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Fostex MR-8.... and a question or two....

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by jblaven, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. jblaven


    Nov 18, 2002
    Ok, I am trying to decide between using my home computer and a digital workstation to record music.

    I will be recording at different places.
    Recording acoustic guitar, acoustic and electric bass, vocals.

    More times than not, I will have to take the recording equipment with me to my parents house, church, etc. A desktop PC is not an easy thing to take around. Below is what I am thinking about.

    Things I have:
    PIII 1000MHz Laptop with USB & 30Gig HD
    Acoustic Guitar
    Electric Bass

    Things I need (or should I say want :p ):
    Fostex MR-8
    Pickup for Acoustic Guitar.... or could I use the mic?

    Do I need a preamp for the mic?


    So I am thinking about using the Fostex MR-8 to record the music, and the laptop to store it.

    Would this be the most inexpensive way to get mobile digital recordings on multiple tracks?

    Oh yeah, recording two tracks at a time is ok with me.

    Are there any pitfalls of this setup? Have I left any critical components out?:rolleyes:


  2. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    That is (with a different computer) my setup. I just got the MR-8 last month. I plan on using it for songwriting, as kind of an audio sketch pad. I didn't want to fight latency issues and be tied to the computer when recording. I still plan on doing my mixing, editing, etc. on the computer.

    You know about the 2 track simultaneous recording limit - that's good. All the amp simulation and built-in mic stuff is, I think, only on input A so you can't expect to use the built-in mic for vocals and the amp simulation for a guitar track simultaneously.

    Two other limitations I'm aware of: length of recording time on the flash card. This is a biggie, depending on how long your songs are. With the provided 128M flash card you can do ~25 "track minutes" of uncompressed recording. Moving to the compressed mode will double that (so recording 2 tracks simultaneously on a "clean" card with no other recordings you can go a max of ~12 1/2 minutes uncompressed or 25 minutes compressed - if you want 4 tracks the max is ~6 1/4 minutes uncompressed, ~3 1/8 minutes uncompressed for 8 tracks). If you can live with this limitation, great. You can buy bigger flash cards, but they aren't cheap. 256M runs about $80-120 and 512M runs about $200-300 (only some of them are guaranteed to work in the Fostex - there's a list somewhere on Fostex' web site of which work although I haven't seen it yet).

    The second limitation is that the USB support is only for Windows 98 second edition and later (WinME, WinXP, Win2K). I have one Win98SE system it doesn't work on and one that it does. As long as the OS you are using is supported you are fine.

    I like it for my application but depending on how much you want to record and whether you have time to upload the recordings off of the MR-8 between songs you may want to look at a hard disk recorder. If I had the funds I would have sprung for one of the hard disk recorders because of the much longer recording time. Bigger or additional compact flash memory can give you more recording time but nothing will approach what a hard disk recorder can do.

    For starting out with it if you've got microphones and XLR cables you are set - it's got built-in preamps for the 2 inputs. You may want the sound of other mic preamps later on but you don't need them to start out. I haven't recorded any acoustic guitar but I would think you could start out micing it and worry about a pickup later if the mic doesn't give you what you want.
  3. I've been looking around for a digital recorder or USB interface. I came across the Tascam US-224 and that interested me. I've also came across the Fostex MR8 and the Fostex VF80. What I want to be able to do is record my songs digitally and have the ability to burn them. I am going to do it all myself. I want to record vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitar, basic drums, background vocals, sampled violins, etc. I have access to my home computer regularly. Which recorder would be the best for me? The Fostex VF80 is intriguing me the most. How are the built-in effects? I'm thinking I would be too limited with the Fostex MR8. And I've heard some complaints about the Tascam US-224. Any advice would be helpful. THANKS!!!

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