Howell Family Scrapbook Music Page

Our recording hobby began in the early 1990's as a way to experience the fun of performing in a group without actually having one.  Multitrack recorders became affordable and established an easy way for me to be the entire band and the girls to become a 20 voice choir.  We started with a 4-track Tascam cassette deck and quickly ran out of capacity.  With only four tracks, stereo recording was not practical, and the mixes soon became unmanageable.  Bounced tracks were permanent and final mix-downs often were the product of chance.  The most elaborate setup we had was a Fostex 8-track 1/4" reel to reel outfit weighing in at about 80lbs.  Excellent quality but bulky and finicky and difficult to operate.  Next was a technology improvement that permitted eight discrete tracks on a standard cassette tape.  We produced several albums using the Tascam 8-track, which seems extremely limited compared to today's technology.  At about this same time, I started dabbling with computer based recording which produced some rather mixed results.  The audio quality was good and the number of tracks technically unlimited, however in reality the performance depended greatly on the horsepower of the computer being used.  The software was called Cakewalk would run just fine on home sized computers, however in order to rival the tape based multitrackers of the day, a very expensive, professional computer was required.

In the late 1990's digital recording devices that had been used for several years in the recording industry, became affordable for the home market.  Our first entry into the technology was a Fostex VF-16, a 16-bit, 16 track machine that vastly improved the mixing capabilities as well as usable onboard effects like delay, chorus and reverb.  About the same time I acquired a copy of "Cool Edit 2000", a software program that permitted mastering a final mix on the computer in preparation for burning CD's.  Mastering is a process that is used during the production of an album to fix any glitches in a track as well as modifying the level and or tone to improve the final result.  Technology continued to evolve and become more affordable as the music industry mass market demanded more products.  Our next upgrade was to a Tascam 2488, a 24bit (finer music fidelity), 24 track digital recorder.  And after our 2011 flood loss, a newer technology replacement, Tascam DP-24.  During this time, laptop computers have finally become powerful enough to keep up with the most demanding computer based recording and I am beginning to dabble with that as well.  The links below will take you to our "Family Scrapbook" progress so far: