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Questions about analog/digital recording
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Questions about analog/digital recording

So, me and a friend of mine have been working on an indie rock project for a while. We've been writing for a few months and still looking for the right members, but I want to start planning for how we're going to record this stuff. We have a pretty decent home studio setup currently which we've recorded with in the past, with a Neumann TLM103, a bunch of Shure's, ISA One, and a focusrite interface.

The plan is to step things up a notch and record to tape, but I'm not exactly sure if I'm seeing it all the right way.

So the way I see it in my head is, we get a 4-track (or 8 Track perhaps) tape machine, and start with a live take of the drums and bass. Record to tape, bounce that to our DAW (Logic), and then record the guitar to tape, repeat the process, and then do the vocals.

Things I'm wondering -
1. Will this even work? Will it give it that tape sound quality? From what I've seen there can be issues lining up the tracks, but if the rhythms are recorded live and we can play to them just fine, I don't see why this would be an issue.
2. Do the converters matter that much when bouncing tape to a DAW? I've seen people just plug tape machine outputs directly into their computer and that seemed to work fine, but I figured I'd get a better interface as well and run the tape machine outputs into the inputs of the interface and do it that way.

Also I was planning on picking up some analog processing stuff, like compression and EQ as opposed to using plug ins. Could I bounce the tracks from logic that came from the tape to the outboard gear or would it not make sense to do that? Cause I figured what could be done is run Output of tape machine->Input of compressor---Output of compressor->Input of interface.

Any advice would be appreciated, and thanks in advanced!
Also I'm totally new here so if theres a better area for this thread please point it out!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Poinzy's Avatar
 

"Step things up a notch"? With tape? You mean cassette tape? Tape "sound quality" sucks, unless you're using reel-to-reel.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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If you are limited to a 2 input set of converters, you are better off getting a mixer and some SM57's to blend the drums down to two tracks, than layering on that. Use the 103 as a mono overhead, or get some CM3 overheads and use the 103 for snare or outside kick.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Download the trial for AA Taupe and bounce some tracks down with it.

Choose the 1024 sample buffer for your interface first.

Taupe rocks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
"Step things up a notch"? With tape? You mean cassette tape? Tape "sound quality" sucks, unless you're using reel-to-reel.
Of course I mean reel to reel. Lol. Something like a TEAC A3440

As far as converters, the interface I'm thinking of getting is an apogee ensemble, so 8 inputs is what I'd be working with. Right now we have a Saffire Pro 40 which is also 8 inputs, I'm wondering if the upgrade to the apogee would be worth it for converting the outputs of the tape machine
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camerond96 View Post
So the way I see it in my head is, we get a 4-track (or 8 Track perhaps) tape machine, and start with a live take of the drums and bass. Record to tape, bounce that to our DAW (Logic), and then record the guitar to tape, repeat the process, and then do the vocals.

Things I'm wondering -
1. Will this even work? Will it give it that tape sound quality?
Well, I would imagine it would give you some "tape sound", but I'm not sure it's "that" tape sound that you're after. You're probably the only one who can determine that.

There are of course some pretty darn good tape plugins in existence, so there are alternatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camerond96 View Post
From what I've seen there can be issues lining up the tracks, but if the rhythms are recorded live and we can play to them just fine, I don't see why this would be an issue.
You'd have to record to tape along with what you hear I suppose, and then either record the cue mix you were hearing onto one of the four tracks for reference to help you line up later, or you'd just do it some other way. Not really particularly convenient. "Better" tape decks would be able to sync / be slaved to a master which would be a more convenient option probably.

There's also the issue of whether or not the tape machine is behaving as it should. As long as it does you're fine of course, but if there's some sort of drift or whatever it might be a pain to deal with after you've recorded.

I don't use tape any longer so I'm sure others can chime in with a better view of what to expect in the real world in 2019.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camerond96 View Post
2. Do the converters matter that much when bouncing tape to a DAW? I've seen people just plug tape machine outputs directly into their computer and that seemed to work fine, but I figured I'd get a better interface as well and run the tape machine outputs into the inputs of the interface and do it that way.

Also I was planning on picking up some analog processing stuff, like compression and EQ as opposed to using plug ins. Could I bounce the tracks from logic that came from the tape to the outboard gear or would it not make sense to do that? Cause I figured what could be done is run Output of tape machine->Input of compressor---Output of compressor->Input of interface.
As long as the levels match (line level to line level etc) you should be able to run it as you choose. Some people would probably say that you get better sound quality with fewer conversions. On the other hand you're clearly looking for analog "distortion" of various kinds so if it works for you it works.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camerond96 View Post
Will it give it that tape sound quality?
Years ago I was happy to lose that quality, still am.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Find a used interface that's high end is better than a new low end system.

Old computer stuff goes for cheap, it's just not as fast. For example when I get done with my install, I will have a Gen 2 pentium system with MADI card installed for sale. It works, but is an unsupported system.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Not sure if recording to tape is "stepping things up", but it's all good if that's what you want to do. Good A-D converters will be beneficial. If you are tracking/bouncing, tracking/bouncing, synchronization is going to be something to consider.
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