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First "Client" on tape

Listening to playback right now. Man, just the mojo of the reels spinning gives the studio a better vibe. I need to start cutting my own masters to wax! I gotta say I do enjoy the freedom of no pitch correction.



TheJackAttack Sat, 12/17/2011 - 17:26

Pitch correction brings up a point. Tape cannot be used too much before it starts to stretch causing wow/flutter. Also, you need to follow Remy's calibration advice on the machine so that each layering of tracks doesn't end up at a different pitch center. You can always re-tune a guitar or a singer adjusts automatically (if they can in fact sing) but a keyboard ain't movin'.

Steve@Russo Sat, 12/17/2011 - 19:51

this was just a quick 4 track demo for a friend, I def did not hit the tape hard enough, it is a learning process. The machine is calibrated well and was cared for extremely well. I also work with a guy who has a couple machines so I have good local guidance

TheJackAttack Sat, 12/17/2011 - 22:20

Awesome. Calibrating however is an every session sort of thing. The maintenance end of it is why I don't use tape at all even though when I got into audio I was at the tail end of the tape era. I love it but I'm too lazy to use it.

Use your buddy as a resource and pick his/her brain all the time and if you get stuck or want a dissertation come back here and chat with Remy. She knows more than anyone else I know about those machines.

Steve@Russo Sun, 12/18/2011 - 11:03

Yeah I can tell that is going to be a pain. Again luckily I have a resource very close to me, who knows, maybe one day he will want to get a computer and I can help him. After one 3 hours session I learned so much about tape already. It is an instrument itself

RemyRAD Sun, 12/18/2011 - 15:45

It most certainly is another color on your palette. And it's much cooler watching those reels go round and round. You can even mount little vertical plastic blades on to them making your control room even cooler. Try that with a hot disk drive that just sits there and winks at you. Sheesh, PHEW that feels better. Can we try 30 IPS please?

What do you mean no need for pitch correction? I was utilizing pitch correction with analog tape back in 1979 because it was necessary. And here's how that works:

Every now and then, during overdubs, even when tracking, people sometimes like to have their headphones way too loud. One will find the louder their headphones are, the flatter their pitch may be. For those folks, you want to tell them to remove one ear of their headphone. Because just telling them to turn their headphones down won't cut the mustard for them. But what about electronic pitch correction in 1979? The Apple I I had just been introduced which was capable of balancing your checkbook and showing you a smiley face. Oh boy, that's really helpful. However, Richard Factor of Eventide Clockworks had just created his H-910 Harmonizer/Digital delay device. While it was digital, 12 bit, 30 kHz sampling I believe with a 36 ms latency time, you could change pitch in real time. It's high-frequency response was restricted to 12 kHz which certainly didn't sound like 15 kHz nor 20 kHz but was still usable in a 1979 kind of way. So on numerous occasions, I would have to occasionally tweak a flat vocal up to pitch during tracking or mixing when performed live in the studio. Unfortunately this would also require a highly isolated vocal booth since the live music in the studio would also be influenced by this pitch shift on the vocalist. In an overdub situation with the same singer, I was able to take the headphone mix they would be listening to into the 910 while monitoring in the control room the actual tracks without it along with the vocalist. I would then pitch up the headphone feed to the vocalist until they were on pitch against the non-pitched music tracks. This way I would get a full frequency response without 12 bit quantization issues, cleanly of the vocalist to tape. That 36 ms latency time, actually seemed to work out well since it always put them on the backside of the beat. That provided for a very laid-back sounding delivery. But that didn't always work. So I would have to go back to pitching them through the 910. To eliminate the latency issue, I would be playing their vocal track back from the record/sync position while the rest of the tracks played out from the playback head. This would cause their vocal track to be too far ahead of the beat. The 910 also add additional delay one could dial in within a limited range. This only worked well with later multitrack machines whose record head sync response was identical to that of the playback head. So this didn't work out if one was using a old Scully 280/Ampex MM 1000 as sync response on those was abysmal and very audibly bad. Same with 3340's of the same era, etc.. The only thing that could be considered a plug-in with that process was the patch cords needed to accomplish it and the routing capabilities of the console along with knowing what you were doing. So I was doing this 30+ years ago. Later at the Yamaha SPX 90 was also able to do real-time pitch changing. So this technique are preset process ain't really new it's just been massively simplified & better executed, automatically, in software. I actually had to physically ride the pitch change knob on the 910 or incremental up down buttons on the SPX 90. So I was still hybrid analog/digital before we even started recording digitally.

My brain was the only computer I needed.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Steve@Russo Sun, 12/18/2011 - 16:05

Remy, your nuts, I actually have only one client (friend) I even told I had autotune. Being a young, tattooed, hardcore kid I can pretty much just deny auto tune. I don't record music where people sing. See bad brains for references. This was one of those times I had a dylan esq guy in the studio. Sometimes it isn't about being devils advocate, sometime it is just about saying AMEN