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Getting that portastudio vibe

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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby MOF » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:56 pm

I do a lot of composing on Garage Band on my iPhone and then transfer into Logic and redo any vocals.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby fatbenelton » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:04 pm

I just bought (another) Yamaha MD8 minidisk portastudio for less than most cassette ones go for these days - the fickleness of fashion! Pretty nice 8 track - I paid £110. Data Discs are pricey at c £10/each but still available.

Thinking about it - got two Sansui MR6 cassette 6 track racks in the wardrobe somewhere....
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby wdsteele » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:01 pm

I still have my Fostex 280 was able to put any real yearning for 4 -track days very much to bed.

For me there was just way too much in the Logic work flow that I take for granted these days ; not having those options just didn't work anymore - any project was always going to end up in Logic anyhow , so the 4 -track was just an unnecessary middle man and I'm time poor these days.

By way of compromise though I do use a good quality stereo looper - this allows me to be spontaneous , lets me build ideas quickly and I can transfer the resulting wav file into Logic while still maintaining respectable quality.

I've got it set up so I can record vocals and/or guitar , in stereo or mono L , mono R and so it takes on a lot of what I wanted from the 4-track but is complimentary to my basic set up rather than instead of - if you use a dual looper you can get a verse and chorus vibe going too which is perfect for song ideas.

My best take is normally the first one , the looper really lends itself to that.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:33 pm

I never used a cassette multi-tracker. And I'm happy I kept it that way!
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:01 pm

I don't miss my old Yamaha, but if that's what you're hankering for just grab a second hand tascam or yammie and play with it. If that gives you the buzz you're looking for, great. If it doesn't, and if you decide that nostalgia isn't what it used to be, as mentioned above, you'll probably be able to shift it on for about what you paid.
And you can digitise some of your old recordings whilst you're at it. ;)
In fact, almost for that reason alone, I'd suggest going down that route.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby James Perrett » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:52 pm

The Elf wrote:I never used a cassette multi-tracker. And I'm happy I kept it that way!

Neither did I - in fact I never got the 4 track thing at all. I did a couple of projects on 4 tracks - one cassette based and one on an old half inch Ampex and they both involved too many compromises which, I felt, got in the way of creativity.

I was much happier using a 2 track Revox and building things up in mono using sound on sound. It meant getting each sound right before recording and getting the mix right too. Punch ins were very audible so you really needed to perform the whole part all the way through. I learned an awful lot about building up songs and mixing by working in this way.

And when I finally upgraded to 8 track the Revox made a great master recorder.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby MOF » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:23 pm

I was much happier using a 2 track Revox and building things up in mono using sound on sound

Really?, I couldn’t wait to upgrade to my four track Teac A3440, I used my Sony reel to reel machine (formerly used for sound on sound duties) to add delay and mixed down to a cassette recorder.
I love having what technology gives us now, though I do think that once you get past thirty or so tracks it’s getting a bit overindulgent.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 pm

I never did the 'PortaStudio' thing either, I went from using two cassette recorders to, first a Revox A77 which was then supplemented with a Teac 3440 and then a Tascam 48. After a while in the box I returned to hardware with Akai DR8 and later DR16 followed by a Mackie MDR24/96 which I still have though I'm back ITB with an X32 as front end. But, TBF, I still don't record seriously like most on here.

What this leads me to think is that what I need to do is get my mind back on creating music and treat the recording medium and a tool to get the job done. Maybe it's time for me to consider another 'PortaStudio' of some kind......*

*Ok I'll try to just get motivated to practice some stuff to a point where it's worth recording maybe?
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby desmond » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:34 am

I did the whole portastudio thing and always pretty much hated it, but it was all technology and funds allowed at that point.

While I have some nostalgia for those times, it doesn't mean I would want to revisit it - I don't need a reminder of all the downsides - but if people want to try out different workflows and play with different techniques, then more power to them.

When I finally got my first "proper" recorder, (digital 12-track), that synced with my sequencer, it was *amazing*...
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:39 pm

desmond wrote:When I finally got my first "proper" recorder, (digital 12-track), that synced with my sequencer, it was *amazing*...

Which one was it?

First digital recorder I saw up close was a couple of 4-track Soundscape racks hooked up to a PC running something like Win 3.1... not quite a portastudio! This'll have been around '94/'95. Back at home I was direct to stereo as everything was sequenced. Simpler times! In some ways, at least!
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby desmond » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:00 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
desmond wrote:When I finally got my first "proper" recorder, (digital 12-track), that synced with my sequencer, it was *amazing*...

Which one was it?

Akai DPS12. The only one prior to that was Roland's VS880, which was 8 tracks *compressed* audio. The DPS12 was uncompressed audio, 12 tracks, and I could sync/control it via Logic... I saw the news piece in SOS about it, new it was the ideal thing for me, and then trundled up to London to go get one...

(And yes, I had to go back to Akai when all the Jazz drives started dying and were recalled...)
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:32 pm

Using a 4 track cassette machine was so early on in my recording career (but not my age!) was such a thrill I never even considered it had a sound. Having 4 tracks really opened up a world of bouncing possibilities that was much easier than a 2 track with SOS.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby CS70 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:34 pm

Never dealt with a 4 track or tape I'm afraid - back in these times I just went in, played the guitar and there was a guy beyond the window who took care of everything :D

But agree it's a head thing. For making music, anyways. Like for anything, if you let yourself be distracted by your tools, the most likely reason is that your music isn't exciting you enough.

In my $.10, the trick is not so much to go back to outdated and poor quality tech - no more than driving a model T would give you back the thrill of driving... but you want to get back the excitement about music of early days: listen to new music, jam with it, learn new techniques - anything that gets you out of the creative rut which makes you focus more on what you use rather than what you're using it for. We all have been there a time or another.

Unless of course it's never been the music to excite you, but using that specific tool. In which case by all means go ahead and buy another :D
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby Arpangel » Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:54 am

Life, is strange, understatement.
I hated portastudio's when I had no choice, back in the 70's/80’s, now I love them, they produce interesting results, and digital seems boring in comparison.
But when digital first came out it was a revelation to me, amazing, but now it’s just boring, it’s like a lot of things, they become so good and transparent they don’t have any inherent personality or or interest, steam trains compared with a modern electric, old cars versus modern ones, the modern trains and cars are more efficient, more reliable, cleaner, but completely boring.
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Re: Getting that portastudio vibe

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:29 pm

Arpangel wrote:But when digital first came out it was a revelation to me, amazing, but now it’s just boring, it’s like a lot of things, they become so good and transparent they don’t have any inherent personality or or interest, steam trains compared with a modern electric, old cars versus modern ones, the modern trains and cars are more efficient, more reliable, cleaner, but completely boring.

It *should* be boring. It should record, faithfully and accurately, what you are asking it to record. Recording is not a scenario where you want life to be *interesting* in uncontrollable and potentially disastrous ways...

The interest should be in the audio being recorded, and it's arguable that DAWs have made many of us quite lazy, but it's easy enough to invest effort in the music, the audio, create the life and interest and spark and the magic of the moment if you try. I just think a lot of people are not that engaged with the audio that's being recorded and want some effortless magic process to change it into something better than what we made...
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