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Thread: TASCAM DV-RA1000HD - An Analog Lover's Perspective

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2011

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    I'm afesteringvinylphile.

    Default TASCAM DV-RA1000HD - An Analog Lover's Perspective

    It has landed:



    I was in a quandry about where to post this. It's a digital machine. But, the purpose is to retain as much analog sound as possible (from vinyl and tape sources). Then again, isn't one of the benchmarks of good digital how analogous it sounds. Anyway...

    It arrived today and I've only had it set up for a few hours.

    Quick impressions.

    1. This is a professional machine. As comfortable as I am around pro gear and computers, referring to the manual, indeed, reading it, was a must.

    2. Digital has come a long way and has become really, really good.

    3. Analog tape, even "the lowly" cassette, still does with ease what digital strains to do. I liken it to the difference between a compact car cruising at highway speeds and a Cadillac doing the same. The Cadillac, like analog tape, doesn't break a sweat.

    4. This machine is a little unfair, methinks. It gives you 24/192 PCM but doesn't give you 5.6MHz DSD. Which brings me to initial impression number...

    5. It would seem 24/192 is better at conveying bass heft than 2.8MHz DSD. Yet, DSD has this beguiling quality (of not sounding digital). That's just what I heard. I was not comparing those digital formats to each other; but, those two digital formats back to the source - my vinyl rig. Again, that may be unfair as I think a more fair match up would be 24/192 PCM to 5.8MHz DSD.

    The verdict is still out, as it should be. I just haven't had enough time with the machine yet. As of right now, I still don't have a clear winner on which format had the most accurate treble, free of distortion/artifacts. All in all it's really too early to carve anything in stone other than, ladies and gentlemen, we have left 16/44.1 in the dust (much of which resides on my racks )! So, I'll just let it lie right here for now.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2011

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    Day Three

    Quick Notes/Thoughts:

    24/192 is frighteningly good.

    I've heard it argued that high res downloads are a waste of time. And, perhaps, if the source material is low res and/or mastered poorly, I would agree. However, and that's a big HOWEVER, if we're talking about good mastering and going directly from analog (mic feed or original analog tape/vinyl) there is no question. High res is the way to go, for sound quality.

    Using an RCA Victor original vinyl pressing of Henry Mancini's Mr. Lucky and recording at 24/192, it was the first time I heard digital retain the fullness of the double bass in it's ambient space, as is represented on a direct listen to the vinyl. This was not present at 24/96 or with 2.8MHz DSD, sadly, despite DSD sounding smoother/more analogous. What a shame that this machine doesn't have 5.6MHz DSD. That probably takes the cake. At 24/96 and 2.8MHz, my extreme pickiness points at some problem areas: strings (the sound of the strings, bow and the wood), brass (the player's "lip", sound of "the bell"), cymbals (they crash, splash or sizzle, were they hit with a brush, drum stick with plastic tip or raw wood tip) and bass (size, shape, room interaction). I'm not often stunned. But, as mentioned, at 24/192 I literally dropped a jaw at what I was able to finally hear in the low registers. I need to listen more intently to the upper registers. Even at 24/96 and 2.8MHz, the mids were noticeably nicer than lower rates, with DSD going that extra mile of being liquid and non-fatiguing. If I had never heard resolution higher than 24/96 or 2.8MHz (nevermind tape or vinyl), I could well live with it. But, there is more; oh my, there is much more. I'm jumping around a bit; but, I have to add that reverb really became very believable at 24/192.

    So, all in all, my impressions haven't changed much since day one. I do intend to go back and record at 24/176.4 just to see if much of anything was lost from 24/192. And, Tascam, if you're listening, if you could/would offer an upgrade to incorporate 5.6MHz DSD, this machine would be killer!!!

    On the hardware side, there are altogether different reasons to love this machine. More on that later... maybe.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2011

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    Day Four

    ...and some reasons not to love it.

    I am now getting "Read Error 61" and "Read Error 64". I have sent an email off to Tascam Support.

    The DV-RA1000HD's hard drive is nothing more than your standard laptop hard drive. That's both good and bad. It should be great for being able to replace it. However, it's an IDE 2.5" hard drive and IDE/PATA drives are becoming scarce (new). From what I can tell, mine is an 80GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue (20 more gigs than advertised). It would be nice if they would provide an upgrade path to use SATA drives which are the defacto standard nowadays.

    I believe the read error is an isolated spot on the hard drive. I have one track which is unreadable. I'm leaving it there for now despite the fact that I could erase it. My thinking is that this way, when I make more recordings I will not be rewriting to that spot. Other tracks on the hdd play without issue.

    We'll see what they say.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  4. #4
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    Not sure what day it is..............

    but... problem solved. It took a bit of digging on gooble and a little investigative work .

    Things are peachy, now. I've recorded 3 LP's, thus far.
    Last edited by WOStantonCS100; 27-04-2012 at 05:31.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  5. #5
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    Seems like a nifty machine! But, how do you store the recordings? Transfer them to NAS or do they just stay in the Tascam?

    Br Micke

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlfaGTV View Post
    Seems like a nifty machine! But, how do you store the recordings? Transfer them to NAS or do they just stay in the Tascam?

    Br Micke
    Forgive me for not responding much sooner. There were so few responses, I wondered if I should continue with the updates.

    To answer your question: the DV-- allows you to:

    - burn backups of your "project" on a dvd+/-r (which includes the raw DSD (.dsdiff) or Broadcast Wave (.wav) files and other informational files specifically for the unit)

    - the unit can be put in USB Mode and connected to a PC (one can transfer the audio files only or all files)

    Unlike the Korg unit, the ability to burn a disc is a great feature. It was key for me. I'm finding that recording at 24/192 takes up between 1.5GB - 2GB for the average LP (small project files included). Hard drive space may be relatively cheap. But, if your record and/or tape collection is in the thousands, it's still a far more expensive option compared to burning dvd's.

    Note: You can, if you choose, delete the project after burning the backup disc. The backup disc will play back if reinserted into the machine or a pc's optical drive. On the PC, I use Foobar with the DSDIFF plug-in. Several programs will handle wav files, of course, even at 24/192.

    Hope I've answered your question, even if a bit late. Sorry, 'bout that.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOStantonCS100 View Post
    Forgive me for not responding much sooner. There were so few responses, I wondered if I should continue with the updates.
    Biff, I for one would very much like you to continue updating this thread
    I'm interested in what you are up to & the results you are getting from this recorder & your experiences

    Sorry if I didn't say so sooner & I guess I should have, but I have certainly read your updates with interest.

    So please keep it up, it's you that's in new territory & filling us in after all
    Bests, Mark



    "We must believe in free will. We have no choice" Isaac Bashevis Singer

  8. #8
    Join Date: Aug 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by WOStantonCS100 View Post
    However, it's an IDE 2.5" hard drive and IDE/PATA drives are becoming scarce (new). From what I can tell, mine is an 80GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue (20 more gigs than advertised). It would be nice if they would provide an upgrade path to use SATA drives which are the defacto standard nowadays.
    About 4 buys you a set of conversion cables..

    This kind of gear ends up using the same drives as that is was tested with in the design stage to ensure it's working perfectly. They will have a 5 year or so supply deal or have stocked up on original spares..

    Sometimes gear like this can use special instructions or features of a particular drive manufacturer perhaps for error detection or preemting drive failure. Change drive to even another by the same manufacturer but different series and it may no longer work.

    Things like this often come up in industrial embedded computing - basically 'standard' components being used in highly specific applications - as cleverly designed software or bespoke hardware suddenly doesn't work when the manufacturer of the standard component doesn't notify that they've slightly modified the specifics of how it works, an incompatability suddenly and inexplicably pops up.

    Probably though, most likely any drive will work.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nat8808 View Post
    About 4 buys you a set of conversion cables..

    This kind of gear ends up using the same drives as that is was tested with in the design stage to ensure it's working perfectly. They will have a 5 year or so supply deal or have stocked up on original spares..

    Sometimes gear like this can use special instructions or features of a particular drive manufacturer perhaps for error detection or preemting drive failure. Change drive to even another by the same manufacturer but different series and it may no longer work.

    Things like this often come up in industrial embedded computing - basically 'standard' components being used in highly specific applications - as cleverly designed software or bespoke hardware suddenly doesn't work when the manufacturer of the standard component doesn't notify that they've slightly modified the specifics of how it works, an incompatability suddenly and inexplicably pops up.

    Probably though, most likely any drive will work.
    Hey Nat,

    Actually, I had suspected that there might have been something in the firmware, such as you mentioned. I'm finishing up a detailed report on my findings. I won't let the cat at of the bag for now... well, maybe just a little.

    Tascam support told me straight out that the hard drive is plain jane standard. And, indeed my unit came with an 80GB HDD rather than the 60GB specified in the documentation. They hinted that an optical drive, other than the supplied Teac, might give problems when recording DSD direct to disc. But, more on that later.
    Biff

    Technics SL-1200MK2 (x3)/SL-1200M3D (x2)/SL-1500MK2/SL-150MK2/SL-1400MK2/SL-M3, Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB, Dual 1019, Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator, Stanton Trackmaster (SoundSmith ruby/NCL)/Trackmaster RS II (x2)/Groovemaster II Pro (x2)/890SA/890AL (JICO Shibata)/681EEE (x2) (JICO Urushi Shibata), Empire 2000E, ADC QLM 30 MK III/K8E, B&O SP 14, Audio Technica AT-331LP/VS-245LP, Ortofon TM14, Grado MT+, Shure M75MG, Mike New bearing, TTWeights Classic 454g, Tascam DV-RA1000HD (x2) (M-DISC capable SATA optical drive & CompactFlash card internal storage), Pioneer CT-F1250 (x2)/CT-F900, Sony TC-K615S/TC-KA1ESa (x3), Revox PR99 (x2), Teac X-10R (x2), DIY braided ICs, Audio Research SP17, Bottlehead Seduction/Foreplay III, Parasound A 23, SAE Mark IIIA, dbx 200/222/224 (x3), Fostex T-50RP, EPI 100 (pr), JBL L112 (pr)

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by WOStantonCS100 View Post
    It would be nice if they would provide an upgrade path to use SATA drives which are the defacto standard nowadays.
    You can get what's called an IDE to SATA bridge, which I've used successfully in my PVR to connect an SATA drive to an IDE slot. No problems whatsoever.

    You could experiment with SSD's then as well!
    Nick
    My system...


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