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Do all studios use computers to record now? I need a good quality recorder Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 11th March 2016
  #1
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Rixsta's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Do all studios use computers to record now? I need a good quality recorder

Hey so I've been looking for portable recorders on which I can overdub most of them seem to only record at 24bit 48kHz. I'm looking for higher sample rates and better quality than say the Zoom R24 or Tascam portastudios which are like toys for bedroom musicians.

Ok so to be honest all this searching is driving me crazy I've been looking on and off a few months and basically every tine come back to using a RME ufx or Antelope Audio with laptop.

That's not computerless!

There's the QSC touchmix which seems better quality but not sure it can compete with the Rme etc

Does anyone have any ideas.?
Old 11th March 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Alesis was the free standing recording box champ 15 years ago with their HD24 24 track multitrack recorder. The sonic quality of this device was greatly improved with the XR upgrade a few years later and it still offers a cheap entry into multi track recording with very good sonic quality. Unfortunately their balance sheet was not as successful as their break thru technology so the new owners abandoned the high end offerings and went with all prosummer cheap stuff consequently support for the HD24XR is no longer available from Alesis. The Joe Co boxes are good and Tascam has what may be a break out offering high end recording box.Try-em out and see what will work best for your needs.
Old 11th March 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rixsta View Post
Hey so I've been looking for portable recorders on which I can overdub most of them seem to only record at 24bit 48kHz. I'm looking for higher sample rates and better quality than say the Zoom R24 or Tascam portastudios which are like toys for bedroom musicians.

Ok so to be honest all this searching is driving me crazy I've been looking on and off a few months and basically every tine come back to using a RME ufx or Antelope Audio with laptop.

That's not computerless!

There's the QSC touchmix which seems better quality but not sure it can compete with the Rme etc

Does anyone have any ideas.?
JoeCo is great but it is an acquisition device only, ie it records or plays back, period. No overdubbing or punchins etc etc. With the exception of the few folks still using RADAR boxes, that sort of work is all done with computers+interfaces+apps now, for better or worse.
Old 12th March 2016
  #4
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rixsta View Post
Do all studios use computers to record now?
No, there are still studios that use 2" tape and huge analog consoles. The full analog workflow is still alive and kicking.

But that full analog workflow was never really portable. Unless by portable you mean a highly engineered step van, with console, racks of outboard (EQ, compression, etc.), tape machines, etc. all bolted in. A semi-permanent setup. Park it in back and make those long cable runs to the venue stage. 1960s Mercury Living Presence style.

So... you sort of have to choose -- do you want portable? Or do you want computerless?

Because the portable (that is, what you can pull on a handcart as opposed to what you can drive in a step van) version of this is a DAW which replaces the big analog desk and most of the outboard and the big 2" tape decks. That and some amount of equipment to bring the mic feeds into the DAW, so yeah, usually some version or another of the RME UFX interface.

You could go "computerless", which really isn't at all computerless, by recording to a device like a Sound Devices 788T. Excellent micpres, highly thought of workflow. It's not an analog workflow since the 788T does the A2D conversion and records digitally. And it does this exceptionally well. But this isn't going to give you any studio capabilities like overdubbing or punch-ins. That's what a DAW gives you.

I'm just sayin' that the "portable studio" question has been solved by laptops running DAW software. If you find a non-DAW alternative that's actually portable and offers the studio functions you want, please post back here and let people know. I for one would be interested in what you find out.
Old 12th March 2016
  #5
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
I have a client who does all his recordings on analog. He does a GREAT job.

His equipment is all from the 80's and is not super reliable. He understands that and works around the problems.

There are some amazing things being done analog today but there are pitfalls which have been mentioned above. If you go the analog route make sure you know a good local tech who can keep all your gear running smoothly.

FWIW
Old 12th March 2016
  #6
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In my area the last guys who could do a real recording session with full monitoring and punchins etc on pro-level analog equipment as a location remote went bust about 10 years ago. (There used to be several of them.) If all you need to do is straight recording and don't need a whole lot of tracks the recorders from SD are great: I use a 664+CL6 for this (up to 12 tracks + 2 mixes), and for higher track counts doing the same thing JoeCo works very well. But if you need to run a SESSION in a remote manner, with all or a lot of what clients would expect in a recording studio, then you are pretty much stuck with going RADAR or computer+interface.

Last edited by philper; 13th March 2016 at 04:17 AM..
Old 12th March 2016
  #7
Lives for gear
RME is a great solution. When you get into AD/DA converters, it's all about the driver stability. RME does a good job of this. I personally went with the SSL line because I wanted 24 AD/DA and it has very low latency. The RME QS line is the lowest Latency of any conveter, but they are costly.

You also have to look at the format of transfer from converters to CPU. USB, MADI, Firewire, Thunderbolt, etc. Each transfer protocall has a cost to it. I use MADI, but that adds say $500 to both the converters and the card in the CPU.

Look at the entire chain cost and quality (Clock-Converter-Transfer to DAW)

Other options include preamps with build in converters like Audient, Grace, and many many more.

In many cases you also start looking at external word clocking. If you get a good enough converter, allowing the converters to be the master clock is the right way to go.
Old 17th March 2016
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
whippoorwill's Avatar
2 Sound Devices 702s and a mixer will get you there, digital minimalism but hell amazing records have been made on far lowlier solutions.
Old 17th March 2016
  #9
Gear Head
 

I own an original HD24 and a HD24XR modded by Jim Williams. The JW recorder has that smooth, warm and deep sound that I will never do without. All channels are balanced in and out so no ridiculous bussing, grouping, submixing. The original HD24 is fine for live shows and has never let me down.
Old 17th March 2016
  #10
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
JoeCo is great but it is an acquisition device only, ie it records or plays back, period. No overdubbing or punchins etc etc. With the exception of the few folks still using RADAR boxes, that sort of work is all done with computers+interfaces+apps now, for better or worse.
Radar is now able to run Pro Tools natively, so this is possibly the best option, though quite expensive. Depending on what external kit you are using it is possibly better to just go the computer route.
Old 18th March 2016
  #11
I've run my Alesis HD24XR here for 15 years now. Bit accurate with external conversion, it's never "out of date". No PC's, analog console, analog outboard, the HD is my tape recorder and it works great every time, zero failures.

It's also rather handy for location recording. I used to haul 500 lb. 2" tape machines, this is much better on my back.
Old 18th March 2016
  #12
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I've run my Alesis HD24XR here for 15 years now. Bit accurate with external conversion, it's never "out of date". No PC's, analog console, analog outboard, the HD is my tape recorder and it works great every time, zero failures.

It's also rather handy for location recording. I used to haul 500 lb. 2" tape machines, this is much better on my back.
Jim, what you have neglected to say is that you have the chops to maintain and enhance this gear. That gives you a real advantage. The Alesis you have is a great piece of gear but can require a wizard at times IIRC. For mere mortals it can be pretty scary.
Old 19th March 2016
  #13
A monkey can run my HD24XR. It's a tape recorder that uses a hard drive in place of tape. Push play, push record, press stop is about it.
Old 9th April 2016
  #14
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t_chance's Avatar
 

Jim Williams. What mods are available for that HD24 or the XR?
Old 9th April 2016
  #15
Old 21st July 2017
  #16
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Rixsta's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Late reply but thanks for the Info, Ive been looking around and it seems that the HD24XR is the ideal device, can I plug in Via ADAT say an 8-Channel Preamp like the Audient ASP800 to use with the microphones or does the HD24 not work this way ?
Thanks
Old 21st July 2017
  #17
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Wow. An HD24XR as an "ideal device?" Okay, but there are lots of other choices as others have mentioned. And please don't forget, SD 788T, HD24XR, JoeCo, Masterlink, Zoom. These are ALL computers. Dedicated computers to be sure but computers still the same. And they all work fine, like most of our computers, until they don't for some computer-y reason. I would venture a guess that older technologies like the HD24 are more likely to malfunction just because of their age. Older computers fail more often than newer ones in my experience.

Of course, everyone has to make their choices based on need and budget and the HD24XR may work fine for you. I personally think there are better choices for remote multitrack, the Sound Devices unit being my favorite for 8 tracks or less and JoeCo for more (up to 64 on Dante or Madi). All said, tho? Are any "ideal devices?" Nope, but some do somethings better than other things sometimes.

D.
Old 22nd July 2017
  #18
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Rixsta's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Wow. An HD24XR as an "ideal device?" Okay, but there are lots of other choices as others have mentioned. And please don't forget, SD 788T, HD24XR, JoeCo, Masterlink, Zoom. These are ALL computers. Dedicated computers to be sure but computers still the same. And they all work fine, like most of our computers, until they don't for some computer-y reason. I would venture a guess that older technologies like the HD24 are more likely to malfunction just because of their age. Older computers fail more often than newer ones in my experience.

Of course, everyone has to make their choices based on need and budget and the HD24XR may work fine for you. I personally think there are better choices for remote multitrack, the Sound Devices unit being my favorite for 8 tracks or less and JoeCo for more (up to 64 on Dante or Madi). All said, tho? Are any "ideal devices?" Nope, but some do somethings better than other things sometimes.

D.
Thanks

Well Iv'e just come from a Prism Orpheus setup which sounded fantastic so I expect a HD24XR would be a big step down! Ive had enough of screens, a little LCD screen is and can be fine. Ill have to check if the recorders you mentioned can do overdubbing or punch ins which will be essential for my personal recordings.
Yes I know they are computers for sure and yes I noticed computers before the Pentium 4 came out always had more problems.

I think I meant Ideal as in it fits my needs If had unlimited budget id just buy Avalon Preamps and a Radar I guess but even thats a bit big and hefty. I wish there was some kind of recording device that can record to HDD or SD card in super quality and do overdubs! the DPS24 by Akai also looks good.

The Zoom R24 fits the bill but the sound quality, Zoom I considered in general were like toys, correct me if im wrong ?
Old 22nd July 2017
  #19
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I need to add to my post #2 of 16 months ago. Functional obsolescence has to be a concern with any device that is no longer supported by the manufacturer or,in the case of Sabine's Power Q, a critical component supply drys up and is no longer available. Jim Williams worked his magic for me on a brand new Masterlink many years ago and it is still great gear: however with a Masterlink, HD24xr or any dedicated computer controled device certain elements are not repairable , even by Jim Williams.
I too am not a fan of tiny touch screens but specifically when they are an integral element for touch control on high priced consoles or other critical gear. The Alesis screens are for info only. There are very good reasons why most desk's with small touch screen controls have redundent knobs and faders as a backup. To this end I am now in the Digigrid/Waves LV1 world that affords quick component replacement of the 24 inch touch screens or the computer in the event of a failure.
20 years is an eternity in the exploding audio technology world but it must be said that the subject Alesis gear captures audio very well within the reservations I have previously mentioned in this post. The sonic quality of your recordings and ancilary tracking will be determined by your mics, pre amps and two mix processing: not the capture function of the HD24xr.
Old 22nd July 2017
  #20
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tourtelot's Avatar
And Rixsta. You are correct in seeking a machine that will do what you need, and maybe that mean tolerating quirks, assuming the machine continues to work correctly. Neither of my recorders, the SD 788T or the JoeCo will allow punch-ins as far as I know. No question about the SD. The JoeCo, I am not certain, but I don't believe it will either.

D.
Old 22nd July 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
And Rixsta. You are correct in seeking a machine that will do what you need, and maybe that mean tolerating quirks, assuming the machine continues to work correctly. Neither of my recorders, the SD 788T or the JoeCo will allow punch-ins as far as I know. No question about the SD. The JoeCo, I am not certain, but I don't believe it will either.

D.
No--as we said back when, JoeCo is an acquisition device only. Doing rolling punches requires something more tape machine-like, or a computer rig. I did a lot of punches back in the DA88 days, and doing that on the Alesis would be about the same--kind of a chore on little buttons and tiny displays. What people call "punches" on DAWs aren't really punches in the tape machine sense: in analog (or DA88) if you dropped in on a track you destroyed what was there before, and you had to be extremely careful about exactly where you punched in, all the levels etc of the new audio vs the old and exactly where you got out. On DAWs people are really recording additional files that in most settings are not obliterating the previous recording, and one has unlimited "tracks" to try the punch with. In the analog days punching was a necessary evil to correct performances and to make full use of very limited track real estate. I don't see why we need to work that way anymore at all.
Old 27th July 2017
  #22
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surflounge's Avatar
Broadcast Wave files, by definition, require that all individual stems in either a Polyphonic or Monophonic recording be of the exact same length (down to the number of samples), and that makes overdubbing problematic.
Old 27th July 2017
  #23
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Rolling punch ins were very easy with the HD24XR: I was very pleased with the easy work flow that Jim Williams aluded to including punch-ins up until I switched to external pres and a DAW 10 years ago. The wholesale release of virtually all of the pertinent Alesis technical staff when new ownership took over was the deal breaker for me.
Hugh
Old 27th July 2017
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Depends on your budget and the number of tracks you need.
The best of the best is, IMO, Nagra (VI or Seven). But it's not cheap...
You won't find better. Best preamps I've heard, easy workflow, long-life battery.

Best

Rob
Old 2nd August 2017
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Rixsta's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks people, Read all that well

Easy work flow is good, I know the HD24XR is going to be perhaps not so easy as using a interface like Prism and a windows machine but well Im up for the challenge
Anyone know what tools I need for a full setup with the HD24XR ? do I have to have a mixer or could I have Just a rackmount preamp and an amplifier to hear back what Im doing ? Im only planning on recording 2 to 4 mono tracks at once and doing overdubs.

RobCho : do the Nagra's do overdubbing or punch ins ? from what I remember they didn't ? I know the Cantar by Aaton Digital does but well, thats just stupid price :D
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