Suggestions for Analog recording systems

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Member Since: Apr 10, 2004

Hey everyone,

was just wondering if anyone knows of a 32 channel analog base recording system out there that I could multi-track on, mix, and then dump to digital?

The reason why I ask is because I am getting a 32 channel Behringer mixing board and would like to be able to record this many channels at once if needed for my studio setup. I was thinking that a couple of ADAT systems might work? What do you guys think?

I would like to eventually have the best of both worlds where I can track on either analog or digital when I finish off the setup. :) Thanks for any advice in advance. Best Regards


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Since: Apr 03, 2002

Sep 10, 2004 11:58 am

Well, you confuse me a little. Channels and Tracks are two very different things.

Channels are the routings on the board, tracks are individual parts on a tape. If you want a 32 track recording system, you will need a 32 channel board with direct outs on all channels. Not a cheap set up. 24-track 2" tapes are kinda pricey, but 32, I wouldn't even know where to start...except in getting 4 ADAT's...but...well...yuck...
Since: Apr 10, 2004

Sep 10, 2004 01:17 pm

Hey DB,

yes, meant tracks... sorry.. lol

The ideal setup is going to be going through a Behringer Eurodesk SL3242FX-PRO Mixer which actually has 24 outs now that I read up on the specs more. :) What would the downside be with the ADAT setup pretty much? I was considering an outboard reel to reel system down the road eventually if I could get my hands on one, but i am weighing possibilities. :)

Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks


Since: Apr 03, 2002

Sep 10, 2004 01:19 pm

Ya, ADAT in and of itself bothers me. it's "digital" but doesn't offer any of the conveniences of digital. and besides, it's still on tape and therefore still subject to the same aging as tapes with issues like stretching and such...

Home recording, if you need that many tracks, is more economical in the computer-based world.

surrender to the dark side, luke... :-D

Since: Dec 23, 2003

Sep 10, 2004 07:09 pm

ummmmmmm analog. If I'm not mistaken Otari to name one makes a 32 track headstack. It is still on 2 inch tape. But, really 24 tracks is all you should ever need. These things can be quite pricey though. You can spend anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 on one depending on it's coditon and what it is. You can link two 24 track reel to reel's together... but you better be independently wealthy to do so. That would give you 44 tracks. The time code would burn up two tracks, and it's so noisy you can't record anything on the tracks beside them. ADAT's were cool when they first came out. However, now there are so many other, better things avalible in the digital relm. In any event you don't have to fill up every channel on the board with a track. Extra channels are great to have. You can run a stero reverb back into the board through channels and eq the reverb, and have it right there at your fingertips. You can send sub channels out to a compressor and bring them back in.... say like with toms. One time I had a guitarist record everything on one track (rhythm & lead) I ran out of his channel into a free channel and eq'ed it different for the lead. Then it was just a matter of hitting one mute on and one off when the lead came up. The posibilies are endless.

*one note* I think the bit rate was less on the ADAT's than say a hard drive recorder.... Maybe someone who's more sure about that could answer that question. But, like dB said, it's digital on tape, not analog.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Sep 10, 2004 10:55 pm

Yup, Karetaker has got it right as does dB. ADAT is not a chossen format any longer. Alesis HD 24 hard disk is a viable choice if ya gotta have that many tracks at once. Which you probably dont unless you are recording an orchestra or say a bag band era jazz band like Walt does. He uses the HD 24 and then dumps it into Cubase on the PC for editing. It is not a cheap route to go either.

The Otari is also not a cheap format but it is effective and more trust worthy and cost effective then a 2" tape machine. And again like Karetaker said, linking 2 tape machines will probaly end up costing about 20 grand or more when you are done.

When I owned a 2" deck my budget for upkeep on it was about $2000.00 a year to keep it in top shape. The equipment to keep it linked and in sync with all the other gear was not cheap either.

So my suggestion is to invest taht money in a good dedicated recording PC and a couple good multi channel audio interfaces and you will be set.
Since: Apr 10, 2004

Sep 11, 2004 08:03 am

Thanks for the heads up guys. So in short, there is no cheap solution for analog recording short of owning a small country or something to pay for it. lol

How about, say I get my 32 channel behringer board and wanted to hook up 16 channels to a digital device of some sort that I could track from. Any decently priced things out there that would allow me to do something like that?

Right now, I have a nice PC with Win XP pro, It is pretty much customized to get rid of most of the annoying windows things that caus all hell to break loose as I am a tech by day. I have a Digidesign MBox which is only two channels (4 if you use the spdif connections) which is not enough to record a full band.

My thoughts are to either upgrade to a digi02 from digidesign because I am well based in Pro Tools as it is and know all the ins and outs already, or to get like a hard disc system that would allow me to record and mix from it and then I could bounce everything into PT or down to stereo tracks from there onto my computer in the long run. I definately need enough I/O's to record a 4-5 piece band which is the most I have ever worked with previously. The reason I say 16 channels is just incase you want to throw a few more on the drums, or a few more on the guitars, or do a DI on the bass and mic the bass at the same time..etc..etc..etc.. I was just attempting to see if there is anything out there a bit less expensive that would work exclusively with my mixer that I wouldn't have to mix and record "inside the box" with initially. Not to mention the Digi02 rack is only 8 I/O's which I am not sure if it would work for a full band too well. Who knows though. ;)

Thanks for any suggestions guys. peace

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Sep 11, 2004 08:12 am

If you already have good knowledge of ProTools perhaps Digi002 is a good route to go. However, if you know one multitracking app, the rest are learned pretty easy.

Other options are a couple of Delta1010LT's;bfmtype=gear which would cost under $500 for both, but has no breakout box, so you may want a patch bay to go with 'em. But it would be very cost efective.

Since: Dec 23, 2003

Sep 11, 2004 01:47 pm

I was looking at one of those Alesis HD 24 myself. We used one when we were in the studio. We recorded on an Otari 2" 24 track then dumped it to the hard drive, then to computer for editing. We did some backing vocals straight to the hard drive. Blending them in with the vocals that were recorded in analog came out super! They just blended together really nice, it was quite dynamic sounding. I've been reading up on that unit, it's very iteresting especially for the price. The down side to that is I would be stepping into the cold dark relm of digital recording... It's kind of like sticking your toe in a cold pool to test the water.... brrrrrrrrr that's cold! hehehehe

Of course maybe I'll have a different attitude about the whole thing after I rip apart my reel to reel for a good cleaning. Man that's a lot of work to have some fun.

Freeleance Producer/Engineer/Gtr
Since: Aug 11, 2002

Sep 11, 2004 01:52 pm

well, if you are looking at the alesis hd24, give a glance to the mackie mdr... it has a vga out and allows you to do some editting within the unit itself

Since: Dec 23, 2003

Sep 11, 2004 01:55 pm

I'll have to check that mackie out. I havn't looked at that one. You can edit with the alesis as well.

Since: Jun 25, 2004

Sep 12, 2004 03:23 am

Digital is the way to go man, analog is a thing of the past. Some folks prefer the "warm" sound of tape but why record the same guitar riff for hours on end just to get it right in one take???...Yes you can punch tracks in but it takes a lot of time in which you can be using to think of your songs format and what you can do to make it sound better as far as production goes. There are analog simulators for digital that sound really good if you want that "warm" sound of tape. The MoTu HD192 is a grate audio interface with a nice number of tracks.and if you use a good software (sonar 3) you'll have an unlimited number of tracks to select and record. My opinion is.... you would have to spend 10's of thousands of dollars on an analog system to get the sound quality of a 5,000 dollar digital set up. (I spent 3 on mine HEHE)

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Sep 12, 2004 10:58 pm

Now that is confusing for sure. PS, thanks Noize for remembering! I wish I had your memory for sure.

Why would you want to record analog then dump to Adat HD24? It has a non-standard hard disk system that does not just plug into PC or MAC. That is to say nothing of the loss of recording the material twice. Every time you record you loose quality. The HD24 is only a recorder. It is not a mixer, editor (although it has a couple of crude editing functions) or modifier of audio. It is very simply 24 A/D converters, 24 very descrite however fixed pre-amps, and a Hard disk based storage unit. Per comments above it does eliminate any tape based wow, flutter, stretch, etc. that previous tape based digital systems had to deal with. The only part of the above comments that I do not necessaraly agree with is the cost factor. If you need to have 24 discreate A/D converters the HD24 is not that expensive. Generaly speaking a good A/D converter goes for about $100.00 a hit or there abouts. But in the same line of conversation it is true that I would not have considered such a thing if my main application was not recording a swing era big / swing / jazz band. It does take around 22 feeds for a normal recording session. Where I only recording smaller rock groups eight channels of A/D conversion would be very adaquate.

Anyway, please do not mistake my post. I am not defending or intending to offend; I truely am confused about the theory and will be most interested in following this thread.

Since: Dec 23, 2003

Sep 15, 2004 03:29 pm

I'M VERY OFFENDED AND TRULY OUTRAGED!!! I AM UTTERLY APPALLED!!! (LMAO!! Just kidding Walt, sorry... it's my warped sence of humor at it again. You would have to try really hard to offend me.)

....Anyway, I'm a little confused by your post. But, I'll try to answer what I can. First and foremost we wanted to record in ANALOG. I may not be the most inteligent man, but it seems to me the best way to get that nice tape sound, is to record on tape in the first place. Then dumping it to the HD-24 for one thing gave us a backup copy of what we laid down on tape. Then it was dumped to computer for editing and touching up anything that needed it. I don't own an HD-24, but I have read the manual. It looked pretty simple to hook up to a computer to me. But, like I said I don't own one. I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying about the price. I think it's a great price for what it is. As far as the editing part of it, I am aware of it's ability to cut, copy, paste, and undo. I apologize for that misunderstanding. (my fault) I tend to forget that this is not what computer recording people consider editing. For an analog guy that's a pretty incredible ability for a machine. I mean when I talk about cut, copy and pasting it involves recording, a razor blade, a splice block and splicing tape. At the studio we went to they didn't have the Otari hooked right up to the computer, so it had to be put to the HD-24 to get it to the computer. I honestly don't know exactly how they had the whole thing wired in. But, at $60 an hour the last thing I wanted to be doing was paying an engineer to sit there and explain such things. One of the other reasons we did it that way is the price of 2" tape. By doing it that way we could keep using the same tape rather than having to buy 5 spools of it. I thought the HD-24 had a standard IDE hard drive in it... I'm not sure what you meant by "It has a non-standard hard disk system that does not just plug into PC or MAC". Like I said, I'm not sure of everything that you are asking... Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

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