Koji Ryu, former vocalist and drummer of C-C-B and now a popular solo drummer, released his new live DVD "Koji Kasa Live Tour 2017 feat. Hideyuki Yonekawa". The TASCAM DA-6400DP 64-channel digital multitrack recorder and CG-1800 clock generator were used for the sound recording on this tour.
TASCAM interviewed producer Takahiro Matsuki and recording/mixing engineer Koji Morimoto on the recording process and their impressions of the system.
TASCAM: What prompted you to use DA-6400DP this time?
Matsuki: In a music venue of this size, it was a prerequisite to use a MADI branching setup from the house console, as it is difficult to set up a recording setup that splits the analog signal using a splitter. I have tried various MADI devices in the past, but I found that PC-based recordings often lost sound due to the condition of the hard disk at the time, so I thought that a hardware recorder would be safer.
TASCAM: "Lost sound" as to skipping or sound cutting out?
Matsuki: Yes, even though the timecode was correct, I've had a few instances where the sound was cut out. When I connected to a RAID (redundant array of inexpensive/independent disks) via SATA, the timecode would skip, and so I would end up using what the sub-device had recorded. However, DAW recording is sometimes slow and depends on the condition of the PC at the time, so in that aspect, the hardware recorder gives me a sense of security.
TASCAM: I see.
Matsuki: If I'm using a computer to record, I usually use my Macbook Air or any sort of laptop, so I use a DAW that is light and fast as possible, but if I'm going to record with any anxiety, I thought, I might as well try a hardware recorder.
TASCAM: Can you give us an overview of the recording system? Do the signals split and go from the YAMAHA digital console straight to the DA-6400DP?
Matsuki: Yes, I used a YAMAHA CL series with a MADI card that sends the signals directly to the DA-6400DP.
TASCAM: Was the MADI card for the CL series16 channels? I believe that many inputs were finally put together and connected to the DA-6400DP.
Matsuki: Yes, I used three 16 ch MADI cards, one as the master and the other two as slaves.
TASCAM: So that makes it 48 channels in total, did you use all of them?
Matsuki: We used almost all of them, didn't we?
Morimoto: Not all, around 40 channels maybe.
TASCAM: What about the recording format?
Morimoto: The console is 48 kHz, so we recorded in 48kHz/24-bit.
TASCAM: If the console was capable of recording in 96 kHz, would you record and do the mixing in those settings?
Morimoto: That's a heavy load, so I don't think many people would do that in 96 kHz.
Matsuki: Many venues have YAMAHA's CL series installed, so it's mostly done in 48 kHz.
Morimoto: The DA-6400DP only has a MADI option and no Dante, right?
TASCAM: We also have Dante. You can choose between the MADI or Dante optional cards.
Matsuki: So if I use the TASCAM DA-6400DP, in some cases I can record from a YAMAHA stage box via Rio with Dante...
Morimoto: Then you wouldn't need a console.
Matsuki: In that case, there are many things you can do with that.
TASCAM: The DA-6400 has two slots, so you can apply a MADI card and a Dante card in each slot to accommodate the usage and environment.
Morimoto: Can you use a mixture of both?
TASCAM: It's possible.
Morimoto: Oh, that's amazing. Pro Tools recently launched a product called MTRX and I learned about it from an article in Sound & Recording magazine. I think Dante and MADI are great, but I lean toward Dante more.
Matsuki: I think Dante will be used more and more in the future for live recording. I have tried various recording devices from many manufacturers, but DA-6400DP is probably the most compact.
Morimoto: It's fantastic. I visited a live recording the other day on a site where they were using the DA-6400DP and, well, it never stopped. It's an amazing device.
Matsuki: When recording with a hardware recorder, TASCAM doesn't require a separate MADI converter, so you can connect the DA-6400DP directly to the console and have a complete system with just one unit, which is great.
Morimoto: People on that site were telling me they have been running it every day and it has never stopped. By the way, does the unit use a genuine SSD?
TASCAM: For commercial products, others tend to change the parts inside the media, like the controller IC for example, from lot to lot. But we and the media manufacturer managed to have an agreement not to change the contents, and we sell products that can always be used in a stable condition under the TASCAM brand name.
Morimoto: I see, is this a TLC?
TASCAM: It's an MLC.
TASCAM: I believe you mostly do live recordings using DAW software, but can you tell us a little more about why you chose to use a hardware recorder like the DA-6400DP this time?
Morimoto: With DAWs, I often have the analog signal split by a splitter, and there is also MADI I/O, but I don't need an audio interface when using the DA-6400DP. The head amp will also be on the console, but you don't need that either. I was the engineer this time, so I used the head amp to raise the GAIN. I was grateful thought because I could see the meters.
TASCAM: See the meters?
Morimoto: The console also has a meter, but the way the meter on the PA console swings is completely different from the way the meter on the recorder swings. The main thing is to check the signal for noise or the microphone sound, but the meter on the console swings a lot even at low volume when in reality there's still room. I believe the PA meters are more honest, and there are times when you think you have raised the meter, but in fact, there is still 6 dB of room to maneuver, and you can adjust that inside the PA. So, when I look at the meter on the DA-6400DP, I know I can still go up.
TASCAM: I see, that's an interesting way to use it.
Morimoto: The meters are very easy to see too.
Matsuki: I had Mr. Morimoto do everything this time, but if the PA and the recording are done separately, for example, pulling signals from the main console to the recorder via MADI in parallel, the level ends up being just too low.
Morimoto: The meters don't swing at all. For example, if you play a CD with the stereo volume turned all the way up, the sound is way too loud, right? So, you leave the amp volume as it is and turn the CD volume down. If you record in that same situation the level is also recorded at a lower level. In other words, the sound is low. For this recording, I turned down the master fader and raised the HA level. The sound was naturally good because it was recorded at full volume.
TASCAM: In digital recording, sometimes we fear sound clipping so we lower the level.
Morimoto: Well, that's a misunderstanding.
Matsuki: Yes, you need to have full volume.
Morimoto: I mean, I just record what I receive, so as long as the original is good then the sound is good. When the sound is bad, well that won't get any better, will it?
TASCAM: I see. Let me ask you about the recording time, was it around 2.5 hours for the entire concert?
Morimoto: Yes, that's right.
TASCAM: We heard that you also recorded the rehearsal. In the case of 48 kHz, even if you use the full 64 channels, you can record for about 7 hours through the rehearsal. For a full-day event, we were told that with 7 hours of recording time, they would need a little more room, so in addition to the 240GB SSD, we have also released a 480GB SSD.
TASCAM: You also used the CG-1800 clock generator, could you tell us what you think of it?
Matsuki: It's kind of a serious machine...
TASCAM: Did you use it for video synchronization too?
Matsuki: I use it as the master clock, so yes, I synced the video as well.
TASCAM: So you used it for both audio and video sync?
Morimoto: Yes, it was a TASCAM-themed setup.
Matsuki: It's great that you can get a complete system in just 2U.
Morimoto: Yes, just two devices.
Matsuki: Normally, with a recording of this size, we don't usually sync up the video.
TASCAM: Recently, there have been many requests to record both video and audio, but people fear misalignment and things like that. We believe it's important to be able to manage them all together with a clock generator.
Matsuki: When I don't have a multi-track system, as I did this time, I record several channels on line and ambiance for documentation purposes or for uploading to YouTube, and we also have an action camera for video, but after about one song the video is already out of sync, and so there's not much we can do about that. Considering this, clock accuracy is quite important and so it's nice the CG-1800 has a video sync option. I also tried a few times the recorder that can sync via HDMI, that one was great too.
TASCAM: That's the DR-701D.
Matsuki: The DR-701D, DA-6400DP and CG-1800. With these three you can do mostly everything.
2-discs set (149 min. total)/ JPY 4,630+tax now on sale
Tour Final Live at Shimokitazawa GARDEN (115 min.)
Road Movie (34 min.)
Off-shot of rehearsal scenes, including MC scenes from the Kumamoto, Nagoya, Kobe, and Tokyo shows.