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Recording SoftWare for Blind people. Can anybody Please help?

Hands On – Portastudios and Multitrackers (part 2)


Which One?

I don’t want to tell you cassette multitrack you should buy if you don’t
have one already, but I do want to reassure you that you can’t go wrong.
Any of the currently available machines from Fostex, Tascam or Yamaha – who
seem to be the main players in the game – has sufficient facilities for you
to learn multitrack recording. You may be in the position where you have a cassette
multitrack available for your use, either at school, college or round at a friend’s
place, in which case you don’t have a choice of model. I just want to confirm
that when you have a cassette multitrack available to you, of any variety in
good working order, then you have no excuses for not learning how to produce
a good recording, given time. I have chosen to illustrate my article with the
Fostex X18, which is their cheapest model, and the Tascam 464, which is their
best four track model (discounting the 644 which has a lot of facilities for
a cassette multitrack but is very complex). I could equally well have chosen
a basic Tascam and top-of-the-range Fostex so don’t assume from this that
Fostex make good cheap machines and Tascam make good expensive ones. Both companies
are very experienced in the field and produce good machines at all levels (I
have a personal preference but I’m trying not to let on).

What Else?

You wouldn’t get far in a car without an engine, but you need a lot of
other mechanical bits and pieces to get from A to B. The cassette multitrack
will be at the centre of your studio, but you will need some other equipment
to make a recording. Imagining a typical situation, and trying to keep costs
down, the list could run like this:

  • Cassette multitrack
  • Microphone and stand
  • Keyboard
  • Drum machine
  • Effects unit
  • Stereo cassette recorder
  • Headphones
  • Stereo amplifier
  • Speakers
  • Cables

This little set up will do for practice, but when you can afford it the first
improvement would be to substitute a DAT recorder for the stereo cassette. The
standard cassette would be the weak link in the chain and would set a limit
on your achievements. Although music recorded in a professional studio sounds
more or less OK on cassette this is because the engineers already have the skill
– and the equipment – to produce a good result. You need to be able to refer
back to your past mixes at CD-equivalent quality so that you can chart your
progress and spot things that, in the light of experience gained, could stand
improvement. And if you do produce a really good recording of a simply arranged
piece, which as I said before is quite possible, then you have a stereo master
from which a CD could be made.

Figure 1 shows a fully operational set up for the Tascam 464. Since the 464
has the complete set of features appropriate to its status in the recording
world it’s possible to show how things should be done. With a basic machine
such as the Fostex X18 you would have to adapt slightly, but I don’t intend
to mention anything here that you can’t achieve with the simple X18.

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David Mellor

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David Mellor