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Digital multitrack recorder into a Mac?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Jupiter, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hi all,

    since playing together with folks is kinda out the window for a while longer at least, I’ve started to develop in interest in recording, which I haven’t done since the days of cassettes...

    I have a late-model iMac and am somewhat familiar with Garage Band. I though about just getting a digital audio interface for it, but the problem is that the Mac lives in a noisy part of the house, so directly recording into it isn’t really feasible.

    So I guess I need a portable solution, and that has me considering a tascam portastudio, specifically this DP-03SD, but it might be overkill...
    35D0D8DF-EF78-476F-85E6-4CED179F986E.jpeg
    Any thoughts or advice? Particularly, I’d like to find something cheaper that will let me
    1. Record at least 2 inputs at the same time
    2. Allow mic/xlr input or 1/4” phono for both tracks
    3. Have phantom power for a condenser mic
    4. Easily import tracks into GarageBand

    I’d like to be able to do the usual multitrack stuff, like bouncing and merging tracks onboard, but maybe I don’t GOTTA? I dunno... At some point I expect I’ll be recording with some other guys away from the computer, so I will want to be able to gather a few tracks.

    What other features should I look for that I haven’t thought of?

    Any recommendations under 200 bucks?
     
  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    High impedance instrument input is useful unless you have a DI box.

    check the wav files can be easily accessed over USB or by moving the SD card. I have the big tascam DP32SD and I can.

    if you have an ipad, you can do more with apps like Garageband and Auria and an interface - particularly editing.
     
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have an iPad, but I don’t have the storage space for the music files...
     
  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’m lookin at this ZOOM R8 too, but it has some bells and whistles I don’t need, like drum patches...
    8F00BC7A-E237-4D26-9349-C6AB811A6613.jpeg
     
  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I have the simpler Tascam DP-004 that I use for capturing small group stuff, but I think it is @Guitarteach that has actual experience with downloading into a Mac. I think he was just saving the .wav files into the computer and not into GB. To me this sounds like a horrific process if you want it into GB.

    I gotta say, the Tascam portastudio units have great built in mics and are very versatile, but once I started seriously working with GB, I only use an interface. I think the headache of moving the whole computer system into another room would be easier than futzing with .wav files in GB. My .02

    Edit: Oops, I see that @Guitarteach has already responded.:oops:
     
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  6. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Why would it be horrific? Can’t I just import them?
     
  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    It just seems like too many things to learn. The Tascam Studio works with it's own process. Not that it is bad, but quite a learning curve and then add the GB learning curve additionally seems like something that would take all of the enjoyment out of making music. Becoming proficient with one or the other will make recording enjoyable, but to learn both would become a PITA ... IMO. Just trying to help your decision process. Presently I use a much simpler Tascam DR-05 to capture ideas and then re-record on GB when developing those ideas into something near a workable product. You could get a smaller Tascam Portastudio to capture ideas in another room, but that does not seem to be what you are seeking. Anyway, just my thoughts.
     
  8. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, with my current situation, and taking into account likely directions that it may evolve, it seems like I need to be mobile with my recording, and use the home base for mixing/adding effects, etc.

    I have messed about with GB both on my iPad and on my iMac, so I know enough about how to quantize, make loops, add effects, use envelopes, etc. to at least get started once I have the tracks. Also, I’ve had a Fostex 4-track and I’ve done some live mixing, so I think the thing I’m concerned about is just the workflow part between recording the tracks and importing them into GB, which I woulda thought is just a matter of plugging in a USB cable and dragging some files over these days...
     
  9. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    To be honest, I have never tried bringing over .wav files from my Tascam portastudio directly into GB. It might be worth a try and with your previous experience it might be worth the work flow. Maybe @Guitarteach can give it a try before you go out purchasing the Tascam. I would try it, but this week is a full plate for me. If I find A time slot, I'll give it a go though.
    As another thought ... just don't shoot me, but what about buying a refurbished MacBook for the other room? This is what I use anyway. You could even buy an inexpensive USB microphone to make it more portable without an interface. Just a thought.
     
  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    hmm, now that seems like overkill...lol Plus a learning curve just to figure out which one to buy...might be worth looking into though, thanks. I can see off the bat that there are some used macbooks that are priced about the same as the tascam I have been looking at, though I have no idea if they'd work spec-wise...
     
  11. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    You capture the basic tracks/stems in the portastudio... the quality will be fine. My DP32SD preamps sound great.

    Each song has a folder in the tascam. I assume other models are same/similar.

    My PC or MAC can either use the SD card or connect via USB.. copy the song folder.

    garageband, reaper, logic etc. - just drag the wav files for the song in... edit away.

    its not onerous... you just need the workflow. Waveform level editing is a pain on the little screen... just use it to capture the raw sounds.

    You will quickly meet restrictions around convenience of punch in recording, etc.


    There is also another excellent option for you,

    you might also consider bandlab - really good experiences here with that - app and cloud on ipad (not a memory issue) and it is great in browser on a cheap laptop in your recording area. I download tracks as wav or midi from bandlab to edit offline too.

    Our band has made 40+ tunes in bandlab in lockdown and the sounds and mix are perfect.. uses same audio interfaces.

    if you take out a free account, i can PM you access to a virtual band to join and show you how it works
     
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  12. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    you can easily drag .WAV files into GB, do it all the time, I have recorded a three track EP with my buddy during lockdown, we email WAV files and drop em in, how horrific can such an easy operation be......as long as you are competent with GB ?
     
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  13. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    oh man, a whole nother world...I gotta think some more!
     
  14. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm not quite competent, but I'm a bit experienced! :)
     
  15. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    you will be fine, I am sure any DAW is easily connectable to extract your files, I used to use a Yamaha portastudio, years ago, and that was USB connectable and it was a breeze.
    Shame you can’t use GB from the get go, I upgraded mine to the Logic Pro version and it is fabulous.
     
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  16. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    actually it’s quite a good way of recording, because you can record remotely, suck the files out into GB and copy, paste or edit to your hearts content on screen, I always found editing a little difficult with the Standalone DAW.
     
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  17. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    try bandlab... its free and brilliant,.. and perfect for mobile and mac recording... all saved in cloud sp can move between ipad and mac with no files needing to be moved. I’ve not used my tascam much at all since we moved to it.

    https://www.bandlab.com/

    i also do some midi and drum bits on mac and then upload to Bandlab for rest to add their tracks.

    Way of the future!
     
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  18. burtonfan

    burtonfan Tele-Afflicted

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    OP, the Tascam DP03-CD is a wonderful machine. I also started in the "cassette days". I've been through Garage Band and a few of the other digital overkill programs that are so popular. I became dissatisfied with all the techno-babble and went back to a more simple process. I bought a DP03-CD for $100 on ebay. Fortunately, it came with the instructional DVD.

    I found it simple to learn and use. The sound quality is astonishing. The machine is everything you need and nothing you don't. Other than reverbs and compressors, it has very few built in effects which I consider a plus. It can be used as a stand alone unit or in conjunction with a computer. Personally, I refuse to use a computer during the recording process as I find myself doing more programming and less playing. I recently completed an entire album on this machine and I'm very happy with the results.

    I often remind myself: K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid). The less complex the recorder, the more fun I seem to have recording. I'm no longer lost in the digital haze, and I enjoy creating and recording again. Of course, if digital complexity is your thing, have at it!
     
  19. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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    I looked at Zoom’s R8 recently, actually for my teenage daughter who’s in a band. I know what you mean about bells an whistles but it’s self contained and will play nicely with Mac.

    Check out the Sound on Sound review which also mentions a similar Boss device which can record 4 tracks simultaneously.
    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.soundonsound.com/reviews/zoom-r8?amp
     
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  20. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    Zoom H2n would be a low-cost option
    Built in microphones
    Guitar processing
    SD card storage
    USB export to Garageband
     
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