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Question re: purchasing gear

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by jgamble, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. jgamble


    Jan 31, 2008
    Long time reader, first time poster... I've checked out some of the FAQ's at the top, but I really couldn't find what I needed. I'm sorry in advance if my questions are stupid...

    I have a DR 880 and the usual bass stuff. What I'd like to do is record my bass playing with the drum machine. I rarely use my amp (duplex - can't make much noise), so I can run my bass directly into whatever...

    I've been looking at the TASCAM 8 track digital recorders, but, as I understand it, one can only record two mono signals or one stereo signal at the same time. Obviously I could record the drum machine first and then play bass to it... but I'd prefer just to keep everything plugged in and running rather than having to stop, unplug etc...

    My question is: is there a simple way one could record the DR 880 in stereo and the bass signal (without routing the bass through the DR 880) using that TASCAM? Am I missing something?

    If not, could one purchase as small mixer to mix down the bass and DR 880 to a stereo signal and then take that out to the two tracks on the TASCAM?

    Right now I'm just recording myself practicing and ideas, but I'd prefer to overbuy a little than underbuy and have to repurchase new stuff a year down the road.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. A mixer is a good option, it would allow you to keep everything plugged in, that is often what I do. Do you really need to record the drum machine and your bass both in stereo? Does you drum machine have a midi input? If so you can synch it to the Tascam and save the track for later.
    The Tascam is a great machine for home recording and IMO it's only down fall is when you need more tracks or need to record more than 2 tracks at a time. I have been using a DP-01FX for several years now and am looking to gear up a bit to get more tracks for input and recording.
  3. jgamble


    Jan 31, 2008
    This is where my lack of experience shows.

    Yes, the DR 880 has midi in/out and also has a digital out as well.

    I don't need to record my bass in stereo. Isn't that pretty much a mono signal anyway? It's the DR 880 that is stereo... So I was thinking I'd need to mix down three signals to two.
  4. The Dr880 may have a stereo out but you don't have to record it in stereo unless it has the sounds panned across a stereo field. My drum machine tracks are in mono until I have the drummer come in which I do record in stereo.
  5. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I haven't used the 880 but I'm pretty sure you'd want to record it in stereo. All the drum machine plugs I've got have panned sounds by default. Bass is just mono anyway so you don't need stereo for that. A mixer should work fine if you end up going the Tascam route.
  6. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Please seriously consider getting a computer set up.

    #1. Built in drum machine with many options. You can play to the recorded drum parts.
    #2. Ease of use, you probably already have a computer.
    #3. Cost. Find a free program or a used version of an older program for dirt cheap.

    I am tired, so this post may be badly writen. However at least check into a computer set up. You can use home stereo or headphones and do not need monitors.
    The only thing that will cost you is a decent sound card. But that will cost you less than a mixer and perform the same function.

    Presonus fireboxes go for $400 and less now new. I do not know the price used.

    If you do not have a computer with 512 ram and a decent processor you may be out of luck though.

    Just my opinion.

    OH, even if you get a program like cool edit pro with no drum machine you can still just plug into the firepod. You can adjust your monitoring level with it and do all sorts of other things that are very easy and make recording much less of a headache than the tascam was for me.

  7. dbcandle


    Jan 30, 2008
    A very low-end mixer would be one approach, assuming you have software and a soundcard that works for you.

    As suggested above, another would be a software drum machine, though you probably can't easily record from a free drum machine.

    For $150, you could get Cakewalk Sonar Home Edition XL, which comes with "Session Drummer 2". That would handle recording and the drum-machine.
  8. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    If you just want to record your drum machine and bass then the cheapest way is just to use your PC.

    The minimum you need is some software and a sound card...

    M-audio make some reasonable soundcards...

    This Delta 44 comes with some free software and would probably do you for the time being. I have had the Delta 66 for 7 years and it has been reliable and sounds good. Never used the S/pdif though.

    You may need a preamp to get an acceptable recording sound from your bass. A sansamp pedal will give a quality DI or the aphex pedals have useful effects for bass and a DI out. You will need to compress bass so it may be an idea to look at the punch factory...

    I don't think you need a hardware mixer at the moment. Get one of them when you have lots of hardware!!
  9. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I would recommend going PC as well, assuming you currently have one that will work. If you use a standalone recorder you'll need to bring it into a computer at some point anyway if you really want to do much with it. Getting a solid PC recording setup can get frustrating and expensive pretty quick though, just a warning. :)
  10. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    How much do you want to spend? Once you get past the entry-level gear, it's common to find recorders that will record more than two tracks at a time.

    I have two recording rigs: a Windows computer running Adobe Audition, and a stand-alone digital recorder (Korg D888). The Korg gets used to capture rehearsals and gigs (and I'm currently using it to record a series of lectures -- it's very portable). I can record up to 8 tracks simultaneously with either setup.

    If you only have two tracks at a time, you can record the drum machine in mono. I prefer stereo, and I ordinarily record the drum machine first, then record the bass/rhythm guitar etc as overdubs. If you must record them together, and you have only stereo inputs, put the drum machine on one track and the bass on the other. I recorded many a rehearsal with only a single overhead mic and a bass drum mic for the drums, due to running out of available tracks, and it worked fine.

    The bass will do fine in mono. All you get with a stereo recording is the doubling of the space used on the hard drive.
  11. jgamble


    Jan 31, 2008
    I ended up getting a Portastudio DP02F from Musician's Friend after Guitar Center (again) screwed the whole thing up. Best part, it was $50 off because it says "Portastud" on it.

    I got it yesterday and I've been having a blast with it, but I have a question... It feels like I have to crank the inputs to get something out of my bass. I'm plugging in directly using a MXR M-80 and a regular 1/4 patch... Clearly I am doing something wrong. Do I need to use a XLR cable with phantom power?

    Thanks for all the responses. I agree that, at some point, I'll want to set up something with a PC... but a smaller set-up is perfect for me right now.
  12. hunta


    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Do you have the selector switch on the back set to guitar?
  13. jgamble


    Jan 31, 2008
  14. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    Do you mean the TAscam tascam dp-02cf?

    Plenty of musicians prefer this kind of thing to software based recording with a PC or mac.

    Try the tascam forums if you want to discuss how to use the thing...
  15. jgamble


    Jan 31, 2008
    Yeah, sorry. That's the beast. I'll check over there. Just in case someone sees this, I tried connecting with an XLR cable last night and got the same results.
  16. kirbicle


    Feb 19, 2008
    Greenville, SC
    I am considering purchasing this one as well, except the DP-02 w/ FX/CD. Please let us know if you get this issue resolved and how you did it. This is my first serious purchase in relation to recording equipment.

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