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Sorry, I originally posted this in the wrong column...

I'm looking at buying a portable recording desk, perhaps the Boss BR900CD, in the near future, but I want to make sure I don't buy the wrong thing and regret it later.

I'm looking to buy it mainly for two reasons. The first is to create demos that I can share with the rest of my band. Basically I'm the lead songwriter and I want something quick and easy to put together demos so that we can jam on them later.

The second reason is that I want to put together an EP for the band in the near future. I'm not worried about putting together a world class master, just a CD of our best songs so I can get our name out there.

I already have recording and mixing equipment on my computer (cubase, reason, as well as an M-Audio Firewire connection) but I find it too cumbersome to create demos in this way, and at the moment we haven't got a reliable way to mix vocals and drums. (Our Bass Player does have a mixing desk, if that helps).

What should my next step be? Is the BR900CD a good investment for a rookie like me?


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 11/15/2006 - 22:56
Why Br900

Why are you thinking about the BR900 ? does it have a particular feature(s) ?
As I'm sure you know there are a varity of multitracks out there. Have you considered any others ? I'm sure BOSS is as good as any of them but are a little more pricey. Each brand of mulitrack seems to have slightly different features, like one my have a USB computer connect, handy if you need it, others will have a programmable drummer verse stock drum patterns, etc.
Most of the manufactures have the manuals online.
The prices on multitracks have been dropping recently. I think you can get a 16 track or better for not much more than the BR900.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 11/16/2006 - 18:04

Thanks for the advice. The reason I'm looking at the BR900CD is that it will allow me to record my demos easier than a traditional multitrack. The built in drum machine, CD writer, USB and portability are the big extras for me. Especially portability. I don't really need the guitar effects included (I have these anyway), but they are a nice extra if I'm getting the rest.

Is there a more financially balanced digital recording system?

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 11/16/2006 - 23:39
Lots of 'em

There are quite a few to choose from. In around the BR9000 price range, that will do pretty much the same thing and more for the money.
As far as on board drums, check out some of the Zoom machines their drums are programmable in addition to pre-programmed patterns, whereas I think most of the other brands just give you stock patterns to use. I'm not sure about the other units but Zoom's you can for each individual drum (bass,snare,etc) adjust their volume, tone, pan, pitch.
Most of the units come with loads of effects.
You pretty much want want want that has at least 3 eqs settings, with shelf type and a mid-Q. I think most units have 'mastering' effects but check.
Harddrive and CD burner..for sure. A USB is helpfull but you can copy to CD then to PC if need be.
Check out what is 'optional' to the particular unit so you don't think you'll be getting something that you don't.
Also, you want to think about how many inputs you'll want to record at once, if that's important.
Also a line-in is helpfull if you are going to want to use and external preamp, although you could use the regular inputs.
Make a list of the features you want and then try to match it up with a unit.
Most of those mulitrack units have forums (do a search) go on them and ask questions.
Check out some of the online music places and see what all is available. Try to get a feel for how long the unit has been out and if a newer one is on the way and if you'd want to wait for the newer one, but usually it will be more expensive the units that have been on the market a while start to see price drops. I think you can find those Tascam 24 tracks for around 800 now.
Some people say that some brands have better onboard preamps than others, but who knows ?
And when you do get a unit, don't be to surprised if it doesn't sound so good on your first recordings, I've had my unit a couple years and the more I learn about eq'ing, compresion, mixing etc, the better my records sound.
Anyway, do your homework................

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 11/17/2006 - 02:01
thanks a lot. This is a great deal to think about.

Just one small thing. How common is it to have the drum machine onboard the multitrack? I already have a zoom rhythm track but the thing is a pain it the but to program and doesn't have upgradeable memory, so I'm forever running out of room to store beats. Should I upgrade my drum machine separately or try to find a two in one for the digital recorder?

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 11/17/2006 - 10:29
Drums onboard

I think most of the units in the price range have some type of drum/rhytym stuff onboard. But some are more flexable than others. Whether they are better or not than what you already have, I wouldn't know. However, I would suspect having the drums right onboard would make the whole processes easier.
If having drums is important to you, check out the Zoom multitracks like the MRS1600, they may be the only unit in that range that has programmable drums, but a USB port on them is optional ($79). But you can still get tracks to a PC with CD with a few caviots.
I'll have a Zoom MRS1600 for a couple years, I use it to work up ideas, song write, put down practice tracks, arrangements, etc I may even put a CD together of actual material for public consumption or just my own satisfaction.
The onboard guitar effects are ok, lately I've been mic'ing my guitar amp. I also plug a keyboard into it. So it's pretty easy to sit in your living room or wherever put the head phones on and.....well create. If you don't play or have a bass it has a programmable bass, but I prefer recording my own, which I just plug directly in.
I haven' had much experience with other units, but if you've got a good music store around there, check 'em out.

Here's a couple links to Zoom forums. I think the other like Boss, Korg, etc have similar forums, good places to frequent before and after you buy.
pm me if you like.