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Teac 80-8

Discussion in 'Vintage Analog Gear' started by frosty55, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    I use a Teac 80-8 with Quantegy 456 tape, and lack of clarity in the sound is what I would like to sort out, if possible.
    Whats the best way, with my set up of getting a clearer sound?
    I have a couple of Parametric Equalizers and some Graphic Equalizers.
    Its only for home demos for my band, nothing serious, but am I right in thinking boosting some high frequencies on the Eq while on mixdown is the only way to get what I want?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There's a very wide range of possibilities as to why you feel you need more top end...

    How long ago was the deck serviced? Tape heads checked, alignment, electronics, bias set for the tape you are using...

    The short answer is that yes, EQ's, both graphic and parametric will allow you to sculpt the tone in many frequencies and frequency ranges.

    The long answer is that if your machine hasn't been maintained, (see above) you can add top end EQ to the mix, but you're gonna also boost a lot of noise, too.

    More details about your setup would help us to help you further...

    Maintenance history on the machine?
    What kind of console are you using to record and mix?
    What kinds of mics are you using?
    Do you have acoustical treatment in the room in which you are mixing?
    What kind of monitors do you have?
    Are you mixing through monitors or through headphones?
    Are you using fresh tape?
    Are you noticing any tape backing peeling or shredding off?
    Are you using any form of encode/decode noise reduction, either on the machine itself or through external Noise Reduction Modules?
    If so, what type of NR are you using? (Dolby B, C, dbx, etc...)
    Do you have a Test Tape reel from which you can do alignment and biasing?
    Do you have a voltmeter and an oscilloscope?

    The problem with attenuated top-end could be as simple as the heads needing a cleaning and degaussing...(don't have your tape in proximity to the deck if you are degaussing!)
    Or, it could be something more serious, like worn heads, or a misaligned head-stack, or bias settings, or noise reduction settings.... there are lots of possible culprits.

    You need to be far more detailed as to what your set up is, and with the history of servicing and maintenance on the deck, because the list of possible problems is a long one, and the more we know about your rig, the more we can help you...
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    an 80-8 in good condition should not have issues with top end clarity. that's actually a decent recorder. not a big fat 1 inch but still pretty good. if anything those machines don't do the low end as well as a large format machine. i suspect you need to recap and align the machine.

    in the day of that machine it was common for the engineer to boost the highs 3 dB while recording a track and then to cut the same at playback but that was to cut down on noise not to get it brighter.
  4. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Since the machine was serviced 18 months ago, its been used for about 20-30 hours.
    Mixer is a Studiomaster 166 Trilogy
    Mics are Beta 57A (2),SM58 (2), Akg D112, Beyer M69, Beyer CK710+713, PZM, Stagg tom mics.
    Room isn't acoustically treated.
    Monitors are really my hi-fi speakers(Quad 11L)
    The tape isn't brand new
    Tape does shed the odd bit of fine oxide, but nothing bad.
    Don't use noise reduction.
    Havent a test tape or an oscilloscope.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    servicing a machine is a very fine but you really should replace the caps. there's no way that machines caps can be in good shape after all these years. the fact the tape is shedding is also of concern. get a new reel and get a tone generator and a real test tape and learn to align the machine and to set the bias. last do not expect it to "sound" like digital recorder. that's just not going to happen. if that's what you want go buy some old ADATs.
  6. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    How do I upload a track onto here?
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Set up a free account at soundcloud.com, and just post a link to ur page. Make sure you check the option to make ur song public, so everyone can listen to it.
  8. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Ok thanks. Will do.
  9. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Here is the Soundcloud link to a track recorded on the Teac 80-8
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sounds good man, love what these kinda machines do to electric guitars. I own a tascam 34, which was the next generation machine (4 track version). Yours definitely has a cleaner sound than mine probably due to a pro servicing yours, rather than my hack job experimental setup. Check it out if u get a sec.https://soundcloud.com/stream did this in my buddy's basement last year. These machines are fun huh.
  11. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Where do I click on to hear your track? I clicked on your link but it ended up on my page with the two tracks I uploaded.
  12. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    hopefully this works, still getting used to my ipad.

    View: https://soundcloud.com/gushusound/money
  13. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Nice that.
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Your 80-8 is sounding just great. Just the right saturation on the drums. I had a 38, back in the 1980s. There ain't nothing wrong with your machine. And your recording and mixing sounds good! Sure, I've heard better. But this is very listenable. Good job. The track that kmetal posted is lavishly rich with preamp saturation. It sounds nasty bad which means good.

    I think you're being hypercritical about your own work? It's easy to do. We've all done it. Your recording is very accomplished sounding. And coming off of a 1/2 inch, 8 track recorder, it sounds amazing! So what's the problem? It's certainly nothing real. Nothing bad. Nothing to be ashamed about. Nothing you've done wrong.

    I like things to sound up front and in-your-face. Your recording and mixing it all sounds as good as my recording and mixing. I'm not sure what this says about me? It's all good! You hit the mark. You got it down. I think it's your monitoring you're not liking? And you can't evaluate anything really, through headphones. Just having a good pair of monitors is not a panacea of perfection. It's all about the room it's in/ they're in. This might be a first in a series of monitors for ya? Though shipping can get expensive.

    When a machine is adjusted properly, input should basically equal output with the exception of a little hiss, without any noise reduction. Now with machines that have DBX noise reduction? Those will exhibit a frequency response twice as awful as the factory printed specifications for the machine. DBX makes your frequency response twice as bad by a factor of two. These machines were not flat. As a result, frequently the sound that you've recorded, doesn't quite come out sounding the same way. You'll get added EQ in places you didn't want to add EQ. And then sometimes, you won't be able to get any of the EQ you want for a track? It'll be already too wacky ± 30-20,000 Hz. So not flat, the response curve might make you seasick? It really goes up and down three DB, across the entire response. So now it's like ± 6 DB from 20-20,000 Hz. And that's an incredibly audible change. In the end, all of these proconsumer machines, were never all that flat. Not like the finer American, British & German-made stuff. But livable nonetheless.

    So I don't hear anything bad and I can't figure out what you're complaining about? Don't hyper fixate. It's much more fun if you just hyper masturbate.

    Words of wisdom
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I now wonder if the clarity I think should be there, was maybe years and years of hearing CDs with that digital clean sparkle of top end. Don't know. What sort of outboard do I need to think about buying to improve the sound further? The parametrics I used on it were just two cheap Behringers, bottom of the range. Also, a cheap Phonic compressor and an Alesis Nanocompressor.
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Actually, it's not really "sparkle"... it's just digital. If you go back and listen to albums that were done in the analog age and compare them to stuff on CD, you'll hear plenty of sparkle and silk on the analog stuff... it's just that analog treats the top end a bit differently, through harmonics and tape saturation.

    What you've grown accustomed to, and what your ears are leading you to perceive as "sparkle" is just a hyped-up top end that can be inherent in many digital recordings. I'm not inferring that one is better than the other, and I'm not saying that all analog is good or that all digital is bad -( I don't want to start the whole "digital vs analog" debate here) - there have been plenty of both good and bad mixes in both formats throughout the years...it's just that digital has been around for so long now - nearly everything we hear these days is digital in either origin, or processing, or copied release... that our ears have adjusted to the way digital treats EQ.

    You can get plenty of sparkle off of that Teac. Just make sure you are using good, fresh tape, that the heads are cleaned, degaussed, aligned, and that your bias is set properly. You'll be amazed at just how much sparkle and silk tape can give, (as well as warmth) providing you know what you are doing in terms of gain structure, tone sculpting and processing. :)
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Not sure what kinda mics your using, but that's always a good start, as are a nice set of monitors and room treatment. Those things might help you not have to use eq, or maybe less of it. I'd say after that maybe a nice channel strip, or pair? I've tended to just go in order of the signal chain w gear purchases. Mic-pre-eq-compression. The order of eq and compression is a matter of taste, and what your trying to get out of it, but I'd buy and a nice eq before a compressor, just for no other reason than I have more fun playing w them than compressors in general.

    There's some good stuff that's pretty affordable that I use, sm57s, personus eureka channel, art mpa(kinda doesn't have a "sound"), rane peq 15 eq, Dbx 160, I own a 166xl, which is okay at compression, but a little on the dull side tone wise. But I got it for 50 bucks, and it's cool for home demo type stuff. Just some ideas on some decent cheap gear.

    Although I think your recording sounds really good, if your not satisfied w the top end, maybe a better set of converters would help, but really I think it's more along the lines of what Donny what saying. From my experience analog will take a lot more high eq before it's starts to sound "too much" than digital will, just because of there inherent designs, and properties.
    DonnyAir likes this.
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Here's another thing to remember...
    Analog is much more forgiving with levels than digital is.

    If your deck is aligned and biased properly, you needn't be as concerned with "absolute Zero" like you need to be with digital. Whereas digital can give you some pretty nasty things at 0db and above, analog has it's "sweet spots" that happen up near 0 and beyond a bit... Your deck should be aligned to a certain specification with tape type and levels. Don't be afraid to tap into that 0 to +3db area... as long as your gain chain is steady and you don't have one gain source over-driving another - there are some sweet harmonics and saturation sonics that can occur up there with tape, and sounds very nice on things like vocals, kick drum, cymbals, guitar amps, etc.

    As far as gear you can add, well, that's a very open question with a wide array of answers. Microphones are important, as are monitors and room treatment... I like K's suggestion of a channel strip, something with a nice EQ and GR.

    While you can get into "boutique" type models with strips - models like Neve's and API's - if you don't want to break the bank, you might want to consider something like this, which is Class A, has 3 band parametric and gain reduction and is $299 (US):

    The nicer (and more pricey) alternative would be this one - If you happen to have $2500 (US) laying around doing nothing:
  19. frosty55

    frosty55 Active Member

    That 299 channel strip, Presonus. How would I use that, or them if I got two?
    Does it go between the mixer and CD Burner, when mixing down?
  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    No. Well, yes, you could, if you had two of them, but I was referring more to tracking.

    For tracking, you would plug your mic into it... either a dynamic or a condenser, it can handle either, because the channel strip has a phantom power switch (48v) for condensers. It also has TRS line inputs as well

    It's used to "front load" your tape deck's input. "Front Loading" means you will plug your mic into the preamp first, where you can do things like add gain, EQ, compression, not to mention taking advantage of the Class A circuitry. It's like plugging into a mixer's channel input, except it has functions that a normal, consumer grade mixing console's channel inputs do not. You would then come out of the channel strip into one of the track inputs on your tape deck.

    Or, you could use the strip strictly as a Class A preamp, record flat with no EQ or compression, and then use those functions during your mix down.

    For mixdown, insert the strip to a channel/track you want to effect on your mixing console, either through an auxiliary, an insert, or as an effect (effect send)... and then enable the compression and EQ. Just make sure you pay attention to your gain structure. You don't want to overload the either the strip or the mixer's input channel. The Presonus model has a -20db pad that might help in avoiding overloads.

    And, note that I just suggested the Presonus channel strip as an example. There are many different channel strips out there, so do your homework. The link below might help you to determine which channel strip would be best for you.


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