Thursday, February 19, 2009

Line 6 BackTrack Review

I don't normally blog about the products I buy, but the Line 6 BackTrack rules. I've looked for ages for a good band recording practice tool, and this is finally it. In the past, I've used:
  • A digital 8 track (too cumbersome)
  • A portable mp3 recorder with an expensive portable mic (too clumsy and hard to balance, and I had to use some super flaky and buggy software to transfer files)
  • A laptop (again, too clumsy, and hard to work with on the fly)
Why does the BackTrack rule?
  1. It just works. You turn it on, and it records your stuff in really good quality for practice purposes. Marking stuff you like on the fly is a nice little bonus to help sift through stuff later.
  2. It automatically chops up the files for you based on pauses between sound. No more tedious manual splitting of tracks in Audacity or whatever your file splitting tool is.
  3. It's easy to get the files onto your computer - it works as a USB storage device, so you can drag and drop.
  4. It fits into my guitar case. No lugging some big piece of recording gear around any more, or even worse, forgetting it.
The only issue I had on the first night of practice with it was that I had configured it to a preset of Rock Band levels...meaning its recording threshold was pretty high and the mic gain was pretty low. On one of our lovely ballads, it missed the song's intro because it was below the recording threshold. (Or maybe it's a feature to discourage ballads.) It was easy enough to solve though - I just lowered the recording threshold a little.

All in all, some serious w00t factor...thank you Line 6!


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