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Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1859
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 4:56 am:   Edit Post

Stupid question(s) time once again:

I'm looking to pick the Alembic Collective's brain RE: multi-track recorders.

Specifically, I'm looking for a tool to help with my music lessons. Ideally, it would be digital MTR (i.e., 4 tracks are fine) with no consumable media (i.e., tape , discs, etc), be multi-powered (ac, 12Vdc, rechargeable batts, etc.), and would have both a built-in mic and speaker. Yeah, I know...keep dreaming, LOL!

Here's why I'm asking:

On the suggestion of my instructor, I bought one of those Tascam PortaStudio MTR (PS01 w/cassette tape @ $99) a couple of years back in order to be able to record chordal accompanyment w/walking bass line, melody and improv parts. This way, I can accompany myself while working on the various parts of a particular composition assigned to me. As with most players, my improvisation skills are lacking and this is one way to improve them.

The problem is, the thing is so inconvenient to use, I usually DON'T use it (and I REALLY need to).

I need to bring it to my lessons in order to record the instructor's playing in order to remember the piece (d*mn that onset of old-age, LOL!) and to get a good referrence for timing, arrangement, etc. We normally have to plug the thing in the wall (not easily done) and we pirate the mic from his old analogue Conn Strobotuner (we both play UNAMPLIFIED acoustic/electric archtop jazzboxes). On top of that, I practice away from home often (i.e., in my truck or in the park), so a mic and speaker would be supremely useful (i.e., portable).

To recap, I need a MTR that is:

a) portable
b) mult-power capable (incl. batteries)
c) built in mic and speaker
d) no tapes!

Is there such a monster?


Username: davehouck

Post Number: 3678
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 6:49 am:   Edit Post

Kevin; if you haven't already, check out this thread. A field recorder will give you a) portability (quite small and lightweight), b) mult-power capable, powered by batteries that last a fairly long time depending on sound quality chosen, ie. mp3, c) most have built in mics; however most require headphones of some type, d) most now use flash cards. However, they are only two track; I haven't seen anything yet that is four track and meets your other criteria.
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 888
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 8:35 am:   Edit Post

I've been flirting with the idea of looking for the same thing myself. Using just the basic criteria you mentioned, I found the Zoom PS04 Palmtop Studio 4-Track Recorder at Same Day Music for $200. I have no idea whether it's worth a dime, but it does seem to fit the bill.

Anyone out there know anything about this unit?
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1860
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:51 am:   Edit Post

If push came to shove, I'd compromise with headphones in lieu of a speaker...even though I have a real disdain for phones of any price/type. I could use a chord to record my guitar, but that still leaves me with a mic problem when I play along with the instructor. The multi-track thing allows independent recording of each part without affecting the others so I can re-record each until I get it right. That would render a stereo recorder seriously limited in usefulness for the intended purpose, unfortunately.

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