#1
Hey guys, I'm in an old school punk band and I thought it'd be cool to record an EP on cassette like our heroes did back in the day. Nothing real serious but I still want it to sound decent. So I'm looking at this 4 track cassette recorder on eBay, and I'm wondering how we'd record ourselves on it? We have a drummer, bassist, and singer/guitarist and we all do background vocals. Would we just mic the room and go for it, or would we track drums-bass-guitars-vocals? I wouldnt mind doing the drums and instruments at the same time, but I want to do all the vocals separately. Would that be possible? And if so would we be able to do multiple takes on the vocals?


Thanks alot for answering these questions.

-Daniel
Guitars: Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul, Schecter Omen-6, and Fender CD-60 Acoustic
Amp: Jet City JCA20H with JCA12s cab
Pedalboard: Crybaby Classic, Boss DS-1, Korg Multi FX, BBE Boosta Grande, Rocktron HUSH Pedal. ProCo Rat.
#2
If you want to record the vocals separately, it would be possible to mic the room and record the music instrumentally onto one track, then add your lead & backing vocals onto the other three.

It would also be possible to record separate tracks with drums, then bass, then guitar, then vocals, but then you've run out of space and given that you won't improve the quality that much by mixing on the 4 track over just getting the levels right for an all in one take it may not be worth it.

With a cassette based recorder you can do as many takes as you like simply by recording over the previous one.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#3
Oh, man....

My personal recommendation is quite simply.... don't.

I've used those old-school multi-track cassette things back in the day. They were fun, and produced good home demos by 1985 standards, but not these days.

A few reasons why:
-the preamps in them either are non-existant or poor. Mine was a decent unit, but it had no preamps. So, we took our borrowed SM58's and got those XLR to 1/4" adapters and plugged them in and stuff, but the quality wasn't nearly as good as what you would get with using something like Reaper and a cheap Behringer interface.

-Starting with four tracks and a brand new tape is one thing. Once you start bouncing stuff over, you're committed. You don't like the drum mix you bounced over to record the bass over? Start again. Combine that with the fact that, the more you bounce, the more quality you lose. By the time you've mixed and bounced things a couple of times, your stuff starts to sound muffled, like the third-generation cassette recording that it is.

-You want analog warmth? A four-track cassette is not the way to achieve it.

There are much better ways of getting a good recording that will maintain the aesthetic of indie punk.

Listen to something like Minor Threat. It sounds the way it does not because they used consumer gear from 30 years ago. It sounds that way because they used very simple recording techniques. Don't use Def Leppard techniques if you don't want to sound like Def Leppard. A few mics in a room that are well-placed will do ya.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#4
I would agree with the above.

Use something like reaper, very cheap software but quite powerful.

It gives you greater flexibility.

If you still want the tape sound, run it out of your computer, through a cassette player and record it back in. You could use this track then underneath your "clean" one.
member number 14 of the UG John frusciante fan club

Founder of the 'the John Frusciante ****ing sucks!Club!" sucks, club!
#5
Something I thought I'd mentioned in my first post, but obviously forgot to: When bands talk about the good old days where albums were recorded on a 4 track cassette, they are NOT talking about the kind of 4 track cassette that you can buy cheaply on ebay.

Comparing something like an old Tascam Portastudio to the 4 track cassettes they're talking about is like comparing a digital multitracker to a pro studio these days - it's a completely different world.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#6
In spirit your post is mostly correct, but I think it went off the rails.

When they talk about the old days of analog recording to four track, they were talking about the Beatles recording at Abbey Road and stuff - the earliest days of multi-track recording. But they weren't recording to cassette on a Portastudio. (yes, the portastudio was a cassette recorder) They were still using high-end tape machines like Studers and the like.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
Yep, that's what I was talking about.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud