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Analog 8-track for Tracking OR Analog 2-Track for Mixing Down?
Old 20th July 2005
Here for the gear

Analog 8-track for Tracking OR Analog 2-Track for Mixing Down?

I wanted to make an album that has an intentionally, intimate home-made feel to it, one that will also allow me to try to mixing on my own. Currently, my set up is a motu 828mkII running Cubase SX. I got this Akai MG1212, 12-track analog machine, for free from this guy that was leaving town. The tape machine is broken and the tapes have been discontinued, but I've still been able to use it as a 12-channel mixing board.

I'd like to start playing around with tape and use the sound qualities of tape to further capture a "home-made" feel. I guess the issue that I'm trying to decide on (given my budget) is the following, given that I want to also do my own mixing is...

1) Should I get an 8 track reel-to-reel like a TSR-8 that I could do tracking on and bounce back and forth between my motu for any editing. I would do my mixing on the akai mg1212, but when it comes to mix down, I probably would mix down to a stereo wav file on my computer, probably at 24/96 resolution.


2) Should I get a 2-track machine, track entirely digitally, then mix out onto the akai mg1212 and mix down onto a 2-track machine.

I guess, if you were in my situation, what would you go for?
Old 21st July 2005
Gear Head

I have done something sort of similar to option number 1 with mixed results. Im thinking of getting a nice 2 track mastering deck in the future though. Id suggest the second option cus you can spend and get a really nice machine.
Old 21st July 2005
Here for the gear

What was your setup that was similar to option 1? and can you describe your mixed results?

i guess....i'm wondering if you can capture the same "tape" quality at the mix down stage verses the tracking stage....
Old 21st July 2005
Gear Head

First let me preface this by saying Im no expert with analog gear or recording. I used a TSR 8 cus it was relatively affordable. I tracked with it, then dumped those tracks into PT (through the 001, not the best route I realize). This worked especially nicely for drums.

The problems I encountered was its hard to dial in those sweet spot levels because the LED meteres arent very accurate. This could vary depending on what deck you decide to get. I also encountered the dilemna of syncing up recorded tracks since I only had 8 tracks and couldnt dump it all in simultaneously. I ultimately decided I just need to focus on getting good at the whole recording process without regard to medium at first, then I can worry about using tape to color my sound.

It does make a difference though. Ive also had experience using a very consumer Sony R2R as a 2 track master deck. That particular set-up was noisy and inefficient but with the right machine Im guessing the effect could be more pleasant.
Old 22nd July 2005
Gear Addict
peeceebee's Avatar

I think you'll get much better results tracking digitally then mixing analog, mainly because most lower-end 8-tracks suck bigtime-
OTOH, if you WANT a "suck" sound, that'd do it.

Or, if you're handy technically, the cool way to go would be to score a beat-up 1" 8-track for a song, and restore it- 8 tracks to 1", or 16 to 2", is the best sound going!
Old 22nd July 2005
Lives for gear
nobtwiddler's Avatar
Except for the 8 track 2 inch!
Old 24th July 2005
Lives for gear
r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar

Therein lies the dillema

Well for a while there i was Tracking Digital, Mixing Analog (An Otari MX5050) it cost $150 off The really broke and sold it...soon there after it took a **** on the guy i sold it one in Milwaukee will work on the bugger soo SCEWEd i was...and that's the problem with Tape Machines....a lot of the Tech KnowHow is Retired or Dead where i am...
Now as for the results of that method....i just don't think that your mix will benifit during that phase....Tracking seems like the place for tape....After all that's where you have room to bang the levels....
doing it on mixdown seems like an afterThought....and it won't make your recording sound like tape.....

Been trying to find info on a 1" 16Track Tascam machine that i spotted at a MusicGoRound Years ago....rackMounted not the Washing machine size ones...any info anyone has like a Model # would be a great i am planning on tracking to analog...screw it
Old 24th July 2005
Lives for gear
themaidsroom's Avatar

buy an otari 1/2" mtr - 12 with both 4 track and 2 track heads - record to the
4 track or to 3 if you need to lock it up and then mix from your motu back
onto the mtr-12 with the changed headstack ....... you'll add a lot on both sides......

- jack
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