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Reel to Reel into DAW

Newbie first day here.
I have a 4 track Teac A-3440 I want to use the amp as an FX into my DAW (Studio One 3 Pro.)
My mixer Interface is a PreSonus Studolive 32.4.2 AI
So do I use the 4 outputs of the Teac into 4 inserts into the mixer ?
Or can I just use 1 output and 1 insert using the hardware integration plugin pipeline in Studio One as mono or
OUT 1&2 and IN 1&2 for stereo ?
Thanks
Stevie B

Comments

kmetal Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:08

I don’t know the SL/S1 combo well enough to completely answer your question. @dvdhawk or boz might know the specifics.

Two things I can comment on are, if you use the 4 channels on the Teac, you have either 4 Mono, 2 Stereo pairs, or 2 Mono and 1 Stereo pair, as configuration options.

Also you’ll have to send the signals out of the Mixer Outs (bus or auxes) into the Teac Inputs, then from the Teac Outputs back into the Mixer. Whether your using Bus or Aux or Inserts depends on what’s available and what specifically the Mixer and Studio 1 calls for in this instance. Unfortunately I’m not completely sure on that part. But you do for sure, have to go both out of the Mixer, and back into it.

Stevie B. Wed, 10/11/2017 - 19:16

I have all the options with this mixer , bus, aux and inserts so that makes things easier , plus like I was telling Boswell Studio One uses a plugin called pipeline for outboard hardware so I can use
just the amp on the Teac for analog sound in the DAW on any channel.
As far as running Tape signal into and out of the board I have never tried that.
I kind of had an Idea how to do this but now with your help I will.
Thanks
kmetal

Boswell Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:18

It looks easy enough to set up two channels this way using the SL console's Tape I/O stereo input and output on RCA connectors, although you may have to reduce the output level so as not to overload the Teac. Studio One provides the time advancement needed to get the returns aligned.

If you want to do 4 channels, you will have to use something like Aux outputs on the mixer, but since these are balanced, you will need to perform unbalancing on the outputs together with some level control to suit the Teac's 60mV line inputs. The returns will not be a problem as long as you have the correct cables, as the mixer's line inputs will take unbalanced signals and have enough gain to bring the tape signals (300mV) up to suitable levels.

Since a 2-channel setup is a relatively cheap and easy option via a $5 stereo RCA cable, I would try that first to see if you get the effect you are looking for. However, I'm curious: what exactly is the effect you are looking for? Those Teacs were not particularly known as having a sought-after analogue signal chain.

DonnyThompson Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:45

Boswell, post: 453385, member: 29034 wrote: I'm curious: what exactly is the effect you are looking for? Those Teacs were not particularly known as having a sought-after analogue signal chain

I'm wondering the same thing. Don't get me wrong, I definitely encourage people to try new things, after all, our entire craft has been built upon the foundations of those individuals who at some point asked, "so, I wonder what would happen if we did this?"
Let us know what happens, what results you get. ;)

pcrecord Thu, 10/12/2017 - 05:44

We need a very good reason/gear to go OTB these days..
I'm all in for recording signal chains but for me, once ITB is stays ITB.
Of course, I'm not against reamping and if the tape unit has a sweet sound when saturation/distortion happens, it could become a good reason to do it.
Other than that, there's some great tape emulation available from many makers.

DonnyThompson Thu, 10/12/2017 - 06:32

I'm not against sending signal out to HW either, if it gives me something I can't get ITB.
The thing about the Teac deck is...I'm not seeing where the sonic benefit would be. It doesn't have a tube stage... and... running a signal through the amp of a tape deck alone isn't going to give you the "sound" of tape.
I guess if there's a particular sonic character that you find pleasing about bussing signal through the gain stage of a Teac 4 Track, something you can't obtain from processing ITB, then that's a good enough reason. I'm just trying to think about what exactly that "character" would be. But, to each their own. I'm in no position to tell anyone to not experiment with different kinds of workflows.
Personally, I'd go for one of the more current take sim plugs... Slate, UAD, Waves... they all have tape sim plugs that I think would likely give you better color/character than a consumer-grade reel to reel... Especially since you're not tracking to actual tape, and are using only the electronics of the deck.
But, that's just me. ;)

Boswell Thu, 10/12/2017 - 07:57

I had a quick look at the block diagram for your Studio Live mixer, and it doesn't give the full picture of I/O routing and analogue signal pick-off. As a result, I'm not sure you can route a stereo signal pair from your DAW through the tape outputs (same as main mix), bring it in via the tape returns, and send it back to the DAW without using the main mix.

If you can't, there's a danger that you will create a feedback loop, and it would be necessary to use a pair of mono mixer channels as the return path with their own direct outs to the DAW.

Stevie B. Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:53

Thanks for all information gonna tinker with these ideas.
I do have lot of tape plugins Slate, Softube ,Kramer, J37 etc.
On July 15th this year (the day after my birthday) my wife and I went to Toronto to visit our daughters and surprised them with Tom Petty tickets
would a great show we had a such a blast at the concert. R.I.P. Tom Petty.

Attached files

DonnyThompson Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:25

Honestly, unless you're wanting to achieve the sound of tape, IMO there's not any advantage to bussing signal through a consumer grade Teac deck's solid state amp section, other than to pick up noise or degrade the signal...
And, that's not taking into account what Bos (@Boswell ) has already mentioned, about if it's even able to be done without creating a FB loop.
It seems like a lot of hassle for no real benefit. If it's the sound of tube or transformer distortion, or third harmonic tape saturation that you are hoping for, there are other ways, likely better sounding - and easier - ways to go about getting that sound using sims ITB.
Only in my opinion, of course. ;)

kmetal Fri, 10/13/2017 - 14:26

Basically I’d do what Boz said. Some tape decks have a seperate repro head so you could send your signal out to tape and then send it back into the daw so you get the Sonics of tape. My Tascam 34 doesn’t have that ability, I’m not sure if yours does.

I’m also not sure if there are input and/or output transformers on your deck, but that could be a reason to send stuff too it as well.

I’m not familiar with your deck, but I very much like the grungy / lo fi/ distortions of cheap tape machines, particularly Tascam, which is owned by Teac. For old style blues, or old style black keys or white stripes, it’s a cinch to dial in that sound, the way no other method quite does. It’s instant. My preference however is to record to the tape initially. I haven’t messed around too much using it as an effect, but it could be cool. I’ve never heard distorted electric guitars sound better than when they hit tape.

That said, if you haven’t tried Nomad factory’s Magnetic 2 pluggin, they actually model a Tascam take machine, and it’s the only pluggin that sounds heavily ‘tape’ to me. My slate, and ozone tape sims sound like an expensive well tuned tape machine, and don’t do the saturation or lofi/heavy handed tape thing as well.

It’d be great if you post some samples if you end up hooking up your deck, it’d be interesting to hear.

x

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