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Thread: Probably time for an upgrade?

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    Probably time for an upgrade?

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    Hi,
    I am new to the forum. I currently have an 8-track mini disk recorder. In the past I actually made some good side money with it. I am thinking about something new with more tracks. I don't think I am ready for computer based gear. For the most part this gear stays in my home studio and probably won't be used out at band gigs. What new stuff is out there that is good quality, easy to use and not break the bank?? Thanks for any and all comments.
    RPK
    Old guitar player trying to get into this century

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    Hi Arpeekay,
    When I decided to go digital, I bought a Zoom MRS1266 but I soon realized I'd bought it in haste. I did some research as to the best way to go and I seriously considered the Yamaha minidisc 8 track. In the end, I settled for the AKAI DPS 12i, a great little recorder. There are lots of good digital multitracks out there, mostly used these days, I'm afraid. They offer a great halfway house between old style portastudios and the newer computer based DAWS.

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    Yo RPK! You have tons of options, and they are a lot cheaper than they used to be. My first suggestion: Don't be so afraid of the nice computer. It is you're friend. I understand why you would want to use a digital multitrack. I use a couple myself, in addition to computer based recording. But- once you have the tracks in the recorder, it is really handy to be able to dump those tracks as WAV. files into the computer, for further editing and export. For what you are talking about, there are 2 units I like the most of the current crop for < $700. This:

    Tascam 2488neo | 8thstreet.com | Call 1-800-878-8882 | Free Shipping on most orders!

    and this:

    Zoom R24 | 8thstreet.com | Call 1-800-878-8882 | Free Shipping on most orders!

    Which one I would recommend depends on your preferences and needs.
    Tascam Neo
    Advanteges:

    More faders (18 + master)
    CD burner
    Aux returns, like a mixer (good for outboard FX, custom headphone mixes, etc.)
    Hardware EQ (no menus- more like a mixer, less like a computer)

    Disadvantages:

    More expensive
    Heavier and larger
    Requires wall power
    No built-in mics


    The Zoom R24:

    Advantages:
    cheaper
    removeable SD media (so you can never really run out of memory)
    built-in stereo mics
    8 combijack inputs (all 8 inputs can accept mic or line, XLR or 1/4" cables)
    Works as a digital recorder *or* a computer controller. (you can record tracks and process them in the R24, dump them to the computer for processing, *or* record straight to the computer).
    Runs on batteries or off the wall
    smaller and lighter

    Disadvantages:
    No CD burner. You have to dump to a computer to get to a CD
    Fewer faders- not as simple as the Tascam for mixing more than 8 tracks
    Lighter construction (don't drop it)

    Hope that helps-Richie

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    I used an MD-8 and then got into computer recording. If I was location recording maybe I'd want a standalone, but I haven't looked back. It's been great, with the occasional frustration and befuddlement. I think the flexibility, power, and user interface of a computer is worth it. Ymmv.

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    I am a big fan of multitracks, because I am really bad at understanding computers. I wish I had waited a few months before I bought my tascam DP008, because the Zoom R16 and R24 are only a couple hundred more, have 8 inputs, and work as controller too for if I ever get my learning going for computers. I messed around with one out of curiosity and dug around in the manual and it looks so awesome for what it costs. Gotta say though, I have had a zot of Zoom gear and I am a big fan, one thing I am not a fan of though is their durability. With the exception of a couple of guitar pedals, everything they makes feels like it needs to be treated like a baby if you want it to survive. A lot of older cheap Zoom stuff also has hiss/crackle problems, cheap pots or something, but in the newer stuff I haven't had the same issue and I doubt in something this hi-end (well for them anyway) they would let something so obvious be a holdup.

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    I really favour both hardware and software multitrack solutions, everything depends on the needs of the current project. Still, I would never be able to move back to a hardware (stand-alone) only solution, because of the non-recursive mixing capabilities, not to mention the wonderful world of VSTi and other licks. If you mix something on a PC you can recall the exact final pre-mastering settings years later with a single click. Even on more advanced and more expensive portable multitrack solutions automation features are mostly missing.

    So, instead of going for the Tascam Neo (which by the way is well-known for a series of bugs, just browse around on Harmony Central) I would still consider investing in Reaper or even fool around with Audacity. Once you take the time to befriend with the software solutions, you will never look back.

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    I just realised that this might not have been the answer you were looking for. My answer would be to invest in a Zoom solution (I had several different models and were happy with all of them) but go for one that allows integration with the computer and can serve as an audio interface for computer based recordings. Both Zoom R16 and R24 are capable of doing that.

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    Thanks for the help and suggestions. Before I jump into anything I am going to research computer based recording and see if I can get a better understanding of it.
    RPK
    Old guitar player trying to get into this century

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    Thanks again guys for your input. Does any one of you have any knowledge or experience with the Alesis Multimix 16 usb 2.0 My buddy that owns a small local music store had a conversation with his Alesis rep and he (obviously uses one )and happens to have the same Dell Vostro 1520 laptop that I do. He says it is the best thing out there. $550.00 from my local store. I can't find to many reviews out there. I am not sure if that version is new or old???
    RPK
    Old guitar player trying to get into this century

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    +1 on the Zoom R16.
    I have one and am busy figuring it out.
    Does enough of everything to make it a worthwhile purchase.
    Even if it does not become your go to recorder, it will always serve some purpose in your studio.
    Cheers ♫
    Jim

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