#1
Right, so I've got my vocals all set up. I'm using a USB condenser mic, that's not the issue I'm having. I had a look through the resource thread, and it seemed a bit ambiguous - maybe I didn't look hard enough..

So, again, the vocals are no problem. What I need, is a good method of recording a guitar track. I've been looking at 4 track digital recorders, are these a good option? Seeing as it's only for guitar, I've also looked at Digitech RP255, and other things along that line..

What I really want to know, is other people's opinions on the situation. What would be the best way of putting a guitar track down, without just using the microphone and amp?

Thanks folks, much appreciated.

Rob.
#2
A 4 track digital recorder would be a good starting place, but if you can afford it you'd be better off getting an 8, 12 or 16 track. A 4 track will be quickly outgrown. A lot of them also feature drum machines and bass synthesizers so you could easily create professional quality recording with a little practice.

If you're asking about whether to get a multitracker, why have you mentioned your laptop in the thread title? If you're using a multitracker, your laptop isn't really needed in the recording process, it only comes into the equation if you use software to record with.

Personally I prefer using dedicated multitrackers rather than using software designed to simulate what they do, but I'm in a minority for that one on this site. A lot of people will probably recommend the software you should be using to record yourself, but in my opinion you'd be better off shopping around for a multitracker - Tascam, Fostex, Zoom, Boss and Korg all make good ones, and ebay is a great place to look for them 2nd hand to keep the costs down.
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Last edited by GaryHB at Aug 19, 2011,
#3
Okay thanks, I think I'm gonna make the transition to a multitrack, and then mix in Reaper or something.

If I look at an 8-track, which would be the best (value for money etc)?

Edit: If I'm using this for simple demos to send out to people etc, will I be able to cope with a 4-track? This way I could record guitar, bass, drums, vocals right? Wouldn't this be enough until I go in for proper studio time?
Last edited by Sladey at Aug 19, 2011,
#4
A four track would do that, but believe me, I recently upgraded from an 8 track because I kept running out of space and I only use drums, bass, rhythm & lead guitar and vocals. No matter how much you try keeping it to a limited amount of tracks, you'll keep finding yourself wanting an extra one to add a bit of lead, or to have an acoustic guitar as well as an electric etc.

What is your budget?

If you can afford it & you're going to do the final mix using software anyway, I'd suggest one of Zoom's R series multitrackers - they do an 8, 16 and 24 track version and not only do they work as a standalone multitracker, they're also designed to link up to a PC and control packages like Cubase etc. A bit of searching the net will tell you the full list of software they work with, I'd be surprised if Reaper isn't supported. Not sure of the prices for the smaller versions, but in my country a Zoom R24 costs just under £400, and also includes a built in drum machine & bass programmer (this series doesn't include that on the smaller versions).

If you can't stretch that far, check sites like eBay for a used Zoom MRS802. I'm not so sure about using hooked up to a PC (the USB port was optional), but you'd be able to create your final mix without using the PC anyway, it's a standalone unit which can be used to make your demo CD from start to finish.

Here's a review of it so you can read all about it:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul03/articles/zoommrs802.asp
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#5
Woah, thanks for all the advice. So you're saying I should look at a 16 track in order not to run out? My budget is flexible, but obviously I don't want to spend a load of money on tracks I'm unlikely to need.

What do you think of the quality of the Tascam DP-008/004? Are they going to be good enough to sound semi-professional? Obviously I'm not expecting professional studio quality mixed with Pro Tools etc, but are they good enough to be listened to effectively? Or will the tracks all sound a little flat.

From what I've read, they're more for spur of the moment recordings, rather than final tracks.

Thanks again, huge help!
#6
I'm not saying you definitely need a 16 track, I'm just saying be very sure it's all you'll need before buying a 4 track. Since I upgraded to a 16 track, when I record I usually use the following tracks as a minimum:
Drums - 2 tracks, left & right
Bass - 1 track
Rhythm guitar - 2 tracks, left & right
Lead guitar - at least 1 track
Vocals - 1 track

That's already 7 tracks - OK, you don't have to use 2 tracks for drums & rhythm guitar, but I find it provides a different dimension to the recording (I usually play the two rhythm tracks on different guitars so it creates a fuller sound).

Unfortunately I haven't finished any new songs since upgrading, all the songs on my profile were done on my old 8 track (a Fostex VF-80) so they only use a single track for each part, but even then I had to do some track bouncing to fit everything in with a couple of the songs.

I haven't tried the Tascam DP008, but I know that Tascam have an excellent reputation and are one of the leading brands in this field. Here's a review of it so you can decide if it sounds right for you or not:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan11/articles/tascam-dp008.htm
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#7
If you're wanting to mix in Reaper, why not get an interface and go straight into the computer? You can mic or go direct and you wont have to worry about transferring the files.
#8
Wondered how long it would be till someone suggested that

You haven't said why you're considering using Reaper for your final mix. Is there a reason for it, or had you just not considered buying some proper recording equipment?

Like I said in my first reply, I prefer using dedicated recording kit rather than software which simulates it, but it seems that a lot of people who use this site prefer the software. A good multitracker will do everything right through to the final mix & creation of your CD, software is capable of doing the same thing, but you can spend just as much on the software and interfaces as you would on getting a multitracker which does it all for you.

Bear this in mind: Once you've bought the software, that's it, you're stuck with it. If you buy a multitracker and decide you're finished with it, you can sell it on and get most of your money back (possibly all of it if you bought a used one).

Software has the advantage of unlimited tracks, but so long as you buy a multitracker which is big enough for your purposes that doesn't really matter. Multitrackers are more portable than a PC & all the various interfaces you need if you reach a stage where you want to record a band practice or gig, and they are far more reliable when it comes to data storage than PCs are.

I'd recommend looking into both, I've always investigated software when upgrading my recording kit, but I've never found any advantage to it and have always chosen to stick with dedicated multitrackers.

There are lots of threads in the recording forum about using the software packages, have a look through and see how you think you'd get along with them.
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#9
Yeah, I have looked at interfaces. But again, I'm facing the issue of which one to buy to suit my purposes. Bearing in mind I can get a Tascam 8 track for around £200, is there an interface that I could buy for a similar price? I'm just slightly confused about all the options.

Again, all of this advice is VERY much appreciated!
#10
You already know my thoughts on it - go for the Tascam.

There are a lot of options though, just like when you buy any kit you need to decide on your main requirements, check the specs and reviews for the kit which meets those requirements and is within your price range, then make a decision based on all that criteria.

People here can only provide their opinions, you need to create your own opinion from the information provided.
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#11
Quote by Sladey
Yeah, I have looked at interfaces. But again, I'm facing the issue of which one to buy to suit my purposes. Bearing in mind I can get a Tascam 8 track for around £200, is there an interface that I could buy for a similar price? I'm just slightly confused about all the options.

Again, all of this advice is VERY much appreciated!


Depends whether you consider second hand/ebay options.

I would never buy a 4/8/16 track though - as there is absolutely no real benefit to them over a comparable interface/laptop setup - you don't get a standardised DAW for example - you have to work within the confines of a tiny digital screen and some buttons or something. Every studio out there is running a Pro Tools/comparable setup with a computer for a reason and by buying 8 track or whatever you miss the last 30 years of technical innovation - on hand digital editing, tuning, preening and have the faff of not really dealing with tracking intuitively and its all going to have to be dragged into a PC eventually for mixing anyway.

If you are interested in learning and getting top quality recordings on your own then get something that will allow you to expand on your own abilities - Interface/Computer/Daw configurations are pretty much the whole market at the moment - unless you're Steve Albini (who has to have a mac/interface/pro tools setup anyway even though he refuses to aknowledge it)
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#12
Second hand options are 100% possibilities. With regards to audio interfaces, I'm looking into Roland Tri-Capture.. Do you use an interface? What brands do you 'support' so to speak?
#13
you miss the last 30 years of technical innovation - on hand digital editing, tuning, preening and have the faff of not really dealing with tracking intuitively and its all going to have to be dragged into a PC eventually for mixing anyway

This part of Beefmo's comment is 100% not true. Multitrackers have evolved just as much as the equivalent software has and for home use are every bit as good as the software/interface combinations you may consider. The majority of the innovation over the years such as digital editing and mixing actually started in the mulitrack industry and has since been simulated by PC software.

As I said earlier, both have advantages and disadvantages. Yes, with a multitracker you're working with a smaller screen than if you're using software, but its a screen with well a designed layout & all the multitrackers I've used have been very easy to work with. They may not be 'standardised', but that's only because they're made by different manufacturers who do things their own way, just like different software companies will design their packages slightly differently. And to say that you can't do the mixing without transferring to PC just shows a complete lack of knowledge regarding the capabilities of modern day multitrackers.

Beefmo is right that all professional studios will have a PC with Pro Tools or something similar as a part of their set up, but have you ever seen a recording studio featuring nothing other than a PC? Thought not. They all also have a huge multitrack mixing desk which can work on it's own as well as being hooked up to the PC.

For someone like yourself who appears to only require a fairly basic setup, you need to decide whether the potential for unlimited tracks that software would provide is more of an advantage than the portability and simplicity of a single unit which can do the whole job from start to finish without needing any external equipment.

Only you can decide which is best for you. Like I said, figure out what you want to do & buy the kit which you believe will serve you best. Anything else is just opinion - that's why I provided links to professional reviews of the kit I recommended, so you didn't have to just take my word for it.
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#14
TS, if you're not doing anything serious and just gettin some tracks down, just get an audio interface. With an interface you're able to plug a mic, guitar, and any line level signal into it and record it in your DAW without loss of quality.

Even for people who are serious, an interface is an excellent choice and you can get some almost professional sounding results if you know what you're doing.

As for actually recording the guitar, it depends on what you want. Do you want VST plugins to use, do you want a modeling unit like the RP.... you said you don't want to mic it, which IMO is the best sound you can get if you have a nice amp/cab.


You can get some nice interfaces for around $150-200 USD (not sure what that is where you live) like a Line 6 UX1/2 or an M Audio FastTrack.

Personally, I'd do something like that for the how cheap, yet effective it is.
There's really no reason to get a huge ass multitrack recorder.
Last edited by Ignite at Aug 19, 2011,
#15
Quote by Sladey
Second hand options are 100% possibilities. With regards to audio interfaces, I'm looking into Roland Tri-Capture.. Do you use an interface? What brands do you 'support' so to speak?

Just did a quick check to find a review of the Tri-Capture, but there didn't seem to be any on the first page of results. It seems to have fairly reasonable specs according to this site:
http://www.dawsons.co.uk/acatalog/roland-tri-capture-usb-audio-interface-ua-11.html
A standard warning before buying any kind of interface like this is to make sure it works with a wide range of software, and obviously double check it's compatible with the software you have or are planning to use. The specs I found say it comes with Cakewalk Sonar - I think this is the limited version of Cakewalk's software (I could be wrong though, so don't quote me on that). The specs don't mention what other software it is compatible with, and not all interfaces are compatible with all software (and vice versa). Roland are a reputable company so I'd imagine it would be quite versatile, just make sure you check before purchasing if you decide this is the option for you.
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#16
A mixing desk isnt the same as a multi-track - strong failure to differentiate there and no they're really not necessary either but a lot of old school engineers prefer the feel - all of a mixing desks core functions are already built into a sequencer and theres plenty of new guys who use nothing but a PC these days. To be honest a big mixing desk/control surface in modern setups is usually just to impress the clients - I've spoken to plenty of guys who have spent huge amounts of money on Control 24's or equivalent and lived to regret it because they 'just use a mouse'. With analogue mixing desks there's always some engineer being called out to fix a bleed issue because the electronics are ****ed (anecdotal but they are temperamental)

If the latest in sequencer technology allows you to mix on a 2'x3' orange screen then very good - but I have no doubts it prints tracks because it doesn't have the processor overhead to run multiple adaptable processes at once (reverbs, eq's, compressors); this all adds up and if you are serious about your game you will reach a sticking point.

Bottom line is there are no studios currently using a digital multi-track as their core because it combines the worst of both worlds - the unflexibility of analogue style recording and the fiddlyness of digital with a poor amount of processing power.

Also on portability differentials - my laptop/8 channel interface setup fits in a rucksack, hardly a size problem.
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Last edited by Beefmo at Aug 19, 2011,
#17
it doesn't have the processor overhead to run multiple adaptable processes at once (reverbs, eq's, compressors)

These days most, if not all of them have more than enough processing power to do this and my old 8 track and the 16 track I have now both had more capability than I ever needed in this area.

A mixing desk isnt the same as a multi-track

Actually, the biggest part of a multitracker IS just a mixing desk. That's one of the prime functions of them, it's usually only fine tuning the effects and creating the final master that you need to use the menu options for.

I can believe what you said about one of the big mixing desk's roles being to impress the clients though. Even the people who don't use it would be disappointed not to see it there!

the worst of both worlds - the unflexibility of analogue style recording and the fiddlyness of digital.

That's a very narrow minded view, I've used several different multitrackers and found them all to be as flexible as I've needed and haven't found any of them to be fiddly, they're usually extremely easy to use.

I don't know, maybe I just fall into the category of old school engineers who prefers the feel of using the proper kit instead of software, but each time I've upgraded my recording kit I've looked into going down the software route and decided a multitracker was the better option. Aside from having unlimited tracks, I've never found any advantage to using software as multitrackers have all the capabilities I've ever wanted.

Anyway, we're getting off-topic now, we're supposed to be helping Sladey with some advice. Have you found any other kit which looks like it might suit you aside from the Tascam 8 track and the Roland interface?
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Aug 19, 2011,
#18
Now that you mention it I have used a live desk with that sort of real time capability but I never found it that intuitive - lots of clicking and tweedling and easy to make mistakes on - built in fx was useful on the aux busses instead of having to mess around with fx returns and outboard; bit of a mixed bag overall - digital desks in live mixing are considered a bit of a heresy.

Genuine question but what are the click track capabilities of the multi's - can I get an adjustable bar roll (ie two previous bars played before a record function starts running) in or count in before recording. I recorded a band the other week and these sorts of features are indispensable just for the ability to drop in and save time and effort because of a missed note or something.

But yeah, I am aware this could be a generational thing, I have been using a computer since I was 5 and recording with one seems like second nature to me, there are a few pc only features that I just can't forgo anymore - slip editing with automatic cut crossfading and time adjustment, vocal tuning, VSTi's that don't sound artificial (obvious fake cymbal sounds on drum sequencer recordings all over this forum), bar specific tempo adjustments, volume, velocity and pan automation - these things are awesome if you want to go beyond the call of duty and turn plain recordings into great ones.
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#19
Genuine question but what are the click track capabilities of the multi's - can I get an adjustable bar roll (ie two previous bars played before a record function starts running) in or count in before recording. I recorded a band the other week and these sorts of features are indispensable just for the ability to drop in and save time and effort because of a missed note or something.

I know that they can do that, and I know that they do have the bar roll function, but I've never really played with it so I won't comment on whether that function of my multitracker is as good as the software equivalent or not. I always cheat and include a count in when programming my drum machine so I don't need to worry about that side of things!
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Aug 19, 2011,
#20
Multi-trackers are not nearly as expandable. With pretty much any DAW on a computer, you can buy/download all the pluggins you could possibly want. It's a more future minded investment to work on a computer based rig than sticking with a multi-tracker.

Also look at value. Instead of paying however many hundred dollars for preamps, converters, effects, and DAW all in one, you can put that money towards better preamps/converters and let your computer handle effects and DAW. It's like behringer vs. the rest of the world. They pack anything they possibly can into each piece of gear just to get it to sell. Yeah they may do everything in one little "ultra"-box, but it does a crap job at every one of those. Better buy dedicated units of what you need with that money instead of getting a box set of crap with half the stuff you'll never touch or already have.
#21
Had this ol' debate in another thread with Mr. Billington before chaps - he's adamant multi-track recorders are the way to go; the majority of the professional audio world believes otherwise. However, if it gets him where he wants to be then so be it - my main issue is that he's recommending the stuff to beginners who would be much better off learning the modern way, rather than learning on older equipment with less support and help available.
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#23
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Had this ol' debate in another thread with Mr. Billington before chaps - he's adamant multi-track recorders are the way to go; the majority of the professional audio world believes otherwise. However, if it gets him where he wants to be then so be it - my main issue is that he's recommending the stuff to beginners who would be much better off learning the modern way, rather than learning on older equipment with less support and help available.

Always enjoy a good debate

It's not older equipment though - if it truly was outdated and software was the only way forward, companies like Fostex, Tascam, Boss/Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Zoom and and all the others wouldn't still be developing multitrack technology and manufacturing the kit. Calling software 'the modern way' isn't right - I admit it may not be wrong either, it's just a different way.

My main issue with software is the same issue you have with multitrackers - most people on this site recommend it to beginners and disregard the alternative.

For absolute beginners I definitely think multitrackers have a big advantage though - they can be bought used, and if that beginner decides that recording is something they want to progress with they can upgrade in either direction and sell their original kit with minimal loss. The same can't be said for software.

And surely there must be other people on this site who share my opinion? I can't be the only one! In real life I know 3 other people who have home recording set ups, and it's an even split between the 4 of us - 2 have mulititrackers, 2 use software. It may not be a large amount of people to base an assumption on, but it makes me assume that there's a 50/50 split.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Aug 20, 2011,
#24
Hahaha. I didn't mean to start a UG gang war!

Thanks for all the advice though. I had some free time so I actually read through it all. I've looked up the pros and cons of both systems, and while the multitrackers appeal to me slightly, because of their 'classic' nature so to speak, I'm gonna go for an interface. It's probably easier for me to carry it around with my laptop, and just makes the whole storage and editing process easier.

Thanks so much for everybody's input, in fact feel free to carry on arguing which is better :p

Peace out folks,

Slade
#25
No worries, so long as the debate helped you see both sides of the story and make an informed decision, thats what counts.

The argument about which is better will never be resolved though because when it comes to preferences there isn't a definitive answer, both have good and bad points and the debate could go on forever
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Aug 20, 2011,