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Which is better- digital workstation or computer?

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  • Which is better- digital workstation or computer?

    Hi,

    I have been playing guitar for about 2 years now and also play in a rock band. The band and I are looking to record some of our music. I am new to recording and don't know that much. I was wondering if a digital workstation or computer is better for recording. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    A computer is WAY MORE flexible on ALL LEVELS for recording. It's practically unlimited in scope.

    That said, I prefer, and use hardware gear with less features because it forces me to focus on making MUSIC over tweaking and editing.

    and you can use both also

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    • #3
      Depends on how good you are with computers. A digital workstation should be easier to set up and more reliable. Computers are more flexible and powerful.

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      • #4
        What do you mean by digital workstation? A portable hard disk recorder?

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        • #5
          do yourself a favor and get a decent stand alone multitrack...you'll spend forever trying to get on with your computer software...unlimited flexibility is exactly what people with limited experience DONT need.

          you'll learn more about recording fundamentals with the limits that a stand alone multitrack provide and I'll bet you'll focus more on the songs and less on all the parameters of the software

          in the end a good stand alone multitrack with good songs will be great

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          • #6
            I have both. A digital multi track (portable so I dont have to take my whole PC etc etc to rehersal).

            Tonight I am recording drums on the multi track, then transferring the individual tracks to my PC so I can have more flexibility.
            Check out my band "Tock" Debut album coming out soon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQoQgpMooyY

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            • #7
              I have a Roland VS 2480 recorder and ProTools LE with the 003. I would recommend starting out with a digital workstation, espeacialy if your wanting to record multiple tracks at once, it will be more expensive to get an audio interface for the computer that has more inputs. The digital workstation should be easier to learn how to use, more dependable in the short run, easier to move around so you can track at different places or even record a live gig. I started out recording with computers but it was too much to keep everything working together, so then I went to the VS 2480, then last year I got a good ProTools system. I learned quite a bit using the VS 2480, and it helped when I moved up to a more complicated computer system. I still use the VS 2480 for recording on the go (practices, jamming with new people to save ideas, recording live gigs).

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              • #8
                If you're new to this you may want to check out Korg's D888...it's an 8-track digital recorder that, unlike most in its price range, actually lets you record all eight tracks at once. Rather than having a bunch of menus, etc it's set up like an analog mixer with knobs for EQ, panning etc. It's very easy to use and it also has a USB port, so if you do want to move to computer recording at some point it integrates very easily. I picked one up last year and take it with me to record practices, gigs etc and it works very well, and when I'm done I just drag the files into Pro Tools and go from there. As others have mentioned, it's not as flexible as a computer-based system but sometimes that simplicity helps you focus on the music...when I'm just trying to get an idea down quickly I'll often use that instead of firing up the computer rig.

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                • #9
                  I have a Roland VS 2480 recorder and ProTools LE with the 003. I would recommend starting out with a digital workstation, espeacialy if your wanting to record multiple tracks at once, it will be more expensive to get an audio interface for the computer that has more inputs. The digital workstation should be easier to learn how to use, more dependable in the short run, easier to move around so you can track at different places or even record a live gig. I started out recording with computers but it was too much to keep everything working together, so then I went to the VS 2480, then last year I got a good ProTools system. I learned quite a bit using the VS 2480, and it helped when I moved up to a more complicated computer system. I still use the VS 2480 for recording on the go (practices, jamming with new people to save ideas, recording live gigs).


                  The 2480 can be used as a control interface with some recording software also!
                  Monthly Podcast: http://fuzzballrecordsradio.tk/

                  Or Quixotic Rage myspace info here

                  Band web page: http://JMBess.googlepages.com/home

                  Studio web page:http://JMBess.googlepages.com/fuzzballrecords

                  Great trades with: Stazinish, Silverring233, sirkonks, Facing Failure, yuantian, simplestargazer, Juan M, jcloud, and you can check my ebay account for more!

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                  • #10
                    I think alot of it has to do with weather someones computer literate or not and/or they have the money to invest. As far as the standalones go you may be limited in growth. Unless you can run several units at the same time to get multiple tracks youre limited to how many tracks you can do at once. You also have the problem of figuring out all the buried menus in a tiny display to do your mixing. A computer has a different set of issues. You have the unit, operating system, The music software and audio interface/ hardware.
                    The pluses I see are the visability of what youre actually doing to the sound to get a good mix. Recording is no harder than pushing a record button, giving the file a name, and saving it. Mixing and mastering is where the visability counts. Theres tons of free software out there, Tons of good new and used computers at great prices, and even some decent interfaces. There is a new m-audio on sale 10 in 10 out for $199 that lets you record 10 tracks at a time. Buy a super used computer for $300 or a New high end with flat screen 22" for $500 and youre good to go.

                    When I was moving up from My 8 track cassette I wanted a stand alone digital unit bad.
                    I'm glad I went with the computer. I now take the multitrack recordings we record mix them down and sync them to the digital videos I do and burn DVDs with concert quality. I can also burn the cd labels with the burner and do the CD box labels. I also run my bands internet sight, Have mailing lists etc etc.
                    I cant do any of that with a stand alone unit.
                    It all just comes down to whats more efficiant for your needs.

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                    • #11
                      Not always, the 2480 can use a monitor, and a mouse...no buried menus or tiny displays. I chose it because you can use it to record outside of the studio as a stand alone or use it with a computer as a work station.
                      Mixing and mastering is still done with the ears....it is good to see a signal but the end result is what you hear.

                      Each method has good and bad points so why not consider something that can do both?
                      Monthly Podcast: http://fuzzballrecordsradio.tk/

                      Or Quixotic Rage myspace info here

                      Band web page: http://JMBess.googlepages.com/home

                      Studio web page:http://JMBess.googlepages.com/fuzzballrecords

                      Great trades with: Stazinish, Silverring233, sirkonks, Facing Failure, yuantian, simplestargazer, Juan M, jcloud, and you can check my ebay account for more!

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                      • #12
                        unlimited flexibility is exactly what people with limited experience DONT need.


                        I disagree with that statement. I am a recording noob and I got a new computer, software, mikes, etc. I started completely from scratch and I was recording on the first day I had all of my equipment.

                        I've only been recording on my equipment a month and last night submitted an album for mastering. (The ME previewed a couple of songs, gave me a couple suggestions, I made the changes and submitted the whole thing).

                        All I've needed is a stack of books and the help of a couple of forums for advice and I've done alright without a mixer.

                        As far as which is better, I don't know. I'm just saying "unlimited flexibility" has not been a stumbling block for this noob.
                        "I would've been a poet but all this music stuff kept getting in the way" -Townes Van Zandt

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                        • #13
                          Just a guess here

                          but software becomes more advanced on a yearly basis and keeps growing in popularity because of it's features and price. Leads me to believe that hardware multitrack production will suffer because of this. Quality may be an issue since there won't be such a demand.

                          I've always used standalones but will eventually will go computer. Probably be a Mac. Just waiting awhile first.

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                          • #14
                            but software becomes more advanced on a yearly basis and keeps growing in popularity because of it's features and price. Leads me to believe that hardware multitrack production will suffer because of this. Quality may be an issue since there won't be such a demand.

                            I suppose you could say that hardware multitrack production has already suffered...there are no large-format standalone recorders on the market any more. Roland has discontinued the 2480 and 2400, Akai has discontinued the DPS24 and Yamaha only has their cheapest model on the market now...not sure if quality has suffered per se, but the self-contained machines are certainly only in the low- to mid-price range these days...

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                            • #15
                              So Roland and Akai did stop making those. I was wondering where they went. Damn.

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