Digital Multi-Tracking

Posted: 8/1/2007 9:22:26 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

OK, so my sound card finally died.

I am not a big fan of recording with the computer anyway (I like a dedicated control surface with real knobs and buttons).

I am now looking at some stand-alone digital multitrack recorders and there are quite a few out there that are actually less expensive than my old cassette four-track!

Do any of you theremizens use one of these? If so, which one? What do you like and dislike about it?
Posted: 8/1/2007 7:32:16 PM
PhilMT

From: Surrey, UK

Joined: 7/31/2007

I started with the Zoom MRS-4 four track, mastered it pretty quickly (it does cleverer things than you might expect), but four tracks are a limitation if you want to use 'ambient' effects or mix in stereo (and who doesn't?)

I was then looking to upgrade to an eight-track, but the price on the Zoom 1608 (16-track, 8 simultaneous inputs) dropped overnight and I ended up getting that. It's just been superseded, but I've never had any problems with either unit and have used them extensively. A guitarist friend of mine recently told me that the demos I recorded at his home on the 1608 were better quality than some he did at a 'professional' studio charging £40 per hour.

By contrast, another friend bought a Yamaha AW16 and after three hours of working with it, we still hadn't managed to record a note - it has some weird signal routing setup without a helpful default arrangement.

My 2p worth. I have never liked computer recording.
Posted: 8/2/2007 9:13:42 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Ditto on the computer recording thing.

I used to have a cassette four track and I wore the thing out in a couple of years.

Since I got my computer set up for multi tracking I have hardly touched it. I used it to contribute to the Theremin World secret Surprise Birthday Song and a couple of other things but that's about it.

I have decided that I need a small portable unit I can carry into the garage or the spare bedroom while the wife and kid are surfing Big Brother and Pokemon sites on the computer.

I have found a few very inexpensive units.

In addition to the Zoom MRS8 I have been looking at the Fostex MR8 Mk II, the BOSS BR600, and the Tascam DP01.

One of the guys I play music with works at a recording studio so I have access to a bunch of real equipment so I just want something I can get some idesa down and lay some tracks that we can then integrate into our work.
Posted: 8/2/2007 3:32:06 PM
PhilMT

From: Surrey, UK

Joined: 7/31/2007

A friend of mine has the DP01. It's pretty good but quite bulky, as a result of its plethora of real controls (rather than menus). The Zoom MRS-802 is a pretty neat unit.

Hardware solutions lack all those fun extras like inadequate RAM limits, running out of disk space for huge temporary files and latency hassles. Apart from that, they work pretty well :-)
Posted: 8/3/2007 10:03:20 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Ah, memories...
Used to have a cassette four track too and later got a dat to maseter on, they both wore out.
Finally entering the digital world I got the modern Tascam port-a-studio, the CD burner has been very handy. I use it for any multi-track therermin stuff, but inporting and exporting with the Tascam has been very frustrating. And it's bulky as well.

The Zoom-H4 has proven to be a great little unit and it's my main stay now for practice basic stereo recordings and is giving the Tascam a real run in terms or portability and ease of file tranfers. Sound artists and Loopers seem to be raving about it for capturing real world source materials. It comes with Cubase LE and connects right to the computer, unlike the Tascam which won't talk to anything for me. The H4 can to four tracks but it there's a lot of small screens and button pushes to do it.

But eventually I need to get a new lap top and sound tools. Till then at least my jury rigs are getting easier to use.
Posted: 8/10/2007 1:35:56 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Well, I found a Tascan DP01/FX for a very good price at MusicGoRound and ordered it the other day.

I was looking at some of the little battery operated Zooms and Bosses but I opted for the Tascam since I already have a cute little digital voice recorder for capturing real world sounds.


Posted: 8/10/2007 1:53:25 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Cool.
That's basically the same as mine, just no cd burner.
It's been good for multi tracking.

As you use it a bit, if you even hit this, I'd be interested to hear how import and export works for you. And also how you proceed with your final masters.
New tricks from the forums never hurt!

Hope some fabulous new stuff comes out with it.
Posted: 8/15/2007 9:04:29 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

It arrived yesterday and I spent some time recording some stuff with it. I did one thing with 8 tracks of bass guitar, trying out some of the on-board effeccts in the process.

I downloaded the manual last week and read through it. Because of that and the unit's unser-freindly interface, I was up and recording in minutes. It actually took me more time to unpack the box than it did to set it up, plug in the bass, arm a track and start recording.

After all the bass stuff I hooked up the Speak and Spell and some other weirdness and made some noise. My 8 year old even got in on the act, twiddling knobs and faders.

I will let you know how the file transferring works. I understand that you have to move the tracks over to the FAT directory before they can be moved between the computer and the DP01.

If all goes as planned I will be posting some recordings soon....
Posted: 8/15/2007 9:11:33 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Yeah the interface is a little frustrating and hard to see, but that seems par for the course and this one seemed the least painful of those I could afford.

Glad to see a few tips from the manual let you get going more intuitively. The red light up buttons help a lot. I had pretty much the same experience. But still have challenges setting levels high enough without clipping, that has snuck in a few times.
Posted: 8/15/2007 1:36:07 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Yeah, I need to figure out the meters. they are a little hard to use because there is no real sense of scale. I.E. it's hard to tell from the meters where the top is.

The OL lights on the inputs help but by then it is to late.

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