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Thread: Recording-software/computer vs standalone units

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Recording-software/computer vs standalone units

    So I've fooled around with some recording things in the past--a friend's old cassette 4 track, iPhone apps with 4 tracks, and Garage Band.

    I've wanted to have something for a while now--mostly for fun-to try song ideas and to have fun and to gauge my playing, etc.

    I am leaning towards a stand alone digital recorder that can hook up to a computer if I choose to do so instead of software.

    I don't have a lap top, so with software I'd be stuck to where the computer is for recording.
    To record other places I'd have to get a lap top, record on an iphone/ipod & transfer to the computer, etc, or get a stand alone.

    I like the Tascam ones--they seem intuitive to me.

    Any comments/suggestions/ideas/naysayers, etc?

    Thanks for any replies.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  2. #2
    Axellent Member Braindancer's Avatar
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    Up until December of last year, I was committed to Cubase and Reaper. But I tried to get some serious recording done and I found both of them just unbelievably clumsy. Took hours to set up the notebook for optimal performance with DAW, and then it was taking time to actually get the tracks done...time I sure didn't remember spending when I used tape.

    I got a cheap little Fostex MR-8 and my productivity skyrocketed. It wasn't just faster than PC recording, it was faster than my old cassette portastudios! I quickly upgraded to the Tascam 788, and this October when my band committed to spending some money on proper demos, I invested in a DP-24. Not quite the sound quality of DAW (24/48 resolution on raw tracks) but we are getting serious work done and it's been comfortable and my molars are the same height as they were last month. Selling the 788, keeping the MR-8 (it's just a great little sketchpad), LOVING the DP-24.

    The Tascam was a huge step up from the MR-8. The MR-8 worked like the old-style cassette portastudios. The 788 had a very deep and rich mixer which I kept stumbling over until I finally figured it out. But the sound quality of the 788s is amazing, better than the Zoom's or Boss' (I tried both this year) and in a whole 'nother league from the Fostex. I'm asking $200 for mine here, I see them on eBay for $100 in the US and can't believe they sell that cheaply. Can't recommend it too highly...I've already steered two people AWAY from Zoom and Boss. And the DP-24...it's a tracking machine for us, that's all. I will be using it as a sketchpad/demo recorder, but for the band, it'll be a quick way to get tracks down. We'll be transferring the raw tracks to PC for mixing/mastering...I could do the whole job on the DP-24, but with the flexibility and quality of Logic/Cubase/Sonar etc. so much higher than the DP-24 can offer, why would I?

    BTW I don't know if there's a difference between the quality of the tracks we're putitng on the DP-24 and what I was putting on the 788...I sure can't hear a difference. The 788 is a bit heavy and clumsy (external SCSI backup only for project, all you can transfer directly to PC is mastered tracks, altho the internal HD on the 788 can store about 40-70 songs) esp. compared to the Zoom's, but what amazing value!

    Zontar, if you can possibly swing it, I'd recommend having something like a 788 for serious demo recording, AND a little handheld 4- or 8-track unit for doing your band, live performances, etc. I definitely don't want to be without both a small portable recorder and a higher-quality 16- or 24-track.

  3. #3
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    I'm going to be using this for fun.

    Most of the tracks will be performed by me.
    So while more than 8 tracks would be cool--it wouldn't make sense for me to spend that much.

    I'm considering two different Tascam 8 tracks--and thinking of the lower priced one so I can still buy a mic or two (The price difference is about 100%)

    But thanks--some good input here.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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    Axellent Member anfontan's Avatar
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    If 8 tracks is good for you, and I have worked out lots of songs with 8 tracks myself-try to find a used Tascam DP-02 Digital Portastudio - 8 Track. I have one and it is a great song writing recorder. This portastudio has a 40 GB hard drive so you don't have to save to other devices, and it also will let you burn a song to a CD.
    And it can be synced to a computer if you want to expand to more tracks, I like to edit and mix my tracks with an older Cool Edit Pro program that is so simple for me to work with.
    Amazon.com: Tascam DP-02 Digital Portastudio - 8 Track: Musical Instruments
    "Minister of useless trivia-that says it all!"

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anfontan View Post
    If 8 tracks is good for you, and I have worked out lots of songs with 8 tracks myself-try to find a used Tascam DP-02 Digital Portastudio - 8 Track. I have one and it is a great song writing recorder. This portastudio has a 40 GB hard drive so you don't have to save to other devices, and it also will let you burn a song to a CD.
    And it can be synced to a computer if you want to expand to more tracks, I like to edit and mix my tracks with an older Cool Edit Pro program that is so simple for me to work with.
    Amazon.com: Tascam DP-02 Digital Portastudio - 8 Track: Musical Instruments
    That's already on my short list--if I could find a used one that would be great--might even save me some money to buy a mic or two.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  6. #6
    Axellent Member anfontan's Avatar
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    Glad to help, Zontar. Definitely look for the Tascam DP-02 Digital Portastudio with the installed hard drive, the Tascam DP-03 Digital Portastudio only has the CD to burn the finished song and the Tascam DP-02 CF uses compact flash cards.
    Be sure to get the manual, I think it can be downloaded from Tascam.

    I use copies of the Shure 58 for most of my recordings, I also use these microphones for live sound-some are probably 20 years old and they still perform just fine. I have 6 of these SHS mics that I carry to all my live gigs.
    SHS Audio OM-500 Unidirectional Vocal Microphone, Mic
    "Minister of useless trivia-that says it all!"

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    I'd like the CD burning option--but it's not essential, but definitely a memory card or flash card or some other way to save the data/music, etc is something I need.
    I won't necessarily be completing a song all at once--so burning to a CD isn't a great option for that.

    And while I'd be getting cheaper mics price wise--I don''t want to cheap out on quality. I'll check those ones out.

    Thanks.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Well this looks to be getting closer to happening, thanks to some giftcards.

    Any other recommendations for less expensive but good guitar mics?
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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    Axellent Member Braindancer's Avatar
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    Huh. I just checked ebay because I couldn't believe price was an issue. $175 is the cheapest one??? I must have forgotten to relist mine since that what I was asking for mine! These should show up in good shape for $150 SHIPPED...ebay was LOUSY with 'em last christmas, I got mine for $200 shipped to *Canada*. I'd love to sell mine but if I was you I'd definitely go for the DP-02 if it was within $50. You can add a 788 later to get to 16 tracks for dirt...these seem to lock to clock VERY nicely, and they'll probably be under $100 in a year or so...I've been getting offers of $60 and $70 for mine from several people claiming that that's the going price.

    I'll have to get that 788 of mine relisted ASAP...

  10. #10
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Well I got a Tascam DP-008
    I'd love a DP-03--but it's twice the price and that would make it harder to get better mics.
    And I paid for part it with giftcards--so I can't really do that online.

    but thanks for all the comments & suggestions.

    now I have to go and see what I can do with this thing...
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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