1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Is tape still a good bet???

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by took-the-red-pill, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Hello Analoggers and Numberjacks,

    So I haven't bought gear for my studio yet, and I'm lurking quite a bit here to try to find out information...

    First, some quick background:

    -I am building a studio above my garage.
    -I am obsessing about room acoustics, and will be doing every thing I can in that realm
    -It's likely to be just me, and occasionally friends
    -No clients looking over my shoulder, and no deadlines

    To keep it fairly simple, I was thinking of spending my money on some simple gear, and then expanding from there.

    I figure that if I get an 8, 12, or 16 track reel to reel, used, and a decent board, and a few decent pre's, and a few decent condenser mics, then I ought to be able to get some decent recordings.

    From there I want to dump the recording into the realm of zeros and ones, and edit and add goodies from there.

    My reasons are:
    -condensers, tubes, and tape have been working for 50 years, and I'm reading here that it seems to add a 'musicality' to the record. Well...music is what I'm doing, so it can't be bad to start everything out with that combination.
    -I have a solid, reliable back up of all my recordings.
    -I think I can use time clock to sync it to my computer and dump way more than the number of tracks on the reel to reel, so I'm not really limited ot the 8 tracks or whatever.
    -I don't have to worry too much about a zillion I/O's and such on the computer end of things, as I can dump my tracks 2 or 4 at a time.

    A few questions:

    1-Too much duplication? should I just spend the money on a decent DAW and screw all the analog duplications?

    2-Do you see any major problems?

    3-Is my theory that I can sync my recorder to my computer and record-dump-record-dump to create many more than the tracks on the reel to reel a sound one?

    4-Is 1/4" or 1/2" tape going to get scarce, since that tape maker supposedly went under?

    Thanks

    Keith
     
  2. mikE@THECAVE

    mikE@THECAVE Guest

    If you can get the 2inch tape, those machines are so cheep now .Get a top notch Mic ,preamp and compressor and go direct to tape bypassing your console when you can .You''l be getting that sought after sound.Of couse then you have matinence on the deck.I read that someone else will be making tape soon . but i would wait and see if you can get the tape.
     
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Tape is cool. Maybe..?

    Get your digital system as good as you can first(You'll be using it anyway). Work on your room until it's just right. Keep researching tape as a part of your media options. When you feel your room and your digital knowledge is high enough, maybe invest in a tape machine? Meantime, learn some more...

    Just a thought -- There are those who track(Initially record) to digital THEN mixdown/master, basically re-record to tape. Check out ATR 1/2", 1", even 2" 2 track machines! ATR builds(From "old" machines), "new" machines and, maybe more importantly - services same!
    There are also many fine two-track 1/4" machines, that could do a steller job for you, out there somewhere?

    Even then, eventually most everything goes back to digital(Or sometimes vinyl.), but the 2-track tape machine option may give you enough of that elusvie analog sound, without doing the expensive, difficult multi-track tape thing? I think a reel of 2" tape is around 125 bucks? Does 15 minutes at 30ips. Pricey!

    By the way: In my experience(with 1/4" tape), consistent quality of the product began to go bad when both Ampex and 3M gave up the tape making business. As early as the mid-70's it was getting hard to find a reel of tape that didn't shed it's oxide layer on the first pass by the heads, or that was even the proper width! Before I'd invest in a machine I'd want to know(From people with decades of experience, who remember how it was when it was the norm.) how tape today compares with then and, who, if anyone, still makes the "reel thing". Having not used a reel machine in 15 years, I couldn't say myself...

    Sounds like fun, if it's do-able...

    Teddy G.
     
  4. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Thanks for the input, gents.

    Quoth you:

    "Get your digital system as good as you can first(You'll be using it anyway). Work on your room until it's just right. Keep researching tape as a part of your media options. When you feel your room and your digital knowledge is high enough, maybe invest in a tape machine? Meantime, learn some more... "

    Sez I:
    That makes sense to me. Sound like the room, pres and mics, in that order, are going to make or break a recording more than which realm it was recorded. Seems like it makes sense to learn digital and then add analog, instead of the other way around. I didn't know all those issues were prevalent with the quality of tape.

    Also today I picked up a copy of a CD by this "Sting" character, I think it was called "Tents Under the Tails", and gee willikers, it seems to sound okay even though it was done entirely digitally. I suppose if it's good enough for this "Bee Sting" fellow it will probably suffice for me and my kin.

    I'm not likely to be in the middle of a conversation with a high powered executive and have him/her say. "Well, we were thinking of signing you , giving you a personality disorder, and making you bigger than Madonna, but then we found out you weren't using tape and...well, you know how it goes..." (CLICK)



    Cheers
    Keith
     
  5. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    If tape doesn't get scarce...which it may well do...it will probably get much more expensive.

    -Duardo
     

Share This Page