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Thread Newbie multitracker needs help

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1 Newbie multitracker needs help
Hi,
I am a guitarist/drummer/bassist/vocalist and I play with a Christian group, mostly consisting of my family.
I'm not real sure how to describe the style of music except to say that it is made up of mostly acoustic instruments and 3-4 part vocal harmony.

Anyway, I played guitar with the group with my bro-in-law playing bass and we performed that way for about two years.
Since then my bro-in-law can't do it anymore, so that leaves us with one musician, me. I can play all the instruments we need to perform, but not obviously, not all at once. Thus I started looking into multi-track recorders.

I wanted to make soundtracks for my group to sing with live. Basically, 4-5 guitar parts (acoustic/electric), and one electric bass part.
I wanted the best quality I could get, doing the recording myself at home.
I didn't have any recording experience, but I did have a lot of experience working with live PA equipment, so I wan't totally green, just mostly.
But, I already had a really good mixer and some good mics and just about all the cables and cords I would need.

I shopped around and took home a Tascam 2488 portastudio. I bought it because it looked simple to use and fairly cheap compared to the rest of the similar recorders. Plus the Guitar Center I bought it from would take it back up to 30 days, if I was unsatisfied, so I thought I would try it out.

After about a week I had already completed three songs. (each with 2-3 rhythm guitar parts, 1 bass part, and 1 lead guitar part).

The sound was good to my inexperienced ears, but I thought to myself "if I can get that sound out of a $1,100 unit, what could I do if I spent a little more. So I went looking again.

Next time I brought home a Digidesign Digi 002 Rack. This seemed like the answer. It would do way more than the 2488 and I had already bought a new Toshiba laptop just a couple of months ago, so I didn't have to worry about a computer.

I tried this for a couple of days and found out quickly that I was in way over my head. I couldn't get the Pro Tools LE software to work properly but just a couple of times. When it was working, it looked extermely complicated for an amateur like me.

So I brought it back and got the 2488 again.

I have now been using the 2488 for about 3 months and now that I have learned more about how to record, bought a couple of necessity effects like a comp/gate/limiter, and also started using my Mackie mixer as a pre-amp, I am actually getting much better sound out of this machine that at first.

I am happy with the 2488, but the more I learn about recording, I think I am already starting to outgrow it. I am starting to think that I would've been much better off with the Digi 002 and Pro Tools LE if I had just taken the time to learn the software.

My question is:
Given my situation and the type of recording I do, would I be better off using the equipment I have now 2488, or some kind of DAW based system, like the Digidesign?

Also, what are the main advantages that would apply to my situation, if I went with a DAW system?

So far, I have not needed more than one input at a time. So, if I did go with a DAW system, I think proably the Digidesign Mbox would be enough for my needs.

To clarify, the 2488 is getting the job done, but the editing process after the tracks are layed down is a little cumbersome. I use a lot of punch recording to fix mistakes. It works ok. I just wonder if the DAWs have easier and more precise ways of editing, and also they come with many effects to add to the sound.

I know that was a lot to read, but I have been trying to find the best system for my needs for some time now. I think my situation is a little unique, so I though I would give as much details as possible.

I would really appreciate any help anyone could give me, suggestions, advice, pointers, tips, and stuff like that.
2
I guess I could've put it more simply.

My question is what are the major differences between a unit like the Tascam 2488, and a computer-based system like the Digidesign Mbox?
3
Sorry I didn't respond sooner, bro. I wanted to, but my knee is whacked out and I've been a lot of pain. You could pray for that if you're of a mind to......

The biggest difference between and "all in one" and a computer setup is going to be editing capability (and ease), and expansion (plug ins for effects and virtual instruments). I've been doing the computer thing for recording for about 7 years now, and I would never go back. Here's a pic of my current set up:





I would hang on to the "all in one" in the event you want to do any live stuff.

Also, I would stay away from any stuff that is hardware/software specific, as is the MBox. Get yourself an interface that will work with Cubase or Cakewalk and has no proprietary limitations.

If you're a Christian musician, you might get a kick out of the website and the blues CD listed in my sig file. You might also check out the Christian Musician Forum- www.christianmusicianforum.com
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
4
Hey Axeman I had not seen your setup before. Seems like a pretty cool place to work on your tracks!
5
Thanks for the help.

I don't really want to buy an A/D converter like an Mbox unless I have to.
I think I can record my tracks on my 2488 raw, with no effects or EQ. Then I can send them to my PC via USB and edit them and mix them with software. If this is true, I would rather do it that way, because if I use my laptop's hard disk to record to, there will probably be latency issues.
Latency is not a problem for the 2488, plus it's got a lot more simultaneous inputs. So I wouldn't be using the software to record the tracks, but just to edit them, mix them and add effects.

I have been looking at Sonar and Home Studio by Cakewalk.
Do you know the differences between Home Studio and Sonar?

I'm sure Sonar has a lot of stuff Home Studio doesn't, but I just wonder if it's stuff I would use anyway.

I don't mind spending the extra money if it's going to be something I need, but I just don't want to waste the money for extra features I'm not going to use.

I actually bought an Mbox from Guitar Center last night on the way home from work on an impulse. :)

I'm leaving it in the wrapping and hanging on to the reciept until I get a little more information though. The guy at GC said I needed to use the 2488 to record my tracks and then take a main out from the 2488 and go into the Mbox and record it again. To me this seems redundant. If I record it on the 2488, I have already gone analog to digital. So why would I want to go back to analog and back to digital again?
Especially when I can just transfer the .wav files to my PC via a USB cable. Also, he said if I did it that way I could use the Mbox to plug my monitors or headphones into to monitor my mix.
Couldn't I just use the output from my PC's sound card for this?
6
I would certainly try it that way first. I didn't know your 2488 had USB out- that would be the cheapest way to go.

For what you want to do, Home Studio would probably do just fine. There is a comparison chart here:

https://www.cakewalk.com/Products/HomeStudio/Comparison.asp

Hope this helps.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
7

Quote: Hey Axeman I had not seen your setup before. Seems like a pretty cool place to work on your tracks!



Thanks, Gawain- I'm really digging it. I finally just got everything back up and running after moving.

That was a pain....... ;)
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD