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Building A Linux Music Studio
Cranky Audiophile Approves of Digital
December 27, 2007
This is a great time to be your own recording and sound engineer. There are all kinds of great digital recording gear, from tiny portable recorders to multi-channel mixer-recorders with CD burners, and Linux has a wealth of good-quality audio recording and editing programs. The hard part is figuring out where to start because there is so much to choose from. I'll talk a bit about the different types of digital recorders, and then run through recording a live performance and making a CD using Linux.
Two of my favorite sites for music gear are Musician's Friend and zZounds; if you're not familiar with digital recording gear check out this assortment of digital multitrack recorders, and here is a sampling of small portable digital recorders.
Unlike a lot of cranky old audiophiles who demand analog sound, I like this newfangled digital era. I have a Marantz PMD221 portable mono cassette recorder and a Tascam 424 MKII Portastudio. The Marantz is a great little recorder that is the standard for journalists and anyone else who needs a rugged, high-quality portable audio recorder. The Tascam is an entry-level 4-track mixer-recorder. I use the Marantz with an external microphone to record live music because it's small and easy to lug around. The sound quality is good even for music. I use the Tascam at home to play around with mixing, overdubbing, fixing problems, and other fun pretend-studio-mogul stuff.
But hassling with tapes gets old. Good-quality Type II cassette tapes are getting harder to find. In every batch of ten that I order, at least one or two will be defective, and editing tapes means spending a lot of time rewinding and forwarding. So I decided to treat myself to a portable digital recorder for Christmas. I wanted something small and basic because I planned to use it only for recording, and then dump it into my computer for editing and writing to CD.