#1November 30th, 2006 · 07:38 AM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
Digital multitrack, which one? please help
Hi guys, im hoping youll be able to help me; im hoping to get a digital multitrack recorder for christmas; im looking for something not too expensive but that will do the job properly and give me a decent end product. Ive got a laptop with a cd burner on it, so is it possible to buy a digital multitrack recorder without a cd-burner and hook it up to the laptop when I want to burn the recorded songs onto Cd? Theres just so many recorders on the market i dont really know what to  go for. Your help would be really appreciated as I dont even know where to start. Thanks in advance.
#2November 30th, 2006 · 08:44 AM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,086 posts
Netherlands
do you want multiple inputs, or are you going to record solo, one part at a time? do you want it to have inbuilt drums, effects, the works, how many tracks should it be able to simultaneously play back? what price range do you have in mind?
#3November 30th, 2006 · 10:06 AM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
Ill probably record one part at a time for most of the time, but it would be useful to have multiple inputs for recording like that in the future. Inbuilt stuff would be great, ive got an electric guitar pedal, but stuff like drum machine and effects i could add to acoustic guitars would be great, maybe even amp simulators?. Im looking at about an 8-track. Price well, about £450 tops? Thanks for replying.
#4November 30th, 2006 · 03:16 PM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,086 posts
Netherlands
The Zoom MRS-8 would be a great device to get started with. It records to SD cards, which you can put in your computer to backup tracks - comes with free software to manage WAV/AIFF tracks, so you can further edit and play around with the recorded tracks inside your computer. It does have inbuilt effects and drum machine (which are very useable, I take they are the same as in the MRS-1608CD, which I personally have), can record mic and guitar simultaneously, a nice feature, and is really inexpensive.

The Boss BR-600 kindof hitting your pricerange max, but having owned a Boss-1200CD I can easily say that this would be a better option than the Zoom, since it has USB connectivity to put your tracks in the computer for further editing, and the inbuilt effects are surely more versatile. The inbuilt drum machine, however, is not as intuitive and has way fewer sound/sound editability than the Zoom's. Must add that my BR1200 did crash every now and then (sometimes losing hours of precious work), and my Zoom hasn't (knock on wood!)

The Tascam DP01FX one neat little recorder based on a "one knob per function" interface, so no navigating through menus here. This is by far the most intuitive recorder with an almost retro tape-multitrack portastudio look. I actually own a Tascam 448 mkII cassette multitrack and that thing is just awesome. I've played around on a digital Tascam in the music shop once and I was very pleased, but was looking for more inputs. This baby does not have inbuilt drums, but does have the USB connectivity to put your track on the computer, and it can sync via midi to an external sequencer or drum machine... So you can have your computer do drums for instance, while you record the audio to this recorder. Heh, it's just an option. This is the much more affordable version, the difference is It has no inbuilt effects.

The Korg D4 is a simpler, but very affordable digital 4-track recorder. It has inbuilt effects and OK inbuilt drum patterns, which you can't program yourself (the others can). Als it has the USB connectivity, a very handy feature... Check the page for more tech specs.

If you are looking for multiple inputs, then look at doubling your budget... That's just the way it is... You could opt for an external sound card with multiple inputs, but then you need to go through quite a learning curve and patience to master your software, which, if legally attained, will cost you just as much as any of the forementioned recorders. Plus you may get nasty side effects such as audio latency, inexplicable pops and clicks or even skips, unwelcome digital interference noise (especially on laptops!) etc etc. Unless your laptop is top of the bill, I wouldn't go for this option unless you have the serious $$$$ to do it right. Standalone recorders are especially dedicated to handle audio, have no latency, and will get you a better frequency response at all times.

Ok... The Summary:

my number one recommendation: ZOOM MRS8: Intuitive, good effects, good drum machine which is very easy to program, excellent recording quality. Records to SD, which goes up to 1 GB. Very much enough to put a few tracks in 44.1 kHz 16 bit stereo to, trust me. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK.

number two: BOSS BR600: Less intuitivity and probably less stable, but with more versatile effects, and has better cpu connectivity. Recording quality has, to my purist ears, not the best frequency response, but Will Do For Sure. If the mastering toolkit is the same in all BR-devices, this Mastering Toolkit has a few thousand times more spunk than the Zoom's, but that IS what you pay for!

number three: TASCAM DP01(FX): MOST Intuitive, but has no drums, and the cheaper version, no effects even. But who needs effects if you can put your tracks into the computer easily, where you SHOULD do the final editing/mixing anyway? I'd seriously consider this one if you want to avoid any type of learning curve. Eh, not saying that this one has no learning curve... But we all learned to type too, one day, didn't we?

number four: KORG and only because it's cheap. Has a great recording quality, but only 4 tracks simultaneous playback. Great effects, but no programmable drums. Well, do you need them... It's up to you!

Hope it helps,
PX
#5November 30th, 2006 · 03:58 PM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
Thanks a million for that, youve really explained lots of stuff and the Zoom you suggest i can actually get it on the net for £150! which is really amazing. So if i got the Zoom MRS8 would i be able to transfer my songs from the SD card onto my laptop and from there burn it onto an Audio Cd? what format does it save the music as? .wavs? Would i be able to record stuff no problem if i was using the 8 tracks on a SD card? how many tracks roughly would a 1Gig card hold. Thanks once again for your response!
#6November 30th, 2006 · 04:11 PM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,086 posts
Netherlands
hmm, not sure about how much 1 GB can hold... not too much, I guess 3 or 4 complete multitracked songs, maybe a bit more. it comes with software that can manage the tracks on the SD card once you put them in the computer, so you can extract them (save as .wav) and work with them in any audio editor program. working with SD cards like this is only slightly more work than working via USB, since a USB connected recorder requires a track manager program aswell.

150 quid eh, that's really a steal!
#7November 30th, 2006 · 04:18 PM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
When you say that the tracks are then managed on the computer, does it mean that this is a necessary step? what is the benefit of the software  that comes with it? is it for the mixing? What i want is to be able to record my songs, and burn them on an audio Cd.cheers
#8November 30th, 2006 · 04:55 PM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,086 posts
Netherlands
after recording a couple of tracks on the recorder, you can proceed with the following steps:

1) mix them down on the recorder itself, the master track is now present in the Project file and proceed with A, or
2) keep the seperately recorded tracks as they are, and proceed with B

A) use the manager program (yes, you are going to need that, but it is user friendly enough....) to extract the Master track from the project file after inserting the SD in your laptop. the stereo wav can be burned to CD with your CD burning software, no probs.

B) use the manager program to extract the seperate audio tracks to .wav, and use an audio editor program to make edits and mix them. this is for when you become more advanced in recording techniques, no need to worry about that at this stage. after doing that you use the audio program to export the mixdown as wav, and then burn to CD with your burning software.

OK hope that answers all of your questions... don't get too far ahead of yourself, lol!
#9November 30th, 2006 · 05:16 PM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
Thank you so much, youve made crystal clear, i think ill be getting myself a Zoom, any good mics youd recommend for ac. guitars/vocals? that arent too pricey(under£50). Cheers for all the info.
#10December 4th, 2006 · 09:17 AM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,086 posts
Netherlands
pff... mics? wow that is difficult... I'd go for a shure, sennheiser, beyerdynamic... those are the most reliable brands, IMO, but which one brand is better, really depends on your personal taste. I suggest you just go to the music shop and test a bunch... it all comes down to what your ears want to hear... I can't help you there, but if you go for any of these three brands, you won't end up with a crap product, that's for shure
#11December 4th, 2006 · 10:59 AM
1 threads
5 posts
United Kingdom
Thanks for all your help.
#12December 19th, 2008 · 10:39 AM
371 threads / 187 songs
3,384 posts
United Kingdom
What did you end up bying, I use the Yamaha AW16G, new wersion is called Aw1600.

Cheers

Denis
#13December 22nd, 2008 · 03:32 PM
160 threads / 33 songs
1,964 posts
United States of America
If your recording one track at a time for the most part..and you have a computer why are you buying a stand alone recorder...... I would be looking at  some kind of audio/digital interface for my computer. you can get these pretty cheap now and they usually come with some kind of recording software like pro tools or cubebase or sonor .. there are some very good used interfaces for just a few dollars.  of course your computer has to be able to handle the multi tracks processes, most computers out now will do a fine job though.

 i'm not sure if your a guitar player or what but if I was just starting out I would spend just a bit of money at get something like this...
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MAudioBlackBox.html
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