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khalz75 16th April 2019 06:03 AM

Best unit to buy? Easy operation
 
Hi all,
I’m Getting back into recording some demos, but i need advice about multitrack units that have been out there for the past few years..

Needs: affordable (under $500)

Functionality: easy to operate (similar to the zoom r8 (not like the Roland VS series where multiple button commands are needed to record just one track

Inputs: will be recording live drive set (4 mic minimum, but would prefer 4-6 live inputs max to mix up the full kit)

Decent sound on final mix

I didn’t like the Roland because of the multiple commands and am trying to minimize button pressing

I liked the zoom R8 in terms of how easy it is to arm a track and record

My basic setup.. Mic a live drum kit, rythm guitar, bass, and a few vocal tracks

I don’t care how old the unit is, as long as I can record the above mentioned setup that is super user friendly

I personally like the old way I grew up on of a big mixer and an Adat machine- but these newer units have really good sound and I am shopping for something that can meet these needs

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you!

wrgkmc 16th April 2019 07:47 PM

Stand alone recorders were pretty much a dead end market which occurred between the time ADAT came out and DAWs took over for digital recording.
The only thing that had going for them was their portability. What makes them absolutely horrid to use was all their buried sub menus. Having to constantly reference a manual, often times poorly written is not a productive way to mix, and only having the option of one set of audio effects makes about as boring as it gets.

A DAW program on the other hand, has so many options going for it, accessibility, easily modifiable menus and workflow, Multiple choices of DAW programs from free to top professional plus hundreds of free audio plugins you can download and thousands more that can be purchased. On top of the most important aspect. Unlimited tracks. The only thing that would stop you is running out of CPU resources which is pretty hard to do on newer computers. hard drive space is dirt cheap too. I buy 1T drives cheaper then what I paid for 1M drives back when I built my first daw.

The only thing you do have to buy is an interface. Even there you can buy used and get great deals. I paid $80 for a Tascam US-1200 which is a 6 channel interface. before that I bought three 8 track PCI cards for $50 each and can record 24 channels at once when I have a full band.
If you need portability its called connecting the interface to a laptop.

Given the simplicity of running many of the daw programs there really aren't any justifiable arguments that make sense besides someone being far behind in learning the technology or too lazy to want to catch up. The way I see it if older guys like myself who started recording back in the 60's can make the transition to digital after recording analog for 30 years, anyone younger can easily make the change and do very well. Its a hundred times easier then using any stand alone recorder made and you get far more bang for the buck. I don't think I ever had to read the manual either. Everything is there to explore and the only reason to open a help file (which is built into the program and can never be misplaced) and try some higher tech things you wouldn't normally use.

If you still choose to use a stand alone then simply upgrade to the Zoom 16 or 24. They give you more channels you can record with simultaneously.
The zoom units do work as Computer interfaces too so nothing is stopping you from connecting it to a computer and recording straight to the computer instead of some memory card. You could download a fully functional copy of Reaper (free to use cheap to buy a license) and all you'd need to do is download the drivers and connect the unit. You'd then be able to record directly to the computer and blow the doors off that thing for mixing and mastering recordings.

khalz75 16th April 2019 07:58 PM

Thank you for the advice!
I went to school in Ohio for recording and it’s just when ADAT was at the top-
So I learned everything that way- A few years later I bought a Roland and hated it!

I guess that’s why I like the Zoom now- Just straightforward with not a ton of sub menus.

I just ordered the R16, so I am looking forward to that!
After I get the hang of it, I will def try to use it as an interface!
Thank you so much for the advice!