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Why hasn't a company made a modern 8 to 12 track tape recorder?
Old 5th July 2020
  #601
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I don’t want anything motor-driven, with wheels and pulleys, in my recording processes. Not in 2020
Old 5th July 2020
  #602
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
An 8 track recorder will cost thousands of dollars. With that, you get hiss, limited freqency response, lossy duplication, limited dynamic range, limited recording time, no editing, no mixing, no preamps, maintenance requirements, and expensive consumables to record on.

With a few thousand dollars and a DAW you get state of the art sound quality, unlimited editing, lossless duplication, virtually unlimited recording time, cheap consumables, mixing, effects, automation... and the list goes on and on.
Wow, I was just listening to some Steely Dan tracks done to tape, I wish I had known that you proclaimed that tape sounded less than ideal, I was wrongly thinking as I listened that it sounded better than any digital recordings I had ever heard.
Old 5th July 2020
  #603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffguitar View Post
Wow, I was just listening to some Steely Dan tracks done to tape, I wish I had known that you proclaimed that tape sounded less than ideal, I was wrongly thinking as I listened that it sounded better than any digital recordings I had ever heard.
You don't think that's largely because they were next level perfectionists with next level skill and a next level budget not seen today, who'd take 14 months of trying out everything possible before calling a song complete, involving 40 of the world's best studio musicians doing 40 takes of every idea and 11 of the world's best engineers for a seven song record?

Its the tape?
Old 5th July 2020
  #604
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If you're good, you can record on anything.
Old 5th July 2020
  #605
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffguitar View Post
Wow, I was just listening to some Steely Dan tracks done to tape, I wish I had known that you proclaimed that tape sounded less than ideal, I was wrongly thinking as I listened that it sounded better than any digital recordings I had ever heard.
What were you listening on (the playback medium)?
Old 7th July 2020
  #606
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffguitar View Post
Wow, I was just listening to some Steely Dan tracks done to tape, I wish I had known that you proclaimed that tape sounded less than ideal, I was wrongly thinking as I listened that it sounded better than any digital recordings I had ever heard.
You don't think that's largely because they were next level perfectionists with next level skill and a next level budget not seen today, who'd take 14 months of trying out everything possible before calling a song complete, involving 40 of the world's best studio musicians doing 40 takes of every idea and 11 of the world's best engineers for a seven song record?

Its the tape?
But....perhaps the guy is talking about how the sonics of Aja (the locked studers + neve console..with submixes components bounced four times on the second machine + mixdown to the 30ips quarter inch + the result at the lathe...compared.....

...to the four-year-later digital multitracking +mix+lathe done with the 3m machine for Nightfly and Eye To Eye albums.

There is a huge diff in the sonics there....doesn't have anything to do with the guys they brought in to play.

I'll cast my vote that the Studer/neve sessions sound warmer than 1981 digital.

There's an even more different sound to Can't Buy a Thrill....which...gets thinner on Royal Scam....which I attribute squarely to the way the multitrack machines were used ....they really shook up the procedure on Scam.

Both analog...but Scam gets a little smeary.

At any rate, as to the op and "whyyyyyyy" wine....there are pristine multitrack machines to ve had.....for....the purposes of say.....doing 1968....or 1972....or..etc.

No matter what.....it takes a console and wires and two tape machines....and a lathe....to do...do...the result.

The angle of who's playing on the sessions......different topic.

Steely dan multitrack tapes vary in sonics from album to album.

You're either discussing the tape/console angle....or you're not.

These types of conversations just seem to go all over the place.

As to if a manufacturer is ever gonna do a five hundred dollar 12-track cassette tape multitrack machine.....wtf?
Old 7th July 2020
  #607
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
You're either discussing the tape/console angle....or you're not.

These types of conversations just seem to go all over the place.
Well yeah. . . there are a million variables (probably little exaggeration to that number) that go into the sound of a record. A binary discussion of the topic is meaningless in all practicality.
Old 7th July 2020
  #608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Well yeah. . . there are a million variables (probably little exaggeration to that number) that go into the sound of a record. A binary discussion of the topic is meaningless in all practicality.
Exactly, that era had some wonderful sounding releases, and some real dogs, and they were all A level, 100% analog efforts.

That Doobie Brothers album with "Minute By Minute" on it is the compressed to with an inch of its life, while the Streisand/Gibbs "Guilty" just sounds great!
Old 25th July 2020
  #609
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Let's assume a company makes some brand new consumer/prosumer machines who is going to buy them? Most old timers have held onto their tape recorders and most still work when fired up. Who is going to be the market for these new machines? The kids with rare exception don't know what tape is and most have developed a recording methodology that is far less suited to running tape. So some old timers like some of the 60's and 70's giants still run tape and continue to make stellar recordings but we're running out of engineers who understand tape and can edit the stuff when called upon to do so. The kids who came up on digital may well be in over their heads if they have to do a track start to finish with little or no editing and punches. If you know the drill tape is great but with professional reels of 2" tape costing small fortunes the money is better spent on state of the art studio time than fodder for an aging tape machine. I love tape I've run it since 1964 but I do so now for effect not as a front line format. Sadly we don't really need tape machines now. There are many emulations that can get you close enough to the real thing for next to nothing. Quill pens are really neat to write with but I reach for the BIC when signing my checks.
Old 25th July 2020
  #610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Let's assume a company makes some brand new consumer/prosumer machines who is going to buy them? Most old timers have held onto their tape recorders and most still work when fired up. Who is going to be the market for these new machines? The kids with rare exception don't know what tape is and most have developed a recording methodology that is far less suited to running tape.
I largely agree - except I think many of those "kids" who "never used tape" could very well be middle-aged adults now - because that's how long ago the age of 'tape' was. But the people who used tape back "then" are either over it or they hung on to their machines.

Used decks are readily available. The ones who insist on a "new" tape deck are ones who don't really have the confidence to 'wrestle' with such a complex contraption. Some people asking for such a machine are even demanding a "cassette" format because apparently they are intimidated by threading.

Quote:
There are many emulations that can get you close enough to the real thing for next to nothing.
Ah but if it isn't huge pain in the ass, how can you expect it to sound any good?

The demand for a "new machine" is largely not coming from those who have used tape and insist it has to be the real deal. It seems to be largely coming from those whose mental picture of what "tape" is (and what "tape" sounds like) is generated from forum reading.

Another common theme in these "wishing" threads is the expectation of ridiculously low prices. They think 'modernity' will reduce the manufacturing cost of complex electromechanical devices with 1000's of precision moving parts to a price that can compete with software.

To me, that's the biggest reason New Tape Decks won't be built: not that the potential "market" is too small, but that they are too cheap!

Last edited by joeq; 2 weeks ago at 10:51 PM..
Old 26th July 2020
  #611
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I largely agree - except I think many of those "kids" who "never used tape" could very well be middle-aged adults now - because that's how long ago the age of 'tape' was. But the people who used tape back "then" are either over it or they hung on to their machines.

threading.


Actually when I say "kids" I do mean kids between the ages of 16-28. That is the time when musicians are most committed on acquiring equipment and instruments. Case in point today I took an order for a guitar from a fellow 24 fresh out of college and giving himself a graduation present. The old folks like me have less fire in the belly about the field in general. Not that we are less dedicated but eventually you reach a point where a wink is as good as a nod. Once I'd demand a Studer but if a Scully is what's avilable then OK roll tape anyway. But in a lot of ways I do miss the thrill of acquiring that instrument or recorder I was bent on getting. Maybe that's what BB King was really saying in that song of his?
Old 28th July 2020
  #612
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
The demand for a "new machine" is largely not coming from those who have used tape and insist it has to be the real deal. It seems to be largely coming from those whose mental picture of what "tape" is (and what "tape" sounds like) is generated from forum reading.

A true, but no doubt unpopular opinion on the interweb.

I quit using tape machines sometime in the early 90s when I got my first ADAT. For over 20 years no one asked ma about recording to tape. I work mostly with my ancient friends and none of them show much concern about the recording medium. When I do end up working with a young band, (usually a demo for someone's grandchild) however, they often tell me they want to record to tape.

it usually goes something like this:

we want to do the project on tape

why?

because it sounds way better

Have you ever recorded to tape?

No

Then how do you know it sounds better?

[rolls eyes] everyone knows it sounds better.

it does have a certain sound [cues up recent recording I did locally of a band of very good 60-80 year old blues musicians, which is entirely digital]

That sounds great, that's what we want!
Old 29th July 2020
  #613
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Well yeah. . . there are a million variables (probably little exaggeration to that number) that go into the sound of a record. A binary discussion of the topic is meaningless in all practicality.
Ah, but a binary discussion is extremely apt in the context of digital recording!

01000111 01100101 01100101 01101011 00100000 01101000 01110101 01101101 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100110 01110100 01110111
Old 1st August 2020
  #614
Gear Maniac
There is no real market for new studio tape machines.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #615
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breakline View Post
There is no real market for new studio tape machines.
If someone wants a "new" machine then the closest thing out there is the Mara Machine stuff. There is a German company called Ballfinger that is making brand new tape machines BUT they are 2 track 1/4" only and they are crazy expensive. The cheapest unit with a record function is almost $19000 USD
Old 2nd August 2020
  #616
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
If someone wants a "new" machine then the closest thing out there is the Mara Machine stuff. There is a German company called Ballfinger that is making brand new tape machines BUT they are 2 track 1/4" only and they are crazy expensive. The cheapest unit with a record function is almost $19000 USD
By "real market", I meant a lot of people who might buy something like that. I don't mean people who saw a tape machine on Instagram and its so cool and they want to do "lofi" (which most tape machines are not). For those guys the cheapest ****tiest tape machines are good. There is a misconception among this generation that tape == lofi or something. In reality a good calibrated 1/4" tape machine is by far beating anything your DAW can produce. Its not "lofi" at all. In fact, besides excellent detail a good tape machine will be almost indistinguishable from a digital source.

Studios certainly wont buy new tape machines, big ones most likely already have one if they ever need one, and its unlikely any new company can beat those Studers and Nagras and Telefunkens.

Your only "real" market is prosumers who have a lot of other options including used tape machines, plugins or just not using tape at all. Back then there was tape and nothing else, so it wasnt a choice. Now its tape competing with digital. Not many prosumers are really ready to use and calibrate and service a tape machine. Most of these need calibration like once a year and regular cleaning if you want to actually use it for professional recording.

Tape machines are big and bulky, hard to transport, hard to sell and hard to service. All very bad for today's market.

From the production side, you need excellent machines calibrated, people who have a lot of experience with designing and building precision machines etc. I mean by just the lack of stable market this will never gonna happen. Again besides a small fraction of home musicians there is no real market for these.

You'd be better off buying a used prosumer deck. Or if you want to go big just use mixanalog, they have both a big Studer and Telefunken you can use without all the hassle.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #617
Every once in a while when I'm trying to get some sound tamed, I briefly flirt with the idea of getting another 16 track tape machine. When that happens I Hit my palm to my forehead and say to self: "DON't BE STUPID" and the feeling quickly passes. Even if tape was free, I had the choice of any machine I wanted, and I had the best tape machine tech in the world on a lifetime retainer, I would still not go back to tape. I used tape in my studios for many years. Recorded in many tape based studios back in the day. I can tell you I hate tape hiss, hate the bass roll off, hate rewinding and fast forwarding, hate demagnitizing everything, hate cleaning heads, hate biasing, and often even hate what it does to high end detail. The tape romanticism ( which I'm sure somebody can find me contributing to somewhere here in the past on Gearslutz) is B.S. IMHO.
Old 2nd August 2020
  #618
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadlessDinosaur View Post
If someone wants a "new" machine then the closest thing out there is the Mara Machine stuff. There is a German company called Ballfinger that is making brand new tape machines BUT they are 2 track 1/4" only and they are crazy expensive. The cheapest unit with a record function is almost $19000 USD
I was suspicious, since most of the images on the website look like computer renderings, but apparently it really exists

I think it is aimed at audiophiles who want to 'save' their vinyls

listen to how good it sounds!

Old 2nd August 2020
  #619
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breakline View Post
There is no real market for new studio tape machines.
there are a number of people in this thread who will claim that they are the market for a "new tape deck". The first problem is that they do not 'represent' a larger group of people like themselves. They are pretty much "it".

What is even worse, they all want a different "new tape deck".

Some want a multi-track machine to use in tracking with a console. Some want a 2 track deck to mix down onto. Some want a reel-to-reel "effects unit" that they will pass each overdub through on the way in to a computer to get that tape sound. Some want a grot box to deliberately "low-fi" or "grunge up" their digital tracks. Some have proposed a spinning 'cylinder' that records, plays back and erases as the drum turns. Some want a cassette or "cartridge" because they are intimidated by the incredible complexities of threading the tape!

And pretty much all of them want it for some price that is lower than what a 40 year old machine costs on eBay.

The OP himself suggested $700, (that's not a typo, that's Seven Hundred Dollars and zero zero cents.) for a "12 track" that moves at "10 ips" is in a new proprietary 'cartridge' and could "synchronize" with the DAW - whatever that means.

Right here, we see the examples of the worst possible market demographic in the world. Not only split into a dozen unconnected sub-markets, but uncommitted, picky, entitled, whiney and cheap.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #620
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I was suspicious, since most of the images on the website look like computer renderings, but apparently it really exists

I think it is aimed at audiophiles who want to 'save' their vinyls

listen to how good it sounds!

I could out fit my studio with 2 Mara Machine MCI's for less than the cost of a Ballfinger. Ridiculous! ....and I'd rather have the Mara Machine's too.
Old 3rd August 2020
  #621
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
there are a number of people in this thread who will claim that they are the market for a "new tape deck". The first problem is that they do not 'represent' a larger group of people like themselves. They are pretty much "it".

What is even worse, they all want a different "new tape deck".

Some want a multi-track machine to use in tracking with a console. Some want a 2 track deck to mix down onto. Some want a reel-to-reel "effects unit" that they will pass each overdub through on the way in to a computer to get that tape sound. Some want a grot box to deliberately "low-fi" or "grunge up" their digital tracks. Some have proposed a spinning 'cylinder' that records, plays back and erases as the drum turns. Some want a cassette or "cartridge" because they are intimidated by the incredible complexities of threading the tape!

And pretty much all of them want it for some price that is lower than what a 40 year old machine costs on eBay.

The OP himself suggested $700, (that's not a typo, that's Seven Hundred Dollars and zero zero cents.) for a "12 track" that moves at "10 ips" is in a new proprietary 'cartridge' and could "synchronize" with the DAW - whatever that means.

Right here, we see the examples of the worst possible market demographic in the world. Not only split into a dozen unconnected sub-markets, but uncommitted, picky, entitled, whiney and cheap.
Perfectly stated!!!
Old 3rd August 2020
  #622
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
there are a number of people in this thread who will claim that they are the market for a "new tape deck". The first problem is that they do not 'represent' a larger group of people like themselves. They are pretty much "it".

What is even worse, they all want a different "new tape deck".

Some want a multi-track machine to use in tracking with a console. Some want a 2 track deck to mix down onto. Some want a reel-to-reel "effects unit" that they will pass each overdub through on the way in to a computer to get that tape sound. Some want a grot box to deliberately "low-fi" or "grunge up" their digital tracks. Some have proposed a spinning 'cylinder' that records, plays back and erases as the drum turns. Some want a cassette or "cartridge" because they are intimidated by the incredible complexities of threading the tape!

And pretty much all of them want it for some price that is lower than what a 40 year old machine costs on eBay.

The OP himself suggested $700, (that's not a typo, that's Seven Hundred Dollars and zero zero cents.) for a "12 track" that moves at "10 ips" is in a new proprietary 'cartridge' and could "synchronize" with the DAW - whatever that means.

Right here, we see the examples of the worst possible market demographic in the world. Not only split into a dozen unconnected sub-markets, but uncommitted, picky, entitled, whiney and cheap.
Yeah he should buy a Tascam and get Reelbus and call it a day. I doubt he’d be able to tell the difference and wait until he finds out what a reel of 2”tape costs!....
Old 2 weeks ago
  #623
DRM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Tape was never, ever, a holy grail of audio fidelity, or the ultimate experience for listening to or recording music; it was just what was available at the time. Did I mention that it sucked?
Tape generally...or cassettes in particular ? Ever had the experience of listening to a recording made on a Nakamichi Dragon or a Technics RS1500 , Revox A700 or Revox B77 ? All domestic machines, capable of good audio fidelity, far in excess of the hi-speed dubbed commercial release cassette tape equivalents of their LP counterparts.
Exactly.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #624
DRM
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Analog tape, even cassettes, are able to capture characteristics of sound information/music that digital cannot capture as well. The timbre, sound colors, soundstage, presence, and sense of liveliness. Digital nails the crystal clear dimension, true. Making some music sound sharper and cleaner than it actually is. And yes, is easier to work with.
I have over 200 Beatles analog cassettes and they sound better, to me, than the dozens of Beatles CD’s I own.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #625
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRM View Post
Analog tape, even cassettes, are able to capture characteristics of sound information/music that digital cannot capture as well. The timbre, sound colors, soundstage, presence, and sense of liveliness. Digital nails the crystal clear dimension, true. Making some music sound sharper and cleaner than it actually is. And yes, is easier to work with.
I have over 200 Beatles analog cassettes and they sound better, to me, than the dozens of Beatles CD’s I own.
But how much of that sound is really just the electronics of the tape machine or cassette deck being pushed. Not the actual tape sound itself.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #626
DRM
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I’ve never heard of the mechanical noise theory of cassettes. That somehow, to me, leads to more spaciousness, better timbre, increased sense of dimension and liveliness, and more presence.

A bell to me sounds more like an actual bell via analog tape vs. a crystal clear ear tingling idealized digital version of a bell.

The best recordings would be no overdubs and straight to analog tape. The Beatles got close to this for Please Please Me.

I own digital and analog sound equipment and there’s a place for both.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRM View Post
I’ve never heard the mechanical noise theory of cassettes. That somehow, to me, leads to more spaciousness, better timbre, increased sense of dimension and liveliness, and more presence.

A bell to me sounds more like an actual bell via analog tape vs. a crystal clear ear tingling idealized digital version of a bell.

The best recordings would be no overdubs and straight to analog tape. The Beatles got close to this for Please Please Me.

I own digital and analog sound equipment and there’s a place for both.
Its a great recording, but the harmonica on Please Please Me is an overdub.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #628
DRM
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Yes, I did say the Beatles got close to this. Close. But yes, had some overdubs.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #629
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRM View Post
A bell to me sounds more like an actual bell via analog tape vs. a crystal clear ear tingling idealized digital version of a bell.
It doesn’t sound more like an actual bell, it sounds more like a legit recording of an actual bell. As determined by the reference point of the history of recording. Tape isn’t capturing more sound, it’s adding to the sound more than what’s there.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #630
DRM
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Many have gotten used to digital bells and sugary sweet Beatles via digital over-processing.
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