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Which of these digital recorders?


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I just bought a Tascam PocketStudio5 . Something is wrong with it. I've squeezed out some demo's and they sound fine to me but it produces errors that do not make sense. Something ain't right with this unit. "Disk Full" and stuff like that and there's only one song on it. Other errors.

 

I was thinking of trading it for a Fostex MR8 . They cost the same. About $300.

 

The Tascam, it has built-in styles. I cannot imagine using these, they sound so cheesy. The Fostex, I don't think it has them.

 

The Tascam will burn an mp3. That's handy. Then, connect through USB and upload to computer. However, I don't think you can upload wav files. I don't know if it even creates wav files. It might use some kind of proprietary thing.

 

The Fostex records at 44.1. I don't think the Tascam does. I assume the Fostex might produce higher quality sound?

 

The Fostex also had USB. Both have Compact Flash media. Tascam comes with 32mb, Fostex comes with 128mb. Fostex now has a 512mb one you can buy for $120.

 

From what I can see, maybe the Fostex has more genuine recording features rather than ease of use stuff for novices. (The Tascam manual sucks; took me awhile to figure it out.) I am a novice at recording but the Tascam styles/patterns, I can't see myself using them anyway.

 

Goal is to create as high a quality demo as I can do for $300 range. Any advice on which one? (Or other brand.)

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I take it portability is the prime factor, here. Otherwise, I'd say do the easy way -- on a computer. You can record without data compression (which most small portables use), and, if your sound card supports it, you can do your production work at 24 bit which will probably help the finished sound (given that your other gear and your work skills are up to snuff).

 

But, anyway, if maximum ("pocket") portability is a factor, then those type of units are presumably the way to go. If so, I also hear good stuff about the Zoom units, but I haveno personal experience with any of them.

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My input on the MR-8 - ( caveats: I own one, don't have a lot of recording experience (casette 4-track previously) and am looking to sell my MR-8 as I'm moving to a completely PC-based solution)

 

I chose the MR-8 for a couple of reasons:

 

- "uncompressed" recording: unlike a lot of the other compact digital recorders it saves the tracks as .wav files (internally) with your choice of 44.1 KHz or 22.05 KHz sampling rate

 

- USB connection to the PC for very simple up and downloading of tracks as .wav files

 

- price. I "wanted" a hard-disk based multitracker but couldn't spring for the extra (and couldn't justify it)

 

The main drawbacks I've experienced:

- limited space on the flash card (a factor with any device using solid state storage). Practically it has just meant I only work on 1 song at a time and store the rest on the PC. I've thought about buying a bigger flash card but haven't actually hit the limit yet so I have not.

 

- only 2 tracks recorded at a time (but not a big deal for me as I'm using it for doing everything myself and haven't recorded more than 1 track at a time so far).

 

I haven't done any battery operation or anything else. I've found it makes a great front end for a PC-based system but over the last few weeks I've been working with it a lot and found myself running back and forth to the PC with it a lot when recording in another room. That combined with the fact that my work PC situation has changed to where I have a reasonable laptop that I can cart around a lot more has me moving to an all-PC setup (using a USB audio interface).

 

I've found the MR-8 to be fun to use, as easy as the old casette-based multitracker and very nice for interfacing to the PC. You can check out a tune I did with it at:

 

my soundclick page

 

the one called "Swayback" is the better of the two on there

 

IIRC you are in Houston as well, if you decide to go MR-8 and are interested in a used one (still mint condition) let me know. I do recommend the MR-8 as a good box if it's feature meet your needs.

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Based strictly on recording issues and quality, I'd recommend the Fostex. If you want to be able to easily transfer tracks to your computer, I'd take the Fostex over the Roland... although the VS would be a good choice too.

 

Either way, unless you need the General MIDI synth engine, I'd go with one of the other two options over the Tascam.

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We used a Roland 1680 for a while and the learning curve was steep. I think the 880 goes to zip discs and like the other Roland products of that series, uses very proprietary formats that restrict how you can get your stuff out of the machine. With the 1680, you had to buy an incredibly expensive Roland outboard CDR or the warranty was void.

 

I have no rap with the quality of the Roland sound, and their products are generally reliable, but they tried to fence these recorders in too close, methinks.

 

Henry

He not busy being born

Is busy dyin'.

 

...Bob Dylan

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Originally posted by henrysb3:

We used a Roland 1680 for a while and the learning curve was steep. I think the 880 goes to zip discs and like the other Roland products of that series, uses very proprietary formats that restrict how you can get your stuff out of the machine. With the 1680, you had to buy an incredibly expensive Roland outboard CDR or the warranty was void.

 

I have no rap with the quality of the Roland sound, and their products are generally reliable, but they tried to fence these recorders in too close, methinks.

 

Henry

I don't disagree at all with what you're saying, but at $300, the choices are limited, and I think that the VS has a bit more "traditional" DAW feel to it.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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