This weekend I bought a Roland VS-840 digital multitrack recorder from eBay. Ever since I’ve done audio work for Gimme 5 I’ve been wanting to do my own recording stuff and this is the first step. I plan on using it to do some simple live recording stuff at first and as I gain my own experience I can go on to other things. I still need to buy about $200 worth of microphones, stands, cables and a submixer before I can really make use of it. Obviously, for about $400 I am not going to have a studio-quality setup, but it should be good enough for a beginner who will be recording high school band demos at best.
Until then, I’ve been reading up on the mods you can do with it. A hack that interests me is replacing the Zip 100 drive with a 2 GB hard drive. It’s relatively simple: you upgrade the firmware and use a desktop to laptop IDE adapter to install the hard disk. However, the firmware upgrade is somewhat hairy: it sometimes fails and can render the recorder useless. In addition, it’s a pain to remove the internal drive to transfer songs from the recorder to my computer.
I plan on making an external enclosure for the hard disk and the Zip drive so I can switch between the two and hook it up to my Windows box easier. If I get it working I’ll post a howto sometime. In any case, I look forward to posting about my experiences with starting out in recording.