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Trak2 tips
Old 29th December 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Trak2 tips

Hi

One of my New Year's notions is to get up to speed on my Trak2.

I love it and use it all the time but feel I'm skimming the depths of what this claret and blue diamond can achieve.

1. I'm not sure I'm calibrated properly -dreadful admission, to my Pro Tools system. I have written to Apogee about this and they told me to stick to the factory default. I don't know if this was because they couldn't take another e-mail of me asking questions!

2. I read a post on the DUC that talked about using the Trak2 instead of a BTD, using the Apogee limiting and dither, coming back into the 24 bit session with a 16bit file, all in the digital domain. I wonder if I can perform that using the Digi AMBus card using the matrix? or would I need to use the AES/EBU connection? (I don't mind BTD but am keen to give the TRak2 new jobs.)

3. Also how do people find the soft saturate sound, I've stuck with the default vintage Apogee preset but had a listen through the other day to the other settings and felt very inspired by them and the range on offer.The limiting was very nice sounding too, I prefered it to the plug-in's I compared it to.
How do people find these options, do you use them much, for tracking, mixing, vox , guitars, drums?? Any comparisons to the Hedd tape emulating?

OK thanks in advance,
Old 29th December 2002
  #2
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Trak2 tips

Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
Hi



2. I read a post on the DUC that talked about using the Trak2 instead of a BTD, using the Apogee limiting and dither, coming back into the 24 bit session with a 16bit file, all in the digital domain. I wonder if I can perform that using the Digi AMBus card using the matrix? or would I need to use the AES/EBU connection? (I don't mind BTD but am keen to give the TRak2 new jobs.)

I'm pretty sure there has to be a way to insert the track 2 as a digital insert (configured as a digi interface using AMBUS card) on the master fader in your PT session ... thus sending it through the track 2 using dither / limiting from it while bouncing to disk.

I think that's the first option I would look at.
Old 17th January 2003
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Renie,

Concerning soft saturate, I've tried it several times on different
audio and I can't hear it! It must be very subtle. FOr the life of me
I can't hear anything even when I set it to Sqaurewavedave setting.

I love soft limit though . . . works great as a safety net preventing
overs when tracking vocals, and allows you to crank the record levels with less fear. I set mine to 6dbfs.

Concerning avoiding "Bounce to Disk" and using the Trak 2 instead, it's easy (and highly recommend) . But you'll need a cd burning program that recognizes SDII files (unless your PT sessions are set to record in some other format type, like WAV files). I use Toast with Jam because you can drag a right and left stereo interleaved pair of SDII files straight into the Jam window and happily recognizes them as a single stereo song.

So . . . When mixing, make a stereo print onto a stereo track in PT at 24 bits. You can do this by routing through the Apogee. Simply
assign the output of all your tracks and your master fader to a
optical stereo pair (I use optical 7-8).

Once you have a stereo track containing a 24 bit stereo mix, import it into a brand new 24 bit session. Assign the stereo mix track and the master fader to output optical 7-8. On the Apogee, turn
UV22HR ON for all channels and make sure it's set to 16 bits.

Create another stereo track with it's inputs set to optical 7-8,
MUTE it, and arm it to record. Name it something easy to recognize like "16mix".

Play the song and you should see levels on the armed track.
Your mix is being routed into the Apogee where it's being dithered, then back into the new track.

Don't worry about the fact that this is a 24 bibt session. Your dithered stereo mix is still 16 bits with the top 8 bits null.

Save and Quit.

Launch Jam and drag the pair of Left and Right SDII files for the
dithered 16 bit mix into the Jam window and it will show up as one song. Warning, do not change the name of these two files!
Otherwise Jam will see them as 2 different songs.

Burn away! . . . killer quality, you'll be amazed.

Clear as mud? . . . Let me know . . .


Pete
Old 19th January 2003
  #4
Bob
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Just got my Trak2 and setting up is somewhat of a let down.

Calibration resulted in about 1200 for the ad's and about 54000 for the da's. Does this sound like reasonable numbers?

I route the outputs of the Trak2 straight to my genelecs, with as result considerable sound coming out of them even when the volumeknobs are turned all the way down. I tried to recalibrate a few times but got more or less the same results (this is also strange - why more or less - there were easily differences of 100-1000 for the da). I then decided to manually lower the settings of channels 1 and 2. This is painstaking if you're coming from 54000 because there is no way to let the dial speed up. Anyway, when I got below 50000, for the right channel the most strange thing happened. The right genelec became considerably louder! I then verified that actually this happened quite discontinuously, i.e. moving the dial from say 49999 to 49998 it suddenly jumped up in volume (and again that is with the volume knobs on the genelecs turned completely off). Obviously I stopped what I was doing, waited a few moments, shut down everything, waited a little, started everything up again and tried to re-autocalibrate the dac. Now, either it would not react, when pushing the dial that is, or when finally it did react all it did was freeze with a continuous sinetone (something like 1kHz it seemed) coming out of the left channel. All I could do was shut down the unit and start it up again.

By the way starting the unit up also is a problem, it sometimes needs two or three restarts because it hangs: it stops the startup process with one light on the meters and the startupscreen "trak2".

I then decided to reset the trak2. When it started again, the calibration settings were different, 2560 for ad and 10338 for da (factory settings I guess). So I thought to listen to this, it seemed to me that this should give less gain on the outputs. But no, if anything that seemed even a little louder. So what exactly does this scale with numbers in the tenthousands mean, what does it stand for, from where to where does it go, up or down?

Again I tried to auto-calibrate the dac, again more or less the same: 3-4 times patiently pushing the dial, ne reaction, but then finally a beep and that was all, not a sinetone this time, just a beep. When I went to look at the calibration in the advanced menu, now it was up to 65000, but no meters had been wiping up and down as it says in the manual and as it had done the first times I calibrated the unit. So this simply didn't seem to work properly anymore. I listened again and to my surprise this made no perceptable difference to the level, 65000 or 10338, it is all more or less the same as far as output levels are concerned. So am I interpreting this all wrong?

Next day I tried from scratch. Hang up when starting, several pushes on the dial required for the da calibration but then it worked. Same results as before (more or less).

Have I got a bad egg?

Thanks for any advice, cheers, Bob.
Old 19th January 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Bob

It'd be useful to hear from Apogee on this.
As I said I never managed to get to the bottom of calibrating the machine 100% satisfactorily either but it does work fine on my system. The headphones are noisey but that's the extent of my 'issues' with it.
Certainly no hanging and mismatched levels. That sounds faulty.
Have you tried the latest software update for it from Apogee? Also have you contacted Apogee directly they are pretty prompt at responding I found.

Please report back as you get it resolved.

Cheers

Renie
Old 21st January 2003
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Bob,

Concerning the volume issue coming out of the Trak 2 D to A card into your Genelecs . . .

You're absolutely right, the volume tends to be extremely loud.
This is normal . . . it's not a malfunction. I had the same thing routing into my Mackie HR824's. I spoke with Apogee and they told me I needed to route the audio out of the D to A card into
some kind of volume control.

So . . . I built a passive volume knob which works perfectly and
doesn't color my mix, because its passive and it's super easy to
to make.
There are several products which offer a volume control for studios, (other than the obvious choice of a mixer).
Check out www.colemanaudio.com

Concerning the calibration issues . . .
I never worried about this ever since I got my Trak 2.
I left everything at factory default and have always gotten amazing results and no problems. I just dial in the mic pre as needed, and make sure the clock and dither settings are correct.
I might suggest not sweating the detailed calibration.
I don't think your going to see any audio improvement from it in this case.

Concerning the display hanging during boot up . . . this is not good. I have never had this issue. My Trak 2 always boots right up. Check your firmware version on the Trak 2 and compare it with Apogee's website and make sure you have the latest firmware.
You may need to call Apogee on this.

Good luck . . .

Pete
Old 21st January 2003
  #7
Bob
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Pete,

Thanks a lot for your informative reply. You've taken some of the worries of my mind. Concerning the hanging at boot up: do you think it could have something to do with the order in which I switch on my setup? The way I do it is as follows: expansion chassis, external firewire harddrives, Trak2, 1622, 882, Mac. The Trak2 clocks the 1622 and 882 in that order. I used to start up in that order when the 1622 was the first converter and never had a problem. Also an apogee rep told me I should trash my digi setup file in order for protools to recognize the Trak2, however it recognizes it alright, so I never did that.

Cheers, Bob.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Bob,

You raise a very good point, I have found that I need to turn on
my Trak 2 first before anything else, especially the Mac. Otherwise
it locks up channel 1 on the Trak 2 (weird).

I definitely recommend turning the Trak 2 on first, then the other stuff.
Old 7th February 2004
  #9
Gear Nut
 
SoundCampaign's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I know this is an old topic but are there any more tips out there using your Trak2...I've learned so much just from this post alone...Just wondering if you have anything else new since this post a year ago...Peace!
Old 7th February 2004
  #10
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had a trak 2 a while back and I couldn't hear the effect of the soft saturate at all either. I'm sure my ears aren't golden, but I'm not deaf and imo if I can't even hear the effect of a feature on a piece of gear, I'd rather the mfr not even mention it so I don't torture myself trying to figure out why it's inaudible. I felt like that aspect of the Trak 2 was a marketing gimmick.

cheers,
Steve
Old 7th February 2004
  #11
Lives for gear
 
heinz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Weaver
You're absolutely right, the volume tends to be extremely loud.
This is normal . . . it's not a malfunction. I had the same thing routing into my Mackie HR824's. I spoke with Apogee and they told me I needed to route the audio out of the D to A card into
some kind of volume control.
Gah this can't be right. In my experience it works like this (old thread I know but maybe it helps somebody).

The A/D & D/A calibration on the Trak2 are driven in two ways that I remember. First the whole rig is driven by the master setup (system analog reference) where you choose either +4dBu or -10dBu operation. Once this is done, calibration of A/D is done by inputting the 1k test signal (as per the manual instructions) and running the calibrate routine from the A/D setup. This signal needs to come from a source external to the Trak2 at the correct level (I forget but it's in the manual).

Lastly, you auto calibrate the D/A's and you'll get trim values within the correct range for your master mode of operation (+4 or -10). Ok so it's wonky you'll get minor variations in the values and you can easily dial them to the same setting and measure it on the receiving end. But in +4 mode you should see D/A trim values in the low thousands and in -10 mode you'll get readings like 50k as in TOO LOUD if you're running a +4 setup.

Once you have the whole enchillada dialed in you need to SAVE your entire setup to a new preset, so if things get wacked you can easily reset everything. Once I had it locked down I could safely run D/A monitoring, etc.. without fear of wacked levels.

I could be wrong but this is how I got it to behave predictably on levels, etc..
Old 7th February 2004
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Guys

I'm upgraded to HD and will have another unit connected to the cards, either new gen apogee or a 192 I/O, i need more in's than the 2 on the Trak2 anyway.

I suspect(?) the clock on the 192 or new apogee will be better than the trak2, and I think i can use the mic pre anyway, independently.

Will i be able to connect up the Trak to to use the extra analogue in's 2 in (plus the send/return) and 8 out, if so, should i connect via the legacy port (limited to 48 k) or could i use the AES/EBU and carry clock down that too?

Thanks a lot for any help!

R
Old 7th February 2004
  #13
Gear Nut
 
SoundCampaign's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I agree in a way that the soft saturate is hard to hear but I have heard it working when I slam a level to the mic pre...It has that tape saturation effect but not anything extreme...They really should have made it more of a drastic effect but oh well, what can you say....
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