Sunday, April 1, 2012

Using the modified Roland VS-2400CD recorder : part 2

Last year, I wrote a blog post detailing how to do a hardware modification to the Roland VS-2400CD to add an eSATA port and and breathe new life into it.

I promised a follow-up post about how to take advantage of the modification to transfer projects to your PC. This post is long overdue.

Background information

The VS-2400CD uses a FAT32 file system on the hard disk. There are several major limitations to keep in mind :
  1. The VS-2400CD maximum hard drive size is 120GB . Larger drives can be used, but the VS-2400CD cannot see anything above 120GB.
  2. The VS-2400CD maximum partition size is 10GB. On the standard 40GB hard drive, this means there will be 4 partitions. On a drive of 120GB or more, there will be 12 partitions
  3. The original PC had a limit of a 4 primary partitions per hard disk. This still persists today. For this reason, only the first 4 partitions on your VS-2400CD can be directly seen by your operating system when you attach the VS-2400CD hard drive to the PC.
Since you have taken advantage of the eSATA hardware modification, you likely now have a larger drive than the original 40GB that came with your VS-2400CD, and thus you will have to use special software see the partitions beyond the 4th on your computer.


The only program I know that does this is called VS Wave Export, and runs on Windows.

Initial computer setup under Windows 7

  1. download VS Wave Export
  2. since there is no installer, you will need to unzip it to a folder of your choice
  3. create a shortcut on your desktop to the executable 
  4. edit the shortcut properties, and enable the option to "Run this program as an administrator" . If you forget this step, VS Wave export will not see your VS-2400CD hard drive 
  5. in the Control panel, search for "partition" and click "create and format hard disk partitions"
  6. make sure your VS-2400CD and the disk enclosures are both turned off.
  7. connect the disk enclosure that contains your VS-2400CD hard drive to the PC via USB .
  8. turn on the disk enclosure
  9. you may get prompted 4 times to "autoplay" the content of VS partitions . Don't do it - just stop the autoplay.
  10. the disk will show up in the "Disk Management" screen . It will look something like this :
  11. Click button 2 (Right-click) on the first VS-2400CD partition, and select "Change drive letter and paths"
  12. Click "Remove" and confirm
  13. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for the other three VS-2400CD partitions. This ensures that the operating system is not accessing the drive, and thus will make it available to VS Wave Export.
  14. You can now close the disk manager

Using VS Wave Export to export your projects to WAV files

  1. If your VS-2400CD is on, turn it off
  2. connect the disk enclosure that contains your VS-2400CD hard drive to the PC via USB .
  3. turn on the disk enclosure.
  4. Run VS Wave Export from your desktop shortcut. You should get prompted to run it as administrator. You must accept.
  5. You will now see something like this :
  6. The above shows all 11 partitions on my VS-2400CD hard drive
  7. Click the + on one or more partitions. It will show the projects on those partitions :
  8.  click the project to export
  9. select the tracks you want to export in the matrix on the right. There are up to 384 V-tracks. In most cases, just select "All". The selected tracks will be highlighted in red
  10. if you want only part of the timeline, select specific start/end times.
  11. click the folder to select the destination for your WAV files
  12. click "export" and wait
  13. That's it ! You should now have a bunch of WAV files for all your tracks.
  14. Each of the WAV file is mono and uncompressed. The files are named
    $project name" "$sampling_rate"_"$track"-"$vtrack"_"$trackname
    In my case, the track names are each of the 9 microphones I use.

The above method is what I use primarily now as I just use the VS-2400CD to record. I do all my mixing and editing on the PC, which is much faster with Reaper. I never feed any data back from the PC to the VS-2400CD. If your workflow is like mine, you may never need to do anything else.

However, there may be some times during which you will want to backup the actual VS-2400CD projects to your computer, and later restore them. One such occasion would be for example if you want to change change your VS-2400CD hard drive. I did this today - I upgraded from a loud WD 160GB hard drive to a whisper quiet 64GB Patriot SSD.

Backing up all the projects on a VS-2400CD partition to your PC
  1. in the Control panel, search for "partition" and click "create and format hard disk partitions"
  2. make sure your VS-2400CD and the disk enclosures are both turned off.
  3. connect the disk enclosure that contains your VS-2400CD hard drive to the PC via USB .
  4. turn on the disk enclosure
  5. the disk will show up in the "Disk Management" screen. You will see the first four VS-2400CD partitions
  6. select the partition you want to backup, click button 2 (Right-click) , and select "Change drive letter and paths"
  7. select "Add"
  8. select "Assign the following drive letter"
  9. choose a drive letter
  10. click OK
  11. Autoplay might come up. Select "Open folder to view files". If it doesn't come up, go to "Computer" and just double-click the drive letter you assigned
  12. Backup all the files on this drive letter using a method of your choice, for example, to another hard drive, online storage area, DVD, tape, etc.
  13. in the Control panel, search for "partition" and click "create and format hard disk partitions"
  14. select the partition you want to backup, click button 2 (Right-click) , and select "Change drive letter and paths".
  15. click "Remove" and confirm
This method only works for backing up the first 4 partitions of the VS-2400CD . Unfortunately, you cannot mount partitions 5 to 11 on the PC this way. If you need to backup the projects on these partitions, you may have to move projects to partitions 1-4 using the VS-2400CD first . It will be slow, but not nearly as painful as using CD-R/CD-RW to backup the data.

Restoring all the projects from your PC to a VS-2400CD partition
  1. using the VS-2400CD, empty one of the first four partitions on the disk. You must delete all the projects on a selected partition to make space for the restore.
  2. when this is done, shut down your VS-2400CD and disk enclosure.
  3. in the Control panel, search for "partition" and click "create and format hard disk partitions"
  4. connect the disk enclosure that contains your VS-2400CD hard drive to the PC via USB .
  5. turn on the disk enclosure
  6. the disk will show up in the "Disk Management" screen. You will see the first four VS-2400CD partitions
  7. select the VS-2400CD partition you want to restore to, click button 2 (Right-click) , and select "Change drive letter and paths"
  8. select "Add"
  9. select "Assign the following drive letter"
  10. choose a drive letter
  11. click OK
  12. Autoplay might come up. Select "Open folder to view files". If it doesn't come up, go to "Computer" and just double-click the drive letter you assigned
  13. Examine the files on the VS-2400CD partition. Make sure sure this is really the freshly emptied VS partition you want to restore to There will typically be one project directory only, with very few files inside.
  14. When you are sure, delete all the files and directories on that partition. This is required to clean up the project index.
  15. Restore all the files from your previous backp
  16. in the Control panel, search for "partition" and click "create and format hard disk partitions"
  17. select the partition you want to backup, click button 2 (Right-click) , and select "Change drive letter and paths".
  18. click "Remove" and confirm
Again, this method only works for restoring to one of the first 4 partitions of the VS-2400CD .
If you have more partitions to restore, you can use the VS-2400CD first to move projects between partitions 1-4 and 5-11 . It will be slow, but not nearly as painful as using CD-R/CD-RW to backup the data.



Backing up and restoring individual projects

This procedure is more complex and I'm not going to attempt to write it down in details as I don't use it. Basically, you will need to copy/restore the content of individual song directories.

The complexity comes from the index file in the root directory of each VS-2400CD partition. You would need to manually update that index file to keep things in sync. This poses a problem if you want to restore a project to an empty parttion. You would have to first create an empty project on the VS-2400CD partition, then swap the files on the PC.

I hope this will be helpful to all those who have modified their VS-2400CD.

22 comments:

  1. Great blog, have you any experience on making the fan less noisy, it drives me nuts

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    1. No. I don't think the power supply is a standard one like in PCs. I won't try to replace it unless it fails.

      If you use a fanless disk enclosure, and replace the hard drive with an SSD as I did, you will cut down on the hard drive noise already, which is something as the original 40GB drive is somewhat noisy.

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    2. JULIEN :: Very interested in hiring you to build a "system" for our VS 2480....

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    3. I haven't tried the mod with a 2480 but have no reason to believe it wouldn't work. As for hiring me, unless you are in the SF bay area it will be difficult.

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    4. Have several VS2480 ... would like to have backup system to our PC ..just safer and quicker than our SCSI external HD setup...

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    5. the power supply is not a standard pc power supply, but can be opened with a t-8 screwdriver. The power supply consists of a single pcb, the fan is separate but inside the box that holds the power supply board. If your fan is noisy you can clean it by opening the bottom of the unit, removing the power supply cover and blowing out with canned air or using a damp cotton swap if you don't like blowing dust about. some of the fan noise is imbalance on the blades caused by dust accumulation. The other noise would be the bearings, which I haven't tried to oil yet. The fan looks to be a standard fan of sorts and could probably be replaced with a quieter unit if noise is a problem i think its been discused on the vs-planet website.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Hey that's some very interesting mods. Is there a way to speed the processor up on the 2400? Dumping files takes way to long. Please email me @ pbakajohnnymoog@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. I don't know of any way to speed it up.

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  4. Julian, I want to perform this mod, however, the VS Wave Export program doesn't seem to be available anymore??? The link posted here won't load into my browser?? It's not available via Roland's links either, as they use "The Good Library link also. Is there someplace else it's available?

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    Replies
    1. If you have an email address I can send it to you.

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    2. therickyrockitlauchshow@gmail.com. Thanx, why isn't available??

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  5. BTW, you use a SSD with this MOD?? Thanx again.

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    1. Yes, I used an SSD for a while, but stopped using it, because it would lock up sometimes at the highest transfer rates - using all channels at 24 bit / 96 kHz M24. I would recommend a hard drive instead, something between 80 and 160GB. Only the first 120GB are usable.

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    2. Actually the VS-2480 (and probably also the VS-2400) use 137.4 GB (=128 GiB). I use a 160 GB drive myself and I can verify this is true.

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  6. Hi Julien. THanx again for your help. If the therickyrockitlaunchshow@gmail does not work, you can email me the file (VS Wave Exporter) at this addy: igotdrafted@gmail.com.
    Why doesn't the link "The Good Library" work? Or, why I find the file elsewhere? Again, thanx for all your help!

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  7. the vswave export was available from the link when I just clicked it. I downloaded it without a problem. If your having trouble getting to the site it could be down for maintenance or your browser could be blocking the site. You have to right click and save the file it doesn't just come tumbling down when the page loads.
    Its a great program I used it with my vs1680 and a compact flash card connected to a scsi card reader. I use a sd to compact flash adapter and just pop the sd card into my pc and can save the files and then load them into reaper and mix til the cows come home. Very grateful for your efforts here Julien. I'm trying this project on my Vs-2400cd as I type its formatting the drive and scanning it. Next I want to cut a hole in the back for the cable socket but first I must confirm it works...seems to be room between the power supply chassis and the midi ports. I think its dremel time...

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  8. Hi

    I'm considering undertaking this mod to my vs2400. Did you get any other benefits such as quicker loading of your projects?

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  9. No, the projects are still slow as molasses to load. This is a limitation of the VS-2400CD itself.

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  10. Can you please send me a link to the vs wave exporter utility? I am unable to find it anywhere. Thank you!

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  11. Can you please send me a link to the vs wave exporter utility? I am unable to find it anywhere. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete