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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-01-2003, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Entry level recording equipment

Tascam Portastudio 424mkIII

Fostex MR-8

Just leave mics, cables, headphones out of the picture for now, and also the cost. They aren't relevant to this.

Anyways, I want something to create some demos, mainly to give to people so they can sample my music, but it has to be studio quality (if possible.)

What do you guys recommend?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-01-2003, 07:15 PM
 
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I have an original Tascam 424, and it's very nice for what it does. The mkIII should be even better.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-01-2003, 11:51 PM
 
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I would REALLY recommend getting a hard drive based recorder. The sound quality is SO much higher, I can only see cassettes for the <$100 crowd.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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I know the Fostex is a *digital* recorder; does this mean the same as a hard drive recorder you're referring to?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 09:09 AM
 
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No. It has some of the advantages - ease of copy, cut, & paste; non destructive editing, etc. It even has advantages hard disc models don't - it's quieter, smaller, and uses less power. But it uses flash memory instead of a hard drive. This means the signal is heavily compressed, like ATRAC used in minidisc, or the MP3 format. Now, this is fine in a delivery medium, but when you start comping tracks, you lose quality in a hurry.

It would be GREAT as a little portable "idea notebook". But you said "studio quality" and it isn't.

The Fostex VF-80 goes for $500 new and is the cheapest 8 track HD model I know of. If you look around, you might be able to find the older VF-8 for less, and it's basically the same machine (except you can't add an internal hard drive). People are selling their used VF-16 (same thing in 16 track version) for around $500. It's a good unit (I have one) for the money, besides a couple of small quibbles. This is the direction I'd go.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JESTER700
No. It has some of the advantages - ease of copy, cut, & paste; non destructive editing, etc. It even has advantages hard disc models don't - it's quieter, smaller, and uses less power. But it uses flash memory instead of a hard drive. This means the signal is heavily compressed, like ATRAC used in minidisc, or the MP3 format. Now, this is fine in a delivery medium, but when you start comping tracks, you lose quality in a hurry.

It would be GREAT as a little portable "idea notebook". But you said "studio quality" and it isn't.

The Fostex VF-80 goes for $500 new and is the cheapest 8 track HD model I know of. If you look around, you might be able to find the older VF-8 for less, and it's basically the same machine (except you can't add an internal hard drive). People are selling their used VF-16 (same thing in 16 track version) for around $500. It's a good unit (I have one) for the money, besides a couple of small quibbles. This is the direction I'd go.
Actually the MR8 is 16 bit/44Khz, and since you can get a 256MB CF card for pretty reasonable these days, it makes it a nice little setup. Especially since they were thoughtful enough to throw in XLR inputs.

All specs Here. It also imports/exports .wav, so you can buy the $50 version of Acid and do arranging and drum loop editing on the computer once it's transferred. This is the kind of stuff I did on my Boss BR8 when I got into digital recording. Very cool.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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But since it doesn't have phantom power in the XLR inputs (I don't think?) I would need a preamp for any mics I use (planning on getting a condensor mic anyways,) which I don't really want to do. What do you guys suggest? (I'm new to this recording thing, so I may be wrong on some stuff.)
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 07:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polaris20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JESTER700
No. It has some of the advantages - ease of copy, cut, & paste; non destructive editing, etc. It even has advantages hard disc models don't - it's quieter, smaller, and uses less power. But it uses flash memory instead of a hard drive. This means the signal is heavily compressed, like ATRAC used in minidisc, or the MP3 format. Now, this is fine in a delivery medium, but when you start comping tracks, you lose quality in a hurry.

It would be GREAT as a little portable "idea notebook". But you said "studio quality" and it isn't.

The Fostex VF-80 goes for $500 new and is the cheapest 8 track HD model I know of. If you look around, you might be able to find the older VF-8 for less, and it's basically the same machine (except you can't add an internal hard drive). People are selling their used VF-16 (same thing in 16 track version) for around $500. It's a good unit (I have one) for the money, besides a couple of small quibbles. This is the direction I'd go.
Actually the MR8 is 16 bit/44Khz, and since you can get a 256MB CF card for pretty reasonable these days, it makes it a nice little setup. Especially since they were thoughtful enough to throw in XLR inputs.
I'll be hogtied. You're right. That looks like a really cool unit! Memory cards sure have gotten bigger.

Anyway, this looks like a great unit. I wish it had ADAT transfer, but ya can't have everything. I might think about something like this myself in a bit... ;-)
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-02-2003, 11:43 PM
 
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if you have a computer with a soundcard and a decent size Hard Drive (30GBish) all you really need is a mixer and a program like CoolEdit - preferably one with a decent EQ.

You get unlimited tracks and it's way less expensive.
~K
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-03-2003, 07:05 AM
 
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Yeah, but you need a good soundcard, and not everyone is set up to record at their PC. Guitar is easy (except for CRT induced pup noise), but vocals can be a bear near a pc.

To each his own, though - the PC is definitely a viable alternative.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-18-2003, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Would something like this work, or would I need to get a digital or powered mixer?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 07:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEMavenger
Would something like this work, or would I need to get a digital or powered mixer?
definitely not a powered mixer, you're likely to screw up the sound card. That looks fine, though you still need a good sound card like the M Audio Audiophile ($150) or the Echo Mia ($180).

I have the Mia, it rulez.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Right now I have an SB Live!...would anything be possible with that?
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 05:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEMavenger
Right now I have an SB Live!...would anything be possible with that?
Sure. Get a cheap but effective multitrack recording program like "Cakewalk Guitar Tracks", an inexpensive mic preamp like one of the Tube MP series put out by ART, and a decent microphone. Voila! That's the basics, but you can always have more- e.g. great wav editor software, compressors, etc.

-Ben
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well, actually, I got Cool Edit Pro, and its working out great just using Line In! Is there any specific entry level mixer that someone recommends? I'm trying to keep this all under $500.
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