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Home recording - is the Tascam DP-004 any good?

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Old 30-09-09, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
A new performing edition of Telemann's keyboard fantasias is available for free legal download (first six).

Telemann: Harpsichord Fantasias TWV 33:1-36





CALLING ALL BRIGHTCECILIA HARPSICHORDISTS: if you wanted to record any of these they would be fabulous to include in the feature.


YouTube - Telemann Fantasie 1&2 from Douzaine Butt harpsichord


NB. The above: nos. 13 & 14 (1 & 2 from book II)
Thrilling sounds, thanks! I'll see if Brian Jordan's in Cambridge has got them.

Regarding "CALLING ALL BRIGHTCECILIA HARPSICHORDISTS: if you wanted to record any of these they would be fabulous to include in the feature.", I've been looking at these: do you know anything about them, how good they are? This unit seems a lot cheaper than camcorders, and perhaps being specifically for sound recording they would do the sound side of things better.

Tascam DP-004 Portable 4-track Digital Pocketstudio
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Old 30-09-09, 11:24 PM
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I've been looking at these: do you know anything about them, how good they are?
No, but I know someone who might. I'll ask and report back.

The main problem AFAIK is getting high quality sound online. I can cope with FLACs - what you'd tend to convert WAVs into (the Tascam produces WAVs) but many people and their software can't. So you're stuck with MP3 conversions if you want your recordings to be widely and easily heard. So the question becomes: which is the best/cheapest device for producing quality MP3s? I don't know the answer. I guess with the Tascam you might also need external mikes, and the same question arises again.

Tascam spec
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Old 01-10-09, 09:15 AM
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No, but I know someone who might. I'll ask and report back.
Thanks.

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Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
The main problem AFAIK is getting high quality sound online. I can cope with FLACs - what you'd tend to convert WAVs into (the Tascam produces WAVs) but many people and their software can't. So you're stuck with MP3 conversions if you want your recordings to be widely and easily heard. So the question becomes: which is the best/cheapest device for producing quality MP3s? I don't know the answer. I guess with the Tascam you might also need external mikes, and the same question arises again.
I appreciate this, but unfortunately I'm technically illiterate and don't understand it! Does it mean that, for instance, that if I recorded something I was playing, it wouldnt be possible to put it onto BC?
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Old 01-10-09, 09:55 AM
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I appreciate this, but unfortunately I'm technically illiterate and don't understand it! Does it mean that, for instance, that if I recorded something I was playing, it wouldnt be possible to put it onto BC?
As far as I can see from the spec, the Tascam DP-004 produces a sound file called a "WAV". These are good, high quality, music files but tend to be big. To easily share them online you'd need to convert them into MP3 format. So you'd run a USB line from the Tascam to your computer, upload the WAV file of you playing, then use a programme like Audacity to convert the WAV into a MP3 file.

That MP3 file can then be uploaded to Brightcecilia, either directly by you if it's less than 10MB, or by sending it to me using a 'big file' transfer method (I can give you the details at the time - it's dead easy, someone just sent me nearly 100MB) and I get it online for you.

It sounds complex but isn't really. Hopefully someone will be along to say more about the Tascam before you spend any money. Personally, I'm suspicious of the in-built mike. I could imagine the result sounding tinny. Which means you'd need to spend still more money on external mikes. There may be a better solution.
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Old 01-10-09, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Philidor View Post
As far as I can see from the spec, the Tascam DP-004 produces a sound file called a "WAV". These are good, high quality, music files but tend to be big. To easily share them online you'd need to convert them into MP3 format. So you'd run a USB line from the Tascam to your computer, upload the WAV file of you playing, then use a programme like Audacity to convert the WAV into a MP3 file.

That MP3 file can then be uploaded to Brightcecilia, either directly by you if it's less than 10MB, or by sending it to me using a 'big file' transfer method (I can give you the details at the time - it's dead easy, someone just sent me nearly 100MB) and I get it online for you.

It sounds complex but isn't really. Hopefully someone will be along to say more about the Tascam before you spend any money. Personally, I'm suspicious of the in-built mike. I could imagine the result sounding tinny. Which means you'd need to spend still more money on external mikes. There may be a better solution.
This is great, very helpful, thankyou. There's always then the question, will it work on a Mac, but though it's quite a few years old now, (it's an iMac G5, with OSX 10.5.8) they're supposed to be able to do most things PCs do now, or so I hear.
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Old 01-10-09, 10:09 AM
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This is great, very helpful, thankyou. There's always then the question, will it work on a Mac, but though it's quite a few years old now, (it's an iMac G5, with OSX 10.5.8) they're supposed to be able to do most things PCs do now, or so I hear.
Ieeeeeee!! I just don't know. When I wrote the above I thought to myself: "Memory problems - has Stephen enough RAM in his machine to be manipulating big WAV files?" I'm 100% PC-oriented so can't advise. I wouldn't even know how to get the back off a Mac and insert more memory. On a PC it's a 10 min job, cost c. £20, and makes an old PC run about like a new born lamb.

Touch wood a Mac-head will be along to explain. There's a yes/no answer to your question.
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Old 01-10-09, 11:53 AM
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Leaving it in .wav format would be best. Its 'raw' and uncompressed.
In terms of file size, if you recorded at 44Khz sampling rate (standard CD sampling rate) its easy to predict file size. A CD holds 700 meg. It also plays for upt to 70 minutes. So you're looking at 100 meg for 10 minutes, 50 meg for 5 etc.
a 3 minute sonata - 30 meg. Its a big file, but not totally crazy.
If you want it smaller for some reason, you could then run it through a utility to compress it to mp3 format but you WILL lose sound quality, some will argue the loss is insignificant, I'm not one of them
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Old 01-10-09, 12:19 PM
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a 3 minute sonata - 30 meg.
I'd be more than happy to host a 30 meg WAV file. But the bigger the file the fewer people will listen to it. A 30Mb WAV file hosted by BC would have to be downloaded onto listeners' hard drives, rather than streamed. Some people who will happily stream a MP3 won't download a big WAV: worried about security; slow download speed; can't be bothered, whatever. Plus a 30Mb WAV may make some browsers crash or send desktop music players nuts.

So it's better imo either to convert the WAV to a MP3 no bigger than c. 5Mb (or send it me and I'll convert) or upload the WAV to YouTube, let Rupert Murdoch take the strain, and embed the YouTube in a BC post.

The whole thing's messy and complex sounding. But the key thing - as Spotty says - is to produce a good WAV file. Once you've got that on your hard drive it's just a matter of tedious nerdery to get it online.

I still wonder whether Stephen's Mac is man enough for the job... It would be irritating (and expensive) to set everything up then find the Mac has a mental breakdown when confronted by a big WAV file.
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Old 01-10-09, 03:14 PM
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I did a bit of searching for similar units last year, but did not buy anything in the end - so a few comments for what they are worth.

The tascam does look good value, the 1GB card is generous, but you will be paying extra for the multi-track facility. A similar price unit with single track is likely to have better quality built-in mic(s).

On this page (http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/shop/f...oduct_id/33304) you see a selection of portable units with reviews, most of which have the option of recording direct to MP3.
The Roland R-09 (and now R-09HR) get good reviews, but come with a paltry 68MB card as standard
http://www.roland.com/products/en/R-09/specs.html

For high-quality commercial recording I agree 100% with Spotty, uncompressed digital wins every time. However for home recording on kit worth less than £1000 with all the compromises that entails, 320kbps or even 192kbps MP3 seems fine to me.

Your G5 could definitely do the WAV -> MP3 compression, it may take a while but the software will adapt to whatever memory/cpu/disk you have available (within reason ...).
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Old 01-10-09, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Octandres View Post
I did a bit of searching for similar units last year, but did not buy anything in the end - so a few comments for what they are worth.

The tascam does look good value, the 1GB card is generous, but you will be paying extra for the multi-track facility. A similar price unit with single track is likely to have better quality built-in mic(s).

On this page (http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/shop/f...oduct_id/33304) you see a selection of portable units with reviews, most of which have the option of recording direct to MP3.
The Roland R-09 (and now R-09HR) get good reviews, but come with a paltry 68MB card as standard
http://www.roland.com/products/en/R-09/specs.html

For high-quality commercial recording I agree 100% with Spotty, uncompressed digital wins every time. However for home recording on kit worth less than £1000 with all the compromises that entails, 320kbps or even 192kbps MP3 seems fine to me.

Your G5 could definitely do the WAV -> MP3 compression, it may take a while but the software will adapt to whatever memory/cpu/disk you have available (within reason ...).
Hello! Nice to see you.

What are the benefits of buying a digital portastudio over getting, say, sibelius and a decent mic and sound card for one's PC (assuming it has a couple of gigs of ram)?

I was thinking of doing some home recording (not classical), using the latter setup, though I probably wouldn't bother getting a better soundcard.

The last Tascam 4 track I used was FAR from digital. And the results were far from listenable.
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