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  #16  
Old 03-07-2002, 08:43 AM
kenliu kenliu is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by david_m
I should probably be careful with the word mastering because in high end recording it has a very definite meaning that is much more involved than simply getting your multiple tracks down to a stereo pair, but for these purposes mastering means getting the multiple parts down to stereo so your friends can listen to your work.
I think "mixdown" is the appropriate term to use.

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Usually on a casette based machine when you bounce down to one track from many there is a loss of fidelity. If you bounce down multiple times the end result can sound awful. This does not happen on digital machines.
To qualify this statement - the minidisc-based recorders use a "lossy compression algorithm" to compress the audio data onto the disc. So with minidisc, you can lose some fidelity when you bounce tracks. However, the minidisc compression algorithm is excellent, and unless you have "golden ears" and very high-end speakers you probably wouldn't hear the difference. It's still much better than bouncing on tape, in any case. But technically, you do have some loss.

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My only complaint is that it uses smart media cards rather than a hard drive. But the features list is pretty cool.
Actually, this is a subtle thing that you should pay attention to when buying a digital recorder. You can quickly run out of disk space (or storage space) when doing digital recording, especially if you keep old takes around. Smart media cards currently run at about $20 for 64MB, and other solid state storage cards are about the same price. Hard disk based recorders have lots of storage space in the unit, but eventually you'll need to off load the tracks onto CD-R in order to free up disk space.


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All digital machines will list their sampling rate and bit rate as part of their specs. For baseline comparison note that CDs are recorded at a 44.1KHz (kilohertz) sampling rate and 16 bit. So, no matter what sampling rate and bit rate you use to record on your multitrack machine, it's going to end up as 44.1KHz and 16 bit if it goes on a CD.
Note that it's not a bad idea to record at a higher sampling rate or word length (number of bits) than you plan to mix down to. You'll can get better quality recordings that way.

My computer recording software (Cubase VST) gives me the choice of 16 or 24 bit samples (at 44.1 kHz), and I can definitely hear the difference on the 24 bit tracks, even with my cheap equipment. 24 bit takes up more disk space though, but it's worth it. I think the general consensus out there is to leave the 96khz sampling rate stuff to the pros - the consumer level stuff isn't built to handle the huge bandwidth.

Ken

Last edited by kenliu; 03-07-2002 at 11:05 PM.
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2002, 12:45 PM
david_m david_m is offline
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Ken,

I completely agree about recording at 24 bit. I currently record at 44.1KHz and 24 bit because I want the dynamics associated with 24 bit.

I believe all the minidisc recorders use compression algorithms, but not all of the hard disk recorders do. Even the little FD-4 used no data compression.

David
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  #18  
Old 03-08-2002, 02:01 PM
revkev revkev is offline
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Thanks for these informative posts, guys. I have been thinking about home recording but was confused about just what to do. I was going to spend a ton of money on a new computer setup, but after reading your posts I think one of the stand-alone digital recorders will do me just fine.
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