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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.




anonymous Tue, 03/25/2003 - 03:18

I use the Fostex VF16. Like all these stand alones, it has its idiosynchracies regarding operation, but it's easy to get a quick handle and start getting good sounds out of it. It has two channels of on-board effects as well as two auxillary inputs for external effect units that can be applied to any of the 16 tracks or the master bus. The onboard effects are very usable (decent reverbs and delay-based effects). There are 8 inputs, two of which are balanced XLR w/ insert points for compressors or EQ. You can record up to 16 tracks at a time. It's a pretty flexible unit and, with some decent analog front-end stuff for warmth (good mics, a good pre, good comp.) you can get some pretty dang impressive-sounding stuff. The newer models have a built in burner and are going for less than $1000US from Musicians Fiend--er, I mean "Friend."

KurtFoster Tue, 03/25/2003 - 10:46

Tascam gear works great! I have 30 year old Teac / Tascam equipment that works as well today as it did the day I bought it. I recommend Tascam gear whenever it is called for. The extra expense incurred with a Tascam purchase is money well spent. Many of the less expensive pieces will cost you in the long run in lost time and repair costs. Tascam equipment is built like a tank!

The MX 2424 is an excellent unit but it has a steep learning curve and there is no facility to mix or burn CDs. I get the impression you are looking for a unit that has built in mixing capability, CD burning as well as a recorder. Is that correct? Tascam also makes an all in one unit, with a mixer and an input section but I don't recall the model.. perhaps Kevin knows? Kurt

KurtFoster Tue, 03/25/2003 - 22:20

Since Kevin didn't mention the one I was asking about I dug through my pile of audio magazines (I get almost all of them for free being a record producer) and I found an ad for the Tascam all in one 24 track workstation I was thinking of. It is called the SX-1. The site says it’s a 16 track DAW but I read in an ad that they have upgraded it to 24 tracks. You can check it out at [="[/URL"]][/]="http://www.tascam.c…"]]http://www.tascam.c…] Kurt

KurtFoster Wed, 03/26/2003 - 09:42

I thought the site said it was about $6K??? Perhaps that's for the 16 track version. ???

I'm baaaack.... Yeah, it's 5999.MSRP.
The link works like dog doo so I'll post some of the blub here ...... Kurt

Extremely flexible 40 input, 32 x 8 digital mixing console with 100mm, touch sensitive faders, advanced built-in dynamic automation, and 16 high-quality phantom-powered mic preamps. • Full-function, 48kHz, 24-bit, 16-track hard disk recorder that uses an internal IDE disk drive. 8 tracks of 96khz recording will be possible with a software upgrade following soon after release (converters are 96k). Additional IDE and ultrawide SCSI drives may be connected to the SX-1 via a front-panel slot or a rear panel SCSI interface. • Highly integrated and intuitive waveform, MIDI, and automation data editing via an internal recording/editing engine that uses the fast, reliable, multimedia-optimized BeIA operating system and an extremely powerful graphics engine. • Complete surround mixing capabilities with the ability to record a full 5.1 mix to the internal HD in addition to the original 16 audio tracks. • 128-track MIDI sequencer with advanced editing modes that are available on the fly, with standard and step record modes and highly accurate timing derived from the internal sample clock. Each of the 64 MIDI outputs can be mapped to channel strips on the console, and channel strip faders and knobs can then be assigned to output MIDI channel or custom, user-defined MIDI messages. • Built-in CD-RW drive for printing stereo mixes, data backup and archiving, and importing sounds from audio or data CDs. • DSP plug-in technology that offers built-in effects by TASCAM, TC Works and Antares as standard features as well as the ability to support future expansion. • Extensive analog, digital, MIDI and computer interfacing that includes (16) balanced XLR inputs, (16) 1/4" TRS line inputs, TRS inserts on each analog input, an onboard speaker switcher, eight channels of ADAT Optical digital interface, two stereo S/PDIF inputs (with sample rate conversion) and outputs, wordclock In/Out/Thru, two MIDI inputs (for MIDI controllers and MIDI Time Code), four MIDI outputs, a SCSI port, two USB ports, a 100Mbits Ethernet jack for future FTP capabilities, separate studio and control room monitoring and more. • Built-in timecode/sync support via SMPTE/LTC, video sync, and Sony P2. • Expansion slots for 24 more channels of digital I/O (including optional multichannel interfaces for AES/EBU, TDIF, ADAT Optical) or additional analog I/O. • Onboard LCD screen that offers a wide variety of editing and automation information (including waveforms) • XVGA output that acts as a complete, stand-alone DAW interface for total control of the machine with no external computer required • MP3 support with a future software upgrade. • Jog/shuttle wheel for scrubbing audio and MIDI data simultaneously • Cascadable with TASCAM's DM-24 Digital Mixing Console to add input channels and interfaces with a future software upgrade.

MSRP: $5999 USD

Doug Milton Wed, 03/26/2003 - 09:55


I think you are talking about an all in one unit so that leaves out the Alesis or Tascam MX2424.

Something like the Yamaha AW16G is a 16 channel digital recorder/mixer with built in effects and built in CD burner for around a grand ($1099.97 at sweetwater)

Roland makes the VS 880 (8 channels) VS1680 (16 channels) VS 2480 (you get the idea?)

Korg also makes a 12 channel unit.

You may be able to find a good price on a use unit at ebay or digibid.

KurtFoster Thu, 03/27/2003 - 14:03

To All.......Again!!! I'm not trying to sell ANYTHING here, so enough of this crap before things get out of hand, Please!

I am sure your intentions are honorable. Someone's gotta sell this stuff and if you can make a sale and give good deals and service to boot, so be it! Additionally, you're very upfront about your association with TTM. That, in it's self speaks volumes. So please don't withhold any advice, suggestions or assistance you can offer just because a few people got their toes stepped on. It's really no big deal. Just as long as everyone is free to make their recommendations or point of view without hindrance or complaint, as moderator I'm a happy camper. ... Kurt

anonymous Fri, 03/28/2003 - 08:34

I own a Yamaha AW4416, which from my research at the time was the best all-around unit in terms of features and connectability/expandability. You can pick them up used on ebay for around $1500 or less. However, they are not an easy learning curve to get through. If you want something that will be easier to use and can do much of the same, I have heard good things about the Korg D1600 from people I have met that own them. The main things that will suffer with any stand alone in the $3500 or less range are the mic pres and the converters, but you can do good work with them if you aren't overly critical about things. Good luck.


anonymous Sat, 03/29/2003 - 22:58

What are the advantages of the Roland VS2480 over the Yamaha AW16G, Korg D-1600, Fostex VF-160 or
ZOOM MRS-1266. Also, is the VS1680 a good alternative to the 2480, or is too old of a model as compared to the others in terms of effects, etc. (I notice that the 1680 is no longer sold on zzounds/MF) How does the 2480 justify its substantially higher price as compared to these items? Thanks!

anonymous Thu, 04/03/2003 - 12:16

I'd definetly look into the aw4416 and stay away from the roland products...the vs2480 users site seems to have a lot of complaints about bugs and lack of support from roland. Also, the vs2480 is only 16 tracks at 24 bit. It has 24 tracks at 16 bit...and nobody wants to record at 16, so it has no track advantage over the aw4416. The pres on the yamaha may not be great, but you'll be getting outboard pre's in the long run anyway. I find that when trackings drums, relying on some of the pres sounds okay. Also, I found it to be not quite as hard to learn as others have said. The version 2 software makes setting up a track to record much easier than before. There is a program called "awextract" that lets you burn backup files of your song onto a cd and transfer them to the computer in 24 bit, so you wouldn't need an adat to transfer tracks. In conclusion, I recommend the yamaha aw4416 and maybe a two channel mic pre of some sort if you absolutely need an all in one recorder right now.

If I were in your shoes right now though, I would seriously get the computer set up now, and build off that (since you're going that route anyway, some practice will help). Get something that will just record, like those mackies or something, and a nice mic pre or two. When I got my yamaha I didn't realize that I would still need to buy good mic pres and mastering programs. I still love the yamaha for its mixing and automation, but without outboard equipment and computers, I could not get anywhere near a "high-quality proffessional sounding cd". The only reason that I went with an all in one recorder is because I do a lot of tracking around town. I still use the computer for mastering. If you do remote tracking then by all means get something like this...but if not, then don't.

anonymous Fri, 04/11/2003 - 20:40

Go AW4416.
AW4416 = :tu:

Though I know some success stories & to each his own, I'd avoid the VS units.
In my book they are toys.
To get the low down on the Roland VS units, just visit some of the user groups & read the complaints.
I had one & returned it within a week.

On the other hand, I have been very happy with the AW4416.
It does have cons -
Somewhat steep learning curve for one.
And yes, editing stinks, but you can do it (and hey, thats what computers are good at).
Oh & you can't add a meter bridge (oh well).

But the quality, extra add in cards, automation, signal routing, etc.. Really put it ahead of the pack & it truly sounds 'not to digital' compared to some of the other units I have tried.


philsaudio Wed, 04/23/2003 - 06:30


I use the Fostex VF-16 like godotzilla.

I have no experience with the other porta-studio machines but have found the Fostex to do the trick. Simple to use, sounds good, great support group on line. :c:

I run channels 1-8 through a soundcraft FX8 board as a preamp then into the Fostex VC-8. 8 channel to ADAT converter.

I set the FX8 so I can adjust gain (attenuation), apply the 3 band EQ and then take a pre fader direct out to the VC-8. How does that sound? Considering the alternative - a mic, an in line transformer and no EQ on channel 9-14, it sounds a whole lot better.

I like to put all the drums (kick, snare, toms, floor, Hat, OH, OH) and a bass mic into the FX8 and apply channel EQ on the way into the board. This way I have good tracks that require minimal EQ in the mix. Also the Fx8 provides phantom power for the OH-OH-HH mics

Channels 15 and 16 go to a four band audioarts parametric via the insert loop. I usually run Bass direct and perhaps a vocal through those and EQ on the way in there too.

Channel 13 has an ART tube channel with an Octava 319 condensor in front of my marshall combo amp that records my Harmonica. I also use the ART tube channel for vocal overdubs with a Studio Projects C1. I like the ART tube channel and would like to get 4 more of them. I can not find much good said about it on the web, but I can make it sound good. I takes some practice adjusting it with someone else singing or playing but when done right sings.

Now to channel 9 and 10. During practice we put two Beta 58A's into our Yamaha PA and take the insert ( with a special plug that shorts tip and ring) and send it to the fostex. This lets EQ be applied prior to recording also.

That leaves channel 11 & 12 for straight recording with an in line transformer, without EQ or compression.

With the new VF-160 all this can be done and you can burn tracks and mixdowns to the internal CD.

I am sure this unit is not the best one out there but for a little over a grand it is going to be hard to find anything that can record 16 tracks at once and export them to a DAW.

anonymous Wed, 04/23/2003 - 21:23

Hi there, first post here...

Id like to correct the Roland 2480 specs placed above.. I am a 2480 owner, and its 24 tracks at 24bit, but only 16 recording at a time. Its a great unit as long as you use OS 2.009. And Roland has been very good with handling my problems. No no, I dont work for them. :)

Ive worked with the Yamaha and the Korg D1600, but the 2480 just takes it as far as fully self contained ability, in my opinion.