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Power Tip: Recording audio on BK series
So, if you have a LOT of data on your stick, if you have hundreds or thousands of SMF's, styles and audio tracks or loops (like I do!), I do not recommend you use your normal stick to record yourself.
Have a small stick formatted in the BK you keep handy that is empty except for the folders the formatting adds. I use a little 4GB stick I keep handy JUST for times I need to record to a stick. I have never had an audio hiccup recording to this stick.
BTW, I recommend setting the record level (Global>Utility>Rec Audio Level) to -6db. I have managed to push the recording into clipping occasionally at 0db, but never clipped it at -6db.
If you are on a gig and want to record the show, to be honest I recommend using an external audio recorder. I have a little Zoom pocket recorder, no doubt most of us have something like that nowadays. I hook it up to the headphone outputs of my BK and record the whole show that way. Using the built-in recorder during a gig is intrusive to the show, you have to keep saving the recording every time you stop, starting recording again, rinse and repeat. It gets in the way of the show...
Using the Zoom, I simply start recording at the beginning of the show, and simply leave it on the whole gig. I can easily edit it later and split up the recordings, so that's one less thing to deal with while you are trying to do a good show!
Nothing, IMHO, helps you improve your playing and enjoyment than regular recording. It's easy to spot Performances that are badly mixed, or tendencies in your playing (I listen to so many user recordings where the users' playing swamps the backing) or in your singing setup (it is so hard to judge how much reverb sounds best while you are actually singing). Digital recording makes it so easy to do nowadays, there really is no reason why you can't record yourself as often as you want, and see where you can be a little bit better!
A little better here, a little better there, soon enough, it's a LOT better!
De-fragmenting is for mechanical hard drives, which use one or more magnetic "read heads" attached to one or more access arms to access data recorded onto one or more spinning magnetic disks. Solid-State Drives, jump drives, flash drives, etc. have no moving parts. Therefore, if you were to de-fragment the drive, it wouldn't increase the performance, because addressing any memory cell takes exactly the same amount of time. De-fragmenting is designed to arrange data on a mechanical drive contiguously, so the access arms can get to it quicker, as opposed to having to moving the arm around to multiple portions of the drive to access the data.
All solid state drives have limited write cycles, and "de-fragmenting" does nothing for you but wear the drive out. You will see your NAND-FLASH drives decrease in capacity as they age. SSD drives are designed to "flag" non working memory cells as the drives age and decay. Windows does something called "wear balancing" for SSDs, which means it will avoid writing to the same SSD locations over and over, instead "balancing" write operations over the whole drive before it reuses any section.
The amount of data on your digital media does not slow performance of the device, unless it is old, or has been written to or de-fragmented over and over for no reason... In which case you should replace the device to avoid data loss.
If you want the best possible performance from your thumb drive, consider switching to a NAND flash drive, because the read/write speed of that type of memory is much faster.
Something like the following should work (look for the words "NAND FLASH") but I don't know if modern USB NAND drives are supported by your instrument. If it works, writing to it will be MUCH faster than traditional flash.
A highly used stick WILL cause hiccups when recording audio, whereas an empty one won't.
It is all too easy (as you have done so before) to confuse computer operation with how keyboards do them. Their file handling systems are FAR less sophisticated than contemporary computers. From file operations to data management, what you have to allow for is that design of small closed systems like keyboards relies on reduced instruction set chips that trail contemporary computers by several years. We are only JUST seeing USB2 protocols adopted widely in keyboards, and have yet to see widespread usage of USB3, which has been out for several years.
The same goes with OS routines for data handling. The OS that runs contemporary keyboards is a RISC set nowhere near modern. So I would be leery of assuming that the latest advancements in data handling for solid state devices from the computer world has yet made it to the chips running your keyboard. To illustrate, the previous Roland arrangers to the BK series (G70/E80/60/50) used floppy drives, and PCMCIA card slots, a technology that was YEARS behind contemporary computers of the day. The keyboards also could not move data around between its internal memory and the card without confusing its DB functions, something even decades old computers had no issue with.
All I know is that, if you defragment the data (not by running a defrag routine, but by simply wiping the stick and loading your backup back on) you can record to audio with no issues, but do a bunch of loading and deleting different types of data, and THEN try to record audio, you aren't always guaranteed a glitch-free recording. This sounds a LOT like a fragmentation issue and the cure is the same as if it were.
As cheap as USB sticks are (we aren't talking about TB sized SSD's here, just $10 sticks!), if regular maintenance shortens its life a bit, this is hardly an issue, is it..?! And, compared to an SSD's usage in a normal computer environment, the read/write usage on a USB stick in an arranger is a tiny fraction of its usage in a computer...
Thanks for the post John. You have given us some great advice for sticks in a computer, or modern SSD HD's, but I'm afraid that it may not be as relevant in a keyboard. They simply are not based on completely up to date OS's.
To be honest, I am unconcerned whether either of our explanations of the issue is the correct one. I simply know the issue (you have not yet mentioned whether the issue for you has even cropped up), and know how to fix it. And when the solution is identical to how to solve the problem when it appeared on older forms of memory, I tend to think of the same cause of the same problem is likeliest.
As this problem will appear on close to brand new sticks that have had a fair amount of small data files (SMF's, styles and Performance Lists) added and removed, mixed in with a ton of really big files (.wav and MP3 data) doing the same, I am not sure your explanation of bad sectors really being the culprit.
Perhaps you have another explanation of the issue other than the stick going bad?
The bottom line is, it really doesn't matter much if we are right or wrong about the reason. The solutions works!
Reload your data, and recordings will be glitch-free. Use a stick with nothing on but the folder architecture, recordings will be glitch-free. Use a stick that has been used for gig data, adding, removing and changing a bunch of big and small files, you often get audio glitches.
That sounds exactly like the issue we would have got using a too slow HD until defragmented. And given arrangers hardware and software trailing contemporary PC's by a decade or more (the BK series is the first Roland arranger to even have USB stick storage!), I tend to think that older issues now a thing of the past on computers are likely to still crop up. I may be wrong, and a problem other than bad sector management routines is the issue.
But the solution works. Which is why I posted the fix.
"Defragging hurts solid state drives. Defragmenting a drive is all about moving the data around on the drive. That means reading data from one location and writing to another. If you're regularly defragging a flash drive, you're adding thousands upon thousands of write operations each time you do so (actually this is inaccurate, the count of read/write operations is easily in the millions). In my [expert] opinion, you should never defragment a drive based on solid state memory."
You seem to be fixated on scoring points rather than address the actual issue, which you STILL won't admit whether you have even come across. Have you EVER recorded audio to your BK's stick? Have you ever had glitches? Do you see the problem in correcting an explanation for something that you have never even tried or had happen to you?
I already addressed your guess (it's as much of a guess as to the cause than mine is, and informed by FAR less actual knowledge when it comes to the subsystems in arrangers rather than out in the computer world) of a faulty device by stating, from experience, that the issue can happen to close to brand new sticks after loading with data, erasing some files and loading some files (hardly millions of operations, thank you very much!) especially large ones mixed in with small ones. Once you do this, you often get glitches in recording. So there goes the worn out stick theory, and you would have acknowledged this if you weren't hell bent on being right.
By the way, you might also have noticed I never advocated a defragmentation program. My solution is simply to wipe the data, and reload it all from your computer backup. So the number of write operations is merely the number of files. Millions? C'mon, man! Stay with us here.
Now, I would like you to come up with an explanation that actually explains the FACTS. Or leave the thread. You haven't contributed anything to the conversation except to sew doubt on a tip that WORKS.
This happens on new-ish sticks (obviously, you need to do at least a FEW operations on it before the problem will occur), and only after writing and erasing a mixture of very small files (sub 100kb styles and sequences) and very large ones (30MB+ MP3's and WAV's).
I will happily leave up any further posts from you that are factual rather than theoretical, and that address the actual issue AFTER you have confirmed the issue yourself. But any further posts that neither address the points made (new sticks) or simply offer advice about SSD's in a computer environment (which this post has NOTHING to do with... the slightest bit of research on your part would have shown how irrelevant talking about NAND flash drives was to an arranger!) will be deleted.
Our members here deserve better than advice from someone who appears to know NOTHING about arrangers. Isn't there a computer forum you can go and try to impress with your knowledge? At least there it would be relevant.
Obviously incompatible files won't be able to load, but is there some sort of intimacy going on, to ensure optimum performance when only one USB stick is dedicated to store the majority of that particular arranger's files?
After all, you can't put the same stick in different arrangers at the same time! So, if an arranger needs a stick for operation, you are going to need one for each arranger.
Admittedly, on the BK series at least, yes, I have been able to put folders on there (at the root level) that have nothing to do with the BK, they are just there for convenience. For instance, I have one folder at root level with 'If found, please contact Diki at xxx)xxx-xxxx' (my phone number), so if I lose the stick and some honest person finds it, I stand a chance of getting it back. I also sometimes throw folders on the stick with audio rehearsal files on, in case I need to give them to someone to rehearse to, etc., etc..
So I see no reason why you can't create a folder called 'Korg backup' (or whatever you have) and copying your entire gig setup for your Korg/Yamaha/whatever into it for easy copying to a new stick should something fail while away from your computer.
But as to the stick working in a totally different brand of arranger, that may be an issue, as most brands seem to prefer that you format the stick using their built-in routines (not that not doing that doesn't always prevent the stick working) and obviously, you can't format on two different devices.
But the issue referred to in this thread isn't really a case of files for different devices on a stick. ALL files are Roland files, in a stick formatted on a Roland with Roland's approved folder structure. The issue is simply a problem about probably the stick driver having an outdated data management routine, or even more likely, simply not writing to the stick fast enough to overcome fractured data. You can write audio to the stick with a computer and have no glitches despite a fair bit of file space 'scattering', but on the BK, you can get little data glitches that can't be repaired (there's a tiny bit of audio missing).
Bottom line, the fix for the issue works. And, even better, if you know in advance you want to record something, you can pop a little empty (save for the default folder structure) stick you reserve expressly for recording purposes (and empty each time you use it to your computer).
You have an E-A7, right, Mitzie? Have you noticed any slowdown in sample loading yet, on a stick that has had a bunch of smaller files added and erased? Are you using the sampler much? What kind of time does it take to load up fully (all 128MB)..?