Good 6-8 track multitrack all-in-one recorders for a single person band?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by BetterMeThanYou, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    After a five year break from music altogether I have become interested in getting back into it and doing a solo project.

    I want to ditch computer-based (or phone/tablet/laptop based) recording. I hope this thread won't get hijacked on why I want to do this.

    It looks better to me to get into some kind of all-in-one multitracker like a Tascam, Fostex, etc.

    But I'm out of the loop for five years, so I wonder has anything changed about these? What are some good considerations to keep in mind while searching for one and what are some good options that are out there?

    By the way the type of project I plan to record is lo-fi alternative/hardcore rock. It will be its own thing but may include influences of Husker Du, At the Drive In, Mudhoney, Tobacco, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, etc.
     
  2. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    Oh yeah I should add that I probably won't track drums with it. I could probably get by with something that only records two tracks at a time.
     
  3. treeofpain

    treeofpain Supporting Member

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    What's happened in recent years? A greater and greater migration to inexpensive and high quality computer-based systems. This has shrunk the market for "portastudio" type gear, which has eliminated some of the competition. I'd say that Tascam and Zoom are the main players now. There is a move away from CD burners and toward SD storage and usb connectivity.

    Within the current offerings, quality is up and prices are very reasonable. It really comes down to your budget and the number of tracks you need. Something like the Tascam DP03SD might be ideal in the under $300 range.
     
  4. Justin Hitchborn

    Justin Hitchborn Supporting Member

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    Zoom R8 sounds up your alley. It is what I am using. 8 tracks, 2 at once, a pair of half decent microphones built in, onboard effects and mastering, modeling and drum synthesis for scratch tracks. Pretty impressive piece of kit.
     
  5. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    Thank you for the thoughtful replies. I am looking at different specs and prices on things. Tascam DP03SD is seeming pretty attractive right now but I'm still doing my research. :) Zoom R8 looks good but has a lot of gizmos and distractive things (for me). It's probably be best if I don't have something with all kinds of modeling doodads, gidgets and whatchamacalems.
     
  6. Justin Hitchborn

    Justin Hitchborn Supporting Member

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    In all fairness, doing anything other than basic recording on it is pretty involved. You have to WANT to be distracted. But of course, I know all too well the problem with feature overload.
     
  7. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    That's good. Zoom R8 might be a good option after all. If I see one around I'll play around with it.
     
  8. Mark Paterson

    Mark Paterson Member

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    I have a Zoom H6 and it is awesome. It records up to 6 channels,very easy to navigate and sounds incredible. It has made recording live music a breeze. Check one out.
     
  9. DrJamie

    DrJamie Silver Supporting Member

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    I have been recording on a Zoom MRS 1044, 10 track unit since the early 2000's. It will burn cd's, (useful to test mixes in the car), and has more than enough tools to create high quality recordings. The hard drive finally filled up, and the burner went bad. I liked the unit so much I bought a used Zoom 1266, an updated version of my old unit. DO NOT underestimate how many tracks you'll want. As you learn your unit, you will want more tracks, so you can keep them separate, until mix down. Bouncing tracks will become a pain when you start to create your master track. I don't care how stripped down your projects may be, you WILL want more tracks to play with. I use an outboard drum machine (even though these have internal drums). I actually bought a new Tascam DP-32CD, but may sell it, as I like my old Zoom unit so much. You WILL become frustrated with too few tracks to play with. I would seriously look at a Tascam DP24, or 32. Sounds like overkill, but you'll thank me if you need an extra free track, or 2, to add a tambourine, or chainsaw to your mix.
     
  10. bender

    bender Member

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    What he said.

    I swear by the Zoom H6. I have used an 8 input Focusrite before with my laptop and it was a PAIN and buggy (I don't blame the Focusrite though). Could not be happier than with the Zoom H6.

    For a situation where you do not have someone dedicating to doing the recording, the Zoom H6 is easy to use. We use it for capturing a live mix.

    You need to have the 2 XLR adaptor that connects up at the top--$99 here in Australia, cheaper elsewhere I am sure.

    This is what I do:

    - run it off mains power (through USB)
    - bounce two vocal mics off of the PA into separate output (A & B)--those go into inputs 1&2
    - bass DI into input 3
    - mic my guitar cab or use my ADA DI (I prefer mic) into input 4
    - I use a small Behringer mixer to mix snare and drum ambient (mic above drums) and that goes into input 5
    - bass drum mic to input 6

    We are a loud punk band in a small cottage (not the best acoustics) and it works great. The goal is to get enough of a good mix to evaluate how we are doing, and to use for getting gigs. I post-process in Ableton 9.x and Audacity. Works like a charm, and time efficient.

    I record every jam this way, or sometimes simplify and drop it down to four tracks and use mics along the room when I am lazy. Still works fine.

    Cheers

    Bender
     
  11. CosbyTron

    CosbyTron Member

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    Worth mentioning, if you already own an iPad then you could snag a copy of Cubasis and and something like an Alesis IO Dock for quite cheap (especially used) and be off to the races :)

    Otherwise, add a vote for the Zoom R8 :-D
     
  12. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    Today I found a Zoom R8 on eBay for $198 shipped. Thanks for all the advice...I'll have to post back again once I receive it and do some recordings with it.
     
  13. BetterMeThanYou

    BetterMeThanYou Member

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    Hi everyone -- thought I'd post this for anyone stumbling across the thread in the future. I ended up buying a Zoom R8 and a Tascam DP-03. I watched some videos on YouTube about them and thought I might like the DP-03 best. Here's a comparison.

    Some small things about the DP-03 seem like odd choices. For example, the DP-03 mysteriously uses an 1/8" headphone jack and has RCA line outs. The Zoom keeps all of this at 1/4" which makes more sense when going to interface with other audio gear. On the other hand if you don't have much other audio gear, and you're more of the typical consumer, then what you have is more along the lines of home stereo equipment and this makes more sense. I'm a musician though, so the Zoom wins as far as ins/outs. I do think that Tascam's choice to use separate 1/4" and XLR inputs is better though. The Zoom unit uses combined 1/4"/XLR jacks. If one breaks, the whole channel will be broken.

    The Zoom has some nicer features that theoretically can come in handy and allow it to be used more flexibly. For example it also has the option to run on 4 AA batteries. It also offers the built-in drum machine/sampler and the guitar and vocal effects for when you plug straight into the unit. In other words the Zoom has more features overall.

    The Tascam has a slightly better user experience since it supplies pan and reverb knobs for each channel. Also they seem to have spent more time thinking out the experience of using the other items like the EQ. I spent time recording a song and it was completely intuitive for me without referring to the manual once.

    That said, the Zoom doesn't lag that far behind the Tascam and it seems like once you've recorded that first song with either unit, you probably would be fine.

    Since they retail for the same price, the Zoom seems like the better deal for me.
     

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