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Exploring the Red Box

This afternoon I’ve put a bit of time into exploring the Fostex MR-8 multitrack recorder I’ve been borrowing from a friend. I’ve played with this unit in the past but had become a little frustrated; by the time I’d gone through the process of mixing a track and creating a stereo wave file for output, the memory card would be almost full up, even if it was just an unaccompanied bassline to a whole song. In terms of raw tracks, the system boasts about 24 minutes of recording time but, by the time it has started bouncing things around, it soon runs out of headroom.

Last time I played with it, I got as far as connecting it to my laptop via a USB cable using Linux. However, I was a good boy and heeded the instruction that “A mono WAV file or undo file cannot be exported to a personal computer”. This time I decided to experiment and discovered that this is not strictly true – those files copy across just fine. Especially if I tidy away unused files before connecting it up (preventing me undoing any editing but I’d be past that stage by the time it came to performing the data export) it then gives me a mono .wav file for each track – simple to stick back together on the laptop.

So, now I’ve dug a bit deeper into the little red box and discovered how to use my computer hardware to circumvent some of its limitations, all I need to do know is improve my playing so that it doesn’t sound awful as soon as I try to commit it to a recording!

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