how to record on tape

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Username1, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. slapshot

    slapshot Senior Member

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    i had trouble finding a studio 2 years ago that had a tape machine to do some remixes when I found these old reels of 1st record.
     
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  2. Joeydego

    Joeydego your mom is a nice lady V.I.P. Member

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    All I have to add is I played on someone's album release and the PT mixes were dumped to tape and mastered from there. I didn't hear a discernible benefit. Then again, the mix engineer was a boob.
     
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  3. Alligatorbling

    Alligatorbling ★AstroCat★ Premium Member V.I.P. Member MLP Vendor

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    freddy you always have more to say, every time.... thanks =)
     
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  4. renthepen

    renthepen Senior Member

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    What Freddy said.

    If someone wants to make better recordings, he/she should invest into education rather than hardware.

    That's the secret of great recordings. I'm sure you give Freddy a SM 57 and a Tascam 4-track from the early 90s and he will kick everyone else's ass :)
     
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  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    hey guys,
    You might find this interesting. Here are 2 versions of a recording that I produced. One is a digital mix and the other was done on 1/2" tape @ 15ips. This was a very hi end tape machine (Ampex ATR-102 with discreet Aria electronics).
    I suppose to some the difference may be very subtle, but there's a difference and I like it.

    Comments?

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/freddygabrsek/braz-digital-mix[/SC]


    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/freddygabrsek/braz-analogue-tape-mix[/SC]
     
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  6. babatube

    babatube Senior Member

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    nothing like tape. the smell of the ferrite particles in the air.
    the sound of something actually happening when you press record.
    and most important the warmth and the harmonics.
    yum yum!:beer:

    freddy i will listen to the tracks at home this is very interesting.
    i'm currently at work and can't hear shit.
     
  7. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting that. Just my quick reaction:
    The differences are pretty obvious but I prefer the digital hands down. I realize that streamed audio is hardly a perfect way to audition tracks but based on your clips I prefer the digital mix because the tape compression is too much for me and the detail is better on the digital version.
    (I hope this wasn't a trick question with both clips being the same:laugh2:)
     
  8. Angus

    Angus Senior Member

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    That would explain why some of those Commodore 64 games are so good. :)
     
  9. martin H

    martin H Senior Member

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    To throw in my old fart 2c worth, I’m not a great fan. To me the argument is similar to arguing that the world was a much better place when we had nice organic horses instead of noisy polluting cars. I think the same factor that drives people to declare that old instruments are so much better, old pedals are so much better, old amps are so much better etc comes into play with tape. It’s my view that a technology seldom dies out or becomes obsolete if it has real advantages.

    [1] Yes, tape compresses, or more precisely saturates in a non linear fashion. Sometimes this was good, and sometime it wasn’t. For example, it was bad on anything with high end. Saturated cymbals sound like crap!

    [2]What I find strange is that this distortion and non-linearity of tape is now touted as one of its great advantages. The handful of trained engineers that I knew in the early 80’‘s all tried to avoid saturating the tape whenever possible, because they knew it to be a distortion of the incoming signal, and were of the old school that the engineers job was to ACCURATELY record what was coming from the mics. I think people are far more impressed with tape saturation NOW than they were when tape was in common use.

    [3] This stuff was expensive, and tricky to keep working. As I remember in the 80’s, a reel of 2” tape that ran for 45 minutes cost about $150. The machines needed regular maintenance and alignment by a skilled engineer. If the machine had Dolby ‘A,’ god help you- it would never sound the same on any other machine. This stuff was incredibly expensive to run and maintain. Although people complain about computer crashes and DAW freeze-ups, this is nothing compared to listening to a playback and hearing that “wow and crinkle” sound that tells you your master has just been mangled by a sticky transport, and your’ re-recording the whole track.. The sort of back-coated tape used in these machines did not store well in any ordinary domestic setting. After a couple of years, a 2’ master became ‘Sticky” and could only be played after baking it in an oven at around 140 degree for eight hours (I’m not making this up!).

    [4] Editing was only by razor blade. Generally no-one wanted to edit the 2’ master, as one slip could lead to having to re-record everything. Therefore they made a copy and edited it. This led to a further loss in fidelity. Otherwise we edited after mix-down. However a lot of the mastering houses did not like to receive spliced tapes, so we, again made a copy

    [5] Although I agree that the track limitations forced early mix decisions, and avoided the modern syndrome of keeping 20 different guitar parts, and 30 vocal takes, or just laying down alternate track after alternate track for no apparent reason, this limitation could still exist if bands showed a little discipline, and rehearsed a bit before attempting to record.

    [6] I too have been subjected to the “here’s the digital master of our album, and here it is after it’s been dubbed down onto an analog four-track that came for Abbey Road” test. If fact I usually can’t tell the difference, or the second one seem to have lost a little top end and some of the transient edge of the kick drum. However, I always agree that the second one sounds better because my friends usually spent a lot of money to have this done, and there’s no point arguing with someone who picks technology based on ideology .
     
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  10. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    Really interesting, i feel like i heard everything in the digital mix, i felt like a lot had dropped out on the tape, that being said, the timbre of the tape was very pleasing very warm, but for instance the attack at the end of the song was much more annunciated in the digital versus the tape master. By the way, how exactly was this track recorded so you could mix it down on both mediums?
     
  11. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    Fantastic response, very eye opening for a young'un like myself.

    Fun fact Ken Scott (engineered the Beatles later stuff) just moved to my hometown, i wonder if it would be too much to ask to have him teach me to engineer! haha
     
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  12. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    The point of this was to hear the difference.

    The track was mixed in the DAW. One mix was sent to tape, then to a limiter. The other (digital) just hit the limiter.

    You guys are correct that the digital version has more transient attack, you can really hear it in the kick drum too of all things. The tape version has this compression thing going on. It seems to glue the bottom end together, tame the kick so that it doesn't stick out as much and generally soften the overall sound.
     
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  13. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Maybe I didn't explain correctly what I meant by saying that nobody can hear the difference. Obviously I can hear the difference between the two versions of the mix and what tape does to the recorded material. But I am convinced that all the artifacts of tape can be modeled with a good tape plug-in like the UA Studer A800 plug. Regarding the soundclips: If you went for tapelike saturation with what's available "inside the box" and compared that to the "real" tape version you could tweak away until it sounded identical w/o the need to understand what it is you're doing. I believe the same to be true when it comes to summing ITB vs though an expensive vintage console.
     
  14. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    I think this says it all:applause:
     
  15. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I think it says a lot, but it doesn't say it all.


    Looks like we'll have to politely agree to disagree. :wave:
     
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  16. Joeydego

    Joeydego your mom is a nice lady V.I.P. Member

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    I'll be honest, I don't even like the tape PLUGINS!
     
  17. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    i like them wish we used them for the mix down of my tracks, oh well
     
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  18. Joeydego

    Joeydego your mom is a nice lady V.I.P. Member

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    The saturation ones are the tits, but the waves tape really does nothing for me. The NLS plug is the tits
    Analog Summing Plugin
    getting it on 50 tracks is challenging for a 4 year old imac. I usually end up making all my VIs audio and disabling the instrument tracks to make it all work. This plugin really does do something very pleasing to the ear.
     
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  19. Drew224

    Drew224 "Obvious BS Artist" V.I.P. Member

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    If I move over to interfaces and DAWs, I'm probably going to use them. I really need to learn how to engineer my own work well. The way I see it, what I do with a band is never going to be exactly what I want unless I'm just hiring people to play with me, so I want to be able to work on my own and do literally everything for the songs I don't share with a band.

    As for the digital/tape comparison that Freddy did, the analogue sounds a bit more musical.
     
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  20. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    i think instead of spending that tuition money i'm going to buy a bunch of plugins, microphones, and a proper bass. Oh and of course some pro tools lit haha :laugh2:

    the analogue sounded better, but the digital was much clearer, if that makes any sense
     
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