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recommended personal digital studio ?

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Anonymous
July 28, 2004 2:01:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi

I am looking to buy an all-in-one personal digital studio that is not
too hard to use but can achieve studio quality.
I really don't know much about this stuff - it seems there are a
million products out there that do a million things I don't know a lot
about.

I bought an Alesis Studio 32 mixer to use with my PC (cakewalk,
soundcard with 8 outs, 4 ins) and it is just WAY too complex for me.
I don't really have the patience or time to figure it out, and have to
deal with separate hardware for mixer, recorder, all the wires, etc.
It's just a mess and getting in the way of creativity.
I just want to be able to plug in, arm Record for a given track, and
Go!

I had a Tascam 464 4-track for years and found it easy to use - hands
on, straightforward, simple.
But I am done with cassette and being limited to 4 tracks.
I want to be able to produce studio quality recordings with this, not
just demos - I don't want to have to pay to go into a studio, ever!

I hear that the Yamaha AW16G is good - any recommendations or answers
to questions below would be most appreciated...

Features important to me are...

* My budget is around $1000.
* records 8 tracks simultaneously
* good clean noiseless D/A converters
* big enough hard drive (20 GB or more)
* can connect to PC via USB 2 or firewire (ie FAST) to xfer files
in/out, or at least burn to cd (pref 8x or better)
* quickly/easily import/export WAV files from the recorder to my PC so
I can tweak them in Sound Forge
* no latency / lag times in recording or playback
* built in input compression/limiting - i've never really used
compression but I understand it's key to achieving a studio sound
* built in COSM mic modeling
* 3 or 4 band parametric EQ - hopefully on each track?
* magnetically etc shielded so it doesn't buzz when next to a computer
monitor or other equipment

Electronic Musican also recommends these features, though I am not
sure I need these
* 24-bit 96 KHz - is this necessary? i always thought since CD quality
was 44.1, 16-bit, why need higher quality on the separate tracks? any
advice?
* virtual tracks
* >=1 built in FX board - how do these work? do you apply FX to a
track and can hear it realtime in playback? is this on a
track-by-track basis or on the whole mix?
* range of D & A I/O - spdif etc. - not really important to me , as
long as i can import export each track as a separate WAV file, via USB
2 or firewire, or burn a CD reliably/quickly (pref 8x or better)
* # of FX sends/returns - i never really used FX sends, i just plug my
gtr into pedals and record. i hear using fx sends is a good idea, just
never tried it and not sure what the benefits are.
* flying motorized faders - i assume this is so the recorder can
remember your fader movements in a mix ?
* also i read some recorders can double as a control surface - this
means they can control the mix in cakewalk on your pc?

thanks a lot
Anonymous
July 30, 2004 1:31:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mad Scientist Jr" <usenet_daughter@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:7a93f3c4.0407280901.24849cd3@posting.google.com...
> Hi
>
> I am looking to buy an all-in-one personal digital studio that is not
> too hard to use but can achieve studio quality.
> I really don't know much about this stuff - it seems there are a
> million products out there that do a million things I don't know a lot
> about.
>
> I bought an Alesis Studio 32 mixer to use with my PC (cakewalk,
> soundcard with 8 outs, 4 ins) and it is just WAY too complex for me.
> I don't really have the patience or time to figure it out, and have to
> deal with separate hardware for mixer, recorder, all the wires, etc.
> It's just a mess and getting in the way of creativity.
> I just want to be able to plug in, arm Record for a given track, and
> Go!

If you thought the separates were way too complex, the "all-in-one" units,
with the equivalent complexity nested withing cryptic digital menu systems
on small displays will get in the way of your creativity much more.


> I had a Tascam 464 4-track for years and found it easy to use - hands
> on, straightforward, simple.
> But I am done with cassette and being limited to 4 tracks.
> I want to be able to produce studio quality recordings with this, not
> just demos - I don't want to have to pay to go into a studio, ever!
>
> I hear that the Yamaha AW16G is good - any recommendations or answers
> to questions below would be most appreciated...

I used to have a Roland VS-880 and VS-1680 with effects units. Very decent
basic digital studios with high quality lossy compression, and the 1680 has
a supposed non-lossy 24 bit mode. They sounded better than ADAT converters
to my ears, and all the COSM effects sounded great. The editing and
advanced use on the 1680, for example is much more complex to learn than
within cakewalk pro audio 9, for example. It is all in locating, scrubbing,
and button pushes, and, once you get the operating system down well, can be
done rather quickly.

I would find your Studio 32/ Cakewalk system a simple one to use, and yet,
it took me over a year of recording many projects with the 1680 to get
advanced with it. There is no comparison to the old tascam 464, which is
probably like the old 244 I used in the past. Those were straightforward
BECAUSE they don't have the modern, advanced features and only have 4
tracks.

Then, my band went into a completely analog studio, Neuman mics, Neve, Amek,
& Audio Technologies mic pre's, onto 2", 24-track, at 30 ips. We didn't
convert to digital until the tapes were at the mastering house, and this
makes all the difference to my ears. You can take that master, fly it into
your standalone digital recorder and it will sound fantastic: deep, clear,
warm, pristine imaging and wide, solid soundstage. But, you can NEVER get
that digital box to MAKE that sound from scratch, period.

It's hard for me to recommend anything that is new now, since I sold my
ADATs, mixers, and DAW digital boxes. I just use a PC DAW now for
"scratchpad" type writing work, and will go back into a real studio for any
release quality work. IMHO, you get what you pay for with the right studio.

The Yamaha AW16G sounds like it has about 55% of what you are looking for.
COSM is a Roland trademark and are only available in Roland units, although
yamaha and others are most likely trying to compete with them in some form.
Just plan on buying a unit, spending a lot of time to learn how to use it,
only to be annoyed by limitations that you can't tell right away.

For example, the Roland VS-880 through the VS-18xx, I believe do not have
automated mutes when you do automated mixing. The workaround is that you
take a snapshot, pull the fader down, and take another snapshot, or, simply
record all the MIDI information to a separate PC. Then, you decide you want
better sounding mic pre's, so you buy a couple of those. Then, you realize
that most inexpensive anlaog compressors (FMR audio, Presonus) sound better
than digital compressor algorithms, so you add a few of those. At this
point, you are way more complex than your Studio 32 and Cakewalk PC.

Add to that the fact that you most likely skimped on the patchcords and
patchbay for your setup (which is what I did early on) and that is the
primary reason it is getting in the way of your creativity. It's probably
still confusing for you to simply mic 4 instruments, arm 4 tracks to record
in Cakewalk, and get the proper levels and gain structure, and then hit
record and play. This is the basic nominal setup that should be done prior
to even saying "I have a recording studio".

Remember when you were using the Tascam? You would simply route the inputs
with switches, arm the tracks and make sure it was recording and press
record. The basic nominal setup that you needed to worry about was already
in that machine, and, hard wired that way with basic, 3-way switches. The
modern digital studio in a box is not that way, there are hundreds of
"virtual knobs and patchbays" inside them, and you can set up the gain
strucutre and be troubleshooting routing for days, just as you will with
your Studio 32 and real wires and knobs. If you got that current set up to
be up and running in a nominal fashion, I think the quality of recordings
you could do would be comparable to a digital box unit.

I could be wrong; there might be better operating systems on the new boxes
out there that are aimed at creativity more than features. Just don't
expect everything in your list, and don't expect to learn advanced things in
under 3 months or so depending on the system.

Cheers,

Rick
Anonymous
July 30, 2004 5:12:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Giftsupply" <vze1yzdanixspam@verizon.net> wrote in message news:<H0eOc.5984$Mr3.765@trndny08>...
> "Mad Scientist Jr" <usenet_daughter@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:7a93f3c4.0407280901.24849cd3@posting.google.com...
> > Hi
> >
> > I am looking to buy an all-in-one personal digital studio that is not
> > too hard to use but can achieve studio quality.
> > I really don't know much about this stuff - it seems there are a
> > million products out there that do a million things I don't know a lot
> > about.
> >
> > I bought an Alesis Studio 32 mixer to use with my PC (cakewalk,
> > soundcard with 8 outs, 4 ins) and it is just WAY too complex for me.
> > I don't really have the patience or time to figure it out, and have to
> > deal with separate hardware for mixer, recorder, all the wires, etc.
> > It's just a mess and getting in the way of creativity.
> > I just want to be able to plug in, arm Record for a given track, and
> > Go!
>
> If you thought the separates were way too complex, the "all-in-one" units,
> with the equivalent complexity nested withing cryptic digital menu systems
> on small displays will get in the way of your creativity much more.
>
>
> > I had a Tascam 464 4-track for years and found it easy to use - hands
> > on, straightforward, simple.
> > But I am done with cassette and being limited to 4 tracks.
> > I want to be able to produce studio quality recordings with this, not
> > just demos - I don't want to have to pay to go into a studio, ever!
> >
> > I hear that the Yamaha AW16G is good - any recommendations or answers
> > to questions below would be most appreciated...
>
> I used to have a Roland VS-880 and VS-1680 with effects units. Very decent
> basic digital studios with high quality lossy compression, and the 1680 has
> a supposed non-lossy 24 bit mode. They sounded better than ADAT converters
> to my ears, and all the COSM effects sounded great. The editing and
> advanced use on the 1680, for example is much more complex to learn than
> within cakewalk pro audio 9, for example. It is all in locating, scrubbing,
> and button pushes, and, once you get the operating system down well, can be
> done rather quickly.
>
> I would find your Studio 32/ Cakewalk system a simple one to use, and yet,
> it took me over a year of recording many projects with the 1680 to get
> advanced with it. There is no comparison to the old tascam 464, which is
> probably like the old 244 I used in the past. Those were straightforward
> BECAUSE they don't have the modern, advanced features and only have 4
> tracks.
>
> Then, my band went into a completely analog studio, Neuman mics, Neve, Amek,
> & Audio Technologies mic pre's, onto 2", 24-track, at 30 ips. We didn't
> convert to digital until the tapes were at the mastering house, and this
> makes all the difference to my ears. You can take that master, fly it into
> your standalone digital recorder and it will sound fantastic: deep, clear,
> warm, pristine imaging and wide, solid soundstage. But, you can NEVER get
> that digital box to MAKE that sound from scratch, period.
>
> It's hard for me to recommend anything that is new now, since I sold my
> ADATs, mixers, and DAW digital boxes. I just use a PC DAW now for
> "scratchpad" type writing work, and will go back into a real studio for any
> release quality work. IMHO, you get what you pay for with the right studio.
>
> The Yamaha AW16G sounds like it has about 55% of what you are looking for.
> COSM is a Roland trademark and are only available in Roland units, although
> yamaha and others are most likely trying to compete with them in some form.
> Just plan on buying a unit, spending a lot of time to learn how to use it,
> only to be annoyed by limitations that you can't tell right away.
>
> For example, the Roland VS-880 through the VS-18xx, I believe do not have
> automated mutes when you do automated mixing. The workaround is that you
> take a snapshot, pull the fader down, and take another snapshot, or, simply
> record all the MIDI information to a separate PC. Then, you decide you want
> better sounding mic pre's, so you buy a couple of those. Then, you realize
> that most inexpensive anlaog compressors (FMR audio, Presonus) sound better
> than digital compressor algorithms, so you add a few of those. At this
> point, you are way more complex than your Studio 32 and Cakewalk PC.
>
> Add to that the fact that you most likely skimped on the patchcords and
> patchbay for your setup (which is what I did early on) and that is the
> primary reason it is getting in the way of your creativity. It's probably
> still confusing for you to simply mic 4 instruments, arm 4 tracks to record
> in Cakewalk, and get the proper levels and gain structure, and then hit
> record and play. This is the basic nominal setup that should be done prior
> to even saying "I have a recording studio".
>
> Remember when you were using the Tascam? You would simply route the inputs
> with switches, arm the tracks and make sure it was recording and press
> record. The basic nominal setup that you needed to worry about was already
> in that machine, and, hard wired that way with basic, 3-way switches. The
> modern digital studio in a box is not that way, there are hundreds of
> "virtual knobs and patchbays" inside them, and you can set up the gain
> strucutre and be troubleshooting routing for days, just as you will with
> your Studio 32 and real wires and knobs. If you got that current set up to
> be up and running in a nominal fashion, I think the quality of recordings
> you could do would be comparable to a digital box unit.
>
> I could be wrong; there might be better operating systems on the new boxes
> out there that are aimed at creativity more than features. Just don't
> expect everything in your list, and don't expect to learn advanced things in
> under 3 months or so depending on the system.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Rick


hey there

my two cents... the vs1680 is/was pretty good for the money and not
too hard to navigate as far as I am concerned. If you don't know too
much about recording, I'd start out with a analog 4 track tascam and
build your way up. Can't run before you learn to walk. you can spend
$200 bucks and fiddle around with the thing until you get the hang of
the in and outs of recording.

hope that helps a little
later,

dan powers
"real brave audio"
Anonymous
August 6, 2004 10:34:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

for now my workaround is turning out to be pretty easy...
i pulled out my old dead tascam 4 track (the mixer still works)
and use it as the output or mixdown mixer, and use my other 4 track
as the input mixer. it is much easier having two physically separate
mixers for this, no having to worry about signal routing or busses or
anything.
these go into cakewalk, and with 2 monitors, i can get the track view
& mixer view all at once. it's pretty easy. i am still considering
which studio to get, and the Yamaha AW16G is still looking good -
records 8 tracks at once (key for my purposes!), doubles as a control
surface (might come in handy). the learning curve doesnt seem too
impossible (comes with a video) - i probably will only use it for
straightforward tracking anyway. still shopping though.
!