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Question about 2" tape tracks transfer to PT ? Digital Converters
Old 24th June 2006
  #1
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Question about 2" tape tracks transfer to PT ?

I'll be using a Lavry Blue A/D converter on the front end of a PT mix system (at 44.1khz) to receive tracks recorded to an Otari MTR90. The Otari will be SMPTE striped and PT will be slaved to it; so if I have 22 tracks on the 2" tape I'll be running 11 seperate passes thru the Lavry to get all of it into PT for editing.

My question is: Should I just run the outs from the MTR90 straight into the Lavry, or would it be BETTER to run it into a great analog mic pre first, and then to the Lavry ? I'm asking this because I know alot of engineers claim that some of the "essence" of the 2" sound will invetitably be lost in the A/D, and subsequent D/A transfer back to the console. Would using a tube mic pre like the D.W. Fearn VT2 as stated above help retain some of the "bigness" of the 2" sound post digital conversion ?

My D/A will likely be an Apogee DA16x.

I know some of you will say to just keep it 2" and avoid the transfer, but I do some pretty experimental music and spend ALOT of time in PT; so the speed of being able to instantly go anywhere in the song at the click of a mouse and playback is something I definitely have become too accustomed to give up.
Old 24th June 2006
  #2
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Mike Tholen's Avatar
 

Just do a straight patch from the Otari into your converter...keep it simple.
when doing so many separate passes you should slave the Otari.
Old 24th June 2006
  #3
Straight to the converter.

"Officially" the best way is to slave the tape machine to the DAW, but that's probably going to be much more work that it's worth.
Old 24th June 2006
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey
Straight to the converter.

"Officially" the best way is to slave the tape machine to the DAW, but that's probably going to be much more work that it's worth.

Thanks Mike Caffrey!!

I noticed from a post awhile back that you use an MTR90 Mk.1 as well ? I remember your post, and I think you stated that you sync your MTR90 to PT as well.

What device do you use to sync it ? I still have an Opcode studio 4 that I use, but I run the 1/4" SMPTE output to my MPC2000 sampler/sequencer. I actually still use SVP as a sequencer, and I have that slaved to PT, and the MPC2000 slaved to SVP.

Do you think it is a good idea to run seperate passes of 2 tracks at a time from the MTR90 into PT ? I want to do it this way because I'd rather use the Lavry converters, and it seems like a great way to save $ for a project studio like mine where time is not a factor. I figure, why fork out $3K for an Apogee AD16x when I can get an even better sounding 2 ch. Lavry converter and just run seperate passes into PT. This is my logic. Hope it's not flawed.

I know some say every time the tape passes over the heads again a little more "top end" is lost; but I'm not an audiophile, so I doubt that I would hear it.

I thought to ask your advice because your set-up seems extremely similar to mine.

Have you had any technical issues with the MTR90 Mk.1 ? How do you like the sound of it ?
Old 24th June 2006
  #5
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Hi Sage, I do 2" to ProTools work quite a bit, although I dont have the luxury of great converters, just the HD ones, which I think sound pretty good and no-ones complained yet:-).

I have a pair of old Lynx timeline modules, 1 hooked to the tape machine (Otari MTR-90 MkII, A bit clunky and not as good sounding as a studer) and another which I feed LTC from ProTools. The ProTools Lynx is Master over the Otari so press 3 on the mac; PT drops into Record and and the tape starts (I still think it is sooo cool controlling the Otari from my 'puter )

The only thing about this is finding some Lynx's or similair to control your Otari.
Old 24th June 2006
  #6
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Steve G's Avatar
OK, here's my 2 cents from a guy who's done a lot of transfers into Pro Tools. First, if you can do all 24 tracks at once, you'll be in a lot better shape, it's the only way to ensure that all your tracks will remain in time with one another. Doing them 2 tracks at a time is a very bad idea. The chances of your analog machine running the same speed, over the course of a song, 12 times is slim to none. Actually, it's none. Secondly, you should always make the analog deck chase the computer. Again, the chances of the speed of the analog deck being consistent is nil. If there is never going to be a need to lock the analog and computer together again, skip the synchronizers all together, and just do a wild transfer of all 24 tracks.

Steve
Old 24th June 2006
  #7
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The Reel Thing's Avatar
 

I was wondering just how long it would take until amongst all the syncing and slaving and A/Ding and D/Aing somebody would come up with the fact that it's not possible to copy from a 24track tape 2 tracks at a time.
It does work with overdubs, single or stereo tracks, if you have a rock-steady sync like a Radar, but try doing it with a ten-track drum recording, and you'll encounter a new dimension in phasing...
cool idea, though, I must try that for an effect...
Old 24th June 2006
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691
Thanks Mike Caffrey!!

I noticed from a post awhile back that you use an MTR90 Mk.1 as well ? I remember your post, and I think you stated that you sync your MTR90 to PT as well.

What device do you use to sync it ? I still have an Opcode studio 4 that I use, but I run the 1/4" SMPTE output to my MPC2000 sampler/sequencer. I actually still use SVP as a sequencer, and I have that slaved to PT, and the MPC2000 slaved to SVP.

Do you think it is a good idea to run seperate passes of 2 tracks at a time from the MTR90 into PT ? I want to do it this way because I'd rather use the Lavry converters, and it seems like a great way to save $ for a project studio like mine where time is not a factor. I figure, why fork out $3K for an Apogee AD16x when I can get an even better sounding 2 ch. Lavry converter and just run seperate passes into PT. This is my logic. Hope it's not flawed.

I know some say every time the tape passes over the heads again a little more "top end" is lost; but I'm not an audiophile, so I doubt that I would hear it.

I thought to ask your advice because your set-up seems extremely similar to mine.

Have you had any technical issues with the MTR90 Mk.1 ? How do you like the sound of it ?
you absolutely CANNOT use a studio 4 to sync an analog deck to PT. You need either a machine syncroniser, like a lynx and have the deck chase PT or either an aardvark Time Sync II or a Rosendahl nanosync or the digi sync box. Analog tape recorders have minor amounts of wow and flutter without using either of the above as time goes on your tracks will go out of sync, forget about the mess drums will be if you do it this way.
Old 24th June 2006
  #9
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SiliconAudioLab's Avatar
 

Run it strait into the Lavry. We do this into a AD16X.

Stripe a track w/ SMPTE and lock PT <--> Tape. You should be able to get that machine and PT to master/slave in either direction. It's worth it even if you need to transfer two tracks at a time.

Put a "2 pop" on each track (no more than a frame in length) and sync the tracks to the pops if need be. Slide where appropriate in PT, you'll the 2 pop wave form.

HIT THAT TAPE FOE SURE! We use it as a front end for the "depth mojo" then transfer ANY WAY WE CAN!

If you have decent converters on PT (we use Logic/PT hardware) then it will hold up extremely well.

I realize it may seem to be redundant - and arguments rage in our studio - but the tape will hold the depth & detail and *then* the converters (24 /192 ~ 88) should grab most of it form there.

I'm not sure why the converters dont just grab this in the first place (going from source to PT) but they don't

Interesting that once the tape grabs it it make it much easier for the converters to follow suit (the signal and all it's wonder detail that is).

Hope this helps.


BTW could you do a Tape to PT then a PT only and report your findings (or something)?
Old 24th June 2006
  #10
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve G
...if you can do all 24 tracks at once, you'll be in a lot better shape,...
LOTS better shape. Analog machines don't lock up tight enough with timecode to maintain the relationships between elements such as drums that were recorded at the same time. Most analog machines also have a lot less wow and flutter when they are not being driven by a synchronizer but this choice means you can't use timecode or bounce back to tape because the speed, while steadier, will be slightly different on each pass.
Old 24th June 2006
  #11
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SiliconAudioLab's Avatar
 

Agreed 100% Bob. Best to do it 22 tracks at a time if possible! Still put a 2 pop on it.

I enclosed one fer ya: 24 bit 44.1k 1 frame in length & 1 second apart.
Attached Files
File Type: aif 2 pop 24Bit 44.aif (277.4 KB, 206 views)
Old 24th June 2006
  #12
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thenoiseflower's Avatar
 

sweet teamwork guys!

Old 24th June 2006
  #13
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OK GREAT!!

So now I have the unvarnished TRUTH, which is why I started this thread as I am somewhat of a novice with tape machines.

It seems I absolutely must go ahead and get both the AD16x and the DA16x if I am to have any chance of working with the tape machine and getting stuff reliably into PT.

The list of everything I need to do what I want gets more intimidating daily! The 2 apogee units alone will be $6K.

Maybe I should just go with the older AD16 and DA16 ? That would be $3.5K.

Or how about an AD16x and a DA16 ? That would be $4.7K.

Do you slutz really think I'll need an Apogee X for D/A, when I'll have the C777 clock slaving everything to the AD16X ?

Remember, I still have an older Mix PT system and I usually track at 44.1khz. Guess there's no way to cut corners now!!!!


Sage
Old 24th June 2006
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I'd rent the gear to do the transfers unless you are doing it every day.
Old 25th June 2006
  #15
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spectacular g's Avatar
 

Just a thought but for the money you are thinking of spending you could get an Alesis HD 24XR to dump to and a UA 2192 which has a great clock.

Then get 1 inch 2 track machine to mix down to then through the 2192 at 24/192 into a nice burner then out for mastering....

yeah that might be real nice

next time,
jfg
Old 25th June 2006
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691
Thanks Mike Caffrey!!

I noticed from a post awhile back that you use an MTR90 Mk.1 as well ? I remember your post, and I think you stated that you sync your MTR90 to PT as well.

What device do you use to sync it ? I still have an Opcode studio 4 that I use, but I run the 1/4" SMPTE output to my MPC2000 sampler/sequencer. I actually still use SVP as a sequencer, and I have that slaved to PT, and the MPC2000 slaved to SVP.

Do you think it is a good idea to run seperate passes of 2 tracks at a time from the MTR90 into PT ? I want to do it this way because I'd rather use the Lavry converters, and it seems like a great way to save $ for a project studio like mine where time is not a factor. I figure, why fork out $3K for an Apogee AD16x when I can get an even better sounding 2 ch. Lavry converter and just run seperate passes into PT. This is my logic. Hope it's not flawed.

I know some say every time the tape passes over the heads again a little more "top end" is lost; but I'm not an audiophile, so I doubt that I would hear it.

I thought to ask your advice because your set-up seems extremely similar to mine.

Have you had any technical issues with the MTR90 Mk.1 ? How do you like the sound of it ?
I have a MKII. Sounds great, no problems.

I use Radar Nyquist convverters to get into ProTools. I rarely need to sync since I can transfer 24 tracks at a time.

When I do sync, I use a Sync I/O and previously as USD and in both cases I do it officially the wrong way.

The only cases that I can think of at the moment where I need to sync the tape and Tools is when I want to track to tape and end up on the grid.

My method (and keep in mind it's 100% academically wrong) is to generate a click and SMPTE from protools. I generate the click by duplicating a sample on the grid.I roll the tape and then hit play on protools so that the band can follow the click and I print the click and SMPTE to the tape.

When I know what take I want, I set protools to follow the SMPTE that's on the tape and it goes back in right on the grid. I've also got the recorded click as a back up visual reference just in case.


As far as your case, I think you're going ot find that 12 passes is more of a hassle than you expect, and that's if it does work.

Back when I thought parallel compression was a good thing, I expereminted with parallel tape comrpession - sending everything out with SMPTE and then back in sync. I was expecting a super-fat, cool sound. What i got was a very interesting chorsing effect. It's probabyl a great way to make an ADT vocal or instead of adding +/-8 cents with an SPX-90 to some back up vocals. It seemed like the problem was jsut beacuase of tape's natural imperfections, but it couls also be that I wasn't doing it the way it really should be done.

Don't get completely discouraged, you've still got good uses for single or double channel instruments. Drums are out, but you could do one or two tracks of bass, same with guitars. As long as the entire perfomance of the part goes and comes back in the same passes you're fine. If someone brings you a vocal that's got some clipping, tape and back can be a great way to reduce the pain. Also, you're stero mix can got out and back - or through in repro.

You've asked a good question and gotten good answers. If you have the time, try it anyway so that you can expereince what people have explained as well as have a new tool/option for when someone is looking for a crazy creative sound.
Old 25th June 2006
  #17
my approach is little different than most in that 99% of the time I track to 2" and use my Daw for editing and fixing if I've done some fixes I then put it back onto tape when I'm done. As far as I'm concerned its just a waywayway better form of storage. Also I tend to do large track count projects so I usually need the daw for the additional tracks which is always locked to my 2". If I were you I'd get the multi channel AD/DA. You're asking for hassles with just 2 channels.
Old 26th June 2006
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab
my approach is little different than most in that 99% of the time I track to 2" and use my Daw for editing and fixing if I've done some fixes I then put it back onto tape when I'm done. As far as I'm concerned its just a waywayway better form of storage. Also I tend to do large track count projects so I usually need the daw for the additional tracks which is always locked to my 2". If I were you I'd get the multi channel AD/DA. You're asking for hassles with just 2 channels.

Hey Lou,

That's great advice, and now I'll be able to take it! I almost had the sweetest deal on both an Apogee AD16X and DA16X, hardly used, for $4400! But another friend of his got the AD16X, and I'll be getting the DA16X. But that's OK because I have definitely decided to get the AD16X as well.

My official D/A rig will be 32 outs from PT going into the Trident 80 series console: 16 channels from the DA16X, and 16 more from 2 Apogee AD8000s slaved to the C777 clock in the DA16X.

What do you think of this setup for D/A ? I think it will satisfy my ears for sure, as I already am happy with the stock AD8000 sound!

Do you really use your tape machine alot to get more channels than 32 into your console for mixing ? I'm asking, because this is exactly how I originally intended to use the Otari MTR90 with PT slaved to it via SMPTE.

What tape machine do you have ? Would you say you use the tape machine for BOTH getting that unique analog flavor, and also for increasing the possible track count going into your analog console for final mixing ? I use samplers pretty heavily to create custom drum loops, and often I will have 16 outputs coming from my MPC2000 and S5000 sampler. With the Trident I'm envisioning that I can make a 16 track mix on the console and experiment with level and EQ to get a great mix of the loop, and then smack it to 2 channels on the 2" tape which will be mixed back later through 2 channels on the console, likely in the monitor section that doesn't have EQ. This way I could turn a 32 channel console into 100 channels if i want. Do you envision this could be problematic, or have you done this type stuff yourself with success ?

Like I said, I'm asking because this is EXACTLY how I'd like to use my new rig of PT, Trident, and 2" machine together. Some of the stuff I do gets pretty complex and on the heavy side, so the higher track count is usually there on the more complex stuff and consequently needs to be mixed on a good console just so all that is going on can be heard.


Sage
Old 26th June 2006
  #19
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SiliconAudioLab's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab
my approach is little different than most in that 99% of the time I track to 2" and use my Daw for editing and fixing if I've done some fixes I then put it back onto tape when I'm done. As far as I'm concerned its just a waywayway better form of storage. Also I tend to do large track count projects so I usually need the daw for the additional tracks which is always locked to my 2". If I were you I'd get the multi channel AD/DA. You're asking for hassles with just 2 channels.
Old 26th June 2006
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691
Hey Lou,

That's great advice, and now I'll be able to take it! I almost had the sweetest deal on both an Apogee AD16X and DA16X, hardly used, for $4400! But another friend of his got the AD16X, and I'll be getting the DA16X. But that's OK because I have definitely decided to get the AD16X as well.

My official D/A rig will be 32 outs from PT going into the Trident 80 series console: 16 channels from the DA16X, and 16 more from 2 Apogee AD8000s slaved to the C777 clock in the DA16X.

What do you think of this setup for D/A ? I think it will satisfy my ears for sure, as I already am happy with the stock AD8000 sound!

Do you really use your tape machine alot to get more channels than 32 into your console for mixing ? I'm asking, because this is exactly how I originally intended to use the Otari MTR90 with PT slaved to it via SMPTE.

What tape machine do you have ? Would you say you use the tape machine for BOTH getting that unique analog flavor, and also for increasing the possible track count going into your analog console for final mixing ? I use samplers pretty heavily to create custom drum loops, and often I will have 16 outputs coming from my MPC2000 and S5000 sampler. With the Trident I'm envisioning that I can make a 16 track mix on the console and experiment with level and EQ to get a great mix of the loop, and then smack it to 2 channels on the 2" tape which will be mixed back later through 2 channels on the console, likely in the monitor section that doesn't have EQ. This way I could turn a 32 channel console into 100 channels if i want. Do you envision this could be problematic, or have you done this type stuff yourself with success ?

Like I said, I'm asking because this is EXACTLY how I'd like to use my new rig of PT, Trident, and 2" machine together. Some of the stuff I do gets pretty complex and on the heavy side, so the higher track count is usually there on the more complex stuff and consequently needs to be mixed on a good console just so all that is going on can be heard.


Sage
you have to add either a word clock sync box into your budget, or a syncroniser
and black burst box. If you go with a sync box ala the smpte slave driver I've not heard good things about the old digi smpte slave driver, also for the rig you're describing its possible you might need a word clock da. My deck is a Tascam ATR 80
2" which sounds great and has been really reliable, my console is is also similar layout wise to a trident, it also is a split design . Also like you I do a fair amount of midi also locked up, I have 4 samplers and a pile of other modules. I'm an old fart, analog still sounds better to me and I believe like I said previously its a better form of storage than hard drives and dvd's. So I use the 2" first and use the daw for additional tracks, i don't think of tape as an effect I think of it as how I prefer to record. I have 24 channels of I/O so that gets me 48 tracks that lock up plus whatever midi I care to run. There's a recent project I did that had 48 tracks of backing vocals that I reduced to 8 stereo pairs. I usually record the drums, bass , lead vocals and guitars to tape. So I don't see why you couldnt do what you're describing .
Old 26th June 2006
  #21
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
 

I recall posting an almost identical thread a while back and getting almost identical answers back!

I'm on much more of a budget than you, so no Trident or 16 ch. Apogee ad/da just yet, but I did find a good temporary 16 channel solution by running 8 channels of analog input to my M-Audio 1814 and another 8 channels of ADAT in from an external 8 ch. Alesis AD/DA...all dumped into Pro Tools at once. This way I can direct monitor/mix using the M-Audio control panel software while tracking as well without the added cost of a console or mixer.

-Chris
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