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  #16  
Old 07-22-2023, 08:40 PM
ghostnote ghostnote is offline
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I recorded many, many hours of band rehearsals for years with a Zoom H4N. I used it in 4-channel mode with two extra condenser mics plugged into the inputs. It made surprisingly good recordings without any fuss or fiddling around, once you place the mics correctly. I canít imagine anything better for that purpose all things considered.
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  #17  
Old 07-23-2023, 10:09 AM
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I recorded many, many hours of band rehearsals for years with a Zoom H4N. I used it in 4-channel mode with two extra condenser mics plugged into the inputs. It made surprisingly good recordings without any fuss or fiddling around, once you place the mics correctly. I can’t imagine anything better for that purpose all things considered.
Sounds kinda similar to want I want to accomplish, record 1-3 tracks with my jam buddy when we practice. Then, later, I can experiment with new blues riffs on an empty track and memorize the good ones.

When I play in real-time, I ad-lib a lot and find myself thinking, "Ooh, that one was a humdinger!" But the song moves on and by the time it's over, that particular moment is long gone. "Like sands through the hourglass" LOL.

Hopefully, recording and reviewing those elusive snippets will feel more like when I was a kid - standing by the record player and memorizing my favorite melodic leads, turnarounds and clean dismounts.

Not trying to re-capture my youth so much as replicate (to some degree) the conditions under which I learned a lot, sometimes several new things every day. There's no reason I can't start growing again, even well into my 60s, and commit my juicier phrases to muscle-memory.

What format do you find is more usable/useful for your recordings? WAV or MP3? Is one superior to the other?

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-22-2023 at 05:35 PM.
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  #18  
Old 09-20-2023, 03:27 PM
BearfootBob BearfootBob is offline
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Recording on PC is great and powerful, and I learned all the troubleshooting in the late 90's, when the first Gadgetlabs 24-bit PCI cards came out. Still the best sounding PC audio I've ever heard.

But the PC has its drawbacks. Too many options often leads to stagnation. And a PC is full of distractions - browsers, email, social media, video games, other creative softwares like photo and video editors. For most people this will impact their output.

I have a Boss BR-800 that is a clever little device. Not very user friendly though like the Tascams. I've used it on a number of projects over the years, though not for my main songwriting material.

I also have a Mixer that records onto 16 channels, and can playback 4 at once, so that is pretty useful for portable, dedicated tracking. You will find several current Tascam Mixer products that are also recorders.

Of the Tascams, I think I most recommend the 8-track one for what you're describing. DP-08EX. Beautifully simple device, and if you want to layer a few extras there's plenty of room.

btw , .WAV has much more data and higher fidelity than mp3. mp3 is a compression format that has been around for decades, and is so good at this point that unless you're using high-end speakers most people are unlikely to be able to tell the difference between .WAV and .mp3. The advantage of mp3 is the files are much smaller, thus you can fit a lot more of them, and they are easier to transfer, email, and etc.
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  #19  
Old 09-22-2023, 11:50 AM
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Recording on PC is great and powerful, and I learned all the troubleshooting in the late 90's, when the first Gadgetlabs 24-bit PCI cards came out. Still the best sounding PC audio I've ever heard.

But the PC has its drawbacks. Too many options often leads to stagnation. And a PC is full of distractions - browsers, email, social media, video games, other creative softwares like photo and video editors. For most people this will impact their output.

I have a Boss BR-800 that is a clever little device. Not very user friendly though like the Tascams. I've used it on a number of projects over the years, though not for my main songwriting material.

I also have a Mixer that records onto 16 channels, and can playback 4 at once, so that is pretty useful for portable, dedicated tracking. You will find several current Tascam Mixer products that are also recorders.

Of the Tascams, I think I most recommend the 8-track one for what you're describing. DP-08EX. Beautifully simple device, and if you want to layer a few extras there's plenty of room.

btw , .WAV has much more data and higher fidelity than mp3. mp3 is a compression format that has been around for decades, and is so good at this point that unless you're using high-end speakers most people are unlikely to be able to tell the difference between .WAV and .mp3. The advantage of mp3 is the files are much smaller, thus you can fit a lot more of them, and they are easier to transfer, email, and etc.
Excellent post, thank you.

Since floating this thread, I acquired a twice-used Zoom H4n Pro for a great price and I'm learning how to use it. Even for my very simplistic purposes, I find it complicated/annoying to use because of a multi-function menu wheel that does dozens of things depending on what mode is selected first. On the plus side, it is handy because of its diminutive size, built-in mics (plus 1/4" and XLR inputs), AA battery capability and .WAV format.

Liking to keep things simple (so I can concentrate on playing music instead of gadgetry with tiny buttons and wheels) I'll look into the Tascam as well.

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-22-2023 at 07:07 PM.
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  #20  
Old 09-22-2023, 01:39 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post

Excellent post, thank you.

Since floating this thread, I acquired a twice-used Zoom H4n for a great price and I'm learning how to use it. Even for my very simplistic purposes, I find it complicated because of a multi-function menu wheel that does dozens of things depending on what mode is selected first. On the plus side, it is handy because of its diminutive size, built-in mics (plus 1/4" and XLR inputs), AA battery capability and .WAV format.

Liking to keep things simple (so I can concentrate on playing music instead of gadgetry with tiny buttons and wheels) I'll look into the Tascam as well.
You might like the Zoom R12. This is a updated version of Zoom's very popular R8, and there are simple xlr mics that can be purchased as an accessory if that's something you like.


Last edited by Rudy4; 09-22-2023 at 02:17 PM.
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  #21  
Old 09-22-2023, 05:48 PM
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You might like the Zoom R12. This is a updated version of Zoom's very popular R8, and there are simple xlr mics that can be purchased as an accessory if that's something you like.

Thanks! I'll look into one of those (and hopefully it's simpler, more straightforward to operate than the tiny H4n Pro). Call me a semi-luddite, I'm far more comfy using electronics with buttons and knobs that each do one thing - sort of like the old days with cassette units.

I've got mics galore, XLRs, instrument cables, etc.

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-23-2023 at 08:41 AM.
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2023, 06:12 PM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
Since floating this thread, I acquired a twice-used Zoom H4n for a great price and I'm learning how to use it. Even for my very simplistic purposes, I find it complicated/annoying to use because of a multi-function menu wheel that does dozens of things depending on what mode is selected
First, be aware that Zoom has a remote control for the H4N. There is a hardware version called the RC4, and I believe (although not positive) there's an iPad remote. I have the RC4 hardware remote, and it distills primary functions and button pushing during recording sessions. I'd also highly recommend the Zoom R12. I have one, and it's mostly replaced my H4N Pro. No built-in mics, but a REALLY simple workflow while recording. Track volumes up or down and reverb levels up or down even when recording is pretty dang simple.
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  #23  
Old 09-22-2023, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
First, be aware that Zoom has a remote control for the H4N. There is a hardware version called the RC4, and I believe (although not positive) there's an iPad remote. I have the RC4 hardware remote, and it distills primary functions and button pushing during recording sessions. I'd also highly recommend the Zoom R12. I have one, and it's mostly replaced my H4N Pro. No built-in mics, but a REALLY simple workflow while recording. Track volumes up or down and reverb levels up or down even when recording is pretty dang simple.
Agreed. I mis-spoke above - mine is the H4n Pro (post edited). And I picked up the (somewhat handier) remote for something like $15 on Amazon. That does make starting and stopping easier (plus rewinding and arming Record) without touching the unit and rustling the mics, etc.

What's daunting to me is that after hitting Menu, one pressure-sensitive wheel scrolls up and down through:
- Project
- File
- Effect
- Input
- Rec Mode
- Tool
- System
- SD Card
- USB
- Mode
Each with little sub menus of their own. LOL

Of course I leave most of those where I last left them, and I'm getting the hang of it. But it's not as intuitive as a tape Tascam or Fostex I borrowed for one night last century and made half a dozen 3-4 track recordings.

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-22-2023 at 08:54 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-22-2023, 08:27 PM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
Thanks! I'll look into one of those (and hopefully it's simpler, more straightforward to operate than the tiny H4n). Call me a semi-luddite, I'm far more comfy using electronics with buttons and knobs that each do one thing - sort of like the old days with cassette units.

I've got mics galore, XLRs, instrument cables, etc.
BTW: If you do decide to choose the Zoom R12 be sure you get a typical static stylus pen. Massive difference.
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  #25  
Old 09-22-2023, 10:10 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
Thanks! I'll look into one of those (and hopefully it's simpler, more straightforward to operate than the tiny H4n). Call me a semi-luddite, I'm far more comfy using electronics with buttons and knobs that each do one thing - sort of like the old days with cassette units.

I've got mics galore, XLRs, instrument cables, etc.
Gaz Rendar's review above is a great deep dive on the Zoom R12. I have it's bigger brother, the R20, but the basic functions are the same.

I used to have a Tascam 4 track cassette and do appreciate the simplicity factor. I always recommended the predecessor of the R12, the Zoom R8 for ease of operation.

My great hope when a manufacturer chooses to "upgrade" a model such as the R8 is that there will be an across the board improvement in the overall design.

Where Zoom missed the mark on that ideal was in a few of the R8 features they decided weren't important. Built-in mics and a remote foot switch were abandoned as a few examples. Those are well-loved features that leave potential purchasers scratching their heads.

The other thing that seems odd is that they didn't keep the same screen size as the R20 has. There's room to fit it on the machine and they could have added a couple more batteries to make up for the additional power it would take.

The good news is that it still works well with batteries, so you can grab a set of headphones and use it at the park under a shade tree.
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  #26  
Old 09-23-2023, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post
Thanks! I'll look into one of those (and hopefully it's simpler, more straightforward to operate than the tiny H4n). Call me a semi-luddite, I'm far more comfy using electronics with buttons and knobs that each do one thing - sort of like the old days with cassette units.

I've got mics galore, XLRs, instrument cables, etc.
The new zoom touch-screen formats are really nice and simple to multitrac with. I got the slightly larger version (R20) ONLY for the larger screen, and love it. It replaced a zoom Livetrac 8, which was also nice, but had slightly complicated operating algorithms.

One other unit to consider is a tascam dp-008. Small, portable, (battery powered) built-in decent condenser mics, and xlr inputs if you have mics. My favorite shade tree studio.
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  #27  
Old 09-23-2023, 06:17 AM
nickv6 nickv6 is offline
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Just as a complete wildcard....
If you have an Android phone or tablet there's an app called J4T which is an amazing, simple to use 4 track recorder. Very simple yet has effects etc. But somehow they've made it very easy to apply them.
Easy bouncing down too. It costs about £3.50 for the pro version!
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  #28  
Old 09-23-2023, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post

Excellent post, thank you.

Since floating this thread, I acquired a twice-used Zoom H4n Pro for a great price and I'm learning how to use it. Even for my very simplistic purposes, I find it complicated/annoying to use because of a multi-function menu wheel that does dozens of things depending on what mode is selected first. On the plus side, it is handy because of its diminutive size, built-in mics (plus 1/4" and XLR inputs), AA battery capability and .WAV format.

Liking to keep things simple (so I can concentrate on playing music instead of gadgetry with tiny buttons and wheels) I'll look into the Tascam as well.
I am going to back up a bit and offer an alternative
As someone asked how far did you get with Studio One ? And Ill ask were you using an interface with it ? The reason I ask is because other than the initial set up and routing to and from interface. A DAW can be setup to be as simple to actually operate as any all in one solution (or sometimes more simple than the all in one) or for example no more complex then say , starting you computer navigating to AGF and starting or replying to threads OR admittedly yes ,,, as complex as you need it to be My point is regardless of the perception and sometimes myth ,, there is a definite learning curve with a digital all in one, OR a DAW

And there in lies the rub and conundrum for multi tracking
The perceived "easy" all in one solution which can often involve complex multiple tiny screen moves and options. And a DAW can be as simple as launch it open you user defined (read simplified) template and hit record .

Juss sayin'
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Last edited by KevWind; 09-23-2023 at 08:52 AM.
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  #29  
Old 09-23-2023, 11:31 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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I am going to back up a bit and offer an alternative
As someone asked how far did you get with Studio One ? And Ill ask were you using an interface with it ? The reason I ask is because other than the initial set up and routing to and from interface. A DAW can be setup to be as simple to actually operate as any all in one solution (or sometimes more simple than the all in one) or for example no more complex then say , starting you computer navigating to AGF and starting or replying to threads OR admittedly yes ,,, as complex as you need it to be My point is regardless of the perception and sometimes myth ,, there is a definite learning curve with a digital all in one, OR a DAW

And there in lies the rub and conundrum for multi tracking
The perceived "easy" all in one solution which can often involve complex multiple tiny screen moves and options. And a DAW can be as simple as launch it open you user defined (read simplified) template and hit record .

Juss sayin'
Where I totally agree with a ten thousand-foot view, the caveat for me, in this scenario, is the only really good room I have to work with is at the Studio. That's typically, and unfortunately, an hour-and-a-half trek from home and an hour-and-a-half back. I'm room relegated to what I have in our little bungalow. The R12 or the H4N allow me to seek out either the very best sonic spot in the house or, on weekends, the quietest spot in the house, get things captured as best as possible, and import to Studio One.

I do agree, however, that a very simple 4-track template in Studio One (provided you don't have room challenges) with perhaps a single reverb aux track seems dramatically easier than deep-diving menus on the H4N. I dunno how it could be more rudimentary, but I'll always leave room for those who just don't wanna invest in using a DAW.
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  #30  
Old 09-23-2023, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
I am going to back up a bit and offer an alternative
As someone asked how far did you get with Studio One ? And Ill ask were you using an interface with it ? The reason I ask is because other than the initial set up and routing to and from interface. A DAW can be setup to be as simple to actually operate as any all in one solution (or sometimes more simple than the all in one) or for example no more complex then say , starting you computer navigating to AGF and starting or replying to threads OR admittedly yes ,,, as complex as you need it to be My point is regardless of the perception and sometimes myth ,, there is a definite learning curve with a digital all in one, OR a DAW

And there in lies the rub and conundrum for multi tracking
The perceived "easy" all in one solution which can often involve complex multiple tiny screen moves and options. And a DAW can be as simple as launch it open you user defined (read simplified) template and hit record .

Juss sayin'
Makes total sense.

I stumbled into Studio One when I purchased a PreSonus AudioBox USB96 interface (so I could use a good mic for Zoom performances during the plague).

Note: My recording background comes from ping-ponging tracks on a stereo Hitachi reel-to-reel back when that was state-of-the-art. It worked for me and I made some primitive multi-track recordings.

Fast forward half a century, and Studio One is different. I already have mics, quality headphones and XLX/1/4" cables, and I'm nimble with computers. But still, I find it daunting to sift through various dropdown menus and select/skip countless bells and whistles that don't mean anything to me (yet). What does this do? What's important? What's not?

So I agree with you that I should have a simple (repeatable) 4-6 track template ready for use right now whenever the muse presents herself.

Manuals suck. I learn by observing and doing - it's how I taught myself to play guitar. Maybe I can learn from someone who's already been where I'm trying to go. The big caveat there is that it's hard enough to find a "unicorn" (another singing, playing acoustic guitarist who likes/knows rock and blues) let alone one who's conversant with Studio One basics.

Just thinking out loud here, perhaps I should set aside musical content/taste and just find someone on Craigslist who's willing to spend an hour and help me nail down some simple hands-on-mouse basics (open, arm, record, add tracks, save, listen, edit again later). It'd be simple enough to take my laptop, Presonus and a bag of mics/phones to any location where someone is willing to help me do that.

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-23-2023 at 12:48 PM.
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