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Studio Downsizing & DAW Upgrading

Discussion in 'Recording' started by FullMeasure, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. FullMeasure

    FullMeasure Guest

    Hi, gang:

    A newbie to this forum, I'm anything but a newbie to recording. Currently, I'm in the process of selling a good deal of my current recording gear (including my Mackie MDR 24, and Mackie 24 channel 8-bus board), in order to free up space in my basement studio, and radically reduce patching/cabling requirements.

    Whatever the solution, it has to be capable of producing commercially releaseable mixdowns.

    One of the problems I'm running into is finding a 24 track DAW that will both:

    - provide multiple inserts or other line-level inputs so that I can use my Neve mic-pres, and record directly to the A/D converters and hard drive, bypassing the onboard preamps, and

    - support 24-bit recording for all 24 tracks.

    The Yamaha AW2400 meets the first requirment with the optional input card that provides 8 - 1/4" TRS line level inputs, but fails the "24-bit X 24 Tracks" requirement.

    The only one I can find that seems to meet this criteria is the Akai DPS 24-Mk II - but even this one only provides 4 bypass inserts.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance

    FullMeasure
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Assuming you need a system with operational faders during recording, consider the following:

    Yamaha 01V96 or (02R96) fitted with MY16AT card to give 24 ADAT I/Os
    3x ADAT card in the PC with ASIO drivers (eg Marian Marc A)
    Optional input expander: Mackie Onyx 800R (8 ins) or Creamware Ultra A16 (16 ins)

    On the 01V you get 12 inserts plus 4 line level ins, 16+8 on the 02R. Either could record 24 channels at 24-bit 48KHz to a PC-based DAW.

    How many inputs do you need while recording?
     
  3. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    What about a Protools TDM system? I have my Neve pres going into my 192i/o. It has delay compensation for hardware inserts, plus a battery of great plugs for mixing and mastering. So you can use your GML 8200 and L3.
     
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I find any such money spent on an "All-in-one" box an investment in futility and obselescence. Both of the devices you mention are of relatively high expense and neither of them give you near the tools necessary to truly record and mix (okay, record yes, mix...nope.)

    Try going with a traditional DAW - a PC or Mac running your favorite software and get a hold of a nice control surface and interface (or a combination of the two - although, take heed - doing so is also a sure fire way to ensure you become obsolete within a year or two.)

    Not knowing your exact budget but making the assumption that you're looking between $2500 and $3K based on the devices you mention, I would think a MOTU 24I/O with an Allen/Heath board would get you where you need to be. Add $500 for your software of choice and your grand total would be <$2500. (Assuming you already have a computer that is.)

    However, I'm curious to know why you need to record 24 tracks simultaneously. I have never needed to do this, even when I've tracked entire bands all at once (which I never LIKE to do anyway - usually sounds like sh*t).

    Usually, 8 tracks at a time leaves me with a spare or 2.

    J.
     
  5. FullMeasure

    FullMeasure Guest

    Good info, folks - a couple of additional considerations...

    Thanks for all the input!

    Yeah... I've considered the PC/Interface/ProTools-software route, but I'm trying to avoid going this way for several reasons:

    1) I work all day, every day (sans weekends, for the most part) at a computer (as software tech writer), and the last thing I want to do, on my own time, is spend MORE time in front of monitor, with my hands bouncing between keyboard and mouse.

    2) While I have a fair amount of experience tracking and mixing, my primary role is that of a singer/songwriter. So, essentially, I'm a musician who necessarily fills the role of engineer (as opposed to a recording engineer who dabbles in music). Thus, "simplicity", particularly during the tracking process, is critical to me.

    3) Mixing, in this context, is almost a secondary issue. I have several friends who either own or have direct access to high-end facilities for mixing, if that becomes necessary. Ditto, mastering. Push-come-to-shove, I do own a very fast PC, with tons of memory, which would work fine for any Sonar/Samplitude/Cakewalk-esque mixing apps, if I choose to go that route.

    Finally, I own a Yamaha AW-16G, that I purchased specifically for use as an arranging/composing 'sketch-pad', and am very comfortable with 'all-in-one' format, though in the case of this unit, it's clearly well below the performance requirements needed to produce commercially viable tracks.

    Anyhow, 'dats de scoop'.

    Again, I appreciate the input!
     
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Don't take it the wrong way, but you have the wrong mind-set about this.

    In one breath, you state that something is incapable of producing professional sounds yet in the previous breath, you mention that you are merely a musician looking for a silver bullet.

    I sit in front of a computer all day too - I dare say more than most here on the boards. (Seeing as how I literally have 4 computers on and around me at this very instant and will for all but about 3 hours out of this particular day - some days are better, some are worse.)

    However, the computer is THE professional tool to use. Period. If you're only looking at recording the tracks and not mixing them, then you don't need to get rid of the mackies. They are good for doing just that. I certainly wouldn't propose mastering on any level, regardless of the tools which you have at your disposal.

    To me, and again, I mean no offense, it seems as though you've talked yourself into one of these all-in-one boxes (or perhaps someone else did) and you're stuck on that idea. The simple reality is, regardless of cost, brand, or features, all of these so-called "wonder-boxes" is utterly useless. The mic preamps suck (at best - some are just downright offensive) the AD conversion leaves everything to be desired, the effects are literally a joke and headroom???? Who needs headroom???

    Seriously - if you want anything that resembles professional results, at least look at what professional studios are using. Even cheap basement recording studios shy away from those toys. If you'd prefer to stay away from computer - I would strongly advise 8 track tape (seriously!)

    j.

    (PS - note - I didn't mention ProTools. For the money you're looking at spending, ProTools has nothing to offer you.)
     
  7. FullMeasure

    FullMeasure Guest

    Umm... 'Yes' and 'No'

    Cucco:

    Either you didn't read my original post, or your reading into my post something that isn't there.


    Don't take it the wrong way, but you have the wrong mind-set about this.

    In one breath, you state that something is incapable of producing professional sounds yet in the previous breath, you mention that you are merely a musician looking for a silver bullet.


    No. Actually, what I SAID, was that the "Sketchpad" unit I purchased (AW-16G) is just that -- a Sketchpad. And, thus, not adequate for serious tracking.

    I sit in front of a computer all day too - I dare say more than most here on the boards. (Seeing as how I literally have 4 computers on and around me at this very instant and will for all but about 3 hours out of this particular day - some days are better, some are worse.)

    That is obviously your choice, which is fine. It is, however, not mine -- which is also fine.

    However, the computer is THE professional tool to use. Period. If you're only looking at recording the tracks and not mixing them, then you don't need to get rid of the mackies. They are good for doing just that. I certainly wouldn't propose mastering on any level, regardless of the tools which you have at your disposal.

    Nope. Sorry. Spec for spec (sampling rate, Signal to Noise, etc.) of the best all-in-one boxes are equal to those of any computer.

    To me, and again, I mean no offense, it seems as though you've talked yourself into one of these all-in-one boxes (or perhaps someone else did) and you're stuck on that idea. The simple reality is, regardless of cost, brand, or features, all of these so-called "wonder-boxes" is utterly useless.

    Whoa, brother... Who's been 'talked into what' here? When redbook CD sampling rates are 44.1 khz, the difference between an Apogee A/D D/A box and Yamaha's or Akai's best onboard converters, in the final product aren't going to make a whole hell of a lot of difference.

    The mic preamps suck (at best - some are just downright offensive) the AD conversion leaves everything to be desired, the effects are literally a joke and headroom???? Who needs headroom???

    Precisely why I'm bypassing the onboard pre-amps in lieu of the ones I've mentioned.

    Seriously - if you want anything that resembles professional results, at least look at what professional studios are using. Even cheap basement recording studios shy away from those toys. If you'd prefer to stay away from computer - I would strongly advise 8 track tape (seriously!)

    Mix Magazine, Masterphonics (Nashville), and few other 'marginally pro' recording resources disagree with you. If you think a $2700 DAW is a toy, then I admire your bank account. But seriously... for tracking, an all-in-one box, with good onboard converters, and some high-end mic pres bypassing the onboard preamps, will do the job just fine. Peace.


    (PS - note - I didn't mention ProTools. For the money you're looking at spending, ProTools has nothing to offer you.)

    Uhh... actually M-Powered ProTools with a Digidesign Control Surface combined is under $1500.00
     
  8. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    Re: Umm... 'Yes' and 'No'

    im sorry, i'd have to agree with cucco.

    btw, m-powered protools is for m-audio gear. Digidesign gear comes with protools le or somethin like that.
     
  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    M-Audio and M-Powered are owned by AVID
    ... so is Digidesign.

    even for scratch pad work I think a computer has more to offer than an all in one.

    The biggests issue with any of this stuff is the max number of recordable inputs simultaneously

    if multiples are not an issue and only one or two for overdubs is needed then I think simplicity is best provided the file types are compatible with a PRO system for later use and possible use on a final mix.

    say for example - 44.1k 24bit wave files

    The second issue could be the reliance on some MIDI based sounds and again the ability to migrate to the PRO system without loss of data or sounds sources.

    SO
    two choices
    An ALLinONE wally box that runs on batteries and can be used while trekking in Nepal
    OR
    A computer based system that provides the right mix of facilities to get your recording done and then without conversion can be moved easily via a drive or USB stick to a Larger Pro System for further edit and mixdown.

    here is the rub
    24 tracks
    I guess you mean 24 recorded tracks simultaneously ??
    A Hardware unit may be the only choice and in turn they will need extra facilities for monitoring etc

    I record live with a 001 and an ADAT box
    it's a compromise but it does give good monitoring and some facilities for the client to view and listen and get an audioCD or Backup CDrom to go.
     
  10. Scoobie

    Scoobie Active Member

    My 2cents on the subject...................
    A DAW is the only way to go these days for recording and mixing.
    (Mastering a project is another subject)

    I have been building(RYO) my own daw's for about eight years and couldn't be more happy.

    I use Sampluitude and Sonar for software. Both can give professional
    results.

    My interface i use and recommend is the RME Muitface for pci.
    Or the fireface for firewire. I own both, and the conversion on these
    are great. With the fireface you can record 24 tracks simultaneously
    using the 8 onboard pre's(which are very good) and using the two
    adat lightpipe for another 16 channels. But you will only be able to record at 24/48hz because of the lightpipe.

    I record live shows with 24 tracks all the time with no problem.


    Peace............Scoobie
     
  11. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Re: Good info, folks - a couple of additional considerations

    Putting myself in your shoes, I would consider SAW Studio software on a PC with something like a FireFace 800. SAW feels more like a real console and multi-track than any other software I have used. Very responsive and sounds good. That combo would only cost about $1,900 and should meet your outlined needs.

    However, I fully understand your desire to not use a computer. This is a valid feeling. If the recording technology being used aggravates you, how are you as the artist suppose to perform well? You could get a stand-alone, hard disc, multitrack recorder with line-ins. Something like that is easy to use and ergonomic for tracking. Not so flexible in the post production department, but you have other resources for that. Genex makes a high quality unit, among others. These units do get pricey and you will probably still need an adequately sized mixer to create a monitor mix. So if you can economically support those kind of purchases, you should be a happy artist.
     
  12. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Re: Umm... 'Yes' and 'No'

    Not exactly. Maintaining a higher sample rate and word length can indeed provide benefits for the final 'lower-rez' medium. I see (hear, actually) it all the time. Of course the engineer must be skillful with the higher rez data during production to realize any true benefits in the final 16/44 master.
     

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