THE HARDWARE RUNDOWN

Mar 1, 2003 12:00 PM

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INS AND OUTS

Unlike many systems that provide only a digital interface (which may also be proprietary), Soundscape-32 includes basic analog I/O — stereo-in and 4-channel-out — perfectly suited for basic audio production and sound-for-picture applications. Digital I/O comes in two flavors: AES and TDIF. The AES I/O replicates the analog connections (plus Word Clock I/O); in addition, these portals can be independently routed. The three TDIF connectors can directly interface with Tascam's DTRS products (DA-X8 Series of tape machines), Soundscape's 8-channel I/O boxes or your own preference of digital conversion. (That's 24 channels plus the analog and AES inputs.) MIDI I/O for timecode is part of the package; options include SMPTE timecode I/O and RS-422/9-pin support.

FOUR-CAR GARAGE

A flip-down front panel reveals two hard drive caddies that accept standard IDE drives. (There are two internal IDE hard drive bays, as well.) Each bay supports up to 137 GB, providing over half-a-Terabyte (548 GB) of storage capacity. Soundscape-32 is capable of 32 tracks of 24-bit recording at 44.1 kHz/48 kHz, half as many tracks at 88.2 kHz/96 kHz.

CONTROL AND EXPANSION

For processor-intensive applications such as multitrack music production, an Expansion port links Soundscape-32 to Mixpander. There are two PCI card options with an additional five or nine DSP chips. Of course, I chose the 9-chip card! Two systems can be controlled from a single PCI interface card — up to four hardware units max — totaling 128 simultaneous audio tracks at standard resolution. The system can also be controlled via a printer port and a special “EPP” cable that is handy for portable applications via laptop.






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