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Is 15 IPS or 30 IPS the sound of classic 90s rock? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 27th February 2018
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Is 15 IPS or 30 IPS the sound of classic 90s rock?

Salutations Slutz,

I'm recording an all-analog rock album whose aesthetic is very much inspired by a lot of the great smash rock albums of the 1990s. I've already begun tracking drums for about half the songs and did so at 15 IPS on a Studer A827. I notice a good deal of tape hiss on the tracks. To me, the hiss sounds really great and alive and I love it, but I do notice it seems more audible than on some of my reference albums of that era. So I was wondering if anybody can say authoritatively about any of the following records whether they were done at 15 IPS or 30 IPS, and also if you know, which machines were used. I know several of them were Studer A800s.

Pearl Jam: Ten
Nirvana: Nevermind
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Rage Against The Machine: Self-Titled
Stone Temple Pilots: Core
The Offspring: Smash
Green Day: Dookie
Alice In Chains: Dirt
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream
Soundgarden: Superunknown

Thanks in advance for any insight.

-MM
Old 27th February 2018
  #2
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IanBSC's Avatar
That is basically a list of the very first CDs I owned.

I'm sure some experts will be able to chime in. My understanding is that a lot of recordings of that era were 30ips, but probably the more rock n roll the vibe of album, the more likely it is to be 15ips.
Old 27th February 2018
  #3
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Cardinal_SINE's Avatar
 

some may have used 15 but they also probably used Dolby SR or similar
Old 27th February 2018
  #4
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

It was never my main thing, but I don't think I've ever worked on a "real" record on tape that wasn't at 30. Jingles, TV & Movie music -- almost entirely 15/Dolby A.
Old 27th February 2018
  #5
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Multi-track at 30 ips .... MixDown [2-trk] at 15 ips [1/4" or 1/2"]. Tape:AMPEX 456.
Was a common practice.
Old 27th February 2018
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
some may have used 15 but they also probably used Dolby SR or similar
I have of course heard of this technology by this point but still don't have a firm grasp of it. Is it implemented during tracking or during mix? Is it a compromise in terms of sound quality? Recording at 15 IPS is already expensive enough!

-MM
Old 27th February 2018
  #7
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DolbySR ... EN-coded during Recording. De-coded during Playback.
Old 27th February 2018
  #8
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Drumsound's Avatar
I wouldn't doubt a lot of those records were done at 30ips. Here is the Butch Vid thread on Siamese Dream.
Old 27th February 2018
  #9
Social Distortion ‘White Light, White Heat, White Trash’ (released in 1996) was done on 7.5 ips from what I understand. Massive sound.
Old 27th February 2018
  #10
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Cardinal_SINE's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Social Distortion ‘White Light, White Heat, White Trash’ (released in 1996) was done on 7.5 ips from what I understand. Massive sound.
These days 7.5 is a no brainer. Big bottom end and an hour and 6 minutes on one reel
Old 27th February 2018
  #11
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jjblair's Avatar
If you're doing 15ips, try the CCIR alignment. If you're on an 827, just align to regular NAB, then hit the CCIR button, and it will automatically switch for you.

Any of the tape formulas in the 90's aren't available now, so don't worry about it. The tape wasn't the sound of those records. It was the recording and mixing techniques. So many of those mixes have samples anyway.
Old 27th February 2018
  #12
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cheu78's Avatar
- Correct alignment of the machine is paramount.
- Then you might to record at the "right" level, in order to have the possible best signal to noise ratio.. I'm not saying that you have to slam the tape, but definitely record with a healthy/hot level.
- 15 ips while tracking is great, especially for drums and bass, but not only.
-30ips has a different sound, more mid/highs, somewhat cleaner or more modern so to say..
-7.5 ips is very fat, it might fit some productions when tracking, imho not for everything/everybody, but also depends on the machine (and personal taste).
-mix down at 15 or 30 is a matter of taste and production goals. 15 has more vibe going on, 30 is more "modern" with better mid/highs.
- if you do it correctly hiss should not be an issue, even without noise reduction units.



Cheu
Old 27th February 2018
  #13
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MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
The low frequency head bump moved up at 30...IIRC (not an alternative calibration)
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