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multi track vs mixer and wave editor

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Stingray, Jan 18, 2002.


  1. multitrack desktop studio setup

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. multitrack sound card and computer program

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. mixer into computer and recording program

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  4. mixer into hard disk or adat and or cd recorder

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Stingray

    Stingray

    May 12, 2000
    hey i was wonderin before i make a decision on what to buy as to what you guys think.

    Im lookin to buy either a boss br-8 multitrack recorder but then i saw that i could get a mixer board with the same amount of inputs possible. is it better to use a multitrack recorder or a mixer and then use some sort of editor sound mess with the final product. if im lookin for professional sounding recordings
     
  2. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    A very important question follows: What are you going to record?

    And you can't record anything with a mixer. A mixer does not hold any tapes or hard drive to record onto. What they do is providing a number of microphone preamps and the ability to mix multiple sources into one single stereo channel, and possibly blend in signals from external FX hardware.

    To get "professional sounding" recordings, you need professional-grade gear, and you also need to know how to use it.
    One way is to go is to invest in some old reel-to-reel studio tape recorder or ADAT machines, but that greatly limits your editing capabilities - you can't really "cheat" as much as you can do in the hard disk domain. The other way is to invest in a good sound card, capable of recording 24 bit audio... they go for around $150 and up.

    Other than the sound card, you need a pro-grade mic preamp, and while you can achieve very good results using lesser preamps, a $3K box is usually what makes things sound REALLY good on tape. But you don't need that to make it sound good, a decent preamp would go for around $200 and up.

    Another thing you'd have to do in order to get these "professional sounding" recordings, is getting a pair of studio monitors and learn how to mix properly. Studio monitors go for say, $250 a pair, but then you also need a clean and quiet power amp to make them sound... roughly another $250.

    If you don't have a good computer already, you need some investments there as well. If your hard drives are IDE, 7200 RPM ones are required to get the most out of it. 128 MB RAM is also seen as minimum. But only because you meet these requirements doesn't that necessarily mean that your computer will cut it as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) - due to the enigmatic nature of computers and the very demanding task of audio multitracking, you should consider yourself lucky if you have a regular home PC and it doesn't crap out on you with dropouts, pops and click, blue screens of death etc.

    So if all you'll do is sit and play by yourself, and you don't already have a good computer, a stand-alone unit such as the Boss one might be the right tool for the job. Computers can be very powerful, but also be a source to a number of problems.

    Sorry if this was incoherent, I feel like I'm still asleep. Ask again if you don't understand what I wrote.
     
  3. Stingray

    Stingray

    May 12, 2000
    i was just thinking of running all of the bands intruments into the mixer then sending the one stereo channel out into my computer and the using some sort of high grade sound recorder to record it will this work. and i do have a high grade conputer that i built. the sound card may only make ok to good recordings but the computer and ram are setup for doing such things.
     
  4. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    The only problem I can see with a setup like that is that you have to get it right from the beginning. Typically when you record something, you first do the tracking and THEN the mixing. Here you will have to mix BEFORE tracking. It's by all means possible to get a decent-sounding recording from it, but it will take a lot of experimenting and test recordings to see if the levels and mic placements are right. However, you will not be able to do much editing, and especially with drums, there usually is a lot of editing involved (noise gating, EQ, reverb) to get a pro-grade sound. You can apply these effects beforehand using hardware effects units (takes even more experimenting and testing), but one of the beauties with hard disk recording is the way you can apply effects afterwards using software plug-ins.

    If you don't have the hardware and the skills and you're unlucky, everything will bleed into every microphone to create one big mess out of everything.

    I would be careful using this approach. It's doable but I would not be confident to get "professional sounding" recordings from it. I would rather invest in a 10-track DAW setup, such as the M-Audio Delta 1010, Soundtrack C-Port or Aardvark Q10. They cost more than just a mixer (and with the C-Port and 1010 you'd still need to buy a lot of preamps = a mixer), but having each instrument/microphone on a separate track makes it a whole lot easier to get a good result in the end.