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  1. #1

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    Recently, after being recorded and video recorded by other people and having no control over the final product, got me frustrated and made me think... Should I get a portable multitrack and record all my projects myself? Then I can have a full control over the process of mixing and printing CDs, not a bad idea seems like...

    i have a few questions:

    Id love to record on the machine wherever, but do the final mixing on my computer. Is there any affordable software specifically for that? I know I can not import any files other than MP3 to Garage Band, so that wouldnt work...

    Is the quality of recording on those multitracks matches computer recording thorough a good interface?

    What are potential issues I might have to deal with when transfering recorded tracks to the computer?

    thank you for your help and thoughts!

    Oh, and I'm thinking of this one particular: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DP24SD
    Last edited by Hep To The Jive; 03-06-2016 at 02:09 AM.

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  3. #2

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    You can import wav files into garageband.

  4. #3

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    Does anyone really use Portable Multitracks anymore?

    A laptop/tablet (even a phone!) with your choice of software and audio interface seems to have all but killed them off.

  5. #4

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    Depends on how many tracks you will record at the same time.

    An iPad with a Class Compliant interface works really well, IIRC when RME released Class Compliant mode for the Babyface they had a video showing an iPad recording 10 or more tracks! The problem here is a Class Compliant interface with a lot of channels can get expensive. RME's Babyface and UCX are great but $$$. As an iPad can't supply enough power for anything but the simplest interface you will probably need external power for the interface.

    At some point a laptop becomes a more cost effective solution.


    *** "Class Compliant" mode is a device that does not require special drivers, instead being designed to use standard or 'class compliant' USB audio device drivers provided in IOS, OS X, Windows, etc. Some interfaces support proprietary/manufacturer drivers as well as Class Compliant mode.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 03-06-2016 at 01:21 PM.

  6. #5

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    Can GarageBand not handle AAC audio?
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Id love to record on the machine wherever, but do the final mixing on my computer. Is there any affordable software specifically for that? I know I can not import any files other than MP3 to Garage Band, so that wouldnt work...

    You can import AIFF, WAV, AAC, Apple Lossless Encoder and MP3 into Garage Band - just drag the file from finder to an area below your last track in the timeline and Garage Band will create a new audio track. You can also drag the clip forward or back in the timeline (in case you drop it somewhere other than the beginning or other intended start point). The audio track should 'snap' to the beginning of a measure or other logical point.

    Importing from a multitrack should be simple: Save to a flash drive on the multitrack, plug the drive into your Mac, drag the files into garage band. Also remember to drag your files to a good/solid/reliable backup drive!!!

    In addition to Garage Band take a look at Reaper for a full featured DAW. The price is really good and includes updates for quite a while - Reaper is currently $60 for a discounted license (personal use or individual earning < $20k using Reaper), Reaper is currently on version 5.16 and you get all the updates through version 6.99 (which should be a few years of updates).

    Reaper also supports drag & drop file import.

    BTW that Tascam has a lot of features for the $$$ and the display looks usable.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 03-06-2016 at 01:49 PM.

  8. #7

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    Zoom R16 | Sweetwater.com

    It has 8 inputs and it will double as an audio interface. It has effects and lots of editing features but I'd dump all the sounds in a DAW and edit there.
    I used to have this one. The warranty is good and it's pretty easy to use. Small and light too. I don't suppose it matters if you recorded into a DAW like Reaper through this or record into the R16 and dump the files into Reaper later. I use FL Studio for just about everything but something like Reaper or Garage Band might be better.
    I've heard nothing but good things about Reaper.
    Last edited by Stevebol; 03-06-2016 at 04:26 PM.

  9. #8
    Thanks guys! Yeah it appears to be true the Garage Band supports wave files and such. Still, I have an older version, and it's, how to put it, a little bit too basic.

    I was thinking of Reaper too. Is it ok for Mac?

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang View Post
    Depends on how many tracks you will record at the same time.

    An iPad with a Class Compliant interface works really well, IIRC when RME released Class Compliant mode for the Babyface they had a video showing an iPad recording 10 or more tracks! The problem here is a Class Compliant interface with a lot of channels can get expensive. RME's Babyface and UCX are great but $$$. As an iPad can't supply enough power for anything but the simplest interface you will probably need external power for the interface.

    At some point a laptop becomes a more cost effective solution.
    Thats exactly why I don't want to go the laptop route. I want to be able to record more than 2 tracks at a time, and good interface can be expensive. Plus a headache setup and carrying it around.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol View Post
    Zoom R16 | Sweetwater.com

    It has 8 inputs and it will double as an audio interface. It has effects and lots of editing features but I'd dump all the sounds in a DAW and edit there.
    I used to have this one. The warranty is good and it's pretty easy to use. Small and light too. I don't suppose it matters if you recorded into a DAW like Reaper through this or record into the R16 and dump the files into Reaper later. I use FL Studio for just about everything but something like Reaper or Garage Band might be better.
    I've heard nothing but good things about Reaper.

    Another vote for the Zoom R16 and the free Reaper DAW! The Zoom is light and small enough for a briefcase or backpack, makes nice recordings (decent pre-amps I guess) and is very intuitive to use. Reaper is just great, you wonder how they manage to offer that for free.

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  12. #11

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    Might want to check out the Motu Ultralight AVB product. MOTU UltraLite AVB USB/AVB Interface | Sweetwater.com

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Thanks guys! Yeah it appears to be true the Garage Band supports wave files and such. Still, I have an older version, and it's, how to put it, a little bit too basic. I was thinking of Reaper too. Is it ok for Mac?
    I've been running Reaper on a Mac for years and it works great. There's a free Reaper demo if you want to check it out with your system.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 03-07-2016 at 11:28 AM.

  14. #13

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    Hep, I've used those Tascam models for most of the last 15 years. I never had a 24 trac version, but I had an 8 trac version with a CD burner and then replaced that with a newer 8 trac model with a USB


    The smaller 8 trac model are really affordable, which is why I went with them.

    but go figure that its one of the forum Luddites that still has one of these

    The thing that I thought you might want to know is that I think the audio quality is a whole lot better on the Tascam than what I get out of my A/D converter into the computer.

    Back in the 80s I worked as "Boy Friday" at a studio in Dallas that did advertising jingles, so even though I'm not up on the lastest thing anymore, I know good quality audio when I hear it.

    So I think the Tascam with a USB and then mixdown on your computer is a really good idea. It is portable, it gets a great sound, and they are fairly easy to use. When you shop for your portable recorder, see if you can find one that can use a footswitch to stop and start the recording. Tascam makes them. Its just whole lot easier to manage playing and recording if you can stop and start the thing with your foot.

  15. #14

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    When looking into portable multitrack ease of use is make or break.

    The Tascam appears to have a nice display. If you can - check them out in person and see how easy/intuitive it is to create a new track, record, play back, switch tracks, etc. You don't want to be stopping your performance to navigate, create track, name track, hit record, etc. As Nate says - some of these have a foot switch for pausing, hopefully they can be configured to stop/start: End a track then start a new track with the footswitch.

    If you think you'll use a flash card for multiple performances then also see how difficult it is to create and navigate a directory structure (easy on a computer, not always easy on other devices). The best solution is a clean flash card for each performance, but stuff happens ... Ideally you will just use the flash card for recording and immediately archive on your computer (and backup device).

    Also download manuals from Tascam, Zoom etc. and have a quick look to see if you can easily make sense of the device.
    Last edited by MaxTwang; 03-07-2016 at 05:57 PM.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang View Post
    When looking into portable multitrack ease of use is make or break.

    The Tascam appears to have a nice display. If you can - check them out in person and see how easy/intuitive it is to create a new track, record, play back, switch tracks, etc. You don't want to be stopping your performance to navigate, create track, name track, hit record, etc. As Nate says - some of these have a foot switch for pausing, hopefully they can be configured to stop/start: End a track then start a new track with the footswitch.

    If you think you'll use a flash card for multiple performances then also see how difficult it is to create and navigate a directory structure (easy on a computer, not always easy on other devices). The best solution in a clean flash card for each performance, but stuff happens ... Ideally you will just use the flash card for recording and immediately archive on your computer (and backup device).

    Also download manuals from Tascam, Zoom etc. and have a quick look to see if you can easily make sense of the device.
    That's a very good idea! On the first glance I prefer Tascam over Zoom, just because it looks like a better built. Zoom looks a little bit like a toy, but it could be deceptive...

  17. #16

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    I have the zoom. the only thing I would mention (and this probably applies to the tascam also) is that the dual XLR/1/4" inputs can "eat" the end of a 1/4" jack if you use a cheap one, and you'll never get it out. I had to exchange the zoom when I first got it for that reason. So if you use 1/4"jacks, use good quality ones, and it would not hurt to use a little grease too.

    I haven't tried the tascam, so can't compare, but I like the zoom. It's easy to use. after recording I just transfer the tracks to the computer for editing.

  18. #17

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    I have both a Tascam and a Zoom and for ease of use, it is hard to beat a Zoom. If you are really needing to record separate tracks so you can remix them, the Tascam is the thing to use. You may have to record entire sets, though and split up the tracks later because starting a new multi track recording does require some fiddling around. With my older model that includes naming the new "project" and assigning inputs to tracks. Certainly something that could be done on a set break, but that would suck to have to do it between every tune.

    If you don't need multitrac recording, get the Zoom. Push a button to start, push it again to stop

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by pkirk View Post
    I have the zoom. the only thing I would mention (and this probably applies to the tascam also) is that the dual XLR/1/4" inputs can "eat" the end of a 1/4" jack if you use a cheap one, and you'll never get it out. I had to exchange the zoom when I first got it for that reason. So if you use 1/4"jacks, use good quality ones, and it would not hurt to use a little grease too.

    I haven't tried the tascam, so can't compare, but I like the zoom. It's easy to use. after recording I just transfer the tracks to the computer for editing.
    Wow, use grease, the end might get stuck inside... That sounds like a bad dream LOL

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    Hep, I've used those Tascam models for most of the last 15 years. I never had a 24 trac version, but I had an 8 trac version with a CD burner and then replaced that with a newer 8 trac model with a USB


    The smaller 8 trac model are really affordable, which is why I went with them.

    but go figure that its one of the forum Luddites that still has one of these

    The thing that I thought you might want to know is that I think the audio quality is a whole lot better on the Tascam than what I get out of my A/D converter into the computer.

    Back in the 80s I worked as "Boy Friday" at a studio in Dallas that did advertising jingles, so even though I'm not up on the lastest thing anymore, I know good quality audio when I hear it.

    So I think the Tascam with a USB and then mixdown on your computer is a really good idea. It is portable, it gets a great sound, and they are fairly easy to use. When you shop for your portable recorder, see if you can find one that can use a footswitch to stop and start the recording. Tascam makes them. Its just whole lot easier to manage playing and recording if you can stop and start the thing with your foot.
    Luddites? I still have this;

    Portable multitrack recorder?-tascam-portastudio-424-mkiii-1129760-jpg

    I would still bust out the cassette recorder just to record myself.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Wow, use grease, the end might get stuck inside... That sounds like a bad dream LOL
    That's what she said...

  22. #21

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    Zoom can serve as control surface for DAW, ie move fader on Zoom, on PC screen you see fader moving in DAW. I don't know if Tascam can do that.

    BTW, I always preferred Fostex over Tascam.

    Here are my two machines. X-26 is out of use since year 2000, though.

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-x-26-jpg


    Oddly enough, although I still use the following, I could not remember the model number, had to "description" google for it.
    Alzheimer?

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-vf16-1486-jpg
    ^ ^ ^
    <<< My BlogSpot Page >>>
    v v v

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Zoom can serve as control surface for DAW, ie move fader on Zoom, on PC screen you see fader moving in DAW. I don't know if Tascam can do that.

    BTW, I always preferred Fostex over Tascam.

    Here are my two machines. X-26 is out of use since year 2000, though.

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-x-26-jpg


    Oddly enough, although I still use the following, I could not remember the model number, had to "description" google for it.
    Alzheimer?

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-vf16-1486-jpg
    Fostex is nice too. The only thing I didn't like about the Zoom R16 was the meters. They suck but you could get used to them. It's a neat device though. Control surface, standalone recorder and audio interface. Good omni mics on-board and it weighs a fraction of what the Tascam does. And it will run on batteries so it's truly portable.
    It's a toss-up between the two.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Zoom can serve as control surface for DAW, ie move fader on Zoom, on PC screen you see fader moving in DAW. I don't know if Tascam can do that.

    BTW, I always preferred Fostex over Tascam.

    Here are my two machines. X-26 is out of use since year 2000, though.

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-x-26-jpg


    Oddly enough, although I still use the following, I could not remember the model number, had to "description" google for it.
    Alzheimer?

    Portable multitrack recorder?-fostex-vf16-1486-jpg

    The cassette format is officially dead because they can't be repaired anymore. Still, when used properly they can produce great results. You get that nice tape saturation. the advantage of the Tascams is some can run at higher tape speed which makes a difference. The 464 is the best machine I ever had;

    EDIT;

    The VF-16 is a digital recorder? Thought it was cassette.
    I just woke up so not thinking straight yet. Looks like a nice machine.
    Attached Images Attached Images Portable multitrack recorder?-t-464-jpg Portable multitrack recorder?-464-jpg 
    Last edited by Stevebol; 03-08-2016 at 11:45 AM.

  25. #24

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    Yes VF16 is digital, I forgot to write it.
    With addition of external AD, connected via ADAT light pipe interface It can record 16 tracks at once. For that purpose I used to use Fostex VC8, 20 bit AD/DA, later I added Event EZ Bus. There was a follow up model VF160 with built in CD burner.

    That Tascam 464 and couple other models from '90s, they were dream machines, but digital was coming strong and removed them from the scene. I think first couple Tascam digital porta studios were those same analog mixers like in 464 only attached to digital recorders.

    Fostex also had couple bigger models, double speed, dolby S and Dolby C ... even earlier, like late '80s, marked 160, 260, 460. Someone I knew had 260, or 460, can't remember and have lent it to us to finish one project.

    In period BTW X-26 and VF 16 I had Alesis ADAT tape machine and "largish" 24/48 in line 8 bus mixer. I was using X-26 all the time, though, for this and that ...
    ^ ^ ^
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    v v v

  26. #25

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    I've been working on a project recently with a producer that uses Logic. He's running the machine and I just play. No other musicians are involved. It seems like it can do anything. It's not cheap but it's not that expensive. Maybe several 100 dollars. There could be a pretty serious learning curve though but maybe not for the technologically adept. The guy I'm working with is a four year college graduate in audio engineering. He's Pro Tools literate and was previously using Fruity Loops which he says is great as well.
    Last edited by mrcee; 03-11-2016 at 09:18 PM.

  27. #26

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    I just saw online that the entry level Logic Pro X, I believe it's called, is under $200. That and a good Mac laptop and an A/D converter should enable you to do basic, close to pro level recording. I'm working with a producer now who's got a more powerful version of Logic plus good studio gear including a Neumann mic, recording jazzy electro funk I guess you
    might call it. I'm playing all the parts, except the drum tracks, direct with a Tele TL (even the bass) and it sounds pretty good for what it is. A couple of years ago I worked with a guy who had a basic mobile rig; a Mac with Logic and a Zoom A/D converter. I played an old Gibson LG1 with a sound hole pup, doing standards, and it sounded like a ES 150. Going direct with a Tweed patch and a tiny amount of delay and reverb with a patch simulating a Neumann 87 distance micing the cabinet. The sound was great but I wasn't satisfied with my playing or I'd post an example.

  28. #27
    I have a Mac and Garage Band and good interface to record myself, but the idea is to be able to record a small combo if needed on whatever location. Laptop and interface with many inputs will cost way too much.

  29. #28

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    The Zoom H6 is kind of tempting. It can record 6 simultaneous channels either standalone or to a computer or ipad. It's also $50 off through the month of March.
    https://www.zoom-na.com/products/fie...handy-recorder

  30. #29

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    The Zoom does sound like the best bet for what you want to do.

  31. #30

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    Hep, just get the Tascam. For something more trendy there's the Zoom R16.

  32. #31

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    I use a Zoom R8 (replaxced my very aged fostex tape machine!); Its verly portable with an adequate of not stellar bettery life (ususually have it mains powered). It works well as 8-track recorder, as well as sampler, rhythm machine and computer audio interface/control; suorface. The built in microphones are surprisingly good for live ambient recording.

  33. #32

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    I bought a TASCAM DP-24SD recently. So far, it's been great. Very happy with it.

  34. #33

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    Mics and stands anyone? The recorder is the easy peasy part. I did this for awhile. Mac laptop, 8 channel interface with great built in pres. At first I brought my own. 8 mics, 8 stands, cables, setting levels. The it went to expanding the pro level of my gear. 16 channels, 24 or more if needed. Totally pro sounding. Other people started hiring me. I had/have a side mobile recording business. But it's a royal PITA.

    Even when I started out just doing my own little quartet gigs. I did exactly ONE before I gave up. 8 mics. It was harder and messier than it seemed. PLUS if you don't know about recording and the gear already the learning curve is not slight.

    When I recorded my bands I always hired one or two people to assist and then completely take over when it was time to play. But for this even set up was a good 3-4 job. Then sound check, dinner, gig.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 04-08-2016 at 01:57 AM.

  35. #34
    I've been thinking about all this stuff too. I wasn't planning to record live gigs btw, only demos, up to 5 piece band, maybe... I still can't decide, but I got Reaper recently, and am having fun with that, and thinking maybe over time get a laptop indeed with interface with enough channels... It just doesn't make sense for me right now have 2 different recording devices, and Reaper will take time to learn all the ins and outs... Knowing myself, I better think long and hard before I pull the trigger

  36. #35

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    I have a Tascam 464 portastudio of which i would like to use the mixer through a Line6 UX interface with overhead mics, to record on my laptop with the program AUDACITY.
    Any experiences?

  37. #36

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    Hi everyone. This is a follow up to by brief post from a couple of years ago about my Tascam DP-24SD. I’ve been using this thing solidly for two years now, and it has not skipped a beat. You can easily look up all the tech specs on line for it – and they are all excellent – but I really want to remark on its great usability. By that I mean, you don’t have to fuss with it once you’re rolling.


    Being a very old man, I remember working/struggling with multitrack tape recorders of various kinds. Having to stop between takes and attend to the machine was a woeful distraction. Recording yourself, solo or band, was very difficult, regardless of how well-specced your gear was. With the Tascam, it’s bliss! Set up your mics and/or line-ins, check levels and then let it run. I did some videos with my quartet earlier this year, and we did two 2-hour sessions with a lunch break in between. Once we set levels, we just let the recorder stay on and recorded each session in full - all takes, all breaks between songs (we did turn it off over lunch). 4 hours recording didn’t even half-fill the 32gb SD card we were using. SO much easier than anything else I’ve tried before.


    Then it was an easy transfer of all the files from the Tascam into my PC, via USB, and I mixed it all with Studio One (although you can of course use ProTools, Reaper, or your software of choice). I’ve put a link a couple of the videos below. Everything you hear came through the Tascam.

    And just to be clear, I’m not affiliated with Tascam, or indeed any company whatsoever. I’m just a guy who bought this thing on-line and am very happy with it.

    Cheers
    Michael

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkdk7dxm9X0


  38. #37

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    The other link...

  39. #38

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    Those Zoom products look pretty awesome, and less worry about someone stealing your laptop and expensive interface.

    If you did want to use your laptop, Behringer makes an 8 channel audio interface with nice preamps for $250. I've been using the 4 channel version and have been happy with it.

    Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 USB Audio Interface | Guitar Center

    Drums are the problem, how many mics/channels are the drums going to take?
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  40. #39

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    A friend sent me this link last night; looks interesting but I have not located any retailers in Australia yet.

    Spire | Mobile Recording Technology for Musicians