Is any one still using tape ?

Discussion in 'Tape Recorders' started by bob, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. bob

    bob Active Member

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    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    uk
    Hi all.
    i am wondering if any one is still using tape, and how you have it intergrated into your set up and what you use it for that makes the effort worth while.
    also i am after views from people who were not around when tape was king but has recently come across it, what are your thoughts ?
    Cheers
    bob :)
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Akron/Cleveland, OH
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    Ocassipnally - I'll kick a 2 mix over to my Studer 2 track, but by the same token, I can't tell you exactly the last time that I did.
    I came up in the days of consoles, tape machines and OB Peripheral processing. There are a few things I miss - the tactile mixing is the main thing, but there's a whole lot I don't miss about those days at all.
    New technology doesn't scare me, and I don't spend my time pining for the "good old days" of the analog age, either. The good old days weren't always that good. Tape machine alignment, editing tape with a razor blade and grease pencil, having to maintain the electronics in the desk, the mechanicals and head stacks in the tape decks, wiring TT patch bays, working with noise reduction...
    Nope. I really don't miss those things at all.
     
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    personally, i miss the good old days and the smell of a fresh reel of 2" tape. to me it was a lot more fun. i like mechanical things that change audio electrically or by altering the playback speed as opposed to computers that do it all by crunching numbers. i've noticed that the people who don't have issues with tape were usually working in studios with tech support on staff. keeping a LF console and tape machines going without a good tech is like pissing into the wind.

    alignment, grease pencil / razor blade edits never annoyed me. actually i kind of enjoyed being able to make magic others couldn't. all the wiring and maintenance stuff was handled by Michael Gore. the only N/R i ever liked was Dolby C or S /SR. i always hated dbx although i learned that if i used dbx, i didn't need to do any compression. i prefer to add compression as needed, not globally.
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    that avatar lol.
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Jul 2, 2002
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    77 Sunset Lane.
    bears will be bears.
     
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  6. bob

    bob Active Member

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    haha cheers chris, it made me giggle as soon as i seen it, if it puts a smile on ya face then its gotta be a good thing,

    kurt, im guessing you still use tape ?
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    77 Sunset Lane.
    in my dreams. daw / mixbus ..... but i am really past it for the largest part. 64 this year and living in an area where there's really not much talent and not so many good paying gigs and that all translates to no business, no recordy. i refuse to work for nothing.
    i'm slowly selling off the last of my outboard and mics. 77 sunset lane .... lol.
     
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Dec 10, 2001
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Those rooms that still use tape use it for very specific projects. The client has to request it for the most part. ALL of the big rooms that have tape machines also have big assed ProTools or other DAW systems in place and these are the standard protocol that a project can be expected to be captured on. Most rooms capture on both simultaneously. The projects that are meant to be 'on tape' will then have a 'safety' recording as reference. There are those places that have a Clasp..... Which has always been an interesting concept in theory for me but still leaves questions as to it's practicality.

    I'm old enough to remember cutting windows in tape as edits.....AND like Kurt , there is a certain magical thing that happens when the tape passes over the heads that you can't get any other way. There's something to be said for the saturation you get from slamming signal onto tape with high voltage rails in a LF console. There's no doubt that these things are still magical and are still desired by even the most modern of recordists using the most modern digital equipment. Else wise, why would the software manufacturers keep writing code that includes the type of distortion or WARMTH that was achieved by the simple mechanics of what we used back-in-the-day?

    I don't care if it was a tabletop mixer with narrow-width machinery to capture, there was the same , although varying, degree of analog sweetness being imparted by the process itself.

    There's an entire recording market based on what is now called Lo-Fi equipment. And there are successful musicados recording and releasing and SELLING this type of production. Research into this market begins to clearly reveal the number of actual commercially viable recordings that are being made on narrow format multitrack tape. And its growing. The market for 1" and under machines has never been so brisk. You can't advertise a Tascam 38 without expecting your mailbox to get crowded fairly quickly.

    There's an entire recording community dedicated to all TASCAM equipment. !! And a lot of them make and sell their records and CDs and do so successfully.

    The rub, IMHO, is the lack of real maintenance techs for the older gear available. Back-in-the-day, any decent sized city would have at least one or two techs who could repair or maintain pro analog gear. Most of these folks have retired. When the 'digital revolution' occurred the need to train a new generation wasn't seen as needed simply because of the outlook on the business being what it seemed. So there became a 'gap'....gear that required a serious amount of maintenance to stay in tune for daily use became disposable. Studios closed. The format changed. All hell broke loose......! I jest

    Now....the musicians...younger than even most of us when we seriously started (mostly our own offspring) are rediscovering the sounds of our generation. Maybe not our taste in music but thats a debate for another time and place...but most definitely the SOUND and the PROCESS of achieving that sound. It's starting to come full circle. I see it all the time. Used high-end gear is going back up in value. Thank Gawd I bought when it was low!!! Tape machines are back in favor....so much so that a couple of newer tape manufacturers have started releasing new compounds and making available in an easier way tape of all widths.

    Tape isn't dead. it's just changed it's face and it's customer base has become more varied.
     
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  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    great post Dave.

    the lo fi thing puzzles me. i mean, i get it but the nomenclature is confusing. in the dawn of high fidelity, the term hi fi indicated anything that had a freq response better than that of am radio, say 6 k or so. fm could do 15k and anything that approached that was considered as "broadcast quality". any TEAC machine (even cassette potty studios) would do that. keep in mind freq response is not the only thing defining pro recordings. noise and dynamic range are a big part of the equation.

    now days lo fi means anything that isn't 20hZ to 20khZ.
     
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

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    Pacific NW
    It's these cadres' of like minded individuals who have determined that their processes are akin to "Lo-Fi" Not my terminology. Just sharing what I have seen in their blogs and and discussion groups.
     
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I did have issues from time to time, as any studio - analog or digital- can have.
    There were bad ass tech guys in town who I could call in if things got more complicated than what I was comfortable with doing on my own, but mostly, I did it (or a lot of it) myself. Those techs were awesome at what they did -but they definitely weren't cheap ;)
    Wiring bays, building custom snakes, tape machine alignment and biasing... was usually all me. Like yourself Kurt, I got to be really good with a blade for editing. The difference between us, I suppose, is that you enjoyed it ... and I didn't. ;)
    I can say that one of the things I like about digital over tape is the ability to do multiple takes, without fearing the inevitable 33-34 min limit of a 2500' reel running at 15 ips.
    This project I'm working on now, which is being done by recording session cat ensembles all playing at once... we can do as many takes of a song as we want, without scrapping the previous takes to keep it under 33 min, so
    unlike tape, where you have a finite amount of tape available, digital gives you as much space as you need...and, I also don't have to have 20 reels of 2" invested ($2000 at current costs?) in order to get all 20-22 songs from the artists recorded with multiple takes.
    FWIW. ;)
     

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