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Cheap 4 Track For 4 Piece

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by PUNK&DONUTS, Feb 20, 2001.

  1. I'm looking to purchase a cheap 4 track for a 4 piece band and am wondering what the best and most practical would be since we are mainly looking at using it for taking down ideas and being able to play them back with at least decent sound. Anyone who is in a similar position and has a 4 track, your help would be much appreciated.
  2. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I like the tascam 4 track. It's cheap... but easy to use. Never had a problem with it. Moving on to PC recording now, but still like the quickness and ease of the old tascam.

    I use the porta 2. It has 2 inputs at a time, but 4 tracks total. It cost $130 US.

    Good luck.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    It depends or how many inputs you need to record simultaneously (thank you spell checker) and if you have a mixer knocking about.

    GBrooks porta will be fine if everyone overdubs or you have the aforementioned mixer.

    Look into the 414 mkii and 424 mkiii

    These machines have a 6 channel mixer and with juggling should do what you want on the cheap.

    Overwise its digital 16 track jobbies and they are not cheap.

    By coincidence I have a 424 and have recorded solo and 3 piece (direct to 4 tracks) There are many ways to configure it eg inputs 123 on kit bass on 4 guitars on 5 and 6 record 'live' to tracks 1/2 pan everything to suit and overdub vocals on 3 and bv on 4 using as many singers as youve got .

    Happy hunting
  4. I_Dream_Of_Bass


    Feb 8, 2001
    I agree with CS, I picked up a Tascam 424MkIII and I was actually surprised by how good it worked. Obviously, it's not something to make an album with, but for a basic no-frills 4-track, it's really good. And you can actually get 8 tracks for input, NOT recording, on the 424 if you know how to fanagle it just right (of course 2 of those tracks are 1 stereo input, but you can still use them if you're creative enough.) I currently use this to record practice sessions and live shows to evaluate the performance later.
  5. boxernyc


    Nov 14, 2000
    New York, NY
    I also have the Tascam Porta 02 that was mentioned. I bought it, basically, because it was the most inexpensive. However, the salesman warned me that there is a high pitched hissing that you have to deal with...and he was right. It's great for sketching but I wouldn't use it for a group setting. Do yourself a favor and spend a few extra bucks on a higher end model or an older used model.
  6. I just bought a Tascam Porta 02 from www.blackdot.com.au (in armidale). Cheapest price one i could find in Oz at $380. Very simple, very useful; it's role for me is a "sonic notepad" / for making demos for bandmates. The hiss is there, but not too bad for what it's supposed to do. It's not a semi-pro recording solution - for that go all digital or into a studio.

    The higher range Tascams have noise reduction(dbx) which deals with some of the hiss, but will set you back at least around $650. These also have EQ (very good to have) and 4-track simultaneous recording. The Porta 02 can only record 2 tracks at a time & has no EQ, which means if you're recording demo's to get gigs, etc for people outside the band to listen to you should probably go with the Tascam 414 mkii.

    If you have a mixing desk you could yourselves live in practice with the Porta 02, but have to get the mix right on recording. If this is the main reason you want one though, go a little upmarket to the 414 / 424.

    Note that there are computer-based post-mix noise reduction options - search around, look for a program called Cool Edit.

    Best luck - they're great things to own.
  7. Thanks people for all your help. With a four track is there a way to then put it through a computer and then use programs like "Cool Edit" to get rid of the hiss and maybe clean it up a bit more so we can use it as a demo?
  8. I_Dream_Of_Bass


    Feb 8, 2001
    On the Tascam 424MkIII, there are four "Tape Outs" on the back of the board that will go directly out of the player to whatever you want. However, you need to be able to get 4-inputs into your computer or have incredibly good timing/luck/patience to be able to line up all 4 tracks in the computer otherwise. Although, with some software, you can move each track around in time to line them up with the others.

    Just something to keep in mind...
  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    or you can record in stereo to creative wave as a master with some basic, I said basic, editing functions and encode it to mp3 and stick it on your bands website. Now who do I know that did just that? Me.

    Actually theres not much hiss, hint use the fastest tape speed.
  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    IDOB-it's good to have another 424 user around, they are underated.
  11. What's the best allround program to use?
    My computer is:
    PIII 1G
    128 Ram
    20 GHD
    Sound Blaster Live
    I know the answer will probably differ from person to person but of all the programs you have used which one both price and ease of use as well as quality? Thanks for your help it's much appreciated!
  12. I_Dream_Of_Bass


    Feb 8, 2001

    Don't misunderstand me...I know from personal experience that the unit can do a lot and that someone who has spent significant time with any piece of equipment will have found a multitude of ways to overcome other people's preconceived limitations of that equipment. I just tend to compare everything to the equipment that I was accustomed to using when I worked in a studio. I was also assuming that he wanted to have the four individual tracks recorded into a computer and then edit each individual track in some manner. Your method works well, and you're right about the tape hiss on the 424. The only time I get a really bad sound is when I accidently turn on the dolby switch when I'm moving the unit around. Anyone else ever even use the dolby on the 424??
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Sorry about the lateness of my reply I have a lot of playing to do lately.

    No misunderstanding, I agree with your method but was suggesting another way. I agree totally about the misconceptions surrounding equipment. I have a friend that purposely tries to exceed the purpose of any gear he owns. I also agree that the 424 was not designed to make albums with, BUT I will try it anyway, one day.

    See you around.

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