Maximum File Size Limitations for 7-Series Recorders

Q: How do you handle the 2 GB file size limit that is often associated with .WAV files? Will the file system break a recording seamlessly at a given file size and start a new one without any operator intervention?

A: First, a WAV file on its own isn't technically limited to 2 GB. Some early audio software applications use "signed numbers" instead of unsigned numbers for their file pointers. This caused an artificial 2 GB limit. With 7-Series recorders, it is the volume that contains the WAV which dictates its size limit. In older FAT (and FAT16) environments the largest volume (and file) size was 2 GB (remember how much fun it was installing a large drive with Window 95 and having to make multiple partitions?).

The 702, 702T, 722, and 744T recorder's data volumes are formatted and write to FAT32 file structures. This formatting allows the drive to directly mount in a wide variety of computer platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Via the FireWire connection both internal drives (internal HD--722/744t--and CF) appear as external FAT32 volumes. The 7-Series recorders can format volumes up to 2 TB.

NOTE: Windows XP has a limitation on FAT32 drive formatting. XP can format a FAT32 volume to a maximum of only 32 GB, although it can read FAT32 volumes as large as 2 TB.) FAT32 formatting has a maximum single file size limitation of 4 GB. While that means that you could have thousands of files on the drive, the largest any one file can be is 4 GB. The 744T and 722 recorders will automatically split an audio file before the 4 GB size is reached and begin writing to a new file. When joined in an editing program these files line up seamlessly with no samples lost. This is similar to an Audio CD which has multiple tracks on its volume. The 744T and 722 have menu-selectable file size maximums of 640 MB, 1 GB, 2 GB, and 4 GB. The 640 MB size allows the user to break a single, long form audio program into multiple CD-R sized files for backup to inexpensive CD-R medium.