recording hardware suggestions

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recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:07 pm

I have no computer in my setup and I've been using a budget cd recorder (Teac CDRW890) to record, which has been fine in that a cd is an easy digital format for me to get an mp3 to listen to after. Problem is, after 7 years it seems to be crapping out and leaves a aliasing scratchy noise across the top of the mix (it's quite, but present, maybe the lens or something).

I was wondering if I should bother paying to try and get that thing fixed, or 'upgrade' to something like this (http://www.amazon.com/TASCAM-CD-RW900SL ... 5YD780QXHV)? Was this a scrappy way of recording anyway? Should I consider something different altogether? Obviously any of these options is an unplanned expense that i'm not excited about. I'm just a hobbyist, but is it worth saving for something and would there be a difference in audio quality?
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby Stab Frenzy » Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:03 am

How much have you got to spend? Do you want to stay away from a computer for any particular reason or were you just recording like that because that's what you had? Do you want to keep working the way you are at the moment or are you open to doing things differently? There's a whole bunch of options, from getting a soundcard for your computer to a two-track solid state recorder to portastudios to using something like a little handheld recorder.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:10 pm

Thanks for the reply. Good questions to get me thinking.

My computer is a desktop that's in another room from my gear and it's usually getting used at night when I actually have time to work on music. I'm on a computer all day at work and am glad to not be looking at a screen when at home. I do have a Firewire 410 lying around though.

I'm happy with my current workflow, which is just recording everything live from my mixer. If something had MIDI that would allow multi passes and was easy to use, i'd be open to it too. But i think i'm really looking for something to just hit record on.

In terms of budget, that's what I really don't know as i'm clueless as to what $ gets me where in terms of quality etc. I'm here for advice and open to saving I guess. That said, no single piece of gear I have set me back more than $350 or so, so i'd probably be tempted to buy a synth if I were to save much more than that :|

Is a cd recorder a bad idea? I originally got it to record mixes from my turntables with, so if whatever I ended up with could hold an hour or of music that'd be ideal.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby meatballfulton » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:33 pm

If you're satisfied with a CD deck and can afford another one, then go for it.

Handheld recorders from many mfrs start at $100. The smallest have only 1/8" stereo I/O and small screens but will do the job. You will have to transfer the audio (most use SD cards) to your computer for burning CDs. Most can record direct to mp3 format as well as better than CD quality (96K/24 bit) if that matters.

Smaller multitrackers (Tascam, Zoom, Roland/Boss) have no MIDI and no CD burners...not much to recommend over handheld recorders.

Only Tascam has portastudios with MIDI these days, and only two models: DP24 and DP32. Big and expensive ($500+).

If you want smaller, cheaper multitrackers with MIDI and CD burning you will have to buy used. Good news is used ones tend to be dirt cheap ($50-200) as they are viewed as obsolete.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby Stab Frenzy » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:14 am

I personally wouldn't get a cd recorder, I think single use rotating media is no longer relevant. I'd get something like a zoom h4n or r8, that way you can record onto flash cards as either .wav or mp3, with the r8 you could experiment with overdubbing later if you want, it also has a built in sampler and drum machine.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby tallowwaters » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:37 pm

Korg D888
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby Cumulus » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:16 am

I love my Tascam DP-01 FX.

It has MIDI clock functionality, which I rarely use but when I do, it's very handy.

It's layout is so intuitive I started recording immediately without the manual.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:03 pm

I'm glad I posted, thanks for the replies.

I might kick myself later for not getting something with more options built in, but i'm reluctant to get a mixer style unit that takes up desktop space. Some of them look pretty f'ing cool and flexible though, especially with MIDI this is something that would open up workflow possibilities.

I hand't heard of these little hand held ones and they seem a good option, right? Do I need to be considering sound quality variations, or is anything at "cd" quality going to be good enough for me to make decent recordings? Is used fine for this sort of gear?

I just found out we need to move, so looks like whatever it is might need to wait a few months, but it'll give me time to read up more.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby ninja6485 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:35 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:I personally wouldn't get a cd recorder, I think single use rotating media is no longer relevant. I'd get something like a zoom h4n or r8, that way you can record onto flash cards as either .wav or mp3, with the r8 you could experiment with overdubbing later if you want, it also has a built in sampler and drum machine.
I don't have experience with the r8, but I can report on the h4n for what you're describing. It only has 2 ins (aside from the built in mic), but you can put it in 3 different modes, one of which is a 4 track record mode with overdubbing, punch in/punch out, etc. It also has some rudimentary effects, compressors/ limiters, etc, but it doesn't have midi. I use it for pretty much everything, it's a great machine. The sd cards are great for ferrying files between the device and my computer, and it can record in mp3 format if you so choose!
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:40 pm

Yes, I was reading the specs on this one, it seems pretty cool. Are the compressor and limiter effects good and usable?
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby calaverasgrande » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:26 pm

Honestly if I was in your shoes I would be looking for a used Mac.
Now is a great time to pick up used Macs since the new Mac Pro is finally starting to land in studios and such. Many folks (like me) are going to dump their older gear to help defray part of the purchase.
MAcs generally remain useful far longer than comparable PCs. My studio DAW is left on 24/7. Only runs Logic and a few music utils. It pretty much IS a press one button and record arrangment. But to get there I had to build a project template in Logic and map an obsolete control surface (Digidesgn R1 FTW!) for the buttons and so forth.
You can seriously put together an ok mac DAW for less than $500 these days (buying used and using freeware or even garageband).

I can also recommend the Zoom H4N. It will not put $1000 DSD recorder out of business, but it certainly blows the doors off of a cassette portastudio. In fact it can function exactly like a 4 track portastudio with track bounce and even rudimentary effects. They can also record 4 sources at once! Which most cheaper cassette multis do not do.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby IronPizza » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:34 am

I do most of my recording in the H4N. I love how the 2 mic inputs are quarter inch/XLR, you can easily plug instrument cable or microphones in without adapters and such.

The condensers on it sound really good and I like to bring it to band practice and keep it somewhere in between the 2 PA monitors and away from the drums, the thing's got a nice sound to it. It's neat that you can use the handle on it to mount it to a mic stand.

I never really played around with the limiters or anything on it, I just usually try to set the level low enough to avoid clipping and turn it up on my PC later, where I do all the mixing.

I have a ton of files with recordings of the thing if you would like any I could send you a few examples.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:39 pm

Thanks all. And thanks for the offer IronPizza. I'm sold on the H4N or something like it.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby zoomtheline » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:26 pm

I started on a Zoom Mrs1608 and it was a delight to use. Midi and CD burning included. There is a newer version but is more geared to linking with a DAW I think. I used mine for a good 7-8 years until I plunged into using a DAW. I was much like you not too long ago and wanted to stay away from a screen as I was working all day looking at one.
I miss the zoom because of the ease and it's charm but some of my ideas out grew it.
I bet you could find one cheap on ebay or similar.
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Re: recording hardware suggestions

Postby groy » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:53 pm

Just wanted to follow up: I went for it and got the H4N a few months ago and am totally happy with it. Didn't break the bank, small, easy to use, more than enough recording time for me, connects directly to my computer... Thanks again for the suggestions and great advice everyone. :)
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