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Portability vs Track Count


Ron Lacheur
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In the near future, I"m going to have to take the step into purchasing a HD recorder. I've narrowed it down to 744t or a Metacorder setup due to budget. I would like to focus on doing features, but I don't want to end up limiting myself from other possibilities.

Does anyone on a daily basis find themselves using more than 4 tracks at a time?

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In the near future, I"m going to have to take the step into purchasing a HD recorder. I've narrowed it down to 744t or a Metacorder setup due to budget. I would like to focus on doing features, but I don't want to end up limiting myself from other possibilities.

Does anyone on a daily basis find themselves using more than 4 tracks at a time?

Call me subjective, but IMHO I think you're comparing apples to oranges here. The advantages of a dedicated recorder are numerous. I think the answer you're looking for is burried in your own question, "...I don't want to end up limiting myself from other possibilities." This is the key and only you can decide what "other possibilities" means. I can guarantee you however that you won't be doing much run & gun bag stuff with a computer-based package. If it were I, I'd opt for quality well over quantity and get a good deck of whatever flavor to serve for the near term future, and possibly as a hardware base to expand upon down the road. Then you can begin to consider multitracking as a further evolution to your package.

The way I see it, once you're in a good position to consider significant multi-track location recording (more than 3 or 4 channels), the cost issues of how to do it become less significant relative to your front-end investment for the mics, mixer, etc. required to deliver as many signals.

For multitracking, don't overlook Boomrecorder. I don't own it, but hear great things nevertheless.

EB

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Metacorder is great, but is strictly a cart or table based setup.  I've never done a car rig with mine--it could be possible--ask that question over on the Metacorder Yahoo group.  I got the Metacorder because I decided I needed a "sound computer" for location work for all the other ways computers are useful in production sound nowadays, and Metacorder was a relatively cheap add on that allowed me to be able to record LOTS of tracks if necessary.  Since I've had it I've found lots of uses for the computer, and more uses for Metacorder than I had thought.  The main issue w/ MC is that it is a bit messier than a dedicated NL multitrack, and requires a computer to run it.  As the track count goes up there are increasing advantages to using MC--automatic sound report making, very efficient metadata management w/ easy entry of track names etc, its "split poly" mode which automatically records (and labels) separate 2-mix and split track poly files, records to 3 media @ once, including a mirroring drive that can be a DVD-RAM, etc.  If the track count is mostly going to be 2-4, then it is kind of overkill for the extra hassle involved, particularly the DC draw of the computer and the space taken up by an open laptop  (maybe less w/ Mac Mini, but then there are more wires and a separate monitor and keyboard to find homes for). 

So, what's your style?  What is demanded of you by your clients?  Do you need an unpredictable but fairly high track count pretty often?  Do you need to be able to do long days w/ no AC at all?  Do you need to quickly move from multitrack/cart to over the shoulder?  If so you might need BOTH a multitrack rig AND a smaller self-sufficient recorder. 

BTW--Metacorder has been great on concert recording.    The MOTU Traveler has held up quite well on the cart, and the Metric Halo interfaces are even heavier duty.  We had a long discussion on RAMPS last year about the ruggedness of Mac laptops, in which many people chimed in about the abuse their computers had taken, including that dished out by all the video assist people, and they seem to hold up pretty well.

Philip Perkins

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As the track count goes up there are increasing advantages to using MC--automatic sound report making, very efficient metadata management w/ easy entry of track names etc, its "split poly" mode which automatically records (and labels) separate 2-mix and split track poly files, records to 3 media @ once, including a mirroring drive that can be a DVD-RAM, etc.  If the track count is mostly going to be 2-4, then it is kind of overkill for the extra hassle involved, particularly the DC draw of the computer and the space taken up by an open laptop  (maybe less w/ Mac Mini, but then there are more wires and a separate monitor and keyboard to find homes for).Philip Perkins

After reading your accounts of experience with Metacorder, I think I may have been selling short it's capabilities, particularly when comparing it to BoomRecorder (on features other than price). I think you and others have brought up some valuable ways of looking at the question originally asked --- the most important thing to think about is what sort of work do you need to do and once identified, fairly specifcially, it makes it much easier to try and answer questions about what tools would be best. All of us that have been at this for quite some time I think realize that in today's world it is not possible to have ONE device, one tool or even one setup that will accomodate every job.

Regards,  Jeff Wexler

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I think I'll go with the 744t. It's alot more portable than a mac mini or a powerbook, plus it goes with the 442. I've seem to have gotten away dealing with the 2 tracks of DV, so 2 more is a welcome addition.

Thanks for the input guys!

Like we said over on RAMPS, unless you need the recorder for a big job next week, wait until after NAB.  This is such a hot field right now that there are bound to be new surprises.

Philip Perkins

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Eric, that is soo-o yesterday... (well, actually yesterday if today was Saturday 18th, 1979

Regards,  Jeff Wexler

Perhaps it is but for the spot jobs that I do they only require 1 or 2 tracks at most and for that my Portadats are still the medium of choice.

When you've learned your skill set as I did sitting at a 20 input console going into a mono Ampex it's kind of hard to give up the old habits.

Eric

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