DSD) 44.1/48 kHz@16/25bit 88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz 24bit, 2tr
    • MR-1000 - 1bit 5.6448 MHz/1bit 2.8824 MHz(DSD)/24bit 192 kHz(PCM)

Mackie

  • HDR 24/96 - 24bit @ 96kHz (discontinued)
Roland
  • VS Series (Digital Studio Workstation)
    • VS-880 (1996) - 16bit 32/44.1/48 kHz, 8tr(Rec4tr)
    • VS-1680 (1998) - 24bit 32/44.1/48 kHz, 16tr(Rec8tr)
    • VS-2480 (2001) - 24bit 32/44.1/48/64/88.2/96 kHz, 24tr (Rec8tr@64–96 kHz 16tr@32–48 kHz)
TASCAM
  • DP Series (Digital Portastudio)
    • DP-01, DP-01FX, DP-01FX/CD - 16bit 44.1 kHz, 8tr(Rec2tr)
    • DP-02 - 16bit 44.1 kHz, 8tr(Rec2tr)
  • X Series (Hybrid Hard Disk Workstation)
    • X-48 - 24bit 96 kHz, 48tr(Rec48tr)
YAMAHA
  • AW Series (Professional Audio Workstation)
    • AW4416 (May 2000) - 24bit, 16tr, 44ch Mixer
    • AW2816 (July 2001) - 24bit, 16tr, 28ch Mixer
    • AW16G (July 2002) - 24bit, 16tr(Rec8tr), 36ch Mixer
    • AW1600 (2005) - 24bit, 16tr(Rec8tr), 36(input) Mixer
    • AW2400 (2005) - 24bit, 24tr(Rec16tr), 48(input) Mixer
ZOOM
  • MRS Series (MultiTrak Recording Studio)
    • MRS-1608 - 16bit, 16tr(Rec8tr), 27ch Mixer(Effect, Rhythm, Sampler)
  • HD Series
    • HD8 (late 2007) - 16bit - 8tr(Rec2tr)
    • HD16 (late 2007) - 16bit - 16tr(Rec8tr)

*Rec = Simultaneous recording tracks

Consumer[edit]

Professional portable[edit]

  • Professional recording equipment using DtD transfers is beginning to appear. In April 2006, Seagate announced the first professional Direct-To-Disc cinematic camera aimed at the independent filmmaker (using their disc drives).[4]
  • Infinity Series by Grass Valley
    • Infinity Digital Media Camcorder – Infinity Digital Media Recorder
    • REV PRO Digital Media Drive-REV PRO Removable Media

Professional studio[edit]

Computer software[edit]

Video recording[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Synclavier early history, retrieved 2017-07-30 
  2. ^ "The 76th Scientific & Technical Awards 2003, 2004". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 
  3. ^ "JVC Everio series hard disc handi-cams". JVC. Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Seagate Hard Drives Enable World's First Digital Cinema Camera With Direct-To-Disc. Recording" (Press release). Seagate. March 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-22. 
  5. ^ "Media Pool tests the tapeless waters. (BTS digital disk-based recorder)". Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2008-01-27.