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Hooking up a Sony PCM 1630 and U-matic system to Pro Tools or tape.
Old 24th March 2017
  #1
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Darius1's Avatar
 

Hooking up a Sony PCM 1630 and U-matic system to Pro Tools or tape.

So for laughs and giggles I want to use a Sony U-Matic digital master recorder with a 1630. So if I'm right I link these two units together, sound will pass through the U-matic tape back to the 1630 and from there on you would hook it up to a device to make a glass cd master. So I don't need that last bit, I'm in it to screw up the signal like crappy eighties masters.

The question is, how do I record the signal coming from the 1630? I'm using a Radar system. So maybe I could hook it up to the Radar, and from the Radar to Pro Tools or maybe just back to a master 1/4" tape again. I'm used to the easy setup of analog gear. This stuff has me confused with all the digital routing options. Any of you old mastering guys have any suggestions? I don't have these units yet. So I can't hook it all up yet. You know I have a thing against everything sounding slick and polished, I can't stand records where the vocals, the band, the whole sound sounds spotless. I need something to screw up all that niceness. I can't just go to a mastering engineer these days and ask to use U-Matic tape, that whole situation would cause intense awkward friction. So I have to do it myself. This is my idea of sh*tty mastering, current idea of mastering is brickwalling everything. So it has always been sh*t anyway.

Some photos of the backsides:
Attached Thumbnails
Hooking up a Sony PCM 1630 and U-matic system to Pro Tools or tape.-pcm1630rearpanel.jpeg   Hooking up a Sony PCM 1630 and U-matic system to Pro Tools or tape.-radar-studio-back-no-shadow-500dpi-e1426345196899.jpg  
Old 24th March 2017
  #2
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Why in God's name would you want to do that? These things are finicky and they don't sound good at all. When people used to talk about nasty, thin-sounding digital, these are exactly the type of machines they are taking about. They do not even sound lo-fi or charming in a cool retro way. They just plain old everyday sound crappy. And the machines themselves are a giant pain to use. How many mastering houses even still accept product in that format?
For what it's worth, I spent several years working in a facility that transferred masters from 1630 to DAW, frequently of major-label releases. Oftentimes, we had the DAT or analog masters as well. Without exception, the 1630 always sounded noticeably worse than other formats, even DAT, and even when monitored through a good DAC.
Old 24th March 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas View Post
Why in God's name would you want to do that? These things are finicky and they don't sound good at all. When people used to talk about nasty, thin-sounding digital, these are exactly the type of machines they are taking about. They do not even sound lo-fi or charming in a cool retro way. They just plain old everyday sound crappy. And the machines themselves are a giant pain to use. How many mastering houses even still accept product in that format?
For what it's worth, I spent several years working in a facility that transferred masters from 1630 to DAW, frequently of major-label releases. Oftentimes, we had the DAT or analog masters as well. Without exception, the 1630 always sounded noticeably worse than other formats, even DAT, and even when monitored through a good DAC.
I've seen you share your thoughts about Sony machines on this forum. I happen to like plain old everyday sound crappy. I just don't want pristine sound. My favorite mixes are rock mixes from the eighties. That meant hitting tape hard and mastering it to 16 bit cd quality. I don't enjoy complete digital records from that time, with DASH machines. It's the analog tracking and digital mastering thing. Sound is so subjective. I have heard tons of remasters, and I don't like most of em.
Old 24th March 2017
  #4
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Plush's Avatar
Of course you keep it simple and use the analog outs from the 1630.

Maximum cheese.
Old 24th March 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Of course you keep it simple and use the analog outs from the 1630.

Maximum cheese.
Yes I need that sticky cheese.

Thanks!

I'll use some Dymo embossing tape that says "f*ck up system 1630" and put it on the upper right corner. My go to crap to taste machine. You know the whole plugin idea. Like Steven Slate's console emulation plugins. Get that sound!
Old 24th March 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
I've seen you share your thoughts about Sony machines on this forum. I happen to like plain old everyday sound crappy. I just don't want pristine sound. My favorite mixes are rock mixes from the eighties. That meant hitting tape hard and mastering it to 16 bit cd quality. I don't enjoy complete digital records from that time, with DASH machines. It's the analog tracking and digital mastering thing. Sound is so subjective. I have heard tons of remasters, and I don't like most of em.
In that case, just get an old Tascam or Panasonic DAT machine and mix down to that. Much less of a pain than 1630, same crappy vintage digital sound
Old 25th December 2017
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
So for laughs and giggles I want to use a Sony U-Matic digital master recorder with a 1630. So if I'm right I link these two units together, sound will pass through the U-matic tape back to the 1630 and from there on you would hook it up to a device to make a glass cd master. So I don't need that last bit, I'm in it to screw up the signal like crappy eighties masters....
Apparently you can't use just any U-matic deck:

Models of PCM adaptors[edit]
The Sony PCM-1600 was the first commercial video-based 16-bit recorder. The 1600 (and its later versions, the 1610 and 1630) used special U-matic-format (aka "3/4"" or "three-quarter") VCRs also furnished by Sony for transports, such as the BVU-800DA, VO-5630DA, and the later DMR-2000 and DMR-4000, which were based from the industrial VO-5850 and the broadcast BVU-800 video machines respectively. These were all in essence modified versions of existing Sony U-Matic video recorders adapted for use with the 1600-series adaptors by way of disabling the chroma and dropout compensation (DOC) circuits of the VCRs, which would hinder the proper recording of the monochrome-video-based digital audio data from the 1600-series adaptors if enabled.

PCM adaptor - Wikipedia
Old 12th July 2018
  #8
Gear Maniac
Early digital sound (very early 1982) was harsh as Hell and then some. For example, the original "Dark Side Of The Moon" CD (mastered on a 1610...I think) was very harsh sounding during loud passages. Funny though, "The Kids Of Fame" Soundtrack (put out in 1982) was done on a 1600 and it is sounds as smooth as silk. Well, the U.K. CD does. Considering that it has to be a least a 3 digital generations down (at least!) That's not bad.

But the 1630 was used by Steve Hoffman in the 80's and early 90's making all of those great sounding (and now expensive) DCC disks like: Pet Sounds, Eldorado, Who's Next. All made on a Sony 1630 and SOUND WAY BETTER THAN ANY REMASTER TODAY.

But Steve Hoffman is a maverick in the industry. He has and still does all of his equalization, fade in/outs during the analog to digital conversion and not on mastering software. Back in the day he kept his digital generations as low as possible. And he pushed the 1630 right to it's limits.

I quote Mr. Hoffman of Audio Fidelity:
"...The converters are the same (as the ones back in the 80's) just more expensive..."
I disagree but...That's his opinion and I think most mastering engineers would disagree.

No argument. There is a certain sound to early digital converters. In particular the sound cymbals - they just don't sound right.
Old 18th January 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
So for laughs and giggles I want to use a Sony U-Matic digital master recorder with a 1630. So if I'm right I link these two units together, sound will pass through the U-matic tape back to the 1630 and from there on you would hook it up to a device to make a glass cd master. So I don't need that last bit, I'm in it to screw up the signal like crappy eighties masters.

The question is, how do I record the signal coming from the 1630? I'm using a Radar system. So maybe I could hook it up to the Radar, and from the Radar to Pro Tools or maybe just back to a master 1/4" tape again. I'm used to the easy setup of analog gear. This stuff has me confused with all the digital routing options. Any of you old mastering guys have any suggestions? I don't have these units yet. So I can't hook it all up yet. You know I have a thing against everything sounding slick and polished, I can't stand records where the vocals, the band, the whole sound sounds spotless. I need something to screw up all that niceness. I can't just go to a mastering engineer these days and ask to use U-Matic tape, that whole situation would cause intense awkward friction. So I have to do it myself. This is my idea of sh*tty mastering, current idea of mastering is brickwalling everything. So it has always been sh*t anyway.

Some photos of the backsides:
You want crappy digital mastering. Then you want the Sony PCM 1600. My Uncle has one in the basement at his New Market house. The 1630 was used to make thousands of shiny disks. And the 1610 mastered those Beatle 1987 CD that everyone says is superior to the modern 2009 ones so.....Who knows...
Old 18th January 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius1 View Post
I've seen you share your thoughts about Sony machines on this forum. I happen to like plain old everyday sound crappy. I just don't want pristine sound. My favorite mixes are rock mixes from the eighties. That meant hitting tape hard and mastering it to 16 bit cd quality. I don't enjoy complete digital records from that time, with DASH machines. It's the analog tracking and digital mastering thing. Sound is so subjective. I have heard tons of remasters, and I don't like most of em.

No argument. Those Sony 1600, 1610 and 1630 converters were inferior to the reference DACs today.

And yet most of the best sounding disks come from that whole 1982 - 1992 period.
For example take a listen to the original Jackson 5 compact disks from 1986. The engineer had a year to transfer all the Motown stereo albums of almost every Motown artist to a Sony PCM 1610. No time for added: EQ, compression or whatever. With the exception of fade ins and outs and editing out clicks and pops just a straight transfer to PCM. And those 1986 J5 Disks sound just like the albums. Unlike the recently remastered ones: Unnecessary EQ and way too much compression. Because you know those Motown engineers back in the 70's didn't know what they doing. (Sarcasm!)

O.k. if an album is too bright or is bass shy then it could use some "light" mastering moves. But often EQ is added when it's not necessary and then too much is done. The Iron Maiden Remasters of 1998 is a prime example. They did so much to the albums that they no longer sound like the original albums anymore.

The best converters in the world doesn't mean a thing if the client says,"I want all my Metal albums of the 80's to sound like Dub Step."
Old 8th February 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas View Post
Why in God's name would you want to do that? These things are finicky and they don't sound good at all. When people used to talk about nasty, thin-sounding digital, these are exactly the type of machines they are taking about. They do not even sound lo-fi or charming in a cool retro way. They just plain old everyday sound crappy. And the machines themselves are a giant pain to use. How many mastering houses even still accept product in that format?
For what it's worth, I spent several years working in a facility that transferred masters from 1630 to DAW, frequently of major-label releases. Oftentimes, we had the DAT or analog masters as well. Without exception, the 1630 always sounded noticeably worse than other formats, even DAT, and even when monitored through a good DAC.
Thousands of good sounding compact Disks made on the 1630. Ahhh...mmmm...I can't name any right now but. Oh. The Steve Hoffman mastered DCC disks, "Who Next" and "Pet Sounds." Audiophile classics there.

May I quote Steve Hoffman, "...The DACs today are the same, they just cost more..." I disagree with Mr. Hoffman on his view that a Professional DAC is the same DAC no matter if it's from 1988 or 2019. Just more expensive. And if he can't hear the difference between a 1630 and a Brown Bur3032 well it will surprise me.
Old 8th February 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
beware of early digital

Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas View Post
In that case, just get an old Tascam or Panasonic DAT machine and mix down to that. Much less of a pain than 1630, same crappy vintage digital sound

"..Crappy vintage digital sound.." A classic line sir. It needs to do go on a tee-shirt.

But you know a lot of classic audiophile DCC and MFSL disks were made on a PCM 1630. The 1630 mastered disk of ELO's, "Eldorado" made on the DCC label is considered by most audiophiles to be the best version of this album on CD. I think it depends on how you use it and how many digital generations you go through.

Just my Canadian nickel.... (We no longer have the penny)
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