About HD24tools

The HD24tools project provides tools for reading Alesis ADAT HD24 disks. Originally, it was intended to provide an alternative to Alesis' proprietary FST/Connect software for Linux, but the scope of the project has extended since. HD24tools now runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

The FST format is proprietary and Alesis has no interest in disclosing any information about it. A considerable effort has been done to work around this.

Why use HD24tools?

There are some benefits to using HD24tools compared to the commercial offering. Obvious benefits are the data recovery features and the possibility to export partial tracks. In addition, HD24tools allows you to read HD24 drives using low-cost hardware- you can connect HD24 drives to your computer via firewire, USB or even directly to the IDE interface. And if you run a studio, it will allow you to let your clients take home a drive and use it, even if they do not have access to an HD24 recorder.

What components make up HD24tools?

The two main components of HD24tools are HD24hexview and HD24connect.

What is HD24hexview?

HD24hexview is a simple hex editor with some added features to support HD24-specific needs. The main difference with other hex editors is that it does direct on-disk viewing and editing, so it requires very little memory while still permitting to view very large drives. If you are like most people, however, you will only need HD24connect.

How does the version numbering work?

The first digit is the major version number. It will be an 1 from the moment that HD24tools is considered feature complete. This is why so far versions have been numbered 0.x.x.

The second digit is the minor version number. The minor version is increased whenever some significant functionality has been added.

The third and last digit indicates the 'patch level', or in other words, it is incremented every time that one or more bugs are fixed. In other words, version 0.8.0 and 0.8.2 have identical functionality, but 0.8.2 is two bugfix-releases ahead of 0.8.0.

Finally, a suffix is used on most releases. In most cases, releases are suffixed BETA. These releases have been tested by several people, but the tests have not necessarily covered all functionality of the program. Until an official, automated, full coverage quality system is in place, this BETA suffix will stay in vigor. ALPHA versions have not been beta-tested yet. Typically these versions are only handed out to beta-testers. Finally, in rare cases, if you have a problem that has already been solved in a development version, you may be handed out a build of such a development version as PRE release.

What is HD24connect?

HD24connect is a graphical tool which allows you to view the contents of HD24 drives, make backups of HD24 drives, play HD24 audio, export audio to your computer, and import audio from your computer to HD24 drives. A full-featured alternative to the Alesis software, it has been recommended to HD24 owners even by Alesis themselves. However, it should be noted that HD24tools is not affiliated nor officially endorsed by Alesis.

What does it cost?

Currently, HD24tools is shareware. It can be downloaded free of charge. You are encouraged to share it with other people; If you find the software useful, you are encouraged to make a small donation. However, you are kindly requested not to host HD24tools on other websites. The latest version will always be available from this site.

Will HD24tools work with my fireport?

HD24tools is known to be compatible with a variety of external drive hardware:

AlesisFireportAlesis' original HD24 connectivity product. Seems to be modelled after the ViPowER VP-8059 SmartDock.
ViPowERVP-1028-LSF(B)Drive bay that mounts internally into your PC. Requires a free 5.25" bay and a free USB 2.0 port. Being USB, the drive bay is hot-swappable.
The VP-1028-LSF comes with an HD24-compatible caddie, the VP-15-133. Use this model number when ordering additional caddies from ViPowER. The LSF and LSFB are identical except for their colour.
ViPowERVP-1001LSFThis rack is similar to the 1028LSF but connects to the SATA interface of your computer, instead of USB. As a result, all cabling stays inside your case. If you run Windows, your computer may have some issues with hot-swapping SATA drives- However, these problems can be overcome with this program (if the link does not work, try this one instead). The VP-1001LSF IDE to SATA SwapRACK is advertised as being capable of transfer rates of 1.5 Gigabit per second, but actual transfer speeds will also depend on IDE drive throughput, computer speed, operating system, etc.
ViPowERVP-10KFUDrive bay that mounts internally into your PC. Requires a free 5.25" bay and a free IDE port. A cheap and fast solution. However, this model is NOT hot-swappable. Also, any slave drives on the same IDE connector will only work with a drive present in the drive bay.
ViPowERVP-10LSFUDrive bay that mounts internally into your PC. Requires a free 5.25" bay and a free IDE port. A cheap and fast solution. It is marketed as being hot-swappable. Being IDE-based, other devices on the same IDE connector may only work with a drive present in the drive bay. This device can be used in conjunction with a USB "smart cable" as a workaround to provide USB connectivity if you can't locate the VP-1028-LSF.
ViPowERVPM-62489An external enclosure, metal casing. Supports both firewire and USB. Hot-swappable. Through firewire, it might work in conjunction with Alesis' FST/Connect as well.
ViPowERViPower VPM-6248TLow-cost version of the VPM-62489, USB only.

In addition, it is possible to connect the hard drives to a USB smart cables or to the internal IDE connection of your computer. The Vipower VP-1528LSF is known to be INCOMPATIBLE with the HD24 recorder due to different electronics inside the caddie itself.

If you can no longer find IDE drives, the SATA-drive to IDE-interface converting caddie from MagicSound will allow you to use SATA drives in your HD24. It has been field-tested by various HD24 forum members (including yours truly) and seems stable. It has been field-tested with several models of 3.5" SATA drives, and is available here (while stock lasts).

The VP-1541 is another SATA-drive to IDE-interface converting caddie. Alan Goldwater (of first-to-market Magicsound SATA caddy fame) tested one in 2009, and showed it to exhibit what he calls the "slave boot" problem. This issue was addressed by Alesis in their OS 1.21, and reportedly the Alesis caddies are simply rebranded VP-1541 caddies, albeit with a more recent SataLink converter chip. It should be noted that this chip is fast enough for the job, but barely - it will fall out of record at around 48400 Hz, 24 channels. As of yet, there are no reports of succesful or unsuccessful attempts using the original VP-1541 in the HD24 on OS 1.21. If you have more information about this caddie, please let me know or post this information to the HD24 Yahoo group.

Using the HD24 with SSD drives reportedly works using this converter from Startech.

Where can I find ViPowER products?

The Shop tab on this site lists several suppliers that you might try. If you have good experiences with other suppliers, please share them!

Jason at ViPowER has informed me that they no longer have a contact office in the USA. Any queries should be addressed directly to their head office in Taiwan; any products can also be shipped from there.
Or the head office at Taipei, Taiwan:

Michael Chang
ViPowER, Inc.
www.vipower.com [www.vipower.com]
Skype : michael8624
QQ : 2482768827
Mobile TW: +886(0)932061994
Mobile CN: +86 186 6417 4096

How can I help?

You can support the project by giving feedback (about bugs or ideas for new features), suggestions and contributions. Please mail feature requests and bug reports to mrjb@dnd.utwente.nl. Please make sure to include HD24 in the subject line. If you wish to contribute time, expertise or hardware, this is also welcomed. You can get the last public source from the subversion repositories on sourceforge.net.

Please mail me if you correct any bugs or if you wish to contribute code.