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Discussion Starter #1
...i have steadfastly resisted all advice to upgrade from my portastudio (tascam 2488) to a computer based studio, which would involve a computer, monitor, keyboard, 24-track mixer PLUS decent mic preamps PLUS decent compressors PLUS all the neccessary cables, connectors, interfaces etc etc etc etc.

not to mention the cost and the learning curve. i spend forty hours per week at a day job. when i'm making music, i need to be able to simply hit a red button when its time to record (once the levels are set). i have no need for editing suites, nor programming, configuring and so on.

however, if the technology has progressed to the point where a computer, a 24-track mixer and a firewire cable (along with the neccessary software) are ALL that is needed, the time may be right for a guy like me, assuming that the learning curve is minimal and the plug-and-play process is completely straightforward.

am i on the right track?

-dh
 
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My personal opinion here is that the Windows based stuff is still not as easy to use as "plug in, turn on and hit the red button". Maybe it's different on a Mac but I've never tried it. The tactile interface of a Portastudio type machine is expensive to replicate in the personal computer world. You get lots of powerful editing and plug in capabilities but it comes at a cost. There's a very good reason studios buy one version of a particular DAW software and stick with it for many, many years: once you get it working and get your engineers trained on it you don't want to breathe because it's a big deal to get it all working again and get everybody productive on it again.
 

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I don't know about you guys, but if you know how to use a computer and have recorded in either a studio or on a decent multitracker, most recording programs are a piece of cake.

Personally, I use Adobe Audition and it's really simple. All of the controls that you'd expect on a board are right there in the software interface. Not to mention that you can do a lot more than a standalone multitracking unit. I still used my Yamaha aw16g for recording the drums and then transfer those files to the computer and record everything else on there. No fussing with billions of menus displayed on a tiny 3/4x2 inch monochrome screen.

My advice would be to dip your toes into computer recording using whichever program you want, get used to it and then transition from the standalone to the computer over time. There's a reason that lots of people have transitioned to the computer. It just offers a heck of a lot more to make your life easier.
 

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Windows stuff is a pain and for that reason I'd recommend a Mac and a Mackie Onyx board.

I've never used a mac but from everything I've read I think it might be a better fit for you.

IMac -> Firewire Cable -> Onyx It won't get any simpler than that. Your toughest decision will be which software to use. I use Cubase.
 

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David,

What are your needs? Are you tracking live drums? How many tracks do you need to record at once (a full band or just one musician at a time)?

Mac once dominated music production but that hasn't really been the case for a long time. In fact, you will notice that many hardware developers first develop PC drivers etc before Mac stuff (the PC install base is much bigger). This isn't to say Macs are bad by any means.

TG
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jeff Flowerday said:
Windows stuff is a pain and for that reason I'd recommend a Mac and a Mackie Onyx board.
I've never used a mac but from everything I've read I think it might be a better fit for you.
IMac -> Firewire Cable -> Onyx It won't get any simpler than that. Your toughest decision will be which software to use. I use Cubase.
...thanks for confirming this, jeff. i've been trying to ascertain the price of an onyx 12 channel mixer (i can do the 24-track test mixes on the computer itself, correct?) but no luck so far.

i'm also assuming that the hard drive is my storage/archive/backup medium, and that i can just swap hard drives as needed, depending on the song, project on which i'm working.

i need to be able to record as many as twelve live tracks simultaneously and, once the raw tracks have been recorded, send them to a professional studio for mixing and mastering.

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...thanks for confirming this, jeff. i've been trying to ascertain the price of an onyx 12 channel mixer (i can do the 24-track test mixes on the computer itself, correct?) but no luck so far.

i'm also assuming that the hard drive is my storage/archive/backup medium, and that i can just swap hard drives as needed, depending on the song, project on which i'm working.

i need to be able to record as many as twelve live tracks simultaneously and, once the raw tracks have been recorded, send them to a professional studio for mixing and mastering.

-dh
Well then I'd suggest the Onyx 1640, it's 16 channel with 16 preamps. Just plug your mics in and go. Onyx preamps are good sounding preamps.

You might want to look at a secondary external hard drive when working with that many tracks. You'll be able to mix 24+ tracks fine with a second hard drive. You will want to go USB2 with it and leave firewire handling the Onyx. As for backups, I'd just suggest burning DVD copies of your files/projects.

PC's will get the job done, and it's what I use, but man it took me weeks getting it stable.
 

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david henman said:
i'm also assuming that the hard drive is my storage/archive/backup medium, and that i can just swap hard drives as needed, depending on the song, project on which i'm working.
Yeah, the tracks get saved as .wav files or whatever, but you won't need to be swapping drives. A heck of a lot of songs get stored on even a small hard drive. As a rule of thumb, you're looking at 10 megs for every minute of audio. So, a five minute song that has 20 tracks is about 1 gig. Just get a big, fast hard drive and you're all set.
 

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Jeff Flowerday said:
Never had issues with them either until I tried recording 16 tracks at once. Hardware conflict issues really start showing then.
I'm glad you cleared that up because I've never had any issues with Sonar on my laptop. The most I've recorded at once is four tracks. For the average home studio musician, you won't be recording much more then this at one time unless you have 12 arms and four legs.

If you are a PC guy, I suggest sticking with what you are used to. Sonar is an incredibly easy software to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ne1roc said:
The most I've recorded at once is four tracks. For the average home studio musician, you won't be recording much more then this at one time unless you have 12 arms and four legs.
...or, as in my case, you are recording an entire trio live off the floor. i need roughly seven channels for drums, three for vocals and one each for guitar and bass.

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...i have steadfastly resisted all advice to upgrade from my portastudio (tascam 2488) to a computer based studio, which would involve a computer, monitor, keyboard, 24-track mixer PLUS decent mic preamps PLUS decent compressors PLUS all the neccessary cables, connectors, interfaces etc etc etc etc.

not to mention the cost and the learning curve. i spend forty hours per week at a day job. when i'm making music, i need to be able to simply hit a red button when its time to record (once the levels are set). i have no need for editing suites, nor programming, configuring and so on.

however, if the technology has progressed to the point where a computer, a 24-track mixer and a firewire cable (along with the neccessary software) are ALL that is needed, the time may be right for a guy like me, assuming that the learning curve is minimal and the plug-and-play process is completely straightforward.

am i on the right track?

-dh
Hi David,

This may not be as simple as what you are after, but you could ease into a PC based DAW. If you pick up a computer that has a sound card with S/PDIF 24bit 44.1Khz input (RCA connector), you can continue to use your existing setup and expand into the computer realm at your own pace. All you will need are two RCA cables (S/PDIF out of the mixer into the computer and S/PDIF out of the computer back into the mixer), a midi cable and your choice of recording software.

This will give you limited capabilities, but it will allow you to get your feet wet and determine where you want to go with it. It is easy to expand the system by adding in the audio interface of your choice at a later date.

You may also be able to use your current mixer to control your recording software, although you may want to have someone come out and set everything up for you initially, if you are not so inclined.

I see that there is at least one software package (mixermuse) that will allow you to expand upon the features that are available for your product.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hamm Guitars said:
Hi David,
This may not be as simple as what you are after, but you could ease into a PC based DAW. If you pick up a computer that has a sound card with S/PDIF 24bit 44.1Khz input (RCA connector), you can continue to use your existing setup and expand into the computer realm at your own pace. All you will need are two RCA cables (S/PDIF out of the mixer into the computer and S/PDIF out of the computer back into the mixer), a midi cable and your choice of recording software.
This will give you limited capabilities, but it will allow you to get your feet wet and determine where you want to go with it. It is easy to expand the system by adding in the audio interface of your choice at a later date.
You may also be able to use your current mixer to control your recording software, although you may want to have someone come out and set everything up for you initially, if you are not so inclined.
I see that there is at least one software package (mixermuse) that will allow you to expand upon the features that are available for your product.
...i have a tascam 2488 24-track portastudio that has worked well for me and my band up until now.

however, we are looking at upgrading our studio so that:

1. we can record live off the floor

2. we can record the best possible raw tracks which can then be turned over to a pro studio for mixing and mastering (the idea here is to avoid having to do any tracking in a studio, which i detest and cannot afford).

we have limited space and, especially, limted time. i am probaly better off with a simple akai portastudio (which records up to 24 tracks simultaneously) and a few decent mics.

however, everybody in the entire known universe tells me i need a computer-based studio, so i feel i should at least investigate that possibility.

if i can find the components for a computer-based studio that will:

1. take up as little real estate as possible

2. operate as a simple plug and play system

3. require an absolutely minimal learning curve

then it might make sense for me to go straight to a computer set up. i'm trying to narrow it down to a simple computer + mackie 16-channel mixer + mics.

-dh
 

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If you want it as easy as possible look into one of the companies that make "turn key" systems. They will tailor a system to your needs, match all your hardware and software to work perfectly together, and take care of any potential problems before you get the computer.

You can find out all the info on your own but it takes time. As far as portability goes, a laptop with some external converters and a small mixer is all you need. You can mix right on the computer so you don't need a massive board.

TG
 
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If you're in or near Toronto stop by Saved By Technology. Recording is what these guys do. They're very friendly and they can certainly help you price out a system that will work well and meet your tracking needs.

Someone else mentioned that 16 tracks is really going to show the limitations in your hardware and I agree. You're talking a dedicated computer with nothing running on it but your DAW software. No virus scanners. No games. Nothing. Dedicated to recording only. Kept clean and lean and only running the exact processes you need to get the job done. You should also consider very good drives, fast spindles with high I/O rates. And the interface(s) you choose will need to be fairly high quality (MoTU or Presonus) units to track 16 tracks simultaneously.
 

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traynor_garnet said:
If you want it as easy as possible look into one of the companies that make "turn key" systems. They will tailor a system to your needs, match all your hardware and software to work perfectly together, and take care of any potential problems before you get the computer.

You can find out all the info on your own but it takes time. As far as portability goes, a laptop with some external converters and a small mixer is all you need. You can mix right on the computer so you don't need a massive board.

TG
That's a good idea. Though a little more expensive, there is some peace of mind and first level support.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
iaresee said:
If you're in or near Toronto stop by Saved By Technology. Recording is what these guys do. They're very friendly and they can certainly help you price out a system that will work well and meet your tracking needs.

Someone else mentioned that 16 tracks is really going to show the limitations in your hardware and I agree. You're talking a dedicated computer with nothing running on it but your DAW software. No virus scanners. No games. Nothing. Dedicated to recording only. Kept clean and lean and only running the exact processes you need to get the job done.

...yep, that is a given.

thanks for reminding me about saved by technology. i used to know the owner. good tip.

my former bassist suggested this:

http://www.musicxpc.com/prodtemplate.asp

-dh
 

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Discussion Starter #20
ne1roc said:
Portastudio is the way to go if you are recording live at shows IMO.
...i doubt that we will be recording our shows - this is strictly for a permanent set up. but i have limited space.

-dh
 
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