VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

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anon
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sat May 18, 2019 12:05 am

But, can the outputs be monitored/ recorded/ analized? I'd like to see a play command from VCR and the output from VDAT, and compare it with the same from BCR.

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Sat May 18, 2019 1:47 am

VDAT and VRC both mimic Alesis hardware (VRC can control a physical Adat if you have the SyncPlate and a 9 pin serial cable). The Scope manual is quite detailed about the setup.

But VDAT ignores commands as long as it's in 'master' mode (it's original state when placed in the routing).
Only connecting the VRC sync line will iniate a communication between both and VDAT will be set to 'slave'.
If the communication fails, then the VRC will appear dead - no reaction from the virtual tape.
(I've had exactly this result in both hardware and software)

The mouse operation of VDAT is equal to button presses on a real Adat, which only controls itself and doesn't generate sync.

Imho VDAT is a very good live recorder because it pre-allocates files (virtual tape) and it's resource demand is humble.
As mentioned in another thread I once recorded 32 tracks simultanously to a 4200 rpm notebook drive.
(running Scope 3 on a Foxconn Atom board at 1.6 Ghz)

On the other hand you get a standalone 24 track recorder like the Cymatic uTrack24 for 400bucks today...

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sat May 18, 2019 8:59 am

Totally agree with you Astroman, I wanted to use VDAT and a "caddy" (an extraible pci hd plastic case) to mimic a alesis hd24 for free by invoking Scope magic. So after the live recording you can take the HD to the study for postproduction without transfer files, no errors, no waitings, no asio, no daw... perfect!

I have been also looking for a simple hardware device with a adat lightpipe in and a card/usb bay for recording the 8 adat tracks as wavs: you connect it to adat out and get a card with the 8 tracks, simple, around 100€. But... it seems nobody sells this fancy box. I believe it can be done cheaply with a raspi, except for adat bandwith maybe... what do you think?

So, Astroman, can you please try to connect the outputs to asio for record the control signals on a daw? then we can analyze them. Maybe its lacking an "active sense" message or something we can send from a player and fix problems... im not very confident but who knows?

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Sat May 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Did you read the Alesis BRC user and service manual ?
It's a rather complex protocol including several timecode formats and the hardware introduces timing issues due the mechanical construction.
This (VDAT and VRC) was a valid solution around Y2K, but it's an anachronism today and it makes no (economic) sense to fix it today.

The important observation is that the virtual VRC also failed in a way similiar to the physical BRC setup in Scope 5.
On the other hand VDAT never (!) fails in 'local mode', which is when controlled with the mouse.

You just cannot send commands to VDAT - it must be in slave mode to receive anything at all... and then you have to be compliant to the full protocol of the machine.

For a mobile recording system based on VDAT the best option is a classic VGA touchscreen that emulates mouse control.
These screens are cheap today and can be mounted to a mic stand if you have to operate it on stage.
Sorry for no better news...

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sun May 19, 2019 10:43 am

Yes I can do remote desktop from a tablet or phone. VDAT gui is perfect for phone screen, only buttons no pots. It adds usb-wifi complexity but its working well.

I just wanted to figure how was the sync conector of BRC-ADAT implemented in Scope VRC-VDAT.
While the hardware connector has 9 pins and transmits MIDI, Word clock and time code using 3 different pins/protocols in both directions,
VDAT has only a 1 pin clock input connector, so its receiving MIDI internally or magically, but not from a normal Scope Midi connector.
I guess its due to a old patents problem: the ligthpipe adat protocol and the adat sync protocol are different patents. Obviously Scope has the lightpipe adat protocol licensed and well implemented but adat sync protocol... mmm im not sure. Anyone could mimic an Alesis HD24 investing 200-300€ in a Scope box like mine.

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Sun May 19, 2019 1:07 pm

if WiFi and remote desktop work for you, then it's the most easy and affordable solution, nice.
(I didn't suggest remote desktop because it depends a lot on what you already own)

But that single sync line is easy to understand: it's the serial datastream received from a physical unit or sent to it.
The VRC can send to an external Adat (via Syncplate) or to the software VDAT.
VDAT expects exactly this serial format as it would listen to an external BRC on the same line.
All command and control is using the 9-pin serial connector - imho it only uses midi 'opcodes' for encoding the datastream.
(but I didn't dig too deep into the details, so don't take my words for granted) :D

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Tue May 21, 2019 8:47 am

I prefer your vga approach, I'll buy a cheap one for my headless scope box.

So they did it! they mixed the 3 different protocols used by the Alesis ADAT sync in just one virtual connector in Scope... for me, thats a new protocol.
And then they named the connectors as "clk-i" instead of "sync", and you have other "clk" connectors in Scope MIDI devs and i was thinking all of them are for MIDI clock but maybe not.
And they also didnt implemented the MIDI ports for VDAT, a exact, complete and brilliant replica of hardware ADAT.
Clearly its a conspiration!

If you have the syncplate you can get the 3 datastreams separated and Im sure you can use the midi out for standard midi transport. This is what I expected from VRC-VDAT. I never noticed the 9 pin connectors at the syncplate so I was wrong figuring BCR-Scope communications.

All we need is a new special scope device to go back in time and convince VDAT developers don't save on connectors... they are cheap in the virtual world!
Now I understand clock connectors in Scope, thanks Astroman & Forum.

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:14 pm

Just for completeness:
I installed a clean Win XP32 and the VRC crash remained uncured in Scope 5.1.
To keep some consistency I then went back to the (my) oldest version which is 3.1c.
VDAT and VRC seemed to cooperate nicely, no deep tests, though.

Activated the hardware BRC (9-pin Adat control connector to Syncplate-Input), Syncplate Source module Clk out to VDAT's Clk input, samplerate 48khz.
On powerup the BRC sometimes found VDAT and sometimes failed.
On success the VDAT was switched from master to slave mode and the framerate changed to 25, but except for track arming and tape eject all transport keys were ignored - or rather... the BRC was confused and set into an inoperable state. Had to switch it off.
To be continued... :D

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:36 am

So with just one Pulsar card in a 50€ dual core pc you could make a midi controlled 16 tracks ADAT "clone" box. I wonder how many tracks can you record on a IDE HD on a dual core pc... maybe only 8 or less... I prefer looking for a 100€ adat to usb disk box like this
https://www.minidsp.com/products/usb-au ... reamer-box
but this needs a pc to host the HD.

Back to VDAT... Just be careful not to connect the clk to speakers!

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:27 am

CPU power is totally irrelevant for recording audio. As mentioned I did 32 tracks with VDAT to a slow notebook HD on one of the first Foxconn Atom boards.
Thanks for mentioning the MiniDSP.
If in need for a recording solution, I'd simply connect that to an outdated iPad-2 (with CCK) and record with Multitrack DAW, which is fairly close to VDAT (or any tape based solution) - case solved :D
It doesn't do markers, but on the other hand manual punch in/out setup is quick and very convenient.

VDAT with VRC (or even more with a real BRC) is a highly specific workflow that flips you back into a time when you HAD to use your ears (only) without distraction from a screen waveform display.
The latter makes a lot of things easier, but can also be misleading or increase some kind of mental lazyness.
Imho it's an interesting approach and I seemed to like it when experimenting with it.

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:20 am

Last night my live headless scope box performed perfect with:

two mics for voice and sax with vinco
another mic for a didgeridoo with stock delay
two midi keyboards with hammond, minimoog & sampler with rhodes soundfont
small midi controller for stm16 mixer with rmx reverb for all channels
spectral balance controller sbc on master

Everybody asks for this magic, bandmates invites me to beer
4 different bands are using this setup weekly.
it takes ten minutes to boot but then its solid as a rock for months now!
I will record with reaper to a caddy HD, then i take the caddy to the Xite studio.
I'll record scope instruments only as midi and autopost render at studio.
then I only have to record mics.
Next I want to plug bass and electric guitar into scope for sidechaining and recording.
Last are drums. I have a Vdrums kit and have scope drum synth eds16 midi controlled with a bcr2000. Im very happy with it but not with dynamics in a live band.
And also i want to play my MS20 Modular project from my 80€ korg ms20 controller (interesting dedicated control surface for Modular IMHO).

Regards to all scopers @ planetz!

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:29 am

I have an ipad2 with cck, youre rigth its perfect as usb host. I didnt know you can record 24 tracks on a ipad2. Best solution! thanks again astroman

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:26 am

While I did records up to 1 hour with Multitrack DAW, those were 2-tracks only (guitar/vocals).
I'd rather check the capacity limit before going live with so many channels.
Not to forget memory:
iirc my two 24bit tracks were about 1 GB, which would require 24GB free space for one hour of tracking.
At least you could send them off with Multitrack's internal WiFi server, moving them to a another app for transfer (in the usual IOS copy method) would demand another memory block of that size... ;)

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by at0m » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:29 am

ok we're long past the sync part in this topic, but a little background..
VDAT sync input can get ASIO sync (LTC or however it's called in your DAW), too. Not MIDI clock, for the obvious reason that MIDI resolution is in ticks/ppqn, not samplerate, which VDAT requires.
Even when transport is controlled over MIDI, that still doesn't sync VDAT to MIDI but to Scope's own samplerate clock - just like in the scenario with LTC.

Otoh, the other way round is way easy with Clock 2 Click, for example. "Clock 2 Click is a metronome tool for VDAT. [...] a syncronization tool for Creamware Modular, Flexor, and other MIDI devices."
more has been done with less

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:59 am

Imho a VDAT just loaded to the routing won't react to any control signal as long as it indicates 'Master' on it's display.
It's locked to Scope's internal sample clock and there's no need to sync anyway for plain tracking.
All remote control is done by the VRC, but only if VDAT accepts the VRC requests and is set to 'Slave' mode.

The physical control with a real BRC and it's serial handshake is highly sensitive already on the cable level.
(even Alesis once delivered cables that were not usable... the Syncplate's 9pin input probably has the shield removed for a reason)
Iirc I got my 'best results' on Win98 installation of Scope ages ago and while it wasn't bulletproof, at least the action was reasonable. Under Win XP using the hardware is a total mess in comparison.

Next on my schedule is a VDAT project that replicates the Asio output of SAW Studio to add Scope effect processing.
(recording raw Asio output on one tape and Scope's effects on another)
This may read strange, but SAW is a bitch once you start recording external channels in live mode.
On the other hand it doesn't alter recorded files in any way, all markers are virtual time positions tracked in the project file.

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:47 am

What happens if you connect a asio daw to vdat? anybody?
maybe the daw sends the transport keys to vdat via simple midi protocols
while vdat still syncs "itself" and being master.
this was my initial approach using a midi controller

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:35 pm

That feature would have been mentioned in the manual ;)
Just consider that VDAT/VRC were released about 20 years ago as a solution to transfer the content of real Adat tapes into the desktop DAW. At that time many such units were used in studios and lots of data was archived on digital tape.

When I use VDAT with a DAW, I just arm the (VDAT) tracks and start recording, then I press play on the DAW.
My personal reason to use VDAT is the timing sensitivity of delay/reverb, in particular the subtle reaction of the UM1280 (current favourite delay) which needs sample accurate alignment between tracks to capture what's on the monitors.
So I re-record the source (wasting some disk space) to get precisely aligned files by a single button press.

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by anon » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:13 pm

Ha ha Astroman you need precisely aligned files but you press record with a hand and press play with the other... I understand you, man. And also love the UM1280.

Yes I understand the complexity of ADAT sync, but I only want to send transport commands instead of press the buttons. For that exists midi MMC protocol, that consist in midi sysex messages. For sysex we need header data of VDAT, wich is not documented.
MMC is the only transport protocol i know, i think its not traveling along with LTC or MTC or SMPTE because for me, transport is about pressing buttons, not about sync or clocks. ADAT machines has midi ports for this, and also a jack for LRC, to remote control the machine without enslaving it. But VDAT doesnt, so no remote transport.

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astroman
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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by astroman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:02 pm

I agree that it reads funny, but the only purpose of the VDAT file set is to keep sources aligned exactly as the original signals were monitored. No need to calculate DAW buffers etc. SAW Studio has a very special buffer handling when recording.
I only use SAW for final arrangement and never record(ed) through it.

Anyway, there is a VRC that comes quite close to your ideas: the VRC-S, which has midi input and allows to assign CCs to VRC buttons. I didn't find any documention about what kind of midi data it expects and it didn't react to Alesis sysex commands.

But the start and stop buttons worked with CC assignments (verified with the Sequencer Remote from Scope's midi menu).
Unfortunately the record button failed. This button is a special item in the Alesis hardware world, too, so there may be a solution which is just not immediately obvious.
(VRC 128 and VDAT don't support the right-click midi assignement feature, which you probably know)

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Re: VDAT MIDI CC control anybody? how?

Post by Bud Weiser » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:36 am

astroman wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:02 pm
the VRC-S, which has midi input ... what kind of midi data it expects ... .
IIRC, it´s for MTC (Midi Time Code) sequencer synchronization.
You can send/receive MTC to/ from SCOPE MIDI destination/source.
It´s about positioning and time display I think.
In addition, ASIO2 sync works via "clk" (Clock) I/Os ...
astroman wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:02 pm
But the start and stop buttons worked with CC assignments (verified with the Sequencer Remote from Scope's midi menu).
Unfortunately the record button failed. This button is a special item in the Alesis hardware world, too, so there may be a solution which is just not immediately obvious.
(VRC 128 and VDAT don't support the right-click midi assignement feature, which you probably know)
In the VDAT/VRC manuals I don´t find any advise how to assign MIDI CCs to any buttons.
How did you assign MIDI CCs sucessfully (and permanent ?) to VDAT ?

:)

Bud

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