Stand alone daw's?


Well-Known Member
May 12, 2003
Rick started a thread about a recording setup for beginners. It's important to pick a good device to record sounds with, and I wanted to take a little survey.

In the other thread Rod mentioned how fond he was of his korg unit, I mentioned how much I liked a roland unit that I own, and now I want to know what every one else has.

What kind of recording machines do you have?

What do you likedislike about it?

How much did it cost?

If you had to buy again would you buy the same thing?

Write your essay in 500 words or........ :D


Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2001
:) Hi Steve, I use an AW-4416, I like the automation, and built in dynamics and EQ it has never caused a problem, however have not had to edit much yet, which may be tedious on the small screen. But, I basically use it as a tracking, and mixing system with outboard console and rack gear most of the time. I also use a stand alone burner with it, SPDIF, using the internal burner for back-up.

For ROBOT it would have to be smaller, and far less expensive if ROBOT were to include a stand alone. 4 to 8 tracks.

Rods Korg is loaded, of course the aw-4416 specs and features will take all of RO's memory to reproduce and shut down the site. :D



Well-Known Member
May 12, 2003
I don't know if it's still in production or not, but I also have a roland VSR-840. This is a rack mount machine with 8 inout rca, like an adat, and two trs inputs on the front. I purchased it with an external burner.
I currently use this along side my adat xt's, for a 24 track setup.
One of the nice features it has is a cdr record mode that actually creates an image file while you record. I can dump a mix, and burn a disk in less than 5 min, for a 3.5min song.

For a beginner it has only two inputs on the front, but that might be a good start. Later it will take 8 from a mixer. This machine also has automation.
You can buy upgrade cards that give you up to 4 internal fx send
eturn, and include mastering plugins.
This may not be a good choice for a beginner that wants to record a band, but for a singer songwriter, I think it's better than my other roland. Last I heard you could get one in canada for $800.


Another Roland junkie here - VS1880.

Started off on a friend's 1680 and by the time I was ready to buy, the 1880 was just making its debut. At the time, it was going for 1699.00. Roland was running a special where you buy the first FX card and they supplied the second one free. Seemed like a good deal at the time and the 1880 sure beat the snot out of the Tascam Portastudio I had been recording on. I figured the most I'd be doing with the VS would be recording my own stuff and occassionally stuff for friends. That was a litte over two years ago. Nowadays, I'm trying to record full bands, choirs, acapella groups, VO's, music beds and sound effects for games, not to mention my own over-reaching concoctions.

What I like - It was light years beyond the old Portastudio in terms of capability and quality. It helped me gain a better understanding of recording principles and allowed me to record things I never could have with the old 8 track. V-tracks and built in FX. Rudimentary automation and the ability save and recall scenes. Digital I/O - I didn't appreciate this at first but it's come to be a necessity nowadays. Portability. I've used it to record a few live shows and its portability made the task soooo much easier.

What I don't like - No channel inserts for outboard gear. Preamps (frankly, they suck. Bad). The built in click track - sounds like ass. Proprietary Roland format makes interface with non-Roland systems near impossible. Lack of proper backward compatibility with older VS's. Excruciatingly slow project backups and recovers. Lack of WAV file import or export and Roland's absolute refusal to do anything about it. 2Gb partitions. Can only record 8 tracks at a time. This has come to be a serious limitation and is the main reason why I'm looking towards some kind of dedicated hard disk system. A host of other quirks and limitations that are increasingly annoying.

Would I buy it again? Probably. At the time, it was all I could afford. If I were doing it all over from today forward, knowing what I know now? No. I've basically outgrown the 1880. In fairness, it's been reliable in spite of its many quirks and has allowed me to do things that, just 5 years ago, I never dreamed I'd be able to do. It has served me reasonably well but it's time to move on and up. That is, as soon as I figure out what to move on and up to, and can scrape up the coin to get it. ;)


Well-Known Member
Jun 1, 2003
Houston, TX
I use the Roland VS-2480HD. I have had it for over 2 years, and upgraded from the VS-880EX.

I agree most Roland pres leave much to be desired, but the 2480 has pretty darn good pre's and converters - a different design from the 1880 and 880. Granted, the older 2480's (Like mine) have a small input distortion problem that is easily fixed (temporarily by cranking the input gain, or permanently by sending to Roland for a free mod). No biggie AT ALL and I would still buy another 2480 if I was in the market. New ones are "Bug Free"...

Granted there are no true analog "Inserts" on the VS, but you do have 8 direct out buses, or 8 auxes you can use to your heart's content and route them to any of the 8 BALANCED +4dBu outs, and simply return the insert to one of the balanced analog inputs. The tracks have a "Mix Switch" to remove tracks from the main mix when outputting through a direct or aux send. I use analog and SPDIF digital "Inserts" all the time with external gear - no problems. The patch bay and routing is second to none with TWO assignable HP outs, an assignable Monitor out, and the 8 Analog outs, 16 channels of R-Bus I/O, and 4 channels of SPDIF. All inputs are also routable.

16 mic-pres (8 with Phantom), and 16 recordable tracks at once. I paid like $3295 for mine 2 years ago (a no finance deal), and I think you can find new ones for like $3000 or less (I haven't shopped in a while), and used ones in the $2500 and less range.

The 2480 also allows a VGA connection AND VGA MOUSE SUPPORT without a PC! I don't do complex edits, but the VS does have adequate editing capabilities (minus a real-time Waveform display, it is a ststic waveform display, but effective none the less). Undo, and redo (Thank GOD!)

The only "bad" thing about Roland, is their "Proprietary" nature. They do have an 8 channel digital I/O (two of them for 16 ch of digital I/O), but it is unique to Roland - called "R-Bus". If you want to export to TDIF or ADAT Optical, you will need an adaptor to go from R-BUS to TDIF or ADAT. You can still export tracks through SPDIF, or even through 24 bit wav exports through the CD-R (built in CD-R on the 2480"CD", external SCSI CD-R on the 2480"HD"). The "CD" adds a CD-R , but looses a removable HD. The HD version has a removable HD in a caddy, but needs an external SCSI CD-R for arcvive and data back-up/recovery. I use 24bit Wav export to CD-R for PC mastering, or adding a plug-in here and there. You can even get the R-Bus PC card and have 8 (or 16) channels of Digital I/O going to a PC for real-timeplug-ins

Up to 16 mono 8 stereo effects at once, PLUS 48 Compressor/Gates. A 4-Band FULLY parametric EQ w/mouse draw capability, and a seperate filter section on EACH CHANNEL (48 channels).

All other's harp on the "Linear" modes. The Roland uses a 3:1 disk compression that has been tested and proved to be practicaly lossless, and only ever so slight (in-audible) losses are detected above 10KHz. I can't hear it, and I will pay you $100 if you can pick it out in a double blind test with 24 bit audio. You WON'T hear it, but you will get MUCH more room on the same sized disk as a linear mode recorder.

I LOVE IT! I have also heard GREAT things about the Korg and it's 24 track linear record mode (all 24 at once - COOL!). Just do your homework, and physically go and compare these units - touch them and listen to them. It is a big investment, and you want to be sure you made the right choice for YOU.

More than 500 words?

Later :cool:

[ August 20, 2003, 10:25 PM: Message edited by: Randyman... ]
Jun 24, 2003
Framingham, Mass.
I use a Roland VS1824CD with a solid collection of outboard gear. Aside from it's proprietary format, which requires me to pull the tracks off 2 at a time, in real time, by S/PDIF, I have 2 main complaints with the thing. One, the pres generally suck, and I solve that problem with an Avalon. The most annoying pain in the ass is that it records 18 tracks, but has only 12 faders!
I like to ride the faders a bit when doing house mixes, so I think of it as a 12 tracker, which is adequate for my needs. In a worst case scenario, I can move something that's not that dynamic to tracks 13-18, but it's still a pain in the ass. I paid almost $2000 for it, and now, they're $1600. Still, I've gotten almost through an entire album without a major failure (fingers crossed). I would like more hard drive memory though. The days when I could keep the whole album on the hard drive are long gone!-Richie


I have a 1680 which I started my recording adventure with. I didn't realize that it had on board preamps so I also bought 2 ART Dual Mp's, and some mics: senn e 602, SM57, two AKG C1000's and an AKG C 3000 (no B), and two direct boxes (countryman, and the Sans Amp Bass DI). My goal was to record audition tapes and demos for bands I was playing in and friends.

I've done a bit of that, in various settings and learned more about recording and gear.

I've since started using Sonar in a PC from ADK, using the RME digiface and rme converters. I've added some more preamps and some mics (both good and crappy). Now I have a Meek VC1, DBX 376, DBX 386, Focusrite Green 1, and a UA 6176, and an AKG C4000B, CAD M39, Blueberry, two Dragonflys, an RE 20 and an MD 421 II.

I want to upgrade the op-amps in the 1680's preamps and see if that will make it a better stand alone mobile unit than it is. It is quite a bit of work to haul around a rack of preamps and the roland and have too many places to look for problems for the occassions I have to record "on location".

I'm sort of reorganizing my studio and not recordig much right now. Hopefully I'll be moving my gear into a leased space (for more info on this folly, see the bid'niz forum) I can make sound good following the guidance in the Acoustics forum.

I'm sorry what was the question?? ;)
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I use the Roland VS-2480CD. What I like about it? Just everything. 24 bit resolution, built in parametric EQ for both the 24 input mixer and track mixer, built in Compression and gate for each input chanel and track chanel, built in FX, a MAstering room, ability to edit with a mouse in drag and drop, a normal computer Keyboard and VDA display, an optional meter bridge for great level control, Automix, etc....