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I was reading in a thread about people using reel-to-reel machines for preamps. I have a Teac A-4010 SL with

2 1/4" inputs in the front (left & right)
a headphones out in the front
RCA ins/outs and a DIN in/out on the back

Could/should this be used for a preamp and how? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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CoyoteTrax Tue, 09/27/2005 - 19:02

TEAC pre's sound really nice in my opinion. It's a solid state unit but should be very useful for some applications.

The 1/4" inputs are mic inputs (low impedence...150 ohms to 600 ohms). Check the specs. So you can plug any dynamic mic into those jacks or a passive DI box will convert a high impedence signal like an electric guitar, modern mic pre. processor, keyboard, etc. to a proper impedence level for that input. Just be aware of the mount of voltage (volume) you're sending to the DI box.

You can also use the RCA inputs for your high impedence devices like processors, keyboards, modern mic pre's, etc.. Some people ask: why would you run a modern condenser mic from a modern mic pre into an old tape deck like that? The answer is simple: Just listen to the dimension it creates. Listen to how the older electronics thicken up and focus the signal and give it such a nostalgic quality and color. Plus, it's just one more interesting tool to have to work with.

The RCA outs you just connect to your DAW.

ghellquist Wed, 09/28/2005 - 09:47

Keep on playing with the stuff. You will find something eventually that you like and keep coming back to. Some recording engineers love using old crappy equipment for the effect it has on the sound, as a sort of effects unit. I believe they only use it on a few channels in a mix. While you are at it, if you have any equipment with an input and a speaker, try micing the speaker. You can get surprisingly nice effects that way, no VST effects can come close.


CoyoteTrax Wed, 09/28/2005 - 10:27

Gehllquist is right. It's nice to have a couple of small enclosures around you can plug into the audio outs of your deck to mic, for effect or re-amping. I've got a couple of cool enclosures I scored from ebay that are fun to work with, including an old Viking enclosure that's great for pumping guitar into and mic'ing up. Just make sure you're matching impedence correctly of course. Refer to the user guide's specs for your tape deck on the output impedence. Ebay is a great place to score interesting antique or modern speaker enclosures.

Gain staging is just simply making sure you're not adding unwanted noise in your signal path by having the output of one device overloading (or under volting) the input of another device. Proper gain staging can often times be a very subtle art that means the difference in having a -74dB noise floor or a -54dB noise floor. Your could also be under volting (volume level) a stage in gain which can cause white noise as well. for instance, increasing volume (or gain/trim) on your mic pre may introduce noise in your DAW when it's actually the volume level on your DAW for the track or channel input that needs to be bumped up.

Experimentation and careful thought are all that's needed.


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