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Alesis ADAT – Affordable Digital Multitrack (part 2)

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First Impressions

First impressions can be lasting impressions, and the Alesis ADAT certainly
makes quite an entrance as you carefully take it out of its packing. I have
to admit I was expecting something quite different. In my mind, Alesis are a
company with great audio electronic and digital design capability but since
they have so far chosen to address the mass market with low cost equipment I
had imagined that the ADAT would be fully functioning but not particularly robustly
constructed. I wouldn’t have been impressed at all by a piece of equipment
that didn’t look as though it could tough it out in the real studio world,
no matter how good the sound quality. However, the ADAT is nothing like my expectations.
It is admirably chunky in a heavy gauge steel case, and if you open it up you
will see real build quality (they should give it a perspex lid!). Since affordable
digital multitrack is a totally new concept, evidently Alesis want to make certain
that it is taken seriously. My impressions of the look of the unit – visual
design being important for ease of use – are neutral. Fully professional studio
equipment is carefully designed to be as usable as possible, and engineers wouldn’t
put up with less. In the lower echelons of pricing manufacturers are sometimes
reluctant to provide features like clear legending, large buttons and logical
layout, for some reason I can’t at all fathom. The ADAT is reasonably well
designed from this point of view, but I really would have liked the record button
to be the traditional red since even in the digital age it’s the one button
with which you can screw up a whole day’s work. Also, my definition of
the ‘look’ of a unit extends to the shape and feel of the controls
which should be as comfortable to operate as possible. The ADAT’s transport
controls are certainly large enough, but they take a lot of pressing and don’t
feel very positive. I didn’t like the feel of the rubber buttons on the
supplied remote control either. But compared to the fact that we now have digital
multitrack at a price serious home recordists can at least contemplate, these
are small matters (but I always want things to be perfect!).

David Mellor

Acoustics & Studio Design

Acoustics & Studio Design

The NLE AudioPedia series, our video-based audio encyclopedia, is an invaluable resource for sound engineers, musicians, students, educators and all audio enthusiasts. This second installment is about Acoustics & Studio Design.

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David Mellor