Tape, DAW, Patchbays, Splitters

Discussion in 'Patchbays' started by Steve@Russo, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    Here is the deal, I am picking up a very nice 8516b on monday, the rest of my set up is saffire pro 40, digimax fs, la 610 in to pro tools, 2-bus lt and monitor st on the other end.

    What I want to do is this
    track to tape using the pres in my interfaces
    dump into PT
    then mix out to my 2-bus back into pt
    My issue is this, I don't want to use a patch bay but it looks like I am going to have to. I wish I could just use a splitter AFTER the outputs between the 2-bus and tape machine.

    what would you suggest?

    Steve
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    It all makes good sense except for that part about dumping from your 2 track bus back into ProTools. That's wholly unnecessary. Now this bit with the analog recorder to obtain saturation is more pertinent to a drum set than anything else. And you have a couple of options here. You can simply put a MIC on your guitar amplifier and record that track to the digital recorder. You can take the output of the digital recorder to your analog machine. The output of the analog machine and will grow to a separate track. You'll do this with the recorder in record/repro. The output of your analog recorder is then fed directly into a new track. This will require that you resynchronize that track to your original since it will be approximately 80-100 ms late.

    Conversely, you could take snare & bass drum, from your mike preamps, into the analog recorder while recording that to your multitrack recorder/software. Then you'll resynchronize those tracks to the others. But either way works fine.

    You can use passive Y cables to go between the stereo bus & tape machine but that's not really recommended to do it that way. Better you should get a little passive switcher box from a place like Radio Shaft. If it's passive, you have nothing to worry about. This is all part of what audio engineering is all about. And you have a myriad of possibilities that turns into an endless technical confusion. And that's no fun. You should need any patchbay especially with your type of setup. I have everything screwed into rack cabinets/boxes which can make life a little more challenging. Also, inexpensive music store patch bays are very worthy devices for a home studio. I know I certainly can't live without my 18 patch bays in my control room. They are a necessary evil and they do have a tendency to go quite intermittent after a period of time due to airborne particulate pollution. What to do when that happens? Completely unplugged the patchbay. Take the patchbay and stick it in your dishwasher with your dishwashing detergent. DO NOT put it through the dry cycle. Simply make sure it is rinsed clean and then screw it back in and plug it back up. Then you're cooking with gas.

    Actually I prefer charcoal for my Miss Steaks
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    I have been going back into pro tools from the 2-bus to write the final track. I can monitor using the outputs to the st. "You should need any patchbay especially with your type of setup." Did you mean I shouldn't need?
     
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you have an interface with enough analog ins/outs as well as enough lightpipe or firewire ins/outs you dont need a patchbay. If you record ONLY one protocol type at a time you eliminate the offset of the record heads on the tape machine as compared to the signal time of the digital. You use the tape machine as a capture medium and then on the next pass over the heads you send it to PT and then begin your work there.

    Once a signal is captured in analog it will remain analog in its nature no matter where you send it next. Theres no reason to have multiple passes with the tape after the initial capture as you want to retain the freshest sound possible. So sending the initial signal to PT on the first pass after capture is your best bet.

    If you want to sync to tape and make multiple protocol captures you will need a high-end sync device that will compensate for the offset that Remy mentioned. ie: record to tape and PT together.
    Or you spend the big bucks and get CLASP.

    One thing you might consider with a patchbay.....you can set it up so you CAN record through the electronics of the tape machine while not using the tape. I dont know if this would be desirable with that machine, but you never know. Again, theres will be a time offset due to the gap between the record and repro head.
     
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Good advice from Dave. Basically I was trying to indicate that you could have a single patchbay even if you don't absolutely need one. This allows a more versatile way to patch certain analog devices more conveniently than always reaching behind equipment. We've all worked both ways with & without patchbays'. While Dave mentioned CLASP, that sucker is over $1500. And with that, you certainly need to have an analog machine of more than 2 tracks. What I was trying to describe is slightly more doable without any budget at all. You can still attain that analog saturation after having digitally recorded drum tracks. What I'm not talking about is offloading from your digital recorder to your analog recorder. Then stopping your analog recorder, rewinding it and trying to synchronize back to the digital. That's damn near impossible. But if the recorder is running, in record mode, with a 1/4 inch piece of tape, you flip the switch on the analog recorder so that while you are playing into it is outputting in real time back to the digital recorder. This way you can actually tweak the analog recorder for the desired saturation on the drum tracks and/or even guitars. This means the analog tracks will be in perfect synchronization with the digital machine but the signal is offset by 80-100 ms. This merely requires just then sliding those re-recorded drum tracks in your timeline to resynchronize. And it can be attained without a patchbay but you have to understand the routing through your digital audio interface fully. So sometimes, a patchbay can allow analog routing to be slightly more versatile & convenient while you are still contending with a certain amount of digital routing within your interface & software. So there are a multitude of ways to go about doing what you want to do, some easier than others. So even if I still had my 24 track MM 1200 I would have the ability to even work out overdubs sessions during real-time record and/or after digitally recording laying back to the multitrack analog deck (in real-time record mode/reproducing during recording) to previously recorded digital tracks. Since I no longer have the MM 1200-24, I only have a 4 track, half-inch Scully left these days and with 8 tracks of drums or more, requires multiple real-time passes. It can get a little dicey and time-consuming to even resynchronize that in the timeline but at least it will hold sync since the tape has not been rewound. And that's because no matter how accurate this speed, all tape goes through minute stretching which would guarantee you that you could never resynchronize it.

    In another instance that Dave suggested, not even requiring tape, could give you the flavor of the analog recorder electronics. For instance, on the older Bridgeport Connecticut original release 280 series Scully's, those electronics had really nice transformers and the all transistor circuitry were germanium transistors unlike the silicon transistors used later. The germanium transistors also have their own particular quality of sound many people covet, even without the tape. Many people are utilizing these old analog tracks just to pass their signals through without any tape rolling. But not all analog recorders have electronics as worthy as those such as TEAC's where their electronics have no real characteristic sonic advantage though the recorded tape would at least have that saturation. It's all and really what you want to get or attain.

    I hope this clarifies everything, in a confusing way while trying to make it the least confusing way.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Personally I think you are on track with the 2-Bus, and recording the 2-bus back in PT for mastering. Its the norm. What you need is the API 2500 or some fattening compressor with your rig. Do you have anything like this?
    Forget the tape machine IMHO. I'm assuming from other threads of yours, the main reason you are wanting tape is for drums? FWIW, You and I are doing things similar but I am using the MixDream which has 16 inserts. I'm still considering a patchbay.
    Also, I'm getting the Folcrom for another way to spice up the hybrid sound. Very inexpensive and very effective way to use your preamps. You don't need to stick with one way. Mix it all up.
    Also, have you tried sending a stem of your drums out to the 2-Bus, processing and then re recording them again? This can add a new dimension.
     
  7. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    Dude, I got that 1" machine, I am seriously considering getting rid of my computer all together in the future, since I am just a hobbyist so I can work how I want. Also I only take on like minded bands so I am not worried about not having bands come through. However I am considering a 1/2 machine now to mix down to, possibly through something like old altec or something
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Steve, just currious, how are you going to deal with the loudness war? You realize your mixes will be at least 8, 10, to 20 db less or am I wrong? Not that this is a bad thing, just curious if you've thought about that?
     
  9. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    anything I do goes to Alan Douches from west west side, he has never let any of my bands down. If they want loud and clean, I just won't use tape, this more for me
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I must say, this is really cool to see. Tape , and heading back to analog. thumb I miss that smell.
    You have got to keep us informed.
    That SoundCraft for sale here right now sure looks good.
     
  11. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    I actually picked up a Soundcraft GB2r16 for the time being, until I get my feet wet. I am going to hit the board DI to tape, into my interfaces (using mix control for custom headphone mixes) into my monitor st. Once I am done tracking what ever I will be tracking on tape, I am going to then dump into PT and mix through the 2-bus.

    The Sales manager we just promoted doesn't even have a computer in his studio and is constantly turning biz away. If you get the right clientele you can have fun and make some money. Everyone wins.
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    How cool is that!
     
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Steve. If you wire things properly you can record to tape as well as direct to protools all at once. You will (once again) need the right interface for the job but they do exist. You would be taking your signal to PT off the repro heads of the tape machine thus assuring that you have the tape saturation. You monitor in real time through the interface and relieve the latency.

    Again, this also gives you the cleanest signal from your tape usage. Every time you pass the tape over the heads theres a lossy artifact introduced which you'll have to make up for later with EQ and compression.

    As for mixing to two track, be SURE and get a machine that has the tape width. A two track 1/2" is most desireable. Even better if it says Studer or Ampex on the label.
     
  14. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    Dave, that is exactly what I plan on doing, since I am going to have to monitor through cue mix, I might as well have PT open and record ITB as a back up if it going to pass through always. I am not sure how to make the tape machine read the repro head when recording, will there be noticable latency introduced? I just gotta go down stairs when the board gets here and try it. That would make things much simpler than replaying back into pro tools.
     
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    When tape is running in record, you have a switch that allows you to select input source or playback head. When you're playing your instruments and singing, you cannot monitor playback head. But you want the playback head to read the tape and have it transfer in real time to your computer. However, this is not mandatory only recommended. If you need to monitor through your recorder while playing & singing, you'll have to have the tape recorder in input source. But then you don't have any tape sound/saturation going to the computer. Rewinding the tape and then passing it into the computer will also not allow you to synchronize it with anything else you have already recorded on the computer. This is a situation that goes well beyond any latency issues from Digital audio computer interfaces. The reason to have the tape recorder recording and the reproduce switch engaged while transferring to the computer is to eliminate 1/2 of the wow & flutter and also not have to deal with any of these little pre-& post echoes from what is known as print through of the tape. Those are analog tape artifacts no one wants to hear. You do want to hear the saturation and that's why I recommend recording while reproducing and transferring into the computer all in as close to real time as you can manage. This can cause real problems if everybody is wearing headphones. Those have to be monitored from the microphone preamps before the tape recorder, before the computer. This is a routing & monitoring issue that has to be planned very carefully for most effective execution. This is where a real audio console can be so important because you can't accomplish what I'm talking about without one. This can become a complicated issue.

    Not sure you're ready for this?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  16. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo Active Member

    No am am 100% ready for this, it is really simple when looked at i/o wise, the complicated part is the space between the write head and the repro head which causes latency and having to compensate for that ITB. I have actually designed very high end studios for a long time, most of them that used tape tracked to tape exclusively, then did a bulk playback in PT. Again this is more of a novelty for me than a job. Once it isn't fun anymore I won't do it, which is why I am getting involved in tape to begin with. Computers are boring, I work on one all day. But after hearing some simple tracks last night, I don't see myself tracking anything except bad players to PT direct and vocals since I can monitor from my tape deck direct via my interfaces with no latency. I just won't be writing to PT at the same time most likely.

    Steve
     

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