Article with questions about Cubase Audio and CDRecorder on the Atari Falcon. Published in Atari Magasinet #2, 1998 (swedish magazine). Translated into english by the author.

Q's and A's about Cubase Audio and CDRecorder

I get many questions about musical issues and the Atari Falcon. In this issue I've summarized a couple of the most common problems.

After my article about SCSI in the previous issue, I got a tip about available Ethernet adapters for SCSI and that someone in Germany is making drivers to make them useable for us Atarians. This would make it possible to connect Falcons (and other Atari machines) to networks and maybe even use Internet via cable TV, which is becoming more and more available. This is absolutely something to keep an eye on, since all network solutions for Ataris I've heard of so far have used other ports on the machine, which doesn't make those solutions very useable...

Since I've moved on to a new job recently, I haven't had the time to write a new article because of educations etc. However, since I very often get questions from all around the world about Cubase Audio for the Falcon (CAF) and other music-related stuff, I've chosen a couple of those questions for you to take part of. Maybe it can solve a problem which you haven't had the nerve to ask about yet... ;)

-? In CAF there is digital noise or even an old recording which has been deleted once instead of what I just recorded.

-! There are a couple of bugs in the program and this is one of them. You will get rid of the problem if you switch to another audio track and then back again before each recording starts. That is, if you want to record on track 1, you just change to another - for example track 4 - and then back to track 1 again. Now you'll be able to record normally again and what you record will actually get recorded.

-? Directly after a recording in CAF, there's sometimes only digital noise heard - even after using the "track-switching" method you described.

-! This is because CAF sometimes locks up the DSP. You fix it by choosing "Reset devices" in the menu. After this you'll get the sound back to normal again.

-? Is it possible to record 8 tracks simultaneously by using the ADAT-interface or a JAM-IN8?

-! No. CAF can only handle one or two tracks when recording and the only way to record 8 tracks is by using the program ADATREC, which is distributed with the CAF2.06 upgrade. ADATREC will record the tracks as 4 stereo tracks which can be imported into the Pool in CAF and be used further from there. The sad part about this handling is that you'd have a hard time syncing the audio tracks to an existing midi arrangement. There are other programs available, like AudioTracker and Quincy, which can handle up to 8 tracks recording simultaneously. But they're limited in other respects and use other audio file formats than the one handled by CAF.

-? How do you get the audio tracks out separately from CAF?

-! Version 2.0 and higher has direct support for all available D/A-converters. You can use JAM 8 (8 balanced tele outputs), FAD 8 OUT (8 unbalanced RCA outputs) or FA-8 (8 unbalanced RCA outputs). I recommend the JAM and FAD, since they use better converters than others (and they're swedish!), they have a better sound quality. I haven't made an A/B-test myself, but according to others who have, they sound a little better and have a more even frequency response - and surprisingly they're also cheaper!

-? Why do I get clicks in my audio recordings?

-! The most common cause is a fragmented hard disk, so you'll need to de-fragment it with Diamond Edge or a similar program. Another common problem is that you Falcon may not have the CPU-clock modification made - or that you may have to make another modification. If you're used to using a soldering pen, it's no match at all doing the modifications, but if you're feeling the least insecure about it, you should let someone else with more experience do it - otherwise you have the risk of damaging the motherboard beyond repair! Descriptions of three such CPU-clock modifications can be found on my homepage - the Troubleshooting page - but unfortunately it's impossible to say which one of the modifications should be done on a specific Falcon - it's done by trial and error...

-? Should I use an A/V-hard disk for my audio recordings in CAF?

-! Yes and no... The A/V-disks have a more stable transfer rate than regular disks (it's safer to assume they'll actually keep the same transfer rate at all times), but this is mostly more critical when recording video, which can't be handled by the Falcon's SCSI-port anyway. Audio has more humble demands, so in most cases you won't need an A/V-disk. But even so it may be an idea to have one, since some manufacturers make "thermal calibrations" every now and then - even when data is being transferred! During such calibrations, the transfer speed drops drastically and causes the message "HD too slow" from CAF since the program can't keep up the correct speedof the audio playback to keep in sync. CAF will stop completely, which isn't fun at all. The A/V-disks never make such calibrations (at least not during data transfers), so by using them, the risk is eliminated. However, some manufacturers have never used this technique, so very often it's possible to use a non-A/V-disk anyway.

-? When I updated my CAF to the new one, al the outputs became wrong and the faders in the mixermap stopped working.

-! This was a mistake by the programmers. In the mixermaps and the DEF.ALL which were delivered with a previous version, there were faulty settings which make the functionality of all the knobs and faders go to "Sampler" instead of the correct setting, which is "DSP". You can change these settings on all the knobs and faders by right-clicking on the fader, looking up the setting "Sampler" and simply change it to "DSP" instead - or you can get a corrected update from a retailer, knowing that it will work. The problem remains with your old songs, but you can take care of it rather easily by using the new, corrected mixermap - before you've started doing anything - and save the Setup (SET.DEF). Then you load your old song and then load the SET.DEF you just saved - and then it should be ok.

-? CAF doesn't work when my DAT is switched on.

-! Different DAT's work in different ways and the most probable cause is that you've created a digital loop. Systems can react differently on such digital loops - sometimes they just don't start, sometimes the speed can gradually increase or decrease - everything depends on that neither the program nor the DAT knows which one works as the Master, which makes it impossible to run properly. A digital loop is created if you have both digital in and out connected at the same time between the S/Pdif interface and the DAT - if the DAT doesn't have a switch between analog/optical/coaxial in. If such a switch is present, you should use different cables for digital in and digital out and you'll probably avoid the problem - it's much easier than having to plug the cables in and out all the time.

-? I have problems burning a PC-readable CD with CDRecorder - what's wrong?

-! In CDRecorder, you must first of all tick the DOS-compatible menu item (if you don't, the Pc will see all folders, but it won't find any files inside of the folders...). Since it's a data-CD and not an audio-CD, you have to burn it via an image, so that the program stores all info on another partition (which has to be big enough for all of it). The image option hasto be used since TOS can't handle the file transfer fast enough even for 1X burning when looking into folders. One thing that causes some small problems is the fact that the program was made by germans, which means some of the scandinavian specific characters can't be used (I have complained about it to SoundPool already, so we'll see what happens in future releases). Another thing to keep in mind is that no extensions at all (the three characters after the dot) can be used in folder names, so they'll have to be renamed. If you're going to burn a CD with audio files from CAF, you have to keep in mind that VST on a PC can't use files created in the 16-track mode. This means that such files will have to be converted in the offline-menu before you even consider burning them on a CD that should be used in a PC. If you follow these advices, you won't have any problems creating a PC-compatible CD. Don't worry - since the PC-compatible CD you create is still ISO9660-compatible, you'll still be able to read it on the Falcon...;)

In the next issue, I'll write a new article - the question is what it should be about. Any tip about what you want to know more about is welcome. If I get tons of questions, it may also be another question corner - we'll see what happens.

Make yourselves heard until we meet again - play on!