Tascam MX2424 Track Hard Disk Recorder

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been archived. It first appeared on ProRec.com in 2000. We will not be making any updates to the article. Please visit the home page for our latest content. Thank you!

The MX-2424 is a 24 track, 24 bit hard disk recorder. The recorder is based on proven technology; many elements of the MX-2424 are derived from the MMR-8 and MMP-16 film dubbers, in heavy use at major film and television studios world wide like Skywalker Sound and Universal Studios. During the planning of this box, TASCAM and TimeLine both did great amounts of field research, asking end users of all levels what they wanted. Now that all the design elements have fallen into place, what we have is a machine that reacts instantly like an analog deck, has the editing power of a digital audio workstation, sounds like a million bucks, but is still affordable. (Have you ever heard of a professional 24 track recorder for $3999?!?)

mx2424 tascam

We know many people are probably thinking, “This is too good to be true! What are you not telling me!?!?!” Well, we didn’t skip anything. Let’s do a quick examination of the system, shall we?


One of the big issues with recording to hard disk is the storage: where do you put all the data? The MX-2424 ships with a 9 gigabyte internal drive, which equates to roughly 45 minutes of record time across all 24 tracks. If that’s not enough, you can slave more drives off the SCSI Wide port on the back panel, or build a drive into the front panel standard drive bay. The front panel can also be used to install an approved DVD-RAM drive for back-up, using increasingly affordable DVD-RAM media.
Also, the MX-2424 can record to Macintosh or PC formatted drives, allowing you to later export to the computer for other functions. When recording to Macintosh disks, the audio is recorded in SDII (Sound Designer II) format, while PC disks will record in WAV (Broadcast Wave) format.

Open TL Playlist Compatability

The next step is to not only be able to read the audio files, but to have another workstation recognize the multiple virtual track layers. This means the workstation needs to be able to read the “playlist”. The playlist is the file that keeps track of all the audio you record, where it belongs in the song, and what part of each file you are using when.
The MX-2424 uses a format called Open TL, which is being made available for other manufacturers to implement. This means many popular digital audio/sequencing programs and digital audio workstations will be able to read and write the disks used in the MX-2424, without painstakingly loading, positioning and triming each digital file. We can tell you that there has been an overwhelming response of companies wanting to use Open TL, and the list of companies supporting the Open TL format will be posted soon.

The Power and Flexibility of SCSI

When it comes to the success of a hard drive format, what it all comes down to is cable length. The ability to extend the cable length connecting all the hard drives can offer incredible functionality the likes of which you have never before experienced.
Many drive formats, such as IDE, are extremely limited in the length of the cable that you can run from the drives to the computer. This is why you will not find external IDE boxes, such as external hard drives, external IDE CD-Recorders, etc. The IDE cable run simply will not support external devices.

SCSI drives originally supported between 6 to 10 feet, depending on the amount of data being transferred. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough length to reach outside of a computer box and connect additional hard drives, CD drives, JAZ drives, etc. This has spawned an enormous market for SCSI devices for fixed drives, removable drives, and back-up formats.

SCSI has a new front which has enormous new possibilities allowing up to 40 feet of cable length. It’s called LVD (Low Voltage Drives). The lower voltage requirements actually extend the cable length, and will soon enough replace the current higher voltage drives. If you have regular voltage drives, they will work fine as well, so again the issues are self-resolving. However, if you need extreme lengths of cable, then it is available.

What all this means is extreme flexibility and power. The MX-2424 ships with an LVD drive, so you can take advantage of this flexibility right away.

So what does all this mean to you? Well…

Do you need to integrate with workstations? – Connect a removable drive to the front panel, or an external drive to the rear SCSI port and record directly to that drive. Then, bring that drive to your computer.

Do you need HUGE amounts of recording space? – You can attach extra drives via the rear panel SCSI port, and even chain multiple drives together. Are you recording a 3 hour concert with a few hours of pre-show action and after-show reactions? No problem!

Do you want dirt cheap storage? – Once you’re done, we are providing internal support for DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM can store about 4.2GB on a single disc…and this will certainly grow in time. If you need even more than that, use a removable or external drive on the MX-2424 and bring that to a computer for back-up to a tape drive. (Remember, since we can use Mac or PC formatted disks, the type of computer doesn’t much matter!)

44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz

The MX-2424 can provide 24 tracks of recording at up to 48kHz, or it can be switched into a 12 track 88.2kHz or 96kHz recorder, recording 96KHz audio on inputs 1-12*….the choice is yours. The analog I/O option has 96kHz converters built in, so you REALLY CAN record 24 bit, 96kHz audio right from the machine. No “simulated resolution.” No “interpolation” or compression. No kidding.

Input / Output

First of all, the MX-2424 can record all 24 tracks simultaneously, so we do need 24 ins and 24 outs. Since we want everyone to be able to work together, yet we wanted the machine to remain affordable, you can select the I/O format that works best for you. This means you only need to purchase the I/O that YOU need. For digital communication, you can get a TDIF, Lightpipe, or AES/EBU card for the machine, offering 24 I/O channels. The AES/EBU card also offers (defeatable) 96 KHz sample rate conversion. If you like to work with analog, an analog card is also available, providing 24 channels of 96 KHz-capable I/O on DB25 plugs. There are separate slots for digital and analog connection, so you can install the analog I/O plus one digital I/O at the same time. You can track analog sources and simultaneously output them digitally, or use the MX-2424 to back up your digital tapes….including your DA-78HR 24-bit DTRS recordings!


The MX-2424 has a number of control options, ready for any environment. MIDI ports are built-in for MIDI Machine Control. There is a standard footswitch port allowing the user to go “back to basics” and use a punch-in pedal, or use an Alesis LRC remote control.
Of course, a machine as powerful as the MX-2424 deserves its own remote to take advantage of the full extent of its power. So there is a special port for the RC-2424, offering total control over the unit with the same familiar front panel layout.

But the RC-2424 has more than just the front panel. There are dedicated keys to make editing from the remote quicker. Capturing edit in and out points and auditioning those points can all be done with a single keystroke. Additionally, there are 8 user definable macro memories, so common keystroke combinations can be saved as a macro, and common tweaks can also be done with one keystroke.

The MX-2424 can also be controlled with ViewNet MX, a Graphic User Interface (GUI) that gives you complete control over the MX-2424. With ViewNet MX, you’ll get DAW style editing of audio regions, dedicated system set-up screens (making set-up quicker and easier), track load screens making virtual track management a snap, and more! ViewNet MX is programmed in Java, so it can run on a Macintosh or PC computer. The connection between the computer and the MX-2424 is a standard Ethernet line, so standard ethernet cables and a hub would do the trick. The ViewNet MX Package will ship with the MX-2424, and updates to the package will be available on the TASCAM web site as they are released.

Word Clock

As with time code, word clock in, out, and thru ports are provided. Again, the thru port is hard-wired to the in, so there is no delay in passing the signal to the next unit. The out port is used if the MX-2424 is the word clock master.

Video Sync

For those working in video environments, the MX-2424 can resolve to blackburst through the Video Sync In port, and passes the signal on without delay through the Video Sync Thru.


As with most any MDM, the MX-2424 has a custom sync line designed to synchronize multiple units. The MX-2424 utilizes a protocol called TLBUS, which can lock 32 machines together with sample accuracy for 384 tracks at 96kHz, or 768 tracks at 48kHz!
Typically in this industry, time code synchronization is a separate option. Well, on the MX-2424, synchronization is standard! The MX-2424 can generate or chase SMPTE timecode or MIDI Time Code. The time code ports on the back offer TC in, out and thru. Obviously, TC In is for chasing time code. The TC Thru port is hardwired to the in port, allowing the time code to pass through the MX to the next unit without any delay. The TC Out can output time code when it is the master, or it can even provide an offset from incoming time code. (Cool, eh?)

If you need even more synchronization options for larger studio and post production applications, the TL-Sync synchronizer will offer sample accurate lock between DTRS, ADAT, and TL-bus. It also has several 9 pin ports, 2 sets of MIDI I/O, GPI/Tallies, ADR beeps, and more! It can work with many existing synchronizers like the Lynx 2, so you don’t have to replace what you’ve already got. If you’re doing higher resolution recording, the 4 independant word clock outputs can even transmit different word clocks. This is handy if you are recording at 96kHz on your MX-2424, 48kHz from some DA-88s, and 192kHz on the master recorder. It can all happen here!

Software Updates

A hard disk recorder is largely software based, and software changes regularly. Updating the MX-2424 with future software revisions is a snap. We have a Smart Card slot in the front panel, so you can load up the latest updates that way. Or, if you have the MX-2424 connected to a computer via Ethernet, you can download the updates from the TASCAM web site for free, and load them in through the Ethernet line.


While there’s a ton of more cool things we’d like to tell you about, we’ll leave that to the MX-2424 Line category of the Products Area. So, let’s hit these major points, and make sure we’re clear on the MX-2424:
Standard Features – The MX-2424 is a 24 track, 24 bit hard disk recorder. It can switch to a higher resolution mode, allowing recording of 12 tracks at 96kHz* if so desired. The MX-2424 comes standard with 9 gigabyte LVD SCSI internal hard drive, and also has a SCSI Wide port on the rear panel for connecting extra drives. SMPTE synchroization, Word Clock, MIDI Time Code and MIDI Machine Control are all built in for seamless integration into any studio. ViewNet MX will ship with the MX-2424; ViewNet MX can run on either Mac or PC, and connect with standard ethernet lines to provide DAW style editing, as well as system set-up screens and virtual track management.

Options – The configurable I/O is optional, and you can select between TDIF, Lightpipe, AES/EBU and Analog I/O. (The analog and digital slots are separate, so the analog option and one digital option may be installed simultaneously.) The front panel standard drive bay can be used to install removable hard drives, DVD-RAM, or even another built-in drive. The RC-2424 remote can be added to the system to provide roaming control of the MX-2424, as well as add some new buttons for faster editing.