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Burl Mothership or 2" Tape Machine? Digital Converters
Old 20th October 2015
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Burl Mothership or 2" Tape Machine?

Salutations Slutz,

I've been recording on eleven years now and have reached the determination that it's time to go big or go home. I began to learn the art of recording in the hope that I could record my own songs (hard/alternative rock) eventually at a professional level that can compete with major label releases of the past (at least in sound quality). I have a two track setup through which I can record/overdub electric guitars, bass and vocals. I don't have the facilities/equipment or playing skills to do a full drum kit yet so I've shopped out my drum recording to online session musicians for percussion and have been really pleased with the session player's results. However I am still not able to get 'all the way' to the sound I want. Records I would compare to having 'the sound' I want would be most of the classic records of the alternative rock era: Nevermind by Nirvana, Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine's debut album. Other albums I really admire are Appetite for Destruction by Guns n' Roses, Highway to Hell by ACDC and Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay. All very well recorded with very mainstream sounds and very commercially successful..

My current recording setup is basically decent throughout but nothing outstanding:

Mics: TLM 103 for vox,
57 and MD 421 for electric guitars

Preamp: Vintech Dual 72

Converters: Apogee Rosetta 200

Plugins: Waves All Plugins bundle.

I record everything at 96 kHz, 24 bit.

The amps and guitars I have are pretty great IMO: 1981 Marshall JCM 800 2204 for distortion and a 100 watt 94' Fender Twin Amp for clean. My axe is a Gibson Les Paul standard. I don't use any pedals. I am very happy with how these sound in the room. The Fender is a combo amp and my speaker cab is a Marshall JCM 900 series stereo cab with 2 G12T 75s for the mid scooped sound and 2 Vintage 30s for the mid emphasized sound. I can mix and match what I mic to get a very complete tone frequency wise.

So here's my issue: No matter what I do when I record, especially electric guitars, my mixes always come out sounding 'thin'. I don't mean 'lacking bass', I mean they sound translucent. Like there is no solidity to the sound. The simile I would use for it is likening a recording to a painting: my painting looks like it was painted on a sheet of glass. You can practically see through the paint, and if you held up a flashlight to it (AKA listened critically to it) the light would easily pass through it. Whereas the albums I mentioned earlier look (sound) as if they were painted on a nice piece of canvas. They are solid. If I held up a flashlight to it, no light would pass through the painting. That's the only way I can describe it. For example, to get a clean guitar to sound thick enough with my setup I have to record four tracks of it using two reamped passes of the same performance on two different speakers each with its own mic with my very colored preamp set heavy on the saturation (high input, low output). There are no phases issues because it's reamped and I time align the tracks exactly after the fact. I am close micing and I need 4 tracks to get one mini guitar to sound sufficiently thick. This can't be right..

With that method I can get an okay sound for clean guitars. But when I record distortion there is literally nothing that I can do to get it right. I have come up with elaborate methods to thicken the sound (I have modified my Les Paul to have a stereo output so I can take a DI of both the bridge and the neck pickup simultaneously) I then reamp both and get a perfectly tight performance from both pickups. It sounds really wide hard panned. But nonetheless my electric guitars in my mixes still sound translucent and harsh. I have to notch out at 2-3k aggressively to get rid of this terrible whistle, (I even have to do this with the clean fender!) and boost around 100 Hz to add some oomph. I low pass, but only conservatively. I use the right gain staging on the amp (master way high, preamp fairly low) it is loud as hell. My amps are not choked and I do not overdo the gain with fizzy preamp distortion. My amp EQ twist settings are conservative (all frequencies set at or close to 12 o'clock). I have recorded in dead spaces and live spaces and tried the amp positioned in many different places in the room, and yet when I listen anywhere, there's just something missing and the distortion is never truly euphonic coming back out of the speakers even though it was very pleasantly euphonic (nice power tube distortion) in the room. I experimented with mic positioning for months on end and know that I have a position that captures the source the best possible way for these amps. The mics I use have been used on countless hits no trouble. Yet, no dice. The distortion is wide and loud but it doesn't sound pleasing like on those other records. Sorry for writing a book, but I wanted to elaborate on my technique because I want to show that I have not taken technique lightly. I have believed pretty strongly that though my gear is not the very 'top of the line', there's no way I shouldn't be able to get something pretty awesome out of it. And I guess finally I've arrived at my true question.

All those records I love whose sound I have not been able to match have one thing in common: they were all tracked to 24 track 2 inch tape. Is this what I'm missing? Is the tape sound an essential and irreplaceable element for hard rock? Can I get there without it? (Please don't mention tape saturation plugins, have them all, tried them all, they are useless). I am not averse to trying tape, but the cost and lessened convenience are deterrents. Since I am a purist I will do whatever it takes to get 'the sound'. But I thought I should consider all options and that leads me to the other possibility: I've read a lot about Burl Audio and people here and everywhere say that the Burl A/D conversion is the closest thing to tape.. Is it tape's equal? I understand that the two can't be identical because they are not the same technology, but is the Burl as good? If Burl A/D is just as good as tape just slightly different than it, then I would go the Burl route. But if Burl is just 'really close to tape' but still not honestly as good, then I'd rather go tape machine because if the Burl is even 10% less than tape I know I won't be satisfied because I suffer from compulsive perfectionism. So that's my question. Would a Burl Mothership (I am hoping for 12 inputs of simultaneous A/D recording) equal (doesn't have to exactly match, just be as good) the sound of the records I mentioned earlier or will there always be that little bit missing?

I should also mention, whatever I record I will have mixed professionally on analog (SSL 4000 G) and pro mastered as well. I would not be mixing or mastering ITB. I have been only mixing ITB with the results that I have never been completely pleased with. Would just getting my current things mixed on analog get me there? Sorry for the novel but I know I won't be helped if you can't hear my whole setup/situation. Thank you everyone in advance.

-MM

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Old 20th October 2015
  #2
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Woodwindy's Avatar
I have some experience with Burl, and, IMHO, a mothership, a high end ribbon and LDC, in addition to great musicianship and proper room treatment would get your tracking where you want to go. A big part of the analog magic was the circuit in the tape machine, which is what Burl is all about.
Old 20th October 2015
  #3
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Jazzcrisis's Avatar
 

Post a mix that exemplifies your "translucent" issue. I'm interested to hear what you mean by that, and it would likely be useful in coming up with a course of action to correct the problem.
Old 20th October 2015
  #4
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burns46824's Avatar
A 24-channel Burl Mothership system D/A system with 8 channels of A/D will cost you around $9k. That's about the going rate for a Studer A800 or an A827 in good condition. I just picked up an Otari MTR-90III for $4.6k (before shipping). Just thought I would throw out some numbers without necessarily saying anything...

"Like there is no solidity to the sound. The simile I would use for it is likening a recording to a painting: my painting looks like it was painted on a sheet of glass." I have not used Burl stuff and have heard great things, but this sentence, to me, sounds like you're describing a digital recording.

If you haven't tried analog, I would say give it a go. When I first recorded on a Studer A800, my mind was blown.

Last edited by burns46824; 20th October 2015 at 05:31 PM..
Old 20th October 2015
  #5
I'd be surprised if it was either the lack of a tape machine or the lack of burl converters that is your issue. The apogee has a pretty fat sound. I have neither of these and don't have that problem with my mixes. There could be any number of issues, starting with the session drums, being, your mics and, this may sound harsh but isn't intended to be, your recording and/or mixing chops.

In more detail:

1. Most session drummers aren't recording engineers. They don't have big rooms and are experts at playing drums, not recording them.
2. Your mics aren't the fullest sounding in the box. And your room, if not we'll treated, is very likely to be compounding this.
3. It's all about the capture, put a good player with a nice guitar set up in a nice room with the right mics in the right places and it's difficult to screw it up.
4. Much about making a mix sounding big and broadband, if everything has been captured well, is the mix itself. If you don't have the chops, and it's an art that takes a long time to really nail, outsource it.

Hope this doesn't come across as too harsh but I'd be super surprised if converters are the heart of your problem.
Old 20th October 2015
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Hey guys, I appreciate the replies so far. I realize that I gave a pretty long-winded description of my issue but I might as well just post a file so you can hear for yourself what I am talking about (if I'm not just imagining things).

Here is an attachment for one of the tracks I am working on. It is about the closest I've gotten to achieving the sound I am going for, and it really isn't that far off IMO, just not quite 'there'. To compare with a mix that I am trying to match specifically you can refer to 'In Bloom' by Nirvana. The songs have similar arrangements.

Considerations for this track/potential culprits for my woes: This one was all recorded at 44.1 k 24bit rather than my usual 96k 24bit. Also all the mixing/mastering was done completely ITB. I used a Pultec eq plug for low end, a waves linear phase eq and a waves linear phase multiband compressor on the master bus. The guitars (the thing I'm most concerned with), were not recorded in a treated room, though they were very close miced and the amps were loud. I have trouble imagining much of the room sound was getting into them.. But still when I compare to the reference track there is a haziness/harshness with the distorted guitars. They are wide and thick, but not euphonic.. I think you will be able to hear that my technique is fairly solid, (I'm not far from my goal), but there is still something missing. That's why I think it might be a gear thing at this point, not a technique thing but I would love to hear any criticisms/suggestions. The session drummer recorded the drums and honestly, those are the best engineered part. He does have a treated room, has been playing for 30 years, did a fourteen mic setup through a small analog desk. Honestly his engineering is better than mine so I know he is not the weak link. Anyway, here is the mix file sans vocals, thanks again for all the replies. If there is anything in my description that seems it might be the culprit rather than just 'its digitial' which is what I currently suspect, I would love to hear it, because both my current options are pretty expensive..
Attached Files

GS Upload Rock Mix.mp3 (9.36 MB, 13078 views)

Old 20th October 2015
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Hey guys, I appreciate the replies so far. I realize that I gave a pretty long-winded description of my issue but I might as well just post a file so you can hear for yourself what I am talking about (if I'm not just imagining things).

Here is an attachment for one of the tracks I am working on. It is about the closest I've gotten to achieving the sound I am going for, and it really isn't that far off IMO, just not quite 'there'. To compare with a mix that I am trying to match specifically you can refer to 'In Bloom' by Nirvana. The songs have similar arrangements.

Considerations for this track/potential culprits for my woes: This one was all recorded at 44.1 k 24bit rather than my usual 96k 24bit. Also all the mixing/mastering was done completely ITB. I used a Pultec eq plug for low end, a waves linear phase eq and a waves linear phase multiband compressor on the master bus. The guitars (the thing I'm most concerned with), were not recorded in a treated room, though they were very close miced and the amps were loud. I have trouble imagining much of the room sound was getting into them.. But still when I compare to the reference track there is a haziness/harshness with the distorted guitars. They are wide and thick, but not euphonic.. I think you will be able to hear that my technique is fairly solid, (I'm not far from my goal), but there is still something missing. That's why I think it might be a gear thing at this point, not a technique thing but I would love to hear any criticisms/suggestions. The session drummer recorded the drums and honestly, those are the best engineered part. He does have a treated room, has been playing for 30 years, did a fourteen mic setup through a small analog desk. Honestly his engineering is better than mine so I know he is not the weak link. Anyway, here is the mix file sans vocals, thanks again for all the replies. If there is anything in my description that seems it might be the culprit rather than just 'its digitial' which is what I currently suspect, I would love to hear it, because both my current options are pretty expensive..
I'm home for the night so listening on laptop but:

I wouldn't say it sounds thin/transparent at all. But... the guitars are very loud in the mix, this is throwing the drums further back than I would mix them for this style of music (there is no crack to the snare for example). The drums are also very dry both for my taste and the style (see my point above about the room they were likely tracked in). It's most obvious on the snare. I suspect also that there is no smashed room mic and therefore not enough distortion making it a bit clean sounding.

So in short, for me, it's likely a combination of the room that the drums were tracked in and a mix balance thing. YMMV of course.
Old 20th October 2015
  #8
The Rosetta 200 is pretty thin compared to a Burl,
I had one for years, and when I installed my Symphony, I compared those and felt bad for the 200. It has an annoying mid range sound. I can hear it in your example,
the Bomber would have more low end depth, overall more weight and punch. A lot more headroom. A B80 loaded with AD/DA has so much headroom you could build a house with it. Its a LOT closer to the "finished" sound of the records your listening to, compared to that Rosetta 200.
Old 21st October 2015
  #9
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Slug1's Avatar
Try some parallel compression on your drums. It can 'phatten' things up quite nicely. But the bigger issue has already been mentioned. Most of the time, it's about quality capture (tracking room, mics, pres, etc) that will lead to the best product.
Old 21st October 2015
  #10
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I think you have to really think long and hard about going the analog tape path in light of the fact that it WILL require ongoing maintenance that is not cheap and very specialised. Don't get me wrong, I love analog tape too, but the upkeep on a 24 track analog machine is simply too much. The BURL gear would certainly be the way forward if I had the coin.
Old 21st October 2015
  #11
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burns46824's Avatar
There will be a lot of people who will admonish you against using tape. If you're operating a commercial jingle studio, that would be understandable. Otherwise, take the road less traveled.
Old 21st October 2015
  #12
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Drumsound's Avatar
Working on tape is a quite different than working in DAW land. This is a good and bad thing depending on point of view. The finite real estate of the medium, combined with no ability to move thing puts a huge demand on the players. Once they are on board, it gets really interesting. Players have to go for it, or do it again. The responsibility is back in their hands. Not everybody is ready for that in 2015. You also don't mention a console. You have to have one to use with the tape deck. They are big, do you have the space for a console and tape deck?
Old 21st October 2015
  #13
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The sm57 is pretty much industry standard for micing guitars but for a a little more thickness you could try a Royer 121 or 122 .

The TLM 103 is my least favorite mic on vocals. If you are on a tight budget, I'd use an sm7 before that mic. Afaic Mics are the most important aspect of the recording chain. While the Burl is a great converter and has probably the most tape like sound of the top converters, mic choice and mic placement will have a far greater effect on the sound you're getting. Compression can help thicken things up too and LA2A or Varimu are great at that. And tracking guitars with compression might be more effective at capturing a fat sound then trying to compress in the mix Also explore the waves plugins you have, dig in and trust your ears. The CLA bundle could probably help as CLA does a very good job with a present modern guitar sound.

If you have the patience for tape and can handle the media and maintainance costs there are some great deals on used studer units but if it were me I'd upgrade my mic cabinet first and then save up for a Burl MS and be done with it. Good luck
Old 21st October 2015
  #14
Master Moss,
The most important thing is........your talented.
Love the guitars loud and proud!

You are 100% correct in wanting to take it to another level.
Either option will bring you a big sound.

I love tape machines of all shapes and size.(I have,1" 8trk,2" 16trk)
And i love my Mothership,it does clean 2 dirty without a hiccup.
I use to HATE cymbals in digital before the Burl.

I still prefer 2" at 15ips for the rock and the roll.
And i am talking well maintained,proper alignment,discrete electronics.
Anything less and da' Burl mauls it to a green oxide mess.

Buy the Burl,you will make great music more frequently.
And you can take it to mix sessions.
Old 21st October 2015
  #15
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jjblair's Avatar
This is a pet peeve of mine. People are unhappy with their recordings and think, "Analog will fix my problems." The truth is, the problem is your recording technique. Part of that technique is your mic selection. And then you might be EQ'ing funny, or having placement issues.

You can make stuff sound big, full and powerful without tape. If you can't do that, then tape isn't going to help. You're just going to have an extra pain in the ass recording now, and your technique is still going to hinder you.

There is a real learning curve to tape. I've had too many sessions given to me that were recorded to tape first, and then dumped to PT, that were nightmares to mix, because somebody who never cut their teeth on analog didn't know how align the machine properly, and didn't know how to respect the tape headroom while seeking the much mythologized "tape compression."

These are very high tech machines, that require constant care and attention to make sure they are functioning properly. Wow and flutter will actually cause you to lose in one area whatever you think you are gaining in another area. Get some better A/D, and either augment your SM57 with a 121, or just use a MD409.

TLM 103 is dreadful on most sources, btw. That's not going to help you find the sound you seek, probably.
Old 21st October 2015
  #16
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jjblair's Avatar
BTW, I sold my 2" 16trk 3M M56. I still have my 827, and almost never ever use it. I run an Apogee Symphony for all my conversion, and even when I was using my AD/DA16X for conversion, I never once felt like I was hearing what you say you are experiencing. Tape has a sound, but some of the best sounding records in history were made without it. Technique is always more important.
Old 21st October 2015
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Hey guys, I appreciate the replies so far. I realize that I gave a pretty long-winded description of my issue but I might as well just post a file so you can hear for yourself what I am talking about (if I'm not just imagining things).

Here is an attachment for one of the tracks I am working on. It is about the closest I've gotten to achieving the sound I am going for, and it really isn't that far off IMO, just not quite 'there'. To compare with a mix that I am trying to match specifically you can refer to 'In Bloom' by Nirvana. The songs have similar arrangements.
Nice sounds and cool music. I don't agree, I actually like the guitar sounds better than the drums, but the drums are good. Whatever you do, trust your ears and your heart, you know what you are looking for and take in ideas, but do what you think works best for your sound, whatever the hell that ends up being!

I listened to the Nirvana track and it sounds less full range to me than your track so maybe "tape treatment" would get you where you want. Perhaps try some judicious low pass filters and/or tape emulation plugins to see if that gets you closer? It sound to me like you are in fact seeking the sound of tape, but maybe you can get there without the full-on hassle.

PS- the mix is not as good as the music, so maybe also consider working with a mixing engineer and see if someone else can get your tracks where you want them and learn from them? Also, maybe print the mix to tape and see how far that takes you?
Old 21st October 2015
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Hey everybody, just want to say that I hugely appreciate all the feedback y'all have given me and the input on this topic.

[email protected]: You have great ears man! Everything you said about the drum mix was spot on (not enough verb on the snare) and I had forgotten to smash my distance mics with an 1176 plug or equivalent, which is something I normally do! Hadn't looked at the drums in the DAW in quite a while, so I went back after hearing your suggestions, and yeah you are totally right. Pretty impressive you could hear that on a laptop too.

blueflag: I really appreciate the kind words man. Its also great to hear from someone who has access to both of the options I am considering, your feedback has been the most helpful of all.


This is definitely a weighty decision as going either the Burl route or going to tape will be the most expensive undertaking I've made by far in my time recording. I'm going to be doing a lot more research (and saving up cash lol) before I pull the trigger one way or another but its great to get this feedback. I also will be looking into the microphone aspect as some have suggested. I do know that the Royer 121 is very highly regarded for heavy guitars, the only reason I haven't bought one yet is simply that most of the rock records I love were recorded before that mic was around, so I didn't think it was a necessity. In terms of the TLM 103, everyone seems to unanimously hate it, but it wasn't used on any of the tracks in the mix I uploaded. I use it on vocals and actually do like it a lot on my own voice but my voice is not conventional at all, on better singers than me, I tend to agree it is not that great.

My last question would be to jjblair: I definitely understand the sentiment that it is only a poor craftsmen who blames his tools and that ideally I should seek to get a great recording with whatever I've got. I actually really appreciate that view. And I have heard many claim that fantastic records can be made digitally.. I would like to believe this, and can tell it is certainly true in pop, hip hop and electronic music.. But my question is, in the genre of hard rock, has it ever been done? There aren't many undeniably great hard rock records that have been made in the advent of digital technology to begin with.. Especially post 2000, there aren't really that many great hard rock records that were commercially successful and widely acclaimed.. And the few that there are, when I research them, I invariably find that they were still recorded to tape. Some of the few examples post 2000 would be 10,000 Days by Tool, Only By the Night by Kings of Leon and the Foo Fighters album Wasting Light from a few years ago. All of those were done to tape. I'm pretty sure all of the White Stripes stuff was done to tape too.. Those are some of the only 'rock records' that were made that were actually highly commercially successful in the past 15 years. I don't think any of those are in the same conversation as any of the classic albums I mentioned in my first post, but they were all recorded to tape as well.. So I guess what I'd ask you is: why do bands who have the budgets to record on anything, and producers who have the access to any gear they want decide, particularly in the rock genre to ever use tape at all? It is way less convenient than digital, yet people who have the means are still doing it. Butch Vig is a hell of a producer and engineer, there's no way that his 'technique is deficient', yet he still frequently chooses to use analog, as do many other top engineers in rock.. This is what leads me to think that digital may be a handicap (in the rock genre), because the big boys seem to avoid using it. I would love to hear about any great rock records made all digitally. What am I missing out on? But even today driving home from work, I heard on the radio the song 'Yellow' by Coldplay, the first song that really broke them as a band and set them on the road to becoming one of the world's biggest acts. Incredible, lush warm.. amazing song and recording. But yet another example of a track and album that was recorded all analog... That is why I have had for a long time a lingering suspicion that tape is a not so secret ingredient in the quest for a great rock sound... Thoughts?
Old 21st October 2015
  #19
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
Tape has a sound, but some of the best sounding records in history were made without it.
But most of them weren't.
Old 21st October 2015
  #20
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
But most of them weren't.
This is a silly statement. Most of the worst sounding records ever were done on tape, too. How does that change the equation?
Old 21st October 2015
  #21
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
This is a silly statement. Most of the worst sounding records ever were done on tape, too. How does that change the equation?
Please let me know of a digital record that sounds as good as Avalon or Gaucho or Kind of Blue or......
Old 21st October 2015
  #22
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jjblair's Avatar
MasterMoss, as far as digital being deficient for hard rock goes, it was my understanding that The Foo Fighters deciding to use tape was the artists' idea, not Butch Vig. You have to remember, Butch was one of the early proponents of ProTools. Those Garbage records were digital.

I was lending my buddy Niko Bolas some mics on a record this year, and not only was he using Pro Tools, he proclaimed how he didn't miss tape one bit. I have a couple other very well known engineer friends, who I'm not going to out by name, that I know have refused to use producers' CLASP systems, because they'd rather go straight to digital. In fact, in one case, one of them mixed a record by one of the biggest hard rock bands in history, which was tracked with CLASP, and the tracks they were given were not big and thick, likely because of a poorly aligned machine, and the mixes were far below this engineer's standards, because of whatever went wrong on the way to digital through the tape. I was kind of surprised how not awesome, and up to this person's standards this record was, and having tape in the signal path obviously didn't help it sound better.

In my many years experience of using both formats, I am finding that I can achieve whatever harmonic benefits I get from tape by using the UAD tape plug-ins. The only other benefit to tape is a transient response that digital converters can a very subtle effect on, but the higher end the converter, the less pre-ringing, and the better the transient response. But you lose that once you go to digital anyway, from tape.

I was an analog holdout for many years. I derided the sound of ProTools in the early days, and used tape as often as possible, as long as I could. But the fact is that conversion has gotten pretty damn good. So have plug-ins. You would be shocked to find out who's recording straight to PT and mixing in the box, these days. And these are people known for making some of the heaviest rock records of the last ten years.
Old 21st October 2015
  #23
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in the red's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
This is a pet peeve of mine. People are unhappy with their recordings and think, "Analog will fix my problems." The truth is, the problem is your recording technique. Part of that technique is your mic selection. And then you might be EQ'ing funny, or having placement issues.

You can make stuff sound big, full and powerful without tape. If you can't do that, then tape isn't going to help. You're just going to have an extra pain in the ass recording now, and your technique is still going to hinder you.

There is a real learning curve to tape. I've had too many sessions given to me that were recorded to tape first, and then dumped to PT, that were nightmares to mix, because somebody who never cut their teeth on analog didn't know how align the machine properly, and didn't know how to respect the tape headroom while seeking the much mythologized "tape compression."

These are very high tech machines, that require constant care and attention to make sure they are functioning properly. Wow and flutter will actually cause you to lose in one area whatever you think you are gaining in another area. Get some better A/D, and either augment your SM57 with a 121, or just use a MD409.

TLM 103 is dreadful on most sources, btw. That's not going to help you find the sound you seek, probably.
the advice of a pro! 100% right!

to the op: your setup looks like a typical home studio setup. a tape machine would be a significant step up, not in sound necessarily, but maintenance! in this day and age you really gotta have a passion to keep such a beast running properly. chances are that you spend as much time on aligning and/or repairing your tape machine as on recording! and you gotta buy tape. expensive.

if you are sure you want to do that, the you might find heaven on earth, or not. i myself have a digital and analog setup. 99% of the time i´m working digitally, leaving the tape machine switched off, which means the tape machine becomes more fragile. like cars, those machines need to be used on a regular basis.

lastly, i could think of a lot of other areas where you could improve significantly more, like room treatment (soooo important) or microphones.
Old 21st October 2015
  #24
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jjblair's Avatar
Oops. Double post.
Old 21st October 2015
  #25
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jjblair's Avatar
MasterMoss, as far as digital being deficient for hard rock goes, it was my understanding that The Foo Fighters deciding to use tape was the artists' idea, not Butch Vig. You have to remember, Butch was one of the early proponents of ProTools. Those Garbage records were digital.

I was lending my buddy Niko Bolas some mics on a record this year, and not only was he using Pro Tools, he proclaimed how he didn't miss tape one bit. I have a couple other very well known engineer friends, who I'm not going to out by name, that I know have refused to use producers' CLASP systems, because they'd rather go straight to digital. In fact, in one case, one of them mixed a record by one of the biggest hard rock bands in history, which was tracked with CLASP, and the tracks they were given were not big and thick, likely because of a poorly aligned machine, and the mixes were far below this engineer's standards, because of whatever went wrong on the way to digital through the tape. I was kind of surprised how not awesome, and up to this person's standards this record was, and having tape in the signal path obviously didn't help it sound better.

In my many years experience of using both formats, I am finding that I can achieve whatever harmonic benefits I get from tape by using the UAD tape plug-ins. The only other benefit to tape is a transient response that digital converters can a very subtle effect on, but the higher end the converter, the less pre-ringing, and the better the transient response. But you lose that once you go to digital anyway, from tape.

I was an analog holdout for many years. I derided the sound of ProTools in the early days, and used tape as often as possible, as long as I could. But the fact is that conversion has gotten pretty damn good. So have plug-ins. You would be shocked to find out who's recording straight to PT and mixing in the box, these days. And these are people known for making some of the heaviest rock records of the last ten years.
Old 21st October 2015
  #26
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jjblair's Avatar
MasterMoss, as far as digital being deficient for hard rock goes, it was my understanding that The Foo Fighters deciding to use tape was the artists' idea, not Butch Vig. You have to remember, Butch was one of the early proponents of ProTools. Those Garbage records were digital.

I was lending my buddy Niko Bolas some mics on a record this year, and not only was he using Pro Tools, he proclaimed how he didn't miss tape one bit. I have a couple other very well known engineer friends, who I'm not going to out by name, that I know have refused to use producers' CLASP systems, because they'd rather go straight to digital. In fact, in one case, one of them mixed a record by one of the biggest hard rock bands in history, which was tracked with CLASP, and the tracks they were given were not big and thick, likely because of a poorly aligned machine, and the mixes were far below this engineer's standards, because of whatever went wrong on the way to digital through the tape. I was kind of surprised how not awesome, and up to this person's standards this record was, and having tape in the signal path obviously didn't help it sound better.

In my many years experience of using both formats, I am finding that I can achieve whatever harmonic benefits I get from tape by using the UAD tape plug-ins. The only other benefit to tape is a transient response that digital converters can a very subtle effect on, but the higher end the converter, the less pre-ringing, and the better the transient response. But you lose that once you go to digital anyway, from tape.

I was an analog holdout for many years. I derided the sound of ProTools in the early days, and used tape as often as possible, as long as I could. But the fact is that conversion has gotten pretty damn good. So have plug-ins. You would be shocked to find out who's recording straight to PT and mixing in the box, these days. And these are people known for making some of the heaviest rock records of the last ten years.
Old 21st October 2015
  #27
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burns46824's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
This is a silly statement. Most of the worst sounding records ever were done on tape, too. How does that change the equation?
All music until the mid 80s was recorded analog. And, even after that, a lot was recorded analog until the mid 90s. There's clearly a lot more great music recorded on tape than on digital.

It's true, the recording medium won't necessarily change the quality of the music itself, (though it could, by limiting the arrangement). However, I'm tired of engineers saying it doesn't matter if you record analog or digital. This would be the equivalent of saying it doesn't matter if you shoot a movie on film or digital.
Old 21st October 2015
  #28
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
Please let me know of a digital record that sounds as good as Avalon or Gaucho or Kind of Blue or......
Really? Well, I know that Gaucho was at least mixed to digital, and Nightfly was recorded to Digital.
Old 21st October 2015
  #29
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by burns46824 View Post
All music until the mid 80s was recorded analog. And, even after that, a lot was recorded analog until the mid 90s. There's clearly a lot more great music recorded on tape than on digital.

It's true, the recording medium won't necessarily change the quality of the music itself, (though it could, by limiting the arrangement). However, I'm tired of engineers saying it doesn't matter if you record analog or digital. This would be the equivalent of saying it doesn't matter if you shoot a movie on film or digital.
Please show me where I said "it doesn't matter." I said that it was likely not the solution to the OP's problem. I said that you can make great sounding records without tape.

And my point about bad records also being made on tape is that the reason that many of our favorite records sound amazing was not the tape. It was the engineers. Good engineers make good sound, not tape.
Old 21st October 2015
  #30
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jjblair's Avatar
burns argument reminds of the story of Chet Atkins playing a guitar, and somebody commented to him how good that guitar sounded. He put the guitar down and said, "How does it sound now?"

BTW, the guy who recorded Avalon? His wife runs Apogee. Guess what he'd use if he were making that record today!
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