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Viewing topic "Easiest Midi/Audio Multitrack Recording Workflows for Synthesizers???"

     
Posted on: October 14, 2019 @ 08:01 AM
lastmonk
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There are now so many options for midi and audio recording workflows these days that its hard to know which way to go and hard to navigate all the info out there.

I’m making certain recommendations to folks that approach me. But I am curious if others see it another way.

My recommendations are as following:  If your keyboard/synth rig consists primarily of VSTs and Midi controllers then the DAW of your choice is the easiest most practical way to record midi and audio. 

On the other hand, if your rig consists primarily of analog synths, hardware synths, modular synths and possibly(some VSTs)., Then obviously the easiest path to recording audio or midi is using on board recording facilities the instrument has.  But if you have to do multi-track recording that mixes and matches multiple keyboards/synths I’ve been recommending hardware digital recorders such as:

https://tascam.com/us/category/PortaStudios_and_Trainers

These units don’t require special audio interfaces!  They’re far easier to use (just push the record button), they take audio and digital inputs directly and they cost far less than the (audio interface + Daw + computer) option.

It use to be that the hardware recorder option was more expensive than the DAW option, but that has dramatically changed.  For example Cubase Pro + a good audio interface cost more than a Tascam DP 24 which is only $499.

Whenever I make the recommendation of hardware digital recorders, I immediately get comments about how easy it is to work in a DAW, how nice it is working with the big screen and all the computer integration you get with DAWs.

My first response is usually if your goal is to record two or more hardware synths/keyboards its going to be far easier to just plug them directly into a hardware digital recorder than to try to get it all working in a DAW.  Secondly these digital recorders now have nice digital effects, mixing, track editing, compression,limiting, and mastering capabilities.  And on top of all of that the new digital recorders have USB, wav file, integration with the computer.  So if you really do have elaborate, intricate track editing you can easily export your audio tracks to a DAW.

Then the conversation normally starts going down the road of extreme examples, and exceptions that try to show how limited digital recorders are.  For example, they only have 24 or 32 tracks compared to unlimited tracks in my DAW and so on.

The fact is the vast majority of keyboard/synth players do not really need unlimited tracks! The vast majority of us are not dealing with recording projects that require 40 vocal tracks, 24 drum tracks, 80 violin tracks, etc.  In real life a digital recording solution that could capture stereo out from 4 keyboards simultaneously would be more than enough. Today’s 4, 8, 16, 24,32 track hardware digital recorders are recording power houses that make it very easy to integrate analog, modular , hardware synthesizers , and workstation synthesizers during a recording workflow.

I also make this recommendation if the majority of your keyboard rig consists of hardware synthesizers and one or two VSTs, you should design your workflow around your hardware keyboards and plug your VSTs into that.  VST synths can easily be recorded on a hardware digital recorder along side your other keyboards.  Is far easier to connect your VST environment to a digital hardware recorder than it is to connect all of your analog, hardware, modular synthesizers to a VST environment!

If you truly have a project that requires dozens and dozens of tracks, and elaborate and intense audio editing then of course the DAW is the most effective solution.  Or if you prefer to work with a large screen and a mouse then the DAW is for you.  However, if the goals is the easy:

multi-track audio recording of your hardware synths + (some possible VST)
basic mixing and mastering of your recordings.
basic track editing of recordings.
unlimited track recording as long as bouncing is used!

Then a digital recorder is going to be the easiest, and most cost effective solution.

Also if you have to integrate other instruments (i.e.  guitars, vocals, bongos, percussion, orchestral instruments, banjos,etc) with you recordings, Its far easier to use a digital recorder than to try to connect the other instruments to a DAW!!!

The recording industry produced many Grammy winning records with 2 and 4 track recording techniques.  Today’s hardware digital recorders have up to 32 track recording, and bouncing techniques can be used to have unlimited tracks (without degradation ) in addition to this today’s hardware daigital recorders are easily integrated with a DAW.

So I only recommend DAWs in the case where the music originates in the computer in the first place.  I recommend DAWs if you are a producer, audio engineer, film or video game music composer.  If your primary job is mixing or mastering tracks then by all means use a DAW!

But if you are in the situation where you need to do multi-track recording of keyboards, synthesizers, other instruments and vocals. Then the easiest most cost effective solutions (hands down) are hardware digital solutions like:

https://tascam.com/us/category/PortaStudios_and_Trainers

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/R24--zoom-r24-24-track-recorder-interface-controller-with-loop-sampler

https://tascam.com/us/product/model_16/top

Am I wrong with this kind of advice?  Does the average Synth/Keyboard player really need to go through the DAW thing to record their multiple keyboards?  Why can’t we use the easy hardware digital recorders for the everyday bread and butter recording and then move the tracks to a DAW if it turns out we need super advanced editing?
What is the best advice for the easiest recording workflow if analog synths, modulars, workstations need to be mixed and matched in multitrack recording?

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 14, 2019 @ 12:22 PM
lastmonk
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BTW nice features on all of these ( easier, more reliable) no dongles, no subscriptions, no worrying about software drivers, or compatibility with operating system and other software, no lag,
no worrying about software becoming obsolete.  All of them very easy to take to the gig or studio or where ever. 
Their connections send/return, USB and wav are compatible with just about any studio situation you can come across from DAW to full blown recording studios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGfM7Ip3s8

Good Presentation by Andy Picker on 24 track Tascam Portastudio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR6ErWwtRSg&list=RDrR6ErWwtRSg&start_radio=1#t=16

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM44FCokV3s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VwtkK2NShA

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Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 04:52 AM
5pinDIN
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In an effort to restore a sense of respect to this thread, I have edited my post and removed all reference to a certain “guilty” party.

EDIT:
Yes, lastmonk, there are lots of approaches for recording. Different strokes for different folks.

I wish all whose interest is in music, Motifs, and Motifator, a pleasant day.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 05:22 AM
Mark.V.Cafeo
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Spot on 5pin!

I was a huge Tascam fan from way back to their 4 track tape machines! I had one!
My age is showing… :)
Was totally unaware of their new products like the mentioned Model 16.
(though I would go for the 24) See it HERE > https://tinyurl.com/yx9gsfu3

@lastmonk and @5pinDIN
Have a good day.  :)
Some Days are better than others, @admin :)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 09:37 AM
lastmonk
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status: Enthusiast

Edit..... 

lastmonk - 14 October 2019 12:22 PM

BTW nice features on all of these ( easier, more reliable) no dongles, no subscriptions, no worrying about software drivers, or compatibility with operating system and other software, no lag,
no worrying about software becoming obsolete.  All of them very easy to take to the gig or studio or where ever. 
Their connections send/return, USB and wav are compatible with just about any studio situation you can come across from DAW to full blown recording studios.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGfM7Ip3s8

Good Presentation by Andy Picker on 24 track Tascam Portastudio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR6ErWwtRSg&list=RDrR6ErWwtRSg&start_radio=1#t=16

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM44FCokV3s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VwtkK2NShA

LOL, oh man, say it isn’t SO!!!!!!

Edit.... Snip....

I see this dude ‘last monk’ (or whatever) is posting his ill, toxic, garbage on this forum too.

He can’t handle seeing any more keys from Yamaha that don’t say ‘Motif’ on the back and he cries his pants off because people use DAWs and not some toy of a hardware recorder that only he uses.

oh yeah and the QY (LOL)

OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER!!!!!!!!


He won’t post a track of his music, (despite much prompting on other forums) so we can all gasp in wonder at his amazing skills. (what a surprise) LOL!

Shoot, I was hoping to make use of this place, but if he’s posting this kind of baseless baloney, and it’s the only material being posted.  Nahh!

This place used to be so great.

Same old same old.

Last Monk, you need help bruh!  Like an intervention!!!!

LOL”

Thanx 5pinDIN, and Mark.V.Cafeo for defending my right to express my “baseless baloney” , “ill toxic, garbage” as long as I do so in a civil way and in the appropriate forum.  I’m glad to see there are still folks of your caliber around.

First, no matter which forum I’m on, I’m consistent with who I am and what I think and what I believe. I participate on a quite few forums on the Internet in several different capacities. On this forum I participate as a musician because I am one.  I am also a computer scientist, AI researcher, gamer, author, and linux enthusiast.  And I participate on several forums in those capacities.  And on each forum I’m consistent with what I am and what I believe.  So if I’m spouting “baseless baloney” over here, then rest assured that I will be spouting “baseless baloney” over there.

As far as only supporting the Motif. Yes I’m am a proud fan boy of the Motif. It is a totally awesome instrument. And I feel privileged to own one and to know how to use it.  That said, I’m looking forward to the next Yamaha class of workstation synthesizers.  They’re going to be amazing.  Yamaha has already dramatically raised the stock of the Montage with OS 3.0 So at this point I’m cheering Montage, and can imagine adding it to my gear!!  So I guess you’re mistaken on that front.

Second, I have tracks posted right now on band camp. If you’re able to see my “ill toxic garbage” across forums, it should not be too hard to find my music on bandcamp. I leave it up to the listener to determine the quality of my musicianship. Please donate if you happen to find something you like :-)

Third, Tascam M 24, Tascam M 16, are brand new, and are selling well from what I hear.  I’m sure its more than just me that is using this technology since my ownership does not account for all the units that have been sold and are being sold right now.  Also there are rare situations where I use (am forced to use) the Cubase that came with my Motif/MOX and it does an awesome job in those situations. BTW I’m extremely competent with Cubase. And I do recommend DAWs for certain Use Cases!  So again I think you’re confused. Perhaps my posts have been too long for you to read, or maybe you didn’t understand what you did read.

Fourth it would have been helpful in the context of this post if you had elaborated a bit on just why and how what I was saying should be considered “baseless baloney, ill and toxic garbage”.  Shedding a light on that might help me to get it all straight in my head.  Believe or not, I’m not monotonic, and I can change my position if given better information than what I currently have.  We all grow my friend.  Hopefully, if we come across knowledge, information or positions superior to what we hold internally, that we all update our internal states!  I certainly personally endeavor to do so!

Fifth could you clarify what you meant by “make use of this place”?

In the MoLounge I put out this post as a topic for discussion. I routinely give the advice that I described in my original post and I was looking for a counter position to my own, or a better position than my own, or even a confirmation of my own.  The point of the post was just to prompt discussion given we have new hardware recorders coming out (e.g Tascam M 16). The fact that the prices have changed dramatically (Now some hardware is cheaper than the software equivalent), and the capabilities of current hardware recorders are amazing today compared to what they were just a couple of years ago.
The suggestion here is that perhaps we should excavate the hardware DAW vs software DAW arguments.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 10:40 AM
Mark.V.Cafeo
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Total Posts:  718
Joined  09-20-2011
status: Guru

Speaking about workflows, the old days were different in the sense of having not a personal computer, cell phone, or microwave to heat coffee. I am not going back as far as I could. :)
Right now referring to 1987. Possibly those conveniences mentioned above might have been available to the richer-than-I section of society then, but certainly didn’t include me. :)
That being said if several players wanted to collaborate they all got into the same room and played or wrote music. Now there are more players and writers than one would realize doing this same thing remotely.
There are at least a half dozen and more collaborative musician webs to use and for this post I’ll be looking at Steinberg’s TRANSIT VST. In the video you will see and hear Andy Shrav, another exceptional nice welcoming artist, musician, this list goes far. I first saw him as a Cubase teacher of sorts for their new products.
This is a pleasant workflow for some of us that have childhood friends that play and write in other parts of the world.
I’d just like to point out the separation of hardware only recorders and this, what I like to call, the Starwars Recording sessions ;-) are very much unlike each other. This certainly separates one’s abilities to far surpass hardware only recording capabilities. My love for Tascam products is putting a tear in my eye ;-) I still own two of the finest consumer level dual cassette recorders by Teac owned by Tascam then, and still now I believe, that work functioning exceptionally with zero repairs. And then the ¼” reel to reel 4 track Tascam that I certainly missed most recently when I purchased the plugin from Universal Audio called Studer 800/Ampex ATR-102 collection.

This Video, It’s about 9 minutes, from 2016, and using Cubase Pro 8.5.
*Sometimes it’s advantage to stay with the current new version of Cubase and of course, some people will not care for this, or after trying it once or twice discover it’s not for them for their reasons. That being said, this is just the most interesting workflow I’ve found and when I think back to when I was younger, this certainly would have been so cool to have at my disposal then!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cBZTx76px0

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 12:59 PM
Mark.V.Cafeo
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Total Posts:  718
Joined  09-20-2011
status: Guru

Edited by instruction of Forum management’s advice.

A Pleasant day to all.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 01:44 PM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  241
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Mark.V.Cafeo I checked out the video.  The VST Transit stuff looks good.  And of course I’m diggin all the hardware in the video LOL. Yea this kind of collaboration is where much of the scene is going these days!  And being able to share Cubase projects like this is really a dream (in the situations where you can and should).  I’m actually exploring this kind of collaboration with I group I’m currently in.

We’re looking at:

https://www.jamkazam.com/
http://www.ejammingtechsupport.com/home-1.html

Type sites.  Think about all the useful information a Cubase project has. Saving mixes, automation, scenes, tempos, everything is color coded, all of the potential VST shared plugin settings.  If you’re lucky enough to be working with others that all have Cubase and you choose to collaborate that way, it is awesome!  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be working with other musicians who have a Motif or Mox and sharing native format Song files, or Pattern files is just absolutely bliss.

But what happens when one band member is a Pro Tools advocate, and another swears by Logic, and others swear by Cubase all in the same band? LOL Its all good, we find a way to work.

Here’s what usually happens in my case (as far as collaboration goes)

1.  We share stems .wav .mp3 .mid over Google Drive (and sometimes e-mail)
2.  We Skype or have (phone conferences), or facebook chat, or text messaging
3.  We use Finale, Sibelius to generate charts, leadsheets, arrangements and then up to google drive (for everybody’s input and shared modifications)
4.  Private Youtube channels just for the band
5.  shared member’s only web portal

And then everybody brings the stuff into their own workflow tools.  So the biggest interchange or exchange formats end up being .wav, .mid, .mp3 , music XML, and .pdf (for charts and lead sheets etc) and fortunately everyone in my current group reads music (that helps)

The VST Transit is for sure a valid way of collaboration(shared project files + Internet) for collaboration when you can.  But you would have to get the band on the same page.

But if you have everybody live, in the same location and there is a mix of acoustic instruments, vocals, electric guitars, pianos, keyboards and synthesizers, and you just need to record, its very difficult to beat the ease of use of those Tascam DPs, DRs, Model 16, Model 24 type technologies.  Naturally, if you’re in your home studio with your DAW and your home studio can support 4 to 8 piece band and you’ve got the audio interface already setup, then by all means!!! LOL.  I get up to 4 in my home studio and then things start to get a bit cramped and sweaty.  I won’t mention the drama of trying to plausibly connect our live drummer to the audio interface LOL.

I don’t want to make these hardware recorders more than they are.  They should be recognized for their strengths and limitations.  I am saying there are a great many scenarios where multitrack recording of synths, keyboards and other instruments need to happen where a dedicated portastudio or pocketstudio is the easiest and fastest and most reliable possible way to do high quality multitrack recording of audio.  And the fact of matter is because these hardware recorders integrate nicely with DAWs there is no reason not to take advantage of the DAW for post processing, additional mixing, mastering, sweetening if needed.

As I type this response I’m literally looking at another window on my Mac that has a Cubase 4 file that a client sent me, and I’m wondering whether I’ll be able to open it up in my version of Cubase, so that I can export the WAV and MID out of it LOL(I kid you not).  I would bring the WAV into my TASCAM DP 24 SD where I’m very comfortable mixing and mastering.  I would bring the MID into my Motif where I’m very comfortable mixing and mastering LOL and when I’m done, I would send it back to the client as WAV, MID, and MP3(I use garage band for the mp3 conversion) files and let them import the files into whatever workflow they like.

When the DAW setup works and where it is appropriate it can’t be beat. It is a thing of beauty.  Go VST Transit!!!  But when you start dealing with incompatibilities between versions, operating systems, drivers, subscriptions, old computers versus new computers, versus different options, and incompatible VST formats, and limited Audio interfaces, Cubase updates, install program incompatibilities, (whoops I lost my dongle) , (Why is it not accepting my activation code?) and the list goes on, if you’re being honest with yourself you have to conclude that as far as the DAW is concerned all that glitters is not gold.

I actually have two DAWs (Cubase and Logic) I’m proficient at using them both.  I can actually get any job done with them small or large.  But I avoid using them at almost any cost. Only when my back is against the wall, and they are literally the best tool for the job.  Then I solemnly with much reticence kowtow and capitulate. I Slowly click the Cubase Icon and keep my fingers crossed and hope I can make through the entire project without having to upgrade....

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 02:39 PM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  241
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast
Mark.V.Cafeo - 15 October 2019 10:40 AM

Speaking about workflows, the old days were different in the sense of having not a personal computer, cell phone, or microwave to heat coffee. I am not going back as far as I could. :)
Right now referring to 1987. Possibly those conveniences mentioned above might have been available to the richer-than-I section of society then, but certainly didn’t include me. :)
That being said if several players wanted to collaborate they all got into the same room and played or wrote music. Now there are more players and writers than one would realize doing this same thing remotely.
There are at least a half dozen and more collaborative musician webs to use and for this post I’ll be looking at Steinberg’s TRANSIT VST. In the video you will see and hear Andy Shrav, another exceptional nice welcoming artist, musician, this list goes far. I first saw him as a Cubase teacher of sorts for their new products.
This is a pleasant workflow for some of us that have childhood friends that play and write in other parts of the world.
I’d just like to point out the separation of hardware only recorders and this, what I like to call, the Starwars Recording sessions ;-) are very much unlike each other. This certainly separates one’s abilities to far surpass hardware only recording capabilities. My love for Tascam products is putting a tear in my eye ;-) I still own two of the finest consumer level dual cassette recorders by Teac owned by Tascam then, and still now I believe, that work functioning exceptionally with zero repairs. And then the ¼” reel to reel 4 track Tascam that I certainly missed most recently when I purchased the plugin from Universal Audio called Studer 800/Ampex ATR-102 collection.

This Video, It’s about 9 minutes, from 2016, and using Cubase Pro 8.5.
*Sometimes it’s advantage to stay with the current new version of Cubase and of course, some people will not care for this, or after trying it once or twice discover it’s not for them for their reasons. That being said, this is just the most interesting workflow I’ve found and when I think back to when I was younger, this certainly would have been so cool to have at my disposal then!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cBZTx76px0

I definitely agree that the recording process itself is entirely different when dealing with Hardware recorders versus DAWs.

Usually the DAW is in a studio whether it be a home studio, or professional studio.  But the Portastudios and Pocketstudios are just what the names suggest.  You can take them to band practice, to rehearsals, to the gig, etc.  I’ve not seen too many portable DAW setups.  But I have seen a few.  Most live recordings rehearsal recordings tend to be done with hardware recorders.
The new Tascam M 16, and M 24 that combine mixing console with digital recording are very practical for capturing live performances, or rehearsals, very practical!!!

Now, if you’re doing asynchronous recording (that is, not everyone recording at the same time or on the same day etc) and everything is being pieced together via WAV files or MP3 files or MID files okay, that’s really a producer or arranger or mix engineer, or master engineer scenario and yes yes the DAW is definitely your friend in that situation.  But I would argue that you could also use something like the Tascam DP 24/32 Portastudios to do the same kind of thing and produce very high quality masters.  It just depends on your skill set.

Because of the fact that all of the mixing and mastering is done in the digital domain on the new Tascam DPs the bouncing feature has 0 degradation and supports unlimited tracks!  These units have all kinds of built effect processors, limiting, and compression and because they support sends you can have as many real plugins as you need.  And keep in mind they are digital so copying, duplicating, cutting and pasting tracks, measures is all straightforward.  The Tascam DP 24/32 support virtual tracks as well.  You can import and export WAV files they have good DBFS meters etc.  They support scenes!

Obviously a DAW will have far more features and allows you to handle larger more sophisticated projects easier, but using a DAW comes at a price.  Most mere mortals in the musician category (those that are not producers, film composers, mix engineers) will find the new Portastudios up to everyday tasks.  And will find it very easy to move their work back and forth between the DAW when needed.

Mark.V.Cafeo in the VST Transit video the guitar player used the DAW to help him compose and then the share his project with a producer as the initial collaboration, that’s a different scenario than your basic band trying to record live performances, or rehearsals, or a single musician trying to record a collection of modular synths, analog synths, and hardware synths on the same song or in realtime.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 02:52 PM
admin
Total Posts:  9571
Joined  12-09-2008
status: Administrator

We absolutely will not tolerate anyone hiding behind a computer screen, talking down to others.  We’re all in the musician family here.  GuliltyBJ has been shown the door.

-The Lady Behind the Desk

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 03:31 PM
5pinDIN
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Total Posts:  11039
Joined  09-16-2010
status: Legend

In an effort to restore a sense of respect to this thread, I have edited my posts and removed all reference to a certain “guilty” party.

EDIT:
Thanks to “The Lady Behind the Desk “.

I wish all whose interest is in music, Motifs, and Motifator, a pleasant day.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 03:54 PM
Mark.V.Cafeo
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status: Guru

@lastmonk
You’ve written some interesting things on those last two posts. I’ll be reading them again later.
It sounds like you’ve already been doing collaborating long distance for a while from my brief read.
Good for you. If you should want hardware, as you said, it’s there in the background of the live feed!
It’s good to have backups. Most important of all, write, play, and produce music for the love of it. The process should always be an enjoyable one. Whether or not you make a joyful noise, just like all things, do them because it has the ability to make you happy.
There are people on this forum that are still good people.
@5pin
@Admin

Take care.

Edited by Forum management’s advice.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 15, 2019 @ 04:23 PM
Mark.V.Cafeo
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Total Posts:  718
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status: Guru

Edited by instruction of Forum supervision.

To the “Special Lady Behind the Desk”

I’m not certain, but I’m guessing you’re a Mum?
and the phrase goes, “If Momma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t nobody Happy!” ;-))

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: October 16, 2019 @ 12:49 PM
5pinDIN
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Total Posts:  11039
Joined  09-16-2010
status: Legend

In an effort to restore a sense of respect to this thread, I have edited my posts and removed all reference to a certain “guilty” party from them. Other members might want to do the same.

I wish all whose interest is in music, Motifs, and Motifator, a pleasant day.

  [ Ignore ]  


 
     


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