Rane RC 24A Manual
OPERATING / SERVICE MANUAL
RC 24A
PAQRAT RECORDING CONVERTER
DESCRIPTION
The RC 24A (or “PAQRAT”) allows you to record and play back stereo digital audio signals with up to 24 bits of
resolution using your Alesis ADAT modular digital multitrack.
The RC 24A accomplishes this task by converting the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) stereo 24-bit digital audio source signal to
four 16-bit channels compatible with Alesis’s proprietary “ADAT Optical” interface. The RC 24A simultaneously writes
these signals onto the ADAT and reads them back off again. Controls on the front panel allow you to assign these four
channels to tracks 1-4, 5-8, or 1-8 (two identical groups of four tracks) on the ADAT. The odd tracks carry the upper 16
bits of the original digital audio signal, and the even tracks carry the lower eight bits plus a -20dB reference tone.
Note: Although it is nearly impossible to achieve better than 20-bit performance from today’s A/D converters, we refer
to the high resolution inputs and outputs to/from the PAQRAT as 24-bit anyway, just to simplify things. You can interface
any AES/EBU or SPDIF signal to the input and output of the PAQRAT from 16 to 24 bits.
SETUP & OPERATION
1. Connect one of the supplied fiber optic cables between the digital output connector on your ADAT and the DIGITAL
INPUT connector on the RC-24A.
2. Connect one of the supplied fiber optic cables between the digital input connector on your ADAT and the DIGITAL
OUTPUT connector on the RC-24A.
3. Connect a stereo digital audio source signal (up to 24-bit) to the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) INPUT on the rear of the RC-24A.
Set the INPUT SELECT switch to AES/EBU or SPDIF for the appropriate input.
4. Connect the AES/EBU OUTPUT on the rear of the RC-24A to whatever is receiving the 24-bit digital audio signal during
playback (and monitoring).
5. Connect the supplied Rane RS-1 remote power supply to the red POWER jack on the rear of RC-24A.
6. Make sure the ADAT is plugged in and turned on.
7. Press the DIGITAL IN button on the ADAT to select the ADAT OPTICAL interface as the audio signal source.
8. Press the RECORD TRACK ASSIGN and PLAYBACK TRACK ASSSIGN buttons on the RC-24A to select tracks 1-4, 5-8,
or 1-8 (record only). Arm the corresponding tracks on the ADAT for recording.
9. Record and play back tracks on the ADAT as normal, using the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) Input and Output on the RC-24A as
the source and destination for the 24-bit digital audio signal.
FRONT PANEL DESCRIPTION
1. POWER LED. When dim, this LED indicates that you forgot to plug in the RC-24A.
2. SYNC LED. Indicates that a suitable AES/EBU (or SPDIF) sync source is plugged in. If this LED is not lit, the RC-24A is
not receiving signal from a source. Check the INPUT SELECT switch to make sure the proper input is selected.
3. TRANSPORT PRESENT LED . When lit, this LED indicates that an ADAT is connected to the RC-24A via the fiber optic
interface.
4. RECORD TRACK ASSIGN BUTTON . This push button switch lets you select which four tracks of the ADAT are
recorded with the stereo 24-bit digital audio source signal. An LED indicates whether you are recording onto tracks 1-4 or
5-8.
5. RECORD TRACK ASSIGN “BOTH” BUTTON . This push button selects all 8 tracks for recording, no matter what the
state of the RECORD TRACK ASSIGN BUTTON (previous section) is. Tracks 1-4 are identical to tracks 5-8. Use this
option when you are archiving a stereo master, and wish to create a redundant copy on the same tape.
6. PLAYBACK TRACK ASSIGN BUTTON . This push button switch lets you select which four tracks of the ADAT are
converted back to 24-bit digital audio, and transmitted out the AES/EBU OUTPUT. An LED indicates whether you are
playing tracks 1-4 or 5-8.
7. SAMPLE RATE LEDS. These LEDs indicate the sample rate of the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) source (sync) input (44.1kHz or
48kHz).
8. SOURCE WORD LENGTH LEDS . These LEDs indicate the word length (in bits) of the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) source
(sync) input.
9. 16-BIT DITHERED OUTPUT ENGAGE SWITCH. This switch engages 16-bit dithering and truncation on the AES/
EBU OUTPUT. Dither should be engaged when the AES/EBU OUTPUT is feeding a device that truncates the signal to 16
bits (e.g. DAT recorder, digital signal processors, and so on).
REAR PANEL DESCRIPTION
1. AES/EBU OUTPUT. The AES/EBU OUTPUT transmits digital audio conforming to the AES/EBU standard. Digital audio
exiting this Output is identical to the original digital audio fed to the AES/EBU (or SPDIF) INPUT and recorded onto the
ADAT. This Output is typically connected to a D/A converter, hard disk recorder or a CD mastering system. The AES/EBU
OUTPUT follows international conventions, with pin 2 hot, pin 3 negative, and pin 1 tied to chassis ground.
2. AES/EBU INPUT. The AES/EBU INPUT follows the AES/EBU standard. Like the AES/EBU OUTPUT connector, pin 2 is
hot, and pin 3 is not. This Input is typically connected to a digital audio source, such as an A/D convertor or the output of a
digital mixer.
3. SPDIF INPUT. The SPDIF INPUT is just like the AES/EBU INPUT, except data received here receives digital audio
formatted with the consumer “Sony Philips Digital Interface Format”.
4. INPUT SELECT SWITCH. This switch allows you to select the desired Input (SPDIF or AES/EBU). Another way of
putting it is: you must select the proper Input (the one you plugged a cable into).
5. ADAT OPTICAL INTERFACE. This interface connects the RC-24A to a device equipped with the ADAT OPTICAL
INTERFACE (e.g. Alesis ADAT or Fostex RD-8). Use only Rane part #280-101 fiber optic cables.
6. POWER INPUT. Plug the external power supply into this connector. Caution: Never connect anything except the Rane
RS 1 AC power supply (enclosed with the unit) to the thing that looks like a red telephone jack on the rear of the RC-24A.
This is a low-voltage AC power input, and connecting it to telephones, computer keyboards, or other devices will result in
unpredictable, and potentially catastrophic, results. If you want to destroy your RC-24A, we suggest wiring it to the output
of a power amplifier, or dropping it out of an airplane.
IMPORTANT NOTE
FCC & VDE NOTICE
This equipment has been tested and found to comply
with the limits for a Class A digital device, pursuant to
Part 15 of the FCC Rules, and similar requirements found
in European specifications VDE 0871/0875. These limits
are designed to provide reasonable protection against
harmful interference when the equipment is operated in a
commercial environment. This equipment generates, uses,
and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not
installed and used in accordance with the instruction
manual, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. Operation of this equipment in residential area
is likely to cause harmful interference in which case the
user will be required to correct the interference at their
own expense. USE OF SHIELDED DIGITAL CABLES
IS REQUIRED FOR FCC COMPLIANCE.
OPERATING NOTES
By Roger Nichols
Mixing to PAQRAT. The first time I used the PAQRAT
was to store 20-bit mixes of Walter Becker’s solo album. In
mastering, more than once, a drop-out on the optical disk
made us scramble for the PAQRAT encoded tape to save the
day. If you are printing your mixes to PAQRAT and DAT,
connect the DAT machine on the output of the PAQRAT and
engage OUTPUT DITHER on the PAQRAT front panel. This
way you will get the benefit of 16-bit dithering for DAT
storage. If the DAT machine is connected directly to the 20bit data, the 16 bits stored on the DAT will be truncated,
resulting in lower fidelity.
Hard Disk Audio. If you perform DSP operations on hard
disk (if the hard disk contains digital audio, should the
spelling of disc end in a “C” instead of a “K”?) files, the
highest fidelity would be realized if the resultant file was
stored as a 24-bit file. If multiple DSP operations are to be
performed, such as noise reduction on one pass, limiting on
another pass, EQ on another pass, and then finally digitally
mixed with another audio file, then all of the processing
should be done in the 24-bit mode. The resultant audio file
then needs to be converted to 16-bit only once, and the nasty
artifacts are kept to a minimum. The 24-bit files can be
backed up through a PAQRAT to maintain the highest quality
in the audio data.
Mastering with PAQRAT. When mastering a project that
was mixed 16-bit, use the PAQRAT to make an EQ safety.
The output from digital mastering consoles is usually 24-bit
(the 24-bits is generated by the math used to perform digital
EQ, limiting, compression and level changes). If the EQ tape
is only 16-bit, the noise floor increases because of the
rounded off math.
Selecting Both. When using the PAQRAT to store two
channel mixes, select “BOTH” for the RECORD TRACK
ASSIGN. This provides you with an added level of redundancy. The audio data is recorded twice. If for some reason
you were to encounter a drop out on the primary tracks, then
it may be possible to retrieve the data from the other set of
tracks by switching the PLAYBACK TRACK ASSIGN to the
other set of tracks. This method lets you think of the eight
track as a giant DAT machine with built-in redundancy.
RC 24A AND ALESIS ADAT SYSTEM CONNECTION
©Rane Corporation 10802 47th Avenue West, Mukilteo WA 98275-5098 TEL(206) 355-6000 FAX(206) 347-7757
Printed in the U.S.A. on Recycled Paper
All features & specifications subject to change without notice. 520-388 MAY95
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