Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: "Easy" way to add more tracks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Oregon USA
    Posts
    968
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    712128

    "Easy" way to add more tracks

    Sign in to disable this ad
    I promised myself sometime around January this year that I wouldn't buy any more gear. I've... mostly kept this promise

    But, I've been thinking a bit. I sometimes would really like to have more tracks at my disposal, but I don't want to chuck everything out the window and get a MS-16, say, or do anything drastic.

    I see two options here:

    1. Buy a TSR-8, and not have to buy additional tape (I have a wealth of 1/2" tape at the moment)
    2. Buy a Tascam DA-88. It's smaller and easier(?) to maintain.

    Both could be synced with my 48-OB, and I own a Tascam Midiizer (although I've not used it yet).

    I don't have a specific question here, but what you folks think? Any experiences you can share?
    Don't let schooling interfere with your education - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    8,610
    Thanks
    232
    Thanked 225 Times in 203 Posts
    Rep Power
    3753124
    Jeff,

    How often do you think you'll run into the track limitation? I guess that's the first thing I'd ask myself.

    Reason is that if the majority of the time you want more tracks it is just plain more simple and clean to have them on one machine in one format you know? The exceptions to this I see are when you have different machines that have unique functions or a special character that you like for certain sources...but if you like tape and you like how the 1/2" 8-track format is working for you and you want more than 8-tracks a majority of the time then I really can't see beating 1" 16-track...

    Not wanting to feed a dangrous appetite (really...I'm serious), but this is a pretty insane ultimate MS-16 package and there's stuff that could be sold off to makup some of the expense:

    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/msg/1989320027.html

    Not too close to you but not too far either...all depends on the heads but obviously there are spares there...spares of spares. Too bad the factory MS-16 roll-around ain't in there...one of the coolest rolling atr stands IMO.

    Obviously the negatives here are mass and volume...this stuff just takes up SPACE...and its heavy...and when your back goes from bad to worse your wife and/or buddies get tired of helping you schlep gear...heheh. Its one reason I've resisted the temptation to get a more "pro" 1/4" halftrack than my BR-20T, like something in the ATR60 series or one of the Otari MTR decks that are in a monster roll-around...the BR-20T is compact compared to one-o-those things, and so is your 48 to an MS-16 or some such thing...and anyway my BR-20T sounds great.

    Don't do the hi-8 thing...just don't. Many of the models are problematic especially at this stage in the lifecycle. Just don't do it. If you want to sync with another non-tape multitrack unit look to getting some used all-in-one HDD system or even a dedicated HDD unit and sync over MIDI.

    You've got ample 1/2" tape? Then maybe the very best thing is to look for the TSR-8 r equivalent and get 14-tracks. Beware that getting the cable setup between the 48 and the MIDIizer will be a PIA...one is serial and the other is parallel.

    Here's something that will scare you away from the 1"...the MRL tape.

    Yeah...Jeff, I'd say look for a sync solution to mate with your 48.

    But don't ignore the original question: how often do you need/want more tracks? And if it is often then maybe there is some longer term master planning to do that would involve letting go of some gear to finance the change as well as keeping the gear burden manageable.

    MAN! I'm just a bundle of encouragement aren't I...
    Last edited by sweetbeats; 10-05-2010 at 14:41. Reason: ignoramously bad spelling and grammar...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Oregon USA
    Posts
    968
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    712128
    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    How often do you think you'll run into the track limitation? I guess that's the first thing I'd ask myself.
    This is the first thing I asked myself. My reasoning is that I don't need to buy a dedicated 16-track recorder because not everything I do needs more than eight tracks. If I get a MS-16, for example, then I'd have to buy 1" tape for each project regardless of how many tracks I actually use. Do I only need eight tracks? Ok, buy a reel of 1/2" tape. Do I need 14 tracks? Ok, two reels of 1/2" tape.

    I'm also interested in digital multitrack recorders because I want to do some installation pieces at galleries and venues. I would really like to make 4-channel recordings and "perform" them outside of my house. I *could* do that with a 4-track 1/4" machine but I'd like to avoid the possibility of mechanical failure as much as possible. If I can throw everything into a 8U road rack and take it in a taxi, that'd be ideal. I'm mentioning this because I saw the DA-88 as being a dual purpose machine for me: Tracking at home, playback elsewhere, smaller physical form = greater transportability.

    Hmmmmmm.
    Don't let schooling interfere with your education - Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wales
    Age
    43
    Posts
    3,422
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 114 Times in 102 Posts
    Rep Power
    2429828
    Bear in mind that you could in principle record two 8-track projects in parallel on a 16-track machine...

    However, I went down the sync route myself, and one of the key reasons was that parts are easier to come by for 1/2" 8-track machines. However, I can't deny that I seem to be using 16 tracks more and more these days and while I'm not convinced I could really cope with the needs of a higher-end machine, I am looking at the going price of 1" machines more and more lately...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    8,610
    Thanks
    232
    Thanked 225 Times in 203 Posts
    Rep Power
    3753124
    Quote Originally Posted by lo.fi.love View Post
    This is the first thing I asked myself. My reasoning is that I don't need to buy a dedicated 16-track recorder because not everything I do needs more than eight tracks. If I get a MS-16, for example, then I'd have to buy 1" tape for each project regardless of how many tracks I actually use. Do I only need eight tracks? Ok, buy a reel of 1/2" tape. Do I need 14 tracks? Ok, two reels of 1/2" tape.

    I'm also interested in digital multitrack recorders because I want to do some installation pieces at galleries and venues. I would really like to make 4-channel recordings and "perform" them outside of my house. I *could* do that with a 4-track 1/4" machine but I'd like to avoid the possibility of mechanical failure as much as possible. If I can throw everything into a 8U road rack and take it in a taxi, that'd be ideal. I'm mentioning this because I saw the DA-88 as being a dual purpose machine for me: Tracking at home, playback elsewhere, smaller physical form = greater transportability.

    Hmmmmmm.
    I hear you saying you'd rather not get a 16-track machine. Remember when I said one of the reasons to have multiple machines is if there are specific functions or roles served by the different units? Well, wanting portability is one and you said mechanical reliability was the other...I see that a different way because a digital unit ain't impervious...I'd rather not expose one of my tape machines to the potential brutality of being hauled around. So anyway, I totally see your logic and so my advice is to start exploring the options for a digital multitrack that can sync with your 48...and that shouldn't be hard. With the MTS-1000 on-hand I'd consider slaving the 48, and therefore all you need is something that can output MTC which is pretty much any digital multitracker.

    I'm not so sure you are avoiding mechanical issues with an 8mm DTR...I'm no expert but I believe there are certain models to avoid. pianodano would know more about this I think...others too but he comes to mind because he has run them regularly for a long time and syncs them to Sonor and/or his MS-16...I believe he started using them so it was easier to transport/transfer projects between his studio and his brother's. Not trying to knock the Tascam DTR's but I just know with the years the issues are more known about which ones have stood the test of time better than the others and what to watch out for, etc.

    If it was me I'd be looking at a flash memory based system or an HDD based system...if it was an HDD based system that utilized a SATA drive I'd be looking into compatability with solid state drives...that'd be slick as SSD's are 100% non-moving parts so they'd make a great drive for a portable system. I suppose it'd come down to the file system protocol utilized by the particular unit and whether that's clash with the sector architecture of the SSD, but I digress.

    Jeff, if you got this portable system in an 8U rack, whatcha gonna do for preamps and such? Would you be using a rackmount multichannel preamp and a rackmount line mixer for playback and cue mixes?

    Man, I'm tellin' ya...If it was me and I needed something reliable, well outfitted, portable, affordable and good sounding I'd be getting this:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/YAMAHA-AW16G-Pro...item43a22a09b6

    Forget the 8U rack...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Below the Watford gap !
    Age
    56
    Posts
    7,775
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 34 Times in 29 Posts
    Rep Power
    21474858
    George Harrison once said that being in the Beatles was like being in a bubble too small to contain them all. That's exactly how I felt about 4 track. I bought one on a whim back in '91. I'd just bought a double bass and had some money left over. It was year before I used it. Once I started, I thought, 'this is great'. Then I realized that although "Revolver" was probably the great 4 track album, it was lots of bouncing down and tape transfers that helped achieve all that. On a 4 track portastudio, great initial recordings just became incoherent mush after two bounces {or at least, they did for me}. So I made an early jump to 8 track. That was fantastic for 18 years. But even that became too limiting and so I've made the jump to digital 12 track. I'm in that bubble again.
    When I say that 8 tracks are too limiting, that needs to be qualified somewhat. With track sharing and bouncing, a finished 8 track mix could easilly have 30~40 actual tracks on it. I've been tracking like a madman on the digital {it's an AKAI DPS 12i}, having gotten down in part around 70 songs in the last 14 months as well as finishing off around 20 or so on my Tascam 488. When I go back to the 488, it's interesting comparing. There's a certain simplicity to it that I love but once something becomes limiting, I guess one just has to move on. This doesn't mean that every song is a 12 track extravaganza though.
    To be honest, I think you should look at a single 16 track. If push comes to shove, you can record two projects on one reel of tape if neither goes over 8 tracks.

  7. #7
    Beck Guest
    Short Answer:

    The easiest way is to use a single 16-track analog machine for everything. 1/2" is usually fine. People have done a lot with that format... MSR-16, E-16, etc.


    Long Answer (and assorted rambling):

    I can normally get by with 8 tracks, but I’ve always been into MIDI from the beginning, so I have almost endless virtual synth and drum tracks. It means sacrificing one analog track for sync, but that’s nothing considering what I get in return. I also sync up with my DAW, built around the original Echo Layla 20-bit interface. I can’t say enough about the Layla. It probably sounds strange coming from an analog diehard like me, but they really made those things right… great converters, and the sync up to analog is flawless. I would never use only digital even with something as nice as the Layla, but mixed in with my analog tracks it works very well. And I normally track to analog first anyway and dump those tracks to the DAW. The Layla 24/96 sounds nice too, but they did something to the design and it doesn’t sync quite as flawlessly as the original Layla20.

    It really depends what kind of music you do. I’m a one-man-band… play guitar, but I’m primarily a keyboard/synth guy, so MIDI has always been there. The only things tracked to tape are vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, piano and one older Moog synth that doesn’t have MIDI or other sync capabilities. However I do a lot of layering with vocal harmonies and guitar… and that’s where the DAW comes in to augment my analog tracks. And of course I master the whole thing to analog half-track before going to CD.

    I love the sound of my TSR-8, but I could probably do what I do with a ½” 16-track like the MRS-16 or Fostex E-16/G-16.

    I’m not a fan of syncing two analog multitracks. I’ve done it in the past, but IMO it’s a PITA on so many levels. The sync isn’t always that perfect and I don’t like managing projects on multiple tapes. You could sell your 8-track and ½” tapes, and go 1” 16-track. It would cost less to use one 1” tape than two ½” tapes for a project. Plus you’d have 16 tracks rather than the 14 you’d have if syncing two 8-track machines.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    8,610
    Thanks
    232
    Thanked 225 Times in 203 Posts
    Rep Power
    3753124
    Tim, I hear you on the PITA aspect of sync'ing analog machines...but have you ever tried using a Timeline Micro Lynx? Pure Grade A Top Choice SLICK.

    Jeff, kudos to Tim...I totally skipped 1/2" 16-track and jumped to the 1" conclusion...Got wide-format on the brain with that 600lb. Ampex beast wrapped in a plastic cacoon in the garage eyeing me daily as I go hither and yon siding my house...It doesn't say anything...it...just...looks at me from the corners of its eyes...

    Anyway...boy...1/2" 16-track might really be something to think about...you've already got the tape, and an MSR-16 would still be somewhat portable...not as portable as an 8-track DTR or DAW unit...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wales
    Age
    43
    Posts
    3,422
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 114 Times in 102 Posts
    Rep Power
    2429828
    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    Here's something that will scare you away from the 1"...the MRL tape.
    Yes. I just spotted an MS-16 which is currently going for around £250 plus shipping. The corresponding MRL tape costs twice that.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •