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Reasonably priced 8 track recorder

Discussion in 'Home Recording Studio' started by jeff h, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. jeff h

    jeff h Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 13, 2017
    The band and I are looking to record some live gigs. We want to track everything for the ability to mix later.

    Need 8 simultaneous tracks being recorded.
    2 vocals
    1 guitar
    1 bass
    1 bass drum
    1 snare drum
    2 toms and cymbals

    There are plenty of 8 track recorders on the market but most can only record 2 tracks at a time (which is stupid since my 2i4 can record 2 tracks at a time for much cheaper, but I digress...) . Anyone have recommendations for a device that can record 8 at the same time? Most I have seen are north of $500 and we really don't have that much to spend.

    Would prefer a stand alone recorder as opposed to another audio interface.
  2. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    Peardale CA
    One of the most complex straight lines
    Encountered in a while
    BobbyS likes this.
  3. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    A quick look around the internet seems to be indicating that 8 mic preamps are not available at reasonable prices.
  4. s5tuart

    s5tuart My Dad used to say.... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Maybe @simoncroft knows of something that would help? He's very clued up on things
  5. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Look like 500usd is about as inexpensive as they get.
  6. stratobiker

    stratobiker Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 16, 2011
    A second hand Roland VS1680 could do that. Should be able to get one under budget too. Just make sure it has the manual with it.
  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    6 of the inputs are line, 2 are xlr. Would be interesting to figure out a way to do what is being asked for.

    (The price is certainly great, though.)
  8. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
    Get a lil mixer and combine some of the tracks before recording.

    Zoom H6 can do 6 tracks.
    Rastus likes this.
  9. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    That defeats the purpose of the exercise.
  10. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014

    Since you're recording your band live, I'd suggest a mixing-desk, where you can mike everything into it, & then record from the FOH ( Front-Of-House ) speaker out-puts...



    NB. It's very hard to get a spot-on recording with everyone playing live. You're better-off to record individually in a studio with a clicker-track IMO. It's a lot cheaper, & better results, as you can control all the variables.
  11. 64 Tele

    64 Tele Strat-O-Master

    Feb 6, 2013
    NW Arkansas
  12. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    Good preamps are not cheap.
    But an 8 channel recorder that can't track all 8 at the same time is a lot less useful.
    Save up your pennies and get a decent unit that won't prove frustrating ... or ... hire in a pro with the gear needed.
    You can do a lot with 8 channels, BTDT.
    I'm a big fan of stand-alone recorders (HD24), although I also have 16-in capability for the PC (RME).
    Rastus likes this.
  13. jeff h

    jeff h Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 13, 2017
    Thanks all. My own research did indicate that $500 or so was what it was going to take to get a recorder with 8 mic preamps. I was hoping you guys knew of something I didn't. Oh well.

    This is really the only reasonably priced option as I see it, although running everything through the PA system would mean changing everything up.
  14. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    The first thing you need is a mixer that has "Direct Out" connections for each individual track. This is not a common feature, especially on more budget friendly mixers.

    I had researched doing this for my duo where I needed to record 4 separate tracks. One of my key requirements was that my mixer continue to be where the live mix was managed. I didn't want to complicate things by introducing a recording interface and have to use that to mix.

    Finding a reasonably priced mixer where I could capture each track separately was a challenge. I found the Allen & Heath Zed 14, which has "inserts jacks" that converted to "Direct Out" jacks with a slightly modified cable.

    These get routed to a stand alone digital recorder...a Tascam DR-70D.

    This only covers 4 channels...and this wasn't exactly a cheap solution...between $600 and $700.

    Another solution I researched was to use a Focusrite 18i20. This, in combination with a laptop PC running a DAW, would replace the Tascam DR-70D. The key feature of the Focusrite 18i20 was that it could be configured such that even if it wasn't connected to a PC, it would route the audio 1 to 1, meaning it would act as a pass through. This meant if I wasn't recording a particular gig, I could not attach the PC and everything would work as expected. Other brands like Tascam did not offer this capability.

    What I did not like about this solution was recording becomes more complicated and takes up more real I need someplace to put a laptop, I need a rack to put Focusrite 18i20, I need to cable up the mixer to the Focusrite 18i20, etc.

    So recording 8 tracks individually on a tight budget is not possible from my experience.
    ZlurkCorzDog likes this.
  15. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    That only gives you the house mix in 2 channels. The OP wants each track recorded separately so they can mix later. This is actually a good idea because a live mix for the FoH may not sound good when listened to elsewhere. Having individual track also allows for fixing small mistakes here and there.
    Rastus, Thrup'ny Bit and jeff h like this.
  16. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter


    That's the interface I use and they can be had used for around a hundred bucks. 4 mic pres and a couple of lin/instrument inputs. You could do a stereo submix of the drums into the line inputs, and have four preamps for the rest. Borrow a laptop and you are done.
    jeff h likes this.
  17. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana
    I really don’t see much of these anymore. I think digital recording has bottomed out the market for these, unfortunately in many cases.. fortunately in some, because most of these I dealt with were extremely non user-friendly.

    A lot of nice mixers have multitrack recording capability, but that’s the only modern version of a recorder I’ve seen in years.
  18. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Once you start editing in the DAW on a nice big PC screen, there ain't no going back.
    rocknrollrich and nickmsmith like this.
  19. jeff h

    jeff h Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 13, 2017
    Great out of the box idea. I have no idea if my DAW can record 6 simultaneous tracks or not, it is just the free version that Focusrite gives away with their interfaces. Worth looking into since I have a small mixer that I could use to mix drums separately, I really don't need 4 adjustable channels for the drums. A stereo mix would do fine.

    All bets are off though if I have to buy ProTools or some other high priced DAW to use the Tascam though.

    This is the exact line of thinking that got me started on the search. We record quite a few rehearsals and the band wanted to put a few new ones up on ReverbNation but IMHO, they sound like crap just recording the live mix. Looking for something I can tweak and polish.

    Oh well, might just be something I have to dig deeper into my pocketbook for.
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  20. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    Reaper is a very budget friendly DAW that is more than up to the task for this. It is a fully functional demo with a VERY generous "try out" period and if you decide to buy it is something like $60. No need to invest in protools :).

    Something else to keep in mind is in a practice room, you may get a LOT of bleed through of the track through the various mics like vocals.

    Keep may very well come up with a viable solution.