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I'm getting ready to make a purchase soon, but I don't know which source would be better. Would I be better served with a software DAW on my PC or a digital recorder? There are some digital recorders out there in the same price range as some software programs like Sonar, Cubase, etc. I'm the only one that will be recording with it, and will be performing all of the tracks myself. I have a USB interface on my Alesis mixer, along with a condenser microphone. I just don't know which way my money would be best spent.

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Try the free Adobe audition as a basic starter program, next up from that would be something like cakewalk.
I would strongly suggest Pro Tools LE & an Mbox. It's easy to use, master, re-edit, add tracks, effects post, share, transfer, etc. I have taken my hard drive to a large studio that is running pro-tools and they plug in my hard drive, import my songs and away they go. Clean, high level master for a fraction of the cost of a studio session. As long as you get a clean recording, free from distortion and excess room noise, you're good to go. There is a great book out there: Pro Tools for musicians & songwriters that makes the process even easier.
I use the Zoom H4n handheld recorder both as a recorder and an audio interface into my mac. On the mac I either use Garageband (free) or Logic Express ($199). The Zoom can do 4 channel recording and do bounces and effects on it's own, or you can hook it up to your PC and use it as an audio interface.

On converting WAV to MP3, Audacity is a free home recording program that works great (with the appropriate LAME plug-in, also available free). I even used Audacity to record some simple things that don't need much in the way of editing or overdubbing. Check it out at

I use a combination of a digital recorder Boss Micro BR and my computer. I record audio tracks to the BR and sync them up to a set tempo using PG Music programs Band in Box and Real Band. Some of the tracks are recorded through a Roland GR 20 synth to get strings and brass sounds as I only play guitar, resonator, lap steel and mandolin. I have posted some of the results on my page.



Before the end of the year, I'm going to have some kind of home recording set-up. 

It looks like most people in this group use their computer.  Can someone recommend a stand-alone recorder for individual use (I don't envision needing to record more than 2 tracks at a time, but I do want the capacity to mix down certain tracks once I've decided a musical thought is complete)?

I'm also thinking of the GR 55 guitar synth.  The You-Tubes I've seen  show a lot of progress has been made by the Roland people.

The answer to this lies in your budget, your enthusiasm for gadgets, your tolerance for menus, your target medium, and your quality goals. You can do overdubs and 4 channel mixes with bouncing on some small pocket recorders, working very much like a Portastudio. Or you can do full blown 16 track mixes with faders and metering and CD output.


Most of these tools seem to me to be harder to use than a computer, though. I use recorders for capture a lot, but I almost always do post processing in the computer.



Hi Earl, I am with Alex Cummings on this...I love my iMAC and Logic Pro 9 software!  I tried using digital recorders and really wanted it to work, but was soon frustrated by the lack of being able to see what I was doing on that little "green-screen" that only shows one or two functions at a time.  They have probably come a long way since I used one, but I still stand my iMAC and Logic! Logic has a somewhat steep learning curve, but between self-help manuals and free tutorials on YouTube, I was up and running for what I do pretty fast!  So, let us know what you decide on and how it works...if you decide on Logic, please join our users group here in the AG Community! 

Here is the direct link:

You will find both Alex and I there, along with a bunch more recordists with all levels of expertise and experience! 

Thanks, Edward


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