recording system for old analog guy

Ben Harmless

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If OP can handle managing a massively cumbersome 32 track, 3" tape machine from the late '70s, or SMPTE time code syncing of tape machines to do 32 track tape recording, anything in today's digital set up should be child's play to learn by comparison.

I completely agree.

The problem with accessibility in modern, computer-based recording is that all the old-fashioned options are there in front of you all at once, and combined with a zillion other functions that we're practical or even possible in analog setups. It becomes easily overwhelming.

The truth is though, that if one understands the basics of recording eight tracks on a tape machine or a standalone digital recorder, then the knowledge is already there, and the process just needs to be adapted a little to apply to a DAW. The major difference is going to be in the channel routing and the fact that in any not-artificially-limited DAW, you never have to bounce tracks. Other than that, you can pretty much use the same techniques learned on an analog system and adopt the other features later.

...But again, it all comes at you at once, and it's sometimes hard to find the signal in the noise, so to speak, pun somewhat intended.
 

Boreas

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I completely agree.

The problem with accessibility in modern, computer-based recording is that all the old-fashioned options are there in front of you all at once, and combined with a zillion other functions that we're practical or even possible in analog setups. It becomes easily overwhelming.

The truth is though, that if one understands the basics of recording eight tracks on a tape machine or a standalone digital recorder, then the knowledge is already there, and the process just needs to be adapted a little to apply to a DAW. The major difference is going to be in the channel routing and the fact that in any not-artificially-limited DAW, you never have to bounce tracks. Other than that, you can pretty much use the same techniques learned on an analog system and adopt the other features later.

...But again, it all comes at you at once, and it's sometimes hard to find the signal in the noise, so to speak, pun somewhat intended.

It would be nice if the DAW had a "rustic' or "troglodyte" setting that would just show a minimum amount of stuff, but a pull-down menu that could add functionality/complexity as desired.

I bought my parents a DVD player once and despite its simplicity, they never used it unless I was there. They were always trying to rewind the DVD.😁
 

dogmeat

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Ben Harmless nailed it.... really.... all I'm looking for is the interface, and a simple mix capability. I don't really need all the fancy editing things, I can lay down the tracks how I want them.
 

klasaine

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Unless you get a physical recorder from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, they all have fancy edit and mix tools built in. Whatever you pick, regardless as to whether it's hardware or software, you will have to dig in a bit to find the parameters/functionality for what you want to do.

I use maybe 50% of what's available in my daw. As I mentioned, I picked my daw and interface because it 'looks' like a console and most of the functionality that I use is in the spot I would expect it to be on an actual board with channel strips and a tape transport.
 

985plowboy

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I plan to win the lottery and then use my newfound wealth to book studio time.
That’s about as likely a scenario as my learning computer.
 

Ben Harmless

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It would be nice if the DAW had a "rustic' or "troglodyte" setting that would just show a minimum amount of stuff, but a pull-down menu that could add functionality/complexity as desired.

I think this would be more than welcome. On the various Apple products, they do have BandCamp, and as much as Apple doesn't impress me much (same old arguments we've heard before) I do think they've done a good job of making things more easily accessible to people.

It would actually be nice if someone would work on Reaper for this purpose. The interface is heavily customizable, and though the menus would probably remain, you can customize the toolbar and every function found on the track and mixer panels - which could easily include better labelling and probably tooltips.

Alas, I'm a social worker playing at being a recordist, and the software side is all quite beyond me.
 

Boreas

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I think this would be more than welcome. On the various Apple products, they do have BandCamp, and as much as Apple doesn't impress me much (same old arguments we've heard before) I do think they've done a good job of making things more easily accessible to people.

It would actually be nice if someone would work on Reaper for this purpose. The interface is heavily customizable, and though the menus would probably remain, you can customize the toolbar and every function found on the track and mixer panels - which could easily include better labelling and probably tooltips.

Alas, I'm a social worker playing at being a recordist, and the software side is all quite beyond me.
I just started fiddling with Reaper, and it looks promising with a slightly less-steep learning curve. For recording a basic track I just use the Scarlett and Audacity - but I would prefer the multi-channel aspects of something like Reaper-lite (hopefully FREE). I don't record enough to purchase Apple/Mac stuff. I am happy with PCs.
 

FortyEight

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this is how easy reaper is.

u pull it up. you input your bpm if u wanna use the click. you double click in the left empty column to bring up a new track.

you arm the track by hitting the red button on the track.

you hit the lower red button to start recording. it asks u if u wanna save it when u hit stop. if u think u done good. u save it. u listen back by hitting play. u unarm the track otherwise u will record over it if you record another track.


ive yet to have latency issues. any at all.

there are a few things you need to set up to get to that point of easiness.

u gotta know how to set up your interface. physically and software. which was super simple. most micrisoft conputers will automatically do all that. sometimes they will automatically seek the most up to date drivers. i think i had to make sure mine had the latest driver dl'd by following reapers instruction. the most complicated thing is choosing the right way to set up your folders. cuz if u dont the way it saves music is not the most intuitive in its stock mode. but there are good youtube videos to show you how to do that. if you can learn how to make a burger by either watching a video or having someone show you, u can use reaper. any new piece of equipment has a learning curve. including analog devices. reaper is almost as simple as audacity, which is almost as simple as one of them brick tape players that can record. that we had in the 70s and 80s.

the upside is there are TONS of options and effects if you want to go down those rabbit holes. but u dont need to if u dont want to. any good recording has probably had some level of post recording processing. im guessing. i started with very little to no additional effects. but learning a few techniques here and there does seem to have had a positive impacts. if youre gonna record, it has some level of knowledge needed, like anything, to do well.

im stoked about reaper. it has been a joy to work with. and im not into the digital world much at all. i like pens and pencils. and books with a binding. a cars that have clutches. but we can only hang on for so long to some things before its just poof, gone. im trying though. lol.
 
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swervinbob

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The Tascam DP-24SD is on sale for $399 everywhere right now. I’ve never recorded on one of these but I’m sure a few people on this forum have. Digital but an old school work flow.

I use Studio One. It’s the only DAW I’ve used and I’m used to it. I’ve demo’d a couple of others but I’m just more used to the workflow on Studio One. I’m also using Universal Audio. My Apollo Twin and a satellite OCTO give me plenty of DSP. Plus I’m trying to record everything as good as I can going in and using inserts and effects busses. Once you know what your doing, it’s a lot easier in the box. I know analog gear sounds great, but just about everything I do is with a cable plugged from my guitar into the HI Z input on my interface or a mic plugged in an XLR.
 
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Guitarteach

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Let me ask this - I started with an old Fostex MR8 that worked well for me. Basically, everything was done on-board and mixed to a TINY compact flash card. After that, the STEREO file is transferred to the computer and can be tweaked from there if desired. Really, my only issue was that it was a slow transfer to the computer, and the flash card was too small. Is there a similar unit with an easy, analog interface (sliders/knobs) with larger on-board storage or thumb/CD card storage? I have a Scarlett 2i2 right now which works fine, but any DAW (Windows 10) I use seems to take forever to get set up, deal with latency, and learn. It just turns me off from recording. I can get it to work, but still prefer working with and looking at an analog device. Don't really care how old it is.

I want something like this - a STAND ALONE LAPTOP portable platform with this instead of a typical keyboard/computer on the bottom:


View attachment 972533


THEN, add a 12-14" modern LED display or tablet on the hinged lid instead of the postage-stamp LCD display on this. Doesn't need to be Hi-res. It would have a fairly large/fast internal SSHD as well as USB outputs to a computer or external drives. Perhaps a touch device or touchscreen for "computer" download functions, etc.. Anything out there like that for under $500??

It’s called an iPad
 

hemingway

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I'm an old analog guy. I use a Zoom R16 digital recorder in a very analog way. Mics, amps. Don't worry too much about the digital side of it. The only difference is there is no tape.

Check out my bandcamp link - real guitars and amps.
 

gitlvr

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Just because a DAW has all those functions and options doesn't mean you have to use them. You can be as simple or complex with most DAWs as you want.
I just open a track, get the signal strength I want on the meter, get the best sound I can in the phones, either by adjusting the mic position, or if I'm going direct adjusting whatever I need to on the source, hit Record and play.
Once you get all your tracks down you can mix it however you want and then hit render, export, whatever it is your DAW calls it.
You don't have to know or mess with any more than you want to.
It literally is only as difficult or complex as you choose to make it.
 

Boreas

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Just because a DAW has all those functions and options doesn't mean you have to use them. You can be as simple or complex with most DAWs as you want.
I just open a track, get the signal strength I want on the meter, get the best sound I can in the phones, either by adjusting the mic position, or if I'm going direct adjusting whatever I need to on the source, hit Record and play.
Once you get all your tracks down you can mix it however you want and then hit render, export, whatever it is your DAW calls it.
You don't have to know or mess with any more than you want to.
It literally is only as difficult or complex as you choose to make it.
But it is difficult to pick out the tree you want from the forest. If they just had a "bare bones" setting it would help. If I go through the "Views" list I can usually pare it down, but sometimes I inadvertently hide stuff I need.
 

Len058

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If you go the DAW route, it might be less of a learning curve if you choose a daw that feels like a virtual mixing board and tape.

I found Reaper and Protools are designed for Oldschool users. For example FL-studio has some weird ways to record from an audio source. Some Daws are more Midi orientated, and some feel like working with tape and a mixing desk. Audacity is a frustrating mess if you really want to get stuff done.

Reaper will run on old computers and is kinda free to use. Second hand interfaces aren't expensive and the Behringer stuff is dead cheap. Give it a try, the risks are low.
 

CVS54

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The Tascam DP-24SD is on sale for $399 everywhere right now. I’ve never recorded on one of these but I’m sure a few people on this forum have. Digital but an old school work flow.

I use Studio One. It’s the only DAW I’ve used and I’m used to it. I’ve demo’d a couple of others but I’m just more used to the workflow on Studio One. I’m also using Universal Audio. My Apollo Twin and a satellite OCTO give me plenty of DSP. Plus I’m trying to record everything as good as I can going in and using inserts and effects busses. Once you know what your doing, it’s a lot easier in the box. I know analog gear sounds great, but just about everything I do is with a cable plugged from my guitar into the HI Z input on my interface or a mic plugged in an XLR.
I finally found someone who has the same exact set up as me! Apollo Twin and Studio One with Windows 10 / USB. So far, so good, but I have to be honest, it has taken me a long time to come up to speed since I never learned how to work a mixing board in the 1st place. I have watched a lot of videos in order to try and come up to speed. For guitar input, I am currently running my Fender Tone Master Amp DR directly into the Apollo, using effects on my pedalboard vs plug ins in the software. Not sure if this approach is the right approach or not.
 

SRHmusic

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I had used Portastudios way back, then Cubase in the early 2000s. It's way easier these days.

A good, low cost way to start would be a simple interface like a Focus Rite Scarlett and Reaper. There are a huge number of well made videos for Reaper, and an active discussion forum. It's only $60 to fully pay for it, though you can use it indefinitely with just a start up nag screen. It's so good I gladly paid the $60 after using it for two weeks. If you have a Mac then GarageBand is a good option.

I've used Reaper for lots of projects now, nothing professional, but up to mixing 16 tracks recorded live with the band and a bit of mastering to share. It's very easy to start a new project and start recording I about a minute.

Here's the top page for the Reaper tutorials. Each heading expands when you click on it.

 




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