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Worth tracking drums on 2" tape?

Hey there,

Sometime soon my band will start recording a album and I'm wondering weather it's worth tracking drums at a studio on 2" tape. I would get the tape transferred to digital format so I could load it up on Pro Tools and do everything else at my studio.

The drum sound I get at my studio is great and I'm perfectly happy with it, but saying that I've never heard myself/drums recorded onto 2" tape. It would be good to have a different drum sound to everything I've ever done but I'm very anal about my sound and I'm wondering weather it's worth forking out all that money for something I'm not sure about.

Do you think it'll be worth spending the money getting the drums tracked in a big room on 2" tape?

Here’s the studio we're considering:



samuraisoundman Wed, 10/03/2007 - 07:52

So, I wanna make sure that I understand your question:
Do drums sound GREAT on a well-maintained 2" Studer or Ampex?
All other things equal (drummer, kit, tuning, and proper mic placement), YES!!!!! I say go for it. It's quite an experience that is getting harder and harder to find.

Davedog Wed, 10/03/2007 - 16:09

I looked at the site. It seems that this is exactly what their studio is built for. A quick transfer after tracking will ensure a minimum of passes over the heads and therefore a lack of lossy in the highs. They have Lynx converters as well as some very nice preamps to play with. The room also looks very nice.

If you have not experienced drums on tape you should go for it. At least once. And your take on how you will deal with it for the rest of the recording is spot on! You might even want to do the bass in there too. Or at least get some tracks on tape through that Quad-Eight preamp.

pr0gr4m Fri, 10/05/2007 - 16:20

With 2" of tape @ 15 ips you would only get 2/15's of a second of recording time. That's not nearly enough time for a full song. At 30 ips you would only get half that. You'll barely hear the stick hit the snare!

Seems like a waste to go through all the setup of the drums, positioning, tuning, micing to only record a fraction of a second of music.


natural Sun, 10/07/2007 - 22:02

Well, you do need to look at cost.
. Assuming that you're only recording drums and maybe a scratch bass or gtr then you should be able to get at least 2 takes per 24tracks. So You will get roughly 3 songs per reel of tape and 2 takes per song.
A whole album could cost you 3 or 4 reels of tape. (I think $380/reel is excessive, you should be able to get it for under $300/reel and I wouldn't use used tape) After that, it will be transfered to PT. This is also a time consuming process, tracks need to be setup, labled, etc. Typically a new session for each song. Cleaning heads between each song. Changing reels etc. So add about a half day or more for that.
So, not counting any recording, your cost will be roughly $1200.00
Add to that at least 2 full days in the studio to cut 12 songs (2 takes each) and add another half day because things always take longer than you think.
Your total cost for this will run about $2500.00 - $3000.00

The sound should not be a huge difference between analog or digital. The room and engineer will make more of an impact than the tape.

my 2cents from experience.