Dakota includes two breakout cables that aren't shown in the ads or literature. One connects to a small round 8-pin socket on the Dakota bracket. This molded black cable breaks out to 2 DIN-5 MIDI standard inputs and 2 DIN-5 MIDI standard outputs. The second breakout cable connects to a 15-pin high density socket on the Dakota bracket. On its other end are two RCA jacks, one for SPDIF input and one for SPDIF output, and the 9-pin ADAT Sync In jack.
Dakota can coexist in a computer with another soundcard, including WaveCenter. For best results, multiple audio cards that are used together in a system should be using the same sample-rate clock. This minimizes drift between tracks that will undoubtably occur when different audio channels are being clocked at slightly different rates. With Dakota and WaveCenter, sample- rate lock can be achieved by making one of the boards obtain its clock via a digital audio connection from the other (acting as master). For example, if you set Dakota to 44.1 kHz internal operation, WaveCenter to "Sync:External" and connect a cable from the coaxial S/PDIF out of Dakota to the coaxial S/PDIF in of WaveCenter, the two boards will be locked and no drift will occur. Note that within a Dakota system, this is not an issue -- a common clock is always used for all audio channels. This is also not a problem when expanding a Dakota-based system with the 16-channel Montana expander, since the sample-rate clock is communicated across the ribbon cable that connect the two cards. Many analog soundcards have no mechanism for providing a clock to another card, or for accepting a master clock from an internal source. If you're using such a card with Dakota, we recommend that you avoid using both cards simultaneously, to avoid the drift problems mentioned above.
Absolutely. And you can add the Montana expansion card to Dakota for even more digital audio I/O.
OK, you win. Yes, a standalone Dakota really has 18 digital audio channels (16 on ADAT optical ports and 2 more on SPDIF ports), both input and output. And with an attached Montana it supports 34 channels in and out (32 on ADAT opticals plus 2 on SPDIF). Sometimes our literature says 16 or 32 channels just to "simplify."
That entire nerdy phrase is about efficiency, and Dakota is the best. The less time your CPU spends doing boring audio transfers on the PCI bus, the more time it has to pull tracks off disk, to run DSP plug-ins, and to respond to your commands. We've designed Dakota to be the most efficient soundcard possible so that you can do as much audio work as possible with your computer.
It depends tremendously on your computer, and especially on its disk subsystem. We have many customers who successfully record and play back more than 32 channels using high-speed CPUs and fast SCSI or Ultra-DMA disks.
Currently there are no applications on Windows with a driver interface that supports sample-accuracy. We expect that to change dramatically in 1999, and hope to help lead the way. Stay tuned on that front. In the meantime, you can still use Dakota's ADAT Sync In port and its timecode. Dakota's software driver can take that information and translate it into a form that all current applications understand. The result is *very* tight. (Ask any of our golden-eared customers who use it!) And for phase-critical tracks, like drum kits with multiple microphones, the samples stay perfectly aligned with each other as long as those tracks are transferred to and from digital tape in one pass. Up to 8 tracks can be bounced in or out of the computer that way.
SoDA (SMPTE on Digital Audio) is Frontier Design Group's innovative technology that lets you use any Dakota or Montana audio channel for transmitting SMPTE timecode. And once you are done using SMPTE, that channel can once again be used for audio. It's easy, flexible, and extremely powerful.
SoDA lets you select any digital audio channel for SMPTE use, input and output. Any source of audio that gets digitized can become a SMPTE input. That means any analog input on a converter box, such as Tango24 or Zulu, digital mixer, or MDM tape machine that is connected to Dakota can be used for SMPTE. Similarly, any analog output can become SMPTE out. And with a click of a mouse button, the SoDA input and output channels revert to their normal audio use. Of course, if you don't want to lose an audio channel to SMPTE use, you can attach a Sierra to Dakota and get dedicated SMPTE I/O jacks as well as 8 MIDI input and output ports.
Dakota can chase to SMPTE coming in on any digital audio channel, locking its digital sample rate to the timecode on the tape. With an 8-channel converter, such as Tango24 or an ADAT MDM in monitor mode, you can record that tape to hard disk in one record pass. If the original material lasted 01:15:02:16, the result on hard disk will be the same ... not one frame longer or shorter. And it will be recorded without the audio distortion (some would say "mangling") that software-only solutions inject.
Of course. The Dakota control panel lets you select the source of the SPDIF input to be the coax input jack, the CD-ROM connector, or any of the optical inputs on Dakota (or Montana, if present). The control panel also lets you route the SPDIF output to any and all of the optical outputs in addition to the coax output jack.
Here is a partial list of CD-ROM drives known to provide digital output connectors:
- Goldstar GCD-R580B (8x IDE)
- GoldStar CRD-8320B (32x EIDE)
- GoldStar CRD-8241B (24x EIDE)
- GoldStar GCD-R542B
- Hitachi CDR-8130 16x IDE
- NEC 462 (8x SCSI)
- NEC 501 (4x SCSI)
- NEC 502(E) MultiSpin 6Xi
- NEC 251 4x4
- NEC CDR 4400A
- Panasonic (Matsushita) LK-MC686BP 24x ATAPI
- Panasonic (Matsushita) LK-MC682BP 32x ATAPI
- Pioneer DRA 24x Toshiba XM-5602B (8x IDE)
- Toshiba XM-5702B (12x IDE)
- Toshiba XM-6002B (16x IDE)
- Toshiba XM-6102B (12-24X IDE)
- Toshiba SD-M1002 (DVD player)
- Toshiba XM-1602 (20x ATAPI EIDE)
- Toshiba XM-1702 (24x ATAPI EIDE)
- Toshiba XM-6201 (32x SCSI-2)
- Toshiba XM-6202 (32x ATAPI EIDE)
- Toshiba SD-M1202 DVD/CD-ROM
- Mitsumi 24X CD-ROM
- Creative Labs 24X MX CD-ROM
- Acer 8x IDE model 685A048
- Smart and Friendly CD TurboWriter-SCSI Internal [SAF758]
- Toshiba SD-M1212 IDE 6x/32x DVD-ROM
- Mitsumi 48x IDE CD-ROM
- Memorex 40x CD-ROM
- Acer CD-640A 40x CD-ROM
- TEAC CD540E IDE/ATAPI
- Afreey 4006E 6x DVD-ROM
- Afreey 4008E 8x DVD-ROM
- Afreey 4010E 10x DVD-ROM
- Plextor Plexwriter 12/4/32 SCSI CD-RW
- Plextor Plexwriter 12/10/32 ATAPI CD-RW
Do you know of a CD-ROM drive that should be added to the list? Please send us e-mail!
Yes. The Dakota control panel lets you set the output channel status bits to either Consumer (S/PDIF) or Professional (AES/EBU), and you can connect Dakota's RCA/coax jacks to an inexpensive converter, like the Hosa CDL-313. See the Dakota AES/EBU application note for more details.
Here's the process for recording from CD-ROM to (or through) Dakota:
Yes. If you hear audible noise during playback and are using an IDE (ATAPI) hard drive, check to make sure that DMA is enabled for that drive. You can check by going to the Device Manager (Start->Settings->Control Panel->System->Device Manager), clicking the "+" next to "Disk Drives", double-clicking on the listing for the hard drive in question, going to the "Settings" tab, and making sure that "DMA" is checked under Options. You'll need to reboot for this change to take effect.
Yes, as long as you use Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2, but there's no driver for OS X currently available. Note that the Mac driver for Dakota does support the digital audio and MIDI features of Dakota/Montana/Sierra, but does not support the timecode features (SMPTE, 9-pin, SoDA and so on).