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Portable Recording Device Advice?

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Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby noblestone » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:42 pm

So, I have a little home set up, in a separate house, behind where I live. I am very used to it, and I haven't changed much for a few years, other than some adding and subtracting of outboard gear.

My daughter wanted to have her band practice at the house. The studio tracking room was cluttered, so I told her they could set up in my living room. It's got 14 foot ceilings, about 10m x 8m, and an irregular contour, with wide openings into both the den area and the dinning room, and hardwood floors. I let her take my old Silvertone Twin 12 inside to use for practice. I was helping her get everything set up and, on a lark, picked up her '56 Duo Sonic (which, by the way, is a really cool guitar, and which she had painted "sparkly coral," and which could be a model for what real fretboard wear looks like, no relicing here) and plugged in.

Holy %$#! It sounded great. I went and got the Ampeg Gemini, an old Champ and a different guitar. Same result. Or maybe it just sounded different because of the big, live room.

I'm kind of a compartmentalizing type, so I have an acoustic guitar in my bedroom, but don't play much in the house.

But now I keep thinking that I'd like to be able to track, at least guitar, in that room sometimes.

I'm getting to my question now . . . sorry.

What would you recommend for simple tracking here, mostly overdub stuff. My home system is severely racked and I don't relish taking everything apart to record across the yard. I have a separate rack with an Avalon 737sp, a Summit 2BA-221, and a Summit TLA-50. This rack might be considered to be "portable," at least in terms of lugging it across the back yard to the house, and there are only the I/O's and power for those units to have to deal with.

I was thinking about getting a truly, intentionally portable tracking device. I don't need mixing capability, but obviously need XLR, and I would like to have some control over the levels. I don't think I need more than four tracks at a time. I have a U87, a Royer 122, and a newer stereo pair C414's (for room ambience), and I'd like to be able to take advantage of these mics, not use mics intrinsic to a handheld portable, unless there's something I don't know. For this experiment, I'd be fine with just two track capability.

Oh yeah, I don't have a laptop. Gave it up for an iPad two years ago, all I need to check email and surf the web.

So: Thoughts on portable recording, either using my own pre amps or those in the postulated piece of hardware, but phantom power has to be available. I'd rather not have to disengage my racked pre amps, though. Is there a financially reasonable way to solve this? I am fine with 24/44.1.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:33 am

Sounds like a Zoom H4N would be ideal for you. 4 tracks (2 of which using the in-built mic's though - which are pretty good), XLR inputs, phantom power... It's all there.
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby John Willett » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:42 am

Olympus LS-100 :lol:
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby Goddard » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:29 am

Well, as you've an iPad already, how about the Alesis iO Mix?

Coupled with one of the available multi-tracker apps such as Auria, Cubasis, Garageband, etc. you'd be set.
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby Thunderbass1 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:58 am

Judging by your taste in Pre amps and mics you may be disappointed in anything too 'budget'.
I personally get on well with a Fireface in CC mode going into an Ipad with Auria.
You could also try a Babyface for two channel working (with a 1u rack of mic pre's going into the ADAT port when you need more than two Mic amps).
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:10 pm

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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:00 pm

H4n works well for my needs. But the iPad stuff is awesome should you be so inclined!
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby noblestone » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:16 pm


Thanks for the input. I'm flummoxed. Believe I'll probably go small, just can't decide between the H4n, the Tascam 680, and the Roland R-26. I like the idea of the Fireface, and if I truly like this space after I've spent some time there, that may be the direction that I go.

Anyway, if there are any 11th hour comments, I'd welcome them. I'm probably going to make a decision today or in the morning.

Thanks again!
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Re: Portable Recording Device Advice?

Postby Fran Guidry » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:20 am

There's a good possibility that the new Zoom H6 would be worth the extra cost over the H4n, if the preamps are improved as advertised, especially if you'll be tracking acoustic guitar.

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