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almost a studio Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

almost a studio

In my 1967 24' Silver Streak travel trailer, so far I have built in a Yamaha P-120 electric piano and a stereo system that consists of a Denon AVR-2500 receiver, Denon DCM-320 CD changer and Denon DVD-2910 CD/DVD player with a pair of Polk Audio bookshelf speakers (also a 26" Samsung TV).

Next built-in project is my Tascam DP-03SD Portastudio digital recorder (with foot switch) and Yamaha RX-5 Digital Rhythm Programmer drum machine, plus storage for my acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Roland Blues Cube amplifier, AKG K553 MKII headphones and Shure SM-58 LC microphone.

Given the above equipment, which I already own, I would be grateful for any help with suggestions on how to interconnect all this. My idea is to run everything into the digital recorder (hopefully without adding a mixer) and then through the stereo system. The piano and drum machine have MIDI capability, which I confess to not understand.

One of my concerns is that I do not wish to have to change cable connections (or introduce a mixer) and the recorder's connections consist of only the following:

remote (for foot switch)
XLR connector (mic A)
XLR connector (mic B)
TRS connector (line A guitar)
TRS connector (line B)
RCA connector (line out L)
RCA connector (line out R)
headphone jack
USB port

At 75 I am finding renewed interest in my music. All comments are welcome.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Ignoring MIDI for a second (that's a whole other can of worms), I look at your audio sources, and I see the following options:

1. Miked guitar cab, mono piano, mono drum machine:

Vocals -> SM58 -> XLR connector (mic A)
Cube amp -> XLR connector (mic B) [you'll need another mic and mic stand; welcome to Gearslutz! ]
Drum machine Mono Out (probably L) -> TRS connector (line A guitar)
Piano (Aux Out L) -> TRS connector (line B)
RCA connector (line out L) -> Stereo Audio Input L
RCA connector (line out R) -> Stereo Audio Input R

2. Line out from guitar cab, mono piano, mono drum machine:

Vocals -> SM58 -> XLR connector (mic A)
Cube amp (Line Out) -> XLR connector (mic B) [you'll need an XLR to TRS cable]
Drum machine Mono Out (probably L) -> TRS connector (line A guitar)
Piano (Aux Out L) -> TRS connector (line B)
RCA connector (line out L) -> Stereo Audio Input L
RCA connector (line out R) -> Stereo Audio Input R

3. Option 1 or 2, but with stereo piano, stereo drum machine:


I'm afraid you'll need a mixer here, or at least a passive summer that'll sum 2 x stereo sources (drum machine, piano) to 1 x stereo (TRS connectors 1/2).

You could get away with a 3-into-1 selector box, but if you're stuck on the Tascam digital recorder, you simply don't have enough inputs on it to handle all your gear, so you need a mixer, which by definition, is exactly what it does: mixes sources together (among other things).
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

gf--thank you for your comments; very kind of you. You've given me something more to think about, like would I be better off replacing the recorder with one that has more inputs? Or should I add a mixer? The Tascam recorder uses an SD card, which would make it easy for me to transfer to my laptop and then to a CD. But I am willing to resell it if there is something more appropriate that I can fit in the small space.

I'm unfamiliar with passive summers. So I'll need to do some additional research. Found this.
Analog summing, active/passive
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EZduzit View Post
[...] All comments are welcome.
Hmmm...
"Almost a Studio"?
...Sounds like a great name for my next studio!
.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by EZduzit View Post
gf--thank you for your comments; very kind of you. You've given me something more to think about, like would I be better off replacing the recorder with one that has more inputs? Or should I add a mixer? The Tascam recorder uses an SD card, which would make it easy for me to transfer to my laptop and then to a CD. But I am willing to resell it if there is something more appropriate that I can fit in the small space.

I'm unfamiliar with passive summers. So I'll need to do some additional research. Found this.
Analog summing, active/passive
You can get line mixers that are 1U in height and possibly wall mountable if you can flip the rack ears 90 degrees.

But I would look around for a different recorder, or even simpler: add a USB interface to your laptop and record direct.

However, if you want to focus on making music and you know that Tascam recorder well, I would just get a mixer and call it a day.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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12--you're welcome to the name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
You can get line mixers that are 1U in height and possibly wall mountable if you can flip the rack ears 90 degrees.

But I would look around for a different recorder, or even simpler: add a USB interface to your laptop and record direct.

However, if you want to focus on making music and you know that Tascam recorder well, I would just get a mixer and call it a day.
gf--thank you again. The Tascam is new, so I am not really invested in it, other than that there is a spot where I have just enough room to build it in where the controls can be easily reached from my seated position at the piano. So I would not mind reselling it if I could find a suitable replacement that could be made to fit. Not sure what you meant by "1U", one unit perhaps?

There are options for mounting a mixer, as long as the controls do not need frequent, continuous access; meaning if I only needed it to switch sources occasionally. A rack-mount configuration could facilitate this.

I would prefer not to have to deal with the laptop except for creating a CD, for example, as it normally sits on a flip-up desktop that hides the piano when it is not in use.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by EZduzit View Post
12--you're welcome to the name.



gf--thank you again. The Tascam is new, so I am not really invested in it, other than that there is a spot where I have just enough room to build it in where the controls can be easily reached from my seated position at the piano. So I would not mind reselling it if I could find a suitable replacement that could be made to fit. Not sure what you meant by "1U", one unit perhaps?

There are options for mounting a mixer, as long as the controls do not need frequent, continuous access; meaning if I only needed it to switch sources occasionally. A rack-mount configuration could facilitate this.

I would prefer not to have to deal with the laptop except for creating a CD, for example, as it normally sits on a flip-up desktop that hides the piano when it is not in use.
There are a lot of rackmount and desktop options for USB (or Thunderbolt, if you're using a Mac) on the market.

What actually might be perfect is a Soundcraft Signature MK12: mixer, compact, but also a USB interface to your computer, where all 12 channels can be recorded simultaneously (and fed back to the mixer for hand's on mixing).

This way you could use your laptop/DAW for recording when you want to, but when you just want to jam, it wouldn't need to be on, as the mixer would handle all the routing.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
There are a lot of rackmount and desktop options for USB (or Thunderbolt, if you're using a Mac) on the market.

What actually might be perfect is a Soundcraft Signature MK12: mixer, compact, but also a USB interface to your computer, where all 12 channels can be recorded simultaneously (and fed back to the mixer for hand's on mixing).

This way you could use your laptop/DAW for recording when you want to, but when you just want to jam, it wouldn't need to be on, as the mixer would handle all the routing.
gf--you're a good man for trying to help me.

Looked up Soundcraft Signature and came up with their MKT, which I am almost certain is the one you meant. A lovely machine with plenty of inputs to take care of all my needs, and all the features I could ever want. But it is huge and I cannot so far figure out any possible way to make it fit the tiny, cramped area with which I have to work, which is primarily occupied by the electric piano, whose boundaries more or less describe the size of my almost-a-studio.

Ideally I could find a way to switch the recorder's inputs so I don't have to physically change the cable connections in order to record the particular instruments, one at a time. Though I am willing to make these connection changes if that is the only practical way to get this setup to work.

I will try to capture a photograph of the area and post it later so as to clarify what I am dealing with. Appreciate the help.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by EZduzit View Post
gf--you're a good man for trying to help me.

Looked up Soundcraft Signature and came up with their MKT, which I am almost certain is the one you meant. A lovely machine with plenty of inputs to take care of all my needs, and all the features I could ever want. But it is huge and I cannot so far figure out any possible way to make it fit the tiny, cramped area with which I have to work, which is primarily occupied by the electric piano, whose boundaries more or less describe the size of my almost-a-studio.

Ideally I could find a way to switch the recorder's inputs so I don't have to physically change the cable connections in order to record the particular instruments, one at a time. Though I am willing to make these connection changes if that is the only practical way to get this setup to work.

I will try to capture a photograph of the area and post it later so as to clarify what I am dealing with. Appreciate the help.
It's approximately 15x15 inches vs. 11x8 inches for your Tascam, twice the width essentially and a little taller; guess it doesn't feel that big on my desk (I have one at home for my little synth studio here).

I think you need to stick with the 1U rackmount form factor then; it'll be a flat surface, so you can stack on top of it or possibly mount it under your desk (or get a rackmount road case from a company like Gator if you have the space).

Couple of options here.

You could go with a traditional/simple Line Mixer, like this:
MX821S – Eight Channel Mic/Line Mixer with Stereo Outputs – ART Pro Audio

Nice thing about this is that they've included mic preamps, so not a traditional line mixer in that way.

8 Combo inputs (TS and XLR for line inputs and mics respectively)
RCA outputs (to go to your speakers)
Main Outputs (to go to your Tascam's L/R)

Snag with this particular model is that the RCA outputs that go to your speakers would be "pre-fader", so the master level would not affect this, so not great as a master volume control in the room for jamming, monitoring, but obviously you could set the levels of the instruments accordingly and then use the volume on your stereo receiver.

You could also go with a souped-up Line Mixer on 'roids like the Radial KL-8:
KL-8 - Radial Engineering

It only has 4 stereo channels, but is also a USB interface so when you want to record, you'd plugin your laptop and use a "free for non-commercial use" DAW like Reaper (or they may bundle one in, like Ableton Lite). Also has headphone outputs for silent jamming/recording. Radial is a good brand with a reputation for being rugged/dependable.

Downside here that I just realized is that you'd need a separate mic preamp, so another little box with a couple of cables (mic and line), so that might not be a great fit.

There are lots of Line Mixers from most traditional mixer manufacturers, so check out what Sweetwater has to offer as well:
Access to this page has been denied.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
It's approximately 15x15 inches vs. 11x8 inches for your Tascam...
Again, you are very kind to help.

What makes the Tascam work (I hope!) for my particular installation is that it has its inputs and outputs on its edges, rather its face. In the first photo (obviously a work in progress) I have propped it up in the general area in which I plan to mount it recessed into the bulkhead to the left of the piano, so it does not interfere with opening the desktop lid to access the piano, since the Tascam is very shallow and has no cables sticking out its face. In this mocked up position it only needs access for inputs, outputs on the top edge, and SD card and USB port on its left edge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
...You could also go with a souped-up Line Mixer on 'roids like the Radial KL-8:
KL-8 - Radial Engineering
...[/url]
That is a beauty but, OH! the price!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
...You could go with a traditional/simple Line Mixer, like this:
MX821S – Eight Channel Mic/Line Mixer with Stereo Outputs – ART Pro Audio
This seems like the ideal solution, as I can suspend it just above the open desktop, to the right of the entertainment center stack, leaving a padded space between it and the overhead storage cabinet, to store the guitar.

In the ends of the overhead cabinet can be seen 2 oval cutouts, behind which are the bookshelf speakers. To the far right is the 26" flatscreen TV on a swing-out mount. Below the TV is a large format photo printer. I have not yet worked out the drum machine's installation.

Edit to add that I am not allowed to post images or links to images.

Edited again to add that I found these reviews, 2 out of 6 of which reported serious buzzing and noise! Yikes!
https://www.amazon.com/ART-MX821S-Ra.../dp/B00KC7ZGVE

Edit again: Maybe something changed because of post count, or perhaps I simply learned how to do it, but added photos.
Attached Thumbnails
almost a studio-studio-1.jpg   almost a studio-studio-2.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Just got off the phone with such a great rep at Sweetwater, Logan Miller, who recommended that I choose a mixer with a built-in pre-amp (for the mic, IIRC). Right now considering going with the Behringer Eurorack Pro RX1202FX Rackmount Mixer with Effects, unless I hear of a reason to keep looking further.

Edit: Dang! Found so many bad reviews on the Behringer!
https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Looking at simply exchanging the Tascam recorder for a Zoom R24 Recorder Interface Controller Sampler and eliminate the need for a separate mixer.

Zoom R24 Recorder : Interface : Controller : Sampler | Zoom
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