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Killing tape hiss and saving the sound... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 23rd February 2003
  #61
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Lol AJ...you will never have to worry about me being in that category. I'm just a UPS guy who refuses to give up on a dream. I'll just keep delivering those damn boxes 'till I see some real money from my twang twang.

too much a noob to have an attitude,
cheers,
Steve
Old 23rd February 2003
  #62
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
Keep in mind that many posts here are from folks who are elitist snobs who have to justify their monthly lease payments.
A high-end forum is an odd place for posting lowest-common-denominator arguments, but in this case you're not talking about stratospherically expensive gear...tape machines are no more expensive than high-end digital rigs, and in some cases are much cheaper.

Did you mean that using both digital and analog recording technologies is for elitist snobs, or just analog recording? Is 1/2" okay? Are R1 and 3348 users elitist? What about folks who use a number of formats, say 2" for tracking, PT for editing, 1/2" and Masterlink for mixdown, and 3348 and 2" and Firewire for archiving? Are all those free-lancers and producers doing that snobs too?

I guess we can rename this the "elitist snobs who should stop using all those formats" forum.

heh
Old 23rd February 2003
  #63
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

no jon... im just talking about you.
Old 24th February 2003
  #64
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

I guess you know me about as well as you know analog tape. Which is to say -- pretty superficially.

FWIW the general feedback from the producers and free-lance engineers is that we should keep moving the studio and services further upmarket. Even charge more. They want that luxury and are willing to pay for it.

How's that for irony. We're not elitist enough, except on the high end forum.
Old 24th February 2003
  #65
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Wow, I didn't mean to start a riot. For those of you who use tape, what do you use to deal with hiss on, for example, acoustic guitar parts where it would be more easily heard?

Also, off topic, do any of you have any plug in recommendations for pc pt users who don't have access to the Duy or Mcdsp stuff? Are there any equivelants of those for Xp users??
Thanks,
Steve
Old 24th February 2003
  #66
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

ironic you are the odd moderator out on the high end forum... michael... chris... and old ass analog you.

your problem is you think what you use is better to the Nth power. sadly you own an SSL... after all, it is just about money for you. it never is about sonics.

guitar tones are unbelievably easy to get on anything from a cassette portastudio to a soundblaster card running cool edit to an ADAT to a 2" deck [8/16/24 track] to a DAW to whatever you want. it is most certainly one instrument whose final tone runs in importance from the beginning of the chain to the end... fingers of the player to the guitar to the head to the cabinet to the mic to the pre to the medium...

THERE IS NO "better" MEDIUM. you need to get over yourself.

and get some real monitors.

p.s. jon... so did you ever decide which track was the "bad math"? snuck away from that challenge didnt you?
Old 24th February 2003
  #67
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guittarzzan's Avatar
AJ, since you seem to be a dedicated digital guy with great success in getting good guitars going right into digital; outside of the player, the amp, cab, pre etc, what are some tips that I might benefit from? Do you boost the mids...keep the gain fairly low...record 2 amps at the same time......layer 4 guitars with a little distortion to get a heavy sound...compression on tracking or not...etc.
Any tricks you've learned along the way would be appreciated. Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to find out I can get the sounds I want going straight to disk!!

Thx again,
Steve
Old 24th February 2003
  #68
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Transfer from PT to 2"...it sounds better or worse depending on the machine, engineer, and musical context.
AJ, it would be nice if you'd reply based on what I wrote. I don't think it's a blanket assertion of analog superiority.

Many engineers, including fellow posters here, use both analog and digital, each for their particular strengths. It's not unusual.

Regarding the composition of the forum moderators here, that is up to Jules. Each of the moderators here works in a different context. I value the diversity of pro opinions here. I can deal with a certain level of BS, but strong pseudo-expert assertions without solid experience behind it doesn't fly with me. MPlancke called you on it too and I think he summed it up pretty well.

About money vs sonics, or about justifying lease payments...the studio I run and engineer in is chosen mainly by freelance pro engineers, not by artists or label mooks. When those engineers or I are doing sessions, it's about sonics and creating optimal conditions for performance. Standard procedure is to clear up potential problems about gear, mics, and recording formats from the start -- by renting things in, or changing rooms or acoustics, if needed. Limits and excuses are removed, so that whatever sounds best gets chosen. The sonics and performance come first. Money and lease payments are just a means to providing that.
Old 24th February 2003
  #69
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan
Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to find out I can get the sounds I want going straight to disk!!
I think you certainly can. A simple, very high-quality path in any format with a good-sounding source should work fine.

Whether you would like it better tracked to analog tape is something you really have to try and hear for yourself to decide. I use both formats, but wouldn't feel comfortable telling you what works best for you.

Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan
Do you boost the mids...keep the gain fairly low...record 2 amps at the same time......layer 4 guitars with a little distortion to get a heavy sound...compression on tracking or not...etc.
The things you mention above are very context-dependent. There unfortunately aren't any one-size-fits-all EQ settings, mic/amp or layering techniques. It depends on the music, song, player, guitar, amp and arrangement.
Old 24th February 2003
  #70
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
but strong pseudo-expert assertions without solid experience behind it doesn't fly with me.
im suprised you can justify what you write then.

read this ****ing thread jon. its about trouble shooting his system. you would make a horrible salesman because you dont know how to qualify... exactly the same type of misguidance that made him believe tape would help him in the first place. then read my ****ing posts to his situation. the only bull**** here is you jon... of course, you think you are the only expert here.

p.s. i have experience using both formats... and running his guitars to tape isnt going to be the cure to his problem.
Old 24th February 2003
  #71
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan
For those of you who use tape, what do you use to deal with hiss on, for example, acoustic guitar parts where it would be more easily heard?
Thanks,
Steve
Steve,

With modern high-output tapes and flux level settings, I find that hiss is not a problem if I'm doing a good job with sounds and levels to tape. Even with used tape, it's generally fine. Note that I'm talking about using tape without Dolby NR.

The real problems you would have to worry about with analog tape have more to do with maintenance, mechanical alignment and electronic alignment. Issues like bias, tape tension, head wrap, azimuth, and so on. You have to get your hands dirty with that stuff if you want to get the most out of that format, just like you have to deal with clock, jitter, dither, converter and bit depth/sample rate issues with digital.

Whether or not your digital rig is running properly is hard to diagnose from here. However, even on a well-running DAW system, you can hear a difference between the source pre-DAW and the monitoring post-DAW. Some of that small but audible degradation is inevitable; the question is how much of it is improvable through better clocking, converters, system installation, or word clock cable length/quality. You need to check those potential issues to be sure you're getting the best sound you can with your DAW.

Hey, you're from Portland? I grew up around there and my folks live in Hillsboro, they retired to a farm there...I enjoy coming back home for Christmas every year. You're not too far away from Klaus H. of German Masterworks. He's about an hour out of Portland.
Old 24th February 2003
  #72
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

nice answer jon
Old 24th February 2003
  #73
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
Thanks Jon.

Yeah in fact I talked to Klaus via email about a possible mike mod, but I think it's a bit out of my budget. I also spoke with a Neumann rep and he said some people swear by his mods but that the Neumann factory gets a lot of his mods back to be re-modded back to original. As Neumann really doesn't have anything to lose by him doing mods (they've already bought the mic), I tend to believe him and for a workin man, I don't think the financial risk is justified.
I realize that there isn't a hard and fast method for recording any sound source. To try and get some more specific info, I've added that the general guitar sound that I'm struggling with is distorted guitars somewhere in between those of STP Core album and Godsmack's stuff. As there are no "sure things" in terms of techniques, I would think there would be some general techniques that people have used with success to get these sounds or close to by going straight to disk.
If you were going to record a hard rock guitar using nice tube amps, mics pre's etc and didn't have a 2" machine, hypothetically, what would be your first hunch on how you would approach it? For that kind of a sound straight to disk, is your first instinct to record the amp at the gain levels the player likes or to use less gain and beef it up with extra tracks...or what? Again, I know nothing works all the time. I'm just looking for some ideas that have worked in the past. I can try everything here and sort out what works for me.
I think it's a much faster road to success to learn from those who know than to try and learn it all on my own. There needs to be a balance of the two I think.
Your folks have done well in their choice of a retirement location. Hillsboro is growing like crazy and any landowners out there will be futer millionaires if they aren't already.
Thanks,
Steve
Old 24th February 2003
  #74
Gear Addict
 
mplancke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan
Wow, I didn't mean to start a riot. For those of you who use tape, what do you use to deal with hiss on, for example, acoustic guitar parts where it would be more easily heard?
I've not had a problem with tape hiss, especially when using high output formulations like 996, GP9, 499 at elevated levels. I generally use +5/250nWb for a bit of extra headroom.

In general, I find that I get more noise from the front end of the chain depending of course on the source, how much gain is needed and how much compression I'm using.

Most noise issues can be easily handled with the use of mutes in the mix.

I just finished tracking and mixing a rock band to 2-inch at 30 ips no NR, mixed down to 1/4-inch ATR102 at 15 ips no NR. Tape hiss was not a factor.

Mark
Old 26th February 2003
  #75
Here for the gear
 

Tape Hiss

Hey, good question. I'm pretty new at analog too but I had a very knowledgible engineer show me a tiny trick to eliminate tape hiss. He slightly cranked the highs on all channels, that way if you need to add highs later on your most likely not going to add any additional hiss.
Philip
Old 27th February 2003
  #76
Gear Addict
 
mplancke's Avatar
Re: Tape Hiss

Quote:
Originally posted by Philip Haney
Hey, good question. I'm pretty new at analog too but I had a very knowledgible engineer show me a tiny trick to eliminate tape hiss. He slightly cranked the highs on all channels, that way if you need to add highs later on your most likely not going to add any additional hiss.
Philip
I know a "trick" that's been used by many people including Fletcher who told it to me.

What you do is with your MRL you align the playback head down 1db on the high eq and make up the difference on the record side. Esentially netting you 24db of hiss reduction across 24 tracks. Just make sure you have a good set of alignment tones on printed on your multi-track.

Mark
Old 27th February 2003
  #77
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guittarzzan's Avatar
Well after much trial and error...and I mean much, I finally found my magic formula. I'm not going to say it sounds as good as tracking to a nice 2" machine, but holy crap, it does sound pretty sweet with high gain tones. I can't express how happy I am to know that I can get a huge guitar sound without the tape set up and some of you may argue this, but even without micing a cab. I've already recorded a few throw away riffs just to make sure it sounded good on playback and it did.
You'll probably get a laugh out of this, but here's my noobish "magic" distorted guitar chain:

Prs guitar to Avalon U5(tone at 6) to Sansamp Psa-1 (high gain preset) to input on my VHT Pitbull head running on it's clean channel only and output at about 6 to Palmer Pga-04 cab simulator to Vintech X73 to Art tube compressor( very little compression) to Digidesign 192.

I think if Sansamp and VHT got together, they could make a monster amp because the sansamp as a pre to the VHT power section is nothing less than awesome.

Thanks for all your tips, but I think for now, I'm a happy camper and will not have to worry about tape hiss...just amp hum.

Cheers,
Steve
Old 28th February 2003
  #78
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Re: Re: Tape Hiss

Quote:
Originally posted by mplancke
I know a "trick" that's been used by many people including Fletcher who told it to me.

What you do is with your MRL you align the playback head down 1db on the high eq and make up the difference on the record side. Esentially netting you 24db of hiss reduction across 24 tracks. Just make sure you have a good set of alignment tones on printed on your multi-track.
So if I have a a 250nWb/m MRL and the deck is set up for +6/185 I'd go for -2VU at 10khz? Or is it -4VU? I'm thinking the former but I just want to make sure.
Old 28th February 2003
  #79
Gear Addict
 
mplancke's Avatar
Re: Re: Re: Tape Hiss

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
So if I have a a 250nWb/m MRL and the deck is set up for +6/185 I'd go for -2VU at 10khz? Or is it -4VU? I'm thinking the former but I just want to make sure.
1db less than whatever your reference 1kHz tone is at on the VU. So if your 1kHz tone is at -3VU you'd want to align 10kHz for -2VU on playback.

Remember attenuate 1db on the playback side and align normally (10kHz to -3VU) on the record side which will actually be boosted 1db to makeup for the 1db loss on the playback side.

Clear as mud???? rollz

Mark
Old 28th February 2003
  #80
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Re: Re: Re: Re: Tape Hiss

Quote:
Originally posted by mplancke
...Remember attenuate 1db on the playback side and align normally (10kHz to -3VU) on the record side...
Hmm, shouldn't that be 10k @ 0Vu on record?
Old 28th February 2003
  #81
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Tim L's Avatar
 

I'm also at a bit of a loss as to where that missing dB is coming from... if you don't pull another dB on the Rec side (10k @+1Vu instead of 0Vu) you're not making up for the loss... or am I suffering from a "senior moment" kinda thing? heh
Old 28th February 2003
  #82
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Depends on what flux level you want. Mark's example was an alignment at flux +3db (say, +3 over 250nW/m)...a frequently-used level.
Old 28th February 2003
  #83
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

During rec alignment, you set levels so that the PB head output level, while recording, equals the input signal.

If the HF PB is down 1dB, during the rec alignment you will compensate for that when you adjust the rec HF level to tape until PB HF output equals source HF input.
Old 28th February 2003
  #84
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Depends on what flux level you want. Mark's example was an alignment at flux +3db (say, +3 over 250nW/m)...a frequently-used level.
Yes, but wouldn't you be setting that off the MRL?
Old 28th February 2003
  #85
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

The MRL is for PB levels, which you do before the rec alignment (and frequently after also).

During rec alignment, no MRL is needed...you're sending tones to tape from the console (or the Studer itself if it has the internal tone & sweep generator...VF handy).
Old 28th February 2003
  #86
Quote:
Originally posted by guittarzzan

If someone out there has recorded great sounding guitars going straight into pt, I'd love to hear the material and how it was done. I'm not talking about Tom Petty guitars, but more in the Godsmack, Nickelback genre...I'm not a big fan of either band, but their guitars sound pretty natural to me as opposed to say R. Zombie guitars which I think sound like amp farm etc or my stuff when going direct to pt.

Thanks guys,
Steve
I did this: http://prode.rules.it , click on "Rock", there are 4 songs as 192k MP3's (KingMegaMaster#1 is maybe most fun)The band is still unsigned...

It is quite humble: The songs are tracked and mixed on a PT MIX+, mixed inside ProTools. Guitar mics were Sennheiser 421 and AKG 414 into Mackie pre's, 882/20 and ADAT XT20 as converters and I had to master it myself... Still I think it sounds very ok. Check it out!

-Skwaidu
Old 28th February 2003
  #87
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
During rec alignment, you set levels so that the PB head output equals the input signal level. If the HF PB is down 1dB, during rec alignment you will compensate for that by increasing the rec HF level to tape until PB output equals source input.
So, in this instance, unity between PB HF and Rec HF would be -1dBVu. And alligning to 0Vu gets that 1 dB back for you. Am I reading you right on this?
Old 28th February 2003
  #88
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon
The MRL is for PB levels, which you do before the rec alignment (and frequently after also).

During rec alignment, no MRL is needed...you're sending tones to tape from the console (or the Studer itself if it has the internal tone & sweep generator...VF handy).
The way I learned was to do the setback for EOL off the MRL, remove it, then allign Rec gain, Hi eq, and Lo eq to their respective tones ( from board or generator) @ 0Vu. I read Mark's post to read he was alligning the Rec side to -3Vu.
Old 28th February 2003
  #89
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Tim, I guess I'm confused on where your getting 0VU from. Let's go back to school for a minute or 10...

0VU is 185nWb/m (which is nanowebers per meter)
+3VU is 250 nWb/m

You need to start an alignment (assuming the azimuth has already been set) with a 1khz tone on the MRL. Pick your operating level. If you want to record at +6 over 185nWb/m then you align 1k to -3VU on the repro head. If you want the operating level to be +9/185 then you set the 1khz tone off the MRL to -6VU. Follow suit for 10khz, 100hz. After that I'll go back and check 1khz again just to see if it moved. Now the repro card is set. Don't touch it!!!

After setting the repro gain, patch the osc. in and set the bias with whatever method you pick (I use dB's over at 10khz) then set up a 1khz tone to input the machine at 0VU. Make sure your in repro and align the 1khz using the record gain on the synch card but your monitoring the output of the deck. Set the record gain so that when the machine is in repro you get 0VU. Now, do 10khz and 100hz. After that, I'll check 1khz again just to see if it moved a lot. If it's more then a 1/2dB or so off I'll redo that channel. After all that is done I'll also print 15khz and 50hz, 15 seconds each. After I set the record levels I'll switch over to the synch head and set the repro gains on those cards.

There's no way to set a record level for low freq. You can only set a repro level for it. If you ****ed up the bias it'll be way off and you won't be able to get both 10khz and 100hz to 0VU.

Hope that helps...
Old 28th February 2003
  #90
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Tim, I guess I'm confused on where your getting 0VU from.
See below...

Quote:
Let's go back to school for a minute or 10...
So, is this that "smart ass" thing again kiddo?... Thanks, but no thanks...

Quote:
Set the record gain so that when the machine is in repro you get 0VU.
0Vu!!!... Holy ****ing Hog**** Batman, there it is... imagine that ****?

Quote:
There's no way to set a record level for low freq. You can only set a repro level for it.
There you have me. That should have read Repro Low freq... many thanks.

Jay, I learned and am most familiar with the Otari machines (90's of various mk's in particular). I know people have different methods of going about alligning a deck but to me yours seems to bounce around the MRL quite a bit. When I locate and loop a tone I'll allign everything related to that tone. For instance; while I'm on 1k I'll do "Repro gain" (all safe/ all repro) then switch over to "Sync gain" (all safe/ all sell rep)...viola 1k's done, off to the next tone. I don't know if this relates to the MCI or not, but it might.

Quote:
Hope that helps...
Honestly, as it relates to what was being talked about, not at all. But I appreciate your effort.
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