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Seeking Advice on Drums to Tape, Then Back to DAW Workflow with Multiple PCs

Discussion in 'Recording' started by rorohello, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. rorohello

    rorohello Active Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new here. I'm no stranger to amateur home recording, but I finally have 10 or so songs recently written with voice and acoustic guitar that I'll be arranging/adding instrumentation to via my home setup this coming year. Here is my gear list:

    Dell Studio 17 Core Duo 2.53Ghz, 6GB RAM (64bit, Win 7)
    running Sonar X1 Producer Edition
    Older Win XP Desktop with Echo Layla 24/96 PCI card running Sonar 7 Studio
    Tascam 388
    JBL LSR2325
    POD 1
    GK 400RB Bass Preamp
    Tech 21 Sansamp Bass DI
    Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler
    DBX 266XL Stereo Compressor
    Lexicon MPX 100
    BBE 482i
    M-Audio Keystation 61
    Korg Electribe Emx-1
    Roland MS-1 Outboard Sampler
    Alesis DM Pro with Pintech Pro Kit and Alesis Trigger i/o
    Rhode N1, assorted 57s and staple recording mics...

    My question is do any of you have a process worked out for V-Drums at home utilizing multiple computers and a tape machine for laying down basic rhythm tracks?

    The newer more powerful laptop and Alesis i/o are new additions for me, and what I am thinking is to use the processor of it for virtual drums alone, capture and edit/time correct via midi with the older desktop and the Layla, then dump raw 8-out drum mix onto tape on the 388...then back into the newer laptop and X1 via a stereo mix with some of the outboard gear...or sometimes as seperate tracks depending on the song.

    I'm intersted in what people's reaction is to this...do you think it's way too much work, and using stereo v-drums within the box supplied on DAWS is fine? I love my 388, and in particular the way it can warm up a drum mix, and make v-drums sound less "V"...

    ...is it worth it for the added control of seperated tracks for each drum? If you are in this camp...then what should I use to get the individual drum sounds out of the laptop?? I'm pretty sure the Layla is PCI only, so I can't use that.

    Appreciate any thoughts.
  2. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I record to tape all the time. When ever possible I record direct to tape and then dump to my DAW. If your conversion isn't high-end this is the route I recommend. Compress and eq on the way in if possible. If I recorded to my DAW without hitting tape first I then go to tape but I compress and eq first. This way there is less noise floor issues. When I dump out I also compress and eq again if necessary. V drums benefit greatly from tape although the 388 is not considered high end I've had great luck with lower end tape units.

    Good luck!
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It is a lot of work if you don't have a system down and as has been pointed out, excellent converters. What tape does is add compression, wow flutter and it saturates with a little crosstalk thrown in. Compression you can add ITB of course and there are tape emulators that are pretty decent from UAD etc. Tape machines also need daily maintenance to provide consistant results. I guess if I were to move back into pop music then my money would be on a UAD card.
  4. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    Demagging and cleaning the heads takes less time then booting up my computer. I see a lot of posts that complain about the "maintenance" of tape but people seem to forget about the days that are lost when drivers don't work like they should or when you need to reformat your computer. The maintenance is arguably the same on tape as it is with a computer.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Thats true if all the maintenance you do is clean the heads. Back in the day they would have been aligned/calibrated for each major session as well. I'm not against tape at all but there is more to keeping a machine tip top than demagnification.
  6. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    Fair enough. I use a studer B67 and a fostex G16s. My tech say that these fostex units are pretty well set and stable as far as aligning the heads goes maybe I am misinterpreting what he says though. As for calibration I am using a tape that gives me a bit brighter sound then what the machine would normally be calibrated for however I prefer the brighter sound and haven't felt the need to change it. I must admit that this is not my strong suit and despite my best efforts I haven't been able to feel confident that I am doing all necessary maintenance. I have however stopped worrying so much and make sure that I listen, trust my ears and learn a little more all the time. I am not sure why I am a little thick in this area but I decided to use tape even if not fully informed because I prefer the sound.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No use trying something like a Zoom, then.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

  9. rorohello

    rorohello Active Member

    Thanks for the responses.

    Paul999 -- I think you and I are in the same camp as far as methodology. If I had a bit higher-end tape machine like you do, I'd record straight to tape for sure. Since I've been really impressed with Sonar X1's sound (in particular the Pro Channel) I'm just going to dump the V-Drum tracks into the 388, and as we both mentioned above, add EQ and some compression to a nice stereo mix back into the DAW.

    If anyone else stumbles on this thread, and you use tape to warm up electronic drum sounds, I'd love to hear how you operate.

    Also...anyone have a recommendation for an 8-out USB 2 or firewire interface? Something that would allow me to assign a seperate channel for each drum sound from audio software like BFD and the like...

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