Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fiddly but cheap

Basically there are no portable little desktop workstations which will record more than 8 tracks at a time. As far as I can tell. And Yamaha seems to simply be out of the market.
But here's the thing: I have a Tascam 680 (six-channel) portable recorder. And I also co-own a Sound Devices 702 which has very nice preamps. And then Greg has a Fostex 2-channel machine. So if, and yeah it's annoying, but if we used all three machines we'd have 10 channels of pure love.
The Tascam US-2000 is the only sub-$1000 box that'll help. I mean, it needs a computer but at least it's USB. Yeah, there are some standalone 16-track machines at about $500 but meh.

The line inputs on the US-2000 can only handle +20dBu. And the mic inputs are even worse, only being able to put up with +12dBu before they crap out. For those of you playing along at home the "instrument" level inputs will only do +16.
(Ugh. I hate typing "+" in blogger now because it apparently wants me to link things to some dumb Google Hangouts thingy. Bleh.)
So, getting back to recording on three separate recorders. It's very fiddly. And one has to line up the tracks all by hand. Truthfully I end up lining up tracks by hand much of the time anyway.

Okay but I still have to figure out how we want to split out the tracks. We'll be recording at 48kHz and 24-bit. We're doing that just... because. I don't even want to have to justify it anymore, it's just the way things are.

Kick -- Lindell preamp 1
Snare -- Lindell preamp 2 to Fostex
OH L -- Neve 1
OH R -- Neve 2
Tom 1 -- Sound Devices 702 Left
Tom 2 -- Sound Devices 702 Right
Bass -- Aphex tube preamp 2
Greg's guitar -- Neve 3. Or. Or we could use a Lindell preamp (because we did one recording with the Lindell and it sounded pretty good) is a possibility. If we were to do that we could flip one of the Neves to the kick (which also tends to work as a room mic.)
Drew's guitar -- Neve 4
Adjunct bass -- because what band doesn't need two basses? This would be a Countryman or an Aphex channel to the right channel of the Fostex

So that's 10 channels of recording. Three recorders -- the Tascam, a Fostex, and a Sound Devices. We have 8 outboard mic preamps (two Lindell, four Neve, two Aphex). This will work. And it'll only be slightly annoying to set up. And slightly annoying to re-align and mix.
The other option is some other sort of recorder. I don't know. But now you don't know as much as I don't know. So there.

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