DAWless recording - is it worth looking into?

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personalnadirpersonalnadir Frets: 131
edited July 13 in Studio & Recording
As my job involves staring at a screen, and I fill my free time with YouTube and video games, I’m keen to keep screens out of music as much as possible. Or at least big displays - most synths and some guitar pedals have displays, but I don’t spend long hours looking at them.

So with that in mind has anyone found any good approaches for recording simple tracks without a computer? Has it worked for you or is it just a matter of time before you head back to a DAW?

Things I have considered:
1) the 1010music bluebox mixer - it’s designed for synths (and has a big digital display, which makes a mockery of this post) but it’s small and can store different takes for the same track
2) the tascam mixers with multitrack recording - quite large though, and haven’t seen much in the process of putting songs together on them
3) the Octatrack - not designed for it, but has lots of cool features
4) the digital multitrack recorders - these all look a bit long in the for now. It would be nice to see something new on the market

 i currently use GarageBand - sometimes I do go in and move tracks around to better match the beat or cut out mistakes. I’ve started using panning a bit, but I don’t tend to use anything other than compression and EQ once the tracks are recorded. I think I could get by on a relatively simple device as long as the audio quality is good and it’s not introducing noise

 any positive or negative experiences when trying to cut out computers?
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Comments

  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 557
    I still get great mileage out of my Boss Micro BR recorders, stuff I recorded on the V1 still sounds good, and when I upgraded to the V2, I couldn't let the old one go, nostalgia maybe? 
    The V1 has built in drums, and arrangement features, and the V2 just expanded on that idea with more of everything.
    I'm using the built in mics on the V2 to record my bands weekly sessions, and the only thing I am struggling a bit with is getting a good balance with a loud drummer.
    I edit the sessions in Reaper, and the last one I did, last week, is actually pretty good, bounced out onto a CD, just having to adjust a bit for the excessive bass.
    I also use a Zoom R16, which is another DAW less solution, with more IO, and is easily good enough to get great results with.
    Both of these devices are well worth a look at, for value for money versatility, and both can do far more than I actually use them for.
    I'd steer away from the Tascam devices, having used a few of them, as the file management and menus are a bit more proprietary, and not as user friendly when it comes to exporting the recorded files, IMO anyway.
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2207
    I started with tape (4-track cassette moving up to 8 track reel-to-reel) then digital multitrack (Roland VS880) and ending up with DAW.  A couple of years ago I bought a Zoom Livetrak L-12 so that I could record in the practice room or at gigs but I still imported the results to Cubase.

    I have my DAW on a dedicated desktop machine, my audio interface has 8 ins so things like my Kemper a permanently hooked up.  It takes very little time to boot up and I have some templates setup to get me up and running quickly if an idea strikes.

    What I have found really helpful is having a control surface (I have a Behringer X-Touch and an expander giving me 16 faders).  The faders mean that you are more reliant on your ears and less so on your eyes which is one of the curses of DAW mixing.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352
    I have a lot of hardware sequencers (30+) but for tracking I use a DAW.
    They just work better.
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  • personalnadirpersonalnadir Frets: 131
    Thanks, sounds like going DAWless might be a rabbit hole worth avoiding.

    @andy_k I do have a Boss BR, but found that a bit too fiddly for me. I might go back to that and see what I can do with that - although I don't think I have a compatible memory card. Will look a bit odd sending the signal from the interface into that! 

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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 557
    Thanks, sounds like going DAWless might be a rabbit hole worth avoiding.

    @andy_k I do have a Boss BR, but found that a bit too fiddly for me. I might go back to that and see what I can do with that - although I don't think I have a compatible memory card. Will look a bit odd sending the signal from the interface into that! 

    Everything is so much easier in a DAW, my choice is Reaper.
    I have a couple of older style digital recorders, Tascam etc, which are ok for a self contained unit, if you RTFM, but in practice, I find it easier to use the Boss and Zoom things as recording devices to capture audio in raw WAV format, which then gets edited and built upon inside Reaper.
    The Boss Micro BR v2, ( micro BR 80 ),and the Zoom R16 will both operate as audio interfaces, and the R16 also can be used as a controller, which is useful - if you want to set it up that way, and another plus point is that it can work from batteries for field recording, I highly recommend this device, for the price it is hard to beat.
    I started another thread about my recent discovery of a Reaper add on called Web Remote Builder, which allows ANY tablet, phone or computer attached to the same wireless network to be used as a customisable control surface, which is incredible as it allows almost limitless expansion to Reaper, and is another reason why I would recommend Reaper over any other DAW at this point in time, not many developers offer so much for so little.
    Logic is a no brainer if you own a Mac, but having a cross platform DAW is essential for me these days.
    Reaper appears complex at first sight, but is only limited by your own imagination, and is flexible enough to be able to achieve many different recording and mixing scenarios, without being tied into an eco system, plenty of tutorials and expert guidance available too.
    Costs nothing to have a look, just have to give it some time to get familiar. 
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  • StratavariousStratavarious Frets: 1436
    I have a Tascam DP32... amazing sound but its an old school approach... you play, it records, overdub, mix.   

    So no soft synths, digital loops/drums or easy editing, etc.

    DAW is the way..  Check out bandlab.. works in a browser.  Free, easy and very powerful and you get Cakewalk DAW too.    Just need an interface,


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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 6987
    I’m tempted to try one of those Tascam mixers - not to record directly to it, but as an interface to Logic. I went from a Tascam 4-track cassette machine to Logic, but in the early days I took 8 outs from my interface into a Soundcraft mixer (now I just take a stereo mix for monitoring). I think with the new Tascams I could take say 12 digital outs from Logic and use the faders to mix.
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  • kjdowdkjdowd Frets: 712
    I'm enjoying using the akai Mpc live II and/or Octatrack for sketching ideas. It forces a different way of working and some different ideas. Agree with @octatonic though that when it comes to proper tracking, building the song, mixing etc a DAW is just better 
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