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multi-track recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Rainword, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Rainword

    Rainword Guest

    First off,..not sure if this is where this post should be,..if not..just let me know.

    also,..am very glad I found/joined this forum.

    I am a songwriter mainly,..and am looking at getting a digital recorder along with a Dr. Rhythm drum machine.

    Let me state that I dont care from puter recording..the more I can stay away fromt he puter the better for me.

    I am looking at the FostexMR-8HD/Cd...for my purpose.
    I will be doing all guitar parts(acoustic & electric)..some piano,..and either my own bass or bass/drums froma drum machine.

    I dont want to be too elaborate/complicated with the setup,..I just want good -somewhat raw but decently mixed tunes..and burning them on the recorder.

    I might would want a simple program on puter to help/clean-up..the recording..but thats bout it.

    any insight into this recorder..and /or another brand in this ball park would be much appreciated.

    also any comments about what I have planned..

    clue me in guys.


  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Before I dispense advice, may I kindly ask why you are so adverse to the computer?
  3. 16 bit gave us a bad wrap...

  4. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I just waded through this very tired and somewhat misguided concept with a good friend, who's a singer/songwriter who needs a "scratchpad" (but GOOD) recorder for when inspiration hits.

    He too originally didn't want to mess with a computer, but rather wants to just 'hit a button" to record when the mood strikes. He also needs four dedicated mics - two in the piano, one main vocal, and one on the guitar, all within arms reach of each other, within reach of the recorder, as well.

    So, a two-input all-in-one USB interface is out. He's going to have to spend some $$ on mics AND pre's, with an AD infterface. Without an engineer on standby, of course. (That's what he calls ME for...hehehe)

    He also wants ME to work on mixes, edits & ultimately mastering, if anything comes of it. So, a simple 16 bit stereo CD is out, too, he knows if we're going to work with it after the fact, we'll need as much bit depth as possible; cheating here makes no sense, not with today's technology. And, i'll need acess to all the tracks, no matter how few/many there are, when I polish it up for him.

    We've looked at all the stand alone boxes, and have come to realize the tiny blue/green interface windows & sub menus on those "all in one" units are actually WORSE and more difficult to manouever than any of today's basic recording software packages in even the most modest computer; laptop or desktop. (I think the basic Cakewalk digital recording & MIDI notation application is $49. They've merged with Roland.....)

    From $600 basic (Acer, Dell) laptops to $1200-1700 Sony's & HPs, there's a LOT of great options out there that won't break the bank.

    I reminded him: BOTH systems - DAWs or all-in-one units are Computers anyway; it's just a different way of handling them.

    So, he's finally considering a DEDICATED laptop that will be used ONLY for digital audio recording, with templates he can call up quickly, almost instantly (while he's making coffee) and be ready to record with that "single button" - just like the stand-alone units. The only real difference is the flexiblity on the back end, and the record button will be virtual; on the screen.

    With a dedicated Preamp AD converter (like the Mackie 400 ONYX and other similar boxes with pres' & firewire), he's set for both a good laptop, AD, and software for under $2k.

    Since the learning curve is about the same when you total it all up, he feels (after much study on the matter) he'll be better off in the long run with the "Computer" vs. the Stand-alone box. Yes, he can burn CDs on either one, but he can also network and email the results to others, and transfer hi-res files to DVD-ROM, external drives, etc. and have the best of both worlds.

    I'm not knocking the stand-alone Systems, (there are some great ones out there!) but I think it's a short term trap for folks who still think "computers" are difficult to learn to manage, or that they won't sound as good or some other myth that wont seem to go away. With the stand-alone's, you're trapped with a specific set of hardware & firmware. With a component computer system, AD/Converter, Computer, upgradeable software, burner, network, etc., you're able to expand as your needs require. (And believe me, as you'll come to find in this world of digtal recording, your needs will grow and grow and grow....MUCH quicker than you'd think!)
  5. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Ref JoeH:

    I'm on a simular system.

    Dedicated laptop:
    IBM Thinkpad Lenovo R61I (Intel Duo Core 1.5GHz)
    An external optical mouse...
    And a cuple of MOTU 8pre's.

    all fitted with cables, mics and everything in a 6U effect rack. Mobility, Durability.. and Budgetility?....
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I think Joe's advice is right for almost everyone. I like a flash recorder that is truly point and shoot, push the button and record at one end of the spectrum and a full feature DAW at the other. I find the stuff in the middle not very useful.

    However, this may be one of the rare situations where a unit like the Fostex makes sense - a one-man-band computerphobe. Most of us reading this board tend to focus on the learning curve of working with the interface. We take the computer interface (and the interaction of the DAW with the operating system and other software) for granted. Not really true for everyone.

    It sounds (in a very short post) like the Fostex will do what you want. Just realize that this is a dead end. It does what it does, and if you want to do more you scrap it and start from scratch.
  7. Rainword

    Rainword Guest

    wow,..some good comments

    Cucco: I have friend ask me that same question..lol, and all I can say is that I like " hands on" feeling., I mean turning real knobs, sliders..etc.
    ( call me old school), I dont really had a problem with puter stuff,..I just dont like sitting in front of this dang thing.

    I understand what you are all saying and I have not made my decision yet. but I still like the ideal of using puter only to store my music..and even with standalone I can still send to friends online.

    any other thoughts are appreciated..like I said you guys just might lean me toward puter based.

  8. Rainword

    Rainword Guest

    Let me ask another question to be sure I understand something about all this:

    If I did go witht the Fostex or something like it.,
    the cd/songs I would make off of it are in wav form
    so,.cant I have a puter program that I load them onto?..and play/work with the songs in that program
    on the puter?

    thanks again gentlemen

  9. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    The stand alones are fine for doing exactly that, (Making CDs) and many now have USB or Firewire connectivity to transfer tracks and things to another system. You can do a LOT with them, with great results; don't get me wrong.

    You need to remember a few things, however: CDs are rounded down to 16 bit, 44k sample rate, which is totally fine (and better than MP3s) for storage and copies. But just ripping a finished 16/44 CD into a second workstation after the fact is a little lame in today's world. If you're going to do any hi-end work at all on the tracks (mixing, EQ'ing, compression, DSP, etc.), conventional wisdom has shown that you're better off working in the higher bit rates (24, usually) and sample rates 88.2, 96, etc..

    Many of these boxes have this higher spec capability as well, but I'm just not sure about dithering and gear-boxing (Sample rate conversion) quality, going down to CD formats. I prefer the sound - or lack of it - with my professional software, with various dithering options & higher quality SRC. (And, I've seen sooooooooo many stupid examples of 48k sample rates on those all-in-one AUDIO workstations, I just have to shake my head in bewilderment.....ALL of this is being gearboxed to 44.1 anyway, so what's the friggin' POINT!?!?!) If I'm going to do all that, I want the visual real-estate of a full size screen, better colors, etc. (my eyes ain't what they used to be, I admit...)

    A lot of this is just personal preference, and if you go that route, make sure there's enough connectivity and replaceable storage media (chips, HDs, etc.) that you won't paint yourself into a corner when things start to fill up.

    I have the Fostex LV2424 as a backup/second system, and as much as it's a wonderful, rock-solid good-old-fashioned-feeling 24 track recorder, I'll never buy another one again. Their HD system is NOT mac or pc compatible, (yes, I know all the reasons why), and their file transfer/LAN card system has always been slow, difficult to install (when I last checked, it had to be done by a factory rep, which involved shipping to the nearest authorized center....) In the end, I only use it when I have to; I use it for live sessions, with a specially formatted HD, (VERY time consuming) and transfer the tracks via ADAT optical, 8 at a time into a standard DAW for the "Real" work. By the time I've gone through all this, I would have been much better off with a DAW, IMHO.

    It is, as they say: as broad as it is long.

  10. Rainword

    Rainword Guest

    thanks Joe..

    the deeper I dig..
    the deeper I get..

  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Hey Rain -

    Joe's got some good points.

    While I say I completely understand your reasoning and even sympathize with it, I can tell you from personal experience that there are positives and negatives on both sides of the fence.

    For smaller projects, I tried to use a couple of those all-in-one boxes. One of which was a Tascam. (It failed me twice losing all of its data. It landed on EBay very quickly).

    The other was an AKAI. Of the two, the AKAI was far more expensive, but FAR better on all fronts. However, in retrospect, to get that tactile feel that you refer to, I could just have easily (in today's market that is) purchased a cheap laptop or desktop (the latter being better if you want inexpensive and the ability to do a lot of processing. Cheap laptops don't do loads of processing well), a good interface and a control surface.

    Take for example a Dell Vostro desktop for around $500 nicely equipped (including the monitor!), a Presonus FP10 for around $500 and a Mackie Control Universal for around $999. For $2k, you'd have a VERY nice system which is capable of growing with you.

    The down side to the all-in-one units is that you're stuck using that units mic preamps, conversion, Sample Rate Conversion, Dithering, Effects, mix bus, etc...

    Some units are decent on all of these fronts (the Akai DPS24 was a great unit and if I'm not mistaken, it's still available, but for around the same price as the computer setup I just mentioned above). However, most units are built around a series of compromises.

    However, if you're not interested in the quality of a mic preamp or you really just want to get the basics into the machine, the all-in-ones can be fine. In no way could I give any recommendations since my experience with them has been so limited, but I'm sure plenty around these parts could.

    I can tell you that when I'm working on my audio computer, I don't feel like I'm on a computer. Nothing looks or feels like a computer when all of the screens are filled with mixer windows, editor windows, etc...

    Those are just my thoughts.

  12. Rainword

    Rainword Guest

    Ok,..so you gents may be slowly convincing me :oops:

    Say if I do go computer recording? can anyone enlighten me on the software?..hardware?..and any extra things I need?

    again I dont need/want the most elaborate setup..
    just something that will do a decent job..at a decent price..with the less headaches :wink:

    The puter I have a few years old Sony..but I keep it pretty clean ( no games on it..extra needless things..etc..)

    again I do really appreciate it..


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