So let’s say you’re out and about and inspiration strikes?
How would you remember that beat or record that rap?
Yeah you can use your iPhone but you can’t record quality professional music on an iPhone. I use my iPhone just to record ideas (The voice recorder app) and in the last 5 years of doing this, I only used one or two of these countless ideas.
It’s not convenient at all and a pure hassle to say the least.
Who wants to connect the iPhone to a laptop and then try to recreate the idea using professional equipment and most importantly, noise-free?
As creative music artists and producers, we are not meant to worry about the technical mumbo jumbo to bring that idea to life.
Our job is to simply produce and create.
However, if we create something using the proper tools, there is a better chance of it going from a simple ‘inspiration’ to a full on track.
That’s the sole reason why portable digital multitrack recorders came into existence.
Now no matter where you go, you can record your ideas and even full on tracks at a professional level.
This way you’ll be more inclined to share what you’ve created.
Isn’t that the whole idea anyways?
Comparison of Multitrack Digital Recorder
|Tascam||DP 008||8||Not Included|
|Tascam||DP 006||6||Not Included|
|Tascam||DP 24||24||Phantom Power|
Tascam Digital 8 Track Recorder DP 008 – Best Tascam Portastudio
Tascam is a great brand (My audio interface is by Tascam as well) and this portable multitrack recorder is no exception. One of the entry level guys in Tascam’s Portastudio line up (Short for Portable studio),
This little wonder comes with two built in condenser microphones as well so whenever inspiration strikes, you an simply whip this out and spit your game on these.
The second condenser can be used to record a beat or an instrument like an acoustic guitar riff as well. It comes with a 4gb SD card so data transfer is quick.
The Tascam DP 008EX is definitely one of light ones out there so if you record a lot on the road, this digital multitrack recorder is a great for travelling. It come with two xlr inputs so even when on the fly, you can maintain the quality of your recordings. Like most digital multitrack, it doesn’t come with built in speakers but you can use your headphones or external speakers.
To be honest, having headphones is more than enough. You don’t need to connect these to studio monitors as that would kind of defeat the purpose. One downside is doesn’t come with an adapter, that is a separate purchase. You can run it on batteries though but I wish Tascam threw in the adapter as well, that would have made this a killer Tascam 8 track recorder package.
Overall, it’s still the best Tascam portable recorder around and in my opinion, the best home studio multitrack recorder.
Tascam Digital Portastudio DP 006
I prefer 8 channels but most can get by with 6. It all depends on how you record your things. I know some artists have some really unique set ups that are totally unconventional.
At the end of the day, it’s not how you record but what you record. To be honest, if you’re having fun even the latter doesn’t matter.
That said, the Tascam DP 006 also comes with a nice little tripod so you don’t have to hold it in your hand all the time while you go back and forth with your music laptop (Transfering audio files, etc).
If 6 channels are good for you then this is the one of the best Tascam Portastudios around. Great entry level multi track recorder.
Tascam 8 Track Digital Multitrack Recorder DP-03sd
Another Portastudio by Tascam. This one also has 8 tracks and it actually comes with its own power supply and an SD card. This model basically replaces the Portastudio DP 02cf (A legendary work horse). Jam packed with features but if you’re looking for a mixer to keep near your current music studio, this is more suitable for that.
It’s a larger Portastudio than Tascam’s DP series and definitely less portable. I would use this to record if I’m spending time in different music studios, but not while just running around.
Since it has more features than the DP series, there is a learning curve attached to it which could be a turn off. Especially if you hate anything ‘technical’ in music such as myself.
Also just because of what you are getting here (Size and features wise), most users later regret that they got an 8 channel instead of a 32. Guess it’s just one of those digital recorders that you either hate or love. These days, it’s all about computer based multitrack recording and this one fits the bill quite nicely.
Korg has created a nice 12 track digital multitrack recorder as well and it goes by the name of D-12. Maybe Eminem’s crew stole this name but either way, it’s a great product.
This Korg multitrack recorder is a tad bit old compared to the new digital recorders (Like Tascam) but still solid as ever.
Record 4 tracks at the same time or playback all 12 at once, this Korg multitrack is a beast. You’ll be surprised to see how many people actually use this in their studios.
I consider the Zoom R16 multitrack recorder as my main multitrack recorder which is not my main recorder.
I guess if you completely despise “techy” stuff in music (Welcome to the club) but still want to make professional music, this multitrack recorder is for you. No drama, no learning curve just plug and play.
As far as ‘ease of use’ goes, this one is the best in the business. Works great with batteries though some do report that the quality of their adapter can be a lot better.
Here is the big boss of them all. Tascam Dp-24SD has (You guessed it) 24 tracks for you to get completely lost in recording music. This is basically a music studio in a box.
It comes with a nice slick 3.5” LCD screen so you access all of it’s features. I wouldn’t recommend this to any beginners but if you are looking to go to the next level or have the budget for it, then this is it.
You can literally bang out professional quality tracks on this thanks to the built in effects processor and the multiple mastering tools it comes preloaded with.
I personally love the option of having 8 XLR inputs. Comes loaded with features but just as easy to use as a Tascam handheld recorder. Considering the size, I would label this the easiest digital multitrack recorder.
The engineers here made sure that things don’t get too complicated with this one. That is always a plus in my book. All hail the Tascam DP 24 – The best 24 track digital portastudio yet. One downside is it’s not portable enough for you to carry around but I don’t think it’s meant for that.
Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Multitrack Recorder
This Zoom multitrack recording studio is great for bands. The reason for that is it allows you to record about to 14 tracks simultaneously. Which is the most out of all the multitrack recorders featured here.
It also comes with 5 headphone outputs so you know this is meant for a nice group session or something along those lines. The Zoom L-12 also comes with a proper power source (An adapter) and a USB cable.
If you are somewhat familiar with your current DAW, you’ll really enjoy the connectivity with this multitrack recorder.
I would pick this over the big Tascam multitrack recorders just because it is really that easy to connect with your current home studio (Logic, Ableton, etc). Plug and play all the way. One of the best Zoom multitrack recorders in the market today. However, just like everything in life, there is one tiny bit of a downside, you must provide your own SD card. Ouch . . .
Korg D1200 Multitrack Recorder
So if you enjoyed the Korg D12, this would be your natural upgrade. As the D12 this one is also great for guitarists.
Now the question of the day is if you had a choice between the D12 and the D1200, which one should you pick? Well obviously the D1200 is more up to date but you can definitely get away with the D12 as well.
Let me put it this way . . . If you like the old school classic feel, try to get a D12 and if you just want to keep moving into the future, go with the D1200.
Overall, it’s the same multi recorder essentially.
Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder
Looks like something from those Alien movies but don’t let the fancy look foo you, this thing is a beast.
It’s a 4 track recorder and if your genre of music is rap, 4 track should be more then enough. One for the bass, one for the beat, and you can add a loop on the third. On the last one . . . spit your game playa.
Believe it or not, the H4N has been around for about 10 years and the folks at Zoom just keep improving them.
Zoom really out did it self and almost created a new niche of micro portable digital multitrack recorders with this one.
Tascam DP-32sd Digital 32-Track Portastudio
This is literally a full on studio. Besides the regular reverb and other effects, you can use compression and a limiter on this one here as well. Most likely, you don’t know what those two things are but once you do learn compression and limiting, that’s basically saying that know how to master music.
Needless to say, the Tascam 32 track recorder is literally a portable studio. So besides being a total powerhouse, what else makes this portastudio stand out? Well try the “color” LCD monitor for example.
Unlike some complex multitrack recorders here, I actually do recommed this one fo the the beginners out there. Reason is although when starting out, you might not need all those channels but it is easy to use. If you’re feeling like getting the best than it doesn’t get any better than the Tascam DP-32SD.
Anatomy of a Digital Multitrack Recorder
Each multitrack comes with it it’s own special features but all you need to know is the following:
It will help you control the volume of the instrument, vocal or sound sample that you just loaded. Each “track” (8, 12, 24, Whatever . . .) is controlled by this Fader.
So the whole idea is to play around with the faders and see which formation sounds the best.
Controls the combined volume of all the faders.
If you can understand this basic concept, then you can figure out how to use any multitrack recorder in the world.
What is a digital multitrack recorder and what does it do?
Well let me make this really easy . . . Have you ever seen this? It’s known as a audio mixing board.
Most likely you probably saw it in a movie or perhaps on Google somewhere. However, if you were really lucky, you got a chance to see it in real life and started drooling immediately/ At least that’s what happened to me when I went to enroll in a music school some eons ago.
Imagine a machine that condenses all of that in a little box that you can either carry with you or place it next to your home studio. That’s what a digital multitrack recorder is. In a nutshell, you record each instrument on each of the tracks (One sound per track) and then play around with it or ‘mix’ it till it sounds professional.
Thats what a multitrack recorder does.
Do I need a multitrack recorder?
If you make music when you are not using your home studio (Making loops on your iPhone or recording ideas on a voice recorder) then it’s better to get a multitrack recorder.
Reason is you’ll save tremendous amount of time and will actually put out finished tracks much faster.
Some of your favorite songs were just spur of the moment things and if they weren’t captured properly, you and I would have never heard them.
That’s what the sole purpose of a multi-track recorder is.
Taking inspiration and helping you get it out there asap in the easiest way possible. With a multitrack recorder, you don’t have to worry about sound quality, noise reduction, etc. Basically, if you’re a serious music producer, you need it. If you are a hobbyist (Someone who doesn’t think about making music once you’re done spending time on your home studio), don’t worry about it.
How to use a multitrack recorder?
Although each multitrack recorders comes with it’s own bells and whistles, the main idea is to upload or record each individual sound on a single track and then use the mixing controls or board to mix it properly. A multitrack recorder is more or less the ‘hardware’ version of a daw.
This simple process is called multitrack recording.
Who invented multitrack recording?
The process was created by a man named Ross Snyder who later sold it to Les Paul (Yes the famous guitar company). In 1957, Les Paul made it into the world’s first 8 track recorder and the rest as they say is history.
How to hook up a mixer to a multitrack recorder?
You don’t need to as a multitrack recorder has a built in mixer (Remember the mixing board example above). An 8 track multitrack recorder means you can mix 8 tracks together and so on. However, you can use the input feature of a multitrack recorder to add an additional mixer to it.
How do I multitrack record in a DAW?
Of course it depends on your DAW but you can literally connect your multitrack recorder to any of of the popular DAWs such as Logic Pro X, Audacity, Garageband, Adobe audition or Ableton.