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funkgod

Analog recording. ....... Does anyone still use tape ??

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Analog recording.
im Just wondering if anyone still uses tape to record ?
im still using tascam 16 and 24 track reel to reels and while i love the sound of my mackie hdr24 digi recorder, i still love recording on to tape.
i find if i get an idea and want it down fast its to the tape i go first...
1 button on,
plug in the bass and drum machine.
press record
and i am all ready to go, its that quick,
for me to do the same on the digi the whole set up seems to take ages,
once i have all the ideas and parts down i then take the idea to the digi.

so while im on this has anyone sync'd two recorders together or sync'd a reel to reel to the daw
so as to use the daw to control the reel to reel ?
i know how to do this the other way, to control the daw from the reel to reel using a smpte striped track.
but i want to control it the other way, so now im up to the stage of looking for a tascam midiizer mts1000,
and so to my question ...has anyone found another way to do this ?

Edited by funkgod

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We dreamed, back then, of having access to 4-track. Semi-pro 8-track TEAC had just been invented. I spent hours with scissors and editing tape, sticking bits of tracks together. We stocked the reels 'tails out' to reduced print-through leakage. Our poor low-budget monitors didn't have the luxury of anti-magnetic shielding. We lost some takes that way. I still have a sub-master reel or two of Ampex, unusable now, as too brittle. Tape..? No, I'm not all that nostalgic. It was great fun, and no regrets, but my back-ups are more reliable in digital, for all its faults (too 'clean and clinical'..? Play badly, that's all. Simple...). YMMV.

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Funny that what with all the advances in recording technology, you can get software to model recordings made on tape machines.

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Ah yes, wow and flutter, ye goode olde dayes.

Next up for discussion ... the WEM Copycat. :D

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[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=3]Next up for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/size][/font][/color]

[size=3][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...up for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]

[size=2][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]

[size=1][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...ussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]

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I used to work with a 16 track reel to reel sync'd to cubase with SMPTE (late 90's)
I wouldn't go back to recording on multitrack tape now, crikey, what a nightmare!
And slaving a Umatic video machine to cubase in order to make sound to picture, gives me the heebee jeebies!

The thing I find with recording to digital (Logic) is that you have to initially spend some time creating a useful starting template and make sure all your leads, patch bay, preamps etc are all hooked up so you always know what channel they are on and all that kind of thing. If you get that right, then normally it shouldn't be any time at all to start a recording.

But if tape is good for you then have fun! :gas:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1410767199' post='2552751']
[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=3]Next up for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/size][/font][/color]

[size=3][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...up for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]

[size=2][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...for discussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]

[size=1][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]...ussion ... the WEM Copycat.[/font][/color][/size]
[/quote]

ha ha :)

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[quote name='MacDaddy' timestamp='1410735658' post='2552660']
Funny that what with all the advances in recording technology, you can get software to model recordings made on tape machines.
[/quote]

yes you can, i suppose it was inevitable that was going to happen,
some studios still use tape but charge a premium to use it, just the price of new tape to do this on now is expensive
plus the process of them setting up and maintaining,
and there are not many companies still making multitrack tape, RMG are still producing good tape.
I do feel tho that tape has its place and some things sound good on it, so i want to try and sync both digi and
tape together,

I dont think a machine is being made now, maybe someone like behringer will knock one up in the future..... :unsure:

"I used to work with a 16 track reel to reel sync'd to cubase with SMPTE!"
yes i can sync it that way but as you know you have to use the transport buttons on the tape as master control over cubase,
you cant control the tape from the daw ( play, ff, rw, stop, rec, ect) as the tapes striped track 16 has no control over its own transport
only as a smpte pulse output to cubase,
at first i was striping track 16 using tascams MTS 30 midi to tape synchronizer then found out that this was not SMPTE
but stripes the track with FSK so yes i can see where your nightmare begins.
some tape sync info here if anyone is intrested...
[url="http://tweakheadz.com/sync-mmc-mtc-smpte/"]http://tweakheadz.co...-mmc-mtc-smpte/[/url]


Dad3353..
"Ampex, unusable now, as too brittle"
some of my old ampex has not gone brittle but more ...soft, and is starting to shed, so when playing its coming off
on the transport its more sticky and puts a load on the motors as ff play and rw slows right down as the motors try and drag
the almost sticky tape.
i think this is a big problem with not just ampex,
so i offer a service to transfer old 1/2" 16 track and 1" 24 track tape to digi stem files,
from the ones i have done Ampex is by far the worst,
funny enough all of my 1" zonal 675 tape is perfect, !


There is an intresting comparison here on tape v digi and where to use tape today,
http://recordinghacks.com/2013/01/26/analog-tape-vs-digital/

Edited by funkgod

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I like the idea of putting things to tape at the end as part of the mastering process, but as part of the multitrack process I simply couldn't work these days.

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Hi!
I do a lot of home recording, and after being given an old quarter inch reel to reel machine, have had some good results with it. Although it can be a bit of a faff compared to digital. What I've done on some occasions is record the track digitally and then bounce down some of the instruments onto tape, and then re-record it back into the DAW for mixing and mastering.
Personally, I've found that bass and drums sound great using this method as it does seems to add some depth and subtle compression (depending how you do it of course!), but have had less success on guitars and vocals. Alternatively, some of the tape emulation plug ins are pretty good these days such as the Waves Eddie Kramer. Nice to have the option to experiment, depending on the situation anyway.

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I made my first music/band recording in 1975 on 1/4" mono tape. Over the years I upgraded first to stereo, then 4-track cassette based portastudio and finally a Tascam 238 which managed to cram 8 tracks onto a single compact cassette running at double speed. Using SMPTE sync and a Mac running the MIDI only version of Logic and an Akai sampler to fly in extra backing vocals I made recordings that got released on CD using this set up in the late 90s before finally going to hard disk recording in 1999.

Fifteen years on and The Terrortones did our latest EP - [url=http://terrortones.bandcamp.com]The MonsterPussy Sessions[/url] on analogue 24-track tape. However apart from the Theremin, the recordings were made live without overdubs. We did multiple takes until we had one that we were happy with, and the multi-track aspect was only used to tweak the balance of the instruments and add some extra effects at the mixing stage.

This was because we got the opportunity to do a free recording on this set up when it was first installed at the studio, and I'd forgotten just how frustrating working on tape could be. Things that would be trivial on any DAW like drop ins and removing unwanted noises from otherwise perfect takes were once again massively complicated. Also making a slight tweak to the mix at a later date meant re-doing the mix from scratch as there was no recall of any settings (other than writing them all down on charts - including all the effects routings).

There's no denying that a well set up and maintained analogue tape system can give you wonderful sounding results, but IMO you can get just as good sounding recordings if you use an excellent sounding A/D interface such as RME to digitise the sounds in the first place. After that the DAW makes everything so much simpler.

Also to get the best out of analogue recording you need a lot of good quality outboard gear. The signal path needs to be completely in the analogue domain right up until the final mastering process (and maybe not even then if you are going to be pressing vinyl) otherwise IMO you lose the whole point of using tape in the first place, as it's poor quality A/D conversion that lets down digital recording, not the fact that it's digital.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1410799077' post='2553291']
(other than writing them all down on charts - including all the effects routings).
....... otherwise IMO you lose the whole point of using tape in the first place, as it's poor quality A/D conversion that lets down digital recording, not the fact that it's digital.
[/quote]

ah yes .. "writing them all down on charts - including all the effects routings"
i still do that as much as i can, the habit now has crossed over even when using my digi !
as i am sending tracks as stem files to a friend in scotland who does the key parts that are beyond me.
good house keeping i feel.
i dont know how many times in the past i have made a great sound up using a novation ks rack and put it through
various filters like the electricx filter factory or the tc fireworx and never wrote the settings down or stored it, :( it would take all
week getting it back from scratch.

never heard of the RME before, just had a quick look, looks intresting,
[url="http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php"]http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php[/url]

"poor quality A/D conversion that lets down digital recording, not the fact that it's digital"
100% agree. and then added into the mix poor quality recorded takes and using bad sounding gear the whole
sh!t in sh!t out becomes very real :lol:

DiceSociety..
a 1/4" 4 track was my first two recorders a phillips and an akai 4000d , and i still have the tapes, had great fun with them and some surprisingly ok takes, what is good about the old tapes is, it shows you ideas at that time, i found an old 3 part bass solo from must be 30 years ago, looking at it now.... i still like it.. and to me shows how much i learnt in such a short time.

Edited by funkgod

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Many years ago I used to work for BBC Sound in the transfer and dubbing areas...
We had Albrecht 16/35mm mag film bays, Otari and Studer 24track 2" machines, Nagra T and 4S 1/4" machines plus a host of video stuff.
My personal record for sync was 19 Albrechts playing 16mm tracks onto the Otari, with 6 of those tracks also going to Nagra Ts, plus an Albrecht with film head playing pictures and 2 mixes from the 16mm mag tracks onto D3 and BetaSP video machines, and those pictures and main mix going onto a bank of 10 VHS machines.
Took me 1.5 hours to set up - serious plugging job - but was a fine sight with all those machines playing and recording in perfect sync!

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1410887394' post='2554364']
Many years ago I used to work for BBC Sound in the transfer and dubbing areas...
We had Albrecht 16/35mm mag film bays, Otari and Studer 24track 2" machines, Nagra T and 4S 1/4" machines plus a host of video stuff.
My personal record for sync was 19 Albrechts playing 16mm tracks onto the Otari, with 6 of those tracks also going to Nagra Ts, plus an Albrecht with film head playing pictures and 2 mixes from the 16mm mag tracks onto D3 and BetaSP video machines, and those pictures and main mix going onto a bank of 10 VHS machines.
Took me 1.5 hours to set up - serious plugging job - but was a fine sight with all those machines playing and recording in perfect sync!
[/quote]


sounds like wiring hell, esp with a bloke breathing down your neck wanting it done in 30 mins :dash1:
here is a nostalgic trip for you.
[url="http://www.filmhistory.at/e_magneton.htm"]http://www.filmhisto.../e_magneton.htm[/url]

Edited by funkgod

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My uncle gave me his old Tascam Portastudio over Christmas so I've been meaning to give it a go and see how it all worked before digital. It'll be a great experience I bet, kinda like when I did a traditional photography course that taught more about thinking before you hit the shutter than anything else.

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[quote name='funkgod' timestamp='1410901246' post='2554585']

sounds like wiring hell, esp with a bloke breathing down your neck wanting it done in 30 mins :dash1:
here is a nostalgic trip for you.
[url="http://www.filmhistory.at/e_magneton.htm"]http://www.filmhisto.../e_magneton.htm[/url]
[/quote]

Luckily the bloke was very happy as it was a 60 minute programme... He was expecting at least 10 passes, so instead of paying 11hours he paid 2.5!
As for plugging, I used every single patchcord in the place, plus all 20 available parallel strips and 3 station-synced timecode generators!
And we all loved those mag film bays - seriously good engineering; in fact the quality was at least on a par with Nagra!

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I´m still printing my mixes on 1/4" tape besides digital. First for sonic reason because mostly tape sounds better to me. Second is that I have an immediate safety copy if I print both. On top of that the longterm reliability of tape is higher than any digital format. Of course IT-guys and manufacturer of digital gear will tell you something else. But in the meantime I have lost enough of my digital-only masters and tracks but none on tape to no more believe them. (ok, DAT excluded). Taking care of all the digital data and maintain them will turn out as a nightmare in the long run.

Edited by jensenmann

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Of course how long your recordings last depends very much what type of tape you have used. It's well known that a lot of Ampex tape (which was well regarded at the time) has not survived particularly well...

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Absolutely
456 is crap
I´m recording on PER528, a tape formulation which has been developed for german broadcasters with main focus on longterm reliability for archiving purpose.

Edited by jensenmann

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[quote name='jensenmann' timestamp='1410987722' post='2555443']
Absolutely
456 is crap
[/quote]

But in the late 70s and early 80s everyone was using it. It was good value for money and the immediate results were excellent. No-one really knew that in 20+ years the recordings made on it were going to be unplayable.

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[quote name='jensenmann' timestamp='1410987722' post='2555443']
Absolutely
456 is crap
[/quote]

Agreed, of the 456 tapes i have transferred to digi most of them are shedding to some degree.
the worst ones i think seem to be the Ampex from the early/mid 90s as the worst ones were in the boxes that had the blue print on the front,
see pic...
[attachment=171997:IMG_4654.jpg]

the first box left early 80s mine are ok abit hissy, box in the middle is 93, and the end right is 96 of the ones i have done and have it seems to be more around the 93 boxes that were bad i have non past 96 so cant say up untill quantegy took over, the earlyst quantegy 499 i have is from 2003 which is perfect.
if you look on the side of the box there is a date tag with something like 93167 the first two is the year, but...... unless you know where the tape is from its a guess on the tape inside as
being original to the box.

i have always kept my old tapes well, in a dry place and i put a little bag of silicone in the middle (the type you get in shoe boxes) to soak up any damp, if any, which i think has saved some of my ampex.

just in case anyone is using 1" tape, while looking for more zonal i found a chap on ebay that sells 1" zonal 675 on a 10" reel in a box posted and delivered next day (uk) all in for £18 ! ! yep £18.
i have had 4 and they are perfect.
used once and wiped, the ones i have had were used for book narration back up so not continuous used areas,
for £18 its worth a try, even just to use to get ideas down.
on the quality of these i am looking at a deal on 10.

some info from cranford...
Zonal 675

"Matt backed standard play, exceptionally low print. Low modulation noise, wide dynamic range, hardwearing surface. Designed for music mastering, broadcast, and archival applications. 2500 feet on 10.5 inch NAB hub, 1200 feet on 7 inch spool and 600 feet on 5 inch spools. Equivalent to the former Ampex 478."

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Zonal-675-Reel-to-Reel-Tape-Used-once-and-Wiped-1-034-tape-/221159551767?hash=item337e22f317&pt=UK_Consumer_VintageAudio_RL&quantity=1#ht_1853wt_738"]Zonal 675. Reel-to-Reel Tape. Used once and Wiped. 1" tape. | eBay[/url]

Edited by funkgod

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From todays view 456 is crap. When it came out 456 was the tape with highest headroom and lowest noise. Everybody was jumping on it. Additionally it was relatively cheap. It was my multitrack tape for that reason back then.

Edited by jensenmann

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Nope, not for nearly twenty years.

If I had to though I'd record multitrack to tape for the tape compression, then run it all off into a DAW to do any editing, it would save hours and hours of tape/razor arseache!

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[quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1411036815' post='2555763']
Nope, not for nearly twenty years.

If I had to though I'd record multitrack to tape for the tape compression, then run it all off into a DAW to do any editing, it would save hours and hours of tape/razor arseache!
[/quote]

Simon!! Good to hear from you, it's been a while.

So it takes a thread about analogue gear to draw you out of the shadows? Typical :D

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