Best Stand-alone digital recorder?




Thanks to all for your input on building the studio.

I'm going to go the computer route. However, I've got a bunch of stuff that I'd like to record asap in highest quality form that I can burn to CD, while I complete the longer term goal of building and learning the computer system.

So I'd like to get a stand-alone, high quality digital multitrack unit, preferably with a CD burner, so I can get these done now.

Therefore, a question:

What would you all recommend as the top 3-5 Digital stand-alone recorders, particularly with respect to:

-Ability to create high-quality professional sounding CDs

-Flexibility in terms of being able to create different sounds/environments--e.g., effects that will be useful in manipulating vocals, guitar sounds

-Ease of use

-Price/value for the above.

Appreciate any input that you can provide.




You mean like a portable digital studio thing, or a multitrack recorder? None of the digital multitracks are going to have mix down capabilities or a CD-burner for making red book CD's.

Reguardless of what you buy there will be a learning curve, but nothing too big. The Roland's, sales wise, are the most popular portable studios, then Yamaha. I don't work with these much. I do know that the Rolands come with mic modeling ( a joke really), speaker cabinet modeling (just as silly), etc. The VS2480 (24-track) w/CD retails for $4695.00 The next step down is a VS1824CD (18-track) and it has a street price of about $1990. The Yamaha AW4416HDCD (16-track) is about $2490 street, and the AW2816 (16-track) is about $1790 street.

Doing back-ups takes a huge amount of time on the Yamaha's. There is little memory, so backups are required often.

Now, you can buy an Alesis ADAT-XT for $979 from Sweetwater. It is 20-bit 8-track, but it is 1/3rd of it's normal price. Alesis is discontinuing all ADAT tape machines. You could get a LX-20, less features for $900. Alesis has the HD20 LINEAR, destructive, hard-disk recorder, $1990. Next is the Mackie SDR24/96 for the same price. Both of these have embedded software, so they don't boot from a disk. The SDR is not as interface friendly. It does have USB, but it uses DB25 connectors for I/O, where the Alesis has 1/4" TRS and ADAT optical I/O. The Mackie was made by Sydec, the Soundscape people. It has newer converters than the HDR series. There is no graphic editing software on either machine. You edit by numbers via the display.

Next is the Mackie HDR for $4000. plus you have to buy I/O cards. This is a PentiumII computer in a case, so all you need is a monitor and mouse to do editing. Mackie has a crap load of these in wharehouses, due to poor sales and Mars going bankrupt, so you can find a good deal on them. Tascam has a MX2424, made by TimeLine. It is the same price more or less, and is a better machine, IMO. The downside is that you need a computer to use their editor software.
The best machine, bar none, is the iZ Radar Project D. It is rock solid, and sounds great. It is also about $4k. It includes I/O. Nashville is full of Radars. They work 24/7 and have killed analog tape sales in Nashville.