Tascam DA88 + Mixer for guitar?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by armanHammer, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. armanHammer

    armanHammer Member

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    I play electric and acoustic guitar, and want to start recording. I don't want to use a computer, so I was thinking about getting a Fostex MR16HD.

    Then one day I picked up my Jimi Hendrix Signature Licks book by Andy Aledort (bear with me) and read his notes on the stellar sounding CD that was included.

    He used a Tascam DA88, a Mackie Mixer, and 'mixed down" to a Tascam DAT machine.

    The only other equipment used were two effect units, an Alesis 3630 compressor, and a Rane RE14 stereo equalizer.

    I looked up the DA88 on eBay, and it goes for $400-$500

    A few questions:

    1) Does digital 8 track tape sound better than today's digital units (in other words, would this tape machine sound better than the Fostex unit I was looking at)?


    2) Could I start recording with just a mixer and the DA88? (obviously I would need mics)

    3) What's the purpose of having the DA88 and the DAT machine, as used in Andy's recording?

    4) Would I need both the DA88 and a DAT machine?

    5) Does the DA88 have outputs for monitors and/or headphones? (looked this one up, could not find out)

    Also, I was rather surprised at the audio quality, seeing as how the only mic preamps were on the Mackie mixer. This leads me to believe that standalone preamps may be unnecessary (?)

    thanks in advance for help.
     
  2. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    Another vote for musicianship over gear. The outboard stuff listed above was never considered high end. The TASCAM machines were the BetaMax against Alesis ADATs. These days, digital on tape is almost dead. But if you want to get your feet wet, it could be a starting place. The DA-88s do need maintenance every 300 to 500 hours, and that's if the heads are still good. You need an external mixer to mix and run headphones. These were pro machines, not all-in-one solutions.
    You need another machine to mix down, unless you have 2 tracks free to bounce to. DAT was the mix-down format of choice and convenience at the time.

    If you get a great deal on this stuff, go for it. Otherwise, you can run Garage Band (free app with most new Macs) and have more tracks, more control, recall of your mixes, better bit depth available ( the DA-88 was 16 bit), and no re-wind time. Just need a mixer and/or audio interface, either USB or Firewire.
     
  3. ricoh

    ricoh Member

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    You will need a mixer for playback and monitor. The Alesis 16 channel offered in the recording emporiums for $250.00 is a good match for a Da-88. It has in line monitor cababilities which is a real plus. You will need a power amp and a moitor amp and speakers.......2 D-sub to trs 8 channel cables. Some other cable stuff for funtionality. I still use Da-38's for the same reason you mention. I am not interested in using a computer for my recording.
    The sound quality is great and the little Alesis is surprisingly functional.
    The stand alone job you mention is good but requires scrolling through menus etc. Digital tape technology is considered outdated .....who cares!!! DATs are old stuff too but they work fine. They are really cheap used.
    I have used DA's for over 12 years with no problems. I do use outboard pres but these are low end too {GT Brick ...Joe Meek... DBX....ART along with assorted comps and reverbs. I have no desire to substitute with drum samples or quantise, plug in's or emulations........I don't even punch in. If I can't get a take in a single pass I just start over till I get it right!!!!!!!!

    I would look into the DA-38's if you go this route. The seller can check the hrs. on the unit. Tascam still offers support.
     
  4. armanHammer

    armanHammer Member

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    Thanks for the help so far.

    "You need another machine to mix down, unless you have 2 tracks free to bounce to. DAT was the mix-down format of choice and convenience at the time."

    So basically, I plug the mixer into the DA88, and I plug the DA88 into something else? What could I use to "mix down" (don't really know what this means) besides a DAT machine?

    Also, I'm sure I would have at least two tracks free (only recording a few tracks of guitar), so I could just "bounce" to those two tracks and not need another machine?
     
  5. ricoh

    ricoh Member

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    The mixer should have a dedicated two track in and out.
    I believe you should get tutorial on the recording process to get a good basic idea of the signal flow process
     

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