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Standalone multitrack recorder build
Old 31st January 2020
  #1
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Standalone multitrack recorder build

I have this project in mind where I want to build a multitrack recording system whose operation resembles as much as possible that of a tape recorder or radar system.

This would be used to record bands in rehearsal rooms, or any other location outside of a traditional recording studio.

just to stress this bit: I'm interested in the straightforward OPERATION of a tape recorder system, not the "tape sound" which is not relevant for me at this point.

I have several ideas on how to accomplish this, basically using a daw and the appropiate audio interface, controlled with a tablet via osc. and/or physical buttons

Do you know if anything like this has been made before?

btw, it must be able to punch-in individual tracks, there are many commercial multitrack recorders that can't do this.

Thanks for any suggestions!!
Cheers
Old 31st January 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
How much money do you want to invest in this? I'd estimate it would cost the same as around 50 used Radar systems. Design engineers are expensive, Product development is expensive. Prototypes are expensive, international safety certifications are expensive. You can buy a Ferrari instead for that amount of money and that will probably make you much happier.

Or maybe buy a used Alesis HD24XR and pocket the difference?
Old 31st January 2020
  #3
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
That's pretty much what the Fairlight MFX3 was.
Old 31st January 2020
  #4
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, I may have expressed myself poorly. I'm building this with off the shelf parts. For example a Mac mini with an rme interface, running ardour and an iPad running touch OSC. Maybe some cleverly programmed x-keys for more hands-on control, but little more.
A startup script would create a new session ready for recording upon turning on the computer.
Old 31st January 2020
  #5
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
an Alesis HD24 is a 24 track hard disk recorder, that works like a tape machine.

put a BRC in front and press Play, stop, record, punch in, punch out.etc etc.

i have 2 HD24s in my studio, and a BRC (big remote control)

sometimes if i have lots of people in, i just track to the HD24 because its faster.

some of you may query the Faster aspect, but in my studio the first 24 microphone inputs are Normaled to the Tape/DAW inputs.

so if i plug in 24 mics, i can go to the control room and record enable 1 to 24 on the BRC and hit red. that takes about 5 seconds.

if i set up a session in the DAW, regardless of how the template set up is, it takes much longer (labeling tracks etc)

so to the OP if you want an old school HD Recorder that works like a tape machine then check out the Alesis HD24.

hope that helps. Buddha
Old 31st January 2020 | Show parent
  #6
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tymish's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA ➡️
an Alesis HD24 is a 24 track hard disk recorder, that works like a tape machine.

put a BRC in front and press Play, stop, record, punch in, punch out.etc etc.

i have 2 HD24s in my studio, and a BRC (big remote control)

sometimes if i have lots of people in, i just track to the HD24 because its faster.

some of you may query the Faster aspect, but in my studio the first 24 microphone inputs are Normaled to the Tape/DAW inputs.

so if i plug in 24 mics, i can go to the control room and record enable 1 to 24 on the BRC and hit red. that takes about 5 seconds.

if i set up a session in the DAW, regardless of how the template set up is, it takes much longer (labeling tracks etc)

so to the OP if you want an old school HD Recorder that works like a tape machine then check out the Alesis HD24.

hope that helps. Buddha
Indeed, i miss all the buttons and faders on machines and consoles. I have ten fingers. I can mute, enable etc etc ten things at once in one quick motion. PC DAW I have to click 1 -3 times per track on a mouse. 24 tracks etc , now I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Drives me nutz.
Old 31st January 2020
  #7
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Just buy a mixer recorder - Tascam pre's are nice - they have quite a "fat" sound. Tascam model 24 perhaps?
Old 31st January 2020
  #8
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I came across the alesis hd24 during my research. I'm sure it is a great unit, unfortunately alesis discontinued it and it's really hard to find locally.
I also saw the new tascam model 24, but for some reason it can only punch in maximum 7 tracks, what a silly deal-breaker...
My idea is to mount everything in a small portable rack and be able to operate it without mouse or keyboard.
Old 31st January 2020
  #9
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Behringer or Midas digital desks can plug into a Klark Tecnnic DN32-LIVE to record and playback upto 32 channels simultaneously.
I believe the Presonus Studiolive 24 and 32 can record 16 mono tracks plus the mixbus track to an SD card simultaneously.
Old 1st February 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend ➡️
Behringer or Midas digital desks can plug into a Klark Tecnnic DN32-LIVE to record and playback upto 32 channels simultaneously.
I believe the Presonus Studiolive 24 and 32 can record 16 mono tracks plus the mixbus track to an SD card simultaneously.
AFAIK none of these can punch in on an existing recording, they are designed for live performances. thanks anyways
Old 1st February 2020
  #11
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Puffer Fish's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
check into this software: https://www.pokitec.com/products/BoomRecorder/

It might meet your needs.

Another thought: in the near future, Metric Halo will have a similar feature as the Boom Recorder software implemented in their new "3D" software. Of course it also includes buying into Metric Halo hardware, but I think they are pretty great and could be a real benefit to the remote location recording you are contemplating with their audio over ethernet in the updated hardware.

Check into Metric Halo 3D if you are not familiar with it.
Old 1st February 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nucelar ➡️
I came across the alesis hd24 during my research. I'm sure it is a great unit, unfortunately alesis discontinued it and it's really hard to find locally.
I also saw the new tascam model 24, but for some reason it can only punch in maximum 7 tracks, what a silly deal-breaker...
My idea is to mount everything in a small portable rack and be able to operate it without mouse or keyboard.
Punch is eight tracks - but to be honest I've been recording on and off for over 35 years - I can't remember ever punching in anything other than one or two tracks unless we're talking about drums.
Old 1st February 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend ➡️
Punch is eight tracks - but to be honest I've been recording on and off for over 35 years - I can't remember ever punching in anything other than one or two tracks unless we're talking about drums.
Can you confirm 8 tracks is possible from your own experience? because the manual says "Punch in recording is not possible when the REC button is on for eight or more channels". that means 7 max.

You're probably right in that one would rarely punch that many tracks at once, but anyway, I would like to design this thing in a more minimalist but high-endish fashion in terms of pre-amps and ADDA conversion.
Old 1st February 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nucelar ➡️
Can you confirm 8 tracks is possible from your own experience? because the manual says "Punch in recording is not possible when the REC button is on for eight or more channels". that means 7 max.

You're probably right in that one would rarely punch that many tracks at once, but anyway, I would like to design this thing in a more minimalist but high-endish fashion in terms of pre-amps and ADDA conversion.
Perhaps that means punching and recording at the same time?

I have no experience other than looking at buying one - the Tascam blurb says " the TASCAM Model 24 allows musicians and engineers to capture up to 24 tracks simultaneously (at 24bit/48kHz resolution) directly to the SD card, with the ability to punch in/out eight tracks at the same time."

https://tascam.com/us/product/model_24/top

I think I've settled on the model 16 anyway for the MIDI capabilities.
Old 2nd February 2020
  #15
Gear Guru
 
It's too bad the current Tascam HD recorder/mixers, has such a small screen...
Chris
Old 2nd February 2020
  #16
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subspace's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Still have a Mackie SDR24/96 for large ensemble tracking, punching in the whole band at the downbeat of the chorus that got flubbed is no sweat. I move to the DAW once we're in overdub mode, where I can kludge my way through punch monitoring on a native DAW. If you want to build a DAW that allows multi-track punch monitoring, you're looking at PT HDX or the upcoming UAD attempt.
Old 2nd February 2020
  #17
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axisdreamer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
ADAT HD24XR is all that I use to this day.Now is the best time to buy them because they are so cheap used and many in great condition...Never had a problem with mine....great sounding converters too.. I went from tape decks to the ADAT HD24XR...
Old 3rd February 2020
  #18
Here for the gear
I've been debating on something along the same vein but to get me back out of the box.

My solutions revolve around old gear. One would be to take some parts I have sitting in my bins and build out a PC specifically for WinXP, and add to it a Tascam FW-1082 console/interface. I could dig up one of my old copies of either Sonar or Cubase SX for the DAW, load up some FX plugins and use it strictly as a multi-track recorder for the synths and samplers I'm looking to buy. The second would be to just buy a Roland VS2480, load it up with FX boards, and grab the meter bridge and lock it to an old P3 machine that would be strictly a sequencer.
Old 4th February 2020
  #19
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There's a cool widget for hooking (dirt cheap) Tascam 2488s up to VGA screens. http://www.hgr2488.co.uk/hgr_2488_pr...t_details.html
Old 4th February 2020
  #20
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monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Just buy one or two Sound Devices MixPre 10 II and sync the wordclocks together.

Buy the Musician plugin for overdubbing.

Edit: it would be nice if they had a 16 track version. 10 is as high as it goes (12 during mix).

Closest thing I have found. I use a MixPre 6 version one. One day I will pay for the ten two.

You still have to dump to the DAW for mixdown, but that's sort of a separate process from tracking anyway.

Last edited by monkeyxx; 5th February 2020 at 01:28 AM..
Old 4th February 2020 | Show parent
  #21
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend ➡️
There's a cool widget for hooking (dirt cheap) Tascam 2488s up to VGA screens. http://www.hgr2488.co.uk/hgr_2488_pr...t_details.html
There is a similar thing for the Korg d3200, which i use. Excellent machine for the money. I have often also been tempted by the alesis hd24 as an expansion option for my studio, but dont really need it.
Imo there is a gap in the market here for a modern standalone designed for multitracking, not just live recording. And no, the fancy laptop and interface is not the modern version.
Old 5th February 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmboy presents ➡️
There is a similar thing for the Korg d3200, which i use. Excellent machine for the money. I have often also been tempted by the alesis hd24 as an expansion option for my studio, but dont really need it.
Imo there is a gap in the market here for a modern standalone designed for multitracking, not just live recording. And no, the fancy laptop and interface is not the modern version.
I couldn't agree more. I'm pretty sure there's a market for an new, updated VS-2480 or something like that 'cause I'm looking at possibly picking one up myself.
Old 5th February 2020
  #23
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nucelar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, nice info about the sound devices musician plug-in, didn't know it existed. The operation is a little quirky due to its interface, though. I'd like to do something more direct, so even a layman can use it very intuitively.
I have done a few tests with an older Macbook Pro. I have chosen Ardour as the backbone of the system thanks to its exhaustive control possibilities.
I have written a script that duplicates a template session, renames it with the current timestamp and opens it ready to party. The script runs automatically when the laptop is turned on.

Now the basic control is easy to handle, I'm using a standard keyboard at the moment. for example I can map the F keys to record arm tracks, the numpad for transport, etc.
All of this without touching the mouse.

My next step is to explore the OSC control and make a nice tablet interface.

Cheers!
Old 25th April 2020
  #24
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I've been trying to come up with my own backup recording/tracking rig to pro tools.
I have a digital desk and want to pair it with a hard disk recorder. And something that once tracked can be easily transferred to the mac to do edits and mix inside pro tools.
The hd24 are nice on paper until you have to get the wav files off the drives. Alesis should have made this simple instead of having to use that propriety file system they came up with. That fireport is hard to use with modern mac computers.
I was looking at the sdr24/96 but I've heard some stories about them crapping out. I just want a dependable machine as a backup?
Old 25th April 2020
  #25
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monkeyxx's Avatar
 
18 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I would recommend the Sound Devices MixPre series. Not sure if that's enough inputs for you though.
Old 25th April 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlpd3147 ➡️
The hd24 are nice on paper until you have to get the wav files off the drives. Alesis should have made this simple instead of having to use that propriety file system they came up with. That fireport is hard to use with modern mac computers.
I was looking at the sdr24/96 but I've heard some stories about them crapping out. I just want a dependable machine as a backup?
Great machine but no support and you have hit on it"s weakness. Getting files off it is a pain If you think the firewire port is a pain you should see how using the ethernet port is. It's like trying to get a computer from the 1980's on line.

A modern version of this machine with solid state drives and proper connectivity would be fμcking amazing!!! Ground control to Alesis... Can you hear me Major Tom???
Old 25th April 2020
  #27
Gear Guru
I use SSD's in my HD24XR along with external conversion. It's bit accurate and as good as those can be.
Old 28th April 2020
  #28
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tymish's Avatar
 
Didn't someone make open source software so you can read the ADAT HD24 drives right from a drive bay on a PC? HDtools or something like that?
Old 28th April 2020 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tymish ➡️
Didn't someone make open source software so you can read the ADAT HD24 drives right from a drive bay on a PC? HDtools or something like that?
Yup. HD24 Tools.

You still need a physical connection so if you don't have the Fireport adaptor then you need to remove the drive fron the caddie and have a cable that gets you from the drive itself to USB... Then you can use HD24 Tools software.

The other way is the HD24's ethernet connection which is crazy slow.

This is the biggest issue with the HD24 the other is that it's fan and hard drives are pretty noisy. I would love a machine that worked like the HD24 but used solid state drives and modern connectivity.

I haven't seen a modern equivalent of this very basic sensible machine besides Radar which is over ten grand.
Old 4th May 2020 | Show parent
  #30
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subspace's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlpd3147 ➡️
I've been trying to come up with my own backup recording/tracking rig to pro tools.
I have a digital desk and want to pair it with a hard disk recorder. And something that once tracked can be easily transferred to the mac to do edits and mix inside pro tools.
The hd24 are nice on paper until you have to get the wav files off the drives. Alesis should have made this simple instead of having to use that propriety file system they came up with. That fireport is hard to use with modern mac computers.
I was looking at the sdr24/96 but I've heard some stories about them crapping out. I just want a dependable machine as a backup?
Yes, there's a design issue with the SDR24/96, ribbon cable between the analog and digital boards can get flaky. It's the same issue you'll see in the SSL Alphalink boxes, same boards, one set of meters will go into full scale pulsing meters when the connection goes intermittent. Resetting can resolve it sometimes, removing the connectors and soldering the ribbon straight to the PCB is the more permanent fix. Anybody familiar with the Molex connectors on an MCI JH-24 can relate.
Main advantage of the box for me is being able to record 24 tracks at 88.2k in one pass, then pull the drive and open it directly on the Mac using Tracktion T7, which still reads the Mackie project file format. Tracktion has a slick render function that bounces all 24 tracks to discrete files starting from zero so they can import into any DAW.
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