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SD card recording and File Access Errors

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by hemingway, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    So once again I've lost a weekend's work to a File Access Error.

    In case you don't know what I mean, this is when your recorder (in my case a Zoom R16) suddenly gives you a File Access Error message in the middle of recording or playback.

    As far as I can ascertain, this basically means you're screwed. You've lost your work.

    When this first happened to me a few years ago I realised that it only ever happened when I recorded the piano sound on my keyboard - guitars and everything else were fine.

    So I stopped DI-ing the kbd, plugged it in an amp and mic'd it up. No problems for several years.

    Then it started happening even through the amp. I figured it was because I was recording a song with multiple piano tracks and the studio didn't like something in the frequencies, even when it wasn't DI'd.

    So I bought a nice new Roland Go Keys to replace my pretty crappy, noisy Yamaha.

    But it happened again.

    So I reduced the number of piano tracks and managed to redo the song.

    So this weekend I worked on a song with multiple keyboard string parts. No piano. But bam! File Access Error.

    So I thought, screw this, I'll just upgrade my studio to a nice new Tascam.

    Nope. A quick google revealed that File Access Errors happen with them too.

    So I'm wondering if this type of error is just a digital recording hazard.

    And before you ask - yes, I want to keep using hardware rather than software.

    So . . . has anyone found either a) a way to fix or avoid these errors or b) a digital home studio that isn't prone to these errors?
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sometimes the device's internal card reader starts acting up. I've run into this more than once.

    Try this: use an external USB card reader with the device to rule out the card itself being the issue.

    I've never had a card go bad unless it got zapped by static electricity.
     
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  3. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting idea, thanks.
     
  4. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    I've had SD cards go bad - cheap ones - more than once. (Micro ones in my phone.)
     
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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  6. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I’m new to this whole world, but I’ve been using a Tascam DP24SD for the last couple months. One thing I read right off the bat was to only use cards on their approved list. And only in the memory sizes they specify. They specifically say that stepping outside of those two things can cause issues like you’re having. Apparently all SD cards are not created equal where these machines are concerned.
     
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  7. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The only things you can do AFAIK is to use good quality cards, and periodically re-format them in the device you are using. If you do manage to get that error, the file you're trying to access is actually visible, typically with zero length, and have not opened and written another file on the card, Audacity can in some instances (I did this once) be used to Import Raw Data and recover lost information. I did use this successfully once with a Zoom H2 that the batteries died on, so, somewhat obviously, no additional writes were done. If the card was written, because of the nature of constant remapping in the card controller, chances of recovery go downhill fast.
     
  8. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Did you check the levels on the piano? Could you record it at a low level then normalize?
     
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    THIS ^^^

    RTFM, as they always say.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    • Do you have the latest Firmware 1.23 from July 2020?
    • formated the SDHC inside the device, lately?
    • not bigger than 32 GB?
    • switched between USB Interface and USB Audio?

    thats all I got
    good luck
     
  11. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you format the card do you lose the files on it?
     
  12. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    Unfortunately, yes.
     
  13. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I just recently acquired a TASCAM DP-24SD and, yes, you need to pay attention to the brand and size of SD card you use. I tried formatting a 64GB card and it didn’t work, then tried an approved brand 32GB card and it was fine. SD cards are relatively inexpensive and just a couple of 32GB cards will give you an ocean of disk space. Also, it’s pretty easy to back up tracks on your computer with the TASCAM. I have exported track files not only for backup but also so I can use a DAW to do the final mixing and mastering.
     
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  14. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've heard about fake SD/USB sticks which act for all the world like they are 32 GB or whatever except they are not and when you go past 4 GB or whatever they really are, whatever was on there gets trashed. I use a lot of Raspberry Pi (miniature Linux computers) for work and they load the OS from an SD card and those do occasionally go bad and can't be recovered.
     
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  15. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    1 - use approved, high-quality cards only.
    2 - back up to another card regularly
    3 - keep your system updated

    I've washed usb flash drives in my pants pockets and they still work for years.
     
  16. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've been having sort of the same problem with SD cards over the past few months. I'm able to write off my external drive, render MP3s to a card without a problem - until out of the blue I start getting messages that the card is 'read-only.' Mystifying.

    But after doing some leg work I found out that SD cards have a limited number of 'write cycles' and after a while you just can't write to them any more. And the cheaper cards wear out quicker. So I've been buying the Lexar Professional cards and haven't had a problem - yet.

    - D
     
  17. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    You know, all the replies I've had here contain sound sense, but I'm already using the right cards, etc, so they don't really apply to my situation.

    But I think you've hit the nail on the head. This only ever happens with keyboards, and only when I layer them.

    And, like anyone trying to make a good job of sound engineering, I try to get the most signal "on tape" as I can, which means going into the red and trusting my ears as to when there is any distortion. This is how you get the strongest playback signal.

    But it's also how I'm probably overloading my gear.

    So I think you're right: if my gear doesn't like the frequencies on multiple keyboard tracks then I just have to forgo a little of that extra signal at the engineering stage, record it a little more quietly, and try to boost it in the mix.

    It isn't ideal, but it seems to matter less with keyboards than with other instruments.
     
  18. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yes. You could always make a backup copy to a PC or other device before formatting.
     
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  19. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    In my experience, overloading digital gear is often a way to get it to act weirdly and unpredictably, that's a good observation. It definitely suggests that backing off the levels a little is a good strategy. Digital is NOT like tape in one important respect: you NEVER want to clip a digital signal, it does not have any headroom beyond 0 dBFS. "Ragged in the red" is not recommended, ever.
     
  20. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree, but I do think I'm right to trust my ears. I don't want the sound to distort, but at the same time the red zone always seems a little cautious to me.

    For example, if I did my final mastering relying on what was in the red, the finished songs would be so quiet you couldn't hear them.
     
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