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Cassette on location with AD comparison Digital Converters
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Cassette on location with AD comparison

I recorded a singer-songwriter as a test directly to cassette in a nice big round church.

It got a little hot at parts, that's okay I wanted to hear how it handled distortion and I was testing it against a digital version.

There's no noise reduction techniques or dolby going on, it's Type IV (metal) tape.

Only 2 channels used, no overdubbing, only 2 mics, no post or pre eq or processing or compression, just AD conversion at 96k.

Schoeps MK21 x 2 (Rens Heijnis 6pin 60v mod) > Van Den Hul Integration cable > Sonodore MPB502 preamp > homemade solid copper in cotton tubing minijack cable > Sony WM-D6C line in (no dolby) onto Sony metal SR tape (I would prefer a different cassette for less ugly distortion I think).

Three different AD's used for digitisation. If you don't care to compare, just go for AD 3.
Attached Files

AD1.mp3 (6.74 MB, 1192 views)

AD2.mp3 (6.74 MB, 1108 views)

AD3.mp3 (6.74 MB, 1140 views)


Last edited by whippoorwill; 4 weeks ago at 12:12 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Earcatcher's Avatar
I prefer AD1: it has a lovely softness that suits the sharp edges of the tape artefacts very well. Great acoustic for this song, BTW!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
In the day, I had a couple of top-tier machines and I was always amazed at how good a properly aligned cassette deck could sound. This was in my time of working extensively with quarter inch tape so to say that was quite a thing. I still have a box of cassettes of board mixes from my time on the Record Plant Black truck that David Brown (dB) made as a rule during every show.

I have considered digitizing them and cleaning them up with Rx but I just never seem to get around to it.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I prefer AD1: it has a lovely softness that suits the sharp edges of the tape artefacts very well. Great acoustic for this song, BTW!
Thanks Ear! I may have finally found the room that I want to do a lot of work in.
I actually slightly prefer AD3 for that reason, it seems to tame any spikey-ness a bit more and smooth out the whole signal. I don't think that I have fully eeked out all the nuances of tape that I could, and at least two of these converters are definitely considered "mastering grade" FWIW.

I like cassette because it puts you at another knife's edge. What a chase to put a limited number of microphones in the exact right spot, in the right room, and have it all gain staged and connected nicely and fit onto the right medium! I agree with Tourtelot, it can be a surprisingly good medium.

I may post the completely digital version at some point so that people can compare. I prefer the analog versions for a lot of reasons, but the digital version plays back nicely on almost all speakers whereas this distortion doesn't act nicely with bad speakers. I don't entirely know how to correct for this.

I'd like to get some other opinions before I reveal the AD's, I keep finding that difference between each is not inconsequential as to the entire feel of the music and things like spikey-ness are not easy to smooth in other ways, after capture.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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I always carried a WM D6-C as a back up
Superb little machines that would run in all conditions known to man
Evap Metal tapes could produce Nagra like recordings when used with a good mixer
MiniDisc came along and eclipsed them, but I retained mine (I had 3 ) for transcriptions and translation until all their motors failed
They were fab music players too, long battery life ,hi level output, ideal for international flight, with a pair of HD25s.
Roger
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Plush's Avatar
Incredible! Fantastic sound.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Head
 

Lovely indeed.

I have two of the Sony D6s out for repair. In fact, they've been out for 2 years now! I do hope I get them back, as I've always had a very fond affection for their sound.

Incidentally, I have plans to pair the deck with my Rens Heijnis pre for nature soundscape recording. I have the impression that they'll handle the complex transients of bird song very nicely.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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i hear something in version 1 that i like better than in both other versions: especially the instrument and the room seem to interact in a slightly different way... i like version 2 the least.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Spare have dried up for the WM D6C sadly
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Spare have dried up for the WM D6C sadly
I have modified mine a little and had the belts changed for new ones from Slovakia. I replaced the in and out opamps with modern opamps- TI 1612OPA in place of NJM4558, with marked improvements.

I am going to listen more to the AD tests tomorrow when it’s less fresh and I can hopefully be more objective.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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That sounds great! Agreed that 2 is the least pleasing, 1 and 3 are very close but 1 has the edge for me.

Was it a case of using one mic on guitar and the other on vocal, or were they configured as a stereo pair picking up both sources equally?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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jwh1192's Avatar
yes there is something about AD1 ... a Vibe in the vocal is the thing .. i felt it - i did not hear it .. just felt right !!! nice work and performance !!!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Well, I have to say that sounds way better than I expected !

Another proof performance and venue are king.

AD1 is about the music for me.

Also another proof 24bit 192 KHz is not needed, just use good microphone cable

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you could ever add a spaced pair of ambient mics, to give some more (stereo) sense of that acoustic around the performance. I think it could be even more magical.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by weltarm View Post
Incidentally, I have plans to pair the deck with my Rens Heijnis pre for nature soundscape recording. I have the impression that they'll handle the complex transients of bird song very nicely.
funnily enough this is my setup plan too, except not really bird song, but other field recording. Very compact setup too in some ways, its smaller and lighter than most recorders and runs off AAs. And arguably better sounding than most in many regards!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Thanks to everyone also, a lot of nice comments here - I appreciate it!
So dun dun dun, results are in, I think I prefer AD1 after all, it's hard because I own 1 and 2 but it was exciting to hear ad 3 which I don't own and which has a slight softness that AD1 tends to not have in my experience!
AD1: Prism Lyra
AD2: Sound Devices 744T clocked from Lyra
AD3: Merging Hapi
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Which Hapi card was that ?
I hope not the newest one.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
Was it a case of using one mic on guitar and the other on vocal, or were they configured as a stereo pair picking up both sources equally?
Actually the latter, which has been my big personal research project of the past few years in some ways.

Positioning two microphones so that they balance the instrument, voice and room and give a pleasant stereo impression is tricky but very fun, and I think m/s, X/Y or a close spaced pair of a slightly sharply defined microphone is the trick, each with positives and drawbacks.
The last one is used in classical and in this tape.
I have tried almost every stereo array on vocals with instrument, most don't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Which Hapi card was that ?
I hope not the newest one.
I think not the newest one.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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whippoorwill's Avatar
So people can see the difference here is the Prism Lyra AD instead of the sony cassette. A different take but the artist was sitting so she didn't move. Nothing else was changed about mics, or positioning and this was done immediately before the cassette take.

For fun, we also overdubbed some backing vocals later in this piece and a melodica with a mk2 ka40 pair and moved the artist to the right and left of the pair and maybe 10 ft back.
This mix doesn't have any EQ or compression. I would maybe have not used the spheres for the melodica in hindsight.

Extremely different feel to it and I wish I could have tried different ADs in this capacity. I would say that the Prism feels wider, brighter and slightly leaner here, slightly bringing out something I don't love in the top end of the voice (around 8-9k). In some ways the sony's balance is a lot closer to the overall tonal balance I was hearing directly from the preamp into my headphone amp.
Attached Files

AD1 Digital with overdubs.mp3 (3.91 MB, 737 views)


Last edited by whippoorwill; 4 weeks ago at 03:15 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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jwh1192's Avatar
did you change the panning .. Cassette/Lyra Take has guitar more right and the Lyra Take it is on the left ish ... did you swap Perspective on the guitar ?? you mentioned that nothing changed and this was the take just before the cassette take ..

thx again for sharing this and the info !!! there is that little euphoric thing in the cassette !!! cool
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
did you change the panning .. Cassette/Lyra Take has guitar more right and the Lyra Take it is on the left ish ... did you swap Perspective on the guitar ?? you mentioned that nothing changed and this was the take just before the cassette take ..

thx again for sharing this and the info !!! there is that little euphoric thing in the cassette !!! cool
Fixed! Now the files should be both the same.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Interesting. How did you go from preamp into the Prism ?

Does anyone make a cassette flutter VST plugin ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Thumbs up

Great capture!!!

Comparing the first ~40 seconds of music of each, just bouncing around for 2 minutes, my ears say:

AD3 - most open and clear
AD2 - least favorite

Thank you so much for this sample, and I hope the client is thrilled. It's beautiful.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Interesting. How did you go from preamp into the Prism ?

Does anyone make a cassette flutter VST plugin ?
Vovox link direct 1m cables into prism line in.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
It would be interesting to see what would happen if you could ever add a spaced pair of ambient mics, to give some more (stereo) sense of that acoustic around the performance. I think it could be even more magical.
How would you add ambient mics in this situation?
I've been thinking something like either hamasaki fig 8's or perhaps spaced omnis either behind the performer or behind the mics... Perhaps ultra wide, like 2-5m to really just flesh out the edges. I would like a pair of BLM's as they may also work, or I could just put some omnis on the ground...
I don't necessarily think it would need it, but it would interesting for me to try.

This was done as a test for a potential album, the musicians would be positioned in space as to accompany the singer. Very simple, very powerful, so I will get a chance to experiment more.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

It's funny, but I had Nakamichi cassette decks, including one in my car. I always thought they sounded fantastic, and although I haven't heard a lot of audio gear, I hadn't heard anything digital which appealed to me as much. Fast forward a few years, and I tried a handful of audio interfaces, ending up with a Prism Lyra which sounded like it had at least some of the Nakamichi magic!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Two spaced fig8 with the nulls pointing to the loudest sources if you go with bigger ensembles.

It can really be the best reverb plugin you ever heard.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Two spaced fig8 with the nulls pointing to the loudest sources if you go with bigger ensembles.

It can really be the best reverb plugin you ever heard.
I have a gig tomorrow where I can try this out.
Where would you put the fig 8 pair in relation to the main pair?
How widely spaced would the fig 8 pair be?

Last edited by whippoorwill; 4 weeks ago at 07:41 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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Yannick's Avatar
 

The intention is to pick up almost exclusively the reverberant field, so absolute placement is not so important. That said, I often put it around 5m from the musicians, either in the audience or behind the musicians. It can be quite low sometimes. The important part is it is further than the main pair.

I space it 1m-1m20, because then I can put it on one stand. It could be wider.
The positive sides of the fig8 mics have to point outwards, so the left one points left, and the right one points right. You can angle them a bit differently than 180 degrees, to keep the source as much as possible in the nulls.

Make shure to use good shockmounts, or float the entire stand !

Will you record the tracks separately ?

Good luck
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Great recording, great thread! It's not too often that I see singer-songwriters in this forum, and this is a beautiful example of doing it right. It's much harder to pull off on all ends, but to me, it just feels so much more natural (and emotional) than a studio multi track. Looking forward to updates as you continue with this project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
The positive sides of the fig8 mics have to point outwards, so the left one points left, and the right one points right. You can angle them a bit differently than 180 degrees, to keep the source as much as possible in the nulls.
Yannick, I've always been interested in using figure-8's for reverb mics; I haven't been happy with using omnis for this purpose. However, I'm having trouble visualizing this; I figured you'd place the mics on either side of the performer (parallel) so that the singer would be right between the nulls. Any chance you could scribble something on a napkin to illustrate this positioning?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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Yannick's Avatar
 

musician

main
mic



+00- -00+

(fig8) (fig8)

Last edited by Yannick; 4 weeks ago at 09:13 AM..
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