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Thread: recording on the road

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    recording on the road

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    my wife and i do mobile church services in a lot of locations where we have to bring our own sound equipment. i have been recording the services as a live mix, but i find that what sounds good in the house doesn't always sound good on tape. that being said, i am looking to add some dedicated recording equipment to my system. you guys seem to have some really good knowledge and i hope that you can help me out. i would like to add a rackmount multitrack recorder of some kind and i am intrigued by the 234 and 238 tascams. however, it doesn't appear that i could record an entire service (1-2 hours) on 1 tape and i don't have anyone else who could keep switching tapes. i know very little about the DA line (38, 78, 88) from tascam and i have also seen some reel to reel units that are rackmountable.

    what i would like to do is record individual tracks of the service to mix later. i need the equipment to be rackable so i can wire it up and leave it. i need to be able to record at least one hour per tape. i need to keep weight in mind. and i would prefer that it not be cost a fortune for maintenance.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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    Arrow 1-2 hours of record time is your biggest technical challenge...

    otherwise a 234 or 238 would be two fine choices, both running at 3-3/4ips. A 90-min cassette gives 22.5 minutes of run time in the 234/238.

    Likewise for most reel formats,... a reel of tape may run 20-30 minutes, tops, at 15ips. Longer runtime for 7.5ips, on reel tape. F/I, a Tascam 34B would give you 4-tracks and the choice of 7.5 or 15ips, AND 7"- or 10.5" reels. The Tascam 38 only runs at 15ips & 10.5" reels.

    I digress, but a high end Tascam 4-track cassette Portastudio would give you 3-3/4 and 1-7/8ips, which @ 1-7/8ips bumps your 90 minute cassette runtime to 45 min, and would still give you 4 separate tracks and acceptable sound quality, w/dbx. See: 246, 424mkII, 424mkIII, for your best 4-track Portastudio solutions. Note, the built-in mixer on the Tascam Portastudio is a big plus, but that probably goes without saying.

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    Arrow Just found my universal tape reference card!

    Okay, getting back to the Tascam 34B, running @ 7.5ips, with a 2500'/10.5" reel of tape,... that gives you 66.7 minutes of runtime! This may be your best bet, all the way around.

    Maybe find one of those old 3340A's that's modified to run @ 3-3/4ips, and on a 10.5" reel you'd have 133.3 minutes, with acceptable [but not stellar] sound quality, on 4-tracks.

    There'ya go!

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    If you didn't need individual tracks (just stereo) you could use a good hifi VCR. You'd be surprised how good a sound you can get if everythings right going in. I'm not famiar with how the audio encoding works (it's digital, not analog) but I'm assuming you get a better quality sound running at LP (2 hours) rather than SLP or whatever (6 hours). There's a primer on this at the http://www.homerecording.com home page.

    Then again, this might not be what you're looking for

    DD

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    Arrow Or,... [here it goes!],... for STEREO ONLY, and NOT MULTITRACK,...

    a Sony MINIDISC recorder, home-unit/component-style, would fit the bill, with hifi audio record time of 80 MINUTES, max, stereo/2-tracks. You'd have to shop for a Sony or Tascam MD recorder that would accept 1/4" MIC plugs, or otherwise this would require a mixer. Also, I would not recommend a handheld minidisc for recording purposes, unless you're a hardcore concert bootlegger.

    However, as I read the question the first time, it was stated that you want to archive the live tracks better, for remix purposes later. That's why I recommend the Tascam 34B, and it accepts 1/4" MIC/LINE plug INPUTS, for bare-bones 'field' recording, using just the recording deck and four mic feeds. It's a simple, functional hifi setup for what you're proposing, using 4-tracks.

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    let me clarify things a little...

    right now my system consists of a mackie 1604 vlz, a tascam md501, a marantz pmd510 dual cassette, a marantz cdr500 dual cd, a tascam t3000 cassette duplicator, a tc M1XL effects, a rane deq60 eq, a rane rta30 and a tc finalizer express with some mackie 450's. we use an accoustic guitar and a stereo keyboard along with prerecorded soundtracks. we use 2 hand held mics and 1 lapel mic. i would also like to mike the audience if i could figure out the right mic(s) to do it with. I need to be able to put up to 4 different mics, the keyboard, guitar, and whichever of the 3 players is used onto it's own track in its pure form so i can mix it and apply the effects to it the next day and then record it to it's final medium (cd or cassette) to be sold or given away. i will more than likely store the final master on minidisc and not store the individual tracks.

    an 8-track, or 2 4's, seems to be the minimum i could use. i am considering upgrading the mackie mixer to an A@H 20/8/2.

    thanks for your help so far.

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    234 recording time

    i just had someone with a 234 for sale tell me that i could get 60 minutes of 4 track recording from a 60 minute tape. that doesn't sound right. did i misunderstand something here?

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    i would go digital. although i haven't used analog yet, (i do plan on buying a 1/2" 8 track soon) I have heard that analog isn't horribly reliable and obviously requires more work than digital.

    you could get a fostex digital 16 track for about 4 hundred bucks on ebay...maybe less. that would give you the ability to record 8 tracks at once......and if you need to record more tracks at a time, you could get a second one and link them together.

    i guess digital is a dirty word in the analog only forum. i'll try to avoid using it in the future in this forum.

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    Arrow The 234 runs 22.5 minutes of 4-track format on a c90 cassette, fixed.

    Logically, a c60 cassette would run 15 minutes of 4-track format on the 234. Fixed.
    =============

    Well, production wise, you may be inching toware 8-track territory, for what you want, all things considered. Then, you'd need an external mixer, separate from the FOH mixer. You're still limited with run time on the REEL 8-track, with a 10.5"/2500' roll of tape running 33.3 minutes, fixed.

    Better, choreograph little INTERMISSIONS to change tapes.


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    Arrow 1/2" Reel 8-tracks' not unreliable, it's just a little out of fashion.

    Anyway, every machine eventually needs maintenance, even digital. Thanx.

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