recording system for old analog guy

Ciro

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Officially old guy here. Garageband is beyond me. Just does not seem intuitive. Still in the mentality of needing knobs and not having to shift through endless menus to find something especially when where I eventually find it makes no sense to me why it should be there. "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". Sorry, can't disagree with this more. I just want to play, not dick around with this stuff.
 

Guitarteach

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Still looking for one with XLR mic inputs and knobs.
That is called a USB mixer or interface.

Best of everything. Combine them. You get DAW apps that are as simple or as complex as you want, virtual instruments and all the XLR, 1/4” and monitor options you could want.

Better than the all in ones which will be compromised on the editing software. I am using this setup tonight with a 22 way USB equipped desk to capture a whole band with several drum mics, vox, bass, guitars, etc.

image.jpg
 

Tmcqtele65

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I use Studio One (Presonus). I bought a simple audio interface, and it came with their free version. I was later able to take advantage of a sale to upgrade my free version to the full version for $50. I find that it works fairly like an old mixer - tape system, but without the channel-limitation my budget would allow back in the '80s. There are things that are hard to figure out for me, but I seem to always be able to find a video showing how to do it....or a forum post with the instructions.

For what it's worth, it works perfectly on my ancient laptop, although I typically use it on a slightly-less-outdated desktop with two monitors.

I plan to eventually expand to a digital mixer, so I can record more than two channels at a time (limits of my current interface). For now, it suits my needs quite well. I should say, I have an electronic drum set - so I can "record" that via midi - and still have my two channels of analog input.
 

Swirling Snow

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That is called a USB mixer or interface.

Best of everything. Combine them. You get DAW apps that are as simple or as complex as you want, virtual instruments and all the XLR, 1/4” and monitor options you could want.

Better than the all in ones which will be compromised on the editing software. I am using this setup tonight with a 22 way USB equipped desk to capture a whole band with several drum mics, vox, bass, guitars, etc.

View attachment 986246
Thank you for slapping some sense into me.

What I need to be happy is two channel strips. Maybe it's time for UA or Neve.
 
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24 track

Doctor of Teleocity
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I see alot of fine sugestions here , I got one to use for live recording , these are a little older now so consiquently much more inexpensive, I got this one for about 300.00 cdn with 2 cards and a 12 gig Hard drive , ( which i upgraded to the max ,see below)

it allows me to record to the internal hard drive ( a 60gig IDE 2.5"7200 RPM maximum, I got 8 off of Ebay) trust me that is a ton of tracks , plus there is 2 card slots to expand this , mine came with 2 cards and I bought a few off of Ebay . Yamaha has a calculator on their site to tell you what cards are available and how many can be inserted at one time but the kicker is this unit will record to CD if you want so you can mix down off of the unit itself. it has motorized faders and 32 inputs built in effects ( basically a yamaha SPX90)

just a thought for an all in one , I firewire 400 mine to my main computer to transfer files.
Oh i forgot, you can do 10 virtual takes on each track then choose the best one.

in total with all my perifery about 500.00 CDN

yamaha-aw4416-982.jpg
 

loudboy

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Officially old guy here. Garageband is beyond me. Just does not seem intuitive. Still in the mentality of needing knobs and not having to shift through endless menus to find something especially when where I eventually find it makes no sense to me why it should be there. "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". Sorry, can't disagree with this more. I just want to play, not dick around with this stuff.
Maybe just go to a studio?
 

swervinbob

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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.
I actually use a Mac with Thunderbolt. I haven’t had any issues with S1 Pro on my Mac. I’m still on 4.6. Never upgraded to 5. What I like about the Apollo is using the unison slot, and setting up recording chains on the way in. I don’t print reverb and delay on the way in. I add those later. Lately I’ve mostly been recording guitar with the Brainwrx Friedman BE-100 in unison. I just change ir’s and guitars to layer guitar parts.
 
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Bonneville Bruce

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I am with Guitarteach. I use a Mackie Onyx 1640 16 channel board that goes directly into my desktop computer. This rig is over ten years old, so I believe that you can get something of this caliber for relatively little money, I am talking about any mixing board with 2 to 16 channels and an analog to digital converter to a USB output. You would have the familiarity of an old school mixing board with a fairly simple recording setup in the recording software. This also has the advantage of being used as a stand-alone mixing board for non-recording sessions. I am looking at flea-bay right now and there are a number of Mackie onyx products that would be suitable between $250-350.

Good luck,

The Bonneville

"That is called a USB mixer or interface.

Best of everything. Combine them. You get DAW apps that are as simple or as complex as you want, virtual instruments and all the XLR, 1/4” and monitor options you could want.

Better than the all in ones which will be compromised on the editing software. I am using this setup tonight with a 22 way USB equipped desk to capture a whole band with several drum mics, vox, bass, guitars, etc."
 

Maguchi

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per the title. I did some recording LONG ago and I was completely comfortable with the equipment of the day.... talking 16 and 32 track reel to reel tape. a decade ago or so, I got a digital Fostec simultaneous 8 channel recorder (that has virtual channels and all that stuff). I liked it, but it crapped out. and one of its problems was being 24 bit in a 64 bit world

now, I would like to get back into recording some things. what the heck is out there that emulates that? anything even close? I don't need fancy, I want straight up, old fashioned analog keyboard. help an old man out...

Hey man, I dig where you're at. I was there along with my buddy about 2 years ago. Believe it or not, we old dogs can learn some new tricks LOL!!! So.... here's what we did:

We started out with a Tascam 24, which is a 24 track recorder... much like you're already used to.

Next we purchased an iMac capable of handling Apple's Logic Pro X. Incredibly, what we didn't know at the time, is the Tascam 24 was built specifically to work with Apple's Logic Pro X as an audio interface! The rest is simply amps etc. for studio monitors, etc. etc. which you're already familiar with all that. The biggest learning hurdle was learning the Logic Pro software, but there's so many helpful tools and videos out there, you'll likely pick that up in no time.

Now... if you don't want to go down the Logic Pro X path, you can use the Tascam 24 as it is and as you're used to. Just wanted to let you know what we old dogs did, and so far it's workin' out swell man... Hope this helps!
+1 on the Tascam. I learned on magnetic tape also. So the Tascam Model 24 was the perfect transition for me. Software may be the wave of the future, however I am 57 so I only need something self contained like Tascam or Zoom that will work for 2 or 3 more decades. I played around with Garage Band and Logic and didn't like the workflow. And learning software and changing workflow doesn't seem like a good use of my time when my previous experience is enough to record with a Tascam. Companies build products based on demand, so as long as the self contained units keep selling in enough numbers they'll probly stay on the market. Every pro recording studio I've been to in the last couple of years has had an analog mixing desk hooked up to recording software with a patchbay for outboard hardware based effects. Pro Tools seems to be the most popular now. Pro engineers in these studios use the faders and knobs on the desks instead of a mouse to move the virtual faders and knobs on the computer screen. IMHO, for home recordists on a budget, the workflow on something like a Tascam or Zoom self contained unit is the most similar in workflow and ergonomics to pro studio recording.

TascamModel24.jpg
 

loudboy

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+1 on the Tascam. I learned on magnetic tape also. So the Tascam Model 24 was the perfect transition for me. Software may be the wave of the future, however I am 57 so I only need something self contained like Tascam or Zoom that will work for 2 or 3 more decades. I played around with Garage Band and Logic and didn't like the workflow. And learning software and changing workflow doesn't seem like a good use of my time when my previous experience is enough to record with a Tascam. Companies build products based on demand, so as long as the self contained units keep selling in enough numbers they'll probly stay on the market. Every pro recording studio I've been to in the last couple of years has had an analog mixing desk hooked up to recording software with a patchbay for outboard hardware based effects. Pro Tools seems to be the most popular now. Pro engineers in these studios use the faders and knobs on the desks instead of a mouse to move the virtual faders and knobs on the computer screen. IMHO, for home recordists on a budget, the workflow on something like a Tascam or Zoom self contained unit is the most similar in workflow and ergonomics to pro studio recording.
Software was the wave of the future 25 years ago. It's now the de facto standard. After a short period of learning curve, the ease of use, workflow, sheer number of processing options, editing capabilities, update capability, and sound quality dwarf anything you'll find in a standalone. I spent an afternoon with a Roland VS-840 or something, and that UI was the worst thing I've ever seen - "user hostile" came to mind.

Standalones emerged in the early days of digital, to bridge the gap between ADATs and software DAWs. In the late '90s, computers didn't have the horsepower, and software development for plugins hadn't really come into it's own yet. I can't really understand why someone would use one in this day and age, frankly.

In pro studios, the big classic analog desks are still used for mixing the discrete outputs from the DAW, just like in the old days of tape. However, every year they are becoming rarer and rarer, as folks migrate towards mixing in the box. They do not control the DAW, that's still done with a mouse, or a dedicated control surface.

The console in the studio I worked at back east cost $700/mo. in electricity, and they all need very regular maintenance. That said, there will always be "cost is no object" studios that have classic analog gear.
 

Maguchi

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Software was the wave of the future 25 years ago. It's now the de facto standard. After a short period of learning curve, the ease of use, workflow, sheer number of processing options, editing capabilities, update capability, and sound quality dwarf anything you'll find in a standalone. I spent an afternoon with a Roland VS-840 or something, and that UI was the worst thing I've ever seen - "user hostile" came to mind.

Standalones emerged in the early days of digital, to bridge the gap between ADATs and software DAWs. In the late '90s, computers didn't have the horsepower, and software development for plugins hadn't really come into it's own yet. I can't really understand why someone would use one in this day and age, frankly.

In pro studios, the big classic analog desks are still used for mixing the discrete outputs from the DAW, just like in the old days of tape. However, every year they are becoming rarer and rarer, as folks migrate towards mixing in the box. They do not control the DAW, that's still done with a mouse, or a dedicated control surface.

The console in the studio I worked at back east cost $700/mo. in electricity, and they all need very regular maintenance. That said, there will always be "cost is no object" studios that have classic analog gear.
Whatever, not interested in "a short period of learning curve." I'm able to da what I want with real faders. Good enough for rock and roll. I ain't doin' no soundtracks or anything. Here in LA, the studios I go to have mixing desks. As long as I'm able to find physical and not virtual equipment for the next 20 or 30 years I'm good. You guys do what you want.
 

ClashCityTele

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I use a Win 10 PC with Reaper, but I never got past page 1,647 in the manual - lol.
I often drift back to my Yamaha MT1X 4 track - drum machine, guitar, bass, vocals, done.
 

63telemaster

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I had to spend a lot of time learning Reaper and I still only know about 1% of it.....maybe less :) but it's been a revelation for me and far better than the old days of 4 tracks and sequencers which was where I came from. I tried a stand alone digital workstation for a while, a Yamaha AW16G and it drove me nuts. Lots of deep diving into menus with tiny displays = no fun.

Try downloading Reaper and give it a whirl. You'll need to spend time on it but there are loads of excellent instruction videos out there such as the Reaper Mania youtube channel that cover pretty much anything you'd need to know. There are also loads of excellent free plugins out there that can help give a familiar analogue flavour to your mixing if that's what you're used to.
 

WireLine

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How much money ya got? That’s the question to consider before getting too deep.

If looking at analog workflow, then consider a RADAR with 16 ins,16 outs…a couple of higher end time effects like Lexicon, Bricasti M7, and so on. A great patchbay set up with an API The Box II , and you’ve got a setup more advanced than most hardcore studios in the 70s-80s…

If DAW is your choice, then ProTools, Cubase, S1,Reaper, all get it done. I’d suggest an interface that allows zero latency monitoring, lots of really good ones.
 

matman14

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The console in the studio I worked at back east cost $700/mo. in electricity, and they all need very regular maintenance. That said, there will always be "cost is no object" studios that have classic analog gear.

Yup, worked at one of those cost no object places a few months before all the lockdowns started. The band had enough clout with the label that they were given the greenlight to go record at a tape based studio in Nashville. I was having nightmares on the flight over about how it would go. Flashbacks to the early '90s of cutting and splicing 2 inch tape.

Got there and they had some pre-amps that had been pulled out of a desk that was custom built by Bill Putnam in the '60s that had been rigged to run standalone, some other juicy bits of vintage hardware and a 16 track Studer.

Set up took about four times longer than usual as things kept breaking down and doing all the inexplicable things old analog gear sometimes does, but eventually we got going recording the band off the floor.
Then to my relief we dumped the tape recordings into ProTools, recorded the over dubs on tape and dumped those into ProTools too. Did all of the editing and the whole of the mix in the box! The tape recording was just to bake in the sound of tape during tracking.

Most of the studios I get to work out of that have impressive consoles (Revolver, Westlake, Sunset Sound, etc.) the benefit of the console is in tracking, to bake in all those lovely pre-amp and EQ non linearities, and patch in whatever cool hardware they have on the way in. Nine times out of ten I prefer to do the actual mix in the box because it is just less hassle. You get all the automation benefits, I can even mix in my own place if budgets/deadlines get tight, and I'll already have to do all the editing ITB anyway so it's easier to just stay ITB.

But horses for courses, and all that.
 
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mandofrog

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and yeah, I have a full on PA, plus a couple mixers, mics, stands, preamps, power supplies etc. what I'd like is the capability of 8 or more tracks of simultaneous recording
I too started with a Fostex (VF-16) because I wanted at least 8 channels simultaneous recording. (and I lived in Alaska - in Homer). 12 years ago I modernized with ProTools (v8/9) and an 8-channel M-Audio interface - until M-Audio decided to abandon updating drivers when I went to Windows 10.

These days I use a Zoom R24 for my USB interface into Reaper on Win10. The R24 is both a multi-track recorder and a USB interface. 8 XLR inputs for recording (8 chan simultaneous) to an SD card (runs on AC or batteries), and/or through USB into a DAW. The R24 has been around for several years and I've seen them on Reverb for under $300. The newer Zoom LiveTrak L-12 looks like a nice upgrade but I'm happy with the older R24. If you have two R24s, you can connect them together and record 16 channels simultaneously, (on batteries, out in the woods or on the beach if you want).

If you're using Mac computers, definitely check out Garage Band. Lots of people like it (I don't) and it's already on your machine. But I highly recommend Reaper. Fantastic & highly versatile DAW that runs on Windows/Mac/Linux, only $60 for a licence, and has a large & vibrant support community and very responsive developer. The software is updated frequently (seems like every few weeks), often with new features that users request. Check out the Reaper Mania and Reaper Blog channels on YouTube. It comes with a boat-load of built-in plugins, and there's LOTS of free or economical plugins available.
 

Spooky88

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Recorded at numerous 24 track 2” tape studios in the 90’s, but due to the inconsistency of engineers I decided to take the role of audio production on for myself. I tried using protools, cakewalk and Logic Pro. Didn’t like any of them. I did end up buying a mackie D8b in the early 2000’s and figured out how to keep it “alive” (at this point it’s probably one of the last ones still running). Everything on it still works and I’ve “tweaked” it a bit. I know this unit very well. Tempermental is an accurate description of it. It records in 24 bit so audio resolution is very good with the ability to uv22 dither so you can reduce down to 16bit for cd production (who still uses those? Haha). I like it better than what I’m hearing now in newer DAWs. I’ve actually got it hooked up (FireWire) to my computer using windows 10 64 bit pro and a presonus fire studio light pipe and fire studio project (older interfaces to be sure but will work with some software) into audacity (freeware). IMO if you’re going to spend money, do it on some VERY HIGH quality outboard gear. I’ve just gotten started in that regard but the results are excellent. You don’t have to own something new, there’s a lot of older cool gear out there. Find what works for you. Good luck!
 

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beyer160

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Whatever, not interested in "a short period of learning curve." I'm able to da what I want with real faders. Good enough for rock and roll. I ain't doin' no soundtracks or anything. Here in LA, the studios I go to have mixing desks. As long as I'm able to find physical and not virtual equipment for the next 20 or 30 years I'm good. You guys do what you want.
I used to be an analog guy, too. At some point in the last decade it actually became harder to hold onto the old paradigm than it was to learn the new one. Don't be afraid, it's really not that hard and the advantages are tremendous. You can make it as easy or as convoluted as you want.

About 100 years ago indoor plumbing became a thing, but I guess some people still insisted on going outdoors to take a crap.
 




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