Tape

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Michael Fossenkemper, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    i get a lot of inquiries on this subject. questions like "I would like a fatter tape sound. I would like to bounce my finished mixes to tape before mastering". While i'm a big fan of tape and the way it sounds, there is a point I feel that is missing. When i was a mixer mixing to tape, I used to spend hours compensating for what the tape did. Usually the tracks were already laid to tape so in the mixing stage I would compensate with compression and eq to get back some of what the tape took away while still retaining what it added. When i mixed to tape, I would listen off the play head and make more adjustments until i got it where i wanted it. Tape eats transiets and I would spend many hours compensating for this. When a mix is done strickly in the digital domain without regards to how tape is going to affect the mix, I find that the mix when transfered to tape prior to master and without compensaion, lacks what is needed. i can achieve better results with the original in most cases ( unless it's with a mixer that knows tape and is used to it). A good working properly calibrated machine is in order too. When the industry started to slide towards DAWS, I would have a 1/2" machine with a couple of junk reels that I would have rolling and mix listening off the play head until I got it where I wanted it and then throw up and fresh reel and print the mixes.

    Other tell us about your experience with tape and how you work with it in your mixes.
     
  2. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    From what I've tried with 1/4" it's my experience sofar that it depends greatly on what level you print on the tape and if the machine is very good or just ok adjusted. I didn't like so much going to the Sony APR because i felt if added and removed too much(mayve because of the electronics more than the fact of going to tape)... but at some ocations that was just what was needed, especially with digital recordings.

    To me digital recordings are very special in terms of lacking something that is in live acoustic concerts and analog recordings... it's like you can hear that something has been snipped out. Analog tape machines cann't recreate this, but it can help in creating an ilusion of what it could have been and therefore a better compromise than just going direct from the computer.

    But is it is a compromise, some factors are improved and some just get worse, so I can understand Michaels point of view.
     
  3. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Haven't really tried to buy any tape this year due to Quantegy's problems.

    It'll be interesting to Hear what ATR services new tape will do.

    Until this year, I still did an occasional bounce to 1/2" tape ...usually 30 ips on GP9... if the client requests it. It can be the perfect "antidote" for an all digital recording... esp an "in the box" DAW project with little or no analog processing used.

    That characteristic early digital sound: cold, brittle, harsh, too dynamic & transient... think of an early ADAT or Roland DAW mix.

    An analog bounce can help remedy some of those problems, ...the tape compression, warming up the low end & mids, that low level tape noise for texture... I like it !

    Our machines: 1977 ATR-102, 1985 MCI JH-110C, 70's Ampex ATR-700 for those old quarter track transfers, & my 1965 Airline tube half track mono recorder that got me into this mess!

    Sometimes use corrective EQ pre-bounce so it'll print to tape better.

    Peace 8)
     
  4. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Quantegy's only problem right now is keeping up with demand that had built up.
    That and their prices on tape have gone up a bit with the new owners.
     
  5. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    I think Quantegy SHOULD go up a little on their prices! I bet studios and producers will be happy to pay a little more to insure the supply and quality of tape is stable.

    8)

    Tell us about some of your analog tape experiences, Reggie.
     
  6. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    I don't have a whole lot of experiences with it other than selling it at work I'm afraid. Recorded to 2" one time and didn't hate it. 8)
    I'm more of a digital guy myself. Although I'm supposed to get familiar with this Tascam 1/2" machine soon.
     
  7. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Which one ? 80-8, 38, 58, etc. tell us about it, there's a great deal of analog experience on this forum... if you need, maybe we can help.

    Analogue Lives !

    p.s. yeah I heard that two of Quantegy's ex-employees bought the company after they'd been laid off. If so ...
    that's poetic justice !

    8)
     
  8. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Just a TSR8 for playing back and transfering old masters to digital for cassette duplication of all things. :? Confused yet? Ha ha
    Dang thing didn't come with the manual, so if any of you guys are familiar with this thing I might need help at some point. Hopefully it won't need much tweaking if used for playback only.

    I think you're right about those guys being former employees. I forget how long ago. They should be really good. I guess the first day they fired all the numbskull managers or whatever that ran the company into the ground.
     
  9. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Oh yeah... those were the successor to the 38, newer electronics, they were popular in the early 90's. Does it have Dolby S or dbx noise reduction ?

    Do yourself a great favor and have a tech look at it, tweek the EQ cards, bias, tension, check the head alignment, etc.

    I bet there may be a manual floating around eBay or even from Tascam.

    Cheers 8)
     
  10. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse Active Member

    It's more of the opposite situation in a digital world. We often use analog gear to "slow down" the transients since there aren't any "moving parts" or electromechanical/magnetic issues with digital. That is unlesss they are programmed in, and I know of few digital devices that emulate this effect.

    I use Crane Song's Phoenix plugins to emulate tape along with a Chandler LTD-2 to help slow down transients and get a bit of Neve sound to digital. I prefer this over the HEDD, and running to tape since it's more controllable, and produces less noise. I still love tape though, I just prefer it being used during the initial recording rather than as a "device".
     

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