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Who uses recorders instead of software?
Old 25th June 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Who uses recorders instead of software?

I'm considering ditching my laptop entirely since I only use it for basic recording and software really seems to take away the fun for me. I might switch to a hard disk recorder.

Does anyone here use a recorder for producing with synths and drum machines? Could someone explain how this is done step by step? It seems hard to get the timing right if you're using several drum loops for a track. Or do you play your drum parts live instead?
Old 25th June 2009
  #2
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Derp's Avatar
I got sick of computers myself and decided to take my sequencing and recording to hardware. Sequence using an MPC1000 and I record to a Roland VS-890. The way I do it is I sequence everything in MIDI on the MPC, and then record the live stereo out from the mixer. The side effect of this is that my mixes sound a lot better now. If you're worried about beats not matching up, you could always get a recorder with MIDI slave capabilities and hook it up to whatever you're using for your sequencer.
Old 25th June 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I don't have any experience with midi, I guess that's my main problem. Is the exact use of midi for this purpose explained in the MPC1000 manual?
Old 25th June 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stabby View Post
I don't have any experience with midi, I guess that's my main problem. Is the exact use of midi for this purpose explained in the MPC1000 manual?
*shrugs* Got me. I didn't read it all the way through because I upgraded to JJOS the moment I got it, so a lot of what was in the manual got rendered redundant.

MIDI is pretty simple to grasp for the most part. There's sixteen channels and they can each transmit 128 notes with velocity. The note continues until the synth receives a note off command. Outside of this, each channel has 128 continuous controllers (CC's) with the mod wheel and aftertouch being part of this. Aside from that, there is also a MIDI clock signal that can be generated. In order for this to work, your sequencer has to be setup to transmit that master MIDI clock signal and other devices have to be set up to receive clock. Clock can be used to tempo sequence other sequencers, control arpeggiation speeds, LFO speeds, etc. So if you want a hard disk recorder to record the moment your sequencer starts, you'd have to set the sequencer to send clock and the recorder to slave to clock. There's also MIDI time code which is similar to clock or in some cases, the sequencer can send an SMPTE signal via audio cable to the hard disk recorder. That's the basics of MIDI. It doesn't really get to be complicated until you bring in NRPN's (basically a combination of CC's that allow you to control a synth) and SysEx (a data dump in MIDI format which can do anything from control synth parameters to upload new patches to rewriting the operating system) but SysEx and NRPN's are things you generally won't have to worry about until you sit down and really dive into the deepest darkest depths of synthesizer-MIDI hell.
Old 25th June 2009
  #5
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stabby View Post
I might switch to a hard disk recorder.
So you trade one computer with a big screen for an older computer with a smaller disk and a tiny screen.
Old 25th June 2009
  #6
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alexp's Avatar
Atari 1040 to 1 inch here........... PC's are used for spreadsheets!



alexP
Old 25th June 2009
  #7
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Barfunkel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
So you trade one computer with a big screen for an older computer with a smaller disk and a tiny screen.
Sometimes less is more... if all you need is simple recording, why use something with that can do tons and has a really complicated UI, instead of just a few buttons. A guitar wouldn't become better if it had 20 strings and a built-in synthesizer with it's own keyboard, it would be just a builky, unusable mess of an instrument.

I wish there was a market for a high end-ish digital multitracker, all the ones that are made now are of the budget studio variety with limited I/O and mediocre EQ/dynamics. Akai DPS24 was great, too bad it isn't made or supported anymore.

I understand that it's personal, some prefer to use a mouse and a computer because they can do everything with them, some need separate units with their own dedicated UI just because their workflow requires it. Neither is better, everyone has his own way of doing things.
Old 25th June 2009
  #8
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The thing is that you can discipline yourself and your computer to be used as a multitracker, and have software that allows itself to be set up just so, and hardware to support it.

Something simple as a bunch of transport buttons and a jog wheel on a controller can already help immensely, and it wouldn't be really fair to dismiss the entire computer (seeing that he already owns one) because it's complicated and mouse-based when it doesn't have to be that way.

What is generally clouding the usability are the reams of plugins users have installed and the tendency to tinker around with those endlessly, and several screens you have to move around to see anything. I fully agree with everyone who thinks that it's a complete buzzkill.

The old 100%-hardware route for electronic music was to generally keep everything in MIDI on the Atari or MPC or the workstation until it was time to print; vocals would be put in the sampler and the rest had to be used with either the on-board effects or separate outputs, and you'd use a patchbay to avoid daisy-chain misery.

Returning to such a workflow is not easy, and may even have the opposite effect on productivity when the topicstarter mentions that he's not experienced with MIDI yet.
Old 25th June 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stabby View Post
Who uses recorders instead of software?
once i did a few songs 100% machines with no PC, bounced to casette.

felt liberating, the pc noise, the electromagnetic radio frequency interference, the light screeen "pc screen"
but then... i realized i needed one.
sooner or later.
but was nice for experiment.
Old 25th June 2009
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexp View Post
Atari 1040 to 1 inch here........... PC's are used for spreadsheets!



alexP
Stupid question but what about tracking to DAT (horrors!)? I was looking into some old 16/24 Alesis HD recorder with remote. Much cheaper than upgrading my Mac and adding more channels to only get MORE recording delay.

Currently I record the 2 buss straight into Logic from my Mackie 32x8. However, I would like to do some mixdowns and my interface is only 6x6.

Plus most DAT decks have a s/pdif out so I can skip the converters on my Firewire interface when doing the final bounce.

Is my thinking off?
Old 25th June 2009
  #11
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stabby View Post
I'm considering ditching my laptop entirely since I only use it for basic recording and software really seems to take away the fun for me. I might switch to a hard disk recorder.

Does anyone here use a recorder for producing with synths and drum machines? Could someone explain how this is done step by step? It seems hard to get the timing right if you're using several drum loops for a track. Or do you play your drum parts live instead?
i use a hard disk recorder.

what i do is use an mpc, a sampler, and some synths, all connected via midi. i have the mpc control an alesis hd24 hard disk recorder where i record audio...

when i'm finished, i mix through a mixing desk with the sequencer and the hard disk recorder synced via smpte.
Old 25th June 2009
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
i use a hard disk recorder.

what i do is use an mpc, a sampler, and some synths, all connected via midi. i have the mpc control an alesis hd24 hard disk recorder where i record audio...

when i'm finished, i mix through a mixing desk with the sequencer and the hard disk recorder synced via smpte.
I didn't know that an MPC could sync SMTPE. I thought it could only do MTC.

Hmm, I might look into that HD24 system as Logic can most definitely RX/TX SMTPE and MTC.

To the OP Personally I do EVERYTHING OTB. Hardware mixing desk, hardware synths, romplers, and samplers - no software anything! Logic is basically just sequencing and recording the 'printed' master buss. Very 1990s.

Only downside to my set up is that I must get the mix right, straight away.
Old 25th June 2009
  #13
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lain2097 View Post
I didn't know that an MPC could sync SMTPE. I thought it could only do MTC.

Hmm, I might look into that HD24 system as Logic can most definitely RX/TX SMTPE and MTC.

To the OP Personally I do EVERYTHING OTB. Hardware mixing desk, hardware synths, romplers, and samplers - no software anything! Logic is basically just sequencing and recording the 'printed' master buss. Very 1990s.

Only downside to my set up is that I must get the mix right, straight away.
i don't think all of them can... i have the mpc3000 and i believe it was an option... but i bought used and it had it on there.

the thing is, i've never been able to get logic to sync very good, through the unitor, to the mpc... that's why i got the hard disc recorder.
Old 25th June 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
suitandtieguy's Avatar
 

i used to do everything with the computer: sequencing, recording, and mixing.

however for the past few years i've been sequencing with hardware, tracking with an HD24, then copying the files via firewire into the Mac and editing and mixing there.

i don't even bother to try using MTC with the HD24 ... i use an MMT-8 and stripe the recorder with tape sync and use that instead. it's basically one-channel sync24, if that makes any sense.

something that's really cool about this is that i can use varispeed on the HD24 and my sequencers stay locked to tempo.
Old 25th June 2009
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

alesis HD24XR with yamaha DM1000 (expanded with additional ADAT boards). mixer and recorder linked via ADAT, digital outboard attached via ADAT too.
excellent for me.
Old 25th June 2009
  #16
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Seriously a computer running that audacity is going to be better than that hard disk recorder.

Just get rid of any software that is overly complex for your needs. For example, logic audio is great but it is packed to the gills with functionality that can confuse basic processes.

But by all means take the journey and come back with a lighter wallet and a new found respect for your computer.
Old 26th June 2009
  #17
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alexp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lain2097 View Post
Stupid question but what about tracking to DAT (horrors!)? I was looking into some old 16/24 Alesis HD recorder with remote. Much cheaper than upgrading my Mac and adding more channels to only get MORE recording delay.

Currently I record the 2 buss straight into Logic from my Mackie 32x8. However, I would like to do some mixdowns and my interface is only 6x6.

Plus most DAT decks have a s/pdif out so I can skip the converters on my Firewire interface when doing the final bounce.

Is my thinking off?
I had the DA20, and loved it. Great deck to master to. I honestly dont know how easy it is to find tapes though these days.


alexP
Old 26th June 2009
  #18
Gear Addict
 

thnx for pointing me to the right direction,
i was thinking about getting something to sequence my sound,
but sinve I only have an blofeld without midi in, I never can record all the
knob movement. Dn recording and external FX cant be done by sequencing,
so a multitrack recorder is the answer.
If the MPC5000 had 4 Inputs i would consider that.

Are the zoom recorders all right?
This one looks nice ZOOM R16


cheers
Old 27th June 2009
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexp View Post
I had the DA20, and loved it. Great deck to master to. I honestly dont know how easy it is to find tapes though these days.


alexP
I just bought my FIRST DAT and tapes are cheaper than ever.. I am getting a batch of apogee tapes for stupid cheap..
Old 27th June 2009
  #20
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Dysanfel's Avatar
If you have a fully functioning DAW and can't make music what makes you think a switch to a hard disc recorder will suddenly solve all your problems? Yeah it will be fun learning something new, but 3 weeks after you have your hard disc recorder you will want something different.
Old 27th June 2009
  #21
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

I've been using a Mackie MDR 24/96 hard disk recorder for awhile now. It's worked great for me. It outputs MTC, so I just sync up my sequencer (Yamaha Rm1x) to it. I can make multiple passes without any problems whatsoever. When I'm ready to have my record mixed, I just take my Mackie MDR in to the studio that I'm mixing at, and have them plug it in to their patchbay. Then the mix engineer works his magic. Very simple.

Mackie doesn't make these anymore, but you can get them used, or just buy a new Alesis (or if you have the $, a RADAR) unit.
Old 6th July 2009
  #22
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by supersuper View Post
Seriously a computer running that audacity is going to be better than that hard disk recorder.

Just get rid of any software that is overly complex for your needs. For example, logic audio is great but it is packed to the gills with functionality that can confuse basic processes.

But by all means take the journey and come back with a lighter wallet and a new found respect for your computer.
not necessarily.

first, what da/ad to use? the little chip on the motherboard? 8 channels of really good conversion, say, lynx aurora, is $2k minimum.

second, what kind of computer? windows or mac? neither one of them, in my experience, has the really tight timing you can get by locking up a dedicated machine via smpte, and i attribute this to the o/s...

i mean, if john coltrane came in to your studio to record, would you want to be fussing around with the latency settings on your audio card's virtual mixer or would you want to set up a mic and push the big red button?
Old 6th July 2009
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by supersuper View Post
Seriously a computer running that audacity is going to be better than that hard disk recorder.

Just get rid of any software that is overly complex for your needs. For example, logic audio is great but it is packed to the gills with functionality that can confuse basic processes.

But by all means take the journey and come back with a lighter wallet and a new found respect for your computer.
I use hardware. MPC for sequencing. 16 track reel-to-reel for tracking. analog mixers. samplers. synths.

but this has some truth. I used to record bands for some extra cash all the time and (dont hang me!) used pretty much every piece of software I could find a torrent for. After a while of it I got tired of staring at all of em so I uninstalled most of it and picked a few that I could stand by. Now I use my softs. with better results... and because I am focused on getting good sounds with only a little compression, reverb, and eq... I am getting better results in the hardware domain. my ear is getting better.

I mean, downsizing your computers software situation CAN produce pleasing results for your workflow and decision making. Workflow and decision making can hinder creative juices... That's why I switched to hardware. It's true, point and click sucks... It's just kind of weird... inauthentic... knowing that some people have jobs based around staring at a computer and it's like "oh hey, I use the computer too... its my musical counterpart, i make all my **** with it!".. rather than "oh you use an MPC-60... that thing has a bumpin sound!"

Mojo. That's what I have seen people calling it. If you can make your own mojo with your computer situation, who cares about investing in expensive gear.

I MEAN LOOK AT JUSTICE.
Old 6th July 2009
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
first, what da/ad to use? the little chip on the motherboard? 8 channels of really good conversion, say, lynx aurora, is $2k minimum.
Do you really think those harddisk recorders have equal AD/DA to an Aurora?

Quote:
and i attribute this to the o/s...
Wrongly, because the USB bus has gobs of speed; it's just that thanks to the stupid, short-sighted fragmentation of the manufacturers, we're left in the dirt. They could've avoided all of this by opening up the standards and letting other companies license the technology for free, but instead we have Apple with their defunct AMT8 and Unitor, Steinberg with their defunct Midex 8 and MOTU with their Express that has timestamping only functional with Digital Performer.

Quote:
i mean, if john coltrane came in to your studio to record, would you want to be fussing around with the latency settings on your audio card's virtual mixer or would you want to set up a mic and push the big red button?
Fallacious argument. If John Coltrane came to my studio to record I'd have things set up and prepared like anyone with half a brain would

Or, more likely, I'd get ready for World War Z, because the guy's been dead for several decades.

Even in an older studio with analog gear you won't be pressing the big red button that easily. You place your mics and write down the positions. You make sure nobody messed with your tape the day before. You make sure the routings are all in order on your nice big console.
Old 7th July 2009
  #25
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Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Do you really think those harddisk recorders have equal AD/DA to an Aurora?
Kind of a moot point since that thread comparing the Behringer to the Aurora came to light and showed that the differences were nearly negligible. Besides, lots of good albums have been recorded on hard disk recorders.
Old 7th July 2009
  #26
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Do you really think those harddisk recorders have equal AD/DA to an Aurora?


Wrongly, because the USB bus has gobs of speed; it's just that thanks to the stupid, short-sighted fragmentation of the manufacturers, we're left in the dirt. They could've avoided all of this by opening up the standards and letting other companies license the technology for free, but instead we have Apple with their defunct AMT8 and Unitor, Steinberg with their defunct Midex 8 and MOTU with their Express that has timestamping only functional with Digital Performer.


Fallacious argument. If John Coltrane came to my studio to record I'd have things set up and prepared like anyone with half a brain would

Or, more likely, I'd get ready for World War Z, because the guy's been dead for several decades.

Even in an older studio with analog gear you won't be pressing the big red button that easily. You place your mics and write down the positions. You make sure nobody messed with your tape the day before. You make sure the routings are all in order on your nice big console.
yes; in fact, i think radar and hd24xr are equal to or superior to aurora.

i mean, think about it; an aurora 16 is close to $3gs, while an hd24xr, which has 8 more channels, is about half the price.

second, whether its the computers fault or the manufacturers fault, either way, the xp or os10 computer, imo, is not really a dedicated audio machine.

the point being, the ONLY reason we use computers for recording at all is because we know that 99 percent of the time we won't be recording john coltrane, and we'll have to do editing...

if an artist can REALLY PLAY their instrument, they don't need the computer for editing, as their brain is doing all the editing in real time...

and yes, you still have to set up the mics etc, but recording on hd24xr (which doesn't have tape, btw) is dead easy compared to buying a soundcard and spending all day downloading the latest drivers, then rolling back the drivers because the new one is worse than the old, and then switching latency back and forth, etc etc...
Old 7th July 2009
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
@Derp: Lynx Aurora 16 vs Behringer ADA8000 - haha, oh wow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
yes; in fact, i think radar and hd24xr are equal to or superior to aurora. i mean, think about it; an aurora 16 is close to $3gs, while an hd24xr, which has 8 more channels, is about half the price.
But the HD won't go above 48 kHz.

Quote:
second, whether its the computers fault or the manufacturers fault, either way, the xp or os10 computer, imo, is not really a dedicated audio machine.
When you've got your sequencing application opened up you're using it as such.

No, it's not dedicated; but you buy peripherals to make it so. It's not like the HD24XR has special-sauce harddisks or something.

Quote:
the point being, the ONLY reason we use computers for recording at all is because we know that 99 percent of the time we won't be recording john coltrane, and we'll have to do editing...
Pure convenience and portability of projects. Rendering software effects and instruments.

Quote:
and yes, you still have to set up the mics etc, but recording on hd24xr (which doesn't have tape, btw) is dead easy compared to buying a soundcard and spending all day downloading the latest drivers, then rolling back the drivers because the new one is worse than the old, and then switching latency back and forth, etc etc...
I don't get it. Either studio people are hopelessly incompetent or there is a sinister scheme going on.

I had my RME installed in 10 minutes flat including a firmware update, and that could've been 5 minutes if I would've downloaded the drivers directly from the site instead of installing them from the CD. Including one reboot. Again; these are supposed to be things you only have to do once.
Old 9th July 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
@Derp: Lynx Aurora 16 vs Behringer ADA8000 - haha, oh wow.


But the HD won't go above 48 kHz.


When you've got your sequencing application opened up you're using it as such.

No, it's not dedicated; but you buy peripherals to make it so. It's not like the HD24XR has special-sauce harddisks or something.


Pure convenience and portability of projects. Rendering software effects and instruments.


I don't get it. Either studio people are hopelessly incompetent or there is a sinister scheme going on.

I had my RME installed in 10 minutes flat including a firmware update, and that could've been 5 minutes if I would've downloaded the drivers directly from the site instead of installing them from the CD. Including one reboot. Again; these are supposed to be things you only have to do once.
1) actually, the behringer won't go above 48k; the hd24xr does do 12 tracks at 96khz

2) no matter how many peripherals you add, they are still being driven by an o.s. that is made for checking emails and doing spread sheets.

look at a dedicated piece like a motif; a motif xs has something like 1/4th the power of an off the shelf dell, and yet, a motif is no slouch compared to a daw playing the latest greatest vsti

why? because its got a linux type shell that is made for one thing and one thing only... you don't need 2 gigs of ram when the o.s. and the hardware are dedicated.

3) good to hear about your rme, but many, many people have had many problems with drivers from edirol, m audio, behringer, etc etc...

in the end, you work with the medium you like the best. if you know computers and don't mind piecing together an audio system, and if you like the sound of softsynths etc., then there it is.
Old 9th July 2009
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

i've used 38/88s for several recent projects...more than comfortable with them.
Old 9th July 2009
  #30
Gear Addict
 

I tried to do the same thing about this time last year, and I bought a Korg 16-track digital recorder. It took me literally about 30 minutes of working with it to realize how much I took PC recording for granted.

I would record a drum track from my MPC, and think, "Ok, that needs just a little compression, and maybe a short reverb" and then realize that it was no longer an option to have a compressor on every single track--I think I could load up like three total compressors between all 16 tracks. Especially for electronic music, where writing a song is as much about getting the "right sound" as it is actual writing, not having unlimited effects at your disposal quickly becomes limiting.

This is just my experience. I suppose someone could make the case for "less is more," but I don't think so. I resold mine very quickly, and I will never second-guess my iMac again.

It's like leaving a long-time girlfriend because the relationship feels boring, only to find out that nobody in the world is willing to accept you the way she was, thus realizing how nice "boring" really was. Or something.
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