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Seeking for a Dawless setup under 600$
Old 20th April 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
Seeking for a Dawless setup under 600$

Hi everyone.

Is there a way of making music without a computer under 600 - 700$ ?
I know, there are things like Electribe or MPC, but I don't think that is a good way to go. I own a good digital piano that can be well used as a master MIDI keyboard and a pair of studio monitors.

Thanks for your suggestions,
James
Old 20th April 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Are you looking to record live audio? Vocal, guitars, etc?
Or are you looking to do mostly electronic music?

Also, how much modern functionality are you looking for? Being able to edit music is a huge plus! But if you're just looking to sequence and capture, you'll have more options.

Can you give a detailed scenario of what you'd imagine "a day in the studio" would be for you?

If I were going to ditch my DAW, I'd probably start with an old Alesis HD24 and a Mackie 1604 mixer, couple of mics, couple of DI's.... That would be a good start.
Old 22nd April 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 

Tascam and Zoom (and others) make 8 and 16 track digital recorders within your specified price range. I use a 6track looper (EHX 95000) and bounce tracks to/from DAW via USB. It comes with over 3hrs recording time per track so theoretically I could record an album as one bigass loop.
Old 26th April 2018
  #4
Gear Head
 
Collinschipper's Avatar
Big question is why not a daw? Is there some reason to avoid that approach?
Old 28th April 2018
  #5
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collinschipper View Post
Big question is why not a daw? Is there some reason to avoid that approach?
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...
Old 28th April 2018
  #6
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpotron View Post
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...
IMO, you are wrong

The act of recording, the process of overdubbing, programming MIDI, is going to be very much the same, no matter what you use. So ultimately will need to have more or less the same stuff. You think you won't be "looking at a screen" but you will, except that it will be a really small low-res screen. You think you will avoid a mouse, but instead you will need to use a jog wheel or a NSEW pointer. You will not have all your functions on one page, but will instead need to memorize deep layers of menus and sub-menus.

You will of course be locked in to whatever onboard effects the manufacturer decides to give you. Maybe that is 'simplifying' and OK for now.

Quote:
I own a good digital piano that can be well used as a master MIDI keyboard
OTOH, being limited to the unit's onboard first-party instruments may not be the kind of simplification that is an advantage!

It's not that there is no truth to the idea that operating gear takes away from playing music. It's that IMO, there is no truth to the idea that 'X' gear is really any less 'taking away' than 'Z' gear. If you want a truly seamless experience where you can just 'create' and not have to operate machinery, you can book time in a studio with an engineer.

Otherwise, IMO, you are just picking your poison. I would say pick wisely. Notice how even the people here with specific recommendations for you are flying stuff back into a computer DAW for editing/mixing/whatever.
Old 29th April 2018
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpotron View Post
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...
There's really no reason not to use a DAW. You don't have to create music using samples. You can just use the DAW for editing and recording. You WILL need to use a DAW at some point (or at least an audio editor like Audacity, not sure if that qualifies as a DAW or not) because you'll have to clean up your audio. Everyone processes their audio, it doesn't matter if you're using an MXL 990 or a U87/C12/C800G, you will at some point be cleaning up and processing the audio whether you're adding EQ, noise reduction, compression, reverb, or just syncing your tracks. It's honestly ridiculous that people think that audio is recorded professionally and not touched up. I know this isn't quite what you're saying, but I've seen a lot of people who seem to think professional quality recording happens on the spot and it's done.
Old 29th April 2018
  #8
Here for the gear
get a Digitakt! I have an octatrack and from what i understand they're very similar. Hours and hours of fun. I'm way more creative without the daw. Mouse clicking sucks nothing like hands on to get immersed in a jam and get the creative juices flowing. Once u figure out the machine and u figure out ur work flow it'll be breezy. It has midi sequencing too so u can play external gear. So after that u could save for some synths
Old 30th April 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
 
cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpotron View Post
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...
ROLAND VS 2480 -- like a digital tape deck .... Never even seen a WAV on this machine -- We sync a sequencer for 48 channels at mixdown ...

Last edited by cjogo; 1st May 2018 at 06:01 PM..
Old 1st May 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Came here to recommend the Roland standalones. Theres also old Akai standalones. Neither sounded great the last time I used them 15-some years ago.

But here are some modern day answers to your question, and under $600 if you BYOComputer.

Softube Console One MKII | ZenPro Audio

Signature 12 MTK | Soundcraft - Professional Audio Mixers
Old 1st May 2018
  #11
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpotron View Post
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...
Totally get it. If you plan on doing any real mixing though, you'll likely need a DAW. If you just want to record performances from your digital piano, you could get buy with a standalone recorder, even those pocket-sized recorders from Zoom, Tascam, Sony etc. could be used.

If/when you do decide on using a DAW, there's still some important things you can do (for less than $600):

- Get a MIDI controller with good hands-on transport controls (Play, Pause, Stop, Rew, FF, Rec, Loop, etc.). Preferably ensure it has some functionality/presets with your DAW of choice.

- Behringer X Touch or X Touch Compact (also Behringer X Touch Mini but less controls and no motorized faders, not nearly as functional but a good tool for the price). These things are cheap and really powerful. Especially the full-size X Touch because it has little LCD screens for labels that update with the DAW.

- The older Behringer BCF2000. In a million Low End Theory studios to solve the problem of hands-on control. Motorized faders, but discontinued and getting old at this point so wouldn't necessarily bank on all the faders working

- This guy is really interesting and I'm LOVING it so far: Logidy UMI3 MIDI Foot Controller. It has a little utility program you can rather easily create simple controls for things like Start, Stop, Record. You can even set it up to do things like cycle through presets, or hit the button once and it starts, hit the same button again for stop, things like that. Pretty great to have around, just wish the switches were maybe an inch wider apart to make it easier to hit.
Old 1st May 2018
  #12
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Came here to recommend the Roland standalones. Theres also old Akai standalones. Neither sounded great the last time I used them 15-some years ago.
Still on Rolands --since MId 90's ..... 24 inputs ... does more than enough editing for our clients ... Full size VGA monitoring .....

WAVs drop right into REAPER --- if you ever needed a PC~~ for some reason .

Still sounds wonderful >> Clocking to a RME and using decent PREs for vocals.

Hard to beat @ 'round $600 Automated faders >> all 48
Old 1st May 2018
  #13
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bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
Still on Rolands --since MId 90's ..... 24 inputs ... does more than enough editing for our clients ... Full size VGA monitoring .....

WAVs drop right into REAPER --- if you ever needed a PC~~ for some reason .

Still sounds wonderful >> Clocking to a RME and using decent PREs for vocals.

Hard to beat @ 'round $600 Automated faders >> all 48
Aight, aight, dang! Didn't realize the high-end model had automated faders and those awesome meters!!! Killin it

I was using something in the VS_____ range but way lower track count, one of those EIGHT CHANNELS (but only four at a time) kind of things. The literal first song I ever recorded was on that machine... ahh. Extremely cool setup cjogo, hittin me in the feels!
Old 1st May 2018
  #14
Lives for gear
 
cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Aight, aight, dang! Didn't realize the high-end model had automated faders and those awesome meters!!! Killin it

I was using something in the VS_____ range but way lower track count, one of those EIGHT CHANNELS (but only four at a time) kind of things. The literal first song I ever recorded was on that machine... ahh. Extremely cool setup cjogo, hittin me in the feels!
It works for our studio For a guy starting back in the 60's tracking .. this makes recording easy...
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Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Head
 

From a technical standpoint there’s no reason to not use a DAW. From a practical perspective either.
But many of us have day jobs that involve being in front of a computer all day. Coming home to sit yet for more hours in front of a computer screen, no matter the daw, is just exhausting. It doesn’t help to “disconnect” and get into a music making vibe. It’s that simple. If I were a truck driver instead of a developer I probably wouldn’t mind turning on the DAW, it’d be liberating.
In short , it’s not the DAW, it’s the computer screen, the keyboard, the mouse... and yes, you do eventually need a DAW if you don’t have a proper studio and want to be serious about the end result. But that can be limited to the last stage of the process.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by carayo View Post
From a technical standpoint there’s no reason to not use a DAW. From a practical perspective either.
But many of us have day jobs that involve being in front of a computer all day. Coming home to sit yet for more hours in front of a computer screen, no matter the daw, is just exhausting. It doesn’t help to “disconnect” and get into a music making vibe. It’s that simple. If I were a truck driver instead of a developer I probably wouldn’t mind turning on the DAW, it’d be liberating.
In short , it’s not the DAW, it’s the computer screen, the keyboard, the mouse... and yes, you do eventually need a DAW if you don’t have a proper studio and want to be serious about the end result. But that can be limited to the last stage of the process.
I've been making music 100% ITB since about 2003-2004 and I feel like it's numbed my whole creative process. It used to be that I would buy a piece of gear, then spend hours with it just deep diving into it to see what I could pull out of it. The tactile part of it was a big thing too. It's a lot more satisfying, for me, to push a button or turn a knob or something to get results over clicking a mouse and dragging a graphical representation of a fader or knob around.

In the late 90's I picked up a Yamaha TG55. I spent about a month on it learning how to program that thing and, ultimately, ended up making several tracks with just that box as an exercise. Same for my TX81Z when I got it. I would regularly unplug my Sequential Multi-Trak from the rest of my rig (it was also my controller), wire up it's outputs to a mixer with fx, and see what I could do wit just that board and it's on-board sequencer. I used to keep my Roland R8 on my coffee table and would sit there banging out stuff on it while I watched South Park.

I was far more productive with hardware than I am with software and goo gobs of plugins.

Just last year we were at a friend of the family's place. He had a tiny little hobby rig, made up of an Sound Canvas SC88, an Akai S20 sampler, a Yamaha QY70, and old Boss mixer, and a couple of Alesis NanoVerbs. I remembered the QY70 from when I used to sell 'em, so I asked to dink around with it for a little while; 40 minutes later I had a whole Detroit Techno track done with just the QY70's internal sounds. I have all of this stuff on my PC, but have never just sat down and banged something out that fast since the 90's.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Personally, I think “we” (i.e., many of us) have become way beyond spoiled, with our affected casual disregard for advances in technology.

It is absolutely incredible, the sheer power, flexibility and convenience that are on offer, all at relatively low cost.

Might well appear “edgy” to go DAWless, or fashionable anyway. But indeed, as noted upthread, pick your screen and interface(s) and live with them. Expansive and fluid or cramped and a PITA, your choice.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimket View Post
Personally, I think “we” (i.e., many of us) have become way beyond spoiled, with our affected casual disregard for advances in technology.

It is absolutely incredible, the sheer power, flexibility and convenience that are on offer, all at relatively low cost.

Might well appear “edgy” to go DAWless, or fashionable anyway. But indeed, as noted upthread, pick your screen and interface(s) and live with them. Expansive and fluid or cramped and a PITA, your choice.
There's comes a point where there are just too many options.

I don't know about edgy or fashionable. For me it's about a frame of mind that I can't seem to get into anymore with my current PC based setup.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Originally Posted by Arpotron View Post
I realy think that a PC in front of a music maker just blows away all the creativity of the process... Maybe I am wrong, but I really wanna have more hands on control...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

IMO, you are wrong

The act of recording, the process of overdubbing, programming MIDI, is going to be very much the same, no matter what you use.
There really is something (for some of us anyway) to be able to just arm some tracks and push record on real buttons without having to deal with a looking at computer screen and mousing around.

It's a brain thing, computers make some of us think of stuff other than music creation when we look at them like "oh I should remember to check my email later or I need to buy something on Amazon or I wonder what weird **** is on Pornhub that I can't even imagine?

I find that less of an issue when mixing but if you are actually one of the performers on the tracks then there is already enough brain shift required in the simplest version of a recorder to be sure tracks are armed and record is actually pushed.

Yes I agree with you that best case is to have someone other than the musicians involved to deal with the recording stuff but some people just don't have that luxury to go to and pay for a studio or even to just have someone to help in their home studio so they can stay totally focused on playing, singing, or maybe both.

Zoom R16 and R24 are decent sounding very low cost (up to eight tracks at a time) recorders that can either do the whole job from record to mixing or can simply be an easy capture device that basic tracks are recorded to and then pulled off and completed in a daw. There are certainly a number of others.

The Alesis HD24 and Mackie MDR and HDR recorders are old but solid sounding recorders that are basically multi-track "tape" machines without the tape. I still have an HD24 and while it is a pain to get tracks off for archiving it is other than that even simpler than a tape machine.

I'm not saying that this is the route for everbody but some of us are old stupid and easily distracted.

... and apparently respond to zombie threads from two years ago.

At least the person I'm trying to argue with was on the forum two days ago but it looks like the OP hasn't been around for a year. Wonder if OP sorted out how to record stuff?

Last edited by JLast; 2 weeks ago at 09:51 PM.. Reason: Add
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLast View Post
There really is something (for some of us anyway) to be able to just arm some tracks and push record on real buttons without having to deal with a looking at computer screen and mousing around. ....Zoom R16 and R24
But the Zoom R16 has a screen. It is a tiny little screen that you have to squint at and you have to use the NSEW encoder and jog wheel to page through tiny little menus. And you are complaining about a mouse taking you out of your zone?

Quote:
...computers make some of us think of stuff other than music creation when we look at them like "oh I should remember to check my email later or I need to buy something on Amazon or I wonder what weird **** is on Pornhub that I can't even imagine?
You can hardly blame computers. Before I had a computer I had tape decks and mixing boards. And yet even then, my mind would drift to 'other stuff' unbidden. Mundane ordinary tasks, material possessions, sex.

Quote:
I find that less of an issue when mixing but if you are actually one of the performers on the tracks then there is already enough brain shift required in the simplest version of a recorder to be sure tracks are armed and record is actually pushed.
Yes - I agree "brain shift" is the real issue.

But in my view, the relative brain shift is about the same-
there is the stand-alone hardware > to playing music brain shift
there is the computer DAW > to playing music brain shift.

the big brain shift is going from engineering whatever technology to performing. Engineering also means setting up mics, and preamps and patchbays and snakes. Setting up cue mixes... programming mutes for the click track etc etc. None of that goes away just because you 'get rid of' your computer.

Quote:
I'm not saying that this is the route for everbody but some of us are old stupid and easily distracted.
I am old as well. So old, that when I was first recording, I used to work with tape decks and mixing consoles every day. Even back that era, I experienced the same types of frustration in "switch-tasking". To me, going from setting up a session on a console to then going on to play the drums, is not a hell of a lot different from setting up a session on the computer and then going to play the drums.

To jump from 21st century technology to playing the drums is not that much different than coming from 20th century technology to playing the drums. It's "whatever" electronic technology on one side and I]literally[/I] hitting some hollow logs with a wooden stick on the other.

Working with machines (of any kind) requires a certain amount of what used to be called "left brain" activity. My best results where when I did all my setup the day before performing.

Quote:
Wonder if OP sorted out how to record stuff?
It would be interesting to find out how many people who are looking wistfully at a "no computer" studio actually went through with it - and how many are still working that way a year or two later. If a hardware unit is easier for you, I would say go ahead and do it. What I see a lot of around here is people who have not done it yet but are absolutely convinced that it is "going to" solve this issue for them. They blame the "mouse", but IMO, it is not "the mouse" - it is the wearing of the two different hats - which does not stop just because you traded in your mouse for an encoder.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Guru
I use a MixPre6 to record with and mix on a DAW. Best of both worlds and honestly being "creative" is being able to work quickly........
Nothing creative about having to fudge edit points or not be able to test alternate takes quickly.....
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
But the Zoom R16 has a screen. It is a tiny little screen that you have to squint at
It does but there is no need to really make use of it much during capture really. You turn the thing on and arm tracks with actual buttons.

I'm not trying to convince anybody to ditch their computer just agreeing with the OP from two years ago that some people still chose to work that way and simple stuff has a different mind set to it for some of us.

Hell there are people who still use four track cassette recorders and while I can't bring myself to keep to just four tracks, dealing with bouncing tracks, or the lowfi thang I sort of have some understanding of why they choose to work with those machines.

It's not exactly an analogy really but there is something different with physical things, like vinyl records, I have about 1500 of them. They are a pain in the ass really but there is something to flipping through the shelves and pulling one out and placing it on the turntable. It sets a different mood and feel than poking around Spotify on my phone and clicking on a playlist even though essentially it's achieving the same end.

I'll even mix analog with real faders and no recall. Again like vinyl it's not as efficient or sensible but there is something that is very satisfying (to some of us) and because of that and the tactile connection it's a different experience than sorting though a thousand plugins and the huge convenience of being able to undue mistakes with the click of a mouse.

Why is not wanting to look at a computer screen or having to mouse around while recording any different than any other choice in how we do stuff? Some people like hardware while others do all their effects in the box.

Some record drums with two or three mics even though we own enough of them to put ten or more on the kit while someone else might feel the need to mic every drum and then some even though they could buy more expensive mics if they simply limited themselves to minimalist techniques. There is no one right way to do stuff.
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