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Thread: Need BASIC info about recording!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
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    I know what I'm trying to accomplish, but I've been looking through so many sources on the internet that I have no idea what I need to buy in order to accomplish it. I know someone on THIS message board should be able to help me out, because I havn't found any on the net that are as specific to home recording than this one. This is the message I've been posting on other sites before I found this one, explaining exactly what I'm looking for.
    "I'm looking for a type of consumer electronic which I'm not sure even exists, but I'm scouring the internet and local Radio Shacks and so far have come up empty handed. But let me start from the begining to explain what I need.
    In the past, I've been recording original music (Vocals, various instruments) from a microphone into a very old but resiliant Dual Deck tape recorder which had a 'dubbing' feature. The dubbing switch allowed me to record onto one tape normally, say a vocal track, then insert another tape into the second deck and dub the previous recording plus whatever new input from the microphone, say a second harmonic vocal, onto the new tape, so that the new tape would have both 'tracks' on it simultaneously -- one dubbed on top of the other.
    The problem with this is that tapes are not digital, and with each dub over, the quality of the finished product becomes significantly degraded to the point where the 3rd or 4th dubbing makes the recording sound old, faded, sometimes slower. And when recording music, rythm, tempo and pitch are obviously key. Cassete tapes degrade these qualities and the final recording leaves much to be desired.
    Perhaps the age of the machine I'm using is the main contributer to these degredations, and perhaps a new one, maybe with the higher grade of recording technology that's out there, would solve the problem. But what I'm really looking for is a CD RECORDER with the exact same capabilities as that old Dual Deck Cassette recorder -- the ability to record from a MICROPHONE, and a DUBBING FEATURE so I can record multiple tracks seperately, then
    blend them together without a decrease in sound quality. I also would like this to be in a self contained unit, not a drive that hooks up to a computer.
    I've never seen or really heard of anything like this, but it seems like the technology should exist."

    But, after reading through the messages on THIS board, it would seem that what I'm actually looking for is a "mixer" of some sort. 4-track? 8-track? I am completely ignorant of these machines and would like to know if they are what I'm looking for, and if so, I need as much info about them as anyone can supply. (Capabilities, features, brands, where to buy, cost, etc.) Everything I've found on this web site is valuable, but it assumes that one knows the basics about these machines, and I don't. So it's more or less useless until I can somehow get in the know. So if anyone can help me out, I'd be greatly appreciative. Post here and/or drop me a line at
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    Hi Cecil,

    First order of business is to visit the following sites:

    You are looking for multitrack recorders.

    A multitrack recorder allows you to record several tracks without overdubbing (what you have been doing with your dubbing deck) at all, so eack track you record can be played back as a first generation take.

    You can then play back all the tracks you have recorded, listening to them together.

    These multitrack recorders also allow you to add seperate EQ (short for equalization, a fancy word for tone controls) to each track, too.

    Analog means they record on regular cassette tapes(but you cannot play a four track or eight track recording on a regular cassette player, you need to mix it down to stereo on another regular cassette first).

    Digital means the sounds are converted to digital information, and the digital info is recorded by the machine.

    Any prices you see on the manufacturers sites are retail, so don't worry, they are all available for less, so:

    next, go to these sites to see how much these things cost:

    In light of your recent method of recording, I would suggest that analog will be very satisfactory for you (and it's a cheaper medium, too.)

    If you have been using the microphone that comes built in to your dubbing deck, or one supplied with the deck, I would also suggest getting a better mic. If you are on a budget, a Shure SM-58 is a good, solid mic for vocals (and instuments, too) or a Shure SM-57 if you are recording instruments only.

    Home recorders come in four, eight and sixteen track formats, allowing you to record them either individually or some (maybe even all of them) simultaneously.

    The best choice for you is based on what you are trying to accomplish and how much money you have to spend.

    As a point of reference, it is intesting to note that the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's" was recorded on two four track recorders, and Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams are made of this" was also done on four track.

    Disclaimer: These results are not typical, and yours may be different.

    Good luck,


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