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Analog to digital? Advice needed

Hello, first time posting here.
Well, here's the scoop. I've got a home recording studio. It's an 8 track TEAC 1/2 reel to reel. It's powered by a kick-a$$ harmon Kardon tube. I've been using a decent Mackie 16 channel mixing board, decent tube pre-amps, standard out-board effects rack.

Now...Here's the problem: a reel of tape cost $77 bucks for 33 minutes. Also, analog is starting to show its age due to the mixing & mastering stages it becomes archaic.

What I want to know, if someone wants to "cross-over" to the digital domain, what is the most inexpensive/ best sound/ ease of use, way to do it. I have looked at single unit Roland 8 & 16 track digital recorders used for a nice price. But, I've also considered stepping it up a bit and getting a Mac with Pro-Tools.

Any advice is appreciated.

AP 8)


Pro Audio Guest Fri, 04/14/2006 - 11:51
The most flexible, customizable solution would be a computer running digital audio workstation (DAW) software. It's also the most expandable tool set.

ProTools is one such solution, but certainly not the only one. Other capable, pro-level DAW softwares include Logic, Nuendo, Digital Performer, Sonar and Cubase, any of which may prove more affordable once all other elements are accounted for.

Generally, all you need for a comp-based DAW is: a computer, audio sequencing/editing software (like those listed above), an audio interface (for MIDI and A/D conversion), monitors to listen and cables to connect everything. A/D converters can differ in the quality of their conversion, so if highest audio fidelity is an important issue for you, research to make sure you invest wisely.

I don't believe it matters much which computer platform you choose; both Macs and Window systems are capable. Set-up is typically a little easier on a Mac since the OS is built to deal with it directly. A Win-PC will give you greater processing power at a lower cost. Short of that, both platforms are more alike than different when it comes to DAW work.

Self-contained portable DAWs like the Roland units are very robust and durable -- they're constructed to perform one trick well, after all -- but they're more cumbersome than comp-based systems when it comes to editing audio. They also have limited expandability, especially regarding third-party mixing tools. One of the great aspects of comp-based DAWs is the array of add-on effects you can accumulate as your mix needs grow.

My own experience: In the digital realm, I started out with a Roland VS-880. I've progressed to a Mac G5 running Digital Performer and use it for professional work. I've never looked back. And given that you've already invested in good front-end analog gear (pres, efx, etc.), I'll bet you'll feel the same way.

alfonso Sun, 04/16/2006 - 15:00
The jump from an old tape recorder to a PT system is huge...I think that having some good quality dsp running along the main cpu is a very good idea, as long as you need some features of such a quality level that would seriously burden your system if running in a completely native way.

I've found the system that fits my needs perfectly with the Creamware Scope platform. A couple of Scope Pro cards in a good PC and a sequencer of choice make a professional system with an incredibly good sound, the best synth emulations, samplers, processors, some of the best sounding stuff of the market, for a fraction of the cost of a PT professional system.

If you are ok with a simple native solution or a laptop, well, you can have a lot with that solution, but if you need something else to the point you start thinking of throwing in lot of $$$...well, consider a Scope system first, it's maybe better than PT (my opinion), much more flexible and incredibly featured.