20-bit Digital Audio Recorder


How good is the new Alesis ADAT-XT20? Very, very good! In fact, I was amazed at just what an improvement the XT20 is from its earlier ADAT cousin in all areas including quality of sound, ease of operation and manufacturing quality. The XT20 is one of three new ADAT digital multitrack recorders from Alesis, each using the new ADAT Type II 20-bit recording format (formally only available on the top-end Alesis M20 recording system).

This unit ($2,599) offers significant improvement in overall sound over the first iteration of the ADAT format. Dynamic range of the XT20 is 102dB and the noise floor is extremely low as to be expected. However, it is the warmth and transparency of the sound that is most evident when listening back to recorded material.

Another impressive aspect of the XT20 is the unit’s rock-solid feel. The switches feel responsive, the transport sounds robust and smooth, the weight of the six-pound die-cast aluminum frame is substantive, and the front panel display is easy to read yet full of necessary information.

The Alesis XT20 offers some nice features including the ability to copy and paste edits between machines or even within the XT20 itself; utilizing the “tape copy” feature, a section of a track was easily cloned onto another track. The XT20 also offers other amenities such as a time-offset function that allows for some nifty time manipulation effects. There is an optional BRC remote, which should be extremely useful for those with a multiple machine set-up. However, the XT20 does ship with an LRC remote that allows for basic transport control as well as autolocation for up to four locate points and access to auto record and rehearse functions. The XT20 can also be used in a hands-free mode through the use of optional footswitches.

The capabilities of the Alesis XT20 go far beyond what is mentioned here, making it an extremely good deal at the suggested list price. But it’s the quality of the XT20 sound that seperates this unit from other recording systems. Alesis Corporation, 1633 26th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.alesis.com

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