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tascam 688 vs. da-38

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by mayorwilsongoode, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. i've been listening to old tapes i made on a 688. conclusion: i am done with cubase. editing and clarity are amazing, but the actual sound, the depth and warmth; really a disgrace to music. i've actually changed the way i play to avoid dynamics because everything gets smashed down to $*^t anyway.
    i have a 688 which needs repair but i'm thinking of buying a da38. can anyone tell me about digital recording on hi8? does this actually record anolog signal to tape with a digital time code, or does the signal go through a/d converters and come out sounding the same as it would on a computer recording?
    thanks much.
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Why would everything get smashed in Cubase? That makes no sense. If it gets smashed then that is improper use of a compressor/limiter.

    A DA38 is stepping backwards to a less than stellar piece of gear. Anything tape based like Hi8 is subject to the same sorts of stretching and degradation of any tape based product. If you are going to bother to go back in time you should go all the way back to 1" reel tape which again requires care and consideration in regards maintenance and setup. Analog cassette tape really has no advantage either so I don't see where the 688 helps you either.

    Does recording to tape allow you to clip the audio while recording? Sure. Does that necessarily give things more dynamics? No. You could do all that digitally as well if you knew how to run the gear. The only thing the 688 gives you over Cubase is fewer options which may have been a human limiting factor allowing you to work on music rather than production.
     
  3. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I don't think those record "analog" like your thinking they are not like reel to reel tape decks. (Tascam 38).
    These were PCM digital signals recorded onto Hi8 tape so they really aren't that different than Cubase computer recordings.
    Funny how some people think digital is too brittle and bright and analog is warm and distorted. Seems like everybody wants to go backwards...
     
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Digital recording is probably just revealing the deficiencies of your process rather than obscuring them like the 688 did. Are you tracking at -12dBFS or lower, or are you slamming into 0dBFS?
     
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Maybe you could fix the 688 enough to route it out to an 8 track reel to reel. Then you would have the warmth of the 688 and the analog sound of the cassette.
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I am afraid that would get the OP nowhere. The preamps and analog circuitry of ANY Tascam gear of that era make me want to climb a clock tower. They are listless as a whore on Sunday with the clap. Or overcooked lutefisk. Take your pick.
     
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member


    LOL...a listless whore on Sunday....love it Jack....good one!
    I agree Tascam has never been pro more pro-sumer but it seems like the OP likes the sound of that cassette...now if this is just hobby fun then I would fix up what I had and be happy...if this is for some pro task then yes this should be ditched for better equipment...maybe try some plugins to add depth and warmth to your digital tracks in Cubase....FWIW
    No reply from the OP though so maybe he has left the building?
     
  8. thanks for your replies.
    just bought another 688. by the way, there is no comparison between the sound of the analog recordings and the digital ones.
    for example, digital will record drums that sound absolutely perfect, but they may as well be a drum machine, they are perfectly flat up against my ears, like a synthetic representation of what drums sound like in a vacuum - room sound, reverb, mic placement? no difference. flatness. with an echo.
    on tape recordings of the drums i can actually hear a drumset, in a room, with a guy sitting there hitting the things with sticks. it sounds like i am sitting in the room with that guy.
    i think the situation is that i've only been to budget digital world. maybe a thousand dollars worth of stuff. it's fun and the tools are incredible, but to get real sound out of it i think i'd need to spend a lot of money on pre's and converters and processors and so on. i know that lots of people are making fabulous digital recordings, but in the budget world i have to think that the sound of even a cheap tape is infinitely better than the sound of a cheap digital recording.
     
  9. jackattack-
    there's a lot of truth in that last part. i've definitely become "an editor" first, and a songwriter and musician a distant second.
     
  10. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    IMHO I think there is validity in what you've discovered with your own ears...
    This is why there is an entire group of "enlightened" young people out there buying analog tape decks and getting back to exactly what you said about things like recording drum tracks....it's plastic versus real....that's what's going on....the thing is nobody cares about that anymore....so unless it's important to you then that's all that matters....I find using tape has always been tedious and expensive...so I've moved on...it's the same thing going on with MP3's there plastic, disposable, ear buds, crap sounding...we used to buy high end stereos and turntables and headphones...but this is the media everyone is using now...don't forget this is all cheap recording gear today....all of it even the "high end" stuff if you consider the multi millions that it cost to operate a recording studio back in the day with the real gear....all this new stuff today is cheap electronics and software so that anybody can do it in their bedrooms....its really nothing more than a consumer hyped guitar hero mentality so an industry can be developed and make money!
    Kids today are buying guitars at Guitar Depot or Musicostco and they want to be rappers and buy expensive microphones to scream into....they want to be American Idiots and record themselves....pure consumers....perfect...it's all throw away...make some music for yourself using what you have and I guess be happy...because the rest of it is just money out the Windows....
     
  11. bouldersound. you are definitely right. in digital there is no margin of error. i am recording the same way i did in analog- as much signal as i can get without clipping. so this is all wrong? i know that when i bring everything down the sound definitely opens up, but i'm worried that when i go to master i won't have enough volume. any chance you could enlighten me on this?
    thanks
     
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    In digital domain, you should be peaking at -18 to -12. Do not worry at all about making it loud while you are mixing. This is likely the root of your digital problem. It is important to get the best sounding mix you can get. After you get all the way down to a nice stereo mix you can then begin to consider boosting the volume. Here is the deal, in digital you don't degrade the sound to push the fader up. In analog, that isn't necessarily the case-especially with cheaper analog gear. By allowing yourself more headroom on each track you then have the headroom in the mix to breath a little air into things. And don't be afraid to pull a fader down either. When you get to "mastering" then come back and get some advice on how to judiciously utilize a compressor.
     
  13. thanks.
    i'll do some experiments.
     
  14. i just checked 3 different projects. that's exactly where i'm at. -10 to -20 across the board and - 12 on the master. use compression for mastering. everything sounds right. eq'd right. everything's clear. it just doesn't sound real to me. sounds 2 dimensional. the tapes sound 3d. am i really crazy?
     
  15. i guess i should just have faith that i'm making good recordings and give them to somebody good for mastering? maybe that's where my problem is. will a good master bring it to life?
     

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