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My newest toy update- Soundclip added

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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
Topic starter  

I wrote about 2 weeks ago that I had ordered a Zoom HD8CD recorder, well I finally got it this week. A few asked for a review, this is probably a little early as I have only just started with it, but it might be interesting. Here is the unit:

Zoom HD8CD

A little story to tell first of my experience with American Musical Supply. I ordered this unit on Nov. 8th and finally got it on Nov. 19th. I thought that was a little long, but it was shipped ground and came all the way from Nevada. So really not bad at all considering.

I was all excited and set it up on a table I've dedicated just for it. But before I did anything else, I sat down and read the manual. I have never really recorded much and this recorder is a little overwhelming. The manual is over 200+ pages.

Finally I got to the point where the manual said to fire it up, I was really excited now. The digital display read "initialize" just as it was supposed to, then it was supposed to go to a "project" display. Instead, it read "HDD Error". Now, I knew that meant hard-drive error, not a good sign. I turned if off and on several times and everytime it came up to this same message. I searched the manual cover to cover to see what to do if this happens. There were lots of troubleshooting tips, just not this one. I tried pushing buttons, nothing. The thing was frozen. Man, I waited all this time and got a defective unit. :x

I called American Musical and got a very nice young man. He acted like it was nothing. He did not question me at all. He said he would send out another unit and guaranteed it would arrive within 3 days. I couldn't believe it, they were going to send me another unit before I returned the original one. And they did not charge me one red cent! He said I would receive postage paid labels in about 9 days to send the original unit back.

And sure enough, I got the exchange replacement on the 21st. So I gotta say I am very impressed with their service. This is just for all the folks that worry about ordering online.

As for the recorder, it is pretty amazing really. The HD8 comes with two XLR/1/4" inputs. You can only run high impedence (Hi-Z) instuments into input #1 (it will accept low impedence signals too). Input #2 will only accept low impedence inputs like a microphone. So you really couldn't record an entire band with this, it is best suited for simple applications at home. The HD16 has 8 XLR/1/4" input jacks, the odd numbered inputs will all take high impedence signals, so you could run 4 guitars with passive pickups into this. So it is more suited to recording bands. But I got this simply for a home studio only, it is plenty for me.

Recording guitar is actually super simple, I figured that out in just a few minutes and laid down a very basic track of a song I wrote years ago. Sounded very good. The next day I learned how to add effects to this track, I applied a nice crunch distortion, always my favorite tone. Very easy. There are dozens of effects to choose from, it is really like a multi-efx guitar pedal built in to the unit. The effects are just as good as most multi-efx pedals.

The part that is difficult for me was programming the bass and drums. You can punch in bass and drums manually, or choose prerecorded samples, there are about 500 to choose from. I normally hate artificial drums, but these sound pretty realistic. It took me about 3 hours, but I finally programmed a bass/drum track that matched up with my pre-recorded guitar sample. The entire mix sounded pretty great, I can't wait till I know what I'm doing.

I could go on and on, this thing has hundreds of features. It will literally take me months to really learn how to use it, but you can get some pretty good basic recordings right away. I am going to work on one song right now and take my time, try to get something good recorded. Then I will Master it and burn it to a CD, a CD burner is built in. It also has a USB port for computer. It comes with software for computer too, I probably won't use that.

Sorry I can't tell much more, but I am pretty new to this. But it seems like a pretty excellent recorder for the price. It also had the most memory in it's price range, 80 GB. Way more than any of their competitors in this price range.

Anyway, that's it, thought some might like a little review. I will write more once I figure this thing out a little better.

Wes

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@katmetal)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 727
 

Started out bumpy, turned out good. I've had situations like that, & just recently from MF. Have fun with your new toy! :)


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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3297
 

it read "HDD Error". Now, I knew that meant hard-drive error, not a good sign.

The drives seem to be a potential issue with many of the recorders, regardless of brand. I've been doing research on these, and it seems that Zoom, Fostex, Tascam, and Boss/Roland all have had reports of hard drive errors.

Glad you got yours replaced quickly and good to know about the quality service from American Musical. 8)

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

And are we going to be able to hear your first recording with your new toy? SHARE! SHARE! LOL

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@kevin72790)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 840
 

This topic is worthless without soundclips! :D :D Just playing of course, Wes.

That service sounds great though, I'm glad they didn't give you a hard time about it.


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
 

Attention all musicians! Wes will be opening a recording studio. Send all of your music to him! :D
Sounds like a cool toy. I'll need to read through your post once more but is this a stand alone kind of thing? What I mean is, did you need to hook this up to your computer or did you just record directly into the unit?

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
Topic starter  

Well here you go folks, my first recording. I am pretty happy with everything except the vocals. My voice is pretty terrible to begin with, I also had a terrible cold over the weekend (still do). I will re-record the vocals later.

http://media.putfile.com/TWTD--original-by-W-Inman

This sounds a little thin on my computer versus played through a stereo, it will sound a little better if you boost the bass a little.

I will also post this in Hear Here and give some details about how I recorded this.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Why am I not suprised that it sounded good? 8)

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@progressions)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 320
 

Sounds great! I love that jangly sound.

Isaac Priestley: World Racketeering Squad
http://www.progressions.org/
http://www.youtube.com/worldracketeer


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(@wrkngclsshero)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 57
 

Wes,

That sounded absolutely amazing!! I hope someday to sound half as good. Was the drum beat pre recorded or did you do it yourself? If it was pre-recorded, is that part of the features of the recorder?

"A working class hero is something to be..." -J. Lennon


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 vink
(@vink)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 722
 

Wes,

If that's a bad recording according to you, I absolutely can't wait to hear a good one! I thought that sounded excellent, and it really sounded like there was a whole band playing..

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
Topic starter  

Was the drum beat pre recorded or did you do it yourself? If it was pre-recorded, is that part of the features of the recorder?

To answer a few questions, yes the HD8CD is a self-contained studio. It will not run on batteries however, but comes with the 12V adapter. The only thing I needed to record this song was headphones with a 1/4" jack, my guitar, and a microphone. I used a dynamic mic, but it has phantom power for condensor mics.

I even used my Tele to play the bass. The HD8CD has Bass "algorithms" that gives you many various bass tones, and you can tweak them. I found I had to tweak the EQ on the bass a bit to get it to sound like a real bass guitar.

There are also pre-recorded Bass patterns you can listen and choose from, but I preferred to play the bass line myself.

There are hundreds of drum patterns built in. Each has a number and a brief description. You can scroll through them and listen to each pattern. They have patterns for Rock, Country, Jazz, Hip-Hop, you name it. They have patterns that will let you insert rolls. But you can also edit any pattern and add or subtract kick-drum, toms, snare, high-hat, cymbals etc...

You can build a drum pattern by "Step Input" putting in one drum beat at a time, I was not interested in this on my first song. They also have a "Easy Input" system. You select one of the patterns and tell it how many measures to play. For my song I picked pattern #" 0- 8 Beat". It was just a good ol' simple Rock pattern. I told it to play this pattern for 112 measures and it did. So you have to figure out how many measures your song is. But this is easy, you can simply record your guitar (which you can go back and delete later) and see how many measures you used, it has a time and measure counter. Then you just determine how many measures of drums you want. I wanted 2 measures of drums only for an intro, so I added 2 extra measures of drum pattern #0. But you can use any number of patterns, you could tell it to play pattern #0 for 4 measures, then 1 measure of pattern #27, then go back and repeat everything all over again. It is really super simple to do this. And now matter what, you can go back and edit any measure (change a pattern if you don't like it), add or delete any drum sounds. It also has many wierd sound effects you can add to the drums.

There are lots of good features like "A-B". As you play the song, just press the A-B button at any point, then press A-B again, it will repeat this little phrase over and over again until you press A-B again to exit. This is how I EQ'd my vocals, I just played a verse and chorus over and over again and tweaked the EQ on each vocal (there are two on two seperate channels) until I got a tone I was happy with.

All, I can say is I am very happy with this recorder, you can do almost anything imaginable with it, and once you read the manual a few times it becomes very easy and second-nature. There are MANY more features like MIDI and hooking the HD8CD to your computer with software I haven't even gotten into yet. I really just wanted a small portable studio and this thing is fantastic.

Oh, I also bought some studio monitors, I don't like to listen to everything through headphones, I like to hear how the song sounds natural, so I picked these up from Behringer, they are SUPER.

Behringer Powered Studio Monitors

These monitors are absolute clear sounding and have amazing power and volume. They get pretty big bass for only 4" woofers. I would recommend these to anybody, read the great reviews. And the price was unbeatable. I don't care what anybody says, I lover Behringer! :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@musica23)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 278
 

Sounds really great, Wes! Thanks for the clip and let me know when you think you've got something "good." As many of us are, you're way too hard on yourself it seems...Great job...looking forward to more! :D

Love and Peace or Else,
CC


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

I can't hear a thing because I continue to struggle with the downloading. I click on all the right things. 'download manually.click finish etc...and nothing happens. what a complex system that download site yopu are using has.
I give up. Wes, I am sure it sounds great.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3297
 

I clicked Wes's link and it started playing right away, and I often have firewall-related troubles with these sites. Maybe you've got some blocker thing going on, dogbite?

Anyway, WES, not only does it sound great, but the song is very cool too. If I can get my recordings to sound 1/3rd as good, I'll be pleased!

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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