Digidesign 002

Apr 1, 2003 12:00 PM, BY NICK BATZDORF

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Digidesign's latest DAW, the 002, is an integrated recording-to-master control surface and 24-bit/96kHz audio and MIDI interface/software production package. Its sole connection to the host PC or Mac is a single FireWire cable, and it uses a 32-track version of the Pro Tools LE software. Add a pair of monitors and something to record, and you're good to go.

FIREWIRE BALANCING

While most FireWire drives handle way more than the 002's full 32 tracks without breaking a sweat, others may suddenly cause the computer to throw up a “Disk too slow or fragmented” dialog when you know perfectly well that it's neither, sometimes when you're running as few as 16 tracks with no edits. This seems to be a problem plaguing individual drive mechanisms, and it certainly isn't unique to the 002. In fact, it's not even unique to specific drive models. But once you get that dreaded dialog, you can't continue until you curse mightily and restart Pro Tools.

The real answer is to split the audio track load across a couple of drives.

  1. After amassing a few tracks (maybe 16?), quit the Pro Tools program.

  2. If you've run into the dreaded “Disk too slow or fragmented” dialog, curse mightily. If not, proceed to step 3.

  3. On the FireWire drive, create a new folder inside your current session's folder called, say, Hidden Audio Files.

  4. Inside your session's folder, drag the files you're going to move from the Audio Files folder into the new Hidden Audio Files folder.

  5. Copy the Hidden Audio Files folder over to another drive, leaving the original one intact inside your session's folder. Standard rules about drives suitable for audio apply, except that they're probably less important, because you're only going to be running a few extra tracks on this “auxiliary” drive.

  6. Launch your session again. You'll get a dialog from Pro Tools asking you to find the files you've moved. Direct it to the Hidden Audio Files folder on your auxiliary drive (not the original FireWire drive).

    You're now firing off two drives, and everyone's happy. Subsequent audio files will be recorded onto the FireWire drive, of course.

  7. When you're done, simply move the audio files from the Hidden Audio Files folder on your FireWire drive back into the regular Audio Files folder. Your session is intact; you can now safely delete the auxiliary Hidden Audio Files folder.

USING PRO TOOLS LE WITH A MIDI SEQUENCER ON THE SAME MACHINE

You may prefer to take advantage of Pro Tools' audio production features while using another sequencer program for MIDI. Because there's a Windows ASIO driver for the 002, it can look like a sound card to your digital audio sequencer; you simply import the audio and MIDI files you've created into Pro Tools LE when you're ready. But until the 002 CoreAudio driver for OS X comes out, that's not an option on the Mac.

You can, however, sync the two programs on the same machine using OMS. Your sequencer runs the MIDI tracks while Pro Tools LE runs the audio. You can even trigger soft instruments in the Pro Tools mixer.

Let's use MOTU Digital Performer as the main example; the procedures for Emagic Logic Audio and Steinberg Cubase follow the same principles, so you should be able to figure them out easily.

  1. Performer must run under OMS instead of FreeMIDI, which is MOTU's functionally equivalent software. That's set in the FreeMIDI Setup program's Preferences. Check “Use OMS When Available” and “Allow Other Applications.” Cubase or Logic must also run under OMS for this to work.

  2. If you're using Digital Performer, then set it for MIDI only. Logic can support multiple audio systems, so you could have another sound driver active.

  3. Assuming that you want Pro Tools LE to be the master, open its Session Setup window and tell it to send MTC (MIDI Timecode) to port: Digital Performer.

  4. Make sure that the start times are the same in both programs, e.g., 1:00.000.

  5. Open Performer's Receive Sync window and tell it to sync to any port.

  6. Press the Receive Sync button and Play on Performer's transport. It will now follow the 002.

    If you want to reverse the setup and have Performer be the master, tell Performer to transmit sync to IAC bus 1 (Pro Tools doesn't appear as an option the way Performer does in Pro Tools), turn off MTC transmission in Pro Tools' Session Setup window and put Pro Tools online.

  7. If you want to send MIDI into the Pro Tools mixer, then go into the OMS Setup program, double-click on the IAC icon and define up to three additional MIDI buses. Each of these buses has 16 MIDI channels available. So, for example, the output of your Performer MIDI track and the input of your Pro Tools MIDI track might be IAC bus 1, channel 1. Inside Pro Tools, that IAC bus could, in turn, be assigned to a soft instrument on a Pro Tools aux input or audio track, or you could just put the Pro Tools MIDI track in Record and capture what Performer is sending.


Nick Batzdorf was the editor of Recording magazine for more than a decade.

Two views of the Digi 002:

Front view of the Digi 002


Top view of the Digi 002

Want more? Take an in-depth Quicktime tour of the Digi 002.






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