Test Drive: The Fostex Foundation 2000RE 8-Track Digital Audio Workstation

Article Index

Another button in the REELS/LIBRARY sub-menu is the PREFS button. This is where timecode and sync information is set as well as the sampling frequency for the selected Reel. Available sampling rates are 32kHz, 44.1kHz, and 48kHz. The ARCHIVE button accesses the backup function. Reels, Projects (and all Reels in the Project), or an entire RPE can be backed up using the SCSI port and an external device.

Finally, the SYSTEM button on the touch screen accesses disk formatting/erasing functions, password functions, system information, time/date functions and more. Pressing the STATUS button displays the most recent system messages. A check mark on the SYSTEM button indicates a new message. This is where error messages are displayed.

By the way, in case you forgot, these buttons and functions mentioned so far are all accessed from the touch screen. No physical buttons, no mouse, no trackball. There's nothing simpler than pointing to something to select it. Touch screens are wonderful, and the design of this one is outstanding.

Now let's talk about the physical buttons. The 2000RE's Edit Controller is one of the most intuitive I've had the pleasure of using. I was amazed at how much I was able to do without even a glance at the manual. At the top left are a set of buttons used in multiple machine installations. For this review, they were never used. Below these are eight green SOLO buttons and eight red READY buttons. Simple enough; press SOLO to solo that track and press READY to arm the track for recording. The READY buttons also arm tracks for editing. The SOLO and READY buttons illuminate to indicate their status.

The transport controls are at the bottom left of the panel. You get RECORD, STOP, PLAY, REWIND, and F FORWARD. Multiple presses of the REWIND and F FORWARD keys initiate high speed forward and reverse up to 8x normal play speed. When PLAY is pressed simultaneously with REWIND or F FORWARD, audio plays back at high speed.

To the left of the touch screen are four arrow keys which have multiple functions. When the screen is in the Tracks display mode, a button on the touch screen switches between, Jump, Select, Zoom, and Scroll modes. The arrow keys are used in these modes to select events, zoom in and out, and scroll through a production. The DATA key below the arrow keys activates data input. For example, touch an event or use the arrow keys to select it. Press the DATA key and the typewriter keypad appears on the touch screen giving you the option to give the event a name up to 25 characters long. Once named, anytime the event is selected, its name will appear at the top of the screen. In other screens, the DATA key is used with the large data wheel to input data and make selections.

Left and right SEEK keys on the control panel are used to locate quickly to the beginning and end points of events. Above these keys is the AUDITION key. Select an event on the screen and press AUDITION. This enables listening to the event without having to put its track(s) in solo. To the right of the AUDITION key are the AUTO REC, AUTO RTN, and AUTO PLAY keys. Press AUTO PLAY to initiate automatic playback after any locate. The other two keys are used with the IN and OUT keys. These keys set in and out points within a production. When AUTO RTN is pressed, playback continues to the Out point, then the transport locates to the In point and stops, unless AUTO PLAY is on. AUTO REC is basically automatic punch-in/out recording using In and Out points to start and stop recording.

The IN and OUT keys are nestled with the other editing keys. Press the COPY key to copy the selected event or "region" (defined by the In and Out points) to the 2000RE's clipboard. Press the CUT key to remove the audio from the tracks and place it in the clipboard. Press the PASTE key to paste the clipboard audio onto a track or tracks replacing the audio on the tracks. Press the RIPPLE key before you press the PASTE key to have audio at the paste point slide down the tracks rather than written over.

The FILL key is a function not found on many workstations, but it's quite handy. First, mark an In and Out point on a set of armed tracks. Pressing FILL will replace the audio between the In and Out points with whatever audio is in the clipboard. If the clipboard audio isn't long enough to fit in the selected region, it is automatically looped to the exact length between the In and Out points. This is ideal for looping a short clip of music to make a longer bed. It's also handy for looping background noises such as crowds and ambience effects.

The real editing speed of the 2000RE comes to life with eight keys just below the touch screen. Six keys, the FADE TO, GAIN, FADE FROM, START, SYNC, and END keys adjust the event "envelope." The other two keys, the TRIM and ALIGN keys, set the operating mode of the other six. First select an event. To adjust the start and end point of the event, press TRIM. Use the transport controls and/or the scrub wheel to locate to the desired start point. Then press START. Do the same to set the end point. The display reflects the changes. If you want the event to fade out, move the timeline to the point where you want the fade to begin, then simply press FADE FROM. The FADE TO functions sets a fade up ramp. The GAIN function lets you drop the overall gain, the Fade From gain, and Fade To gain by as much as -60dB. When the event envelope is to your liking, press the ALIGN key and use the START, END, and SYNC keys to move the event forward and backward on the track(s). Event grouping is supported, allowing editing of several "grouped" events simultaneously. Getting up to speed with the 2000RE's editing functions is a quick process, and once you're there, things happen very quickly. Editing is nondestructive; however, using the CUT key is destructive. But there are UNDO and REDO keys to protect you to some degree. You get six levels of undo and redo.

To the right of these editing keys is the large shuttle/data/jog wheel. In the Shuttle mode, playback speed can be set anywhere from an incredibly slow creep to up to 32 times normal playback speed. In the Jog mode, this scrub wheel becomes a powerful editing tool. This may be a disk-based workstation, but it must be using a healthy RAM buffer for the scrub wheel. There is absolutely no drag or delay when scrubbing. It's as good as the scrub on any of the high dollar workstations.

To the right of the touch screen is the large red LED time display. The time at the top is the current "tape" time. The time at the bottom is the locate time. Press the LOCATE key to go to the locate time in the display. A numeric keypad below the time display provides ten locate points at each of the number keys. Press the HOLD key to transfer the current time to the locate time display. Press STORE then the 1 key to store that time in the 1 key location. To return to that point from anywhere else, just press GOTO followed by the 1 key. Use the CLEAR key to erase locate points.

If it seems like the features of this unit just go on and on, they do. There's the TimeFlex feature, the 2000RE's time compression and expansion function. The function is surprisingly easy to use, it's fairly fast (certainly faster than many time compression programs on disk-based systems), and does a pretty good job. A voice track compressed by 20% came out glitch free and sounded great using the unit's default settings. A sixty second voice track compressed 10% took about forty-five seconds to complete. It's fast enough, and the quality is there. This is a time compression/expansion function you can use.

And the features continue. There's "track stacking" which allows recording several takes at the same place on the same track without "recording over" the previous takes. Other features include auto event naming, a Jump mode that takes you anywhere in a production by touching the place on the screen where you want to go. You can split events. You can split tracks. Each Project has a Default Reel into which you can set preferences and even record audio that will appear in all six Reels in that project. Use the Mark function to place markers throughout a production for easy locating. You can plug a television monitor into the back of the Edit Controller and enlarge the display considerably (although you won't be able to touch your TV to do much more than put fingerprints on the screen).

Is the 2000RE a candidate for radio production? Absolutely. It's easy to learn, fun to use, and as powerful as anything in its class if not more so. If you want to go first class, consider the larger Foundation 2000 which is not only expandable, but features an internal 8x2x2 mixer with external mixer control panel. Either way, you'll get superb editing power in a full featured disk-based machine.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Your post will be moderated. Your email address will not be shown or linked. (If you have an account, log in for real time posting and other options.)
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location