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Digital recording nightmare?

posted on #1
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Audacity, Ardour and other DAW stuff do my head in. It's so complex and therefore complicated. My zoom h2n is limited, I now have a Boss micro-BR 80 because it seemed the most intuitive when reading about it, but I don't like it, so am going to trade it in towards something with real knobs that will record a wav to an SD card. eg: Tascam have DP03SD that I might get fairly cheap but I don't think I need 8 channels.

I haven't looked extensively yet so there might be others better suited, so any help will be appreciated. I don't want hardly any scrolling through menus or having to interface to the computer unless it's very simple. The way I see it, I'll need a stereo input for wikiloops wav, and 1 or 2 mic/line inputs and to be able to easily hear the levels, panning etc and when it sounds right, record it to the SD card. Thanks!
posted on #2
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I would advise against a digital recorder when you're recording at home. You pay a lot of money for being limited and not able to reach high quality recordings. Although it seems that you're on war foot with DAWs I would recommend you to learn how to use it. Once you've learned the software it will be way more easy and comfortable compared to recording on a SD card. I had to try several DAWs before I found the ones I really like to work with and there are way better alternatives than Audacity and Ardour. If you're interessted, the free version of Studio One is a good starting point:

https://shop.presonus.com/Studio-One-5-Prime

In combination with a good beginner audio interface (eg. Focusrite Solo) and a condenser microphone (eg. Rode NT-1) you'll have a decent home studio setup for a slightly higher price than what you've paid for the Boss micro-BR 80.
posted on #3
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Thanks, eothen, I'll check that out. EDit: not for Linux.Oh well.
Edited by BB6 on Settembre 23 2022 17:38
posted on #4
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Peter, on Linux and with Ardour you can always ask me. eothen is right about these being the better tools compared to most hardware recorders, and maybe I can make some howto video in case you have some questions (like how to export with a certain level, or how to connect all the pieces together and get a mix and so on?).

You are in the right forum https://www.wikiloops.com/forum/viewforum.php?forum_id=8 with this thread already, so in case of questions or calls for help, just ask and I'll try to answer :)
Edited by wjl on Settembre 23 2022 20:05
posted on #5
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Edit: there's also linuxmusicians.

One of the members there is in trouble at the moment - he programmed some of the best plugins I know, and here's his story:

https://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=24918

What he usually does is pro work, but for technical questions about Linux and music making, that site is very good...

(Edit: again an 'amp' too much in the mouse over on that link; you'll have to remove that... sorry for the inconvenience)
Edited by wjl on Settembre 23 2022 20:10
posted on #6
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eothen wrote:
I would advise against a digital recorder when you're recording at home. You pay a lot of money for being limited and not able to reach high quality recordings. Although it seems that you're on war foot with DAWs I would recommend you to learn how to use it. Once you've learned the software it will be way more easy and comfortable compared to recording on a SD card. I had to try several DAWs before I found the ones I really like to work with and there are way better alternatives than Audacity and Ardour. If you're interessted, the free version of Studio One is a good starting point:

https://shop.presonus.com/Studio-One-5-Prime

In combination with a good beginner audio interface (eg. Focusrite Solo) and a condenser microphone (eg. Rode NT-1) you'll have a decent home studio setup for a slightly higher price than what you've paid for the Boss micro-BR 80.
Another vote for Studio One, lots of drag and drop.I have "Artist" the next one up but only because it was bundled with my interface. I used Cubase 20 years ago so already familiar with the general idea of how DAWs work as they are all pretty much the same process.
So, yes, plug away at it, it (Studio one) can be used very simply if that's all you want.
posted on #7
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Zedders, Studio One is surely a nice program, haven't tried it, but Peter (BB6) and me are on Linux - and so I can only propose to help him with what we have, and with what I know... :) Unless he'd want to change of course, in that case I'd second your (and eothen's) tips :)
What's available on all platforms are the free and open source Ardour, and the not free Reaper. Also Harrison Mixbus, the commercial version of Ardour with a few extras. Have tried (and paid for) all of them, and stayed with Ardour.
Edited by wjl on Settembre 24 2022 10:13
posted on #8
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wjl wrote:
Zedders, Studio One is surely a nice program, haven't tried it, but Peter (BB6) and me are on Linux - and so I can only propose to help him with what we have, and with what I know... :) Unless he'd want to change of course, in that case I'd second your (and eothen's) tips :)
What's available on all platforms are the free and open source Ardour, and the not free Reaper. Also Harrison Mixbus, the commercial version of Ardour with a few extras. Have tried (and paid for) all of them, and stayed with Ardour.
Ah, missed that. I always thought Linux was for nerds so it surprises me that anyone that chains themselves to it struggles with using a DAW. No doubt my preconceptions are flawed!

So, question to you - why Linux? From what I read, it really limits your choices for music production (on he cheap) with so much free stuff out there that is not Linux friendly.
Edited by zedders on Settembre 24 2022 10:20
posted on #9
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Why Linux?

Oh, that's a good question. I gave up on Windows ca. 25 years ago when I had to support that stuff, and my argument was that you can't really support a black box. So I told my superiors that I'd change to Linux, and the answer was that I should at least try Solaris because more of our commercial clients used that. So I've learnt both.

Started with (the German) Suse, then changed to (the more commercial) Red Hat, experienced their 'RPM hell', tried the BSD family and learnt about good package management. Beside a few side trips to Gentoo and such, a younger new colleague (in healthcare IT at that time) suggested to try Debian, which I did - and stayed with that ever since.

I've made friends in that community, and helped with booths on events like FOSDEM (free and open source develeopers' European meeting), and Linuxtag where I also had a talk about what we did with it.

By now I'm still triple-booting into Debian (my main 'work' environment), Arch (for testing out new and exciting stuff like Pipewire), and Windows 10 (if I must, only for programs like Olympus and such which don't exist on Linux). The next machine I'll build for myself will have Debian only.

And yes, it is a nice and stable system, but you can also go and install their 'testing' or even 'unstable' branches for development or if you'd rather have some kind of 'rolling release' like Arch (or Windows).

So yes - there are still some ties between the Debian community and myself, but I'm almost retired by now, so that fades away a bit as well.

My wife and daughter both use Ubuntu which is kind of a pretty daughter of Debian, like Mint would be the pretty daughter of Ubuntu. I'll stay with granny though... :D

Edit: by the way, when I built a new computer for my wife this spring, I asked her what to put onto that one - and she wanted Ubuntu only. Like our daughter as well, both aren't interested in anything else (and UbuntuStudio is pretty awesome for newbies who'd like to be creative, just looked at their latest ESR (="extended support release") version).

P.P.S.: I once email-interviewed Ian Murdock after meeting him at Linuxtag, and after hearing about his death I re-posted that interview on my blog, here: https://wolfgang.lonien.de/2016/01/my-email-interview-with-ian-murdock-from-2006/ - Ian was a great guy, and the name 'Debian' is from his wife and himself...
Edited by wjl on Settembre 24 2022 10:49
posted on #10
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posted on #11
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I've tried Reaper on Linux Mint (my OS for day-to-day stuff) and it seems capable but obviously requires it's own learning curve. I didn't feel there was a compelling reason to make the effort learning it as it didn't (to me) offer substantially more than my trusty (off internet) 64-bit Win7/Cubase 7.5 rig. It's all down to personal preference I guess. Having said that, I'd choose Linux/Reaper over Win10/anything anyday.
cmdr_chill
posted on #12
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wjl wrote:
What's available on all platforms are the free and open source Ardour, and the not free Reaper. Also Harrison Mixbus, the commercial version of Ardour with a few extras. Have tried (and paid for) all of them, and stayed with Ardour.


Just discovered https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform-free which works on Ubuntu. I haven't tried it yet, it may work on other Linux. If you tried it, does it compare favourably?

Edit: it comes with https://mackie.com/en/products/mixers/profxv3-series/ProFX10v3.html Mackie mixer with USB
Edited by BB6 on Settembre 24 2022 17:03
posted on #13
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zedders wrote:
Ah, missed that. I always thought Linux was for nerds so it surprises me that anyone that chains themselves to it struggles with using a DAW. No doubt my preconceptions are flawed!

So, question to you - why Linux? From what I read, it really limits your choices for music production (on he cheap) with so much free stuff out there that is not Linux friendly.


Sick of Windows, tried Mac but that's going the same way. There's so many varieties of Linux to try and most make it simple to install and uninstall software (and there's lots) so it's great for trying stuff because it doesn't leave tons of clutter like Win or Mac. There's a music devoted Linux variety of MX Linux but I don't like the interface. I've used Xubuntu for some years and just gone over to MX Linux (not the music one) and am pretty happy. Nerds would get more out of it, but it does most things I want.
posted on #14
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eothen wrote:
I would advise against a digital recorder when you're recording at home. You pay a lot of money for being limited and not able to reach high quality recordings.


I'm hoping for high quality recording despite being limited. If my needs are only mic inputs and stereo input for wikiloops wav, what can I get away with and still record well? I won't need all the guitar fx, for example.

https://www.studiomaster.com/digitalmixing/digilive4c/ is at the top of my budget but has a software interface which apparently works on all computers, which looks fairly simple to me, with parametric EQ, Compression, FX etc.

All thoughts and suggestions welcome.
posted on #15
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Why do you want to use a mixer (which is constructed for a totally different application) instead of an USB audio interface? You don't need the stereo input for playing the wikiloops waves when you're connected via USB.
Edited by eothen on Settembre 24 2022 18:42
posted on #16
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eothen wrote:
Why do you want to use a mixer (which is constructed for a totally different application) instead of an USB audio interface? You don't need the stereo input for playing the wikiloops waves when you're connected via USB.

Because a mixer has controls to get the mix right, without me using a DAW.
posted on #17
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I've been using Windows since 3.1 professionally and... at times I've hated the thing.
But win10 is solid, never had a problem, it looks after itself these days and if you instal the pro version you don't get all the fluff. It's free too and keeps up to date with it's security patches and nothing else.
I feel sorry for mac users though, that once great thing is now a nightmare with major updates seemingly every year that have software developers tearing their hair out. They give almost no warnings either as they don't want to hurt the sales of soon to be outdated hardware. Nightmare! Thouogh got to say the new portables are awesomely powerful and low wattage so it's not all bad... you just can't run half your software on them.
I think it's tipped from Apple to windows in the last couple of years for hassle free computing. Farting about with the registry days are long gone.
posted on #18
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@zedders - your posts are double somehow...
@BB6 - Peter, Tracktion looks good, give it a try if you don't like / don't get Ardour.

I'm with @eothen, an interface is the way to go. For Linux, get a class-compliant one (and if you don't know what that is, well if it works on Macs without drivers for its USB2 or USB3 interface, then it's most likely class-compliant).

I'm using the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 gen. 2 interface which works fine on Linux (no drivers needed), and I bought a Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD for my brother who's also on Linux, works equally well.
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