If you’ve been with me a while, you probably realize that I’m fond of gadgets. Especially gadgets that have to do with making or recording music.
For a number of years I’ve been using the Yamaha MD-8 8-track digital recorder pictured above. It’s pretty big–19 inches wide and 16 inches front to back. I won’t bore you by trying to tell you what all of those knobs, switches, and sliders do, but suffice it to say it took months to learn to use it effectively. And I’m sure I never have made full use of everything this recorder is capable of doing.
It’s done a great job, though. It replaced a similar looking Yamaha recorder. But that one was analog–I won’t try to explain that, either–and recorded on cassette tapes. You remember those things?
But the MD-8 recorded on a special digital media that I’m not certain is even still being manufactured now. Although I still have a couple of unused media and could reuse the ones I’ve already recorded on, it’s not an appealing thought. Not when one of those critters only holds about eighteen minutes’ worth of music.
And the MD-8 was getting harder for me to get motivated to use. Not to mention I wonder what I would’ve done if it had ever needed repair.
So when I saw an advertisement a week or two back for a new Tascam eight-track recorder (the DP-008EX, if you’re interested–still the DP-008EX even if you’re not) pictured above. It’s the ultimate in small–nine by five inches–while still providing most of the features of more expensive units. The Yamaha had been somewhere between $500-1000 way back when, while the Tascam was only $150!
It has some built in features the Yamaha doesn’t have, while lacking one or two the Yamaha has. Fair trade off, I think. But–lo and behold!–the Tascam uses SD cards and has a USB connection for uploading to a computer. With the Yamaha, I had to burn songs to a CD to get them to a computer.
And the Tascam has a built in pair of mics that are remarkably good. And playing my guitar directly into one of the inputs sounds immensely better than I could ever manage with the Yamaha.
I admit I’m still learning to use my new toy, but it’s going faster and smoother than with the Yamaha. $150 was a small price to pay for something that seems to be meeting my needs better overall than the Yamaha.
Here’s one final picture: the Tascam sitting on top of the Yamaha to show the comparative size.
What about you? Have you received–or maybe bought for yourself–a new “toy” recently? How about sharing the info in a comment?
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