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Four track recorders


Mike H.

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Do any of you guys own a four-track for getting ideas down? My band is moving towards the "writing originals" aspect, and I'm debating purchasing a cheap digital four-track to get some ideas down when I have them. The con is that I don't own a guitar, and I'm not a song-writer by any means. I basically add a bass line when needed or when requested to write a bass line, I will. So justifying the purchase is kind of hard. The upside is that with digital technology, I can record the track(s) and convert them to MP3's and email the ideas to the guys (as we all live many miles apart) so we can get opinions and ideas without rehearsal.

 

Anyone else in a similar situation or have thoughts?

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Four tracks are fun. Actually I just started a thread a few days back that is full of good info on using them. My favorite use is to just record myself playing and then listening to it, you learn a lot that way.

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=010016

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I know it may be more than you are looking for, but I bought a Fostex 8-track digital recorder about two years ago and I am very happy with it. It cost me about 300 dollars and has everything I have needed so far. Just an idea.

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For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, none will suffice.

 

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Originally posted by Mike H.:

Anyone else in a similar situation or have thoughts?

Earlier this year I spent about $1,400 for my share of about $2,800 worth of studio tracks on 4 demo songs. We wound up shelving those because the guitarist and drummer who swore they were ready just weren't and tried to cover it up.

 

I kept bringing up (before, during and after the sessions) that we should have bought (on credit) a $3,000 multitrack unit and make our own demos, but I was constantly outvoted. If they'd listened to me, we would have had something to show for our money besides bad tracks.

 

Does this count as experience? :wave:

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Of course ya don't need to spend 3 grand. You can if you want...but...

 

You can buy the most inexpensive Tascam or Fostex cassette (remember those?) four tracks for around 100 bucks. Why? 'Cause it's a cheap sketchpad. You're not recording a CD...you're getting ideas down. Digital four track? Sure, but why? You can get an MBox for your computer (if you have enough processing) and...well, go over to Phil O'Keefe's project studio forum. They know more than I do...ask them, they'll set ya up.

 

The one thing NOBODY should do (IMO) is "go in with the guys in the band" on a piece of equipment. If you want to do something like that...each person should have a specific share of something. Hard to do with a recorder, but, one guy should own it. If he wants to charge the rest to use it, that's between him and the band...but...the worst thing (and it ALWAYS happens) is the band breaks up, and then, how do you divvy up shares of a Yamaha 4416, for example?

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I'm not sure what the equivilant is on Mac or Linux, but my band just recorded a demo using our PIII computer and a program called cakewalk. We burn the songs to disk using a program called Nero, which normalizes all the tracks volume levels so the entire collection sounds nice and level.

 

cakewalk can be a little cludgy at times, but it does absolutly everything we need it too and our demo sounds awsome for the medium we did it on. The only thing I'd like to have done differently is the drums.

 

We have a mixxing board that we put the vocals and DI bass track through, and we mic everything and record the tunes one track at a time.

 

Like I said though, I think next time we will pay a studio to get the drum tracks down only, as we just couldn't tweek them enough to get them to sound great, they're just there.

Check out my work in progress.
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A cheap 4-track cassette is a great investment, if you think you'll invest the time to lay down various parts. If you're only seeking a sketchpad to "shout ideas into", ANY RECORDER WILL WORK. You could pick up a "personal recorder", you could use Windows Sound Recorder, you could use a VCR, many digital cameras also capture sound.... you get the idea.

 

And if you need to justify it to yourself, think of it this way: The next million-selling hit single cannot be yours if you don't remember the idea. If you record your ideas, at least you have a chance.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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