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Thread: Should I buy a minidisc mixdown deck? Plz help.

  1. #1
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    Very cool forums, here... who knew?

    Ok, so I'm looking to buy a mixdown deck and thinking of making it a digital one. I'll tell you my story really quickly, then I'd appreciate any advice you might be able to offer.

    I've got an analog 4-track (Tascam 424 Mk2), which I really like. More tracks would be great and digital probably would, too, but I'm not about to convert to digital recording / mixing unless I can do it really painlessly. I've got these stacks of 4-track masters to think about. Also, I don't want to sell all my equipment and buy new equipment. I'm pretty happy with the Tascam setup.

    I needed a 2 track mixdown deck, ideally a dual casette one for dubbing tapes. My horrible mistake was to buy a low-end Sony at Tweeter (they don't have any idea what's good for home recording). I should point out that I'm not too picky about every nuance of sound quality - I'm ok with some gritty lo-fi, if its under my control. However, this Sony TC-WE405 is total crap - the freq responses suck and the flutter is terrible. I set it aside and borrowed a friend's deck - a Pioneer CT-W404R, which is super good - very clear, very warm, makes great dubs. But of course he wanted it back eventually.

    So now I want to do some mixing down, and I was thinking about buying a good Pioneer tape deck (either the 404R or its bigger better brother, the 616DR). I was researching prices and stats and stuff when I started thinking about mixing down to a digital deck instead. I'm a bit worried about the future of DAT, and DAT decks are always cumbersome and expensive, so I'm not leaning in that direction.

    On the other hand, there is the Sony portable minidisc recorder / player - the MZR37SP - which goes for about $200, roughly the same as the Pioneer tape deck. I don't know much about minidiscs, especially as it relates to home recording. But in my naivety, it seems like it would be cool. I'd like to carry it around to record environmental sounds or live performances, listen to music in the car (I assume I can get a tape adapter), etc.. Plus, it seems like I can mixdown to it, even though its a portable. I'll need to copy the minidisc mixdowns to tapes or cds eventually, but I can use the Tascam to copy back in the case of tapes.

    But for all I know, this is a stupid idea, and I'd like to avoid making another mistake like the Sony TC-WE405 one. I'm not worried about small amounts of hiss or very tiny amounts of flutter, minor sound degregations in general. I don't like the empty sound that comes from low-resolution digital, though. I'm more worried about convenience and flexibility - I don't want to wrestle with idiotic controls too much (for cue'ing up and setting record levels and stuff like that) or have to buy a stack of adapters to go into and out of my Tascam 4-track or anything like that. I just want to plug in and mixdown, then playback later.

    What do you guys think? Should I buy an analog tape mixdown deck, or go for a digital one? Is a portable minidisc recorder / player a terrible idea for a mixdown deck? What issues should I be considering? What features should I look for in the minidisc deck? Where should I buy one? What brand do you recommend?

    Thank you _very much_ in advance for any help you can provide. Unless I get some good help, I'm probably going to avoid risk and buy the Pioneer tape deck.

  2. #2


    Yo Dolph:

    Try listening to the Sony ES models of tape decks. I use one in my studio and it is a very find deck. I bought the dual deck Sony. But, the key, is get the ES model (s).
    They have the best guts inside.

    You might think about getting Yam MD-8; with 8 tracks you will have a great time. 4 tracks means bouncing and bouncing means troubles with the final mix. Once you bounce two tracks to one track, you lose control of "two tracks." Whatever you tweak will tweak the two bounced tracks and they usually don't take the same "tweaks."

    [i.e., bass, flute, keys, all take different tweaks.]

    But, to your questions, Sony ES model decks.

    Pioneer is for "hi-fi" listening but not as good as Sony ES.


    Green Hornet

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