Jump to content

multi track recorders


andy_s

Recommended Posts

can anyone recommend a good hard disc multitrack recorder - reasonable budget, up to 3k or maybe a bit more, that works like the old multitrack tape machines - i.e. record many tracks seperately, then playback many tracks simultaneously to a mixing desk for further mixdown / routing? I don't think things like the Roland digital recording studios (eg BR1600CD) quite fit the bill, as the y don't appear to have multiple outputs, and that's all I seem to come up with from google.

 

any hints gratefully received - I'm a bit behind the times. Give me a B&& and I'm OK, but talk to me in bits and I get confused......

 

Andy

 

 

Oops - I held the shift key down too long - what I meant to say above was "B77"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can anyone recommend a good hard disc multitrack recorder - reasonable budget, up to 3k or maybe a bit more, that works like the old multitrack tape machines - i.e. record many tracks seperately, then playback many tracks simultaneously to a mixing desk for further mixdown / routing? I don't think things like the Roland digital recording studios (eg BR1600CD) quite fit the bill, as the y don't appear to have multiple outputs, and that's all I seem to come up with from google.

 

any hints gratefully received - I'm a bit behind the times. Give me a B&& and I'm OK, but talk to me in bits and I get confused......

 

Andy

 

£3K will get you quite a bit, I take it that your not looking for something computer based?

 

24 track doesn't get much easier/simpler than the mackie HD24/96: alesis also make a simular model as does fostex. all these will only set you back around £2K tops.

 

I assume that you'll be taking the direct outs of your desk in as some kind of live recording, if not you'll need a desk or splitter which will do this for you. All these kinds of recorders use line level inputs: so a desk is a must (sorry if I'm stating the obvious)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can anyone recommend a good hard disc multitrack recorder - reasonable budget, up to 3k or maybe a bit more, that works like the old multitrack tape machines - i.e. record many tracks seperately, then playback many tracks simultaneously to a mixing desk for further mixdown / routing? I don't think things like the Roland digital recording studios (eg BR1600CD) quite fit the bill, as the y don't appear to have multiple outputs, and that's all I seem to come up with from google.

 

any hints gratefully received - I'm a bit behind the times. Give me a B&& and I'm OK, but talk to me in bits and I get confused......

 

Andy

 

£3K will get you quite a bit, I take it that your not looking for something computer based?

 

24 track doesn't get much easier/simpler than the mackie HD24/96: alesis also make a simular model as does fostex. all these will only set you back around £2K tops.

 

I assume that you'll be taking the direct outs of your desk in as some kind of live recording, if not you'll need a desk or splitter which will do this for you. All these kinds of recorders use line level inputs: so a desk is a must (sorry if I'm stating the obvious)

great - it may be obvious to you, and it's becoming clearer to me.... so many thanks.

right - I'm not interested in computer based systems, so having looked up mackie, alesis, etc, this is a useful avenue to explore. I like the mackie's "buttons like your mama used to make" - these look just like the ones on a B77 (Revox reel to reel quarter inch tape industry standard, for you younger ones. I used to really enjoy using sharp implements to do my editing....in fact B77s came with a built-in razor blade for easy editing)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the past couple of years I've worked with the Mackies and the Alesis. Apart from the heavyweight editing Mackies, the 'usuall' ones are all under a grand now.

 

File transfer via usb on the Mackies is a bit of a pain. you tell the machine to go into hard disc mode and then use explorer or similar to copy files accross. The alesis is very similar but uses a cat5 network cable to do the same thing. I bought an alesis hd24 and am really pleased with it. Best advantage over the mackie is simply that it can use pretty well any computer type HD you have knocking around, or buy. They go into two caddies on the front, and storage is cheap enough to actually buy a hd and stick it in the nice box they give you on the shelf, like a reel of tape. Only odd thing is that they record in blocks of 8 tracks, so if you want 9 active tracks, you still record, and use disk space for 16. Still, at the price of storage, who cares?

 

Best bit is that any of my computers can draw files from it over my network - something not possible with the mackies via usb

 

It is also a pin for pin replacement for the old alesis adat. I have one in a rack and take it out for live recordings - seems very reliable. VERY simple to work. Track labelling is the only issue on both machines - forward and backward buttons, then next letter, and so on. A k/b would be nice, but there we go. Neither have any form of level control - you feed it from the mixer and it returns at same level. Transfer to a pc for editing is quite simple - I do it via optical with 2 fibres into my pc and then use the network for any tracks over 16 (i.e. 17-24). This seems quickest.

 

Hope this helps. If you're anywhere Lowestoft, you're welcome to come and have a play - pm me for details

p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was looking for one last year, my main thing was for Live Recording, so obviously 24 channels of Simultaneous Recording was important.

 

I was interested in the Alesis HD24 because of its price and the company's fame from the ADAT, But I was told that the model didn't have proper hard disk management, it wasted HDD space.

 

I couldn't afford the Mackie HDR24, so I eventually got the Fostex D2424LV which I managed to get on 24months 0% finance - The shop list out big time on that deal! (they were originally not gonna do it, but did in the end).

 

The benefit of the Mackie HDR24 is that it has software on it which allows you to connect a monitor to it and edit visually, which to me is a very big plus point - you can see the wave forms etc. The down point is that the analogUE(!) inputs are via their own random multipin connectors whic you have to buy separately at the sorts of prices that mackie seem to charge.

 

Whereas with the Fostex D2424LV, you get 24 TRS Balanced Jack inputs and 24 TRS Balanced Jack outputs along with the other optical, midi, time clock etc inputs.

 

With the Fostex, you can also get the optional Ethernet card, which allows you to FTP it from a PC and transfer all the audio tracks to your PC, because it records in .WAV format.

 

I don't know if the mackie or the alesis do this or not.

 

I also know that the Fostex has a second drive bay for either a second HDD or a DVD-RAM drive.

 

When I got my Fostex, I was told it came with a 40GB HDD, but when it came, it had an 80GB HDD! - much to my delight of course. The other brands seemed to be rather stingy with their provision - I think the Alesis only had a 20GB, and possibly the Mackie too.

 

But this was all a year ago, and I think Alesis have since brought out a new version of the HD24 - so it may be better now (one would hope so)!

 

Anyway, I've rambled on for far too long, hope this info helps

 

Mr. Si

 

Fathered Sounds

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the alesis came with a 40G drive, but I run 80's in both drive bays normally. Their proprietry disk system does waste space (as I mentioned, by recording only in 8/16/24 rack mode) the mackies will record just one track if you want. The alesis has the same 24 ins and outs on jacks. record format is wav and aiff so mac and pc people are happy.

 

I think the mackie has also had a bios upgrade to allow bigger disks to be used - I don't think they used to be able to mount more than a 40G drive?

 

The old mackie sdr24 was the machine I compared the alesis to - now discontinued which is a shame.

 

I'm not familiar with the Fostex, but it sounds fine to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can vouch for Alesis HD24 as well.

Very straightforward to use and being able to chuck just about any IDE hard drive is handy. Cost you under £1000 if you shop around.

 

100 gig drive will give you around 7.5 hours of 24 tracks for just £35 Ebuyer

 

This makes it pretty cost effective.

Transfer to a pc is simple operation using ethernet port. Painfully slow if you are transferring large files though.

There is a Fireport adaptor available that makes transfer considerably faster.

 

Well worth taking a look at.

 

All the best,

 

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Thought I'd ressurect an old thread rather than starting a new one!

 

I am now in need of 24 track live recording. My desk is an AH GL2400 so direct outs on all channels (well, 22 of them).

 

The Alesis HD24 is now around the £760 mark (studiospares) which seems pretty damn good to me. My local soundcontrol will match this so I have a local supplier too.

However I am looking at a second hand Mackie SDR. I've read the SOS reviews on it and it reads pretty similair to the Alesis, however the new price tag is (was) a lot higher. The question is, which is better? The Mackie has looms provided so the 25 pin D connections aren't an issue. Somebody mentioned the Mackie SDR's have had a few issues and that they saw a lot of units returned with faults. Is this true or was it a sales pitch for the Alesis?

My last question, how much thought do you have to give to your recording whilst doing your live gig? Does the direct output level match the input level of the multitrack exactly and how much headroom is there? Whilst we all fight for that perfect 0dB level there's always the one channel that's peaking out, even if there's no audible distortion (I'm going off of the mini LED VU's on the AH here so not the most accurate metering) and knowing digital recorders have little like for distortion, I wondered how likely it will be that the recording would be unuseable? Does anybody make a rackmount, 24 channel amp/attenuator to tweak levels to suit multitrack recorders or am I overcomplicating things?

 

My idea is for a 6U rack with 3U recorder, 2U mastering recorder (DAT or MD) and then a 1U 2 channel mic pre-amp. This is because I will have 2 channels of multicore free for a pair of ambient mics which needn't go anywhere near the desk and may as well have their own pre amp to keep the desk tidy. Any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not changed my mind since 2005, and the HD24 Alesis is the same one in the rack with no problems at all. The only thing I can think of that annoys me was that it's pretty essential to have a fireport to transfer data quickly - I still haven't got one and am still transfering files via the network which is longwinded. The only other thing I don't like is that you have to record in blocks of 8, meaning sometime 7 wasted tracks. With decent disk capacity it isn't a problem. One thing you mention about levels is interesting. I always had a suspicion that the original tape based ADATS were a bit conservative on their level readings - going into the red from time to time by accident didn't produce anywhere near the noise DAT machines do (did?), and the HD24 seems similar. Tapes recorded with peaks indicating full scale often have a dB or 2 spare at the top when you look at the files in the editor. I would certainly buy another.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's very reassuring to hear Paul, thanks! I have an 8 track portastudio jobbie already, so when this is rolled out, it will be purely for 24 channel gigs, so hopefully track wastage won't be an issue.

Can you transfer files direct into software such as Cubase SX? That would be extremely useful! In effect to have all 24 channels lined up and be able to perform drop-ins and copy/past on screen. I know there are more expensive HDR's that can have a screen attached but this would be an ideal setup for me. For the time being mixdown will be purely back through the mixer at a later date to probably my laptop until I can afford a decent mastering recorder. Question is, MD, DAT or straight to CD? In my studio days I mastered to DAT and then a straight transfer to CD once I was happy with the DAT mix. With CDRW recorders, is this as big an issue nowadays?

 

Thanks for the input so far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not changed my mind since 2005, and the HD24 Alesis is the same one in the rack with no problems at all. The only thing I can think of that annoys me was that it's pretty essential to have a fireport to transfer data quickly - I still haven't got one and am still transfering files via the network which is longwinded.

used to do it via the network before, then I downloaded this. simple! and free. don't waste your money buying a firewire interface.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only other thing I don't like is that you have to record in blocks of 8, meaning sometime 7 wasted tracks.

 

The current HD24 firmware lets you record 2, 6, 8, 16 or 24 tracks. I use it quite a bit just as a two track recorder. Perhaps overkill but it does the job just fine.

 

Re: Input headroom - 0dBfs is claimed to be +19dBu. I've used the direct outs of an A&H desk before without any headroom problems. If you run the desk around the 0dBu mark, you should be fine. Don't forget this is 24 bit so you can (and should!) leave about 12dB of headroom - the noise floor is low enough not to be an issue.

 

My only gripe is the noise of the internal fan. It can be replaced as it's a standard computer size but I've not yet done so. It's only an issue in studio classical music scenarios though; for gigs, it won't be noticeable.

 

There have been reports of problems if it's exposed to heavy vibration (i.e. used on stage near drum kit / excessive guitar amps) but if it's in a shock proof rack or simply placed on a padded surface, you can get around that. Also, if it loses power whilst recording, it can appear to lose the entire recording as it only writes the FAT when you press stop. The software that avdavesound linked to can rescue it though. Some people find the track arming buttons a bit small, but I have little girly fingers so don't have a problem there.

 

Despite the above niggles, I can heartily recommend it. I'm sure other HDRs have their issues too, but this is the only one I know much about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.