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1/4" TAPE mastering tape recorders
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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1/4" TAPE mastering tape recorders

Quantegy has reel to reel 1/4" 456 mastering tape
( 1/4" x 7 x 1200)
OR
(1/4" x 10-1/2 2500)

I want to hit it single channel before conversion or for "2 bus"glue .
Instead of buying a tape effects i.e.; "Portico 5042 " I am looking at the real deal.

1. what would be the best tape recorders for this type of tape. 7or10 inch reels?

2. Are there any or even one company that are making these recorders still,
... if so what are the best ?

3. and why has no one just made a rack effects recorder that uses just a Tape
that you just plop in and get one or two channels, as high crom tapes are everywhere, instead of chaseing the elusive 2" just for sound goodness !
..... one head that records and the other head next to it'
that picks up the "recorded" track for the "sound of and on the tape"....

4. Are there 4 Track recorders that you can put "SM30 Cassette mastering tape" into and get this Great Tape warmth type of sound,
or are the 4 track recorders from casette able to add tape warmth and Harmonics
Or is it adding to much grit and noise level , and harming the clarity more than helping the sound.?
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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any experience and OR / advice in-regards to this is appreciated.,
Please post links and dealers if possible ,
.....Still trying to price the whole thing out. TX.
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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Quote:
Or is it adding to much grit and noise level , and harming the clarity more than helping the sound.?
yes it's called De-Evolution. i think you should consider some valve coloraton before even thinking of tape again. all that wow and flutter noise . the problem is getting a good machine and keeping it aligned and cleaned and demagnized . get a studer and run it at 30 ips for any decent results.
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive Banks
yes it's called De-Evolution. i think you should consider some valve coloraton before even thinking of tape again. all that wow and flutter noise . the problem is getting a good machine and keeping it aligned and cleaned and demagnized . get a studer and run it at 30 ips for any decent results.
thanks for the reply,
when you say "Valve coloraton" do you mean Preamps ? (neve/tube...ect)
Does STUDER make a smaller 1/4" (2 or 4 track) , for these tapes ?
would you have a model # or link I could look into ?
TX !
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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I have a Tascam BR20T, which is a very nice 1/4" tape recorder at 15". These are still being made, and you can probably find a used one that's not been throught the wars. Got mine for around $400.
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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For tracking the Portico emulation is a better idea IMO.

The beauty of 2" multitrack is greatly diminished with conversion. It's still a good idea for many styles, but it really makes a qualitative change to the harmonics and the immediacy to go digital after tape. Tape mixed all analog is one thing. Digital mixed digital that was tracked to tape and dumped is nice, but another thing altogether.

The Portico box is going to give you variable, real time, repeatable control of a very similar distortion characteristic. No it's not the same thing as tape, but once you convert it's close enough.

All the mechanical issues of a tape machine are gone, and that will save enough time to be worth that little bit of real tape sound that it lacks.



Now for a mixdown deck, a tape deck is a different thing and a good idea in many cases as it saves on 2 conversion passes and the sonics and glue are all there in full glory. ATR, Studer at the top, MCI and down to all the rest. Even a rebuilt Ampex 350, if it's REALLY rebuilt well. There are a few good threads on this already. Just beware of high end decks for cheap ... they need lots of work.


But again, if you have the Portico box for tracking and are already converting for other 2 mix processing you could use it again, sparingly, or just in the path without the process in, for the transformers alone.


have fun
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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The idea that tape is not worth pursuing is pretty crazy to me considering that almost every major rock producer in LA prints mixes to 1/2" or 1/4", and many of the ones I personally admire print to 1/4" 15 ips with or without Dolby most of the time. Wow, flutter, distortion, saturation, etc. give the music non-linearities that are pleasing to the ear when applied in the right amounts. Pretty much all of the greatest early rock records were mixed to 1/4".

Top to bottom, it would be Studer C37, Ampex ATR, lower end studers, MCI JH-110C, Ampex 440, Ampex ATR-700... those would be my suggestions, depending on how much $$$ you've got. You can buy a good vintage 1/4" deck for between $200 and $3000 right now, which is a steal considering that many of these decks were designed with the quality of a swiss watch maker and cost ten times that when they were new. Get a good tech and you'll be in good shape.
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey

The beauty of 2" multitrack is greatly diminished with conversion.


I agree, but it's still better than straight to digital IMO, especially when going into the computer multitrack with something like all Lavry.
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14th September 2005
Old 14th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknown soldier
I have a Tascam BR20T, which is a very nice 1/4" tape recorder at 15". These are still being made, and you can probably find a used one that's not been throught the wars. Got mine for around $400.
Really ? I looked at the tascam.com and could not find it any were, see I see all
the problems with used ones so thats why I was looking for a new 1/4" small one vs a used 2 "big one..... but !

I take that back do YOu Mean the;
112mkII
Production
Cassette Deck
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15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
For tracking the Portico emulation is a better idea IMO.

The beauty of 2" multitrack is greatly diminished with conversion. It's still a good idea for many styles, but it really makes a qualitative change to the harmonics and the immediacy to go digital after tape. Tape mixed all analog is one thing. Digital mixed digital that was tracked to tape and dumped is nice, but another thing altogether.

The Portico box is going to give you variable, real time, repeatable control of a very similar distortion characteristic. No it's not the same thing as tape, but once you convert it's close enough.

All the mechanical issues of a tape machine are gone, and that will save enough time to be worth that little bit of real tape sound that it lacks.



Now for a mixdown deck, a tape deck is a different thing and a good idea in many cases as it saves on 2 conversion passes and the sonics and glue are all there in full glory. ATR, Studer at the top, MCI and down to all the rest. Even a rebuilt Ampex 350, if it's REALLY rebuilt well. There are a few good threads on this already. Just beware of high end decks for cheap ... they need lots of work.


But again, if you have the Portico box for tracking and are already converting for other 2 mix processing you could use it again, sparingly, or just in the path without the process in, for the transformers alone.


have fun
thanks for the insite

Your always the best for advice, as you make me think of the ovious things I miss in my thought pattern.
I really guess that it wont be as big as I think unless I can AFFORD an all Analog path, Recorder Deck, Mixer, ect.... arcive Analog ,
and then just A/d the Media of choise , cd / dvd / .... at the very last stage.
that would be a great goal, but....
I really am not going to afford an all ANALOG route at the momient, and I like working programs , anamation , recall, ect....
10K will be best spent some were elce I guess,
Get some of that Portico Neve gear I have been getty to get a hold of
Mabe fatso/some cool warmers as well.
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15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloocproducer
The idea that tape is not worth pursuing is pretty crazy to me considering that almost every major rock producer in LA prints mixes to 1/2" or 1/4", and many of the ones I personally admire print to 1/4" 15 ips with or without Dolby most of the time. Wow, flutter, distortion, saturation, etc. give the music non-linearities that are pleasing to the ear when applied in the right amounts. Pretty much all of the greatest early rock records were mixed to 1/4".

Top to bottom, it would be Studer C37, Ampex ATR, lower end studers, MCI JH-110C, Ampex 440, Ampex ATR-700... those would be my suggestions, depending on how much $$$ you've got. You can buy a good vintage 1/4" deck for between $200 and $3000 right now, which is a steal considering that many of these decks were designed with the quality of a swiss watch maker and cost ten times that when they were new. Get a good tech and you'll be in good shape.
Is it possible to learn how to be the Teck,
a book about motor servicing, ie clearences, ect.
and More importantly; are there parts to servic them...
I do all my service on my Ducati, otherwise It would cost a small fortune to keep!
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15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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Tascam still stocks (most?) parts for the BR-20- They're cheap, too-
I just rebuilt the tape path on one I landed (new heads, guides, pinch roller), and the cost of parts wasnt more than about $200 or so. Turned out to be a SURPRISINGLY well-performing machine, considering it's a Tascam. Good motors & control, no perceiveable flutter etc. Holds tones VERY stably to well above 22k with +9 tape @ 15-

If you're patient, careful & good with your hands, maintaining tape machines isn't hard.
In fact, regarding the BR-20, Tascam's service instructions from the service manual are very easy to follow, including complete mechanical & electronic alignment, I would expect even for someone inexperienced as well.
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15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep
Is it possible to learn how to be the Teck,
a book about motor servicing, ie clearences, ect.
and More importantly; are there parts to servic them...
I do all my service on my Ducati, otherwise It would cost a small fortune to keep!
I have a tech in LA here who can work on any machine you throw at him. It's 75/hr... which seems like a lot, but I had him do 2-3 hours to bring my MCI JH-110C up to spec. and now I do all the work/alignments myself. It's not that hard.. unless you want to personally service the motor for kicks. But get a machine that's easy to work on if you're worried about this. I would start doing some research on the net and scouring the classifieds/ebay. PM me if you need a tech, I use the guy who was one of the chief engineers at Larabee.
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15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rep
Quantegy has reel to reel 1/4" 456 mastering tape
( 1/4" x 7 x 1200)
OR
(1/4" x 10-1/2 2500)

I want to hit it single channel before conversion or for "2 bus"glue .
Instead of buying a tape effects i.e.; "Portico 5042 " I am looking at the real deal.

1. what would be the best tape recorders for this type of tape. 7or10 inch reels?

2. Are there any or even one company that are making these recorders still,
... if so what are the best ?

3. and why has no one just made a rack effects recorder that uses just a Tape
that you just plop in and get one or two channels, as high crom tapes are everywhere, instead of chaseing the elusive 2" just for sound goodness !
..... one head that records and the other head next to it'
that picks up the "recorded" track for the "sound of and on the tape"....

4. Are there 4 Track recorders that you can put "SM30 Cassette mastering tape" into and get this Great Tape warmth type of sound,
or are the 4 track recorders from casette able to add tape warmth and Harmonics
Or is it adding to much grit and noise level , and harming the clarity more than helping the sound.?

I'm scared.




Man, you don't need tape.


You need more experience.

Seriously...I don't even know where to begin with that.

There's such a wide difference in tape machines...almost 50+ years of history, with thousands of recorders in all shapes and sizes at all kinds of different speeds and tape formulations...to even begin to dissect it all and yet describe "it" as a general "tape" sound?

It's all hooey.

There's such a vast difference in quality between professional analog recorders of the open reel variety and "SM30 Cassette mastering tape" that I can't even begin to try and describe and put it into words. You can start to compare an everyday car, like a Ford Taurus to something like a Ferrari F355 or a Jaguar XKR, yet...somehow you just can't compare them at all.

It's a whole other animal.

Tape is great. I dig it. Nothing else sounds like it. Yet, it has it's drawbacks from maintaining machines to editing. So, I embrace digital too. It sounds ok, I hear audio and I'm not offended, but it doesn't kiss my ears like a well maintained open reel analog recorder does. But there's a time & place for both and I'm ok with that…the whole duality thing.

If you've spent any significant amount of time around real tape machines, you sorta have a sense of what's up with regards to reel sizes and name brands and stuff. You'd also know that you can't begin to compare a cassette machine to an open reel recorder and call them both "tape" machines in the professional sense of the word.

What you should really do...if you want to experiment with the effects of "2-bus glue" is call around to the studios and find one that has a bunch of different things to try out, from real analog tape recorders of the Studer, Otari, or properly maintained Ampex/MCI varieties...to compressors and EQ's.

Tell them upfront that you want to play around with gear for a day or so and ask them questions about stuff. If they seem accommodating, book a bunch a' hours...like a day or two, might run you $700-1500 tacos. Think of it as a rental and schooling fee, make a weekend out of it...like a vacation!

Book the time and leave all your preconceptions at the door. Don't think about what tape is or isn't supposed to sound like, because you might get the effect you want from transformers or tube line amps or something else. Make sure you also take time to actually listen and really compare things objectively and you'll figure out what does and doesn't work for you.

Bring in your songs and material and fuk around a bit. Make sure you record everything and take notes so you can figure it all out later and see what you like and don't like.

Then, and only then...should you start to decide what equipment to purchase for your productions.
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#15
15th September 2005
Old 15th September 2005
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i agree that (meaningful) experience is definitely the most important factor in the results you get.

that said, you can gather that experience with tape, or without it. either way, your improvement will occur at the same speed, and your mixes will reflect that. if you're looking for a magic bullet, or something that'll make your ears pop and say "wow that's unbelievable my mixes now sound pro!" you'll probably be deeply disappointed. the experience is more like "aahhhhh, that's a bit better." it's a nice inch in this game of inches we play.

i'm a huge fan of the studer a810. it's tone is creamy but unobtrusive, it's built like a tank, it can be had for well under a grand, and it has more headroom than tape can dream of handling. the main calibrations --- input level, bias, record and playback eq --- are processor controlled so you push buttons rather than turn little screws, very posh.

use 456 for tracking if you want a mushier, darker, compressed sound. use gp9 for a more shimmering hifi thing. use 499 for something in the middle. used tape works forever, at least until it sheds.

be sure to experiment with all the calibration settings. don't be afraid to abuse the levels so you can learn all the contours of what tape does. as with all things compression/limiting, less is more, and you'll probably overdo it at first until you jear the subtleties.

in any case, enjoy!


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#16
16th September 2005
Old 16th September 2005
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Thank you guys for your replies,
I really appreciate the advice, and experience you have with the different recorders.
I am really good at Digital recording... love the sound I am getting ,as it sends back what ever I put in, so I get all my sound upfront and just use the DAW for fader levels and a few edits... so IT sounds like adding tape is out for now...
I have always heard people say-things about Tape... so I was curious...
I'm in my 20's so I cant really say that I had much of it anyway, and It always seamed muddy and cut low pass on the Highs , to my ears, not as sharp as digital
(when people allude to digital being harsh in the highs, I usually see that they have way to much EQ on the top) .
Next is to see if there is any benefits to Adding another stage of convertion just to have Analog summing,
when and after it is brought back to CD if there are any changes at the very END stage of speakes
I will try rent a Mix Dream, and a few others...do a comparo' , See about the new Mytec summing converters thing.
.....But the way things are going so far,
in that there is nothing that make a difference as much as experience,
looks as though I will just keep sharpening my surgical Digital skills and Keep it cutting edge.
I love the sound I am getting,
so does the kids pre movie accs, and everyone else I introduce my material.... I Just like to see at times,
if there is more I can squeeze out..... in typical junior Gear Slut fashion
#17
16th September 2005
Old 16th September 2005
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no interest in the Neve tape emulation box? it solves a lot of issues and sounds very good
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16th September 2005
Old 16th September 2005
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YES ;.) !!!
That is for sure on my list now,!
as well as the 5012 Mic Pre Duo
I cant wait for the 5032 Single Channel MIC PRE and EQ
I should just get the entire line, and just be done with the guessing .!
"...One of each Please'".... Screw it , I am just going to Get one of each...
Do some kind of R-C-L micing setup for some fun live vibe effects....

P.S. Lucey what format (44.1 -192 / CD - DVD) 24 bit goes without saying.,
should I Do my new Solo projects in If I wanted you to master them when I am finished and ready to CD it?
I work with my Apogees and Lavrys at 44.1 / 24 currently for movie music demos,
but I would be willing to do to 96k if you think it would give a better image,
...to go through your STC8 and other top gear?
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