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Old 07-09-2023, 12:33 AM
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tinnitus tinnitus is offline
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Default Tascam Digital Portastudio vs. Studio One

I'd like to make some simple 2-4 track recordings for practicing. Basically put down a rhythm guitar track and then add some leads over that, and maybe some vocals. Lo-Fi is fine.

Studio One has been daunting thus far, making me feel like I need to learn a lot more about computers, software, latency, add-on effects, mixdown, saved file formats, etc.

I've successfully used an old Fostex 4-track cassette recorder in the past. That's really all I need. I just didn't like the quality (with ghost bass bleed-over between tracks even after erasing etc. - that's a LOT of signal to put on a 1/4 wide tape). But at least I knew what I was doing with that simple deck.

Would something like the Tascam DP03-SD be more user-friendly for an old-schooler like me? Anyone here using this particular gadget?

Last edited by tinnitus; 07-09-2023 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 07-09-2023, 07:39 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
I'd like to make some simple 2-4 track recordings for practicing. Basically put down a rhythm guitar track and then add some leads over that, and maybe some vocals. Lo-Fi is fine.

Studio One has been daunting thus far, making me feel like I need to learn a lot more about computers, software, latency, add-on effects, mixdown, saved file formats, etc.

I've successfully used an old Fostex 4-track cassette recorder in the past. That's really all I need. I just didn't like the quality (with ghost bass bleed-over between tracks even after erasing etc. - that's a LOT of signal to put on a 1/4 wide tape). But at least I knew what I was doing with that simple deck.

Would something like the Tascam DP03-SD be more user-friendly for an old-schooler like me? Anyone here using this particular gadget?
I often recommend that folks that want to multi-track almost effortlessly do it with a basic digital "all in one" recorder. There are several advantages to doing that for a home recordist.

Small format machines lets you record anywhere, often only requiring a few batteries and a set of headphones. Pick the spot that gives you the greatest recording experience and/or best sound. Under a tree at the park or sitting on the edge of your bathroom tub, it's all easy.

Most use high capacity removable media such as SD cards and are totally quiet with no need for a cooling fan.

You have instant satisfaction, recording, mixing, and listening to your creation, all without needing to leave your living room easy chair.

These machines are fantastic for capturing audio, and you have the option of migrating your recorded tracks to a computer. Doing your edits on a actual DAW, using a audio interface and good monitors is something I also recommend.

As far as which machine to purchase I'd also recommend that it gives you the ability to record at 24 bits, which the Tascam portable does not. Recording at 24 bits will give you the ability to edit and mix later with the result of much better sounding recordings.

I've been an advocate of the hugely successful and popular Zoom R8 in the past, but it looks like Zoom is discontinuing them, although new units may still be available for around $200. These are a great option, and are almost as easy to operate as an old cassette recorder. Zoom is migrating to a newer version with touch screen, the R12. It's a fine option, although it doesn't have all the capabilities of the older R8. Zoom has opted to produce an even simpler unit, so that's at least an advantage.

The Zoom Livetrak L8 is also a contender, but geared more towards live sound and recording all its inputs simultaneously.

Tascam does now make some multitrackers that record at 24 bits, but the price is higher.

You could also use a simple looper setup if you're just looking to make quick and easy background tracks to play also to. See my "How do YOU use a looper?" AGF topic.

Last edited by Rudy4; 07-09-2023 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 07-09-2023, 08:26 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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If you're practicing and want simple lay down some chords and then solo over facilities, you're describing a looper pedal. That's something smaller than even most digital recorders. For that simple kind of thing the OP asks for it to do you don't even need the fancier stuff deluxe loopers can do.

I still make use of my Digitech Trio pedal when I have just a few minutes to limber up the old fingers and stretch my noodling, rhythm and chord progression chops. The Trio may be more than the OP needs, but I like playing against drum patterns more than a metronome.
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Old 07-09-2023, 11:07 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
I'd like to make some simple 2-4 track recordings for practicing. Basically put down a rhythm guitar track and then add some leads over that, and maybe some vocals. Lo-Fi is fine.

Studio One has been daunting thus far, making me feel like I need to learn a lot more about computers, software, latency, add-on effects, mixdown, saved file formats, etc.

I've successfully used an old Fostex 4-track cassette recorder in the past. That's really all I need. I just didn't like the quality (with ghost bass bleed-over between tracks even after erasing etc. - that's a LOT of signal to put on a 1/4 wide tape). But at least I knew what I was doing with that simple deck.

Would something like the Tascam DP03-SD be more user-friendly for an old-schooler like me? Anyone here using this particular gadget?
There is a certain freedom in being away from the computer. I'm positive the visuals of a DAW are sonically distracting. I use the computer for mixing at my day job, but if I'm mixing music/cues, I use a Tascam Model 24 and remove myself from the computer screen altogether. I really miss my old Roland VS880, as it was yet another example of being away from the computer and its distractions.

All of that said, the Tascam is a really great little solution, and I'm sure it would meet your needs and then some. I'd also look towards the Zoom line (as has been mentioned) as they have a fair amount of computer-less devices. A little Zoom H4n Pro would also fit the needs you described.
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Old 07-09-2023, 11:38 AM
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Studio One has been daunting thus far, making me feel like I need to learn a lot more about computers, software, latency, add-on effects, mixdown, saved file formats, etc.
Are you stuck at just trying to get S1 up and running, or have you successfully recorded something with it? If you have, then it can be set-it-and-forget-it. If it works fine, don't worry about latency or adding effects or anything. Just record your tracks.

Things like mix down and saving your final project in a particular format will still need to be done, regardless of what your recording device is.

It would help to know where you are in your recording journey at this point. What kind of gear do you have now, and what have you done with it?
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Old 07-09-2023, 02:50 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Computer based recording isn't for everyone and there are plenty of multi-track digital recorders available for not a lot of money. Given what you say your expectations are, I advise you to stick with what you're comfortable with, Tascam or otherwise.
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Old 07-09-2023, 03:30 PM
nickv6 nickv6 is offline
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Tascam 008 even simpler to use. Good quality built in mics, really very like using an old tape multirecorder
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Old 07-11-2023, 06:51 AM
dilver dilver is offline
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Make the jump. I held off switching to a DAW for years, favoring a Roland 1680 (you can buy these CHEAP now). Like you, I was intimidated by what I didnít know having never used any kind of audio software before. But once I got past a learning curve, I canít believe I waited this long. Opens up so many possibilities and flexibilities and the sound quality is outstanding. Studio One is one of the easier software to learn and there are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to get started.
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Old 07-11-2023, 09:21 AM
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I'm looking online at a Tascam DP-006 that I can grab for $60. At first I didn't like the idea of no XLR inputs for mics. But the more I think about it, the more those built-in mics appeal to me.

Not looking for hi-fidelity. I just basically want a notepad to record rhythm guitar tracks and then add my lead parts. Play them back together and then work on refinements.

Taught myself in 1970 to play electric guitar in various bands. Switching to an acoustic duo now requires some different tools - beyond standing by the record player and jamming until I have it.
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Old 07-11-2023, 10:40 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
I'm looking online at a Tascam DP-006 that I can grab for $60. At first I didn't like the idea of no XLR inputs for mics. But the more I think about it, the more those built-in mics appeal to me.

Not looking for hi-fidelity. I just basically want a notepad to record rhythm guitar tracks and then add my lead parts. Play them back together and then work on refinements.

Taught myself in 1970 to play electric guitar in various bands. Switching to an acoustic duo now requires some different tools - beyond standing by the record player and jamming until I have it.
You will find out what you like. For you, a "portastudio" standalone may be comforting. You choice may not even be logical, doesn't have to be.

I said something up-thread, and later thought I should return and apologize for not understanding that may want to do more than just play one track and play over it. But as you restate your needs it sounds like that simple case again. If you're just looking to practice playing chords and then playing parts over the top of them, a looper pedal is a tool designed for just that, and some have metronome and or drum functions that may be key features to help players in developing their chops.

I've been committed to using computer recording for a couple of decades now, but I still keep a handheld recorder around, which I traditionally used for jotting down ideas or recording outdoors (including "sound effects" I'd use in some compositions.) These days I find it mostly sits on the shelf as I have a smartphone that's good enough.
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Old 07-11-2023, 10:53 AM
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keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
I'm looking online at a Tascam DP-006 that I can grab for $60. At first I didn't like the idea of no XLR inputs for mics. But the more I think about it, the more those built-in mics appeal to me.

Not looking for hi-fidelity. I just basically want a notepad to record rhythm guitar tracks and then add my lead parts. Play them back together and then work on refinements.

Taught myself in 1970 to play electric guitar in various bands. Switching to an acoustic duo now requires some different tools - beyond standing by the record player and jamming until I have it.
I have reservations about buying used electronics. Make sure you can return it, otherwise, it's no bargain. But, if it does what you want, it's a cheap way to get started. (Note that, if you have one, most current "smartphones" have all the capability you need, though you'd have to find an app that suits you. Current phones probably even have a better mic than that Tascam.)
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Old 07-12-2023, 12:50 PM
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tinnitus tinnitus is offline
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Found this Zoom H4n Pro on Craigslist yesterday. Cheap, barely used and with a solid demonstration from the seller. It's tiny! Very portable, and I like that I can use it with or without cables, external mics, etc. Seriously, I can wrap it in a soft rag (for padding) and leave it in my guitar case.

Not super-anxious to slog through the 156-page .pdf manual online, I reviewed a couple helpful YouTube tutorials instead. Maybe it's just the way my luddite brain works, but I find this machine a lot easier to understand than what I've endured thus far trying computer software (just one player's experience/opinion).
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Last edited by tinnitus; 07-12-2023 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 07-12-2023, 04:37 PM
Hoyt Hoyt is offline
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Have used a lot of digital recorders. Tascam 008 is the easiest to use, it sounds great just adding a little reverb and eq. Iíve had several Zoom recorders too, but Tascams always sound better.
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Old 07-21-2023, 04:52 PM
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tinnitus tinnitus is offline
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Lots going on here lately and I'm just learning the basics. Not too concerned about file size or pristine fidelity (not making an album - it's just a practice tool) but I do want to be as compatible/universal as possible. It seems I can record in MP3 or WAV format with the Zoom. What's my best bet?

Last edited by tinnitus; 07-21-2023 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 07-21-2023, 08:11 PM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is online now
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My standard is 44.1 and 24-bit for most stuff. I don't get too caught up in that stuff, though. For work, yes, as I must meet specs, but for all my music, 44.1 and 24-bit is fine.

I can do MP3 if I must, but the old duplicate a track and phase invert sheds some hideous noise. It takes no energy to do otherwise.

Not to dismiss family and friends, but if the performance is stellar, it just doesn't matter. MP 3 with an outstandingly played track will absolutely do
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