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$2k budget- HD24 + mixer or 2" 24tk + Mixer? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 17th December 2010
  #1
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$2k budget- HD24 + mixer or 2" 24tk + Mixer?

I have a project studio in which I use a Tascam TSR-8 8 track 1/2" and a Tascam M312B mixer, all into an Alesis Masterlink 9600 for mixdown. My pres are Seventh Circle audio. My mics are average, with Cascade fatheads being my best.

I want more tracks and a +4 dBv board that has more than 12 channels. I either want to go for maybe an Alesis HD24xr and a new mixer, or a (used) 2" 24 track and said mixer.

I really don't want to resort to behringer/mackie boards. But I do need 24 channels if I'm going to make this upgrade.

Anyone have any ideas? I really do like the sound of analog and would like to avoid hard disk recording... But I have heard great sounds come out of an HD-24xr in combination with a good 1/4" or 1/2" mixdown deck.

2 Grand is my supposed budget....


PS_ i've also been offered a Tascam MSR-16 1/2" 16 track. Gear slutz really seems to bash on this because of the skinny track widths and crosstalk problems, but I'm making 80's reminiscent punk-related recordings that fidelity isn't the BIGGEST issue, as long as its relatively decent, and tape hiss is totally alright.
Old 17th December 2010
  #2
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jmikeperkins's Avatar
2" 24 track is cool, especially for recording rock drums, but its going to cost you a lot to keep that machine running properly and to afford 2" tape which costs a small fortune. You also have to know how to align the machine and do basic maintenance or it won't sound good. If the machine develops a problem it can be difficult to get it repaired and if you have to ship it somewhere for work, that would also cost a small fortune.

The HD24 is a GREAT little machine and sounds excellent. It would be better than a 2" 24 track with issues and way better than 1/2" and 1/4" multitracks.
Old 17th December 2010
  #3
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Thanks for the post. I will keep it in mind! Any suggestions on a 24 ch mixer that could accompany the hd24 well? Keeping in mind the budget
Old 17th December 2010
  #4
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+1 on the HD24xr..It'll definately get the job done!. As far as a console goes,I'll look at these used ones considering your budget..Good luck..

D&R
DDA
Soundcraft
Old 17th December 2010
  #5
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If you go with the HD24XR, your budget doesn't have much left for mixer.

HD24XR will set you back over 1k$, so its less than a 1k for the board.

There's someone selling old Soundtracs PC Midi at the classifieds ATM, and that would be a good sounding board for this application within the budget constraints.

Other choices for the budget would include Mackie 8 buss and Behringer MX8000 / MX9000.

If you want similar quality for the board your multitrack offers, be prepared to spend a few thousand more. D&R's are great boards but cost more than your budget allows.
Old 17th December 2010
  #6
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Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
If you go with the HD24XR, your budget doesn't have much left for mixer.

HD24XR will set you back over 1k$, so its less than a 1k for the board.

There's someone selling old Soundtracs PC Midi at the classifieds ATM, and that would be a good sounding board for this application within the budget constraints.

Other choices for the budget would include Mackie 8 buss and Behringer MX8000 / MX9000.

If you want similar quality for the board your multitrack offers, be prepared to spend a few thousand more. D&R's are great boards but cost more than your budget allows.
...My bad...I missed the together budget part.. I thought he was saying he had $2000 for just the console..I agree. Maybe the Sountracs or a Topaz or something..Good luck..
Old 17th December 2010
  #7
In my home studio I've got my HD24XR hooked up to a Soundtracs Topaz desk. I'd definitely say that the Topaz was very good value for money. The EQ sounds pretty good to my ears and the preamps aren't bad either, more than enough routing options to satisfy my needs too.
Old 17th December 2010
  #8
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Farm sounds's Avatar
 

I love my hd24xr...Its a quality item. Are you still gonna track drums to the tsr, then dump them into the hd? Might be fun to do..
Old 17th December 2010
  #9
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I paid $800 incluldng shipping, plus about $300 for a lifetime power supply rebuild for a Soundcraft Spirit Studio (inline 16x8x2) that is serving me well. pre's are cool, eq is okay but does not have bypass.

I'd definitely do Soundcraft over Mackie and the like. You may find a good deal on a used Delta series as well.
Old 17th December 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
If you're on a tight budget, keep in mind that analog machines, aside from what they cost to buy, cost a lot to own. Tape and maintenance, it adds up quick. Someone said it earlier, but unless you can do your own maintenance it's an expensive proposition.
Old 18th December 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farm sounds View Post
I love my hd24xr...Its a quality item. Are you still gonna track drums to the tsr, then dump them into the hd? Might be fun to do..
I would have to sell the TSR and my board to go towards a new board and recorder. So no. My ideal setup would be HD24xr to mx5050 1/2" 2 track with 24 channel mixer with VU's and lots of aux sends/returns .., AKA not in my budget. Thanks for all the responses everyone! I am looking into the soundcrafts and soundtracs boards, as well as leaning towards either the MSR 16 recorder or the hd24
Old 18th December 2010
  #12
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I have a setup pretty close to your ideal... No reel mastering yet, tho. But HD24xr and "24 channel mixer with VU's and lots of aux sends/returns". My console of choice is Alesis X2. I paid 100€ for it... and for the money it's absolutely positively ridiculously good board. After some maintenance and partial recap its a fully operational and a pretty good sounding board. Would not recommend it for the faint-hearted, tho. It has some design issues that may or may not manifest themselves. Mine was luckily modded almost completely up to the latest spec. I did the rest myself. And I would not trade this board for anything under D&R Orion / higher end Soundtracs, namely Solitaire or Jade.

But if I were you, I would consider that PC Midi on sale at classifieds if it's even remotely close to your location. You might have to do some maintenance, but it's got enough channels, VU's and auxes. It even has a midi mute automation if that's your kind of thing.

2000$ is definitely doable at these times of used gear not moving. But there's always risks and work / costs involved when buying a used console. If you decide to go that route I suggest you make it a priority to get a modular console. I.e. one with individually detachable channel strips. Furthermore, D&R's (if you are REALLY lucky and find one that fits your budget frame) have all the opamps on the IC sockets so you can replace them easily without soldering. There might be others done the same way, but D&R I have personal experience with. It was a breeze to fix the blown channels by replacing the burnt opamp. In my Alesis, not so much...

Good luck with the path you choose!
Old 18th December 2010
  #13
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How about this:

Sell the Tascam TSR 8 (great little machine!) and the Alesis Masterlnk. Keep your Tascam mixer and use it with a Alesis HD24XR. This will be a good little combo until you step up in mixer. When I had my HD24 I just sent my 2 track mix to tracks 23 and 24 and the results were very nice.

I would say no on the Tascam MSR-16. I had the Tascam MS16 which is the 1" 16 track version and while it was a decent machine it was not as good as the Alesis HD24.

The only reason I sold my HD24 is I scored a killer deal on a full Radar unit. My studio is currently being reconfigured so I have not had a chance to use it so I do not know how it compares to the HD24.

Oh yeah on the HD24 it is super easy to fly .wav files to and from the computer for editing. It is not so easy or practical with tape.
Old 18th December 2010
  #14
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What kind of 2" do you expect to find for $2k?
Old 18th December 2010
  #15
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Originally Posted by audiogeek View Post
What kind of 2" do you expect to find for $2k?
Here on Portland Oregon craigslist someone actually posted an MTR 90 mkII for 1500! Insane huh
Old 18th December 2010
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 79_Limited View Post
How about this:

Sell the Tascam TSR 8 (great little machine!) and the Alesis Masterlnk. Keep your Tascam mixer and use it with a Alesis HD24XR. This will be a good little combo until you step up in mixer. When I had my HD24 I just sent my 2 track mix to tracks 23 and 24 and the results were very nice.

I would say no on the Tascam MSR-16. I had the Tascam MS16 which is the 1" 16 track version and while it was a decent machine it was not as good as the Alesis HD24.

The only reason I sold my HD24 is I scored a killer deal on a full Radar unit. My studio is currently being reconfigured so I have not had a chance to use it so I do not know how it compares to the HD24.

Oh yeah on the HD24 it is super easy to fly .wav files to and from the computer for editing. It is not so easy or practical with tape.
Wow thanks for all the advice! I will totally keep that in mind. Only thing I should add in is that I absolutely find recording with computers 'wrong'. It's just wrong I tell ya! You can't download an LA-2A if you ask me!
Old 18th December 2010
  #17
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Thank you for responses, everyone. Sorry to change the direction of the thread, but I am considering hanging onto my TSR8/ 12 channel mixer/ Masterlink setup for the time being and just working with that. This will be until I can save up enough money to buy a new recording unit (hd24xr most likely) and a mastering r2r, while still hanging onto the little 8 track.
Old 18th December 2010
  #18
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I made some great recordings on the Tascam MSR-16 for years. If it is in good shape, you can make a lot of bands happy with that. As far as 2 inch tape decks, there are some good ones, but tape costs add up, and maintenance. Even the 1/2 inch tape is money. The masterlink is a great mixdown deck, great converters. I would keep that. Plus it's is good for spitting out fast CDs at the end of the session.
Old 19th December 2010
  #19
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Originally Posted by sscannon View Post
I made some great recordings on the Tascam MSR-16 for years. If it is in good shape, you can make a lot of bands happy with that. As far as 2 inch tape decks, there are some good ones, but tape costs add up, and maintenance. Even the 1/2 inch tape is money. The masterlink is a great mixdown deck, great converters. I would keep that. Plus it's is good for spitting out fast CDs at the end of the session.
Thanks for replying! The MSR-16 is owned by sortof a 'friend of a friend', I have seen the unit in person, they had a reel to reel tech go over it and he was convinced it was unused. Absolutely no wear on the heads, perfect functioning.. Mint condition. It's so tempting! Gear slutz is clouding up my head with negativity towards that machine.
Old 19th December 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek View Post
What kind of 2" do you expect to find for $2k?
Seeing as it took a year to sell my mint 1987 JH24 (~75% head life remaining) including 9 reels of 1 or 2 pass GP9, a 1 year old MRL long tape, and ALIII with a lot of harnessing for $2400 in 2005, my guess is you could pick up that machine today for under 2K.
Old 19th December 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post

If you're on a tight budget, keep in mind that analog machines, aside from what they cost to buy, cost a lot to own. Tape and maintenance, it adds up quick. Someone said it earlier, but unless you can do your own maintenance it's an expensive proposition.
Yep.

The bottom line is that even if you got your 2-inch machine for FREE (and even if it arrived in perfect spec), it is the most expensive option!

Are you considering doing the routine maintenance yourself?

Here's a quick test to see if you really want to do that:

Choosing and Using MRL Calibration Tapes for Audio Tape Recorder Standardization

(If reading the above .pdf file makes your head hurt, go for the HD24!)
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