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Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

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Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Waltern8tor » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:46 am

Hi all

Looking for recommendations and opinions for a stereo recorder for my studio for recording music. All is synths and drum machine based.
I am still using a Sony TCD10 Pro DAT recorder (I've had it since late 90's) and I am basically using it as a scratchpad to record audio (line out) from Mackie 1640i onyx. I Just switch it on and hit record and its real easy and straight forward process. Its a great machine and happy with the sound (48khz / 16bit) but its just a matter of time before it dies (I am amazed its still going) and so I am looking for an alternative and my criteria is:

- Easy to use. I just want to switch it on and hit record when inspiration strikes
- 48khz / 24 bit preference. (Ideally audio quailty as good or better than the Sony)
- Easy to transfer files. Either can be seen by my Mac as an interface (though I don't think the Mackie likes sharing or aggregate as interface) or just transfer files over USB... (or Digital out?)
- Can be either portable or rack mountable. (some portability might be helpful to transfer all those DATs onto the computer while I'm watching TV in the evenings)
- Happy with just 2 channel Stereo but not opposed to a few more channels (as long as theres no mucking around with setting up each time I want to record).

I have looked a few options and the Sound Devices Mix-Pre3m and Zoom F4 look good. Are these easy to use? what is the audio quality like? Are there others to consider similar price range?

I am using Cubase 6.5 on iMac 3.4 Ghz intel Core i7 running OSX 10.7.5. Also using Macbook air 1.7Ghz intel core i5 OSX 10.8.5
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:31 am

There's lots of options available to you over a wide range of costs.

Both the Mixpre-3/m and the Zoom F4 are excellent and I'd imagine would be considerably superior to your current setup. Of the two I prefer the Mixpre for my workflows as the preamps and headphone amplifier are excellent, though these may not be such an issue for yourself. The F4 has full size XLR outputs which may be an advantage.

Both these units are easy to use. Having used the F8 and the Mixpre, I much prefer the Mixpre's metering and that you can use the gain knobs to tweak monitoring levels. The Mixpre has analogue limiters, which shouldn't be necessary in a controlled studio environment.

Both have options for downloading files, though I tend to just pop the SD card into my computer.

Can't go wrong with either really.

There's also cheaper options such as the Zoom H4/5/6 with XLR inputs.

Bob
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby resistorman » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:06 am

Yep, what Bob said. Sound Devices and Zoom are perfect for what you want. But honestly, almost any modern two or more track digital recorder will be better than the Sony DAT.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Waltern8tor » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:27 am

Shivers - Dat bad huh?
Thanks both for advice, Its really helpful to hear user opinions.

And both I see can be used as a USB interface which would help me to transfer those DAT tapes!

Any thoughts on Tascam DR-680 MkII?
Compared to the Zoom and Sound devices what is sound quality like?
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby molecular » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:15 am

Have a think about the Cymatic LR16 as well. I've got the 16-out version for an art installation and it is zero fuss and has always been reliable for me.

16 line ins straight onto a pen drive or hard disc at 24/44.1, so would be a kind of set-and-forget appendix to your onyx.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:33 pm

Waltern8tor wrote:
Any thoughts on Tascam DR-680 MkII?
Compared to the Zoom and Sound devices what is sound quality like?

I haven’t tried it
but suspect the Zoom and a Sound devices would be superior.

Bob
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Dr R » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:27 am

I think the LR-16 is now discontinued, but I agree that it's fit and forget. I have one permanently plugged into the church mixing desk. Only 16bit in a usb stick, needs a USB HDD for 24bit.
+1 for Zoom quality as well. H4nPro is excellent and reliable, so I would assume the others in their range are as good.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby The Elf » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:50 am

It depends how many inputs you need, but I'll throw in the Zoom Livetrack L-12 as a VERY simple to use option: arm the tracks you want to record, hit 'record' - done. You can record the stereo mix, the individual source tracks, or both.

And if you need more inputs (as I did when I bought my L-12s - grrr!) Zoom have announced a 20-input L-20.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Waltern8tor » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:46 pm

Apologies posted twice.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Waltern8tor » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:50 pm

Dr R wrote:I think the LR-16 is now discontinued, but I agree that it's fit and forget. I have one permanently plugged into the church mixing desk. Only 16bit in a usb stick, needs a USB HDD for 24bit.
+1 for Zoom quality as well. H4nPro is excellent and reliable, so I would assume the others in their range are as good.

Yes the Cymatic also looks like another good option. 16 channels might be overkill but is not to big form factor wise. Not sure any Available here in NZ from what Mr Google says
The zoom mixer options would probably be overkill again but worth investigating more.
Loads of pro's and cons for each option
The Tascam DR680 has digital inputs which could prove handy, as I was thinking whatever option could be used as a digital in / interface for backing up those DAT tapes.
I then realised I have a DAT recorder with spdif and optical out, so might give my iMacs optical input a try first.

Question. If I am using line signals from my desk, would all the options with nice Mic Preamps be wasted on me? Would that put all the options on a more level playing field sound quality wise?
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby resistorman » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:18 am

Waltern8tor wrote:Question. If I am using line signals from my desk, would all the options with nice Mic Preamps be wasted on me? Would that put all the options on a more level playing field sound quality wise?

Possibly, but you also get better performance from other things like AD/ DA converters, clocking and bit depth when you go up in quality, which arguably makes more difference.
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Re: Stereo digital recorder recommendations wanted

Postby Waltern8tor » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:25 am

Hi All
After weighing up all the options I thought the sound devices Mixpre 6m was my preferred option but was bit more expensive than I'd like . Luck should have it a secondhand mixpre 6 turned up for bit less than a new mixpre 3m so I snapped it up.
The extra inputs, analog limiters, timecode record trigger feature, ease of use plus ability to load the new musician software were all to attractive to pass up. On the whole very pleased with it.
So thanks all for the advice.
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