The ADAT format, despite its downfalls, has been a proven mainstay in the audio industry for nearly a decade. Studer knows tape machines. The company has been manufacturing some of the world’s finest multitracks for quite some time. Studer knows engineers, it knows producers and it knows studios.
Product PointsApplications: Commercial recording; post production
Key Features: Plentiful connections; optical I/O ports; AES/EBU jacks; 9-pin cable
Price: starts at $8,500
Contact: Studer at 408-542-8884
+ Durable transport
+ Sounds great
+ Backward compatible
+ Built-in 9×1 mixer
+ AES in and out (as well as light pipe)
The Score: For a studio or individual desiring a truly professional version of the ADAT, the Studer V-Eight Digital Eight-Channel Recorder should be a major consideration.
When it came time to enter the ADAT compatibility market Studer knew just what features to pack into the V-Eight recorder and its powerful remote control known as the Cockpit.
The rear panel of the V-Eight has more connectors than imaginable. Eighteen XLR connectors (nine male and nine female) provide +4 dBu balanced analog inputs and outputs for tracks 1 through 8 and the auxiliary track. Tracks 1 through 8 can also be accessed via the ELCO multipin connector, which uses standard ADAT wiring.
All XLR connectors are wired pin-2 hot and are in parallel with the ELCO connector. Each of the 18 XLR connectors is equipped with a trimpot that permits alignment of the corresponding channel from +6 Bu to +26 dBu.
Digital input and output are accessed through either the optical input and output ports or through the AES/EBU jacks if the unit is equipped with the AES option. The optical inputs and outputs are TOSlink industry-standard interfaces that carry eight digital audio channels with up to 24 bits of resolution. The eight AES/EBU inputs and outputs (four of each) are transformer-balanced/floating. They each carry two channels of digital audio.
The 1/4″ punch I/O jack lets the user punch in and out with a footswitch. The 1/4″ LRC remote jack allows the user to operate the V-Eight with the Alesis LRC remote.
Male and female XLR connectors provide the user with timecode out and in, respectively. Timecode output provides a timecode reference to an external device and timecode input lets the V-Eight chase an external device.
Word clock in and out are accessed via two BNC connectors. Using the V-Eight as a master clock source or letting it input clock from another source allows the synchronizing of the audio datastream for multiple digital sources.
Sync in and sync out use the ADAT standard 9-pin cable to synchronize multiple units, either V-Eights or any other ADAT-compatible machine. The V-Eight’s monitor section allows the eight audio channels to be mixed from the front panel.
The unit is equipped with a return input (female XLR) that accepts a balanced line signal from another V-Eight, a monitor output (male XLR) that contains the mix of the eight tracks as determined by the front-panel mixer and a send output (male XLR) that combines the return input with the front panel’s mix of the eight tracks. This excellent feature allows monitoring during location recording without the use of an additional mixer.
In addition, the rear panel of the V-Eight has video in and video out, which lets it accept composite video and blackburst video inputs. It has RS-422 that permits control by a video editor or any other controller supporting Sony 9-pin protocol. It has a meter out connector (RJ-45 type) that connects the V-Eight to the Cockpit and/or an optional remote level display (RLD).
The front panel of the V-Eight is equipped with a selection of features including an extensive display that boasts two sets of 10-character, seven-segment readouts. One readout shows the current tape location and the other shows a variety of information such as the locate address, the current offset, SMPTE time, etc. There is also a 24-character alpha-numeric display above the two seven-segment readouts. This display shows pre- and post-roll times, pitch value, edit locate points, etc.
Nine function keys provide the user with quick access to the most commonly accessed functions. Five transport keys, three locate keys, a 15-key numeric keypad, 17 editing keys, 22 track-enable and track-record keys, six routing, source selection and metering keys, multiple indication lights, make the user feel comfortable even without the Cockpit.
The V-Eight is very powerful, yet is still extremely user-friendly both with and without the Cockpit. The machine is equipped with a direct-drive full-servo S-VHS transport. For the end user, direct-drive means no tires to wear out. Panasonic designed and built the transport to withstand continuous shuttling and heavy-duty professional use.
The A/D and D/A converters are 24-bit and the user can select either 16-bit standard ADAT Type I or 20-bit ADAT Type II wordlength. The only reason you would select Type I recording would be to retain compatibility with an older 16-bit machine. The user can also select sampling rate at either 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz.
The Cockpit is designed to control any combination of up to eight ADAT compatibles. A dedicated button allows each of the machines to be toggled between online and offline.
My vintage black-face ADAT flawlessly chased the V-Eight at the same snail’s pace that it chases any other black-face ADAT. I wish I could have had several V-Eights to see how effective multiple machines operate. Unfortunately, Studer is back-ordered on the units and was only able to ship me a single V-Eight and Cockpit. Every indication led me to believe that multiple Studers would operate much better than any other previous version of ADAT-compatible machines. The Studer V-Eight feels like a solid machine, the real thing.
I recorded identical stereo material onto the V-Eight, a black-face ADAT, a TASCAMDA-88 and a Pro Tools 24 system. The V-Eight sounded fantastic, every bit as good as the Pro Tools 24 system and significantly better than the black-face ADAT and the DA-88.
This was my first time working within the ADAT realm that I actually felt like I was in a professional environment. If you are committed to the ADAT format and money is not a restrictive factor, then a system of three V-Eight machines, the Cockpit remote controller (a.k.a V-Twenty Four), all necessary cables and a rolling rack runs $31,400.
The ADAT medium has proved that it is here to stay and the Studer V-Eight has shown that an ADAT-based studio can still retain sonic integrity. Its compatibility with all other ADAT formats (Alesis ADAT, ADAT XT, LX20, M20, and XT20; Fostex RD-8 and CX-8; and Panasonic MDA-1) makes it a welcome addition to any recording studio.