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Thread: Analogue (tascam 488) to digital

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    Analogue (tascam 488) to digital

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    Hi all, I'm in need of some advice...I'm planning to record an album using a tascam 488 mk ii and would like to achieve results similar to this band's work (which is recorded using "an 8 track tape then a computer" - the 8 track tape is a tascam 488 mk ii also) but I'm wondering where the computer would come in...i.e. do they record 8 tracks then transfer them to a computer to edit? I know there's pretty much no way in knowing but what would be a common procedure and what would be the best way to transfer? Is there anything else they're probably using?

    "Even the microphone we use for all the vocals and guitars isn't an expensive one. The point is any musician can get hold of this stuff."



    My laptop at the moment is pretty old, I'm thinking of getting a macbook to use for editing - a wise move? By the way, I'm also aiming for a lo-fi ish sort of sound...I'm just not getting great results at the moment using Tascam 488 > EMU 0204 > audacity

    Many thanks in advance for your help!
    http://www.pledgemusic.com/artists/j...mandtheoutlaws <<< please 'subscribe' by entering your email...you will not get spammed, we just need a certain amount of potential fans before our project is approved. thank you!

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    Its up to you and how you want to manage the workflow, really.

    You could track to the 488 and then dump the tracks to the computer. Note that the 488 does not have dedicated tape track outputs...there IS a way to dump 8 tracks simultaneously out of the 488 but it is a little kludgey...it WORKS though. And also note that if you did want to dump all 8 tracks simultaneously (to avoid having to try to line them up in the DAW) your current interface won't do it.

    Another option is to track to the 488 and then mix on the 488 and record the 2-track master to the computer...basically using the computer as the mastering recorder.

    Yet another option is like the last one only mastering to some other analog medium (like a stereo cassette deck or an open reel halftrack) and then dump the analog master to the computer.

    All of these processes are common and your task is to find out which one fits you best. Since you already have everything to accomplish the 2nd option I think it would be best for you try that out and see if it works for you. It will likely promote more of a "lo-fi" sound compared to the 1st option in significant part to the process.

    What are the specs of your current laptop? I mean, I remember doing 24-bit/48kHz 8 track projects on a P3-450 laptop with 256mb ram and a 4200rpm hdd. Don't get fooled into thinking you need to change your hardware. Often times its a configuration and os/drive maintenance issue. My current studio PC would be scoff-worthy according to some but it works for me: P4 3.4gHz with 4gb pc5300 ram. I've done some special things with the drive array to manage data bandwidth since that is often the real bottleneck (i.e. Its a sff chassis and there's only one ide buss and one data port, so I've got an ata133 7200rpm drive on the use buss for the system drive and pair of 7200rpm sata2 laptop drives in a little raid enclosure that slides into the 3.5" drive bay and that's on the sata port in a striped array for tracking). Point is its a P4 single core machine but I have no trouble tracking 24 tracks at 24-bit/48kHz with very low latency and I've run tests reproducing 48 tracks at the same resolution while recording a couple tracks and with a couple vi's and about 3 plugins running and its no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will25 View Post
    what would be the best way to transfer?
    "
    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    You could track to the 488 and then dump the tracks to the computer. Note that the 488 does not have dedicated tape track outputs...there IS a way to dump 8 tracks simultaneously out of the 488 but it is a little kludgey...it WORKS though. And also note that if you did want to dump all 8 tracks simultaneously (to avoid having to try to line them up in the DAW) your current interface won't do it.
    AAAAA-choooo !

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    You could track to the 488 and then dump the tracks to the computer. Note that the 488 does not have dedicated tape track outputs...
    How do you do it? A lot of my early stuff was on 488 and I could only figure out how to transfer 6 at a time... If I remember right it was something like....

    Tracks 1 and 2 via the inserts, 3 and 4 to mains out and 5 and 6 to monitor out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckduffy View Post
    How do you do it? A lot of my early stuff was on 488 and I could only figure out how to transfer 6 at a time... If I remember right it was something like....

    Tracks 1 and 2 via the inserts, 3 and 4 to mains out and 5 and 6 to monitor out.
    AAAAAA-CCHHHOOO !!

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    You can disregard a lot of this if you are dead set on using the 488. I used one for many years. Before that 4 track. I have no problem with the format, and actually liked the restrictions a lot - got more done. With all that said - you don't need to record to casette 8 track to get a lo-fi, no-fi, vintage, etc vibe going. Nor is using a 488 isn't going to guarantee you are going a great lo-fi, no-fi, vintage, etc vibe. You can get some suprisingly good, clean, detailed and semi pro results from that deck. Anyway ...

    If you pick up a decent three head professional 2 track cassette deck you can set it up as an insert on your daw. Most daws will allow you to measure the round-trip latency through the analog deck and actually do latency compensation for you.

    Then you can basically do all your recording in the daw, and mentally limit yourself to 8 tracks. Do all your edits, use plugs, whatever - then when you are ready - render each track through the analog deck insert to a new track. Then mix. You can do it for some, all or none of the tracks - totally up to you. Then you can turn around and mix down to the two track deck when you are done.

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    Thanks for the help guys. At the moment I've been mixing down to my computer with okish results...I always find it different monitoring through the usb preamp though and the results are always different (as in, not so good) as it sounds when played through the 488 :S

    What would the benefits of using a computer be? I'm fairly new to home recording but I'm guessing quality can always be improved. Would the band I mentioned have achieved that sound through good recording technique or good editing? It sounds much better than a 488, I think I'm not really using mine to its full potential.

    Am I right in thinking I'd need an 8 channel mixer/usb to get 8 tracks simultaneously on the computer...?

    My laptop is ok, but then I'm only using audacity at the moment so I guess I'm going to be slightly limited as it's a basic program. I hear Reaper is better? Seems more difficult to use though...will have to get practising!

    Thanks again!
    http://www.pledgemusic.com/artists/j...mandtheoutlaws <<< please 'subscribe' by entering your email...you will not get spammed, we just need a certain amount of potential fans before our project is approved. thank you!

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    You don't need a mixer to get the tracks into the PC, just an interface with more channels.

    What are the specs of your computer?

    I expect Audacity and Reaper to have similar demand on the hardware.

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    The advantage of digital audio in general is that it can (usually) be copied losslessly. (And if it doesn't you can use an MD5 hash or something to make sure the copy is correct and do it again if it dropped a bit or something). With analogue copies you get more noise with each generation and the signal itself may change over time.

    With computer editing the advantage is that you can slide audio around the timeline. That gives you much easier editing (and an 'undo' button). It also means that you can easily fix crap playing by altering the pitch and timing. And of course you have the plugins which claim to replicate classic equipment at an affordable price, and in some cases can come pretty close.

    For me the drawback is that it cheapens the whole experience. I'm already doing my songs 1980s style with the music programmed and played back by synthesizers under computer control - doing the recording on a computer too would make the entire thing nearly effortless, and not in a good way. People are more proud of things which take effort to do, and I don't feel I've achieved something with a recording unless I have a tape in my hand.

    The other thing is that computer editing and plugins generally need Windows to run with all the hassle that entails, but that's probably just me.

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