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Thread: Multi-track Recording?

  1. #1
    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Multi-track Recording?

    What's the easiest/cheapest way to do multi-track recording? I'd like to be able to record some singer/songwriter type stuff on the acoustic guitar, and then add some mandolin parts. Any recommendations? And again, cheap and easy is what I'm looking for. Oh, and I don't use Apple products--I have a PC and an Android phone.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    This may help: https://beebom.com/garageband-alternatives-android/

    My first instinct was to plug using GarageBand. It doesn't sound great at all but is cool for getting ideas together and sharing them with others. A quick Google search revealed that it also isn't available for Android. I got this article instead from the search.

    I also use CakeWalk software for Windows 10 with a Zoom recorder for the USB mic. I do not recommend that setup for ease of use (and will be following this discussion for better ideas) but it sounds way better than using my iphone mic into GarageBand.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    I like something with knobs and buttons. Haven't tried it, but maybe a Tascam DP-006 for $130.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    For computer, any one of the dozen cheap USB interfaces, and a condenser mic. Record into a program called reaper, which is essentially free.

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  6. #5
    Registered User John Van Zandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Focusrite Scarlett Solo (or other Scarlett models), USB Audio Interface (Gen 3). See youtube demo uploads on that site of these very popular products.

    Connect your mic, and instrument to this interface. If it’s an electric guitar- that would help. I like Shure mics, and have an SM58 mic. The free interface software is included, and other software is compatible if you want an alternative, instead. This gear can be resold if you upgrade.
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Does anyone have the iZotope Spire Studio https://www.izotope.com/en/products/...re-studio.html? I've read some pretty good reviews but haven't bought yet but thinking on it. I have garageband on my mac and have recorded quite a bit but being a couch/porch player I like the recording ease of my phone audio/video except it's 1 track. The spire is 8-9 tracks and I could sit it down anywhere inside/outside. Just don't know the recording quality but lots of folks really like it...hype or not I don't know.

    not my choice of demo vids on iZotope site but here's Molly


  8. #7
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Along with a cheap interface and mic, as mentioned...

    I have a crap load of money invested in Cakewalk's Sonar Producer. Been using it for about 20 years (when it was just Cakewalk) and its an excellent product and well worth the... likely over 2K... I have put into it over the years for upgrades.

    Gibson bought it 8 or so years ago. Then they went bankrupt and sold it. The new owners, BandLab have decided to make it free. What was once the #1 competition for ProTools (what most pro recording studios use) is now free!

    Highly recommended. And you cant beat the price for what you get! VERY powerful stuff there.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    If you buy a Steinberg USB audio interface, it will come with Cubase production software which will mate perfectly to the hardware. All you need.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandohat View Post
    For computer, any one of the dozen cheap USB interfaces, and a condenser mic. Record into a program called reaper, which is essentially free.
    Reaper is free to try, but it is not free. It depends on people doing the right thing and paying for it so you don't need a dongle and it doesn't have all kinds of copy protection crap on it. Pay the $60 and get a license. We're blessed to have such a fantastic DAW for an incredible price. Do the right thing and buy a license if you use it.

    My $60 license is good through all updates of version 4 and 5. When it goes to version 6, I'll gladly pay again. It gets updates very frequently, and unlike the expensive DAWs, you don't have to pay for every update. The developers are very responsive to user requests. It's such a refreshing model and community and it deserves support.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    Reaper is free to try, but it is not free. It depends on people doing the right thing and paying for it so you don't need a dongle and it doesn't have all kinds of copy protection crap on it. Pay the $60 and get a license. We're blessed to have such a fantastic DAW for an incredible price. Do the right thing and buy a license if you use it.

    My $60 license is good through all updates of version 4 and 5. When it goes to version 6, I'll gladly pay again. It gets updates very frequently, and unlike the expensive DAWs, you don't have to pay for every update. The developers are very responsive to user requests. It's such a refreshing model and community and it deserves support.
    $60 for Reaper is essentially free, I think that's what the poster meant. Especially considering how much value it has. I agree, buy a license, you're getting Neumann quality for MXL prices.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    The Zoom R8 (under $200 used) is much more capable than the Tascam. It can record two tracks of 1/4" or XLR in, or you can use the (surprisingly decent) dual built-in condenser mics. It can operate from a USB charger or AA batteries. It also has a rudimentary drum machine and sequencer.

    It does have a learning curve, as some of the functions aren't exactly intuitive. I recommend spending a couple bucks to buy Rich Menga's ebook about it and you'll have it down in no time.

    I use it to record at home and at band practices. I have also used it to record a line out from the mixer at a gig, but only once. Always works great.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Yamaha AW1600. 16 track stand alone recorder with pro audio quality.

    They are hard-drive based so they go cheap these days. I got one and converted it to SD card - simple and cheap.

    I record on it then use the USB to move the files into my DAW for editing and output. You can do everything in the AW but the interface isn't as nice as a DAW.
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  15. #13

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    A DAW + a computer is the easiest (HW easiest, but have to learn the software, but there are many tutorials on the web).

    Cubase elements + Scarlett 2i2 + a good mic has been all I need.

    If you already have a modern computer this will be your easiest solution, if you know how to update windows drivers that will be a plus, almost always needed to get DAW's working properly.
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  16. #14

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    I used a Scarlett Solo interface and recorded straight to Reaper on my computer for a while. The problem was that, by the time I'd got the computer on and ignored all the notifications and plugged in the interface and Reaper loaded and my workspace set up and my gain levels set and yada yada, I'd lost my inspiration.

    That's why I moved to a dedicated multi-track recorder (the Zoom R8). The gap from "I should record" to "I'm recording" is seconds instead of minutes.

    Then I can use the DAW if I want a final product.

    Also, I've found that for 90% of the recording I do, Audacity (100% free) works just as well as Reaper.

  17. #15

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Quote Originally Posted by DevanBennett View Post
    I used a Scarlett Solo interface and recorded straight to Reaper on my computer for a while. The problem was that, by the time I'd got the computer on and ignored all the notifications and plugged in the interface and Reaper loaded and my workspace set up and my gain levels set and yada yada, I'd lost my inspiration.
    Ta-da!

    Plus computer fans and drives are noisy.
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  18. #16
    Registered User stevo58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Well, if you are going to do a lot of recording you would buy or assemble a dedicated pc, and once it is installed, keep it off the internet, and never patch it. But that’s not cheap anymore.

    My recording pc is so quiet you don’t know it’s on. Insulated box, low noise fans (also in the power supply and cpu cooler), SSDs. All services that aren’t absolutely necessary shut off, and optimized for recording. But it’s not cheap. One switch turns everything on, in a few seconds I’m ready to go. So you can do it.
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  19. #17

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    I'm a Mac guy, so of no specific use to you, but just as I'd say buy a mandolin of a certain base quality, I'd vote with those that would tell you to buy an interface that comes with basic software. Same goes for a microphone. There are a lot of mics that are $99.00. Spend a bit more on something like a Rode NT1.
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  20. #18
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    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Tablet based Mixers can facilitate multi channel recording Apps also, I suspect..

    maybe not cheap but you can use it live as a mixer too..
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  21. #19

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    I have an Izotope Spire. There are definitely some limitations. Itís not really a full DAW replacement, but for simple multi-track recording it sounds pretty good. The built-in microphone is omni-directional, so picks up absolutely everything. Not really a downfall, but thought Iíd mention it. It has a ďsound checkĒ button that does a pretty good job of setting input levels and gain staging. The pre-amp is clean. You can record without the iOS or Android app, but a lot of the functionality (any effect.) requires the app. Also, all effects have to be set prior to recording, and canít be altered afterwards without a daw. But for recording acoustic guitar and mandolin, it just might fit the ticket.

  22. #20

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall anybody mentioning Audacity on the PC -- it is totally free, it can do multi-tracking and has a slew of great editing capabilities.

    An inexpensive interface is good to have, but if you don't want to record any electric instrument (such as a pickup in your acoustic guitar or mandolin), buying a USB mic which plugs directly into the computer can save the expense of an interface.

  23. #21

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Cheapest and easiest is a used Zoom H4 (around $100 these days). Records 4 tracks with overdubbing.
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  24. #22

    Default Re: Multi-track Recording?

    Iíd use a Tascam or Zoom recorder, the ones with 2 tracks can be had on sale for around $100.

    I have the older Tascam DR07mkii that does 2 tracks, itís been replaced by the 22wl

    Iím not familiar with Zoom products but Iím sure they are very similar and they fit in your case for capturing on the go inspiration.
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