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Author Topic: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings  (Read 29801 times)

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Offline guysonic

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One of the most troubling issues with using newer technology FLASH MEMORY/MICRODRIVE recorders is the lack of easy file transfer/backup storage in the field when memory is full without needing to also pack a computer around for this purpose. 

One of the most attractive solutions to this problem is with a relatively new battery powered CD/DVD burner product with all manner of flash memory reader built into the device.  EZDigiMagic drive will automatically transfer/verify to CD/DVD the full contents of any Flash or Microdrive card inserted into its reader slots, and will do 'span' function to additional discs when needed.

Got one on order to try out and post my experiences, but I think a few of you would also like to try this for festivals and other remote recording projects.

Here is the URL for the manufacturer: http://www.ezpnp-usa.com/show_product.sstg?code=e7c2c4b39e8745e4 

Best deal found on this drive is from www.cyberguys.com (product #2040709) who sells just a few bucks over wholesale.

If you get one, post your impressions of how well or not this device works.  Also post other found products with similar functionality. 


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Offline MattD

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 08:07:48 PM »
There are plenty of devices that copy CF to a hard drive. The only reason burning discs might be nice would be to hand a copy to the band before you leave, but then you have to keep extra blank media on you as well. I would prefer the hard drive device by a long shot.
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2006, 08:46:29 PM »
There are plenty of devices that copy CF to a hard drive. The only reason burning discs might be nice would be to hand a copy to the band before you leave, but then you have to keep extra blank media on you as well. I would prefer the hard drive device by a long shot.

Please give URL links to suggested hard drive devices that transfer/verify flash memory without computer using battery power.

Many of the customers I ship field systems to pack project equipment into remote locations for days to many weeks of work without access to mains power.  Battery powered equipment is required that is compact, lightweight, and rechargeable batteries are most often not a practical power source.   

I do agree that packing in a stack of 100 DVD blank disks (>400 GIGs or 200 GIGs with making a duplicate backup) is likely less compact than size of two battery powered 200 GIG hardrives, but I question claim that many suitable 'stand-alone battery powered HD product exists having needed functions and portability.

While harddisk is one acceptable way to initially back up/store flash files, I have not a yet seen any that work for automatically transfering/verifying any type of flash and file type, AND will work off battery. 

Also an issue is hardisks can and do fail for good reason, or no reason taking all that's stored into 'maybe' recoverable limbo or permanent oblivian, so multiple hardisk or true RAID systems (with spare hard drive in the wings) must be packed for having true secure HD storage. 

With DVD disc storage of compact flash, and in particular to the EZDigiMagic device, MULTIPLE (non-computer assisted fully data verified) DUPLICATE DVD discs seems most practical using (external non-rechargeable) USB (see www.sonicstudios.com/batsys98.htm#bc-mt) or (as alternate source) AC adapter connections for some kind of alkaline 7-14+ ampere battery sled powering in the field. 

As already discussed, EZDigiMagic device does seem the most practical for reasons stated, but (I for one) would appreciate other solid URL links to products suitable for securing flash file storage while working remote recording projects. 

This is rated as a 8X DVD burner that I hope will efficently burn and verify, and not run C or D alkaline batteries down quickly in the process.

As mentioned, I have one of these to arrive shortly, and hope fully lives up to expectations. 

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Offline spreetaper

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2006, 10:13:11 PM »
yeah a cd/dvd burner is way too much more stuff to have to deal with..

i have a sizeable rig and its packed to the brim..
and the guys with all in one recorders from the MT to the SD702 arent going to want to have to deal with any more bulk..
my opinion anyways

OTG hard drives are the way too go!
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Offline Jamos

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 12:45:55 AM »
IMO, it doesn't seem like a bad idea if you're out recording for several days and don't have a computer or hard drive to copy the flash cards to.  This would be a quick way to back up, and then re-use the cards again and again.


Offline udovdh

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 01:34:19 AM »
Any different for a HD-based recorer e.g. like an iRiver?
Which OTG solutions work well and do you reccommend?

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2006, 10:50:53 AM »
udovdh, there is a card reader add-on for ipods. Dont know about other mp3 players.

Dpreview.com storage forum >>> http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1023

Offline flintstone

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2006, 02:51:12 PM »
Portable storage devices (PSDs) are designed to copy data from flash memory cards to a small hard disc.  After the copying is completed, the memory card can be erased and re-used in the audio recorder or digital camera.

PSDs are storage devices.  They are not designed for playback of the music or display of the photos transferred.  This keeps the design simple, and the costs down.  If you must have a device that can play back the files, look to a more expensive music player like an iPod or a device designed to show movies on the go.  These gadgets won't perform the PSD function as quickly or easily, however.

PSDs usually have a built-in flash card reader that supports Compactflash.  A few require you to attach the card reader externally (a disadvantage, IMO).

Don't use a USB cable to connect the recorder or camera to the PSD. Insert the memory card directly into the PSD.  This transfers the files much faster, and does not waste battery power in the recorder.

A couple of years ago it looked like a PSD based on a portable CD or DVD recorder would be a good solution.  Unfortunately, these machines transfer the files much more slowly (e.g., 30 minutes vs 5 minutes) and use much more battery power.  They produce more heat, so proper ventilation is an issue.  And they should be run on a level surface for best results.  Given these issues, there's little reason to consider a PSD that records to a CD or DVD.

There are many companies that make PSDs.  Two with good reputations for the fastest file copying, decent construction, and low price are Hyperdrive and Nexto. Both can be ordered without a hard drive if you want to use your own, or with a hard drive included.

Hyperdrive is somewhat larger and heavier than the Nexto.  This is because Hyperdrive runs on AA cells that can easily be swapped out.  The Hyperdrive also includes a flash card reader that supports multiple card types.

Sanho, a company in China, makes the Hyperdrive. In USA, you can purchase Hyperdrive from www.hyperdrive.com or from www.adorama.com

Outside USA, Sanho sells its product as CompactDrive PD70X.  (Note that there is a less desirable model called the PD7X.  Don't order that one.) You can order from several retailers in Australia and Hong Kong.  Price is the same or lower than USA, and delivery usually takes 2 or 3 days.  Reliable vendors include  www.eastgear.com (Singapore) and www.jaldigital.com.au (Australia)

Nexto is a second option.  The Nexto CF is smaller and lighter than the Hyperdrive because it uses a rechargeable battery that can't be swapped out.  The Nexto CF is somewhat faster at copying files. The Nexto CF has a slot for Compactflash only.  Adapters for other card types are available.

The Nexto has a little better build quality than the Hyperdrive.  The Nexto starts up and is ready to transfer files in a few seconds.  The Hyperdrive takes longer.

Nexto has another advantage:  It runs on a wide range of DC voltages.  So it may fit in with your external battery setup better than the Hyperdrive.

The Nexto CF is available in USA from www.mydigitaldiscount.com.  Internationally, it is available from www.jaldigital.com.au among others.


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Offline guysonic

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 08:25:31 PM »
Portable storage devices (PSDs) are designed to copy data from flash memory cards to a small hard disc.  After the copying is completed, the memory card can be erased and re-used in the audio recorder or digital camera.

PSDs are storage devices.  They are not designed for playback of the music or display of the photos transferred.  This keeps the design simple, and the costs down.  If you must have a device that can play back the files, look to a more expensive music player like an iPod or a device designed to show movies on the go.  These gadgets won't perform the PSD function as quickly or easily, however.

PSDs usually have a built-in flash card reader that supports Compactflash.  A few require you to attach the card reader externally (a disadvantage, IMO).

Don't use a USB cable to connect the recorder or camera to the PSD. Insert the memory card directly into the PSD.  This transfers the files much faster, and does not waste battery power in the recorder.

A couple of years ago it looked like a PSD based on a portable CD or DVD recorder would be a good solution.  Unfortunately, these machines transfer the files much more slowly (e.g., 30 minutes vs 5 minutes) and use much more battery power.  They produce more heat, so proper ventilation is an issue.  And they should be run on a level surface for best results.  Given these issues, there's little reason to consider a PSD that records to a CD or DVD.

There are many companies that make PSDs.  Two with good reputations for the fastest file copying, decent construction, and low price are Hyperdrive and Nexto. Both can be ordered without a hard drive if you want to use your own, or with a hard drive included.

Hyperdrive is somewhat larger and heavier than the Nexto.  This is because Hyperdrive runs on AA cells that can easily be swapped out.  The Hyperdrive also includes a flash card reader that supports multiple card types.

Sanho, a company in China, makes the Hyperdrive. In USA, you can purchase Hyperdrive from www.hyperdrive.com or from www.adorama.com

Outside USA, Sanho sells its product as CompactDrive PD70X.  (Note that there is a less desirable model called the PD7X.  Don't order that one.) You can order from several retailers in Australia and Hong Kong.  Price is the same or lower than USA, and delivery usually takes 2 or 3 days.  Reliable vendors include  www.eastgear.com (Singapore) and www.jaldigital.com.au (Australia)

Nexto is a second option.  The Nexto CF is smaller and lighter than the Hyperdrive because it uses a rechargeable battery that can't be swapped out.  The Nexto CF is somewhat faster at copying files. The Nexto CF has a slot for Compactflash only.  Adapters for other card types are available.

The Nexto has a little better build quality than the Hyperdrive.  The Nexto starts up and is ready to transfer files in a few seconds.  The Hyperdrive takes longer.

Nexto has another advantage:  It runs on a wide range of DC voltages.  So it may fit in with your external battery setup better than the Hyperdrive.

The Nexto CF is available in USA from www.mydigitaldiscount.com.  Internationally, it is available from www.jaldigital.com.au among others.


Flintstone

Thank you for a most thoughtful post with useful tips, AND clear URLs to several affordable, and universally available products for portable flash storage. 

After looking over the descriptions of  both the Hyperdrive and Nexto, it’s difficult for me to pick a favorite for having best mix of features for secure remote location storage.  However, with most preliminary review of features, it does seem either model would satisfy known requirements for compact size, practical portable powering, and verification of written-to-disc data. 

I am now tending to agree with posts that suggest HD (vs. DVD) PSD devices as the most practical for smaller size (especially for NOT needing to carry blank DVD discs)  and power efficiency (if HD writing/verification tests significantly faster than DVD device).

The need for more robust storage of most valuable, expensive to produce, and once-in-a-lifetime data for secure storage requires duplication.  Duplication of data.  Likely a more professional requirement for specific project work files not be entrusted to ONLY one device as this may fail to operate and/or store files reliably. 

HD PSD requires at least two be used for most professional secured (duplicate) backup.  Being very small size does seem to make the HD PSD most practical over EXDigiMagic DVD requiring both duplicate units and quantity of DVD blanks as was pointed out.

However, logistics for longer running work-in-progress projects may require the greater portability of DVD disc backup.  Here recordings need occasionally be transported to a more secure location or postproduction facility and having BOTH HD + DVD type PSD devices may be the most practical backup system under these circumstances.  Or, as suggested, being able to quickly hand-off a copy of a performance recording to the band or fan could be motivating enough to carry the extra bulk of the transport and a few blank DVDs.

So far, all PSD model types examined fully operate off connected USB power external sources of sufficient amperage ability.  The HD models will also charge internal batteries in this manner.

While I have external USB regulated power sleds with at least .6 ampere rating proven to simultaneously charge the battery and run MT2496 CF deck, it remains to be proven these same external USB supplies will also connect to, and operate the DVD or HD PSD devices.  Of particular concern is battery charging AND handling the startup power of the HD drive disk; HD startup power is an amperage surge much larger than usual run power, if only for a brief period of time.

There does seem advantage to purchasing the bare bones HD PSD (without disc drive) as then a person may better know performance and reliability by selection from known manufacturer’s models. 

Maybe this discussion should include suggestions on most suitable 2.5 inch drives and some sources.   I myself wonder if (likely) higher expense/power requirement of faster >4400 RPM drives is justified for this particular purpose. 

Excellent reliability, and having G-sensor feature guarding head-to-disc damage from abrupt deck movements seems most desirable.  I seem to recall certain Seagate 7200 RPM 2.5” drives having this feature, or was it Hitachi (former IBM type) drives, maybe both?



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Offline Lil Kim Jong-Il

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2006, 08:57:48 PM »
Flintstone

Nice when someone does some research.  You should link this in the archive.
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Offline flintstone

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2006, 11:01:53 PM »
...The need for more robust storage of most valuable, expensive to produce, and once-in-a-lifetime data ...requires duplication. 

The Sound Devices 722 and 744T recorders have the ability to write to internal hard disc and Compactflash simultaneously.  The data on the Compactflash can be transferred to a PSD like the Hyperdrive or Nexto as needed.

If you don't want to be bothered with servicing your flash memory cards in the field,  consider carrying several Compactflash cards and swapping them out as needed.  Flash memory prices have declined dramatically, so it's not unreasonable to carry enough Compactflash cards for a day's recording.

It's pretty unlikely that both the 722 hard disc and the PSD hard disc will fail before you get back to the studio.  Theft of equipment becomes a bigger risk.  The PSD is little larger than a paperback book, and a stack of Compactflash cards is smaller still.  So you can transport the backup of your recordings separate from the recording gear.

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2006, 03:24:33 PM »
yeah a cd/dvd burner is way too much more stuff to have to deal with..

OTG hard drives are the way too go!

I agree that Nexto OTG (with internal Lithium rechargeable maybe good for 30Gig of transfer) is one of the best choices for compact size especially suited for CF type, and having battery power for one day's worth of higher bit/rate recordings.  For other types of flash cards like SD used in new R-09, Nexto OTG requires an external USB card reader.  This additional reader must be packed and plugged into the Nexto OTG's (active networking) USB port, or maybe use just a CF-to-SD slot adapter if there's such a product.

 
IMO, it doesn't seem like a bad idea if you're out recording for several days and don't have a computer or hard drive to copy the flash cards to.  This would be a quick way to back up, and then re-use the cards again and again.

For non-professional backup not requiring the safety of duplication, there's less good reasons or need for packing a PSD drive. 

As mentioned, Flash Memory is being produced with increasing capacity and decreasing cost.  While it does seem that at least for <48K operation (where file sizes are not huge), it may now be affordable to record up to several festival days worth of high quality .wav audio on a single 8GIG flash card before needing to do a dump to hard disk. 

At higher >48K bit .wav rates, 8 GIG stores <5 hours, so for benefit of 24bit/88.2K audio or better, there's definite need to dump files to a PSD at least once a day.

While I like the NEXTO: OTG device for allowing easy USB port battery charging/drive powering feature for having long running external USB power options. 

However, there's definite advantage to having the option of AA cell powering of the HYPERDRIVE HD series (found to NOT allow external USB powering/charging) as this unit is ALWAYS ready to be powered by whatever AA cell type is available, and may be most practical for those who do not regularly have requirement for dumping flash during remote recording projects.   When needed, just insert AA cells (any type) and go; otherwise, the internal battery of devices like the NEXTO: OTG 'goes to seed,' getting old just sitting on the shelf even if not being used.

There are plenty of devices that copy CF to a hard drive. The only reason burning discs might be nice would be to hand a copy to the band before you leave, but then you have to keep extra blank media on you as well. I would prefer the hard drive device by a long shot.

This is ONE of the best reasons to carry the larger size, likely slower EZDigiMagic DVD into a music venue, and one I personally did not consider being more focused on flash dump/safety backup purposes.

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2006, 03:52:31 AM »
EZDigiMagic First Impressions:
Product arrived enclosed in product cardboard box measuring (H x W x D) 7.5x9x5 inches closely fitting the supplied crush resistant padded carrying case with everything inside.   This would be the carrying case to use as it comes internally divided with room for a pancake stack of 25 or more blank discs, and additional velcro’d pieces allows customization of space.  The zippered lid also has an internal zipper ‘fishnet’ pouch maybe good for 8 AA spare batteries.

Found included inside the carrying case is 20 page User’s manual, USB 2.0 cable, (universal 110-240V) 5 volt DC /1.3A AC adapter.  Also included is PowerDVD 6 2CH version, and NERO OEM Suite software.

Visual inspection inferred excellent build quality, and a ‘Made in Taiwan’ label gives reason to expect better than average manufacture (from usual Far East sources) with top-quality QC’d materials and production methods.  For example, the AA internal cell holder used gold plated battery contacts not usually found in most portable battery products from Mainland China.  The AC adapter is the ONLY article sporting a ‘Made in China’ label.

Next task is to fire it up to see how it works.

I hope to use this on location, and for faster-than-computer archiving of master flash memory recordings.  I'm now thinking it looks like much less labor/time to plug in AC adapter,  insert flash card, load blank, and push the button to burn a verified copy on this device than using the usual computer hardware/software programs. 
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Portable Computer-less Archive/Transfer/Backup of Flash Recordings
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2006, 05:10:27 PM »
Sorry to have gotten distracted for update on the EZDigiMagic device tests.  This summer is going to be great for recording if my work load is any indication.

Got the unit, and did a few CF test transfers, and it works exactly as advertised with one button simplicity. Span disk functions perfectly for doing very large flash cards and seems to NOT split up individual files between discs.

However, what is NOT advertised on ANY of these devices (OTG Hard Drive types included) is the TIME IT TAKES TO DO TRANSFER AND VERIFICATION.

While your results may vary, the EZDigiMagic optical takes a lo.......ng time to do transfers, and I would hope the (OTG) hard drive devices work quite a bit faster, but NO WAY to tell because NO DATA on these either without actually buying and seeing what is so.

EZDigiMagic device will copy a MAXIMUM OF 4 GIGS to DVD disc.  Unit first transfers, and then user needs select the Verify function, pushing the go button again.  User manual claims about 90 minutes running time on (4) 2300ma NiMH AA cells.  Supplied carrying case is quite nice (but large) for holding the unit and 2 spare sets of batteries in the zippered lid section, but is hard pressed to hold more than half dozen pancaked blanks, a small deck, and a bit large/heavy AC adapter.   

Obvously, running this unit on batteries while in the field is most convenient way to use these devices, but taking so much time for transfers allows just 12 GIGs of transfer/verification on three sets of 2500 ma NiMH cells (with some margin.)

Makes me think an external step-up switcher regulated 5 volt battery system running on 4 D cells is more practical for festival length field projects.  Then having ~10+ hours device running time, or ~30 GIGs copied/verified per 4 D cell set (if I've done the math correctly) allows plenty of potential for field backup, if time to transfer is tolerable maybe with having a few spare flash cards to allow backup copy while recording.

My results using 8-16x DVD+ or - R discs:

TEST 1) (2) 2 GIG CF files or total 4 GIGs to transfer: ~59 minutes to transfer, 22 minutes to verify, and has comparison feature that takes as long as the write did.

TEST 2) (1) 2 GIG file and (1) 760 MEG file or total to transfer: ~41 minutes to transfer, and seemed like ~12-15 minutes to verify.  However, time is iffy as I kept running the task and missing the exact completion time with multitasking while working a manual stop watch

This BECAUSE this device sounds a (defeatable) 'buzzer' when copy is complete, so you know at a distance process is complete, but verification function somehow ends silently with NO audio announcement!

Question is, how long do the OTG devices take, and what's the internal battery life?



 
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