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Old 05-03-2000, 11:49 AM
lespaul lespaul is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: NY NY USA
Posts: 27
Default Crossroads: Next Studio Step?

All PRO level opinions would be greatly appreciated:

I need some guidance in what to do here....

My personal project/songwriter studio needs your help. For the past year and a half, I have been tracking and mixing my OWN stuff - no
outside work - ...live guitars and vocals....to (2) Tascam DA-38's; and syncing midi tracks (loops, keys, etc) from sampler/synths. Brief list of
gear - AT 4033, Avalon 737 (direct to tape), Mackie 24x8 (monitor and mix to Panasonic SV3800, burn to Tascam CD recorder), MOTU Midi
Express XT running a sampler and a few synth modules, a few inexpensive outboard processers (typical Alesis/Lexicon fare)

4 months ago I bought a G4 Yosemite 400 / 192mb to incorporate more pro level midi (NO hard disk Audio yet) applications - Logic & Digital
Perfomer; AND with the intention of eventually buying an audio card ( this is just at the time the 001 came out; and the 2408 gaining in
popularity). So now I have the computer stuff happening - midi is becoming more sophisticated, getting good tracking done....then, .DA-38 #2
starts giving me trouble with errors. While it's in the shop, of course all I can think of is what to do next - I bought tape machines so I 'd
have an easy, trouble free, reliable way to get stuff down and backed up. Is it time to dump them altogether?

Now that I already have the G4, I am at a crossroads - what do you all think is the best step UP (NOT DOWN/ACROSS)? What will be most
cost effective AND make the music sound better?

1) I had previously considered a standalone hard disk to sync to the midi/MAC (Roland VS 1680/1880) but this seems a bit of a step down -
too much in one box, not great converters. I guess the step UP from this would be the new Tascam 24 track or Mackie unit. bigger bucks,
still need backup/archive system, better off used with digital desk (D8B, etc.) May be cost prohibitive - but if it's that much better, I can
scratch #2-3 and WAIT!

2) MOTU 2408Mk II would go well with DP (Already own for MIDI, just add Audio), could keep DA 38 tape machine(s) for importing tracks
to and from other studios/backup. BUT I have never done this, so I don't know why I would need this feature. Good value.. BUT - do I want
something that revolves around STILL using tape machines - I guess I could eventually add a digital desk and lightpipe to the 2408 (and use the TDIF/ADAT digital ins-outs for THAT instead of DA 38's). so I don't have to use the mouse for everything. I only have a few hundred dollars invested in this (DP software and Midi Express).

3) Digi 001 - great audio software - limited pro midi / MTC abilties; unbalanced outs (not "pro" enough?). All in one box could be a plus or a minus - too
much in one unit - MIDI AND mic pres?, but it's more elegant than syncing tape machines! Don't like the idea of having to use OMS; but you get to
use Pro Tools!!!

Still a bit shaky on: latency, crashes, backing up/archiving with hard disk vs. tape, but would LOVE the faster way of working and editing...#2
and #3 would of course require buying SCSI hard drive for audio(?), cd burner for archiving, more ram for MAC(?).

I COULD just keep doing things the way I am, but am afraid of having to keep fixing, spending money on tape machine repair, I'd rather be
buying mics, guitars/amps, plugins, and stuff that makes music.

Please help - I want to stop thinking about my studio problems and get on with making songs.

Thanks SO MUCH.
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Old 05-03-2000, 02:59 PM
*e* *e* is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: ny
Posts: 23
Default Re: Crossroads: Next Studio Step?

I was in the same boat as you a while back, worried about, data loss etc… you just have to back up every thing, like you should with your tape based system. I would keep every thing you got, its all good, but in my opinion you gotta incorporate pro tools into your system. you’ll wonder how could I have lived without this. As far as the 001 being not pro enough believe me, in and out it sounds great. Mix plus is the ultimate goal but if you are just working on music stuff the marriage between your current gear and 001, you will love it! It’s not without its faults you will spend extra hours on trouble shooting just like you did with every piece of gear you own but to be able to edit your audio with such ease is a great trade off. You already took the plunge when you stopped recording in other places and started building your own environment. This is just evolution. e
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Old 05-03-2000, 03:25 PM
lwilliam lwilliam is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Allison Park, PA (Near Pittsburgh)
Posts: 5,099
Default Re: Crossroads: Next Studio Step?

Hopefully, my opinion is "pro" enough for you. I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions from guys more pro than myself...

I do about 50% my own stuff and 45% paid client work (5% free stuff for friends).

I used to use Cubase synced to an ADAT for all my work with audio, and had an 8-track analog machine before that. Since getting PTLE, I haven't powered on my ADAT but once - to transfer some tracks to clean, mix, and burn a CDR for a client. I still use Cubase occasionally for heavily midi-oriented stuff (dance/loop music), then export as smf and import to PTLE for adding audio.

The biggest hassle I used to have was waiting for the ADATs to rewind and then re-sync to SMPTE with Cubase. It usually took 7-10 seconds to sync up.

I still keep my ol' blackface around just for transferring stuff although the newer 20-bit ADATs blow it away. Unless you go to a mid-priced digital board like the Mackie or 02R, I personally think your DA-38s (IMHO) will not be useful for much longer.
Certainly not if you keep hangin' out on THIS board .

The DAW environment has some real advantages when you're trying to edit midi and audio. You can see them both on the same screen (at least in PTLE) to line up hits and downbeats.

The crashes become fewer with every updated patch or flash ROM I install. I was crashing about every other day with OS8.6 and OS9. However, OS9.0.4 has really stabilized things. My system hasn't crashed no matter how I beat on it since installing it (four days ago) - a new record. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm concentrating on music again - instead of whether (or when) the system will crash.

The 2408MkII with DP is a formidable competitive product to the PTLE/001 combo. Only you can determine if it's a better system for you. I subscribe to the MOTU-MAC list and see some of the problems those folks have. They're really not much different from here. USB has been the bane of the G4 clan and I believe that only NOW is it becoming somewhat stable.

OMS is really useful and problem-free ONCE you've set it up correctly. It can be a bear to set up properly, however.

If you're only doing 24 tracks or less, you won't have to get a SCSI hard disk.

I guess your Tascam is a stand-alone burner? You might want to consider getting a host-based CDRW no matter what system you upgrade to. Being able to tweak your own CDs with Jam, MLCD, or Waveburner, and back up your audio and midi data easily - well you know how important that is.

You already have the 737 - the 001 mic pre's won't touch that quality. I have a Mackie 32x8 and use a Studio Tech preamp, and I try to minimize what I run through the Mackie. It's OK, but a little flat-sounding.

In a nutshell, I think there are two routes: 1. O2R or Mackie plus a hard disk recorder (or use your DA-38s until they drop); or
2. DAW such as PTLE/001 or DP/2408MkII.

The main advantages I see in #2 with PTLE (over DP) is that you COULD take your mixes to a TDM studio for final tweaking. The DUC is also a VERY good resource. The MOTU site doesn't have anything like it (that I know of). With DP 2.7 and the latest Logic, you can also use the 001 (also with Cubase) as well as PTLE. The 2408 won't work with ProTools. Another advantage of PTLE is that now clients think of me as a "ProTools shop". I'm very upfront that I have the "low-end protools", but they don't seem to know or care. Hey, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duc (oops, didn't plan that pun).

The main disadvantage of #1 is, of course, the expense - not only of the new hardware, but of the interface hardware you'll also need such as a stable word clock distribution source, and TDIF cards.

Well, there you have some random bits of opinion from someone with - well, more than 15 years of both pro and semi-pro experience; my $.02 worth.


PT 2021; MacBookPro M1; 16GB; Spectrasonics; Native Instruments, Toontrack, Waves...too many plugins.
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Old 05-04-2000, 01:11 AM
edhamilton edhamilton is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: NYC - Vegas these days
Posts: 172
Default Re: Crossroads: Next Studio Step?

MOTU 2408!

I hate to say that.BUT- I have 7 DA88's 2 02R's Protools 24 mix plus plus. etc etc.

Think about a 2408 and a Digital Time Piece to sync to your DA88's.
Total cost under $2000.

Digi 001 is a nice pice but not as effective with DA88's.

I have recently done sessions with Digital Performer (I have been a performer user for 10 years) a 2408 and three DA88's with a Ditital Time Piece.

Easy, Flawless, Tolerable (for a host based system).
ProTools software is better for audio than DP but as a system MOTU is stronger.

MIX plus is a big financial step up but definatley worth it if you have the $.
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Old 05-04-2000, 08:54 AM
lespaul lespaul is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: NY NY USA
Posts: 27
Default Re: Crossroads: Next Studio Step?

Thanks to all! - Now I am even more confused!


Definitely PRO enough!

......Could you give me an idea of how you run the 001 / Mackie 32x8 ins and outs?

I would like to know how I can track Avalon 737 into 001 (balanced) without using the 001 mic pre, without using the Mackie mic pre, AND without latency!

This is one of my major concerns, since I am doing a lot of live tracking - guitars, vocals.

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