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Guitar Musician e-zine 02/09/05
In This Issue:
Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
|An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again." The gentleman replied, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!"|
Tascam DP-01 Digital Portastudios
Digital 8-track recording made easy and affordable
By Ron Dryden
Tascam has a hit on its hands. That's my opinion, at least, after giving its new DP-01 a test drive. I'm going to spring for one and I bet a lot of other musicians will too, because the DP-01 has a combination of features not found in other digital recorders. It's easy to operate, delivers a full eight tracks of CD-quality recording, and it is surprisingly affordable.
I have always been attracted to the popular tabletop studios for what they can do, but put off by the price and their complexity. Like many musicians, I want to make music, not be an engineer. All the digital workstations and studios I've gotten close to seem too complicated. By the time you get through a 300-page manual, learn to navigate through layers of menus and screens, and use buttons that each do about a zillion different things, you've forgotten how to play your instrument.
Simple is beautiful
I should mention first that there are two DP-01s, the DP-01 and the DP-01FX. The unit I tried out was the DP-01FX, which in addition to all the cool features of the DP-01 has onboard effects and XLR inputs offering phantom power for condenser mics.
On the DP-01 recorders, nearly every button has just a single function and the buttons are clearly labeled. It has the buttons and wheels that are standard on digital machines of this sort, but there's also a set of controls that look like those on any cassette recorder: play, fast forward and reverse, stop, and record. They add a reassuring touch of familiarity for those of us who like the old ways.
The mixer layout is also standard. There are two assign buttons and a row of buttons over the tracks marked REC for selecting or turning off a particular track and a number of other dedicated buttons for effects and editing. Compared to other digital recorders, the DP-01 recorders are an open book.
After a few times around a blues progression, I pushed stop and then rewound. When I hit play, there was�a clear raw track. It was so easy I couldn't believe it. The whole process took me about 15 minutes and I hadn't looked at the manual once. With this success, I was so taken with the DP-01 that I wanted to read it and know more.
The manual proved to be as easy to follow as the machine itself. It's 66-pages in all, and the pages aren't crowded. It starts with all the basic, easy stuff: how to start it up, how to record, how to save what you've done, and how to shut it off. These are the basics, but there's a whole lot more to this baby.
There are dozens of different settings for guitar, close to a dozen for acoustic guitar, a bunch for bass, and so forth. The effects are also easily tweakable via a parameter knob. Sampling through the guitar effects, I found they sound quite good�not the least bit cheesy�and they give you lots of options for adding color to your tracks.
The right stuff
Another very cool aspect of the DP-01 recorders is its extensive connectivity. Besides RCA line output and effects send and return, it has S/PDIF digital optical output, MIDI timecode output, and a USB 2.0 port for easy connection to computer. Last but not least is its 40GB drive that gives you tons of recording time for eight tracks (at least 17 hours, and that's a lot of songs).
Wrapping it up
For more info on ordering this product email us
Guitar Q & A
I�ve noticed that while steel strings are rated by gauge, nylon guitar
strings are differentiated by tension. Should you use certain tension strings
on certain guitars, and how do they affect playability?