To play back audio using SQ-Drive which was not originally recorded with SQ-Drive, the folder structure and file naming/format of an SQ-Drive recording must be mimicked exactly.
This can be achieved using a combination of audio editing applications and the simple renaming and organisation of files using Windows Explorer or Finder in macOS, with attention to the following important points:
- Audio files must be mono *.wav files with no meta data included.
- All files must be either 48kHz (up to 32 tracks can be used) or 96kHz (up to 16 tracks can be used).
- All files must all be exactly the same length/size.
- Each file must be named 'TRK**.WAV' where ** is the USB channel number the audio will play back to, from 01-32 (if 48kHz) or 01-16 (if 96kHz).
- All audio files must be placed in a folder named 'SQ-MT***' where *** is a number from 000 to 999.
- Each multitrack folder containing all audio files must be placed inside the '[USB]\AHSQ\USBMTK\' folder, on a drive which has been formatted in the SQ.
The easiest way to ensure folder structure and naming convention is matched is by using SQ-Drive to make a quick multitrack recording.
The USB storage device can then be connected to a computer and the folders can be examined.
It's also possible to carry out the whole re-rendering/re-naming process using Reaper (https://www.reaper.fm/) as follows:
Prepare the SQ-Drive:
- Format a USB storage device using the SQ in the 'Utility > USB Utility > Status / Format' screen.
- Remove once complete and connect to computer.
Get audio into Reaper:
- Load all audio file(s) into reaper by dragging and dropping the file(s) into the timeline view.
- If importing multiple files at once, select the 'Separate Tracks' option.
- Split any stereo tracks out to two mono tracks.
- If required, move files around so they are on the track numbered the same as the USB channel you want them to play back from on the SQ later.
- If wanting to play back any stereo pairs of tracks to a stereo channel on the SQ later, ensure these are on an odd (left) and even (right) pair of number. e.g. Left on track 3 and Right on track 4, or Left on track 9 and Right on track 10.
- Playback in Reaper to check all audio is aligned as expected before continuing.
Select the audio to use:
- Select all tracks you wish to render on the left.
- Highlight a time selection using the top bar. This will ensure all files are the same length when rendering.
Render new audio files:
- Go to 'File > Render'…
- Use the following settings (anything not described in the text below is up to you and relates mostly to quality/speed of render):
- Source: Stems (selected tracks)
- Bounds: Time selection
- Directory: '[USB]:\AHSQ\USBMTK\SQ-MT***' where *** is a number from 000 to 999 that has not previously been used.
Note that rendering directly to a USB drive may be very slow, in which case, simply render to a local drive (such as your main drive) first, then copy across to this folder on the SQ-Drive when rendering has completed.
- File name: 'TRK$tracknumber' - note that this is 'TRK' followed by a wildcard for track number which should be from 00 to 32 (48kHz) or 00 to 16 (96kHz).
- Sample rate: either 48000 or 96000
- Channels: Mono
- Ensure 'Tracks with only mono media...', 'Multichannel tracks...' and 'Metadata' boxes are not ticked
- Format: WAV
- WAV bit depth: 24 bit PCM
- Large files: Force WAV
- Ensure 'Write BWF ('bext') chunk' is not ticked
- Select 'Do not include markers or regions' in the drop down below the BWF option
- Ensure 'Embed tempo' and all 4 other tick boxes below are not ticked
- Click 'Render * files' where * should match the number of files you are expecting to render.
Done! You should now have correctly formatted audio files on your USB device in the correct location and can therefore playback using SQ-Drive as if it were a multitrack recording made by the desk itself.