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Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

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Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby pr660 » Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:10 pm

Used these back in the the 1990s, then switched to the HD24---So I know the ins & outs.
Been out of the recording loop since 2002- -then Purchased a s/h LX20 in 2014 to record my church band with no issues. I then relocated and the unit has been in storage since 2016.

Plugged it in, fired her up and it does every thing BUT record. The RED play & record lights blink when pressed instead of staying lit and recording.

Please help!

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby Kwackman » Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:55 pm

pr660 wrote:Used these back in the the 1990s, then switched to the HD24---So I know the ins & outs.
Been out of the recording loop since 2002- -then Purchased a s/h LX20 in 2014 to record my church band with no issues. I then relocated and the unit has been in storage since 2016.

Plugged it in, fired her up and it does every thing BUT record. The RED play & record lights blink when pressed instead of staying lit and recording.

Please help!

Thanks in advance!

Are there track arm buttons that need turned on?
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby James Perrett » Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:06 pm

Is the tape record protected (is the tab missing on the back)? Is the tape formatted?
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby pr660 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:59 am

I have armed the tracks during "record." Have also examined all tapes and they are not record protected.

I have also formatted all the tapes...
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:27 am

Can you see input audio on the meters? I'm wondering if it's set up to record a digital input, but not receiving one!
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby Dave B » Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:19 pm

Asking the obvious question here : have you checked the manual?

I did a quick google for "adat lx20 record lights flashing" and the first hit was the reference manual. This says that the track arming lights will blink, then holding down Record, hit Play and the unit should start up recording.

This is just a single unit - yes? Not additional machines sync'd together or BRC?

If you could talk us through the exact sequence of steps you use, maybe we can spot a gap? It's not uncommon to forget a step when doing something this old... I know I've had my share of 'oops' moments.

TBH, even if you get this working, I'd be tempted to move to a different recording system. Eight channels of recording is so cheap these days and there are a bunch of ways of skinning this kind of cat. And Adats had a reputation for being unreliable - partly as Alesis didn't like people servicing the units themselves, so it was not uncommon to see studios with 'spare' machines as ones went off to be fixed...
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:53 pm

Not the exact problem you seem to have here but with this sort of gear, important to attend to very basic things like making sure the tape path is clean. But cleaning a VCR tape path manually (ie: properly rather than just loading a cleaning tape) is also not necessarily something for amateurs. Damage can be done.

Also I believe these machines must use special S-VHS blank tapes. Not too easy to find these days. I just bought one new old stock S-VHS tape last week merely for testing S-VHS decks when they come in for repair. Cost about $40 AUD.

I agree with Dave. Far better recording gear available these days.
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jun 05, 2021 1:49 pm

Does the sample rate and bit depth match the formatting of the tape? After formatting a tape I always labelled it with the sample rate and bit depth.
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby forumuser840717 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:16 pm

It might be an odd question but does the tape run while the lights are flashing? And, if so, when you play back and use the fast cue functions do you hear anything?

I had a problem with an ADAT machine which did the flashing rec and play lights thing and appeared to be doing nothing but had actually recorded audio that wasn't audible in Play but could be heard when cueing. It's a long time ago and I don't remember what the fix was - the machines were hired so I may have just returned it and got another one - but I might have a note about it somewhere.

More obvious question - have you tried re-setting the machine? (Hold down Rec and Play as you power up to do a system re-set.)

Also, does it play back an already recorded tape?
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby pr660 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:35 pm

Thanks everybody, for chiming in.

1) The track arm lights blink after being armed.

2) When record and play are pressed, both lights continue to blink, and the counter begins advancing. ALSO, when play alone is pressed, the light keeps blinking, but the counter advances

3) The tapes are not new, but I have re-formatted them on this machine.

4) I don't know if it plays back, all my old tapes were from my black face machines.

5) I have done the "play - record" while powering reset.

Hoping this answers all your questions...
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:11 pm

Can you put up a video (or even a still) showing us the the display? Do you see any signal on the meters?
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby pr660 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:36 pm

https://youtu.be/Jx_eiQho-Qs

In the video, I;m tapping a condenser mic to generate input signal...
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby Kwackman » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:38 pm


"Video unavailable- This video is private".
Can you make it public

[EDIT] It's working now. :thumbup:
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:52 am

At this point I'd maybe try playing back an old tape. The XT20 should play tapes from an original Blackface ADAT with no problems.

The lights usually flash like this when the machine is syncing up to another - I wonder if it thinks it is out of sync for some reason?
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Re: Alesis ADAT Record Help Needed

Postby forumuser840717 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:34 am

forumuser840717 wrote:... when you play back and use the fast cue functions do you hear anything?

...have you tried re-setting the machine? (Hold down Rec and Play as you power up to do a system re-set.)

Also, does it play back an already recorded tape?

The first question above refers to trying to fast cue what might have been recorded after the machine has been in record with the rec and play lights flashing and the counter running. Sometimes, if there's a sync problem somewhere, the machine might record audio and be unable to play it backdue to sync issues in record and/or play but using the fast forward or rewind cue modes produces an output because the system isn't trying fully to lock to the sync data on the tape when cueing. Trying a known good tape recorded on another machine might help to indicate whether the problem is in record or playback, or something else all together

When you say
Have also examined all tapes and they are not record protected.

I have also formatted all the tapes...

Are you using one LX20 stand alone and trying different tapes or is it part of a multi machine system?

In your video, the "LOCKED" indicator in the display isn't lit. I don't know about the LX20 but, iirr, on the original ADAT, this lit up when the machine was correctly sync'ed as part of a master/slave setup or, in stand alone mode, when the machine was happy, everything was properly synced up internally, and the transport was working properly. But it's a long time since I used an ADAT and I might well be remembering that wrongly. And it might be different on an LX20.

And, I just noticed, where is the button for "LOCATE 3" (which also selects the Auto Record Out point)? There appears to be a hole where the button should be!

Do you have a remote (or anything else) plugged in to the sync sockets (or anything plugged into the MIDI sockets)?

What are the drum (head) hours on the machine? (Hold down SET LOCATE and press STOP and the timer will display the drum hours.)

Have you tried using the error rate display mode to see what kind of error rates are you getting?

What type of S-VHS tape are you using?

Before the machine was stored, was it used with others in a master/slave setup or with something like a BRC? (Wondering whether it's somehow 'stuck' in slave mode.)

At the moment, my guesses are that either it's having trouble locking to the sync/subcode data on the tape (maybe due to a problem with the tape itself or head dirt/wear, or possibly a mechanical or servo issue with the transport maybe due to ageing lubricants getting a bit sticky, or dirt, or even corrosion, somewhere in the transport, or a problem with one of the transport control sensors), or it has some kind of clocking issue, or it's confused/crashed and thinks it's in some kind of rehearsal mode, or is half trying to sync to something else and can't decide whether it's a slave or master, or has decided that it's not correctly locked to a sync signal, either on tape or an external port. It'd be nice to narrow down some of those many possibilities. Hence asking whether the machine has at least been re-set.

The machine appears to be in far from mint condition. Are you sure that it's clean internally and that the front panel buttons (the ones that are present!) are all working properly and are clean and without any interesting additions picked up in storage like water damage, or dead rats trapped under them?
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