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-   Q+A with Eric Valentine (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-a-with-eric-valentine/)
-   -   Current use of analog tape. (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-a-with-eric-valentine/631591-current-use-analog-tape.html)

dillweed 19th July 2011 06:35 PM

Current use of analog tape.
 
Hi Eric,
Big fan of your work. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to share your knowledge.
In the recent Taking Back Sunday post you mentioned that all tracks were transferred to analog tape after all digital editing.
Is this the most ideal analog/digital integration method you have come to use from experimentation?
Have you tried the "clasp" method or recording to analog then dumping to dig to mix approach?
Have you ever thought; "screw this analog tape it's just too much work".

Thanks and best.......

ev33 21st July 2011 02:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dillweed (Post 6859338)
Hi Eric,
Big fan of your work. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to share your knowledge.
In the recent Taking Back Sunday post you mentioned that all tracks were transferred to analog tape after all digital editing.
Is this the most ideal analog/digital integration method you have come to use from experimentation?

I have had the best luck doing the digital first analog second approach when combining the 2 mediums. I believe there are 2 advantages to doing it this way:

Recording directly to the computer while capturing performances takes full advantage of the benefits from the digital work flow. The benefits are obvious.... ease of editing/comping, fixing performances, virtually unlimited DSP fx etc etc. Capturing performances directly to analog tape takes a certain calibre of musician and very different kind of preparation.

the other benefit of doing digital first/analog second is the sound. One of the things that most people credit for the pleasing sound of analog is the harmonic coloration. Tape machines are adding a healthy dose of 3rd order harmonics. I believe it is these harmonics that give tape its somewhat magical airy, dense but very un harsh high end. This is what I believe is going on: lets say you have a cymbal sound that is focussed around 10K. The 3rd order harmonic that is generated by the tape machine above that is about 30K. So now you have this very hi over tone that is interacting with the original sound that will subtly change the character of the sound (there is debate about if/why/how these overtones affect things but we'll assume they do for the purpose of this example). If you then transfer the analog recording to digital lets at 48K, there is a very necessary brick wall low pass filter at 24K to eliminate the digital aliasing noise. Goodbye 30K overtone. The 30K overtone is not just filtered off. It is first devoured by hideous square wave digital noise and then filtered off. (This explanation is based on my somewhat limited knowledge of digital technology and could be better explained by a digital expert.) The one thing I have experienced over and over is the difference I feel when mixing from analog verses digital. It is way easier for me to get the high end to "open up" when mixing from analog. I can boost the high end very aggressively without it being harsh. When digital is last in the chain for some reason I feel like I am pushing against a ceiling with the EQs. Things tend to transition into harsh more easily before they open up.

Quote:

Have you tried the "clasp" method or recording to analog then dumping to dig to mix approach?
The CLASP approach would not be my sonic preference for the reason I just explained. That said, I am very pleased to see people making the effort to keep analog included in the digital world. The CLASP setup is very cleaver and I know a few folks that really love it.

Quote:

Have you ever thought; "screw this analog tape it's just too much work".

Thanks and best.......
ALL THE TIME!!!!! I love the work flow with digital, there's just no denying the benefits. It is just very difficult for me to let go of the most important part... turning up the speakers at the end of a mix and feeling excited about the results. I just haven't figured out how to do it without analog yet.

EV

ihearsounds 21st July 2011 03:23 PM

i like what your telling here, thanks for sharing ! peachh

the keester 22nd July 2011 08:02 PM

Have you ever recorded to digital, completed your mix 'in the box' and then rendered your mix to 1/4" or 1/2" tape? If so how do you compare the results to the method you described above?

I have a 1/4" 2 track available and I like the results so far but I am considering trying out the Sound Toys Decapitator Plugins as an alternative for tape saturation.

Thanks for your input :)

ev33 25th July 2011 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the keester (Post 6869217)
Have you ever recorded to digital, completed your mix 'in the box' and then rendered your mix to 1/4" or 1/2" tape? If so how do you compare the results to the method you described above?

I have a 1/4" 2 track available and I like the results so far but I am considering trying out the Sound Toys Decapitator Plugins as an alternative for tape saturation.

Thanks for your input :)

that particular work flow (direct digital recording, bounced to disk via "in the box" mixing) if I understand it correctly, would be very uncommon for me. So I can't say that i have tried that exact scenario. I do always print a digital version of the mix directly into pro tools in addition to the analog 1/2" version. I do have lots of opportunities to compare those. I typically like the analog better but sometimes if the mix is not fortified with enough definition the analog mix can take it in the wrong direction and I will use the digital mix. I do have decapitator and was pretty excited about it when I first got it. The tape emulations keep getting better and better. The new release from waves (Eddie Kramer MPX Master tape thing) is the best I have heard so far. I personally still prefer the real thing over even that plug in. The difference is starting to get exceedingly subtle though. The difference I hear between most all of the emulators and the real thing is a slightly grainy quality in the plug ins. The real tape machines seem to do a slightly better job of smoothing things together in a way that sounds denser and thicker in the high end. the plug ins have a slight grainy transparency that doesn't sound as solid to me.

EV

Greg Wells 15th August 2011 05:58 AM

Have you heard the Anamod ATC-1?

ev33 15th August 2011 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Wells (Post 6937560)
Have you heard the Anamod ATC-1?

I did try an early version of the Anamod ATS-1 device. I think it was still being developed at that point. My experience with it was similar to a lot of the tape emulations I have tried. The emulations are very good at duplicating the peak limiting and harmonic overtone part of it. There is one quality that seems to still be eluding the emulations. Whenever I compare them I feel like there is this density to the sound that i only hear in the real analog tape version. A sort of seamless quality to the high end that makes the individual sounds be less transparent and more solid sounding. The plugin/digital emulations have an additional issue that the high end always feels a bit grainy to me. That's best I can do to put into words.

the emulations do seem to continue to improve though. As soon as they feel the same to me I will get rid every last tape machine in my building :)

Hope you're well!

EV

Greg Wells 15th August 2011 04:10 PM

Maybe check out the latest version. It doesn't sound like any of the plugins. I sold my beautiful 827 - really.

Deuce 225 16th August 2011 03:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Wells (Post 6938540)
Maybe check out the latest version. It doesn't sound like any of the plugins. I sold my beautiful 827 - really.

Slightly off topic for the EV thread...but just curious Greg if you've ever used your Anamod on the 2 bus as a final mix stage and if so which tape formulation and machine type?

Best,
Tim Cochran

Greg Wells 16th August 2011 04:25 AM

Yes, that's where it lives. Ampeg 351, and I forget the tape setting.

Back to Eric and the best Q&A I've ever read.

Deuce 225 16th August 2011 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Wells (Post 6940612)
Back to Eric and the best Q&A I've ever read.

Totally agree Greg. Eric has set a new bar for Guest Moderators ! Future Guest Mods take heed.

Best,
Tim Cochran

Dave_Amels 16th August 2011 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ev33 (Post 6938527)
I did try an early version of the Anamod ATS-1 device. I think it was still being developed at that point. My experience with it was similar to a lot of the tape emulations I have tried. The emulations are very good at duplicating the peak limiting and harmonic overtone part of it. There is one quality that seems to still be eluding the emulations. Whenever I compare them I feel like there is this density to the sound that i only hear in the real analog tape version. A sort of seamless quality to the high end that makes the individual sounds be less transparent and more solid sounding. The plugin/digital emulations have an additional issue that the high end always feels a bit grainy to me. That's best I can do to put into words.

the emulations do seem to continue to improve though. As soon as they feel the same to me I will get rid every last tape machine in my building :)

Hope you're well!

EV

We've never released a development unit for testing. I'm not sure what you were listening to. If you PM me your name I'll check the database.

Best,

/Dave

T'Mershi Duween 16th August 2011 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ev33 (Post 6863997)
I love the work flow with digital, there's just no denying the benefits. It is just very difficult for me to let go of the most important part... turning up the speakers at the end of a mix and feeling excited about the results. I just haven't figured out how to do it without analog yet.

EV


And that, Mr. Valentine, is the crux of the biscuit. heh

I don't think it can ever be done because digital is ultimately just a convenient way to store and manipulate analog sound "events". Digital can never really replace analog, only capture it and (hopefully) somewhat faithfully reproduce it.



peachh

Jimbob131313 16th August 2011 09:21 PM

The only benifit is being able to drive and distort the recorded (digitally in protools) sound onto tape. Either way you have a signal thats being anti aliased at some point whether its recorded to tape first or digitally into protools. Anywho, whatever floats your boat right?

quantumpsych 18th August 2011 02:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ev33 (Post 6863997)
I have had the best luck doing the digital first analog second approach when combining the 2 mediums.

ya know, i advocated this approach a decade ago on pro sound web and was laughed at. as a fan of your work, the fact that you use this technique vindicates the approach.

Dave_Amels 18th August 2011 03:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween (Post 6942638)
And that, Mr. Valentine, is the crux of the biscuit. heh

I don't think it can ever be done because digital is ultimately just a convenient way to store and manipulate analog sound "events". Digital can never really replace analog, only capture it and (hopefully) somewhat faithfully reproduce it.



peachh

It's not faithful... That's why I don't use it.

bcgood 18th August 2011 04:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave_Amels (Post 6946869)
It's not faithful... That's why I don't use it.

kfhkh

szmola 18th August 2011 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ev33 (Post 6863997)
I have had the best luck doing the digital first analog second approach when combining the 2 mediums. I believe there are 2 advantages to doing it this way:

Recording directly to the computer while capturing performances takes full advantage of the benefits from the digital work flow. The benefits are obvious.... ease of editing/comping, fixing performances, virtually unlimited DSP fx etc etc. Capturing performances directly to analog tape takes a certain calibre of musician and very different kind of preparation.

the other benefit of doing digital first/analog second is the sound. One of the things that most people credit for the pleasing sound of analog is the harmonic coloration. Tape machines are adding a healthy dose of 3rd order harmonics. I believe it is these harmonics that give tape its somewhat magical airy, dense but very un harsh high end. This is what I believe is going on: lets say you have a cymbal sound that is focussed around 10K. The 3rd order harmonic that is generated by the tape machine above that is about 30K. So now you have this very hi over tone that is interacting with the original sound that will subtly change the character of the sound (there is debate about if/why/how these overtones affect things but we'll assume they do for the purpose of this example). If you then transfer the analog recording to digital lets at 48K, there is a very necessary brick wall low pass filter at 24K to eliminate the digital aliasing noise. Goodbye 30K overtone. The 30K overtone is not just filtered off. It is first devoured by hideous square wave digital noise and then filtered off. (This explanation is based on my somewhat limited knowledge of digital technology and could be better explained by a digital expert.) The one thing I have experienced over and over is the difference I feel when mixing from analog verses digital. It is way easier for me to get the high end to "open up" when mixing from analog. I can boost the high end very aggressively without it being harsh. When digital is last in the chain for some reason I feel like I am pushing against a ceiling with the EQs. Things tend to transition into harsh more easily before they open up.

great!
so, all my assumptions were correct :)
i am just confused which chain would be better to maintain more 3rd harmonic distortions?
when you go straight to digital, you throw your track over mixer and then using outboard proccesing you master to tape?
that way there are acquired 3rd harmonic distortions in outboard processing+mixing on analog board (not "algoritmic faders" of DAW) and that way you get addition of stereo out or stems+master tape gives at the end final touch.
and summed stereo final record is ready to go back to digital with all summed 3rd harmonic distortions and all other nonlinearity of analog equipment.

is that correct or some other ways are better?

thanks a lot!
never meet lucidly and sensibly guy like you
in recording world!!!