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Transfering TAPE to DAW, Levels, Max input on AD converter
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Dan O's Avatar
 

Transfering TAPE to DAW, Levels, Max input on AD converter

Hi

I'm considering getting a new AD converter for our studio. Since we record a lot on tape and then to transfers to DAW we want an interface that can handle quite a hot signal.

At the moment we're using a MOTU 24i/o mk3. it gives me 14 dB headroom over +4dBu which is the studio reference level. When transfering from our Studer A812 the signal often get's to hot for the input level.

Anyone in the same situation? How do you do? Do you change the studio reference level to get more headroom or can your interface handle a higher level?

( I've been looking at Lynx which would result in additional 2 dBs of headroom but I'm not sure if it's enough. )

Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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No answers, where are all the studioguys from the analog age?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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I subscribed to this thread to see what people will offer as solutions. We'll see. Here are my observations:

The Lynx Aurora is 20dBu full scale (0 dBFS). The RME M-32 and M-16 have a selectable full scale setting of 24dBu, 19dBu and 13dBu. Of course, there's also the option of making a set of H-Pad attenuators for the cost of a good dinner.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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At +14 the tape recorder would be operating at its very upper limit of output and headroom. That is the upper limit of the capability of analog tape. So, NO, it should not be going over on your a/d converter that is set for +18dBu.

Attenuate the output of the tape recorder by going through a console and reducing the output level.

You can buy an a/d converter with a variable input level. The upper limit I have seen on a/d converters is +24dBu.

I recommend the arfi adc2 from the Acousence line of a/d converters.

https://www.artistic-fidelity.de/index.php/en/pro-serie
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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Could you calibrate the output of the tape machine a couple of db lower to avoid problems?
If you turn down the output level of the machine it won't influence any of the characteristics of the tape.

I'm not very familiar with the 812 but you should be able to save a couple of different calibration settings, this may only apply to the tape levels and bias but you could reduce the repro amp level instead of the machine out level, then you could switch at the touch of a button from +4 to +2 depending on whether you are clipping the converters.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
At +14 the tape recorder would be operating at its very upper limit of output and headroom. That is the upper limit of the capability of analog tape. So, NO, it should not be going over on your a/d converter that is set for +18dBu.

Attenuate the output of the tape recorder by going through a console and reducing the output level.

You can buy an a/d converter with a variable input level. The upper limit I have seen on a/d converters is +24dBu.

I recommend the arfi adc2 from the Acousence line of a/d converters.

https://www.artistic-fidelity.de/index.php/en/pro-serie


MediaGary,

I agree H-pads doesn't feel like a very good solution.

Plush,

Thanks for your reply. I've had level problems when going from my Studer A812 to my MOTU which operates at -14dBFS referred to 0VU at +4dBu on tape and console ( I hope that makes sense). In that case I have gone into the menu of the 812 and lowered the output level.

But it has also been on the limit when going from my 24 track tascam(1" 24 track unbalanced) ( In that case Motu set att -10dBV ).

I'm also about to upgrade to a 24ch 2", probably a Studer. I think that the problem mainly arise when it's "rockmaterial" recorded with hot levels.

I'm considering if changing the refence flux to 510nW so that I can get a higher magnetizement on tape without having to send a so strong signal to tape. Maybe that way the levels will come down? ( I'm still a beginner when it comes to tape machine alignment so I'm a bit uncertain about this idea. So far we have hired a professional tech for that. )

Concering choice of interface. We are in need of 32 channels i/o which is quite expensive. Antelope Orion and MOTU offer two good options when it comes to handling of high input levels. I just seems that Lynx may be better converters but it can't operate at that high levels.

I also prefer not going through the console when just doing transfers.

Last edited by Dan O; 3 weeks ago at 07:30 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred View Post
Could you calibrate the output of the tape machine a couple of db lower to avoid problems?
If you turn down the output level of the machine it won't influence any of the characteristics of the tape.

I'm not very familiar with the 812 but you should be able to save a couple of different calibration settings, this may only apply to the tape levels and bias but you could reduce the repro amp level instead of the machine out level, then you could switch at the touch of a button from +4 to +2 depending on whether you are clipping the converters.
I just sent a reply when I saw your post. As you say. That is possible on the 812 which is digitally controlled but not on my other machines. At least not with just the touch of a button.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan O View Post
I just sent a reply when I saw your post. As you say. That is possible on the 812 which is digitally controlled but not on my other machines. At least not with just the touch of a button.
What I tend to do is transfer direct without level changes unless it clips, I will then attenuate only those tracks, by running them through the minimum electronics, and do another pass.
I have a couple of faders on my desk that can be patched directly in and out of for example.

Of course, to solve the problem with minimum of fuss simply throw away the converters and do everything straight off tape.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscutred View Post
What I tend to do is transfer direct without level changes unless it clips, I will then attenuate only those tracks, by running them through the minimum electronics, and do another pass.
I have a couple of faders on my desk that can be patched directly in and out of for example.

Of course, to solve the problem with minimum of fuss simply throw away the converters and do everything straight off tape.
Haha, true! We do that sometimes but there's still customers coming in wanting to do transfers of old tapes. And I also like doing digital multitrack backups on importants projects. It has saved me once when one of my machines decided to go into record on all channels or was it me that just supertired and accidently hit REC. I dont know but it sure did wake me up
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan O View Post
Haha, true! We do that sometimes but there's still customers coming in wanting to do transfers of old tapes. And I also like doing digital multitrack backups on importants projects. It has saved me once when one of my machines decided to go into record on all channels or was it me that just supertired and accidently hit REC. I dont know but it sure did wake me up
You've gotta do what the client wants
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Something is really wrong. Also the OP has written contradictory language in his posts. At first the OP mentions that his MOTU is calibrated to reach 0dBFS at +18dBu.

Then in a later post, the OP switches to stating that his MOTU converter is calibrated so that -18dBu equals 0VU. These are not the same thing.

These statements don't make sense and are not compatible.

There should be no way your tape recorder is max pegged at +14dBu when outputting your recorded material. At that level, your program material would be so distorted as to be unlistenable.

I point to the calibration of the cheap MOTU as the problem. Also I don't think that you understand calibration and levels.

Get a pro to explain them to you. In a proper transfer from tape to digital there should be a gob of headroom left on the digital meter.

Last edited by Plush; 3 weeks ago at 08:26 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Something is really wrong. Also the OP has written contradictory language in his posts. At first the OP mentions that his MOTU is calibrated to reach 0dBFS at +18dBu.

Then in a later post, the OP switches to stating that his MOTU converter is calibrated so that -18dBu equals 0VU. (+4) These are not the same thing.

These statements don't make sense and are not compatible.

There should be no way your tape recorder is max pegged at +14dBu when outputting your recorded material. At that level, your program material would be so distorted as to be unlistenable.

I point to the calibration of the cheap MOTU as the problem. Also I don't think that you understand calibration and levels.

Get a pro to explain them to you. In a proper transfer from tape to digital there should be a gob of headroom left on the digital meter.
Ok, English is not my native language so it takes some time to get the sentences right. I understand there is some confusion here and I hope I can clear it up.


-Concerning the levels of the MOTU. When I send a +4dBu, 1,223V ( 0VU on my console) reference tone into my MOTU i get a reading of -14dBFS.


- If I record that signal to tape and then have it played back and sent to the MOTU wouldn't I get the same result? Is it wrong saying that I have 14 dB of headroom
when going from tape if the material is recorded round 0 VU?


-Yes, I also think the MOTU is the main problem that's why I'm considering upgrading and trying to figure out how hot signal the new AD must be able to handle.


-Im not sure what mean by maxed pegged at +14dBu? You mean its not possible to have peaks at that high level on tape?


-How much headroom do you think one should have in over the max peaks when going into the AD?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Dan O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Something is really wrong. Also the OP has written contradictory language in his posts. At first the OP mentions that his MOTU is calibrated to reach 0dBFS at +18dBu.

Then in a later post, the OP switches to stating that his MOTU converter is calibrated so that -18dBu equals 0VU. (+4) These are not the same thing.
Yes, my bad, that was confusing. I'll edit that post.
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