Zoom PS-04 media card Q

Zoom PS-02 & PS-04 Palmtop Studio information, discussion, and support
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bfloyd
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Zoom PS-04 media card Q

Post by bfloyd » Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:09 pm

Hello all. Previous PS-02 user here and I found what I consider a pretty good deal on a PS-04 and had a question regarding the media card storage. I have read that the Smart Media cards are becoming like an LP (or even cassette) in the CD world and was wondering if the SD card converters work? If so, which one(s) work? Or, is it possible to just download the WAV file via USB directly to my PC recording software for storage? Is there still a Smart Media card that comes packaged with the PS-04? Thanks for the help.
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Howard
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Post by Howard » Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:34 pm

Good you asked before you bought.

No SD to SM for the PS-04 but good news, XD to SM works very well. That gets around the dinosaur problem with the vanishing SM cards. Word of warning - don't try to exceed the 128mb limit - you'll get CRDERR if you do. The PS-04, in its original package, came with a 32mb SM card, which is enough memory to learn how to use the machine.

By the same token, no USB on the PS-04, since that was unusual when the '04 came out. Even the MRS-8 doesn't have it. On the 1608's it was optional. Another point of interest, the PS-04 records at 31.250, not 44.100, so the sound quality is just a little lower than CD quality. The MRS-8 does 44.100.

Think of the PS-04 as a "grown up" PS-02 and you'll be fine. If you think the number of tracks and features is a good buy, go for it, knowing the above limitations. If you can get one for a steal, it's worth going for. Anywhere close to original price and you'd be best to save for an MRS-8, if you want similar features to the PS-02, but in a larger package, more tracks, better sound.

And welcome to the board.
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bfloyd
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Post by bfloyd » Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:43 pm

Howard wrote:Good you asked before you bought.

No SD to SM for the PS-04 but good news, XD to SM works very well. That gets around the dinosaur problem with the vanishing SM cards. Word of warning - don't try to exceed the 128mb limit - you'll get CRDERR if you do. The PS-04, in its original package, came with a 32mb SM card, which is enough memory to learn how to use the machine.

By the same token, no USB on the PS-04, since that was unusual when the '04 came out. Even the MRS-8 doesn't have it. On the 1608's it was optional. Another point of interest, the PS-04 records at 31.250, not 44.100, so the sound quality is just a little lower than CD quality. The MRS-8 does 44.100.

Think of the PS-04 as a "grown up" PS-02 and you'll be fine. If you think the number of tracks and features is a good buy, go for it, knowing the above limitations. If you can get one for a steal, it's worth going for. Anywhere close to original price and you'd be best to save for an MRS-8, if you want similar features to the PS-02, but in a larger package, more tracks, better sound.

And welcome to the board.
Thanks for the welcome and the info. I have been looking around and I found a SM/SD/XD to USB interface that I was hoping will work for downloading to my computer as a WAV file? Also, how does the XD to SM work? Thanks again.
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Post by Howard » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:00 pm

bfloyd wrote:Thanks for the welcome and the info. I have been looking around and I found a SM/SD/XD to USB interface that I was hoping will work for downloading to my computer as a WAV file? Also, how does the XD to SM work?
The SM/SD/XD to USB interface is half the equation. The other half is the XD/SM adapter that goes in the PS-04. If you don't have a multi-card reader built into your computer on the front (some computers have a little door that opens), you'll need the USB multi-card reader. You'll also need an XD/SM adapter.

To get a recording off the PS-02, PS-04, MRS-8, etc., you need to pull the card out of the recorder and plug it into a slot on your computer or a card reader if you don't have a built in card slot. The procedure you probably used when you had the PS-02 is the same with the PS-04. There's no way around it. If you want to transfer files digitally, you can't get around physically unplugging the storage card and plugging it in to the computer, whether it's a SM card or an XD card through an adapter.

If you want to use an XD card instead of a SM card because XD's are cheap and available, you'll also need an XD/SM adapter. The adapter piggybacks the XD card into the SM slot on the PS-04, the way a 1/8-inch phone plug piggybacks onto a 1/4-inch phone plug when you use your headphones on a different device by using an adapter. Essentially, it just changes the size of the plug - all else is the same electrically.

So you will be doing this:

1. Plug the XD card into the XD/SM adapter.
2. Plug the adapter into the PS-04 where the SM would go.

Make your recording. You will be recording to the XD card, rather than to a SM card.

To get the recording off the XD card and onto your computer, do this:

1. Pnplug the XD/SM adapter from the PS-04.
2. Plug the XD/SM adapter into the USB card reader.
3. Plug the card reader into the USB port on your computer.
4. Transfer your files like you would if you were using a SM card.

What would be nice is if somebody had invented a black box which plugs in where the SM card does, and which has a cord with a USB "A" connector on the end. That would be nice, but I haven't seen it. The black box would need 128mb of flash memory, and software to run the thing on the computer end. Same goes for SD cards for the MRS-8. Newer digital cameras have such an interface: they store on an internal card, but you can choose to either pull the card out or connect the camera via USB. That technology just wasn't designed into the PS-02, PS-04, or the MRS-8, and it's a shame.

If you want to see what the XD/SM adapter looks like, there is a photo on my PS-04 website.

BTW: you may remember from the PS-02 that you need Zoom's Card Manager to convert from the .aud format to a .wav format.
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bfloyd
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Post by bfloyd » Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:56 am

Thanks for the help Howard, and you got me thinking . . . I checked out your PS-04 site and it seems that you had to do alot of bouncing and file transfers to use the PS-04's internal drum and bass lines, which is the main reason I am looking at the PS-04 (I am a solo guitarist looking to record as a trio). I originally thought that the PS-04 had seperate tracks one and two and then four open tracks for recording all else (kind of like a 6 track recorder). Is the only way to record with the drum and bass as a "backing band" is to bounce them to two of the four tracks? Perhaps I am looking more towards the MRS-8? It seems you have alot of experience with the Zoom recorders, does the new H4 have a drum/bass section? Thanks again for all the help. (BTW, the PS-04 I found is selling for $145 new).
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Post by Howard » Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:49 am

bfloyd wrote:I originally thought that the PS-04 had seperate tracks one and two and then four open tracks for recording all else (kind of like a 6 track recorder). Is the only way to record with the drum and bass as a "backing band" is to bounce them to two of the four tracks?
That's pretty much it - or else it would be called the PS-06. Think of the PS-04 drums/bass as firmware midi archives on a rom chip inside the PS-04.
bfloyd wrote:Perhaps I am looking more towards the MRS-8?
I think so. It has 8 recordable tracks, plus the firmware drum/bass.
bfloyd wrote:does the new H4 have a drum/bass section?
No. Try the MRS-8 for the same price as the H4 ($299). Or, if you want small, try the Boss Micro BR for the same price, but it has drums only, no bass.
bfloyd wrote:(BTW, the PS-04 I found is selling for $145 new).
That was the lowest new price a few months ago. Now I find them unavailable at that price, although there are a few listed here and there new for $199, which is what I paid for my PS-04 in 2004. You can finid the PS-04 on eBay for much less, but be careful.

If you want to do all your production on the portable unit, you'll need to reserve two tracks for bouncing the final mix to for the master stereo pair. You can take the line output and plug into your sound card to record the final stereo pair, but that means going from digital to analog to digital, and you'll lose some fidelity and possibly introduce some hum, hiss, or other noise.

Most users of the above recorders will export recorded tracks and bounced drum/bass sounds onto thier computers for mixing/mastering using DAW software. Look at Audacity and Kristal, both free. The tracks and sequences can be moved in either direction - to or from the computer - so we sometimes take them off the unit, play with them on the computer, then put them back on the portable unit for more work.

You can free up tracks by moving them to the computer. This is especially nice if you want to use the unit for recording but want to use your computer for mixing/mastering. You can also use v-takes on the unit to free up tracks as well.

The maximum number of tracks that can be played back at once is different for each of the above units, and you still need to keep in mind leaving a pair of tracks to bounce your master to if you want to do it all on the recorder.

Again, most will move the tracks to the computer. The process is slightly machine-dependent, but generally works the same. You need to use the manufacturer's software to convert to wav files, etc. Drums/bass can be edited on the computer using third party software and put back on the recorder, but that's an extra feature that gives the PS-04 and MRS-8 a little edge, and is beyond the scope of this thread.

I'm not recommending against the PS-04 if you can get one new for $150 or less. However, if you are in the position to spend twice that much with no problem, if it were me, and I wanted the features you seem to want including drums/bass, I'd go for the MRS-8. If I could spend twice that much, the HD16.

See also this thread:
http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=9667
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Post by Howard » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:07 pm

Bfloyd,

If you are still around, I finally got around to putting up an explanation of how to use the xd-sm adapter on my website.

Currently, it is at the bottom of the main index (front) page of my PS-04 site.

Others,

If you see any errors, please let me know. This was done while watching the superbowl out of the corner of my eye.

Howard
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