Standalone portastudios

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simon levene
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Standalone portastudios

Post by simon levene » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:57 am

I'm sure someone here can help me out.
I've been stuck in DAW world for many years and thought I needed to break out of my usual formula by looking into the world of the portastudio.
I would like to know if any of you know of, or use a completely stand alone multitrack recorder that I can track and make final mixes without having to rely on a DAW for mixdown.
I'm looking at a $1000 budget and was looking at the Tascam model 24 but from what I read mixdown has to be done elsewhere.
I'm aiming for good quality but not looking at a commercial end product.
Thanks in advance.
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:24 am

I’ve been using a Tascam 488 fairly extensively for the last few years. It started off being just for demos and writing but last year I did a tv show soundtrack with it and since then it’s been creeping into more of my “real” work (ie; stuff that may see public release). I love it. It’s a huge relief after years of DAW work and I find the workflow much more forgiving of my creative methods.
You could easily run it 100% stand alone provided you’ve got something external to mix to. I was never happy with the sound I got that way though. I run external pres and outboard and then mix on my board with outboard effects or I dump the tracks into pro tools and mix in the box. The soundtrack was mixed in the box and it was a really the best of both worlds. I really needed the flexibility of mixing in the box. Being able to recall mixes and generate altenate edits and mixes was a huge plus.
I don’t know the 24 but most of the portastudio line should do what you’re after. Something with outputs for each track is best because you can integrate it into a larger system if the onboard mixer is holding you back.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:52 am

Ah ha! Just googled the 24. Digital. Totally different beast then what I’m talking about above so disregard some of what was said. I can’t see why you couldn’t do full productions on that thing.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:37 am

in addition to tascam, BOSS makes a model that Tame Impala used for their first couple of records, the dude loves the preamps overload on it apparently (read an article in tapeop maybe? i forget). only issue with the "all in one" is if something goes wrong your whole studio goes down for repairs or replacement. i went more of a modular approach, got outboard preamps/eq and spring reverb and a line mixer (teac model 1) to record to a fostex model 80. 8 tracks of tape, 1/4" so it's cheap, but all separate so i can replace stuff in parts (cheaper that way) if something goes down.

i do love the analog approach as well, i ditched pro tools about 10 years ago and haven't looked back. i honestly get excited every time i cut a track. just did one last night, the creativity struck and bam, just armed the tracks and hit record and i was off.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by kslight » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:14 am

I’m sure you could, I know people used to like other old models like the Akai DPS24...various Yamahas...maybe could find these cheaper.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by simon levene » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:12 am

markjazzbassist wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:37 am
in addition to tascam, BOSS makes a model that Tame Impala used for their first couple of records, the dude loves the preamps overload on it apparently (read an article in tapeop maybe? i forget). only issue with the "all in one" is if something goes wrong your whole studio goes down for repairs or replacement. i went more of a modular approach, got outboard preamps/eq and spring reverb and a line mixer (teac model 1) to record to a fostex model 80. 8 tracks of tape, 1/4" so it's cheap, but all separate so i can replace stuff in parts (cheaper that way) if something goes down.

i do love the analog approach as well, i ditched pro tools about 10 years ago and haven't looked back. i honestly get excited every time i cut a track. just did one last night, the creativity struck and bam, just armed the tracks and hit record and i was off.
Thanks Mark,
I'll take a look at your approach. The interesting thing is realizing how incredibly ignorant I am about different ways of recording and mixing. I started off using a $39 version of ACID then worked up to my current, possibly bizarre way of recording using Presonus Studio One. I think the book Guerilla Recording was written solely for me!
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by vvv » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:35 pm

If you are open to that, my similar approach is to use a Zoom R16 like a tape deck. It has, BTW, a very nice Hi-Z DI for bass. But I'll mic up the drums and whatever guide instrument (usually bass) and record 'em, or sometimes guitar+bass+drums+guide voc, etc.. Dump the 8 tracks into the computer and sub-mix, then fly it back or use outboard pres directly into the computer for overdubs.
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by standup » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:47 pm

You could look for one of those Roland VS series digital recorders. They were pretty popular (how many???) years ago, probably wouldn't be hard to find one. Boss and Tascam and others probably made similar products.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by simon levene » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:01 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. It looks like the Tascam DP-24 or DP-32 should serve the purpose, but I'm looking into some of your suggestions.
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by vvv » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:48 pm

Note that most, if not all, of the Roland VS machines use a proprietary compression algorithm. I had (still have somewhere) a Boss BR8 and it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, but the sounds in retrospect are not quite there. Roland owns Boss. I have heard similar about the VS machines, which are, I believe, discontinued for some years now.
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by drumsound » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:54 pm

The VS series are REALLY frustrating to use. I'd rather not record than use one.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by vvv » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:17 am

I recall alotta comedy over at vsplanet re the manuals ...
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by drumsound » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:58 am

vvv wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:17 am
I recall alotta comedy over at vsplanet re the manuals ...
I don't doubt that. I used to sell Roland gear and I hated all of it, because it seems like they went out of their way to make the things completely unintuitive. The sales rep (who reminded me of Del the stereo shop guy on WKRP---complete hyper pain in the ass) would play other brands of keyboards and talk about how much better theirs were. That's fine, but to get to a basic piano sound you'd have to press 4 different buttons while hopping on one leg. The Alesis right next to it had labeled buttons for the different sound banks. I sold about 7 to 1 of the Alesis, for simplicity alone. The VS things, four different screens to find EQ. And those Groove Boxes, don't get me started...

Besides Space Echos and boss pedals, I'd never buy from them.

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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by vvv » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:12 pm

Oh, I don't know, I always wanted a JC amp ... :twisted:
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Re: Standalone portastudios

Post by drumsound » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:04 pm

vvv wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:12 pm
Oh, I don't know, I always wanted a JC amp ... :twisted:
Shit, I forgot about those. Yeah, put it on my list too. If I found one of the smaller ones cheaply, I'd snag it.

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