Gear Advice - Multitrack Standalone Recorders vs Recording Hardware

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by funkywrench, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. funkywrench

    funkywrench Member

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    I currently own a Boss BR-1180CD that I use mainly for recording little riffs and occasionally a complete song when I have the time. I only record guitar (acoustic and electric), bass and occasionally vocals.

    My problem is that I'm not in a position to crank up my 50 watt tube amp (6 month old little critter running around!) so I have to make do with the amp sims on the Boss unit. They are usable for mucking around but they're not really very good. So to try and improve this, I'm wondering what the best option would be out of these.

    -Keep the Boss BR1180 and save up for something like a Tonelab LE or similar to at least improve the guitar tones.

    OR

    -Sell the Boss unit and buy a computer interface that comes bundled with recording software like the DigiDesign M-Box 2 or similar. The problem with this idea is that I cannot afford to have a dedicated computer for recording and as such I would have to use my current notebook/laptop. Also I am not familiar with these devices at the moment. I would be willing to learn if it would mean simple, improved recording though. Another benefit that I can see is that since most are USB powered I could potentially buy one off ebay and save a bit of money compared to the prices here in Australia (is this logic correct?). As an additional question I currently have some Samson Resolv40A monitors, could I use these with a computer based recording system?

    So, what would you guys recommend? Are there any other options available?
     
  2. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    What are your goals? Are you just recording for your own enjoyment, or are you hoping to make professional-sounding recordings that you could potentially sell to others?

    - Chris
     
  3. lettucecheese

    lettucecheese Member

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    Tell us about your laptop and your budget.
     
  4. m.z.

    m.z. "Musician" /Gear Hoarder

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    keep the boss unit and pick up a zvex nano amp or something like it. great true tube tones....super low volume.... I believe it's only 1/2 watt! sounds great... I'm sure others can recommend some nice low watt solutions...... I personally hate amp sims.... but that's just my opinion.... nah..... amp sims are terrible. :D
     
  5. funkywrench

    funkywrench Member

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    For the forseeable future its just for me and maybe some friends if I start jamming regularly as I'm hoping to start doing again. While the recordings do not need to be professional (and with my limited abilities both guitar playing and recording I assure you that whatever I do won't be professional sounding!), I'm still keen to improve the poor recorded guitar and bass tones that I'm currently getting with the Boss BR-1180.


    The laptop I currently use is borrowed from my sister and its a Toshiba Intel Celeron Notebook with 1.7 GHz and 448 MB of RAM. Now I'm not really savvy at all when it comes to computer specs so I'm not sure if I'm missing any info here.
    Based on that info would the current laptop I'm using be powerful enough to run a program like Powertools?

    My budget is really limited at the moment, and if I was to go the "stick with the Boss" route and buy some extra modelling pedals it would likely take me several months to save the money (which is not really a big issue).

    However, if I can be convinced that it would be a better/easier/more professional sounding choice to switch to PC recording via a USB interface, then I'm in a position where I can sell my Boss BR-1180 and use the funds to buy everything (or mostly everything) I need to get recording on my laptop.


    I hope all this makes sense and I really appreciate the input so far!
     
  6. m.z.

    m.z. "Musician" /Gear Hoarder

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    "My budget is really limited at the moment, and if I was to go the "stick with the Boss" route and buy some extra modelling pedals it would likely take me several months to save the money (which is not really a big issue)."



    not sure if this was a response to my suggestion... but the zvex nano amp http://zvexamps.com/amp_view.html is an actual tube amplifier. (even has a built in speaker....though it sounds better through a speaker cab) costs about 400 bucks. (not sure how much it would be in your area...but there may be a similar product closer to home?)

    The boss as a recorder should be fine for what you say you want to do... but something like the nano (there are other products out there like it) would greatly improve your guitar tones.

    I think if you wanted to go the laptop/recording software route (and I don't think your computer is powerful enough anyway...no offense) you should expect to be spending far more money to get the results you want than if you kept the boss unit and purchased tone improving outboard gear.
     
  7. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    There are definitely other options. Rather than computer software and the necessary sound cards, more RAM, etc., how about a digital recorder like the Roland vs series (1680, 2480, etc.)? You can pick up the Roland vs1680's used for really cheap these days, and they make exceptional recordings. Saves you the need for software, sound card, mixer, etc, as these are all built in. There are others out there too: Yamaha, Tascam, Korg, etc. I had a vs1680 and recorded my first album on it. I have since moved up to the vs2480 but only because it had more XLR ins and more tracks. Quality of the recording is really about the same.

    PLUS, there's a dedicated guitar level line in, and tons of usable effects on up to 4 optional sound cards inside the vs1680. If and when you look for one, try to find one that has all the cards in it. The effects are really very usable, and this will also save you having to pick up additional hardware for your guitar - at least for the purposes of the recording.

    Like I said, I recorded an album with one (while our first little monkey was roaming around the house too!) and it really sounded fantastic.

    Good luck!
    LC
     
  8. funkywrench

    funkywrench Member

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    So are the guitar and bass amp sims significantly better on the Roland recorders than the Boss recorders? Seeing as they are the same company would they not have similar models?
     
  9. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    I didn't really use any of the bass and guitar sims from the Roland, actually. I used the Pod XT for the guitar, and the more traditional mics and amps routes for some songs. When I referred to the very usable effects in the vs-series Rolands I was referring more to compressors, the reverbs and delays, tons of cool vocal effects and different mic sims, etc. One one song, we used one of the vocal effects on a lead guitar bit tat was recorded through the line out of a little Roland micro cube and it worked really well. In other words, there's tons of stuff to use there with a little imagination. Of course, it all comes down to the type of music you're recording. You can check out what our final product sounds like at http://www.myspace.com/steadygarcia. It ain't the holy grail of recording, but for my first ever experience making a record, I was happy. And the DAW route worked really well for us.
     

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