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  #1  
Old 10-28-2010, 03:59 PM
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Default Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Guys, I'm thinking of setting up a basic studio in my garage. I've searched the threads, & although useful, don't get me close to the info I'm after. I'm specifically after advice on recording hardware that's not computer based. I can't live with sub menus, mouse operation, etc. I'm old school, and need the feel of faders & knobs. I'm after something that's intuitive, something I don't have to think too much about the mechanics of operation. I'm fine operating a mixing desk & basic effects, good on the basics of micing, EQ, compression, etc. I'm not very keen on the digital way of doing things, or the resultant sound, & I certainly have no interest in Protools & similar systems.

Is there an all in one style package out there that can fulfill my needs, or maybe a desk, separate recorder and effects unit?

I'm after something better than demo standard. I need to record between 8-12 tracks simultaneously with minumum 24 track capability. Help much needed for this confused & out of touch old fart.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

I own a Tascam 2488. It is the only all in one recorder that isn't a computer that I can speak intelligently about. It is a 24 track recorder (only 8 simultaneous though) that you can record, master and burn all in one unit. It has a plethora of onboard effects (reverb, compression, flange/delay/distortion/chorus/ exciters, expanders etc.) 3 band fully parametric EQ w/ sweepable Q....I gotta say, I get a fantastic sound from my basement recordings with this unit. It is digital and the EQ's and most functions are done from an onboard screen, but this is necessary, otherwise there wouldn't be enough room for all the knobs and such considering all the built in effects.

I don't have experience with any other recording unit, including computers, and this unit is certainly not the greatest in the world BUT....I love it and am fully confident in the final product, for demo purposes anyway.

Here's a sample of a recording that was recorded, mastered and burned without any outboard equipment. We did this maybe a month ago. It's a quick and dirty demo that I didn't get too anal about, we needed a press pack like right now, so I hurried these up, I think this was the 2nd take. I paid like 1100 USD for it in 2005. I did the mastering alone, because I'm the only one who knows how to use the unit.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2010, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Hey Andy -

All those videos I posted were done on a Zoom R16 recorder. It'll do 8-tracks simultaneously but it's 16-tracks total. They also have the R24, which is 8-in, and 24 total. I'm like you, I can't handle the computer-based way of doing things. I was telling Kona in another thread that the only downside to this device is that you don't get compression on all the channels and phantom power is only provided on two tracks in each bank of eight. But other than that, it's simple to use, and doesn't sound half bad. And the R16 only cost me $389 US.

The R16 allowed me to track the drums and the vocal live, and I did my master mixdown to my Zoom H2. Then I dumped that and the video (from a Kodak Zi8) into iMovie on my Mac and there it is!

I guess a cooler thing is that the R16 and R24 will act as the 8-in front-end interface should you decide you want to record into a computer. It is USB 2.0 compliant, but I haven't tried this feature yet, but that's what everyone is raving about at the moment. I strongly urge you check it out. I doubt there will be another hardware-based recorder that will allow you to track more than 8-tracks simultaneously. These Zoom boxes are very cool.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Well, you say you're not interesting in a computer based system, but you may change your mind after a year or so of dealing with most stand alone units.

As pretty much every other unit out there is essentially a small compact computer.
They're hard disk based, and pretty much all save the same concepts behind them. The disadvantage is you're stuck with a tiny little screen to look at, and expandability can be an issue.

I had a Roland VS1680 for many years, and while it was cool for it's time, it doesn't even compare to the ease of use of Protools.

Or you go the ultra simple route like Bo suggested. Simple, quick and too the point.

Of you go really old school and find a an old tape based recording system, and all outboard gear, and assemble it.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Thanks guys! It's great to get real world opinions.

I've been looking at the all in one units today, & DED, I think you're right. They're all too sub menu small screen for me. Not enough hands on.

Bo, I both get where you're coming from, & like the results you're getting, but I think full band recordings would streatch things a bit.

Larry, that recording is really nice, considering it was a rush job. Maybe it's my cans, but those hats sounded way bright & dominant, especially compared to your live recordings.

I'm really starting to lean towards a classic analogue desk linked to a HD 24 track recorder style setup, with some basic outboard gear. I'm very used to Allen & Heath desks, & rate them highly for FOH use. Two unit's I've looked at today are the A&H ZED-R16, & the Alesis HD24XR. I completely get the advantages of digital storage, but I want to keep the audio processing as analogue as possible. I just love the sound, & the intuitive nature of the processing. I'm hoping that me indicating these two items will promote some advice as to if they're a good choice/match, or if there's better alternatives out there.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
.

I'm really starting to lean towards a classic analogue desk linked to a HD 24 track recorder style setup, with some basic outboard gear. I'm very used to Allen & Heath desks, & rate them highly for FOH use. Two unit's I've looked at today are the A&H ZED-R16, & the Alesis HD24XR. I completely get the advantages of digital storage, but I want to keep the audio processing as analogue as possible. I just love the sound, & the intuitive nature of the processing. I'm hoping that me indicating these two items will promote some advice as to if they're a good choice/match, or if there's better alternatives out there.
Lots of people buy an analog mixer, and/or outboard pre-amps, and then use that to run the signals into their protool (or similar) systems.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Ah. You're going bigger than I thought! Good for you! When does reconstruction start?
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

I wish you good luck. I do everything with a computer & some outboard gear.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Lots of people buy an analog mixer, and/or outboard pre-amps, and then use that to run the signals into their protool (or similar) systems.
I guess the advantage is flexibility & processing choices, but the downside is complexity of operation & the potential unreliability of a computer. Would I be correct in that broad assumption? I have a real issue with navigating menus & working through packages that just have so much stuff in them. I'm ignorant of these systems because I'm old & generally computer illiterate.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
I guess the advantage is flexibility & processing choices, but the downside is complexity of operation & the potential unreliability of a computer. Would I be correct in that broad assumption? I have a real issue with navigating menus & working through packages that just have so much stuff in them. I'm ignorant of these systems because I'm old & generally computer illiterate.
Well, with my Protools system, I have a mixer on the screen.
It looks like a real mixer, and functions just like a real mixer. It's just on a screen.

Buses, faders, routing to effects boxes, it's all there, just on a screen.

What is easier for me, is being a drummer, I think in terms of 1, 2, 3, 4 (or whatever time signature we're in) and it's easy to visualize what it's supposed to sound like because I can SEE the music on the screen. I find it easier than old tape machines where you're fast forwarding and rewinding trying to find the one of the next bar. But perhaps that's just me.

Computer unreliability can be an issue at times, but so can any device. Routing 101 outboard units has it's own issues with wires going out, connectors that don't work for no apparent reason, faders that get dust and dirt in them.

Maybe it's just me, but I find the new ways of doing it much easier. And I'm not exactly a spring chicken either.
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  #11  
Old 10-29-2010, 05:55 AM
Retrovertigo Retrovertigo is offline
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

cons...
the HD24 is definitely not analog. its basically a less user friendly computer (digital) based system. recording on computers can be tedious but it doesn't have to be at all. if you were to learn how to record and edit tracks on a computer you would see why most people edit in the digital realm. its very powerful. most people cut to tape (when the budget allows) dump it to a computer, edit, mix through a board and print to tape again.

i really love the level of experimentation with a computer. rearranging is just way too easy to ever give up. it literally takes seconds to move things around. these computer programs can be learned in a week or two.

pros...
just need a mixer and the hd24. im guessing the hd24's converters are pretty good. it can record 24 channels at the same time. a computer based system of similar quality would be pretty expensive.

but...
if you mix in the computer for a while, you wont need to be able to send 24 tracks out to a console for mix down. this will greatly reduce the amount of money spent on converters. outboard fx units are terrible unless you have money for the very good stuff. (Bricasti M7 and even then it only does one stereo out. and its just reverb)

you mentioned that computer reliability and complexity of programs as the major drawbacks. a good computer is quite reliable (some research is required for this). and the programs just aren't that tough to learn. they take time for sure but they offer unrivaled capabilities.

download Reaper. www.reaper.fm its a free trial. it says the trial license will run out but it doenst. get that and have someone give you some tracks to start editing.(hell, ill give you a session if you cant find anyone) there is also a forum over there about everything you can think of. youtube also has tons of videos about almost every function of every DAW available. i just switched from protools and cubase to using reaper. im loving it!

sorry for the long response. i really love recording. i just reread this post... i sound like a maniac jumping from topic to topic. sorry. thats just how my mind works.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2010, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: Recording gear that's easy to use, advice needed.

Hey Andy, have you looked at one of these?

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/X48/

We use one of these to run the music into different zones for an attraction here at Disneyland. It's basically running 24 hours a day and gives you 48 tracks to record to and control. It's a stand-alone recorder that you add a computer monitor, keyboard, and a mouse to. This could be cool for your application.
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