Going Modern

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Randypttt, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Randypttt

    Randypttt Tele-Afflicted

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    Hello all. Need some advice about updating my in-home studio equipment. I'm currently using an older model Tascam Portastudio 24 with the disk writer on board. The newer models are USB to PC only and I'm not set up for that. The Tascam has been performing well but use has a way of curbing their longevity.

    I assume that I'll need a laptop for the finished product. I have a desktop but it's not available for my recording endeavors. But what else do I need? What kind of interface works well for the entire spectrum of instruments both direct and miked? I have good mics and amplification, monitors and a DXTreme drum kit.

    I don't have much of a budget so please be kind and give me the bare bones lower end of the platform.
    This all just for my own fun so hi-end stuff is a bit lost on me. But I do like things clean and simple.
    Thanks
     
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  2. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    My desktop took a dump last year.
    So I had sitting around some laptop
    that I loaded FREE audio software into!

    Since you have everything else, you might just have to buy yourself an interface.
    Pick your realistic budget and you'll have many to choose from.


    this is budget friendly:
     
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  3. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's a recording session with that unit:

     
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  4. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    For the interface, Behringer's U-Phoria and Focusrite's Scarlett units are even more budget-friendly if you're OK with 1, 2 or 4 inputs at a time. They will both take standard 1/4" inch or XLR plugs which will cover both guitars and microphones. If you're on Windows, there are several very good recording softwares, some of which come free with your interface (I got Tracktion 7 with my Behringer UMC202HD), which is nice. Bandlab (formerly Cakewalk) is free, but you have to sign up with their "social music" platform. Reaper is consistently recommended, and is fairly budget-friendly at 60 bucks. If you want plugins, there are tons of free VST plugins available with a simple web search.

    For practical reasons, I'll not recommend anything Linux unless you ask specifically. It's an excellent platform with lots of options for recording and producing, but there's no arguing that Windows is easier if you're familiar with it, so I'll leave it at that.
     
  5. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    I'd throw into this that if you're wanting to watch your budget, a cheap laptop may not be the most friendly option - most of them compromise a lot and wind up sharing system resources with the USB functions, so it's difficult to get latency low enough to monitor in anything like real time if you're tracking with effects. Fancier laptops are better, but it's worth doing some research. My recommendation for a computer to do serious (as in, has meaning to you) recording is to grab one of the small form-factor desktop machines that are out there - even used. Just make sure it has a desktop-class processor in it.

    I spent $200 on the laptop that I finished graduate school with, and $200 on a refurb desktop machine after I graduated. The desktop is five times the gadget that the lappy is, and I get more than adequate latency while the lappy gives me clicks and pops because it can't handle the load. I can do a whole lot more in-the-box processing, too.

    Obviously, if you're looking to be portable, then there will need to be a compromise. I also wholeheartedly recommend Reaper and the Focusrite Scarlett interfaces - which are readily available used.
     
  6. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    What does the Tascam record to? After battling a software and latency issues during recording for years I bought a DP-24 and I record everything on that. It goes on an SD card and that card can easily facilitate transfer to a computer for mixing.
     
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  7. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

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    tascam us144- if you shop around 25-50$
    i bought 2 paid 20 for one and 30 for the other..

    upload_2019-8-30_13-15-4.jpeg

    pair it with an inexpensive laptop like a dell e6220 0r e6320
    (around 100$ depending on memory etc)
    install windows7 64 bit on it, get the I7 model if possible, but i5 will be more abundant and cheaper, and its probably only a 5% performance hit compared to the I7
    and bob's your cousin on your mother's side once removed...

    upload_2019-8-30_13-18-12.jpeg

    they are both well built - magnesium for the laptop, aluminum/steel for usb interface.

    Install reaper..
     
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  8. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Friend of Leo's

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    try to use the laptop as a dedicated music computer and don't install alot of software that eats cpu cycles. SSD will improve latency and as will maxing out memory. disable all services that aren't need like FAX etc..

    I recorded music with a pentium3 back in the 2000's - its not that intensive, compared to video editing which really needs muscle.

    most laptops have cpu management software that will underun the cpu to give longer battery life, make sure you disable that and run off the power adapter, not the battery for maximum performance.

    a guitar needs to be setup to play properly, so too a computer must be configured for best performance, and its best to start with a clean o/s install, on an ssd and then disable services and software not needed, disable hibernation etc.

    then install your daw and configure it. then start adding the VST plugins and bells and whistles as needed. Don't load it up with a lot of stuff you hardly ever use. put samples etc on an external device or network if you have a NAS.

    don't run office, or outlook, or facebook, don't even install a browser unless your DAW needs it for documentation.
     
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  9. Randypttt

    Randypttt Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the timely responses. Many of you mentioned the same products and gave similar advice which I consider a good thing. None of it I could disagree with. It does seem that the PC is maybe the most important part. The only deference between the laptop and desk units are that I'm not too experienced with laptops. I find the keyboard a bit awkward but that's not to say I couldn't adapt. Not much done with the keys anyway I suppose.
    Thanks again. Time to look at stuff.

    My original 8 track had a hard drive believe it or not. My current one uses the SD card and has a disk writer. I mix down on the SD then transfer to a RW and listen on my home stereo. If it passes for good it goes on the desk top and up to my SoundCloud account.
    Not a real geek about computers so I never thought to use the SD card in the PC. Not having software wouldn't do me much good but now that I know I'll check it out. I'm curious what I have on there now looks like. If I can mix to the card can't I transfer to my PC as is? Or will the data be too raw?
    Thanks for the info tho. Good to know I have some other options.
     
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  10. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    Edit for a shorter answer: If it's like my DP-24, you can transfer it as-is.

    My little DP-004 records to some proprietary format and requires some button pushing before transferring to PC. My DP-24, on the other hand, records straight to WAV. I don't mix down on it at all, I just record with it. The unit puts all the files in the folder name you set when you create a song and the folder and its files appear in Windows Explorer just like they were saved by a computer. I put the SD card into the reader in my computer and I can go into Cakewalk and import the WAVs directly without any file conversion at all. It's really fast.

    I don't know if yours will need file conversion or anything, but the easiest way to do it would be to just plug your SD card into the computer to see if you can see the files and what format they have. If WAV and they play when you click on them, it'll probably work and you can test further with some free or cheap recording software.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  11. Randypttt

    Randypttt Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, dang! That's what I wanted to hear. That would solve a lot of problems not to mention saving me a lot of money. The DP-24 is all the interface I need and it's got that old school type function I like (since I'm old).
    And you're from my home state! Thanks for all the info scelestus.
     
  12. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Just download the FREE ex SONAR now CAKEWALK by BANDLAB DAW.
    It is the BEST DAW out there (better than the famed Pro Tools).
    Than all you really need is a decent sound card (how many pre amps and channels depends on what and how you record) and a decent computer with windows 10.
    Welcome to the 21st century btw :)
     
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  13. Randypttt

    Randypttt Tele-Afflicted

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    Haha yes thanks. Got windows 10 so I'll be checking out your recommendations (which were about the same as the others) Good to know we're all on the same page. So to speak.
    thanks Nick
     
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