The out-of-computer music recording experience
Yeah, I'm kind of using out-of-computer the same way one would say out-of-body experience. I think there can be some similarities made between the two.
Okay, so I've been recording with my DP-008 and have been flying out track after track just about every day. It is simply amazing to me just how much faster and better my ideas flow when putting them into the little recorder compared to the computer.
When I first started multitracking, I used a Tascam 424. I even remember the price paid for it new in the early 1990s, $525. And that was in the deflated dollars of the time. Worth it? Yeah, considering everything else was sky-high in price, such as the Tascam DA-88.
Small recording history note: A lot of stuff changed in the early 1990s, and the "in" thing back then was DAT, as in Digital Audio Tape. The two hottest (and ridiculously expensive) DAT machines of the time were the Alesis ADAT and the Tascam DA-88 mentioned above. ADAT in particular was amazing. Each machine was a digital 8-track, but you could synchronize 16 of them together for a 128-track system. Yes, really. And if I remember correctly, you had real-time counters as well (which was a big deal).
I never used DAT back in the day simply because it was way too expensive. The original ADAT was introduced in 1992 at a starting price of - get ready for this - $3,995. I'll let you do the math to know how much it would have cost to buy 16 of them all at once for 128 tracks, never mind just one. And that didn't include the cost of the enclosures to house them, remote units, extra cables, etc.
So anyway, I went with cassette-based multitracking. It was literally the most inexpensive way you could multitrack back then, and the units were generally reliable.
When the next decade turned around (the 2000s), all you needed to get 128 tracks of multitrack goodness was a PC and Cool Edit Pro 2 (now Adobe Audition); in the early 2000s the maximum number of supported tracks was 128. I'm sure today's modern software offerings allow for 256 or simply "unlimited" digital audio tracks, depending on PC hardware capability. But anyway, it was in the 2000s that I switched over to PC-based recording, because heck, 128 tracks is a lot better than 4, right? 🙂
Note on that: The most tracks I have ever used in any single recording session was just shy of 24 (I think it was 21 or 22), and it was when I was making an attempt to recreate Black Sabbath's Symptom of the Universe, which has a ton of layered tracks in it. In fact, I'm pretty sure 'Sabbath did use a 24-track system when they originally recorded that song in the late 1970s. Either that, or they got very creative with a 16-track system because I'm certain the SotU song contains at least 8 guitars.
So now I've "reverted" back to using a standalone unit for recording, with the difference being I'm using digital instead of analog. And to be totally honest, I haven't had this much fun recording since the old Tascam 424 days.
Something I didn't mention before is that with the DP-008, I don't need a mixer. Totally not necessary. It's just me recording my stuff, and since the 008 has two 1/4-inch and two XLR inputs, I was able to cut out the mixer altogether.
In effect, I'm using what's probably one of the smallest recording rigs you could get. One guitar effects processor, one drum machine, one recorder. That's it. I only use the laptop when I need to export the master WAV so I can get it out to the internet and maybe do some minor (and I mean minor) post-production work on it.
This "condensed" style of recording is something I haven't done in a long time, and it's so cool I can do so much in so small of a setup, and it almost feels magical in a way, as in, "How can something that small get so much done so well?"
I mean, I thought the 424 was small back when I was using that. Compared to the reel systems before it, it was just plain tiny. But the 008 is well less than half the size the 424 was and does a ton more than the 424 ever did.
And yeah, of course, you can go even smaller with a recording rig by using the iPhone, and do it for just 10 bucks(!) But that's a little too small for me. 🙂
I'm really liking how much I'm getting done with my 008. Will you hear some of the stuff I've been doing with it soon?
Yes, you will. 🙂
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