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does anyone know the models of any two track 2inch reel to reels made by either otari, mci, studer, or ampex?

of if any of the 2 tracks can be interchangeable to 2 inch reels

also what will the price range be

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hueseph Sat, 09/09/2006 - 21:07

Are you serious? 2 Track 2 Inch? Why? The width of the tape doesn't determine headroom. How much bleed are you expecting to have between tracks that you need an inch and 5/8s between them?

2 track can usually be found in 1/4" format. Even then There's plenty of room there for at least two more tracks. 2" tape is generally reserved for 24 tracks. They can even squeeze 16 tracks on to 1" tape quite nicely. Now if you go digital 24 tracks will even fit on a 1" tape. Not too many people using digital tape anymore though. Wasteful stuff. If you're gonna use tape, may as well be analog.

So to answer your question, no, I don't believe there is even such a thing as 2" 2 track. However all of the brands you mention make 1/4" 2track and you can add to that list for the lower end, Sony, Tascam(Teac), Fostex and I'm sure a dozen others.

Just to be sure, don't use an a/d converter before analog tape unless you're fond of the sound of a fax machine.

anonymous Sun, 09/10/2006 - 19:23

no i wouldn't use a converter before my outboard hits the analog machine, why would i?

im aware that 2 inch is usually on 16 or 24 track. so you're saying that the 1/4" 2 tracks can be used with two 2 inch reels?

the reason i want to stick to a 2 track or ATR mastering kind of thing is just because for vocals, guitar, and bass, i really only have two tracks. and with drums i dont really have the money to have everything go to tape first. so yeah money is an issue also.

so can you tell me which reel to reels are 1/4" that can be fitted with 2 inch? or is that even possible?

hueseph Mon, 09/11/2006 - 01:09

So what you're saying is that you recorded two tracks on to two inch tape and you want to transfer that to hard drive? If that's so, go to the studio that you recorded the tracks and ask them to transfer the tracks on to a disk. Then it will be easy to just import the tracks to your comp.

I have no idea why else you would need to get a two inch reel to reel machine. No you cannot use 1/4" tape on a 2" machine. At least not without a lot of expensive and rediculous modification.

My suggestion is to go read a book or two. Then read them again. After that read them again so that you will understand exactly what you are asking. Because, from my end it sounds totally comedic. That's right. I'm laughing. I'm not trying to be cruel. It just sounds funny. It's like asking if you can play tennis with a basket ball. Well, you can try.

hueseph Mon, 09/11/2006 - 01:20

So what you are trying to do, I assume, is to go to tape before bringing it back to digital. Well you don't need a 2" tape for that. Go get a 1/4" reel to reel. Why not? People used to master to 1/4" two track. If your machine allows for it you could basically set it up so that you monitor from tape and go directly to disc from there.

That way you don't actually have to waste time re-tracking to disc on a seperate occassion. You just do it all in one shot.

Thomas W. Bethel Mon, 09/11/2006 - 05:22

Re: 2 track 2 inch reel to reel

liquidstudios wrote: does anyone know the models of any two track 2inch reel to reels made by either Otari, MCI, Studer, or Ampex?

of if any of the 2 tracks can be interchangeable to 2 inch reels

also what will the price range be

Are you talking two inch wide tape? or 2" reels (diameter). There are a number of 1/2" (width) machines around that can do two track as well as a number of 1" (width) two track machines. Using two inch tape for two tracks is not a very common occurance.

I think if you are using this for the tape sound a good two track 1/4" machine that is well set up and running at 15 ips would do well for what you are attempting to do. Tape machines can come in all price ranges from the very cheap to the very expensive. I would look at units like the Ampex AG-440B/Cs, Otari MTR-10s, Studer 820s or even the Tascam BR-20. Make sure if you buy a machine that it has a manual with it and that you are prepared to either have the test equipment and alignment tapes to set it up and keep it running well or that you know someone who is capable of repairing the machine. These units are not plug them in and leave them alone and require ongoing cleaning, demaging, set up and calibration and it is an ongoing operation that may have to be carried out on a weekly basis if you use the machine a lot.

Best of luck!

anonymous Mon, 09/11/2006 - 15:20

thanks that was a helpful post, not on banana boys part though. the reason im asking about 2" tape is because it seems to be what most of the newer professionals that are going to convert it to digital use. namely because it is quieter and has improved definition being a newer design as well. i mean i guess i could go to 1 inch.

so you think that 1/2" and 1/4" won't give me hiss and have lower definition?

thanks for your enlightenment on the subject hueseph. what are you going to tell me next, that wrestling is fake?

Davedog Mon, 09/11/2006 - 16:20

Re: 2 track 2 inch reel to reel

liquidstudios wrote: does anyone know the models of any two track 2inch reel to reels made by either otari, mci, studer, or ampex?

of if any of the 2 tracks can be interchangeable to 2 inch reels

also what will the price range be


Would you want those to run @ 60ips?

Or 71/2?

Since you seem so adamant to get your somewhat skewed points across, I gotta ask.....What could you possibly be recording on at this point that something as simple as a question about 2TRACK tape machines is so far from reality that its funny?

Where ever did you get the idea that there are(or were) 2" 2track tape such abundance that several manufacturers might have a MODEL NUMBER????

A lot of people have been kind enough to try and field these questions that dont have a reasonable answer simply because of the CONTENT of the question...and you still reply with slurs and hidden agenda. Hueseph tried to answer you by pointing out that there aint no such beast and got ragged for it. Tom was kind enough to try to point out that you MUST be talking about 1/4",1/2" maybe 1" tape...but not 2".

Yeah....2" is a common size of tape...for 16 and 24 track machines.And yes, they are commonly bumping tracks from these multitrack tapes to digital whatever for processing...sometimes they MIX to 2track tape and then go back to the digital realm to add some warmth and some natural compression to the sound....BUT no one is bumping to 2" tape for 2tracks.

Why would you want to?????

Get some books on recording. NOT catalogs. Books about the recording of sound. Books about the equipment used to capture sound onto media.

Really, you havent a clue what you're talking about. I mean this in the kindest way. Except when you flame someone because you dont like their answer. Then I really mean it.

hueseph Mon, 09/11/2006 - 17:52


Here's a bargain for you:

Not too many (if any) analog reel to reel machines still being made. You might have to go to some boutique electronics shop to custom build you that 2" 2track or a 1/4" 2 track for that matter. Again, make sure you have either a manual or someone who knows how to maintain one of these. Finding media may also be a problem. I know they still sell the stuff but it's not getting any cheaper.

anonymous Mon, 09/11/2006 - 18:49

please tell me how asking a question translates to me thinking i know everything or even anything at all about the subject.

i wouldn't be asking the question if i knew everything about it in the first place. all i said to heuseph was that i am currently aware that you can really only find 2" in 16 and 24 trackers. it was more me wondering if it was possible to have a small 2 track recorder in 2". i don't know much about recording with a reel to reel. like i said i assumed that 2" is the most desirable tape because it is quietest and this and that. i ask for a two track because i don't really need / want to spend the money on 16/24 tracks. i just want two inputs and two outputs for my instrumentation that is constituted of one or two signals.

i am going to be converting to digital, but i want a tape length that is going to be as quiet as possible, with headroom and as high resolution as i can get.

please tell me what would be best. heuseph that link was somewhat helpful. what length do i want to use then for a two track reel to reel?

and this is for the input signal mainly, not so much mastering. even though yes i also realize that 2 track recorders are for mastering.

hueseph Mon, 09/11/2006 - 19:12 length you will need considerably more than two inches. :shock: Consider that if 2" is good enough to record 24 tracks onto then whatever space it takes to record 2 tracks on two inch tape should be wide enough. That being less than 1/4". What will effect the quality of the recording is the calibration of the machine, the calibre and condition of machine, the tape speed (inches per second) and the hardware which you will be sending the signal through before it goes to tape. Keep in mind that especially in the analog world, anything that you add to the signal chain will add noise. Of course this is also true with digital devices though not as much.

So to summarize find a GOOD 1/4" 2 track in good working order and use a GOOD mixer and mics to track through. Don't skimp on this side of the recording because once you bring it to digital all the problems will become apparent.

The other option is to do the best you can with a purely digital signal. Why not? There are plenty of professionals doing just that. It's cleaner. It's quieter. There are plugins among other things that can be brought it to "warm" up the tracks. For example using a good tube preamp and a tube microphone if you really want to go gung ho.

I have to quote or at least paraphrase RemyRad though: 'a great engineer can make a great recording with mediocre gear. A bad engineer will make highly polished turds in crystal clear 192kHz 24 bit resolution on the finest gear in town. '

anonymous Mon, 09/11/2006 - 23:00

you broadened my understanding more with the comment about 24 tracks fitting on 2 inch. i obviously wasn't thinking of it in those terms. so for the two track should i try and go wider than 1/4" if possible? what would be the benefits, just more headroom and whatnot. so should i try to find the widest 2 track i possibly can? if so, i should've known that.

also i'm familiar with tape hiss, if i have a good machine with the good calibration and replace the heads and its fine, how much noise will i expect in the form of hiss? and what exactly will the process be to remove it? like i said i'm going to digital. and yeah i'm looking at A/D/A converters, i found lavry's papers interesting on the concept of 192khz conversion. although i would like to have it anyways, just in case i want it. i have a tube preamp, and am in the future hoping to get a tube microphone as well. (610, M147)

yeah i also have a c414 and will mainly just be using preamps in the signal path. so thanks and tell me what you think.

hueseph Mon, 09/11/2006 - 23:42

Actually, what I was trying to say is that if tracking two channels to less than 1/4" of tape is good enough for a pro machine, Why should there be any concern with settling for a 1/4" two track machine which at one point in time may have been used specifically for mastering or at the very least mixing down to?

Remember that the more steps you add to an analog process the more inherent noise there will be. So, in other words if by passing signal through at the very least three stages of analog tape engineers were able to produce quality recordings(at least one of those stages being 1/4" tape[consider mixdown, then mastering]), then one pass of 1/4" analog tape before you transfer to digital should be easily good enough.

Also consider that many classic recordings were done with equipment far "inferior" in quality to what we have today. Not all of the gear but I'm talking old four tracks and yes inferior tape quality. They didn't have chromium or the kind of high ferrous tape that were popular in the eighties. Listen to The Doors "Riders on The Storm". Classic song. It still gives me goosebumps. But if you listen long enough, I'm sure that you will hear hiss if it hasn't been digitally remastered. And, I'm sure there were other anomalies associated with tape and analog gear in general. Still the recording is amazing. In fact with all the "superior" gear that's available today, I have yet to hear a recording that compares to such ones. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon comes to mind. Amazing recording. Steely Dan's Aja. These guys didn't have half the tools we have today but the quality and effort put forth are unmatched.

Don't get caught up in gear and processes. Make amazing recordings with what you have. When the opportunity comes to use amazing gear, you will be better equipped to make full use of it.

As for numbers and gear and ratios, I could care less. I honestly am not that hip when it comes to those things. All I know is what I like to hear. In the end that's what's important isn't it?

hueseph Fri, 09/15/2006 - 15:28

What exactly are you looking for? If you already have your mind made up what you're looking for, just go out and get the damned thing! Really! You come here asking for advice then when you get it, you do everything you can to refute the advice given. If you know so damn much about audio then go and excercise your knowledge. You complain about a $400.00 used reel to reel but go saying how Mackie mixers are "tight". Well last time I looked, Mackie stuff isn't really "high end gear" either. It's good but it's not something you'll find in every pro studio. Nor is it the saught after pearl that audio engineers look for. Honestly, forget about going from tape to disc. If it's gonna be that much of an issue for you, just go buy yourself an old 24 track Otari, Ampex or whatever suits your fancy. Track to tape, mix and master to disc. End of story. Everything stays in the analog world until you need it to go to disc. Forget about all these extra steps. Also, since your skills are so great, please honour us with a sampling of your magnitudinous works. (yeah, I'm makin' up words now.)

When will you be satisfied? Man I don't claim to know it all. I never have. In fact I will outrightly admit that I'm a hack. That's who I am. I'm here to learn but I do know a little. From experience in a real live multimilliondollar studio. It wasn't mine. I just happened to spend some months there watching, learning and messing up. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about, you're wrong. I was you. Same ego. Same attitude. Take some advice: take some advice. Take the little bits and try them out. It works? Good! It doesn't work? Too bad. Try again. Talking about stuff doesn't help anyone to get better. "There is no 'I think I know better'. Either you do or you don't" Either way, actions speak louder than words so they say.

hueseph Fri, 09/15/2006 - 19:08

For what it's worth, I did check out the links. That ampex has been a standard for so long. It's great that someone is maintaining and updating them. Nice. Pefect if not overkill for Liquids purposes. No doubt a "little" more than $400 for a 1" version of that but worth it if you can make use of it.

anonymous Fri, 09/15/2006 - 20:38

the $400 recorder i was talking about i found on ebay the Otari Mk55 or possibly the otari mx5050 mkII.

my question still stands though is it basically a rule that the thicker the tape; the more the headroom and lower noise/wwarmth?

also its my understanding and well known that people use the two track ATR recorders for mastering primarily. theres nothing that makes it especially a "mastering" recorder. so if i want to use it primarily through tracking that is fine?

im assuming these are both logical aspects of reel to reel?

and will i be getting a bunch of hiss if i have nice A/D converters and a nice simple signal path consisting of good equipment? if so how do i remove it? besides cleaning and replacing the heads. or should that solve it

hueseph Fri, 09/15/2006 - 20:59

Hiss comes from the circuitry. A result of resistance and poor design and components. If you wan to look into that otari go do a google search. Find out what you can. As regards, removing hiss, there are plenty of ways to remove it. None of them are cheap. There are dolby units. There are plugins. A good plugin will probably cost you near as much as a hardware unit but is less likely to break down. As regards to machines dedicated to mastering, that all depends on what the original user intended it for. There is no dedicated use for a machine. If you choose to use that reel to reel to floss your teeth, then that is its use. As regards whether that will be good enough for your purposes, well if it's good enough for mastering, I suppose it's good enough for tracking.

An engineer is not the sum of his equipment. They (equipment) are just tools and tools belong in and around your DAW not behind them.