Originally Posted by refae
So, I guess what I'm really wanting to clarify is some of these subjective comments, like "It does add some warmth"... "Sometimes it helps"... "I think the real magic is when its printed to tape"... etc
"Warm" can mean different things to different people, so a definition is kind of tough. What the tape does for me is smooth out some rough edges. When I'm mixing, I almost always feel that there are a couple loose ends that if I only had a bit more time to address, I could tidy up. When I print digitally, I hear em. But often when I go to tape, they disappear or at least feel less pronounced. I can't explain why, and it's very likely someone will tell me I'm full of shit, and I accept that. But for me, it is what it is.
As for using tape at tracking vs mixing, it's important to consider the exact situation. At my studio, we have two 2" machines: one is a studer 827 24-track. The other is an MCI 16-track. If I use the studer for basics, the difference can be subtle, even at 15ips. Especially if I'm using GP9 or something similar. If I use the MCI (which I always run at 15ips), the "tape sound" is more apparent.
When I mix, I use an ATR 102 1/2". To my ears, mixing to that deck adds far more "mojo" (whatever that means) than tracking to the MCI or especially the studer. But everyone's mileage will vary, I'm sure.
I don't mean to attack anyone, I just want some objectivity-- is a DAW 'dumped' tape mix really going to have more dynamics or warmth or feel to it than a straight digital print of the mix? What is the science behind it? And what are peoples' experience in the field working with artists & musicians & making records?? When does a bounce to tape add something and when is it getting in the way?
A DAW mix dumped to tape will have less dynamics, as the tape adds some compression. This is often part of what we respond positively to: a tighter, more "glued together" sound; the sense that we're listening to a finished record.