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Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

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Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Mojo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:55 pm

Hello again, It's been a good while since i posted but this is the best place to ask as it always was.

I have given up trying to get my PC to work together with other gear i have. Latency, software & hardware issues have completely baffled me and i admit defeat. Also, my PC is getting tired and i can't really afford a new one so i'm looking for an easy to use plug in & record unit.

My question is, do any other forum members use, or have used any of the digital multitrack recorders that are on the market? If so, which do they recommend?

My heart seems to be set on one of the Tascam DP 24/32SD models but some come with MIDI and some don't (i may at a later date wish to hook it upto a sequencer)

I have also seen other models like the Korg D3200 & The older Roland VS-1680.

My budget is £500 and i would be grateful of any other forum users advice.

Cheers

-Mojo
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:42 pm

I had a Tascam DP-03 which I really liked apart from slightly noisy mic preamps. Very simple to use, solidly built and sounded good. So on the strength of that and this reviewhttp://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/tascam-dp24 I'd probably recommend the DP24.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Mojo » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:00 pm

Thank-You. SOS review was my first port of call and although it has limitations it does seem to be the best one around at this time.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby John Willett » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:44 pm

I was about to say JoeCo - then I saw your budget. :(
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:36 pm

John Willett wrote:I was about to say JoeCo - then I saw your budget. :(

... and as I read the OP he doesn't want to involve a computer at any point...
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Music Wolf » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:17 pm

Some more info about type of music, sources, number of simultaneous tracks etc?

I used to own a Roland VS880. Good for its day but very basic compared to even the most budget of DAWs and probably a steeper learning curve.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby resistorman » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:53 am

I made many an album back in the day with an Alesis HD24. I sold it to a friend and he's still using it... brought me an album to mix last year. You can get 'em pretty cheap used. You'll need a mixer with it, and it doesn't have undo for record ;)
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:44 pm

Mojo: Can you please confirm that you want to be 'computer-free' throughout the whole recording to mastering process and that you want everything to be in one box so that you don't have to connect anything else (apart from mics) to it?
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby 4TrackMadman » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:10 am

On another forum there are a few guys that swear by their Tascam DP24s.

I personally lean a bit towards the Zoom R16 or R24, which could be chained for double input if needed. My problems with these is that there was never enough space for drums, I need at least 11-12 channels to track drums. The R series could do a whole production by itself or on a computer, whatever rocks your boat. Light on preamps, but it might tick the right boxes for you.

Maybe some kind of pairing of a mixer with multitracker, like someone suggested the Alesis HD24. I think there were Fostex and Tascam counterparts of that one, with the Tascam being the best out of the bunch. I've worked on HD24 and Yamaha 02R digital board and it was a very pleasant experience...but I come from the analog old school so I am partial to boards and wires.

Back in the day I was in love with the Akai DSP24 but these are long in the tooth. Amazing machines, unfortunately the manufacturer got bought out by Korg if not mistaken and are now a low budget or the more "urban" brother of Alesis.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby IvanSC » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:41 am

Sad to say I found the Tascams to be a bit too much of a compromise. My last HD recorder was a Neo when they first came out and I wound up bypassing the input pres and running line ins from a regular mixer. Still wound up going ITB 100% not long after buying it.
I would look at some of the solutions like the Alesis where you get to use it purely as a recorder with a mixer.

Wonder if there are any Paris systems still out there? Back in the day that was a seriously good compromise.

Most of the Fostex ones (I used to have a pair of D90s) are likely too long in the tooth these days.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Darren Lynch » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:04 pm

I think it comes down to Zoom R16/R24 or Tascam DP24 in terms of units still in production. Neither has Midi, which is perverse, but they can both import stereo files for drums or knuckle down and record them. The Zoom units score for portability...just move it around the nicer recording spaces in your house. Sound quality is good and 'will not affect sales'. The Tascam DP24 scales up the admirably simple operating system of the DP02 and DP03 (Lordy, I loved my DP02 before it died). If I was going to complete a whole project in the recorder, Tascam DP24. If I was gonna fly the tracks into a computer to mix, Zoom. Neither is as flexible as a DAW, but you can make proper records with either. And likely in a shorter and more fun-packed time. See Mr Robjohns run down of what really defines 'release quality' in the thread on the Aston Origin. One point about going into the used market - even the best sounding machines from back in the day use internal hard drives. The current Zoom and Tascam models use SD cards, have no moving parts and nothing to break. They make no noise. Oh, and relatively to laptop prices, they are all really good value.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Darren Lynch » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:29 pm

One more thing - The Zoom R16 offers 16 mono tracks which can be stereo linked if required. The Tascam DP24 is 12 mono tracks and six stereo pairs. This actually makes the Zooms better suited to recording bands with lots of mono signals. And, correct me if I'm wrong, the compressors on the DP24 are only available when recording, not mixing. The Tascam still scores over the R16 with a more flexible EQ.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby trick fall » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:48 am

I went down this path a few years ago and wound up buying a used Korg D3200. I like the machine a lot with a few caveats. The screen is really tiny. It's ok for doing basic things like seeing an effect you are adding, or something, but I have never bothered trying to do anything like edit a track on it. The other big drawback for me is that even though it has USB you need to move songs over to a "computer" partition to move them onto a computer for backup, or to import into a DAW. These machines are also getting a bit long in the tooth and I'm starting to get some scratchy pots and the odd input crackle on mine. Some real pros of these machines though:

Buttons, faders and knobs! The ergonomics (except for the screen) are great. There's a knob matrix for panning, sends, or controlling effects. There's also buttons above each channel that can either turn a channel on, or off, turn record for the channel on, or off and solo a channel.

There's an aux out that can be used for an external effects unit, which is good because while the internal effects are good, you can't use very many at once. You do get EQ on every channel though and the EQ's sound better than you might expect.

You get twelve analog inputs whereas most of these recorders only have eight.

MIDI sync, this is a really key feature for me. I generate clock and sync from the recorder which keeps the sequencers in my drum machine, groove box, and synths synched up and also makes overdubbing sequences on these instruments easy.

Also you only get 16 tracks at 24bit 44.1, but I usually don't find this to be an issue and like that it makes all of the buttons and faders a one to one ratio.

Anyway, hope that wasn't too rambling. Good luck with your search, I really wish Korg would do an updated version with modern connectivity and features. It's been really nice not dealing with a computer when it's time to record.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Darren Lynch » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:19 am

I know I'm cheerleading for your purchase, but there is another side of the coin. Many forum members will have a decrepit hardware recorder acting as door stop in their studios. Faders, knobs, hard drives, screens can all fail. I went down the 'I renounce the DAW and all its works' route, recorded six tracks to a good standard on a Tascam DP02 (second hand), but all the transport controls failed just before mix time. Whereas my 2008 iMac just keeps working. Is it possible that if shown some TLC, tune-up software and brutal discipline in terms of loaded software, your PC could serve you better than a hardware recorder?
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby wdsteele » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:53 am

Paul White's leader a couple of editions past was interpreted , at least by me , as suggesting some caution in a return to the good old days of digital multitrack.

I thought about it myself recently , but when I considered just how much we take for granted around the modern DAW , how quick and flexible it allows us to work , tweak eq , add a little compression ( any flavour ) and so on , there was just way too much that I would miss.

I still keep my Fostex 280 for those moments when simplicity is the order of the day.

Anyhow , have owned a Yamaha AW16G in the past which is a very competent machine and well within your budget on the 2nd user market .

Nice effects and sampler pads too.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Mojo » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:04 pm

Hello again. I've been away for a few days so have missed all your fantastic replies (Thanks again)

I was hoping to do away with using a Computer for recording although i may use the USB to transfer to a PC for further editing in Cubase. I have since took the plunge and there is a Tascam DP32SD in the post on its way to me as i type. I will learn the machine first and see just what it can do. I like the idea of also popping it in the car and taking it about for location recordings :-)

I'll keep you updated on how i get on.

Cheers

-Mojo
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby OneWorld » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:16 am

Darren Lynch wrote:I think it comes down to Zoom R16/R24 or Tascam DP24 in terms of units still in production. Neither has Midi,.

The DP24 does have MIDI, in fact I managed to config mine as a quasi-DAW(Cubase) controller. I could control the faders in the Cubase mixer and the transport. It would have been great had the DP24 had full length flying faders. I found the short throw faders just too short. There again I had come from a Mackie HDR24 going through a Mackie 24-8-2 desk, which of course didn't have flying faders but just automated the volume levels in the HDR24

I sort of naively thought the DP24 would replace that setup, but nah, they are fine for getting ideas down. I am considering getting an AW2400, apparently they work as a control surface and I prefer a HDD recorder for mixing down due to the faster work flow, instead of having to boot the computer, load Cubase, load the project etc etc etc

I also tried the Zoom R24 and was astounded to find, as you mention - no MIDI !!!!
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby Darren Lynch » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:59 pm

Well, if you have bought a DP32 I wish you the best of luck. Should be a very straightforward machine to learn if it follows the workflow of the DP02, DP03.
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby SaulG » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:46 am

If you are still looking for a multitrack recorder with MIDI I would recommend the Fostex MR8MKII 8-track digital for the following reasons:
1. Stable MIDI sync. Using the MIDI Clock in the MR8 I am able to start and stop my Korg M3 without any sync problems. I could never get my DP24 with MIDI to start with an even beat :headbang: . I just sold my DP24 and pulled the MR8 back out of storage. I'm happily recording again :D .
2. Tempo map. You can program tempo changes in the MR8 and your workstation will respond in kind .
3. Price. You can get these for pretty cheap in the states, under US$100.
4. Field recording. It takes 6AA batteries and you can record in the field with it. I take it to the shore and record ambient oceans sounds, then take it back home and run that up against my Waldorf Blofeld .
5. Small footprint. I don't have much room in my studio set up so the small size works really well :roll: .
6. USB. You can connect to a computer for the purposes of archiving your files or even post-processing your tracks with free-ware like Audacity. Doing so also allows you to create songs with more than 8 tracks.
7. No harddrive. It uses Compact Flash (which are still available in most camera stores). No need to worry about bumping a harddrive when field recording :bouncy: .
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Re: Best standalone digital multitrack recorder?

Postby hooty2 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:18 pm

Mojo,
Just a thought....seeing someone mentioned aw16g.
I have both aw16g & aw2400 flightcased and unused for a few years.
I'm not touting for a sale, just wondered if you wanted to loan them for a few months to play with.
For my needs now they are both too restrictive in various ways but they are kept for nostalgia.....I felt I'd entered the modern world when the aw2400 arrived in the post.
The postage may be a limiting factor?
Just an idea.....and the more recent workstations are clearly better spec'd
I leave that thought with you.
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