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New Analog Tape question

So here's the big question, what's the difference between reamping a digital signal through an analog reel to reel machine to obtain analog compression and color, and recording directly onto the tape and digitalizing that signal? What's the best way to go?



natural Fri, 11/09/2007 - 20:02

If you record digital first, then transfer to tape, then re-record back to digital, it does become a 2nd generation copy resulting in some loss of detail. How much depends on a lot of variables.
If you leave it on the tape and work from there you're ok.

If you record analog first, then go AtoD it would be considered 1st generation.

RemyRAD Fri, 11/09/2007 - 23:32

Really, it can work just fine either way. First generation, second generation really isn't applicable when you're bouncing between different formats. Analog to analog would be a second-generation.

So if you are tracking to the analog deck which is in record/playback/repro and feeding that directly to the input of the digital machine, you are golden. This way, you'll have one half of the wow & flutter and no print through if you do not stop, rewind and play the tape back to record it into the digital machine.

Conversely, if you play back your digital track into the analog recorder and during the recording process you are monitoring the output of the playback head, you will be able to push the record level on the analog machine. Once you get it up to the point where you are experiencing the nonlinear saturation of over recording, you can then re-record that into an available digital record track.

You never want to record to your analog machine and then rewind to play it back to the digital machine. You'll never get it to synchronize and that's why this has to be done in a real-time streaming like manner. That way, you'll always have a finite amount of time delay between the distance of the record to the playback head. You'll then be able to slide your digital track forward in time to match synchronization with the remaining tracks.

I don't know how many other ways I can describe to you how to do this as you seem to keep asking the same questions over and over again. I know there is a language barrier here and I wish I could speak your language to help you better.

Where's my single malt Scotch when I need it?
Ms. Remy Ann David

Cosme Sat, 11/10/2007 - 04:58

Don't worry about the language Remy I understand you just fine, I have a lot of questions because I'm a total noob to analog and I'm trying to get the best out of my Tascam 32, but it's confusing sometimes, there's never a final conclusion, so in the end if I track digital and stream in analog and go back to digital, it's never gonna sound as good as tracking in analog and stream in digital from there?

natural Sat, 11/10/2007 - 11:25

The difference may not be noticeable until further down the line.
If you end up with a 2nd generation (AtoA or DtoAtoD) as Remy said, the difference is negligible. But if you further mangle the audio by making say, analog submixes and then flying them back into your digital session and then more final mixes back to analog, then that 2nd generation that you didn't need to do, could come back to bite you.
BTW- you can get your digital and analog devices to sync up using a syncronizer which will vary your clocking speed provided that you have smpte on your analog deck. But certainly, getting it done in one single pass is faster and you'll get back to doing more fun things other than tape transfers.

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2007 - 17:25

I like what natural had to say. True, many folks have flown tracks back into their computers under SMPTE synchronization with its specialty synchronizer's provided one also has SMPTE time code capability or burns up a track on the analog machine to do so.

Personally, if I wanted to have some analog saturation on something in particular, I would double record. That is to say, I would burn a track to the digital machine directly but through electronic routing, patch cords, etc. I also feed that same signal into the analog machine while monitoring repro/playback while recording while transferring to a secondary track on the digital machine. This would be done in the event that I got a little too judicious with level to the analog machine. I could then choose either for the mix.

If I didn't have that luxury, given the nature of reasonably superb analog to digital converters, I wouldn't think twice about utilizing the direct digital recording to feedback to analog tape and then re-encoded back to the digital machine with the selective amount of analog saturation. I think that gives you more options in a safer environment?

Just remember, the analog saturation is made up of numerous factors. It's not just the additional second harmonic nor intermodulation distortion. It's the nonlinear nature of the recording tape itself. Often imitated but no match for the real deal. And it's not in Rupert Neve's little box with the tape recorder heads. That's merely a flux loop with original phase scrambling equalization preemphasis and deemphasis. I can't even really believe he came up with such a contraption. Maybe it's senility?

Smile when you say senility!
Ms. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2007 - 18:28

Yes, yes I should have told him that. That is, unless you had a center track time code Studer. It was actually a differential pair in the center track guard band, that would cancel out if played on a full track mono machine. Pretty cool eh?

Would you like drop frame time code with your desert?
Ms. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2007 - 18:53

Weight a minute TVpostsound! Or is that wait a minute?? Either way, if SMPTE is on 24 and your guard band is 23, then you have 22 tracks. Why would you have 2 guard band tracks next to each other if you were running 29.97? And would that be drop frame or non-drop? Or do you just like to run a track of drop frame with a guard band followed by a track of non-drop frame and an additional guard band? Wouldn't that yield only 20 tracks?

Maybe that's why you are TVpostsound and I am just a girly engineer?

I wish I could have my choice of colors in time code?
Ms. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2007 - 19:31

Hot damn you're good! Too bad I never got a chance to work in a post house otherwise, I probably would have known that. That never really occurred to me, since I've been living in the dark and never burst upon the scene.

Wanting to be scene.
Ms. Remy Ann David
and clueless at that!