Become a Site Supporter and Never see Ads again!

Author Topic: Choosing best flash for audio recording  (Read 6057 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline guysonic

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1366
  • WISDOM FOR ALL TIMES
    • Sonic Studios DSM Stereo-Surround Microphone Systems
Choosing best flash for audio recording
« on: July 23, 2006, 01:01:50 PM »
Recording live audio to flash card is becoming a fast favorite storage medium, even though file storage is temporary until archived.  Advantage of flash over any other is low deck power consumption and very small deck size. 

Flash is immune to mechanical movements and the most severe bumps short of breaking the deck's case or circuit board.  There's nothing to dislike about flash except maybe the original cost of the card, and even that's getting more affordable by the day.

So why are many tapers having deck freeze-ups, intermittant audio, and file corruption problems with these decks?

From what I can tell, it's the TYPE of card, and how it's being used that makes all the difference in getting reliable flash recordings.
Many tapers already know this, but from recent posts in TS, many still do not know what is fast becoming important knowledge for getting the most from these new inexpensive flash decks.

So here are some FLASH TIPS to consider.

First, live digital audio recording is a 'real-time' stream of information that requires a clear continuous path into flash storage.  Flash card's original purpose was mostly for digital photography and data-file-to-data-file transfer processes, not considered a real-time process.  As such, special flash card 'burst modes' to increase data transfer rates were developed and labeled as TYPE 2 extra fast and 'advanced' type cards.  These cards mostly have extra fast 'burst mode' specifications, not continuous transfer specifications.  The ONLY speed specification important to audio recording is the continuous recording speed that can be consistently maintained by the card.  Read speed is less important.

The important thing is flash recorders seem NOT to use 'burst mode' gracefully, in fact, burst mode is prone to cause serious reliability problems with at least some deck models.  So the lesson here is to use a fast TYPE 1 flash card ONLY for most trouble-free audio recording. 

Sandisk ULTRA II is a good example of a fast TYPE 1 flash most suitable for (24/96+) highest rates of audio recording.

Second area of concern is how the flash is being used.  This involves procedure and maintenance of the flash memory card.  If you do NOT do certain things to maintain the flash card's most compatible form as required by the deck, you will at times experience failed flash recordings, and nobody wants that.

So here's some things to do to help avoid that 'flash-crash' too many TS tapers are reporting.

1. Always newly format the flash 'IN THE DECK' BEFORE starting a new recording session.  Just deleting files leaves dis-continuous flash memory space that can 'trip-up' the deck's continuous recording ability. And formatting the flash in a computer's card reader doesn't always work for some very particular deck models.  So it's most wise to clear the memory completely IN THE DECK with the format command at the start of a new series of recordings. 

2. Invoke the deck's menu to show memory capacity AFTER format.  This helps insure the card's full continuous memory is present, and is being recognized by the deck.

Additional good practice is to store spare flash in a dust-proof case as card contacts are quite small, and it doesn't take much dust/lint to block a socket connection.

So that's all I can say at this time except I am beginning to really love my flash deck, and wish everyone happy (flash) taping of course!

Since experience is the best teacher, might some of you have additional flash card recording tips to share?   
"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

DSM HRTF STEREO-SURROUND RECORDING SYSTEMS WEBSITE: http://www.sonicstudios.com

Offline SunWizard

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Gender: Male
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2006, 01:54:24 PM »
1. Always newly format the flash 'IN THE DECK' BEFORE starting a new recording session.  Just deleting files leaves dis-continuous flash memory space that can 'trip-up' the deck's continuous recording ability. And formatting the flash in a computer's card reader doesn't always work for some very particular deck models.  So it's most wise to clear the memory completely IN THE DECK with the format command at the start of a new series of recordings. 

If this is a problem, its probably due to something in the deck's firmware design, not inherent to flash memory.  I write software for PocketPCs that goes on flash cards, and my 1000s of customers write,read and delete many files to flash every day, and never re-format in years with no problem.  I wonder if someone does have a 'trip-up' problem, how do they know that it is due to that they didn't format, versus some other problem?  I saw a thread about this on the microtracker, has anyone experienced problems on any other decks that they can say was because they didn't format?  I have never re-formatted my cards in my R-09 after about 100 different file creates/deletes of all sizes and have had no problems.

It would be good to start a list of cards known to be the 'type 2' burst mode cards since many are reporting problems with them in a wide variety of decks in many different threads.  When buying a card usually the specs just list speed, and not whether type1 or 2.  Although the problem with them appears to be a higher noise floor in some decks like the marantz, other decks report ticking sounds, or not working at all.  Here would be a good format to report problems that can be tracked to the card:
Card brand, card type (SD, CF), size (GBs), model (regular, ultra, etc.), speed if known(such as 150x), deck, problem type.

This would help us see if there other patterns showing up beyond the pattern we are already hearing about with the faster speed cards.
AT853 (CMC-4)>3wire batt.box or SP box >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3
C4 > D-mod UA-5 >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3

Offline SunWizard

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Gender: Male
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2006, 03:47:11 PM »
Type 1 and type 2 normally refers to the thickness of the CF card (3.3mm vs 5mm) so is probably the wrong term to determine if its a burst mode type card or not.  Testing and reporting the results here may be our only way to tell what cards work and don't.  Most manufacturers don't even report that.
AT853 (CMC-4)>3wire batt.box or SP box >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3
C4 > D-mod UA-5 >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3

Offline macdaddy

  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 7662
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2006, 04:29:23 PM »
here is a twenty page article on this very subject that was posted on /. yesterday...

http://www.trustedreviews.com/article.aspx?art=3173
-macdaddy ++

akg c422 > s42 > lunatec v2 > ad2k+ > roland r-44

Offline Chuck

  • Trade Count: (42)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 10712
  • Gender: Male
  • time between the notes...
    • My recordings on the LMA
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2006, 04:35:34 PM »
FWIW, the Kingston Elite CF cards some of us are using in the PMD671 are Type 1.
I have had excellent results with the 2GB and 4GB Kingston Elite CF cards.
I re-format everytime I use them.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Microphones: Microtech Gefell M300, AKG C 480 B comb-ULS/ CK 61/ CK 63, Sennheiser MKE 2 elements, CAD GXL1200 (cardioid and mod-cardioid capsule & electronics mod), Audix M1290-o, Micro capsule active cables w/ Naiant PFA's, Naiant MSH-1O, Naiant AKG Active cables, Church CA-11 (cardioid), (1) Nady SCM-1000 (mod)
Pre-amps: Naiant littlebox, Naiant littlekit v2.0, BM2p+ Edirol UA-5, Church STC-9000
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre-6, Tascam DR-680, iRiver iHP-120 (Rockboxed & RTC mod)

Recordings on the LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/ChuckM
Recording website & blog: http://www.timebetweenthenotes.com

Offline SunWizard

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Gender: Male
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2006, 04:50:49 PM »
I did some more research about this speed issue and found this interesting info here at this site http://www.gadgetspage.com/cameras/understanding-sd-flash-memory-card-speeds.html

Note that I haven’t recommended 133x cards for any camera. The SD card specification (version 1.0) is limited to 66x, so the 133x cards work in a “double speed” mode available in version 1.1 of the specification. At this writing, (9-21-05) no cameras take advantage of the full speed of these cards, but you may want to consider one anyway—there’s a good chance you’ll still have the card when you upgrade to the next camera.

Does this mean that any card over 66x is using burst mode (what he calls double speed mode)?  

Note that the extra speed is no help during recording since 16/44.1 is the standard that started the Xs and its 1x, at 24/48 uses ~ 300kB/s which equals only 2x, and  24/96 is 4x.  So the slowest cards you can buy today at 30-50x are well past the minimums needed.  The extra speed helps for transfer to your PC, but only if your card reader supports the faster speeds.  So the question is at what speed do the fast cards start to cause trouble?  Or is there some other spec we could look at to decide if a card will be trouble?
AT853 (CMC-4)>3wire batt.box or SP box >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3
C4 > D-mod UA-5 >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3

Offline SunWizard

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Gender: Male
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2006, 05:38:25 PM »
here is a twenty page article on this very subject that was posted on /. yesterday...
http://www.trustedreviews.com/article.aspx?art=3173

That article is geared towards what is the fastest which doesn't help us much for audio (may even be worse) but it does answer one of my questions.  The fastest CF cards (150x) will only transfer at less than 50x due to no readers working fast enough.  SD cards in general are faster, and the fastest SD cards only will transfer fast if you use the Lexar bundled SD reader, otherwise they transfer at about 60x, even with a 150x card.  Hopefully the readers will catch up in speed someday making the faster cards worth it, as long as they don't cause other recording troubles we that we are starting to hear.
AT853 (CMC-4)>3wire batt.box or SP box >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3
C4 > D-mod UA-5 >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3

Offline flintstone

  • Trade Count: (2)
  • Taperssection Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 766
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2006, 07:37:36 PM »
The typical "standard" flash card is rated at 40X to 50X, meaning it's capable of recording 6 million to 7.5 million bytes of data per second.  An audio recorder capturing two channels at 24/96 creates a data stream that is less that 0.6 million bytes of data per second, that's 10 times less data.  So I think a "standard" flash card is fine for a typical audio recorder.

If you plan to use your flash cards in a digital camera as well as an audio recorder, then you might want to spend more to purchase an "ultra" or "extreme" speed flash card.  The faster cards let you take more exposures per second, and might work better in the camera's movie mode.

A faster flash card does transfer data to a computer faster than a standard card, but the difference is not as great as the speed rating might lead you to believe.  A card rated around 40X or 50X can transfer data to a PC at 6MB to 8MB per second.  A card rated 133X or 150X transfers at 12MB to 15MB per second.   

Different cards work better or worse with different card readers, so check resources like Rob Galbraith's flash card test page at
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007-8462
to make the best choice of card reader.

Flintstone

Offline guysonic

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1366
  • WISDOM FOR ALL TIMES
    • Sonic Studios DSM Stereo-Surround Microphone Systems
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2006, 10:20:02 PM »
Type 1 and type 2 normally refers to the thickness of the CF card (3.3mm vs 5mm) so is probably the wrong term to determine if its a burst mode type card or not.  Testing and reporting the results here may be our only way to tell what cards work and don't.  Most manufacturers don't even report that.

Good points about card types, so no easy way to identify use of 'acceleration' schemes.  Maybe a card's lack of minimum sustained write speed specification is a better indication of using burst protocols that may not work well with all audio decks. 

By reading all the articles referenced so far, camera write and file-to-file transfer speeds in various readers is what has been well researched, not continuous real-time write ability typical of recording audio to flash. 

And it's becoming clearer that various audio decks, like the flash cards, use variations of controller protocol,  so NO WAY to generalize on what type of flash card will always work for specific audio recording purposes.  As suggested, only by testing individual deck models running in the low-to-high resolution modes with particular flash models can any conclusions be made on full compatibility. 

Audio recording to flash is relatively new, and unless deck makers get more responsible in flash testing for compatibility, we may need to continue to post personal experience with deck/flash card models to get a handle on what works reliably, and what combination is problematic.   

Suggest we start posting experiences including the following (needed) information:

1. deck model and firmware version
2. file type recorded (bit depth/sample rate of mp3/wave)
3. flash make/model and capacity
4. freshly formatted flash or not
5. type of audio input (analog or digital)

6. Does the card always work, or not?

Example:
My current experience is limited to MT deck model:
running version 1.2.3, and freshly formated 'regular' Toshiba CF 2-GIG card seemed to worked great for <24bit/48K analog input recording, but caused severe stuttering at higher definition rates.  MT v1.2.3 had trouble formatting (too slow?)Toshiba CF giving error in system memory capacity, but v1.4.0 seemed to solve reported formatting problems.

Regular Kodak 1-GIG CF seemed to do everything right regardless of audio file type or firmware version on this deck. 

Much experience with Sandisk Ultra II 8-GIG; seems quite reliable regardless of audio file type, after successful format.  Initial format failed as the deck would not recognize the card until a few boot and flash insertion cycles resolved some kind of conflict; using version 1.4.0. 

So far, I have not heard of anyone running at least MT deck having compability problems with Kodak or Ultra II flash. 

It would really be nice to have a list of NEVER A PROBLEM FOR AUDIO IN ANY MAKE/MODLE TYPE OF DECK list of flash memory products.

Maybe we should start a list with check boxes, or something like that, where (non-defective) make/models of flash could be polled to be trouble-free from virtually everyone's experience regardless of deck and audio file type?

Something like this:

Sandisk Ultra II; anyone had a problem?
YES             NO
ONCE      FEW TIMES      OFTEN      NEVER WORKED
DIGITAL       ANALOG  (input)
MP3           <24BIT/48k        >24BIT/48k  (check all that apply)
R-1     R-4     R-09    MT2496     SD702T   (partial list of deck models)

With tapers reporting experiences on the various models of decks and flash in an organized manner, it may not take too long on getting a handle on what's important to know for having flash work just as reliably as analog cassette, digital DAT, and the more recent hard disk decks.



"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

DSM HRTF STEREO-SURROUND RECORDING SYSTEMS WEBSITE: http://www.sonicstudios.com

Offline mmmatt

  • taping > photography
  • Trade Count: (3)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4178
  • Gender: Male
  • ... A broken angel sings from a guitar
    • LightCraft Photography
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2006, 10:50:25 PM »
I have an unmodded pmd660.  I use a 2gb Ridata 80x card.  It has been 100% reliable however it seems to increase self-noise and adds a "ticking " sound which is inaudible for a typical rock show recording but audible for quiter recordings. My only comparison is the stock lexar 64mb card that was included with my unit and that doesn't have the ticking but the self=noise is similar... maybe a bit better..
      I'm starting to believe that the card speed my be the culprit, and I'm waiting on Ridata to find me a 52x replacement to test.

Matt
I do think taping is the reality of the business..it is also an impetus for artists to create studio CDs that are ART, not just another recording...    Fareed Haque  2-4-2005




Canon 24-70 f2.8L, Canon 135 f2L, Canon 70-200 f4L, Canon 50 f1.8, > Canon 5D or Canon xt (digi) and Canon 1N (film)

Offline leehookem

  • Trade Count: (3)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4440
  • Gender: Male
    • Texas Tapers
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2006, 11:06:29 PM »
Oade ACM Marantz PMD-671 -  CF card SanDisk Ultra II 4.0 GB  24/96, 24/48, 16/44.1
Edirol R09 -  SD card SanDisk 1.0 GB  24/48, 16/44.1
               - SD card Transcend 4.0 GB 150x 24/48

« Last Edit: July 27, 2006, 11:55:25 AM by leehookem »
www.texastapers.org


AKG c480b ck61/ck63 > Tascam DR-70D
Oade ACM Marantz PMD-671
AKG ck61/63 > NBob Actives > Naiant PFA > Tascam DR-70D
Oade ACM Marantz PMD-671
Audiophile 2496 > Mytek Stereo96 DAC > Sony MDR-7506
Dual 1229 > Marantz 2270 > Kimber Kables > Cerwin Vega VS120

Canon Rebel XSi, EF 50 mm f/1.8, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Offline SunWizard

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Gender: Male
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2006, 12:19:18 AM »
R-09 2GB SD regular (blue) Sandisk 16/44.1 and 24/48 never re-format, no problems

One of these cards survived the accidental full cycle in the washing machine with no problems too  :P
AT853 (CMC-4)>3wire batt.box or SP box >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3
C4 > D-mod UA-5 >Edirol R-09 or iRiver H120 or JB3

Offline macdaddy

  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 7662
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2006, 08:11:01 AM »
for the record...

i have been using the sandisk sd cards to record reliably for well over a year...

i had horrible luck with a hitachi microdrive and a slower pda - they both were to blame, but the microdrive sucks battery life...
the sandisk 1 gig CF card worked flawlessly in the same setup (slower pda)

there was big discussion on the pen computing list a while back that talked about the sandisk being better for our purposes (recording) than the sandisk ultra ii (but it looks like leehookem has no trouble). _bob_ could fill you in on this more, but i just remember that is why i have always stuck with the sandisk 1gig and 2gig cards. i have had numerous problems in the field - we all have if you do this enough - but the root was never the sandisk cards...
-macdaddy ++

akg c422 > s42 > lunatec v2 > ad2k+ > roland r-44

Offline guysonic

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1366
  • WISDOM FOR ALL TIMES
    • Sonic Studios DSM Stereo-Surround Microphone Systems
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2006, 12:12:55 PM »
I have an unmodded pmd660.  I use a 2gb Ridata 80x card.  It has been 100% reliable however it seems to increase self-noise and adds a "ticking " sound which is inaudible for a typical rock show recording but audible for quiter recordings. My only comparison is the stock lexar 64mb card that was included with my unit and that doesn't have the ticking but the self=noise is similar... maybe a bit better..
      I'm starting to believe that the card speed my be the culprit, and I'm waiting on Ridata to find me a 52x replacement to test.

Matt

May take on this paricular problem is this deck's low level (mic preamplifier/line level into A/D) analog signal and power circuit paths are too sensitive and/or contaminated with digital circuitry power supply/signal noises that change character with the different types of flash cards.  This is the low level noise you always more or less hear when recording from the internal mic preamplifier.

Some flash draw more power at certain times while other makes of flash may operate more smoothly, not creating nearly as much or a different character of noise interference. 

Obviously the circuit paths in this deck are not refined enough to have reduced this interaction, and this is also a problem with the MT deck's switching power supply always leaking into the analog circuitry, regardless of flash model card being used. Most of this problem is careless designed PCB circuit component placement and signal/power supply trace paths.  And this is from engineering leaving the PCB design to 'draftsmen' who have no clue about trace path noise and noise source component coupling issues. 

This is not the fault of the PCB designer, but from the lack of engineering to complete the system design down to the board level where such problems are quite common especially with mic level (analog) signal processing coexisting with digital processing on the same board. 

"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

DSM HRTF STEREO-SURROUND RECORDING SYSTEMS WEBSITE: http://www.sonicstudios.com

Offline china_rider

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1968
  • Gender: Male
  • The center of the universe is not on this earth...
    • AZTapers
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2006, 12:54:26 PM »
I don't have a MT anymore but when I did... I ran a SanDisk Ultra II 8gig and a Kingston Elite 4gig both analog and digital @48k and 96k with no issues what so ever.
(#1) AKG C480b CK61,CK62,CK63,CK69 -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#2) BMod ADK A51TL -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#3) Sonic Studios DSM6SM -> Sonic Studios PA-3SX -> R-09

Offline gmm6797

  • Trade Count: (9)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 3447
  • Gender: Male
  • Schoeps MK4 > nBoxPlat > Sony M10/SD 722
    • Homepage
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2006, 09:36:46 PM »
Kingston Eleite 4gb CF type I
No problems
Formatted once (or twice)
Analog (input)
24bit/44.1k
R-1

Kingston Eleite 4gb CF type I
No problems
Formatted once (or twice)
Analog & Digital (input)
24bit/96k
MT

Delkin eFilm Pro 8gb CF type I (http://www.delkin.com/products/memorycards/cfpro/)
No problems
Formatted once (or twice)
Analog & Digital (input)
24bit/96k
MT

SimpleTech 8gb CF type II
No problems
Formatted once (or twice)
Analog (input)
24bit/44.1k
R-1


Offline Mike R.

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2006, 10:10:42 AM »
SanDisk 512 MB CF
No problems
format every now and then in the deck, usually just delete files from computer w/card reader
mic inputs
16bit/44.1KHz
AM PMD-660

SanDisk Ultra II 512 MB CF
No problems
format every now and then in the deck
mic inputs
16bit/44.1KHz
AM PMD-660

SanDisk Ultra II IGB CF
No problems
format every now and then in the deck
mic inputs
16bit/44.1KHz
AM PMD-660


I tried to use a CF card once that was formatted with a linux filesystem (ext3).  The 660 would not recognize it (no suprise) nor would it format it.  I had to format as vfat from the linux machine.


AE5100
AT3032  --> SD Mix-Pre --> PMD660
M-88TG

Offline JasonSobel

  • Trade Count: (8)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 3329
  • Gender: Male
    • My show list
Re: Choosing best flash for audio recording
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2006, 10:19:37 AM »
here are my experiences:

Sandisk Ultra II 4 GB CF
no problems
format in the deck before every show
S/PDIF input
24bit/48kHz & 24bit/96kHz
both M-Audio MicroTrack & Tascam HD-P2


PQI 100x 8 GB CF
no problems
format in the deck before every show
S/PDIF input
24bit/48kHz & 24bit/96kHz
Tascam HD-P2

 

RSS | Mobile
Page created in 0.295 seconds with 46 queries.
© 2002-2019 Taperssection.com
Powered by SMF