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Recording to tape vs digital - direct audio comparison Saturation Plugins
Old 12th January 2017
  #61
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I even read one guy who claimed that the weight of analog decks was the 'prohibitive' factor! As if the guy never heard of cartage
Well i could well imagine that a 200kg tape machine would be over the limits for lots of people. Of course if you're a big player in the business then i would understand the rant about that factor more clearly.
Old 12th January 2017
  #62
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simppu View Post
Well i could well imagine that a 200kg tape machine would be over the limits for lots of people. Of course if you're a big player in the business then i would understand the rant about that factor more clearly.
many classical concerts will routinely have a piano delivered to suit the soloist. The actual transport of one more heavy item when they are making an album not going to deter someone who is already bringing microphones, preamps, stands, monitors, snakes whatever. Believe it or not, there are people with trucks who will pick up a heavy thing and bring it where you want for a reasonably small sum of money. Not only for pianos and tape decks but refrigerators, washing machines and sofas. So please.

IMO it is the height of rudeness to make an excuse for someone else's choice as if they 'don't care' about sound. As if it is inconceivable that they might actually genuinely prefer the sound of a different recording medium.

I am constantly reading people on the discussion boards with this idea that classical producers and conductors have only chosen digital for 'weight' or 'ease of editing' or 'cost', because surely they must "know" that tape 'sounds better'. I would be interested to see these posters actually attend one of these classical recordings. Then they could have the opportunity to tell these professional classical music producers, engineers, conductors and musicians that they are "compromising sound for convenience" to their faces.
Old 12th January 2017
  #63
Gear Nut
 

Well that's an whole another story, i was referring more to guys like me or someone even intermediate that doesn't have the space or resources to maintain and keep a tape machine like that.

And pretty weird, complaining about tape machine being too heavy and at the same time one needs to road dozen of instruments etc. so wouldn't the weight of that all be darn heavy already even without the tape machine?
Old 12th January 2017
  #64
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simppu View Post
Well that's an whole another story, i was referring more to guys like me or someone even intermediate that doesn't have the space or resources to maintain and keep a tape machine like that.

And pretty weird, complaining about tape machine being too heavy and at the same time one needs to road dozen of instruments etc. so wouldn't the weight of that all be darn heavy already even without the tape machine?
Of course. I think the person in question was not actually relating his personal experiences of lugging a large deck to a concert hall. I believe he was a rock musician, simply trying to reconcile the idea that some people in some genres might actually prefer digital capture, even though he himself did not. He needed to find a rationale that did not include the possibility that his taste wasn't universal.

there are quite a number of people here, probably myself included, who under ideal circumstances - lotto winnings (yummy hardware for every channel), musicians who could really play, clients who did not pester us for mix recalls, all the time in the world, dedicated machine room, would choose tape. And so we ARE in a sense compromising vs our favorite sound. At least in that bowing to the realities of modern life is compromising.

But in my experience, that group of people does not include classical musicians, nearly every one of whom that I know, is conversant with both tape and digital and yet genuinely (and strongly!) prefers digital for sonics.
Old 1st March 2018
  #65
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodkeys View Post
Hey good people,

stumbled upon an interesting direct comparison between recording to tape vs recording digital. We all know that it can be topic of countless heated debates, which I hope we can avoid here. Instead, I found it very interesting to have a real direct comparison sound example. A very instructive listen for me:

YouTube
(uncompressed audio files download link provided in the description)

I am young enough to have missed the days of tape recording, and I have never before heard a direct comparison between the two. Now, lets not take the fruitless route of discussing which is better. None is absolutely better, but both are different. At least a bit. The audio comparison above gave me a good idea about how the sound differs.



Don't read below if you haven't listened to the audio files for yourself first.
***********************************************************
Here are my impressions:

There are definitely audible differences between the two. They are not night and day - a casual listener probably wouldn't notice a difference at all. But if you do listen, you do hear them.

I now get what people mean when they say tape sounds 'warm'. There is less high end content in the tape recording. Interesting, given the frequent use of smiley eq curves, which are in fact the opposite of what tape seems to do.

The most interesting and surprising difference I found is in stereo width. The digital recording sounds precise and focused. The tape recording sounds warmer and wider. Very interesting. I've never heard that tape can have more stereo width than analog.
That seems to be a very useable difference to me. If you want a well blended sound, recording to tape may be a good choice. If you want precise localization of the instruments, digital might be the medium of choice.

Both sound very good and useable. I see why Spitfire, for example, chose to record to tape. At the same time I dig the focused and clear sound of digital recording. Different flavors, both tasty.

Recording digitally and then bouncing to tape does induce the warmth of the tape, but doesn't give the same stereo spread as the tape recording. At 7.5ips wow and flutter are more clearly audible. Probably more useable as an effect than as a clean recording. The Kramer tape emu doesn't do much in my opinion. I'll certainly test what my Nebula r2r does to the digital recording. I would also love to hear how the UAD Studer compares.

For this guitar recording, my favored sound would probably be somewhere between the tape and the digital. The wider stereo image of the tape sounds very nice to my ears, and maybe a tiny bit less high frequency content than digital would be nice (but not quite as much less as on the tape). That's personal preference of course, but the comparison is very instructive in this regard, as I can try to shape my 'ideal' version with the mixing tools I have. That should prove valuable for my future mixes.

What's your impression of the sound examples?


I downloaded the original files and the L and R channels are swapped (no joke).

Once you add the correct level of noise in each channel (L and R do not have the same level of noise, I just used white noise), it is quite similar.

You then can hear the tape is boosting some lows/low mids, or it's the effect of hearing less details in the highs.


This test is majorly flawed.
Old 1st March 2018
  #66
Lives for gear
 
FreshProduce's Avatar
Feel compelled to add that the closer you get to clipping with digital, the more distorted and undesirable the signal becomes. With tape, the closer you get to clipping.. the more colorful it sounds/feels!. One of my favorite aspects of analogue front end studios.
Old 1st March 2018
  #67
Lives for gear
 

......thread necro.....
Old 1st March 2018
  #68
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshProduce View Post
Feel compelled to add that the closer you get to clipping with digital, the more distorted and undesirable the signal becomes. With tape, the closer you get to clipping.. the more colorful it sounds/feels!. One of my favorite aspects of analogue front end studios.
This is actually false and has been demonstrated by recording the same file near peak and 30dB under peak.

Both files will null in digital. Distortion only occurs if you go over 0dBFS.
Old 1st March 2018
  #69
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FreshProduce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas View Post
This is actually false and has been demonstrated by recording the same file near peak and 30dB under peak.

Both files will null in digital. Distortion only occurs if you go over 0dBFS.
Can you link me to an example? I've read a few threads in forums elsewhere in which people complain of digital distortion while bumping a hot signal but not clipping.

If that's the case.. ok!
Tape still sounds better and better the hotter the signal
Old 1st March 2018
  #70
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshProduce View Post
Can you link me to an example?
You can check this for yourself with relative ease in your DAW.

Cheers.
Old 2nd March 2018
  #71
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshProduce View Post
Can you link me to an example? I've read a few threads in forums elsewhere in which people complain of digital distortion while bumping a hot signal but not clipping.

If that's the case.. ok!
Tape still sounds better and better the hotter the signal

It is very easy to do in your DAW.

Just hook your output to an input and voila.

These are the kind of tests you want to do by yourself. Like I demonstrate earlier in the thread, people on the internet posting comparisons make mistakes. You must do it yourself and assume everything you listen to on gearslutz might be fake/mistake, etc.
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