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Passing mixes to 1/2" Equalisers (HW)
Old 5th January 2018
  #1
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Midas's Avatar
Passing mixes to 1/2"

Happy new year to everyone

After been discussing it for quite long time , some colleages told me about the benefits transfering final mixes to reel to reel 1/2" tapes, telling me a about a subtle sonic improvement on the sound . I did not want to know anymore about tape machines since circa 2.000 once the Daw stations start to work firmly ( no more pain on the ass analog editing was needed). I'd like to know what Is your opinion about it and also which are the tape/machines brands that do you use

Regards

J
Old 5th January 2018
  #2
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Drumsound's Avatar
I do it fairly regularly. I'll either mix to tape and back into PT at the same time, or run all final mixes to tape and back. It does all the things you expect: the bottom fills out a bit, the stereo picture seems to have a little more width, the highs are a little rounder, but often more pleasing.

I use a Studer A80R 1/4" usually at 15ips. I keep a couple reels around for this.

The Sara Quah record in my signature had all the final mixes run to tape before being sent to mastering.
Old 6th January 2018
  #3
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Midas's Avatar
i´ve overheard that 1/4¨is not that good as 1/2¨though according width and so on
Old 6th January 2018
  #4
1/4 inch on a quality machine is amazing.
Old 6th January 2018
  #5
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I run my mixes to a 1/2” Mara machines mic kJ-110. I can print your mixes down to 1/2” tape for you.
Old 6th January 2018
  #6
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
i´ve overheard that 1/4¨is not that good as 1/2¨though according width and so on
Don't take it personal, but I do believe you never heard a tape machine in person..

Although 1/2" is "technically" superior to 1/4", on a great machine 1/4" is fantastic imho. In my experience (with the machines I've heard/used) it "packs" the sound in a different way, I'd say "better" somehow.. at least to my ears.

And the differences between 1/2" and 1/4" are, after all and depending on the machine, a matter of taste imho.

I'd suggest to send your files to the fellow above with the MCI / Mara machine and see if you like the results, I do like the mci's jh110 (and jh24) a lot.

Btw I'm now selling my beloved studer c37, which of course is 1/4" and it's one of the best tape machines ever made (ask the Beatles ).



Cheu

Last edited by cheu78; 6th January 2018 at 11:17 AM.. Reason: Typo
Old 6th January 2018
  #7
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i did have a Foster 1/4¨..not playing at the same league than ampex or studers machines though..

Last edited by Midas; 6th January 2018 at 09:34 PM..
Old 6th January 2018
  #8
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
i did have a Foster 1/4¨..not playing at the same league than ampex or steadiers machines though..
I understand..
Some of the less expensive machines might have the "right" sound for a specific genre / song, when dirtiness or lo-fi -ness is needed..
Some of them sounds also quite good afterall, but most of them don't have a lot of headroom and distort quite early/easily..

Studer in general (A80/800/820/827), MCI jh24/jh110, 3M, Scully, Stephens, Ampex are all different of course but they are in a different league imho.

And some people even modded those, go figure..

I'd try to find a better machine if you want to have better results, but it's not forcely a matter of tape size. If you're in the US a mara machine stereo 1/4" might be your best bet.



Cheu
Old 6th January 2018
  #9
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
i´ve overheard that 1/4¨is not that good as 1/2¨though according width and so on
The specs might be a little better, especially S/N ratio. I have no personal experience with 1/2", but have no issues with 1/4".

John Paterno once told me he did a bunch of A/Bing between the two and prefers the sound of 1/4". He has worked in all the big LA rooms, and done some fantastic sounding records. I generally trust when he says something like that, it isn't just talking, but comes from a place of knowledge.
Old 6th January 2018
  #10
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myles's Avatar
 

Surprised no-one has mentioned head bump yet. But maybe not...

15 and 30 do sound different. But never (never) think 1/4" doesn't sound good, on a good machine. A well-set-up 351 will make you very happy, but most of those have been cannibalized for "mic pres".
Old 7th January 2018
  #11
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Midas's Avatar
Even some people bounce it through tape cassettes ...the thing is that if it worth to invest into an ampex or Studer machine just to improve the sound on the mixes that much?

There are a lot of analog plugins emulators out there..I guess that adding a little bit of " dirtiness " into daw recordings is something to get benefit of it ...and also to sound a little bit away from the nowdays daw based recordings
Old 7th January 2018
  #12
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
Even some people bounce it through tape cassettes ...the thing is that if it worth to invest into an ampex or Studer machine just to improve the sound on the mixes that much?

There are a lot of analog plugins emulators out there..I guess that adding a little bit of " dirtiness " into daw recordings is something to get benefit of it ...and also to sound a little bit away from the nowdays daw based recordings
If that's what you're after i'd go for something good, but not quite as clean/hi fidelity, eg a Revox A77 or B77. They're also much more affordable than a high end Studer. Cassette is more mud than mojo. imo.
Old 7th January 2018
  #13
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roaringwave's Avatar
I use my OTARI MX7000. I have two them actually (one needs servicing). Tape is magic period imo! You can't go wrong using the Real Deal Holyfield.
I don't use it all of the time though. Sometimes, but only when I am very lazy about it, I'll use one of the Nebula tape emulations. To me, they're about the closest that I have heard in the SW world. But compared to the Real Deal Holyfield, it'll definitely get knocked out for sure! Real tape kinda levels out and naturalizes all of that harshness out of the mix that Digital Music 'sometimes(?)' brings into the sonic spectrum imo.

Some engineers identify this as Analog 'Warmth"



My 2cents - Roaring Wave
Old 7th January 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaringwave View Post
Sometimes, but only when I am very lazy about it, I'll use one of the Nebula tape emulations.
Those require a dedicated server, no? Or can they be used stand-alone?
Old 7th January 2018
  #15
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roaringwave's Avatar
Nebula

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead1957 View Post
Those require a dedicated server, no? Or can they be used stand-alone?
If you are using your Daw. You can use it as a VST without a server. There are two Nebula's, Nebula 3 Reverb Server and Nebula 4 I'm pretty sure. But they do sound 'that' good imo bc they're not algorithmic. They are dynamic. And it is that little 'subtleness' that gives Nebula its magic when I compared them to the algorithmic plugs.

But, I have been hearing and reading on GS about some of the lastest Algorithmic Tape Emulation plugs. Some ppl on this site have a whole different opinion about the lastest Tape Saturation Algorithmic Plugins. I've been hearing that the coding of the new plugs have been vastly overhauled and improved.

Anyways, me. I don't have the time to be auditioning anymore of these new fx plugins at all. I am so done with plugs. I use the one that I've got only. All of the other zillions of plugs that I had I've deleted. Just to the core stuff: Nebula, Fab Filter, Hova, Waves, Voxengo CSPAN & Sugarbytes for mangling. Everything else was totally overkill and impeded my mix workflow.
Do you know what I'm saying?

I just use what I have and I 'MAKE' it work.

If you can't use a real tape. Buy Nebula. To me Nebula is tops. Fab Filters is tops for surgical EQ imo.
Old 7th January 2018
  #16
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
Even some people bounce it through tape cassettes ...the thing is that if it worth to invest into an ampex or Studer machine just to improve the sound on the mixes that much?

There are a lot of analog plugins emulators out there..I guess that adding a little bit of " dirtiness " into daw recordings is something to get benefit of it ...and also to sound a little bit away from the nowdays daw based recordings
When I use tape, I'm not going for "dirt." That's a major misconception from an era of people who didn't ever do full analog projects, who think "slamming tape" is or was the norm, and what that even means sonically.
Old 8th January 2018
  #17
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Midas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
When I use tape, I'm not going for "dirt." That's a major misconception from an era of people who didn't ever do full analog projects, who think "slamming tape" is or was the norm, and what that even means sonically.

I came from an analog era...i lived the transition to the Adats/Tascam machines too..and i have to say that i did not miss anything but the warmth on the sound that tape machines deliver..same with the summing issue...the Digital world can´t deliver the idiosyncrasy of the analog world but that is kind of a nostalgia stuff..the quality on the recordings that you can get today with only a sound interface and a laptop was not expected just 25 years ago. it is more about the nowadays productions and how do they sound. I always associate tape recordings with a good era of recordings/productions during the heyday
Old 8th January 2018
  #18
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
I came from an analog era...i lived the transition to the Adats/Tascam machines too..and i have to say that i did not miss anything but the warmth on the sound that tape machines deliver..same with the summing issue...the Digital world can´t deliver the idiosyncrasy of the analog world but that is kind of a nostalgia stuff..the quality on the recordings that you can get today with only a sound interface and a laptop was not expected just 25 years ago. it is more about the nowadays productions and how do they sound. I always associate tape recordings with a good era of recordings/productions during the heyday
My first job was in an ADAT room. We did good work and were busy and the boss kept upgrading. When he bout Johnny Ks old TAC console the quality began to rise even further. I then bought my first 2" and later Johnny Ks first 1/4" deck. I get and love what tape can do, but I don't hate digital like I did in the '90s and early '00s. I use my 1/4" deck a lot more than my 2" these days, and I always sum through the console with an analog mix bus compressor.

I think part of what you're talking about when mentioning current production has to do with style of production. Those of us who came up using a linear capture system look at building songs differently. People with a handful of compressors, compared to as many as we want, see both mixing and tracking differently. Time marches on...
Old 8th January 2018
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaringwave View Post
If you are using your Daw. You can use it as a VST without a server. There are two Nebula's, Nebula 3 Reverb Server and Nebula 4 I'm pretty sure. But they do sound 'that' good imo bc they're not algorithmic. They are dynamic. And it is that little 'subtleness' that gives Nebula its magic when I compared them to the algorithmic plugs.
Thanks
Old 8th January 2018
  #20
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Silvertone's Avatar
Time marches on, that’s true... but if we forget what was learned from the past we are destined to repeat It <snip - no politics>

I work with cutting edge equipment all the time... but I love my Langevin tube console and presto 3 track, the sound they produce is unlike any other... you have to experience it to appreciate it really. Also, it’s fun... computers, not so much for me.

Last edited by psycho_monkey; 9th January 2018 at 11:15 AM..
Old 8th January 2018
  #21
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Midas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Time marches on, that’s true... but if we forget what was learned from the past we are destined to repeat it.

I work with cutting edge equipment all the time... but I love my Langevin tube console and presto 3 track, the sound they produce is unlike any other... you have to experience it to appreciate it really. Also, it’s fun... computers, not so much for me.

"There is no greater aphrodisiac than the couple exchange"

Last edited by psycho_monkey; 9th January 2018 at 11:16 AM..
Old 8th January 2018
  #22
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Midas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I think part of what you're talking about when mentioning current production has to do with style of production. Those of us who came up using a linear capture system look at building songs differently. People with a handful of compressors, compared to as many as we want, see both mixing and tracking differently. Time marches on...
I totally agree with that approach
Old 8th January 2018
  #23
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Time marches on, that’s true... but if we forget what was learned from the past we are destined to repeat it.

I work with cutting edge equipment all the time... but I love my Langevin tube console and presto 3 track, the sound they produce is unlike any other... you have to experience it to appreciate it really. Also, it’s fun... computers, not so much for me.
You'll probably make some out of left field, awesome record on the 3-track and transform the industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
I totally agree with that approach

Last edited by psycho_monkey; 9th January 2018 at 11:16 AM..
Old 8th January 2018
  #24
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
1/4 inch on a quality machine is amazing.
my friend tony bongiovi mixed the ramones to 1/4 inch for the saturation and curve
Old 8th January 2018
  #25
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myles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
When I use tape, I'm not going for "dirt." That's a major misconception from an era of people who didn't ever do full analog projects, who think "slamming tape" is or was the norm, and what that even means sonically.
Thank you. And thank you again. It's like tubes = distortion.
Old 8th January 2018
  #26
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by myles View Post
Thank you. And thank you again. It's like tubes = distortion.
Yeah, I think the methodology has gotten a little skewed.
Old 9th January 2018
  #27
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead1957 View Post
Those require a dedicated server, no? Or can they be used stand-alone?
Yes, Nebula is CPU heavy. But you can freeze/bounce a shorter part of audio in your DAW. And if you like the sound, let it bounce. I make myself then a cup of tea. When I came back, the tape sound is there :-) Now I think it is really a step further then the Algo plugins emulates tape. But still not quite sure, if it's a placebo in the honeymoon. I'll report at the end of 2018 if the Nebula-love was real. Now I like it (using those Strudel libs), a funny name...and Timp Petherick 37C
Old 9th January 2018
  #28
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Midas's Avatar
therefore using either 1/4 "or 1/2" there are no sonic differences as well as differences in the amplitude of the sound?
Old 9th January 2018
  #29
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
therefore using either 1/4 "or 1/2" there are no sonic differences as well as differences in the amplitude of the sound?
Of course there are differences, but:

1. Depending on the machine this will be different from case to case, but usually 1/2" have less noise, more headroom.

2. 1/4" could still be great on nice machines, as said it "packs" in a different way..

3. you have to test them with your material and ears to understand what I'm saying.

I know this might be very abstract, I hope you could experience this one day.. Go to a studio that has a nice machine and test it.

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 9th January 2018
  #30
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myles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midas View Post
therefore using either 1/4 "or 1/2" there are no sonic differences as well as differences in the amplitude of the sound?
As I said earlier, head bump.

Ampex Tape Recording Basics | Amplifier | Inductor

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What causes Tape Head Bump?
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