Didn't see a dedicated discussion on the Tascam DP-008, so having just got one, I thought there might be some folks using these nice PortaStudios. I don't have much more than about an hour experience with it, but the recorder seems very capable.
One thing I was having trouble with though was getting rid of distortion during recording playback. The 'trim light' did not appear on during recording and the levels showed well below peak on the 2 tracks I used. Seems fine, but maybe it's my lack of experience with this equipment.
Another issue is how many folks are using just the built-in mics with their gear? I was tempted to get a pair of mics, MXL 990 991 recording microphone package. Don't know much about them, but the price seemed reasonable. Anybody want to comment. (Of course, I know you get what you pay for, but my budget is max'd at this point). Should I invest in these or just stick with the internal mics until I can afford better. OK, what is better?
Hope folks can add to this discussion...
Phillip, I have had one for a while. The builtin mics work fine when I am out and traveling light. I have others that I plug in that are better that I use when I am inside that I use with my other sstudio equipment. There are great mics that do not cost huge sums of money to get quality...unless you have $$$ to spend. I have several Shure instrument SM 137'sand Audio-Technica Condensors AT 2020 and AT 2035's. Just have to tremember to set up the correct mics on the Tascam 008 while setting up inputs, phantom power, mics int/ext, EQ etc. The only challenge I ahve had was getting enough volume out to headphones to hear. I have bad, old ears so that is a challenge anyway. For its size and Number of inputs, as well as capacity on the SD cards it is great. For straight live recording I have a Zoom 4Hn. But the 008 is good at home, especially when I have to go out into the garage to play or if I can get the group to cooperate. So enjoy, read the manual as you slide and dial, and by then you will have a handle on whether or what to use for the input. The only advantage with external mics for me so far is Placement. OTher than that the range of hte interanl ones is large enough for individual and small groups if you are not too far away. THough it is easier to carry the device around and do indicuidual tracks while the others play and let your headphones lead you to the right place and mix. :Keeep on pickin, Time's tickin."
Adriaan, thanks for the info and perspective. I can relate to the 'bad, old ears', I'm actually nearly deaf, and have the output for the dp-008 plugged into my hearing aids fm transmitter, which directs it to my hearing aids' fm receivers. So, some of the distortion I'm 'hearing' could be from that part of my 'hearing network'.
Yes, I think the ability to place the mics where I want is something I want to do, but maybe that will wait until I get a budget for the mics, cables, and stands. Always, more to get right? And you are right, since I'm 60, I like your tag - Keep Pickin', Time's tickin'!! Might have to design a T-shirt with that one. ;-)
Hi Phillip, I've been using my DP-008 for about 3 months now...I love it! I'm still messing around trying to find the sweet spot on the levels. I've had best results keeping the levels well below the clipping zone...depending on what I'm doing. Once you have your track is recorded you can adjust the sound to taste with your final mix..but you are stuck with the levels you recorded with so make every effort to keep them clear.Sometimes I notice that I have to record at levels where I can barely hear myself in the phones. again, you can raise the volume once the track is recorded. Initially, I enjoyed using the inboard mics, but I've been learning to sing at the same time and I was/am having difficulty at first finding a good settings to get my vocals clear. I'm using an MXL 990 with good results running through a little Presonus pre-amp...but it doesn't take much gain before the clipping levels are reached. I've lately been using a little mixer and adding a pencil mic along with my MXL 990, the added high end has helped me to get more clarity on my vocals. I'm still continuing to learn...each song is different and a bit better. I'm hoping to export these files into Sonar to mix them and clean them up...haven't tried it yet, been too busy writing songs...I'll get there soon though. Go to my page...I posted my 2 most recent songs there for folks to listen too.
Nice tunes Bob. I noticed the same thing about the monitor settings. If I use a low gain it seems to help, but it's strange to me that the levels don't really seem to match what is happening while recording. There is absolutely no indication of the levels recording too high, and no clipping being displayed on those OL trim lights. The meters rarely go above a quarter of the way up on the bars and I never see that _ line at the top to indicate the levels are too high. Maybe, I'm misreading the use of the monitors.
I do think I'll get a couple of mics though as I find it hard to direct and separate my vocals from the guitar when recording just a plain vanilla demo with just a guitar and vocal played at the same time. I'm looking for that right balance to get a bit more vocal clarity too.
One thing I have to keep in mind is perhaps what we share. My ears do not respond to the sensitivity of the meters. So what is low on the meter may actaully be louder...for want of a better term...then what I am hearing. The clipping lights mark the upper threshold of the system, not my ears. I suspect that we may have to find a better system of preamping our ears to match the sensitivity of hte mics. BTW the better the mic the better the sensitivity. So we may not be able to hear what the mic hears. I am beginning to think that the meter leves are a realative value of gain rather than an absolute one. My mixer board has a much more sensitive system, but it is based on the sensitivity of the trim lights, not the response of any meter. But it'still new to me. I remember when feedback was used to get the audience's attention, not to design a whole sound system around. "Tweakin is part of the Mystery."
"Keep on Pickin', Time is Tickin' "
Thank you Phillip! There's another if you like...
There are a couple of things to watch...the A and B inputs...(Rotary Knobs) at the top of the panel layout, they have have little red lights that flicker when your signal is too hot...and the display meters as we've all discussed with their little _Bars that show levels..you can play with the Master Level as well. if your signal is at a real low volume, remember the unit volume control at the back left of DP-008. Turn up your volume, but keep the recording level low. So if you can figure a level by playing with all of these controls....? I keep getting my outputs too high, then too low. I'm hoping I'll find the just-a-right spot with the next song!
I have a DP-004 and just bought a DP-008 so I could have the reverb and EQ, the XLR inputs as well as four more tracks available. I've been experimenting with the DP-004 internal mics, trying to position the unit so that it picks up guitar and voice more evenly, I've even tried standing it on its side so one mic is above the other, actually that works pretty well. I've ntoiced that the SD card you you is important, I get random static with some cards which kind of ruins your recording. I'm looking forward to playing with the DP-008 now that I've gotten the menu down on the DP-004
The DP-008 I bought on ebay is a piece of crap. They seller refunded my money and said to trash it. The screen is dim, the 1/4" phono inputs don't work, pan doesn't work, gain on the XLR inputs is poor as it the gain on the internal mics. About the only thing that worked was the reverb and the metronome. I'm glad I had my DP-004 to compare it to.
Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with the DP-008. Man, I wouldn't trash it though without trying to find out what's going on. Did you get the owner's manual with the unit? If not, it is available on the Tascam site as a free pdf doc. During my first sessions, I wasn't getting the gain I expected, and I read the manual again - first time I just went right at it. I found I wasn't setting the input mode correctly, and I wasn't using the correct knobs to control the gain. Not saying this is all your problem, just know that getting more familiar with the device is improving my recording.
The trouble I had with the gain, was due to using the internal mic set to 'low' sensitivity, I switched it to 'high'. Also, I forgot to set the input for my vocal track to 'ext mic - high' and when I played the recording back, I had no vocals. Once I set the mic correctly, I still had some trouble. Then, I realized I was using the track 's volume knob, which is really only useful when playing back. During recording I have to use the trim volume control for the track or tracks I'm recording. The master volume controls output to the monitor out.
As I said, maybe your issues are not the same, but if you are going to trash it - I'll pay shipping if you want to send it my way to 'trash it'. I've not used the guitar inputs, but I am using the XLR inputs, and they work fine on mine. Like all equipment, there's a percentage of them that are below standard quality. The fact that the seller is refunding and doesn't even want it back, kinda gives me the impression they knew it wasn't good when they sold it.
Hope you can find one that works for you, if not the DP-008, then something else. I dropped by Guitar Center, and saw quite a few upscale recorders in the $500 - $2000 range. I'd love to try these out too, but I'm a guitar player first, and it's hard for me to justify spending that kind of cash, when I could be buying a guitar. Anyway good luck to you.
No, I'm not going to "trash" it. It can still be usable in some ways. The 1/4" inputs distort and sent the meters to MAX when you plug any cable into them. As I said I was able to use the XLRs and mic my amp for the guitar. The internal mics I had set at Hi. They seemed muddy to me. When I record on my DP-004 they are nice and clear. I tried recording extra tracks, but the pan adjustment doesn't seem to work on any of the 8 channels. It is a little different than the DP-004. I'll try again adjusting the trim knobw. I do have the manual, I got it online in a .pdf file from Tascam.
It's also missing the battery cover, but I use an AC adapter rather than batteries.
I'll post a couple recordings from both. I'll even do my rendition of Dead Flowers for you, I love that song.
Well, at least you can use it somewhat. I don't really care for the internal mics, so I got an external mic and am happy with it. I didn't want to get that deep into buying recording equipment, but I want to have better control, and the internal mics just don't give me what I want. Some folks may find the mics work for them. I've got a MXL v67g large condensor type mic, which I was hoping would work for both vocals and my acoustic. Vocals come out nicely, but the acoustic guitar doesn't get what I'm looking for in sound. I'm going to try one of those 'pencil' type mics, hoping that will work for me.
Yeah, post that "Dead Flowers" rendition. I love that song too. I'm going to do it again, and add mandolin, and resonator to it. I think it's a great kind of 'country/bluegrass' tune. Mick and Keith wrote it as sort of a 'tongue-in-cheek' thing, and I don't know why more "Americana" type bands don't cover it much, because it's a fun band tune for acoustic instruments to play.
Well, finally got to the bottom of my distortion problem. It really had nothing to do with the DP-008. I'm pretty well deaf without my very costly hearing aids, and I use a Phonak FM transmitter, and have an FM receiver on each hearing aid that pumps sound into my ears. It's all very complicated, but there are a lot of fail-points to reckon. Now, the output from the recorder headphone jack is connected to the FM transmitter via a short cable. I changed the cable, and put new batteries in my hearing aids, and charged my FM transmitter. I played back what I had recorded and all was good. Ok, maybe that's to subjective, it was good for me. ;-p
I did order a mic, stand, xlr cable, and pop filter. Should be here by Friday, and then, I can play around with varying mic placement. I forgot how much fun recording can be.