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PorticoTM 5042 Two-Channel "True Tape" Emulation and Line Driver
Old 22nd July 2005
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
I'm sure you'll be happy with the portico and Samp ...

But tape dubs are easy ... just let the tape machine run and monitor SYNC, then go back and dump the track to Samp off Repro and slide it to match the time.

Or mult the input for monitoring and print THROUGH the tape to the digital in real time, and slide it to match.



More work for dubs, but you'll have a 2 track 1/4" or 1/2" deck for mixdown!


The saturation, non linearities and bias elements are as much the sound as the electronics.
I thought of that to but I really don't think that is a good for work flow with the band sitting behind you.

Yes you can track that way to to hear the part in the context of the song.. well... that is going to take time. Also punch-ins would be impossible, you better get that vocal, guitar, bass or xylophone part in one pass. Or edit the hell out of it (with the band sitting behind you) back in the DAW.

You sould also make a one track work mix and put it on L and track to R but then you better not have a stereo source and the band might not like a mono phone mix.

Sorry this is theoretically possible but not practical in the real world.
Old 22nd July 2005
  #32
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by raal
i remember sooo clearly the difference between 1/4" and 1/2". at least to me it seemed so much bigger. we had both ATR 102 and studer A80. i preferred the ATR (the studer seemed more 'pristine', but the 102 had austin powers extra mojo IMO).
many like 1/4" and hear them as similar (except noise) but I agree with you.


there is the chance that the 1/4" was not set up as well ....
Old 22nd July 2005
  #33
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Hiwatt's Avatar
 

It's not really that unpractical. Just split the signal and track to the daw and thru the tape machine at the same time. That way you will allways have a reference track as a guide to align all the tape processed tracks... I have done it in sessions with my 1/4 inch mono ampex ag440b... it's pretty fun actualy and the sound is to die for.
Old 22nd July 2005
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new

Also let us not forget, as much as I love the sound of tape it is a pain in the ass. Admit it, tape sounds GREAT but tape cost and upkeep is a bummer.

I don't feel bad about it..it's worth every bit of effort and cost (which really isn't much, I think used tape in good condition works just fine).

Old 23rd July 2005
  #35
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I thought of that to but I really don't think that is a good for work flow with the band sitting behind you.

Yes you can track that way to to hear the part in the context of the song.. well... that is going to take time. Also punch-ins would be impossible, you better get that vocal, guitar, bass or xylophone part in one pass. Or edit the hell out of it (with the band sitting behind you) back in the DAW.

You sould also make a one track work mix and put it on L and track to R but then you better not have a stereo source and the band might not like a mono phone mix.

Sorry this is theoretically possible but not practical in the real world.
If you're using the deck for tone but the entire songs needs to end on the HD mult the signal, send one to the HD and one to the deck. Put the deck in repro and record it into the DAW at the same time. Then slide the tape track back to line up with the rest/direct to HD version. If you need to punch in do the same bit, or even another track on the HD, so you don't screw up the first pass. Edit them together and BINGO overdubs and all hit tape first. You don't even have to worry about machine sync or anything. Taking the signal right from the repro, while tracking makes all of the potential of drift from dumping from the tape later.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #36
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Oh and it is not "Line6" of tape. Line6 of tape is tape plug-ins and math like the HEDD, this is more the Randall MTS system, an analog representation of a mechanical analog system.
I'll agree an analog process should be better than a digital one. But, I think its more like a solid state amp (or that new Marshall mic...)claiming a tube tone because "it's voiced for warmth" and has a name with 'valve' in it

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Also as I said above.....I don't give a rats ass how I get there as long as the end result is good and I imagine the end result of the 5042 will be pretty cool.
It might sound cool. But there is a combination of the sound of the deck's electronics and the tape that the sound is recorded that make up the end result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
So why the venom against tape emulation? If it sounds good then use it, if not the market will force someone else to make a new design that will sound better. This is the answer to the market looking for a better solution to that "Old Time Tapie Sound" in our new fangled digital world.
I've just had it with everybody and their uncle talking about how much better digital is yet the all buy some type of 'analog emulation.'

"Ain't nothing like the real (reel) thing baby!"
I'm sick of the entire fake 'this is just like that...only better/cheaper/newer' way of life.

A sunroof is not a convertible
Tits are not made of silicone
and

a 19" rack-mounted unit or plug in is NOT A TAPE DECK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
It is a good thing not negative.
I'd rather see talented designers build a new affordable tape deck. Or focus on making new unique things, or unique takes on thing we already use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
If you don't like it then I guess you don't have to buy it right??

I've got three tape machines. I'll take the new RND mic-pre/EQ please.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #37
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rlnyc's Avatar
 

Quote:

a 19" rack-mounted unit or plug in is NOT A TAPE DECK!

I'd rather see talented designers build a new affordable tape deck. Or focus on making new unique things, or unique takes on thing we already use.

I've got three tape machines. I'll take the new RND mic-pre/EQ please.

i love what happens which sound gets recorded to tape, but i don't want a tape machine. having to buy tape and allign machines and put tape on and watch it reel out and rewind and get filthy and have to clean the machine and so on does not turn me on.

i have one of neve's new line driver tape emulators on it's way to me, and i don't know what it is going to do to the sounds that i put through it, but if i like what it does and if i use it and keep it, i will be moving into THE FUTURE. not a sentimental wish to recapture a fake past.

when my record player broke (in 1976), i never bought another, knowing that they would come up with something else soon. they did (cds). they sucked for a long time but there is no going back. i never want to hear another scratchy skipping record where the inner songs lose all the low end and where the value of the groove compression is offset by all the cons. i learned in mastering that the buying public would likely NEVER hear their favorite records the way the artists heard them in the studio (on vinyl). that is no longer true. records (cds) nowadays are MUCH closer to accurate reproductions of what the artist hears in the studio than records EVER were - no matter what anybody wants to think. the tradeoff used to make me cry.

so now there is an attempt to create tape emulators. the very best of them will become tools for soundcraft which will stand the acid test - signal coming out will sound BETTER than signal going in.

i think i may put duct tape over the words "tape emulator" on my portico 5042. i have no great yearning to pretend i am "going to tape". i just want to solve a sonic problem and improve my recordings, in whatever way possible.

best regards,
rlnyc.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound
If you're using the deck for tone but the entire songs needs to end on the HD mult the signal, send one to the HD and one to the deck. Put the deck in repro and record it into the DAW at the same time. Then slide the tape track back to line up with the rest/direct to HD version. If you need to punch in do the same bit, or even another track on the HD, so you don't screw up the first pass. Edit them together and BINGO overdubs and all hit tape first. You don't even have to worry about machine sync or anything. Taking the signal right from the repro, while tracking makes all of the potential of drift from dumping from the tape later.
All the above is common sense. I have been around the block and this is nothing that I have not done before, the thing you are missing about what I am saying is this does not provide a positive and quick work-flow, for me.

Tone is great but performance is king. If I have to stop and edit and transfer and slide tracks and punch in and then re-transfer then listen to the take... all while laying down a vocal track that will effect the mood of the singer and the performance. If I have to give the preformer a mono guide track then that might effect preformance as well.

Did I mention performance is king?

I don't like to edit when I am tracking I want to track when I am tracking, that is what the band is there for not to watch me be a computer geek. They want to put their parts down, I will edit it later when they are finished with their thing.


Quote:
a 19" rack-mounted unit or plug in is NOT A TAPE DECK!
WHO THE F&CK SAID IT WAS!!! I never said it was a tape deck now did I. I said (a direct quote)
Quote:
I don't give a rats ass how I get there as long as the end result is good and I imagine the end result of the 5042 will be pretty cool.
Quote:
I've just had it with everybody and their uncle talking about how much better digital is yet the all buy some type of 'analog emulation.'
First I never said that digital was better or analog was better, the both offer very positive end results. BUT for MOST of the recording world the positives of digital outweigh the positives of tape, if this were not true we would not be able to pick up a mint condition MM1200 for $5000 or so. I am pretty sure Michael Wagner agrees with this assessment, take a look at his post above. I also assume he knows a bit more about recording and audio then the two of us combined.

I like the sound of tape I like the convenience of digital so f*cking shoot me for wanting to get the sound and convenience at the same time.

I used tape for years and years, in my opinion (I am not talking about you or Nathan or the the King of Prussia I am talking about me) the hassle of tape machines and the space they take up when I am limited in space as it is, is not worth it.

FOR ME.

It's great that you can use tape, I am happy for ya, extactec in fact but it does not work for me. So why can't I have tools that help me to get better sounds just because you think I should be using a tape machine?

How about I use the tools and the work flow that works for me and you use the ones that work for you? I will not complain that you are using tape to get your sound and you don't complain about the tools I use to get mine.

Deal?

Just to make sure you get the point, one last time.....

I don't give a rats ass how I get there as long as the end result is good and I imagine the end result of the 5042 will be pretty cool. We, or at least I will see.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #39
Oh and nice post rlnyc.. I feel much the same as you on this issue.

thumbsup
Old 23rd July 2005
  #40
One last thing (I guess your post just chapped my a$$, sorry to harp).

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumsound
I'd rather see talented designers build a new affordable tape deck. Or focus on making new unique things, or unique takes on thing we already use.
I already use a DAW. To me the 5042 is a unique take on things I already use.

Also the first tape machines did not sound very good at all, nore did the first microphone preamps or the first speakers or the first anything.

How do ya think they got better sounding hummm.....

Talented designers, engineers and users worked out all the bugs through trial and error and pushed the medium to ever greater levels. Mistakes were made along the way as well but good designers learned from these too.

How is digital going to get better?? Go reread the above. Remember this would not happen if your attitude were the norm.

If making digital recording sound better is what the 5042 does then this is helping to push the medium and that is a positive step forward. No one has a problem with you using tape, you should not have a problem with others using something else. DAWs are getting better and better and so are the tools surrounding them, that is also positive.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #41
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Michael,

Rest assured that I'm not attacking you or the way you work or the tools you use.

My problem is that marketing departments are defining what things are 'needed' and what their function is. It's really the semantics and the belief that because someone 'says' that box A does what box B does, even though it's a totally different thing annoys me. Especially if first there was a culture of "you don't need that old thing, this new thing is better and does more." But then when the curtain is pulled away to reveal that the new thing is not better, they then come up with something that says "this is just like the old thing, you remember the old thing we told you wasn't good? We think it's good now, but we can't sell it for cheap, so we're gonna imitate it." Then they tell us '"its the same as the old thing, but smaller/cheaper/newer" when it isn't. Then companies that have the most talented, smartest, most unique cats in the business (Mr. Neve, Mr. Derr, Mr Hill) are forced into the same BS.

I applaud Thermonic Culture for building a box and calling it a warming device instead of a tapeless tape deck.

Your comments on performance are snot on. Everything I do in the studio is based on performance.

My bit about the repro came from making a record that way with another Slut. We used his 1/2" 8-track and his DAW. By multing the signal you can do the edit later, but listen to the performance for the direct to digital right then and there. I was trying to help those who might have a small track count deck that wanted to use the deck in tracking with a DAW. It's a bit clunky, but it's an option. I can see the positives and negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumsound
a 19" rack-mounted unit or plug in is NOT A TAPE DECK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
WHO THE F&CK SAID IT WAS!!!
Not in those exact words...several makers of hardware and software


Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I never said it was a tape deck now did I. I said (a direct quote)
Quote:
I don't give a rats ass how I get there as long as the end result is good and I imagine the end result of the 5042 will be pretty cool.
And I agree that it might be good sounding and I also don't care how something sounds good if it sounds good. My problem is that it still won't be the sound of physical tape, a unique and quite variable thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I already use a DAW. To me the 5042 is a unique take on things I already use.

Also the first tape machines did not sound very good at all, nore did the first microphone preamps or the first speakers or the first anything.

How do ya think they got better sounding hummm.....

Talented designers, engineers and users worked out all the bugs through trial and error and pushed the medium to ever greater levels. Mistakes were made along the way as well but good designers learned from these too.

How is digital going to get better?? Go reread the above. Remember this would not happen if your attitude were the norm.
Mr. Neve is not advancing digital recording with this product. He is making an analog device as you pointed out earlier in the thread. When companies try to make sample rates higher, when things like DSD are developed that is advancing digital technology and digital recording.

To reiterate, my comments are not about anyone's style of work, like or dislike of certain sounds, or quality of any of the gear mentioned. It's just some bitching about marketing and buzzword BS.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #42
All very good points except...

Quote:
My problem is that it still won't be the sound of physical tape, a unique and quite variable thing.
You do not know that.. you can't know that if you did not hear it yourself first hand and even then I suspect that, regardless of intent or admission, you might be biased against it.

It is more than likely that the 5042 will not be exactly like tape coming off a repro head but in my eyes, it has the best chance of any product to date. If it is not someday there will be a device that can get it right and will pass a double blind test even for the most ardent tape fans.

That day will not come if we don't go through all the intermediate steps first. The 5042 is either the one that will match tape in a double blind or it is just another step in the process.

Also tape may be a "unique and quite variable thing" but you are only half right. The mechanical process is unique, the sound that is created by this process can and will be copied some day, that is the nature of human process in a capitalistic society.

I just don't like when people write off gear they have never heard and I don't like elitism (not pointing the finger directly at you ) and there are allot of tape snobs out there.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #43
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Also tape may be a "unique and quite variable thing" but you are only half right. The mechanical process is unique, the sound that is created by this process can and will be copied some day, that is the nature of human process in a capitalistic society.

I just don't like when people write off gear they have never heard and I don't like elitism (not pointing the finger directly at you ) and there are allot of tape snobs out there.
Have you ever used a great tape deck? and a great digital machine in the same day?

What "tape snobs" ? More like gluttons for punishment! Name one tape lover who has been a snob? Albini is almost a snob but not really, just thinks digital is a dangerous place to store the work.

And look, when you say " tape" .... it's not one sound ... there are a bunch of machines and a bunch of sounds, some suck ... but I agree with Drumsound, you WONT copy the best sounding analog with any digital.



The main difference is the lack of 1 and 0s! Once you have turned what Neve called a "perfectly good sine wave" into an integer, you have a different quallity of sound and no digital multitrack will ever sound like my MM1200 at 15 ips tweaked to my taste.

There is an eq curve that's often up 1db at 110hz and up 1/2 db sloping from 3k to 13k with a 8 to 10k peak and 20 k rolll off.

There are bias distortions and tape comressions unique to the tape brand and the set up and the VARYING level that cannot be reproduced with formulae.

There is Class A Ampex and Otari and Studer in between. Stephens with it's massive levels and unique head design. All different audio paths.

There are non-linearities TRACK TO TRACK no matter how hard you try that make for diversity of tone and a wider image ... track 3 tracks of analog and 3 diigtal, pan L,C, R and you'll hear it.

And there is that pervasive LACK of 2 conversions, out of and back to reality.



I use a $17,000 Pacific Mastering AD DA everyday, and I have an ATR 102 1/2" and a tweaked Ampex 2" and there is NO WAY that digital will ever sound like analog tape technology from 1983 with any processing going on.



I spoke with Barry at IZ recently and in shootouts the new Radar is supposed to sound very, VERY GOOD, and it's LESS MAINTENANCE than tape so its probably terrific ... some people will prefer it to analog ... but it's still digital, just good digital.

Where would analog be if it had 23 years of technology in it? Look at the only new analog technology since 1983 ... 8 track 2" from ATR Services ... no noise and AMAZING tone.

And the new ATR tape will sound better than ever as well as lasting better than ever.

Analog tape technology was just getting good when it was abandoned ... not for a BETTER thing ... but for the NEW thing.



Sorry for the rant ... just passionate about tone ... NOT a "snob".




Quote:
Originally Posted by rlnyc
i will be moving into THE FUTURE. not a sentimental wish to recapture a fake past.

Sound is timeless, not related to technology.


Recording devices, like instruments, are technology driven.


Sentiment is not a part of the argument for tape.




Is a great musical instrument from the past or does it just sound great?


If we love tape but dont want to align a machine, we're just lazy. Sorry but its not a big deal compared to all the digital maintenance that's ALSO necessary.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #44
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
All very good points except...



You do not know that.. you can't know that if you did not hear it yourself first hand and even then I suspect that, regardless of intent or admission, you might be biased against it.
There's no might about it. I am biased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
It is more than likely that the 5042 will not be exactly like tape coming off a repro head but in my eyes, it has the best chance of any product to date. If it is not someday there will be a device that can get it right and will pass a double blind test even for the most ardent tape fans.
We already have something that sounds like tape...TAPE!

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
That day will not come if we don't go through all the intermediate steps first. The 5042 is either the one that will match tape in a double blind or it is just another step in the process.
OK i guess...

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Also tape may be a "unique and quite variable thing" but you are only half right. The mechanical process is unique, the sound that is created by this process can and will be copied some day, that is the nature of human process in a capitalistic society.
The capitalists will tell us that the process is a perfect copy...

See Lucey's comments for further detail (Thank's Brian).

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I just don't like when people write off gear they have never heard and I don't like elitism (not pointing the finger directly at you ) and there are allot of tape snobs out there.
I have not heard the item in question, and I understand you thoughts here. I have however been in large churches and I have heard "Large Church 1-5" on a Lexicon. I have played/heard/recorded wonderful drums and cymbals and I have played V-drums. I have played/heard/recorded tube amps and 'valvestate' amps. ETC.

Get what I mean?
Old 23rd July 2005
  #45
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
[QUOTE=lucey]Have you ever used a great tape deck? and a great digital machine in the same day?/[QUOTE]

Yep...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
What "tape snobs" ? More like gluttons for punishment! Name one tape lover who has been a snob? Albini is almost a snob but not really, just thinks digital is a dangerous place to store the work.
Yep...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
And look, when you say " tape" .... it's not one sound ... there are a bunch of machines and a bunch of sounds, some suck ... but I agree with Drumsound, you WONT copy the best sounding analog with any digital.
Yep...


Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
The main difference is the lack of 1 and 0s! Once you have turned what Neve called a "perfectly good sine wave" into an integer, you have a different quallity of sound and no digital multitrack will ever sound like my MM1200 at 15 ips tweaked to my taste.

There is an eq curve that's often up 1db at 110hz and up 1/2 db sloping from 3k to 13k with a 8 to 10k peak and 20 k rolll off.

There are bias distortions and tape comressions unique to the tape brand and the set up and the VARYING level that cannot be reproduced with formulae.

There is Class A Ampex and Otari and Studer in between. Stephens with it's massive levels and unique head design. All different audio paths.

There are non-linearities TRACK TO TRACK no matter how hard you try that make for diversity of tone and a wider image ... track 3 tracks of analog and 3 diigtal, pan L,C, R and you'll hear it.

And there is that pervasive LACK of 2 conversions, out of and back to reality.
Yep...



Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
I use a $17,000 Pacific Mastering AD DA everyday, and I have an ATR 102 1/2" and a tweaked Ampex 2" and there is NO WAY that digital will ever sound like analog tape technology from 1983 with any processing going on.
Yep...


Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
I spoke with Barry at IZ recently and in shootouts the new Radar is supposed to sound very, VERY GOOD, and it's LESS MAINTENANCE than tape so its probably terrific ... some people will prefer it to analog ... but it's still digital, just good digital.
I've got a RADAR Nyquist. It's a great machine. The sound is nice and the opperation is great. If acts like a deck as far as the remote and the 'feel' of use. It does not, however, sound like tape. It sounds like a very nice digital recorder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
Where would analog be if it had 23 years of technology in it? Look at the only new analog technology since 1983 ... 8 track 2" from ATR Services ... no noise and AMAZING tone.
Can you imagine what the next step from Ampex, 3M, or MCI might have sounded like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
And the new ATR tape will sound better than ever as well as lasting better than ever.

Analog tape technology was just getting good when it was abandoned ... not for a BETTER thing ... but for the NEW thing.
Sad but true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
Sorry for the rant ... just passionate about tone ... NOT a "snob".
It's a good rant.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
Sound is timeless, not related to technology.


Recording devices, like instruments, are technology driven.


Sentiment is not a part of the argument for tape.




Is a great musical instrument from the past or does it just sound great?


If we love tape but dont want to align a machine, we're just lazy. Sorry but its not a big deal compared to all the digital maintenance that's ALSO necessary.
Yep...
Old 23rd July 2005
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey
Have you ever used a great tape deck? and a great digital machine in the same day?
Sure thing but I have not used a Radar or a Apogee 16X next to analog and I have not used a peice of gear digital gear that will come out in 3 years either, that does not say the gear released 3 years from now is not going to be as good or better then analog.

Quote:
What "tape snobs" ? More like gluttons for punishment! Name one tape lover who has been a snob?
Come on man, do a search here on Gearslutz. There are people who talk like a good sounding record can't be made on anything but a Studer or 3m and they talk about digital like it is some bastard step child. I say snob (and stand by it) is when a preson can not get past the fact that good music and good sounding products can be made on both mediums. They are just tools, an end to a means no more no less but some people can't get past that. Not you maybe not Drumsound but there are plently of people here on this board and in the industry.

Quote:
Albini is almost a snob but not really, just thinks digital is a dangerous place to store the work.

And look, when you say " tape" .... it's not one sound ... there are a bunch of machines and a bunch of sounds, some suck ...
Obviously, I have been at this a pretty long time and have used plenty of good and not so good analog.

Quote:
but I agree with Drumsound, you WONT copy the best sounding analog with any digital.
You know when my dad was a kid back in the 20's he told me that he and his friends used to laugh at the idea of going to the moon. First hand account here, he and his friends laughed because not only could it never be done just the idea was so far fetched that no reasonable person would think it was anything but a joke.....

Hummm.....

Quote:
The main difference is the lack of 1 and 0s! Once you have turned what Neve called a "perfectly good sine wave" into an integer, you have a different quallity of sound and no digital multitrack will ever sound like my MM1200 at 15 ips tweaked to my taste.
Okay I am not picking a fight but this is a classic example of the snobbery that I spoke of above.

In the end we are really just talking about a wave form that is reproduced by a flexible membrane better known as a speaker. That is what I hear, you too, the speaker creates the sound.

Everything behind that is getting the positive and negative voltage swings to the membrane and everything that happens before that membrane goes into making up the voltage fluctuations that produce what we hear.

In the end what matters is what comes out of the speaker not how it got there. If I can copy the voltage swings that sound like a MM1200 with a digital or analog device then what do I care.

We might not be at that point now but, unless you have a time machine that I don't know about, no one knows if we will in the future including you.

It is short sighted and elitist to just assume nothing can ever touch the holy lamb of analog tape. If we do end up with a tape emulation system of some sort some time down the road that can pass a quality double blind test it is snobbish and close minded to not admit that digital caught up with tape.

Quote:
There is an eq curve that's often up 1db at 110hz and up 1/2 db sloping from 3k to 13k with a 8 to 10k peak and 20 k rolll off.
You point would be... we can't ever make an EQ curve to match this including the phase anomalies?? I would love to take a ride in that time machine if you would let me.

Quote:
There are bias distortions and tape comressions unique to the tape brand and the set up and the VARYING level that cannot be reproduced with formulae.
This is what I have been saying is wrong with your argument. To be accurate your quote should read, "There are bias distortions and tape comressions unique to the tape brand and the set up and the VARYING level that cannot be reproduced with EXESTING formulae." There is a huge difference between this statement and yours.



Quote:
There is Class A Ampex and Otari and Studer in between. Stephens with it's massive levels and unique head design. All different audio paths.
Again your point would be???

Quote:
There are non-linearities TRACK TO TRACK no matter how hard you try that make for diversity of tone and a wider image ... track 3 tracks of analog and 3 diigtal, pan L,C, R and you'll hear it.

And there is that pervasive LACK of 2 conversions, out of and back to reality.

I use a $17,000 Pacific Mastering AD DA everyday, and I have an ATR 102 1/2" and a tweaked Ampex 2" and there is NO WAY that digital will ever sound like analog tape technology from 1983 with any processing going on.
Speculation and opnion NOT FACT. Sorry again you do not have a time machine.

If I am not burned out by this inane conversation I will post more latter.... This is now a ridiculous thread that started off talking about what aprears to be a great tool for some of us.
Old 24th July 2005
  #47
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mwagener's Avatar
I really don't want to get into an analog vs. digital discussion. The following is based solely on my personal opinion.

Me, myself and I like digital better because TO MY EARS it reproduces better what I put in than analog tape. And as I mentioned before, me and some pretty high end studio technicians/engineers/producers, have messed with different machines, different tapes, different heads on different machines, modified electronics, different alignments for weeks at a time to get the most out of analog tape. Still, my kick and snare always came back sounding different (in an uncontrollable way) than they sounded at the output buss of the console. With digital I don't hear that. There are problems with digital, but overall the medium is truer TO MY EARS than analog tape. Now, I completely stopped using analog tape in the early 90s, so, it is entirely possible that the technology has advanced since then. To me it's still a PITA to use, compared to dig. I had band members calling, to tell me that they just bought a Studer A800 for their home studio. After me asking “WHY?!?” they told me that they liked that analog sound we got on their record. They weren’t amused when I told them that their entire record had been recorded and mixed in digital. And of course not all digital is equal, as much as tape machines vary from good to totally unusable, digital converters and storage come in a large variety of quality. I feel it’s all in how one handles either medium. If you can't deal with digital, stay away from it, if you can't (or don't want to) deal with tape, stay away from it, they are two completely different ways of recording, requiring in-depth knowledge about either medium. Use whatever works for you and your style of workflow. For instance, I don't use ProTools, because I still subscribe to the antiquated philosophy of having "the artist" perform the music, not "the engineer" (or typists as loudist called 'em once). So all I need at "my" studio, is a great sounding digital "recorder" without any DSP and mondo editing capabilities, even though I can see that being a Godsend for any post house.

Now back on topic and to the Portico 5042. Any of those boxes (HEDD, 5042, FATSO) to me are just tools, same as an EQ or compressor or distortion pedals or a variety of microphones. The problem, and I think that is what drumsound is saying, lies in the manufacturers calling them: Tape emulators, or whatever tape gadget. Nothing will sound like tape, even tape won't sound like tape, because all tapes and tape machines sound different from each other, so what are we going to use for comparison? And so do the "Tape emulators", lets call them "FATTENERS" from now on.

I spend some time today to put the 5042 through it paces. I do want to stay away from any comparisons to other boxes like the HEDD or FATSO, because I feel they are different animals.

My overall conclusion: the 5042 is a great tool and the production version will stay in my rack at WireWorld.
Vocals: it took out some harshness in the upper midrange on a female vocal track that I had recorded a while ago and had problems fixing with EQ. Sounded very smooth and didn't need any further EQ after the 5042.
Guitars: same here. On tracks that were recorded with less than a stellar amp, the 5042 did a great job in making the tracks listenable, without further EQ or treatment.
Stereo Buss: minimal or “normal” amounts of process (staying in the green and yellow meter area) had a great fattening, smoothing, gluing effect on the mix; it was a positive addition to the sound. Too much (red lights on) and the mix started sounding muddy and less wide for some reason. One has to be careful not to overdo the "process" or it will distort in an impolite way. I liked the 15ips better for the stereo buss than the 7 1/2, but I liked the 7 1/2 better on the guitar tracks. The 7 1/2 seems to be a more severe setting in terms of smoothing out the sound in the upper midrange.

All in all I feel that the 5042 is a worthy addition for people working in digital and a great value for $$s.

Hope that helps a little
Old 24th July 2005
  #48


Big thanks for the review Michael!!!

The point about all of this stuff just being a tool is exactly what I was getting at. Call it a "True Tape" Emulation, call it a "FATTENER" call it "The Great Analog Snuckatator" I call it a tool and I like having good tools in my arsenal.

For the record I still disagree and think that at some point there will be a way to make a device that can emulate all the cool characteristics of the classic tape decks. Technology is a surprising thing. But for now I will just say that we all agree to disagree and I am always open to the possibility that I am wrong in anything that I think.



Hey Michael, just saw you on Classic Rock VH1 from 80 something!!!! It was on as I was reading your post and I just wanted to say how cool it is to be able to pick your brain about things.

As always, thank you for taking the time to hang out with us. I really mean that.
Old 24th July 2005
  #49
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
All in all I feel that the 5042 is a worthy addition for people working in digital and a great value for $$s.

Hope that helps a little
helps more than a little sir. thank you.
Old 24th July 2005
  #50
Lives for gear
 

Michael would you be able to post some audio examples that is if you are allowed
Old 24th July 2005
  #51
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
Now back on topic and to the Portico 5042. Any of those boxes (HEDD, 5042, FATSO) to me are just tools, same as an EQ or compressor or distortion pedals or a variety of microphones. The problem, and I think that is what drumsound is saying, lies in the manufacturers calling them: Tape emulators, or whatever tape gadget. Nothing will sound like tape, even tape won't sound like tape, because all tapes and tape machines sound different from each other, so what are we going to use for comparison? And so do the "Tape emulators", lets call them "FATTENERS" from now on.
Michael,

That's exactly what I was getting at. I'm glad you could see that.
Old 24th July 2005
  #52
Gear Maniac
 

I'm pretty young and wasn't recording/mixing when tape was the norm, but I do love its sound (can't afford to use it, still being a student ), and agree that it is damn annoying when rack units/plugins come out and are supposed to replicate the sound of tape or tubes using this or that proprietary modelling technology. Calling them "fatteners" or "warmifiers" (Voxengo reference thumbsup ) instead of "VTape" or "TrueTube" or something is more accurate and honest towards the engineers and musicians that will be using them. However this DuoTape thing does seem to be taking a new approach, and it is one that makes a lot of sense. I'd really like to hear this thing!

I don't understand the diehard skeptics of simulations though. I don't understand how you could say "a simulation will NEVER EVER sound like the real deal", just because of how marvelously complex and subtle the device in question is. I'm completely with not_so_new on this issue. None of us can see into the future. If we can get into space, work on nanobots, simulate the effects of earthquakes on enormous and complex buildings, exploit and control nuclear reactions, etc., I think it is safe to say that someday we will be able to replicate the sound of tape (to the point where purists and mastering engineers fail double-blind tests). It may take a supercomputer doing an insanely complicated physical simulation of millions of ferric-oxide particles being arranged by magnetic forces, modelling the transformers and electronics in the tape machine, and modelling the playback head, but you can't say it is impossible.

Imagine the concept of the Duo Tape intensely evolving over the next 5 years, into a modular beast where the user could swap in different transformers, circuitry, amplification stages, different play/record heads, and simulate all different speeds of different brands of tape by making some kind of internal parameter adjustments. Maybe this will take a decade or more, or isn't the best approach at all, but can nobody accept that technology is amazing, develops at a mind-boggling pace, and that the future is uncertain?

DSP simulations could one day be completely convincing too. While analog signals are continuous unlike digital ones, analog does have a kind of "resolution" (not exactly the right word maybe, let me explain, and please correct me if I am wrong): on analog tape, domains of FeO2 are arranged in the shape of a waveform by a flux when the tape travels under a magnetic recording head, which is wrapped in steel wire feeding it an electrical manifestation of acoustic sound waves. These domains are the smallest group of molecules that can be considered a magnet (if I remember right). This "resolution" is pretty mind-boggling compared to 16bit/44kHz PCM audio or the capabilities of a 24/192 DSP processor, but I'm sure digital will keep advancing and equal the ability of tape to faithfully reproduce a waveform that sounds just as continuous. And be able to 99% faithfully simulate extremely complex non-linearities like tape compression/saturation (for say, one specific machine and roll of tape), and totally nail the characteristics of different recording units and media (again, obviously for a few specific analyzed units and tape reels). It might take an insane sampling rate and 32bits to do this, or a whole new kind of digital format, but I imagine it will get there (in years, decades, whenever).

Nothing is there yet, maybe nothing is even that close so far, but don't doubt technology!

Maybe we will be visited by musician/audiophile aliens who will help us out with this one?
Old 24th July 2005
  #53
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBrian
. . .
I don't understand the diehard skeptics of simulations though. I don't understand how you could say "a simulation will NEVER EVER sound like the real deal", just because of how marvelously complex and subtle the device in question is. I'm completely with not_so_new on this issue. None of us can see into the future. If we can get into space, work on nanobots, simulate the effects of earthquakes on enormous and complex buildings, exploit and control nuclear reactions, etc., I think it is safe to say that someday we will be able to replicate the sound of tape (to the point where purists and mastering engineers fail double-blind tests). It may take a supercomputer doing an insanely complicated physical simulation of millions of ferric-oxide particles being arranged by magnetic forces, modelling the transformers and electronics in the tape machine, and modelling the playback head, but you can't say it is impossible.
I didn't say: "never ever", I was just referring to the remaining useful time of my life on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBrian
. . . And be able to 99% faithfully simulate extremely complex non-linearities like tape compression/saturation (for say, one specific machine and roll of tape), and totally nail the characteristics of different recording units and media (again, obviously for a few specific analyzed units and tape reels). . .
That's exactly the problem: which unit and, 99% is not good enough. It would take a couple of city blocks full of processing power to figure out just ONE combination (at this point in time), never mind hundreds or thousands of possible combinations of tape/heads/alignment/temparture/humidity etc. That's why a software 1176 does not sound like a hardware 1176 (which one, anyway?) and won't in the foreseeable future. And that is why a Soundelux ELUX251 doesn't sound like a Telefunken ELAM251 (again, which one anyway?), but in itself it's a great micropohone and in a lot of aspects even better than the one they are quoting. It still can't be compared to THE original, because there are too many originals all sounding different and for one single one to be called "the original". Now, what would it take to make a mic that sounds like ALL originals together? As to the 5042, it is in itself a great box, as long as nobody compares it to a non-exsisting term like "real tape".

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBrian
Nothing is there yet, maybe nothing is even that close so far, but don't doubt technology!
I don't doub't technology, I love it, but I would think that by the time someone figured it out, we are probably not even recording digital anymore or recording at all and this whole discussion might be useless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBrian
Maybe we will be visited by musician/audiophile aliens who will help us out with this one?
Now there is a possibility, I agree, even though the last time we had an "encounter of the third kind", the aliens only could play a few simple notes. Maybe they have more to learn than we do on this heh

All in all, everything is possible, but sometimes, by the time we get there it might not be of interest anymore.
Old 24th July 2005
  #54
Gear Addict
 
krid's Avatar
 

Michael, for stereo mix bus duties the HEDD would still be your first choice over the Portico ?
Old 24th July 2005
  #55
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by krid
Michael, for stereo mix bus duties the HEDD would still be your first choice over the Portico ?
At tis time the HEDD is a major part of my setup. It sits on the stereo buss (AES output from the Sony console) and serves as a D/A - A/D insert for the STC-8 and the Massive Passive. It also takes care of the last few overs in the mix through the FATTENING ( heh ) process, which is patched at the A/D stage. It might also in some cases be used to convert from 24/48 to 16/44.1 (through the D/A - A/D converters), so, as you can see I can't just use one or the other.

The 5042 is a new tool for that function and I'll have to find the best way to integrate it into a proven chain, it will probably live after the MP, more testing to do. If you don't have either, based purely on $$ figures, I would probably start with the 5042. It gives you something similar to the "major" function of the HEDD and costs a little less than half (I think). That said, if you are into modifying your sound with that type of boxes, the HEDD will be in your future. Now, if $$s are no issue, by all means, go with the HEDD or, even better, with both
Old 24th July 2005
  #56
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
If you don't have either, based purely on $$ figures, I would probably start with the 5042. It gives you something similar to the "major" function of the HEDD and costs a little less than half (I think). That said, if you are into modifying your sound with that type of boxes, the HEDD will be in your future. Now, if $$s are no issue, by all means, go with the HEDD or, even better, with both
Actually, for me the HEDD looks a little more attractive because I don't yet have outstanding D/A-A/D converters for shoving my mix out into the real world and back into the computer. My RME Multiface is good enough for tracking, but maybe not good enough for that kind of thing. The HEDD could be used as a mix buss effect with a simple digital/digital round trip. With the 5042, I'd need to spend money on better converters, which sort of nullifies the lower cost. I could use the Portico for tracking, but not as a mix buss effect, which seems a waste. And with the HEDD, I'd have better A/D conversion than the Multiface, and a bridge to the outside world when (or if) I eventually pick up some slutty analog gear.

Okay, I think I'm just looking for a way to justify picking up the HEDD, but that does sound logical, doesn't it? heh

For people who are excited about this new Portico box, do y'all already have great converters for using this in the mix buss? Or are you assuming that whatever it adds to the mix will offset losses through the converters? Maybe I'm the only one out there using mid-level converters.
Old 24th July 2005
  #57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath
For people who are excited about this new Portico box, do y'all already have great converters for using this in the mix buss? Or are you assuming that whatever it adds to the mix will offset losses through the converters? Maybe I'm the only one out there using mid-level converters.
I had the HEDD and I have an Apogee AD16X, never got a chance to try them side by side but the converters on the HEDD were nice IMHO. A few others around here do not seem to like them? *shrug* I think they sound great.

On the other hand the one thing that I miss daily is the tape effect.... errr... FATTENING effect. I think it added a nice roundness to tracks kind of like tape... err.. sorry kind of like a fattening of the sound in a very pleasing way.
heh
That is why I am so geeked up about the 5042, I have some pretty good converters (AD16x are pretty darn good) and the 5042 might get me back a bit of what I feel I lost when I sold the HEDD.
Old 25th July 2005
  #58
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kevinc's Avatar
 

Drumsound touched on something that I`ve been thinking about recently.

It would be great if there were more energy spent on improving digital formats and converters and such as opposed to making lots and lots of digital "fixits" and widgets designed to make things sound more "vintage" or "analog"

The goal as I see it in the past before digital recording came in was to make equipment that could recreate a sound or performance as accurately as possible. The engineers back than (for the most part from what I`ve heard and read) were also trying their best to accurately capture sounds and performances as accurately and cleanly as possible.

Now it`s completely ass backwards.

We have digital recording which is innacurately thought of as "the clean one" as opposed to a medium with it`s own set of unpleasing artifacts and noise. People think of it as ultra clean so you`ve got to dirty it up a bit so it sounds good and smart gear companies have made a fortune off this false idea. First it was TOOBS. Everybody wanted tube gear and tube mics and every piece of crap you can think of would sell because it has a tube in it. "You NEED tubes to make your digital sound better !"

Now it seems to be new gear that supposedly recreates the vibe of vintage gear whether it be a mic, pre, or tape emulator. The most popular preamps on the market are ones that use the N word in their title to describe how the pre sounds. We seem to feel we need "colored" or "warm" gear to make "sterile" ultra clean digital sound better. When those and some of the other top vintage pres and other gear was first made they were designed to be as clean, transparent and most importantly GREAT sounding as possible. They werent deliberately trying to introduce groovy sounding harmonic disortion like they do today.

Now this line of thinking from me is partially hypocritical because I myself OWN a FATSO an MP2-NV a Soundelux U99, and a Brent Averill 312 and other pieces that I`m forgetting right now. These are the main pieces I use to get the sounds I get and I love what I can get out of all of them. I like the FATSO because I can get cool sounds out of it and have stopped thinking of it as a tape effect. I`m guilty of this reverse thinking myself and I indeed use the FATSO to warm up my digital and tame some of the stuff that`s going on in the highs or whatever. I`d probably be interested in trying out the Portice unit as well and may end up buying one.

But I think despite all this neat cool new gear were kinda losing site of that original goal of accurately capturing a performance and SOMEBODY out there should be designing better and better recording formats instead of cool digital fixits.

Like Lucey was saying tape was getting better and better and who know what would happen if it continued to get better and better over the last 20 years. That goes for the "cleaner" mics, pres, speakers and other gear as well. If we were focusing on accuracy instead of getting cool "colored" sounds like we should be doing we might be closer to getting something to sound EXACTLY how it does in a room which is what I feel should be our job as audio engineers. I don`t want something to sound like it was recorded to tape. I want it to sound like it did in the room ! Plain and simple.

And b.t.w I really don`t buy the idea that "transparent" means "cold" or "boring" or "sterile". That`s complete bulloney.

Theres nothing remotely sterile about a cranked up Marshall or a drumset or an acoustic guitar your hearing live in a room so how in hell could capturing it super accurately so your hearing it like it was in the room turn it sterile.

What a crock !

Why would you need to take an allready distorted amp that sounds perfect to the musician in a room and send it through additional things in the chain that color it further to suit the AE`s bull**** idea of what it should sound like. That idea seems stupid to me.

If a preamp can make something sound sterile I`d say it`s not a transparent preamp at all. It`s a ****ty one.
Old 25th July 2005
  #59
Quote:
And b.t.w I really don`t buy the idea that "transparent" means "cold" or "boring" or "sterile". That`s complete bulloney.

Theres nothing remotely sterile about a cranked up Marshall or a drumset or an acoustic guitar your hearing live in a room so how in hell could capturing it super accurately so your hearing it like it was in the room turn it sterile.

What a crock !
Well... I guess I am out of step with everyone else on this thread (except maybe with Michael W).

First I think your statements above are fine for you but they represent your personal taste. The reason things like the 5042 come out is because the designers hear their customers asking for things like this. They would not make it if they did not think it would sell right?

Different strokes for different folks. Me I never reach for clinical, transparent things for rock. I like transparent for classical and that is about it. I have never recorded any classical so I could be wrong about that as well. To me "transparent" means "cold" and "boring" and "sterile" it's is not "bulloney" to me, it is my taste.

I used to record in a room that only had Millenia pres. Very nice stuff but I always felt my mixes were really boring there. The Millenia pres were very transparent and just not for me.

Second. There is very little "accuracy" in a good and exciting rock mix. Bass drums don't sound like that in a room. A vocal compressed a bit or allot is not natural but it can work very well in a good rock mix. I don't listen to a cranked Marshall at 1 inch very often.

I think my job as a tracking and mixing engineer is to take a band and make them larger than life, doing that is an unnatural thing. Don't get me wrong I love old blues recordings from the 30's an 40's with one mic in a room, talk about vibe, but because it is natural it is also not very big sounding and rock and pop needs to sound big to me to make it exciting.

Lastly this thinking really bothers me. On one hand people say that "nothing can touch analog in terms of tone" and on the other hand "we should not spend any time bringing the pleasing aspects of analog to the digital world"...

Why is that again?

There is something pleasing to the human ear with the sound of analog harmonic distortion but because the thing digital does best is accuracy.. well.. we should strive to make it more accurate but not more pleasing because that is the domain of analog, don't cross that line...

Pla....ease... Give me a break......

The marrage of analog sound and digital convenience would be the best for me. If that is not the same for you good... good for you but for me I want the best of both worlds.. well f%ck me.

Old 25th July 2005
  #60
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
as far as the sound in the room, i think that's a bit overrated, as all Music has 4 lives, each different.

in silence (pre creation)
in the ear of the composer
performed in the room
on the record, a manufactured reality

each one loses something in exchange for what it gains... and to my ear great analog is SUPER REALITY. great digital is 1 to 1, yet great analog is more than what you give it, it's tailored for the ear to enjoy.

Something like Film ... Ever see NFL Films, the slo mo stuff they shoot at double speed? Super Human Football! (American Football that is)



Having said that ...Radar is pretty nice digital. MSS pre or GML pre are very clean and true. many mics matched with the right pre give whats there...

digital has just sucked for so long it's been all about coloring it to hide the suck.
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