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2 inch tape questions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Clint Stuart, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. Clint Stuart

    Clint Stuart Guest

    I attend a recording school, and recieved a reel of 2 inch to record a project on. Judging by the amount of labels on the box, I could tell that I was the fourth person to use this reel. God only knows how many times it has been recorded on. When I was mixing down my project I noticed a distinct hiss in the background. I was using a +6 tape, and I found out later that the machine I tracked on was alligned at +3. The mixdown machine was alligned at +5 and my levels looked good. Could the hiss be from me not hitting the tape hard enough, or is it because it has been recorded and scrubbed several times.
     
  2. miketholen

    miketholen Guest

    and what "skool" are you going to?

    did they teach you the concept of alignment?

    do you know what a bias current is?

    I would NEVER use a "used" reel of tape, educational or not. period.
    advice?
    bail the skool-save your or your parent's money-and go to a music mecca town (LA/NY/Smashville/Menphis/Austin/Chicago)
    and go to work in one of the "bigger" studios, keep your mouth shut ('cept when called upon-but even then refrain)
    stay up all night while the client has gone and learn learn learn.
    that's it. you'll figuer it out or you won't.
    and won't have wasted your time/money. ;)
     
  3. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Mike's advice is good. I do use used tape, but new is better. Tape has hiss, it's a fact of life. Guitar amps hum, snares buzz, teenagers sing out of tune, strings break, tour vans break down, it's all part of the biz! ;)
     
  4. Clint Stuart

    Clint Stuart Guest

    I know what allignment, bias, and azmuth is. And I know that tape has hiss. I wanted to know if the hiss increased when the tape has been used a couple of times. I don't give a ^#$% what your opinion is about using used tape or attending a recording school. After going to this school for a while I can see why people are pissy about those who come out of recording programs. Most of them act like they are god's gift to the industry and should be first engineer at Ocean Way working on the next big hit record a week after they graduate. I have worked in studios before and I realize thats not how it works. I also realize that by knowing the theory behind recording, and how to correctly do the various things that I am trained to do is a good way to get into a professional facility in the big markets. I'm not some little kid whose mommy and daddy are financing a pipe dream, I'm a 24 year old man who is paying for this himself and I have no misconceptions about how this industry works. I guarantee that it will be easier for me to get into a good studio after I finish this program than it would be if I hadn't attended one at all. I know that I will not graduate knowing how to record like the pros. But I will graduate with the ability to get a job where I can learn from the pros and not look like a dip $*^t when they tell me to do something.
     
  5. miketholen

    miketholen Guest

    you've answered your own question. But I will graduate with the ability to get a job where I can learn from the pros and not look like a dip $*^t when they tell me to do something.
    skool or no skool, you'll still "look" like a dipshit anyway.
    this isn't to insult you but you must realize that you still start in the same place as the guy who walked in off the street. like cleaning the bathroom, empting ashtrays, fetching porno mags, fetching drugs, fetching the owner's son from soccer practice 'cuz Mom's getting ^#$%ed by the pool man, yadda yadda yaddda...
     
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Originally posted by Clint Stuart:
    I know what allignment, bias, and azmuth is. And I know that tape has hiss. I wanted to know if the hiss increased when the tape has been used a couple of times.

    The answer to your question is: No. That's what the 'erase' head on a deck does. As long as the erase head is receiving proper current, and is functioning properly, you will not have a problem going over a reel a hundred times or more.

    Recording on a reel several times is absolutely no different than doing multiple punches on a vocal line, it's all "going over used tape" at that point isn't it. You will experience a high frequency loss while the tape is stored in the box, you will experience a loss of high end every time the tape passes over the heads. That loss is exacerbated when you use a deck with a capstan and "pinch roller" (which is very often called a "puck"...so if someone tells you to 'clean the puck', they mean the 'pinch roller).

    Now, you say you know how to align a deck...then why the different alignments between the "tracking" and "mixing" decks? If you started the project on a deck with a "+3" alignment [is that a straight 250nWb/m alignment, or did you mean 3db>250nWb/m, which is actually around +5.2(ish)?], why didn't you align the "mix" deck so it was aligned the same as the "tracking" deck? I don't understand. That's why we 'lay tones', so the next deck you use can be set up to operate the same as the deck you used before.

    Also, there is no such thing as a "+6" tape. You have a 'Maximum Operating Level' for tape, and there are 'elevated level tapes', but none (to the best of my knowledge) that are specifically for use at "+6" [a.k.a. 355nWb/m]. There are tapes that are best, or most often used with a 355nWb/m alignment, some that are often used with a 3db>355nWb/m alignment (or any of the shades of gray in between...like I generally align 456 or 911 to 3db>250nWb/m, while I'll align GP-9 or 499 to 2db>355nWb/m).

    The fact that your 'mixdown deck' was lined up for "+5" may have added to the hiss, but I doubt it. Your levels would have just shown up a bit light on the meters.

    Chances are way better than even that the deck you cut on didn't have a proper bias alignment or may have had a ^#$%ed high frequency record alignment, and/or the high frequency repro alignment on the mix deck was ^#$%ed...or "D", all of the above. If you didn't check each and every one, then you have no way of knowing.

    If you did not lay down tones at the start of the project, at bare minimum 1kHz, 10kHz and 100 Hz (though I usually add 50Hz to line up the bottom if I'm mixing on a Studer and 15kHz for a fine azimuth alignment), you were ^#$%ed from the start.

    If you didn't check the 'overbias level' as well as the 'high frequency record' alignment before you layed down note one...you were ^#$%ed from the start. More often than not, if you do not do your own alignment, or at very least supervise who ever is doing your alignment, you are ^#$%ed from the start.

    In case they didn't cover it in class..."___nWb/m" stands for "NanoWebers per meter" which is the unit of measurement for 'reference fluxivity',...which is how tape level is measured in the fabulous world of test tapes/equipment...as opposed to the nomenclature used in everyday use "I recorded it at +2 on the VU meter"...

    Have they gotten to the unit that describes the difference between "29.97" and "30 drop frame" time code yet? That's a big one to understand. It is especially important to capture and store the dropped frames from '30 drop' time code in case those frames are needed later, you could ^#$% up tens of thousands of dollars worth of work if you don't have the dropped frames neatly cataloged and inventoried.

    29.97 presents an entirely different set of problems...before you get out in the "world", be sure you know the differences and 'frame storage methods' if you don't, you just might look like a 'dip $*^t'.

    Best of luck with your career.
     
  7. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Originally posted by Fletcher:

    The answer to your question is: No. That's what the 'erase' head on a deck does. As long as the erase head is receiving proper current, and is functioning properly, you will not have a problem going over a reel a hundred times or more.

    I disgree with this point you make Fletcher. Older tape will hiss more. Doesn't everyone here have old cassette tapes that have been played to death & are hissy as a cobra? Everytime I clean (or my assistant) a tape machine, I see crap on the text wipe that I can only guess is oxide that wore off of the tape itself.
    But, this problem sounds like a BIAS issue. I've seen studio's that don't have MRL's, Tweeker tools, etc... So I understand where Mike's 'expressiveness' is coming from. I think I'm one of the only engineer's that does his own alignment. And I'd say half the time that the assistant SWORE that the alignment was right, it was either effed up or unaceptable. I swear these audio schools (even schools in Arizona) need to do a better job teaching students. Thank god for BNR...
     
  8. roninmusic

    roninmusic Guest

    Have they gotten to the unit that describes the difference between "29.97" and "30 drop frame" time code yet? That's a big one to understand. It is especially important to capture and store the dropped frames from '30 drop' time code in case those frames are needed later, you could ^#$% up tens of thousands of dollars worth of work if you don't have the dropped frames neatly cataloged and inventoried.

    It's much safer to go through the timecode yourself and notate the dropped frames by hand. That way it's analog. :p
     
  9. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    Fletcher is absolutely correct, well maybe I won't call him that, but he is right. Virgin tape is a few db quieter played back on a repro head, but once it has been recorded on, even with no signal, it will have the same level of inherent record hiss from then on. Unless that reel of tape is ancient, it doesn't matter how many passes it's been over the heads, except if it's had extreme oxide shedding, and IMO even that isn't a big deal. Old cassettes that you say are hissy, are that way cause the top end has worn off the tape and you probably use more playback treble to get some highs going.
     
  10. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    Clint, if you don't yet know how to align the tape machine (or if your school doesn't allow you to take a screwdriver to their ATR), you can use your ears to find an optimal level to tape. While recording, monitor the repro head and adjust the level to tape until you find the aural sweet spot between hiss and over-compression/saturation.

    Jon
     

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