this is what i recorded "SUNLIGHT" on. the old fostex multitracker XR-3. i think this is my 4th machine. i buy one everytime i see one because 1. they break 2. they are cheap 3. you don't see them everyday. the reason i love this machine so much is the little black bubble in the upper left hand corner. that's a built-in condenser mic. it picks up everything within about 5 feet of it, including the sound of the tape spinning and recording. that's the constant hum and rustle you hear through the entire record: layers of tape rattle like a babbling brook. it's not for everybody but it suits me. i don't really enjoy the mechanical side of the recording process: settting up mic's, checking levels and all that. with this i can just press record and lean in close.
i typically would sing and play guitar first onto one track. then play drums and sing onto one track. then play drums and sing onto another track. i would bounce the drum tracks down onto the 4th track, freeing up 2 more tracks for a bass (which i would plug in direct) and another vocal. this was how every track on the record was done, with the exception of the two songs with cello on them. for those i dumped the 4-tracks onto and 8-track cassette and did two tracks of cello. maybe a handclap or two to round things out. then i took these tapes down to magnetic south in bloomington, where john dawson put everything in his computer and evened out the levels, fuzzed up the edges a little and generally worked his mixing and mastering magic. thank you, john.
when it was all done my friend todd robinson took the mixed files and put them in the sound oven like a fuzzy cake and then we sent it to the record plant. thank you, todd.
it's just that easy. you should do it!
ps if anyone has a fostex xr-3 in working condition i will buy it from you.