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Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

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Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby cms1980 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:25 pm

Hiya all,

I've been doing multitrack recording on computer and absolutely had enough, it freezes and a pain to mess with settings on software.
I'm wanting to get back to multitrack hardware.
I've been looking at Zoom r8, r16, r24, BR 80 and BR 800.

Things I want in it are:

1: Overdubbing
2: Effects like delay and reverb.
3: A looper
4. A sequencer ( I'm not quite sure how this works but the best version is on the video of a very well known theme tune on a Roland msq 700.)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq0mAxTckBE

I'd appreciate any advice which one of these are best or if theres hardware out there I don't know of.

Thanks.

Claire :wave:
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby N i g e l » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:45 am

Please bear with me because I see where you are coming from.


[1] A PC is generally the way to go. Millions of us here use the PC to record; once your set up is working, it is versatile and efficient. If youve got extra money for a multi track then that perhaps could be used instead to fix any PC problems.

[2a] If Ive been using a PC screen all day at work, I dont necessarily want to use it to make music in my spare time. I use a synthesizer midi workstation (synth + midi sequencer / midi recorder) for just messing about on in an easy gonig, screen free work flow. The 16 tracks of midi are more than enough to jam with, work out a basic song structure, or for play along practicing.

[2b] When i need audio as well as midi thats when the stand alone multi tracker comes into play.

I had a zoom R24, fantastic ,but I sold it for an older, less capeable hard disk unit, just personal preference !

There is a fantastic range of devices out there so you really need to establish a spec of what you need because they cant be upgraded afterwards like a PC.

how many simultaneous tracks to be recorded at once ?
mic inputs, phantom power, guitar hi Z inputs.
How many outputs - stereo/ quad sound / click track to drummer/ headphone monitoring for artist & producer...
Can be powered by batteries ?
Unit can also be used as USB sound card or DAW controller ?
Need a built in CD burner ? or save to USB stick/ SD card ?

What quality of recording 16/24 bit, 48k/96k ? This can be quite a big issue with portables as doubling the quality may halve the number of available tracks or reduce effects.

Or moving from 44.1k to 48k may mean that the effects are no longer available !

"All" multi trackers should allow you to over dub e.g. as (automatic) punch in on a previously recorded track. Maybe youd prefer a unit with footswitch input control for punch in.

Not all multitrackers allow external sync to midi [can be overcome with an old skool timecode track. A Phillip Rees TS1 tape to midi sync is proably only £10 on ebay].

Looping: not all recorders might do sound-on-sound looping but A to B repeat with record enabled is common.

Sequencing: A lot of multitrackers now have pads for basic sample replay and these can be sequenced.

Effects: typical effects would be reverb, echo, amp sim, phaser, chorus.... and mastering down to the final 2 track.

You probably want USB inteface capability, so that you can transfer tracks to a PC.

Transfering using an SD card is a fiddle and if its an older HardDisk recorder then USB transfer is essential.

There are loads of review articles of multitrackers in SOS and lots of demos and tutorials on youtube.

[4] My own personal story is that i bought the fantastic Zoom R24 but downgraded to
an older Yamaha AW1600 harddisk recorder essentially for the big display, big buttons and work flow. I m not recommending you do the same, thats just what suited me.
Hard disk recorders are probably from 15 - 20 years ago.

theres a jaggy demo of the AW1600 here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xztu1hPoYQ0

That narration voice seems vaugely familiar, is it Paul White ?



The main problem with the smaller multitrackers is that if you want more functionality than just a "tape recorder", then these functions have to be accessed by menu diving on a very small LCD.

Using a PC mouse/keyboard/screen is very efficient !! ;)

This is less of a problem on the bigger modern multi trackers like the TASCAM DP but they are more money too and less portable.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby MOF » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:34 am

Really? I have an iMac with Logic and a UAD interface, it works beautifully, I tend to have Software Monitoring switched off though.
I use Garage Band on my iphone 6 to record song ideas when I’m away from the studio, I trim audio tracks to where it was good and then create a new audio track to continue recording. I then import that song into Logic and continue working on it back at base.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby ef37a » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:07 am

Claire, How many tracks?

You don't say what your present PC is nor the AI you use? A top end i5, better i7 8G ram and an SSD and a "lean" setup should give you no bother at all. If you used the "Old Skool" cash to get an RME interface? Nirvana!

Shoot! I can run all the demo tracks for Samplitude Pro X 3 suite on this 6yr+ old HP i3 laptop (out of an NI KA6) .

Bottom line. You have a problem and I am sure it can be fixed.

Dave.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:00 am

Yup!

Most of us here are using computers day in and day out to make and mix music.

Tell us a bit more about your set-up - machine, operating system, software etc and we may be able to help sort out the underlying issue(s).
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby The Elf » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:48 am

You don't say what you've tried, or how you have things set up. Usually these 'can't get going' issues are pretty easy to solve.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:04 pm

What's the rest of your rig like Claire? What else will you be plugging in for a normal session?
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:58 pm

If you don't need to record more than 2 tracks at a time get the R8. Let it do all the donkey work when you're recording/overdubbing using the effects for monitoring & save the untreated tracks to the SD card. When you're finished drag and drop the tracks into the PC, set the latency as high as you like (it doesn't matter when you're just mixing) to lower the load on your PC. The tracks will be time-aligned in your DAW & you can add Fx & edit to your hearts content. You can mixdown in the R8 if you want but it's fiddly & time consuming.

If you decide to add more to your mix, just drag and drop the stereo mixdown back into the R8 and add whatever you want. I have a high-spec PC but love working this way because it frees me up to work anywhere in the house (or at a mate's house etc.) whenever the muse strikes. Great for quick demos & songwriting on the fly too.

It might not be an efficient way of working for a pro studio, but it works for me.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:45 am

If you had problems with a PC you will have even more bigger problems using those sorts of devices.

Get a DAW that does sequencing and learn how to use it.
You will save so much hassle over using a stand alone like you listed.

Learn how to set up your pc for music use. If you have win10 then switch to mac or linux if it is too hard for you to tame and make it behave.

You could do all of that you wanted to do for free with audacity - except the midi.

Cakewalk by bandlab is free and does sequencing too.

There are others that are free and many more if you want to pay for the DAW that suits you.




cms1980 wrote:Hiya all,

I've been doing multitrack recording on computer and absolutely had enough, it freezes and a pain to mess with settings on software.
I'm wanting to get back to multitrack hardware.
I've been looking at Zoom r8, r16, r24, BR 80 and BR 800.

Things I want in it are:

1: Overdubbing
2: Effects like delay and reverb.
3: A looper
4. A sequencer ( I'm not quite sure how this works but the best version is on the video of a very well known theme tune on a Roland msq 700.)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq0mAxTckBE

I'd appreciate any advice which one of these are best or if theres hardware out there I don't know of.

Thanks.

Claire :wave:
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:01 pm

cms1980 wrote:Hiya all,

I've been doing multitrack recording on computer and absolutely had enough, it freezes and a pain to mess with settings on software.
I'm wanting to get back to multitrack hardware.
I've been looking at Zoom r8, r16, r24, BR 80 and BR 800.

Things I want in it are:

1: Overdubbing
2: Effects like delay and reverb.
3: A looper
4. A sequencer ( I'm not quite sure how this works but the best version is on the video of a very well known theme tune on a Roland msq 700.)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq0mAxTckBE

I'd appreciate any advice which one of these are best or if theres hardware out there I don't know of.

Thanks.

Claire :wave:

The BR 800 is a lovely little machine, super-portable and very versatile, especially if you want some drumming to keep time and use a guitar. Its only limitations are:

- not-so-multi multitrack (only 4 channels). So it depends of how many channels you need.
- only one input has phantom power (which is annoying if you want to use several condenser mics)
- 16 bit recording. That makes recording stuff with huge dynamic variations much harder than something that records 24 bits. You have to be much more careful with gain staging and take more time to sound check.
- preamps are a little noisy. Nothing dramatic (and it's important to stress that the quality of the music is way more important than the preamps) but again depends on what you record.

The Mix-Pre 3m seems to be a recorder that does it all - not sure of its mixing capabilities tough. More pricey, but 24 bits, top quality preamps and equally portable. No built-in effects, drum machine and guitar input tough.

The reality is that it's very hard to beat a (well functioning) PC + interface combo. It's not by case that most people, hobbyist and pro, use that kind of setup. Perhaps it could be an idea to see why your current setup gives you grief - it's not supposed to.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby ef37a » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:51 am

Claire, your silence is deafening!

I do hope you have not been "scared off"? The other reason might be that you are just annoyed that all the replies seem to be "PC should work. Hardware route is not good"?

I am afraid this happens a lot in forums, people often expect a direct answer to their question, quite rightly in many cases, and get a bit miffed when a simple solution is not forthcoming. The fact is almost everybody DOES do it with a PC and your system should be capable. The only caveat to that is if you have a seriously underpowered PC running 10 (almost anything 2G and 2core can run music on Win7 but 10 is I think a bit more demanding? I do not have it as yet)

I do hope you come back and give us the details of the PC and the software and AI you are using.

Dave.
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:47 am

Nice one Dave! :clap: :thumbup:

Claire: if you're still there, come back and tell us what problems you're having with DAW recording. We'd like to help. And don't mind telling us that you really DO want to work out-of-the-box if it's not just PC flakiness that's a factor...
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:56 am

I reckon wanting to work without a computer is a legitimate desire. The piss me off royally sometimes. The constant updates and tweaks in particular. The expense of a decent stable setup too.

An iPad might be an option. Arguably more stable and quieter, if less powerful, than a typical regular Win/Mac PC.

If I were to want to dump the computers entirely, I'd probably be looking at a mixer plus hard disk recorder now, and adding dedicated boxes for things like looping, MIDI sync etc. Old school, but with some nice sound modules and pedals effects to play with. But that's because I personally can't stand the little multitrack portastudio type devices... I just end up frustrated when navigating the menus, and by the inherent limitations of these 'do everything' boxes (kind of like I do when using my DSLR camera; nothing's ever where I want it to be when I need it!).

For a basic songwriting scratchpad rather than mixing, though, I did kinda like my old Fostex MR-8. Tascam seem to do some decent equivalents of that sort of thing. I'm sure Zoom's various boxes might hold similar appeal. And double up as a computer interface for when you want to take the material further...
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Re: Going back to old Skool recording advice needed

Postby N i g e l » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:06 pm

Matt Houghton wrote: because I personally can't stand the little multitrack portastudio type devices..

The screen on my zoom was about 4cm and the screen on my hard disk recorder is 14cm. The whole unit is a lot bigger too and therefore easier to use. It looks the business - Ive had more comments about my studio in a box than my laptop and associated sound card.
Its a great sketchpad just a shame its getting on a bit. :(
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