Recording - August 2016 - 22

B Y M I K E M E T L AY

Cymatic Audio uTrack24

Not too shabby unless you're recording
an all-day festival, in which case you
should have more than one drive formatted and ready to swap. You can always
set the uTrack24 for 16-bit audio and/or
fewer tracks if you wish.
One item of note: I avoided testing the
uTrack24 with traditional spinning hard
disks and stuck to external USB SSDs.

Painless multitrack recording at the gig or in the studio-without a DAW
Since the release of the LR-16
(reviewed August 2013), Cymatic
Audio's lineup of seamless live multitrack
recorders has grown to add more tracks,
more features, more connectivity, and
more convenience. This month, we're
taking a look at Cymatic Audio's flagship recorder, the uTrack24.
The uTrack24 can act as a 24-in/24-out
audio interface for Windows or macOS
computers if you want it to, but that's not
where its primary strengths lie. It's a 1U
rackmount box that provides a way to
record up to 24 tracks of 24-bit/44.1 kHz
audio (or 8 tracks of 24/96) to, and play
back stereo or multitrack audio projects
from, an external USB drive. Its front-panel
controls are designed to be large, easy to
see, easy to use, and foolproof. You can
export recordings to your DAW for further
editing, and import WAV files from your
DAW to serve as backing tracks, "virtual
sound check" audio, and more.
In this short review, we'll only scratch
the surface of everything the uTrack24
can do; you'll quickly see if it's the right
tool for your live recording jobs.
How do uTrack?
The rear panel of the uTrack24 has six
8-channel TASCAM-standard DB-25 connectors, providing 24 balanced line-level
inputs and outputs. It's intended to be
connected to the direct outs of an analog
or digital mixer for multitrack recording
(these are almost always prefader, so
your recording and the Front Of House
mix won't step on each other's toes), and
its outputs can feed a mixer's inputs for
full multitrack playback. Alternatively, you
can dial in a stereo monitor mix within
the uTrack24 itself and play it back on
speakers or through your mixing desk
(via rear-panel 1/4" outputs), or over
headphones (via a front-panel jack with
its own volume knob).
22

RECORDING AUGUST 2016

Also on the rear panel are connections for networking (RJ45 Ethernet to
make the uTrack24 part of a LAN),
Standard MIDI File output, word clock
sync on BNC, and audio interfacing
over USB 2.0. A blank panel in the
back can be removed to install an
expansion card for more connectivity
options; at present, you can get a 24channel ADAT optical I/O card, an
AudioLAN networking card, and a
MADI card.
The front panel is deliberately kept
simple and straightforward. Next to the
pots for Main Out and headphone volume, the headphone jack, and a 1/4"
footswitch jack for basic remote control,
there are five huge backlit can't-missthem buttons for transport, three function
buttons for menu movement, a large
push-click encoder, and a brightly lit
high-rez LCD for all functions.
Underneath the transport controls are a
set of 24 LEDs that glow green/yellow/
red for signal present/signal nominal/
overload for each channel. When a particular channel is selected for level or
monitor mix tweaking, the LEDs become
a 24-step horizontal level meter for that
channel.
Way over on the left, there's a USB
port for connecting an external drive.
Any hard disk, SSD, or USB thumb drive
will work, as long as it's fast enough to
handle the data flow (the uTrack24 will
warn you of problems when it formats
the drive).
How big a drive? Well, at a very
rough estimate, 24 tracks of 24/44.1
will fill a 120 GB SSD in around 10
hours of record time, and 8 tracks of
24/96 will fill it in roughly 14 hours.

Yes, they're very expensive, but you know
what? When one slips from your sweaty
fingers during a summer festival and hits
the concrete, you won't have lost any
data. Think about that. Hard. Please.
Getting set up
When you first unbox the uTrack24,
there's a bit of housekeeping to do, but
Cymatic Audio makes it easy. First, you
go to the Cymatic website and create a
user account for yourself; this gives you
access to software, Windows ASIO driver
downloads (it's CoreAudio compliant in
macOS and iOS), manuals, and firmware
updates. The latest firmware is a cinch to
install: you download a tiny file, put it on
a thumb drive, plug it into the uTrack24...
bang! Done. You can also update over a
LAN, but current firmware no longer
allows updates via USB.
There are two pieces of software that
you'll need to work with the uTrack24.
One is called uRemote; it runs on
macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android,
and provides a remote control surface
and meter bridge for the uTrack24 while
it's in use. You connect the Ethernet port
on the uTrack24 to a router that in turn
talks to your computer, tablet, or smartphone via wired or wireless connection;
the uRemote spots the uTrack24; and
you're up and running. While it's certainly possible to control the uTrack24
from the front panel, uRemote makes
everything easier, and offers a beautiful
graphic interface to boot.
The other utility you'll need is uTool, an
app for macOS and Windows that gives
you the ability to import and export audio
between the uTrack24's data drives and
your DAW, as well as build multitrack



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
Recording - August 2016 - 36
Recording - August 2016 - 37
Recording - August 2016 - 38
Recording - August 2016 - 39
Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
Recording - August 2016 - 45
Recording - August 2016 - 46
Recording - August 2016 - 47
Recording - August 2016 - 48
Recording - August 2016 - 49
Recording - August 2016 - 50
Recording - August 2016 - 51
Recording - August 2016 - 52
Recording - August 2016 - 53
Recording - August 2016 - 54
Recording - August 2016 - 55
Recording - August 2016 - 56
Recording - August 2016 - 57
Recording - August 2016 - 58
Recording - August 2016 - 59
Recording - August 2016 - 60
Recording - August 2016 - 61
Recording - August 2016 - 62
Recording - August 2016 - 63
Recording - August 2016 - 64
Recording - August 2016 - 65
Recording - August 2016 - 66
Recording - August 2016 - 67
Recording - August 2016 - 68
Recording - August 2016 - 69
Recording - August 2016 - 70
Recording - August 2016 - 71
Recording - August 2016 - 72
Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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