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The future of analog tape

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Jon Atack, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Member

    This topic is inspired by the various rumors (are they true? Anybody know?) that Quantegy tape is no more.

    So...who here uses analog tape? Why, or why not? Do you use it for tracking...or mixing...or both? Which make and formula do you prefer?

    Let's hear it for the sound and smell of analog tape...Bring it on!

    Jon
    :w:
     
  2. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Someone over on RAP said that they cut back production a little but were still in business. Anyway, I use 2" tape for tracking. Most of what I have used and in stock is SM900 at 6 over 250 but I want to try GP9 in the near future. I've used a few reels of SM911 and 456 and I gotta say I prefer the 456, the 911 has a thicker mid but it also isn't as noisy. 456 smells better too. I set up 911 and 456 at 3 over 250.
     
  3. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    I track and mix analog whenever the client is willing to pay for the tape. I admit that I use used tape from tapetape.com. I've been using 3M 996. It sounds great and is quiet, especially at 30ips.
     
  4. drundall

    drundall Guest

    I've been using 900. I like it and it's readily available in my area.
     
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    "using 900."
    -same here
     
  6. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Is anyone else finding SM900 to be a little glassy? I'm running at 15ips on a JH-24, 6 over 250 with 4dB of overbias at 10khz. Noise isn't a problem but it's way harder then 456 or 499.
     
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by Jay Kahrs:
    Is anyone else finding SM900 to be a little glassy? I'm running at 15ips on a JH-24, 6 over 250 with 4dB of overbias at 10khz. Noise isn't a problem but it's way harder then 456 or 499.

    In L.A. we tend to bias at around 1.8db over @10k for 900 (if i'm not mistaken...I can't believe that I'm really starting to forget that stuff...there was a time when i could align an y machine/any tape like a champ, from memory. But now, with 90% of my time on digital....
    Anyway, try this bias....your hitting it way to hard-
    RecorderMan
     
  8. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Originally posted by RecorderMan:


    In L.A. we tend to bias at around 1.8db over @10k for 900


    That sounds like you're running at 30ips. I do 95% of my work at 15 which usually needs more overbias IIRC. Am I wrong?
     
  9. drundall

    drundall Guest

    Originally posted by Jay Kahrs:


    That sounds like you're running at 30ips. I do 95% of my work at 15 which usually needs more overbias IIRC. Am I wrong?


    No, that sounds about right, it might be more like 3.5, though. Double check the BASF/Emtec site.

    Good luck with the HF, mine's waving like a girl at the train station saying goodbye to her boyfriend!
     
  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Originally posted by Jay Kahrs:


    That sounds like you're running at 30ips. I do 95% of my work at 15 which usually needs more overbias IIRC. Am I wrong?

    No...your right,,,I woke up this mornig thinking that...."that [+4db] sounds like 15ips (duh!).
    Like I said, too much digital on the brain...forgetting my analog.

    I concure with drundall. Try double of 1.8 (or +3.65db over) @ 10k for 15ips, 900.
     
  11. For analog tape to have a future,there needs to be a market for it.

    I suspect that it will be in the market niche that vinyl now shares.
    The prices will go up because there isn't a large market for the tape and the manufacturers will eventually drop out until somebody is some remote corner of a third world company is the only source of analog tape.

    Vacuum tubes are in a similar situation and there are a lot more people using vacuum tubes than will be demanding analog tape in the (very near future.

    Unfortunately, I am one of the people who really likes analog tape, but the handwriting is on the wall

    I used to spend thousands of $ on tape each year to feed my decks and I have a vault full of masters.

    Last year I bought less than $200 worth of analog formulation tape and I still have most of it left.

    Prices on the digital stuff keep dropping and the products become more prolific.

    I can see the handwriting on the wall.

    Analog tape will be about as common as acetate masters.
     
  12. brad

    brad Guest

    ....
     
  13. sign

    sign Guest

    I still prefer a two inch machine over digital and (good)tubes over silicium crap.

    In the near future we will master on DSD, but it will be very expensive to track on 48 tracks DSD, so how about recording a jazz band on two inch and have it mastered to SACD/DSD

    Peace.
     
  14. ldawg713

    ldawg713 Guest

    All I can say is, I hope it sticks around. I just tracked my first project on 900, having switched from 499, and I like it alot. It was also my first time tracking to 16 track 2 inch, which I also liked alot (15 ips). The vibe requested was a Sabbathy old school metal one, and I don't think it could have been accomplished digitally. Plenty of bands around here (San Francisco) don't seem to mind paying the tape costs for 2", especially since there seems to be an abudance of $25-35/hour studios that support the format. (Used machines also seem to be readily available...) Who knows? Maybe sometime soon someone will find a way to produce a good quality tape formula for a lower cost. It seems to have happened with mic's, preamps, and everything else. I bet tape would make a big comeback at $50-75 a rell for 2"...
     
  15. Logan

    Logan Active Member

    2" at $50-$75. Yah mon. when I started to build the new room I was trying to decide whether to go 2" along with my DAW setup. But the reality is that the punters I record can't afford the tape cost. I've looked into replacing the 1" Tascam that left in a gear split with a partner with a 1" Otari, but again, tape is still (here in Canada) way to expensive. So now I use the old 1/2" G16 Fostex for drums and a gob of tape compression and track the rest to digital. If 2" was 75 bucks I'd buy a 2" machine.
    There is no doubt that the digi stuff is getting better and even suits some stuff I record better than tape, but there's no better medium for cranked R&R. Take care Logan
     
  16. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    While I'd love to get new reels of 2" for $75 I just don't think it's going to happen. There are alternatives though. Used tape is one. Also, I buy new reels and rent them to punters for demos. $40-50 bucks gets them one reel for about a month. I'll use the tape four or five times and then sell it as used tape. If they want to own the master then they need to pony up and buy the reel. If it's been used 3 times before they buy it I'll deduct the rentals (3x$40) from the cost of the reel.
     
  17. Logan

    Logan Active Member

     
  18. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    One thing that may influence tape cost/availability is the phasing out of VHS video tape. As people buy DVD players and the demand for VHS goes way down more tape manufacturing plants may disappear. True the video production folks will still use tape for a while but bit by bit it will get more expensive and harder to find.
     

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