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Yamaha aw-1600

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  • Yamaha aw-1600

    I'm looking at one of these used, since the prices have really come down and I can get one for $300 when just two years ago, used ones were still going for $600-750 in here even.  And it sounds like they went for over a thousand new! Of course this means nothgin if they are just junk today...

    It supposedly works well, and since the learning curve is steep on these, I'm not sure many of them were used unless the people were very serious about them and recording.

    Anyone have any experience with one of these?  Any opinions or preferences or knowledge if they are still good used for making masters.

    Right now for my use I will just add all the pieces separately, guitar, bass and vocals and then bring in a drummer since I have the drums but cannot play, and he or she can lay down a drum track.  r I'd liek to get good enough to do some recording for others.  Regardless...I'm wondering if this is a steal nowadays, a good deal or just outdated and too hard to learn to use?  Anyone?  Thank you ahead of time.

  • #2

    Stand alones are good for portability only. They lack key elements when it comes to serious recording. You have limited tracks, 16 in the case of the Yamaha. You're stuck with whatever built in effects the unit has. Menus require you to use the manual for any kind of advanced work which in my opinion is a pain in the ass. That particular recorder has a maximum sample rate of 24/44.1 which isn't the best. Most computer interfaces will give you at least 24/96.

    A Computer DAW has unlimited tracks and you can download thousands of free plugins and buy thousands more. This makes your mixing capabilities much broader.

    If you're using the portable as a live recording unit or to take with you to band practice, it will record OK but you'd be better off moving the recorded files to a computer for mixing. You would need a DAW program and at least a two channel stereo Interface that runs ASIO drivers for the DAW program to recognize it. There are some sound cards that play back 24/44.1 wave files and can be recognized by DAW programs, but most run on win drivers and can only play back multimedia stuff.

    One other option is if you have a laptop you can get a multi channel interface. Its portable and you don't have to deal with moving files from a stand alone to a computer for mixing better recordings.


    • JBbitchin
      JBbitchin commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. Sounds like you have a pretty good grasp on this and maybe I should do some real research before jumping in. I have seen old tape systems, 8 track on 1/8 inch tapes like the old style cassettes being sold for as little as $30 and maybe I should experiment with one of these before dumping even the $300 into this. I got excited because I saw this and thought--cool--I've always wanted one and this does cds and so on and 16 tracks doesn't seem limiting, but if the thing has already really been limited into obscurity and might be ultimately hard to work with--maybe I should look around a little more.

      Any decent modern systems you might recommend that will do a lot and have portability or would I be better off buying a laptop for the same price and dumping a recording program with interface into and on top of it? Then just burning the discs off the laptop?

    • WRGKMC
      WRGKMC commented
      Editing a comment

      If you want a stand alone those Korg R16 units are fairly decent. They have the benifit of plugging into a computer and acting like an interface and seamlessly working with Cubase. Older Stand alones didnt have that feature and moving files was often difficult. 

      You can record tracks remotely, move them to a computer, then record through the unit to the computer like you would any other interface. This makes multitracking additional tracks a whole lot easier.

  • #3

    I would definitely go with a DAW.

    The added flexibility and ability to upgrade makes it a no-brainer.

    These all-in-one units are dinosaurs - they were developed to bridge a gap until computers became powerful enough to do what they could do.

    That time arrived about 5 years ago, and there's no reason not to use a computer and DAW software for recording.

    Don't even think about pro-sumer grade analog tape decks...


    "Thank You, NASA!"


    • Peter Anderson
      Peter Anderson commented
      Editing a comment
      The AW1600 is a good bit of kit for $300. A lot of learning curve, yes, but a lot of capability. The internal effects are good with plentifully adjustable parameters. Vocals, keyboards, guitars, drums and all the usual stuff records well. The only thing it lacks is a GEQ for the final touchup to the mix. But, some things it records incredibly badly, in my case accordions. I don't know whether to blame the preamps or the sample rate, but a track of accordion ends up having a wash of very high frequency noise. For that reason I'm soon to upgrade to DAW but it'll cost five times the $300 you mention.