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Future of Tape
Old 6th November 2005
  #1
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Future of Tape

How does META see analogue tape playing a role in the recording industry in the future?
Do you have any plans to promote development of products/standards for a new generation of tape users?
Old 7th November 2005
  #2
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Chuck Ainlay's Avatar
 

don't give up on a good thing

Good Question, we should talk about this one or perhaps this is something for NARAS or AES. I for one still love the sound of analog recording and generally track in a hybrid approach. I love the sound of 2" 16 track so I'll cut bass and drums to that while I cut everything else to 96k digital. Once we arrive at a take I then transfer the analog tracks into the hard disk system and carry on there. I mix through an analog desk to 96k and analog two track. I've got a 1" ATR 100 that I love to mix to at 15ips. We just need reliable tape. The last few batches I got of the latest Quantegy was fairly problematic. I'm hopeful they'll get it straightened out and I'm really looking forward to the new production of the EMTEC 900 formulation that's promised from Europe.
Old 8th November 2005
  #3
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Ainlay
Good Question, we should talk about this one or perhaps this is something for NARAS or AES. I for one still love the sound of analog recording and generally track in a hybrid approach. I love the sound of 2" 16 track so I'll cut bass and drums to that while I cut everything else to 96k digital. Once we arrive at a take I then transfer the analog tracks into the hard disk system and carry on there. I mix through an analog desk to 96k and analog two track. I've got a 1" ATR 100 that I love to mix to at 15ips. We just need reliable tape. The last few batches I got of the latest Quantegy was fairly problematic. I'm hopeful they'll get it straightened out and I'm really looking forward to the new production of the EMTEC 900 formulation that's promised from Europe.
thumbsup
Old 8th November 2005
  #4
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Hello-

I am just wondering what 16 track 2" machine you like best specifically? I've just started shopping for one, and I would love to know what you are using. Thanks-

Ryan
Old 10th November 2005
  #5
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16 trk

We used Studer A800 MKIII's for Mark's stuff and that's what I have at my studio as well. They are a great sounding, fat and punchy, and very reliable machine.
Old 15th November 2005
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Ainlay
Good Question, we should talk about this one or perhaps this is something for NARAS or AES. I for one still love the sound of analog recording and generally track in a hybrid approach. I love the sound of 2" 16 track so I'll cut bass and drums to that while I cut everything else to 96k digital. Once we arrive at a take I then transfer the analog tracks into the hard disk system and carry on there. I mix through an analog desk to 96k and analog two track. I've got a 1" ATR 100 that I love to mix to at 15ips. We just need reliable tape. The last few batches I got of the latest Quantegy was fairly problematic. I'm hopeful they'll get it straightened out and I'm really looking forward to the new production of the EMTEC 900 formulation that's promised from Europe.
It would be interesting to see if defluttering these tracking transfers and the mix retains what you like about analog while giving you back the pitch and time stability. Our contention is that what most guys actually like is the HF compression, the subtle de-essing that tape provides, and maybe a little help from head bumps in the low end. What they don't like, and what constitutes generation loss has much to do with fast flutters and FM distortion, which we can eradicate at the A/D into the DAW of those tracks that were recorded on tape. This may yield the best aggregate option, but so far we've been unable to prove it, since it's a subjective issue, and is best determined by the ears of the producer, regardless of what the specs (which improve drastically) show. It could be that the wobbles and warbles of the machine create a "charm" that is otherwise missing. If so, it's a matter of an attractive defect, like 2nd harmonic. Would be good to know. If it's the former there's an easy plug-in scenario I have envisioned but have not yet built. It's a lot easier to work with a tape as it's recorded, rather than one that's 50 years old.

Jamie
Old 18th November 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Ainlay
We used Studer A800 MKIII's for Mark's stuff and that's what I have at my studio as well. They are a great sounding, fat and punchy, and very reliable machine.
Hello Chuck,

Which tape is your favorite?


Emtec will supposedly start production again, the GP9 is available already.
What do you think is the best tape for mastering?
Old 18th November 2005
  #8
gml
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tape...

guys,

it's worth mentioning that at least 2 (Frank & i) of us 7 really have moved beyond tape.

for what it's worth to you, i was never happy with tape artifacts, and thank heavens for the day when i was able to put across vocals to hard disk and have them come back uncorrupted. uh, which hasn't been that long ago (i have to admit that early converters were deeply flawed, and at the same time, most of the companies marketting them were lying their faces off)

apologies to the tape fanatics...

George
Old 20th November 2005
  #9
Gear Head
 

George as usual is the truth. Digital is way truer, at least now that converters do a decent job of capturing a fine-grained representation of reality.

In order to build our thing we had to analyze tape record and repro like it never was, due to lack of affordable tools back in the heyday, and some ways to look at signal that didn't exist back then. It is truly amazing how many "artifacts" there are. Apart from Dale Manquen and a few others in the early 80s nobody really saw what the spectrum analysis of the speed fluctuations were, and the amount of intermodulation distortion they produced. We'd never accept specs like that from a piece of electronics in a million years. It's a mechanical system, at root. As for why some artifacts are attractive, or at least familiar to the point of being linguistic, is that even as flux levels got higher and higher with 996 et al. users still apply drive levels such that the transient output at 10K is 3-5db lower than the transient at 1K. That to me implies that what's attractive is the de-essing, and maybe something cute about the phase shift.

Interesting also that ribbons and rf condensors became the rage again as analog waned.. no need for the characteristic U87 ringing in the 15K region to reinforce the diminished top end.

(OH is that why I never liked U87's? It was THE BELLS! - Jules "Quasimodo" Standen) heh
Old 21st November 2005
  #10
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It's odd how there was a trend toward making condensors brighter after digital took over.
Old 22nd November 2005
  #11
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Chuck Ainlay's Avatar
 

As George put it, many of us believe that digital is a truer representation of the mix buss and I, like George and Frank, have been mixing to digital at the highest resolution possible for many, many years now. I however still love what analog does and sometimes feel it improves my mix. I think of it as a processor on the final mix. Getting back to the question of which tape I prefer, I was always in favor of the EMTEC 900 formulation and hope that RMG tape sounds the same.
Old 24th November 2005
  #12
Lek
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Do you feel it makes a difference what kind of music you are mixing whether or not to mix down to tape? I had been considering getting an ATR 102 after hearing a lot about how great tape is for rock music.
Old 26th November 2005
  #13
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I'd like to put my two cents in here because I still use analog. I'd also like to point out that George and I did a class at Berklee where we recorded Kathy Matea to both 2" analog and pro tools. All of the students thought the analog sounded incredibly better. George agreed. I'm not saying that digital is bad but it is a trade off for convenience and ease of work. Analog does sound better to my ears and I will continue to use it as long as there's tape.
Old 26th November 2005
  #14
gml
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as much as i hate to say it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Scheiner
I'd like to put my two cents in here because I still use analog. I'd also like to point out that George and I did a class at Berklee where we recorded Kathy Mattea to both 2" analog and pro tools. All of the students thought the analog sounded incredibly better. George agreed. I'm not saying that digital is bad but it is a trade off for convenience and ease of work. Analog does sound better to my ears and I will continue to use it as long as there's tape.
Els, i loved every minute of doing that thing together with you, but i'd have to say that judging analog to be "incredibly better" than dig seems like an overstatement. you're right...we did all agree that we liked what we heard off of analog.

it's important to note that after Elliot left i continued the session from the analog source.

but you know, Els, you may have to get used to digital as there are only so many lives left to tape manufacturing...it's kind of used up 8 lives so far...

George
Old 26th November 2005
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gml
Els, i loved every minute of doing that thing together with you, but i'd have to say that judging analog to be "incredibly better" than dig seems like an overstatement. you're right...we did all agree that we liked what we heard off of analog.

it's important to note that after Elliot left i continued the session from the analog source.

but you know, Els, you may have to get used to digital as there are only so many lives left to tape manufacturing...it's kind of used up 8 lives so far...

George
George and Elliot,

Could you elaborate on the ways the sonics of the analog and digital sources differed?

And, can either of you offer some ideas on how to work with digital which would "close the gap" with analog (assuming there is one)?

Thanks in advance!
Old 26th November 2005
  #16
Dor
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Interesting point.

i'm not sure the demand is there to justify the supply, which explains the price of tape these days. I'm thinking about grabbing a tape machine but am weighing the pro's and cons. I'm recording and mixing about 3 to 4 albums a year..

D
Old 26th November 2005
  #17
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Hi
It's good to hear Elliot's views on tape vrs digital!
Scruffy
Old 27th November 2005
  #18
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lucey's Avatar
* The Quantegy and RMG folks are not the only tape options long term. Mike Spitz and ATR Magnetics are near release of their new line which will draw from everything before it, including their deep knowledge of tape machines and their high quality standards.
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