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Tape speed 7 1/2 or 15 ips for live?
Old 13th September 2005
Gear Maniac

Question Tape speed 7 1/2 or 15 ips for live?

I've tried both and really haven't heard a ton of difference, except hiss and maybe stereo image quality.

There's a show coming up and I can't decide what to run at:

7 1/2 ips with Dolby SR - allows me to completely catch both sets (10 songs each on 2 reels)

15 ips (with or without SR) with a reel change mid set and potential loss of material. (I suck at changing reels) Although there is a cassette running backup.

Is there any good reason I'm missing to run live at 15 ips?
Old 23rd September 2005
Gear Nut

In a controlled studio environment, 7.5 is OK (depends on the music etc.). In a crazy live situation, I'd certainly go with 15 ips.

What kind of machine do you have? We use 14 inch reels at 15ips (A820). Will your machine do this? That gets us an hour or so.

Most of the stuff we do runs longer so we set up a talkback with monitorworld. When our reel change comes, we inform the artists through talkback and make the change. We get with the talent beforehand so they know what's up when they hear us in the monitors. They'll banter for a while, when we're done, they go on with the music.

Good luck.

Old 23rd September 2005
Gear Maniac

Thanks DD,

I'd prefer to run 15ips but it seems to me 7.5 would be less hassle. I'll keep my options open and bring both my R2Rs. (TEAC 6100,7300) If I can set both up then I'll run at 15ips and switch between machines, it'll give me time to change the reels. Otherwise I'll just run one machine at 7.5 with Dolby SR.

I couldn't do the talkback thing. It was my suggestion to record so I need to stay out of the way. I'm happy enough to get my mics onstage.
Old 24th September 2005
Lives for gear
Definitely 15ips. I've always found 7.5 to be terrible, quite probably worse then the cassette!
Old 24th September 2005
7rojo7's Avatar

If you align it correctly 7-1/2 ips should do fine, specially with SR.
a cassette runs at 1-7/8 ips 4 tracks on very flimsy non back coated tape, although the formulation may be good. You'd never get the quality of 7-1/2ips from any cassette deck. You need to align it +6/185 and use the peak bias method (1k tone no over bias), the SR will take care of the rest. you should be able to make a clean dynamic recording.
Is it really quiet music? That would be the only consideration to use a faster speed.
15ips +9/185 peak bias and SR sounds quite nice though.
Old 24th September 2005
Lives for gear
Jim vanBergen's Avatar

While I personally would use 15ips and convince the band to take two minutes to talk to the crowd to give you a reel change window, I agree that properly calibrated 7.5IPS with SR is not a bad option. I have transferred 7.5ips with no NR and slower tapes from the 1970s and 80s and made good sounding CDs of them. Since this offers you greater comfort level, I say go for it. Make sure your azimuth is correct and your golden.
Old 14th October 2005
Gear Head
moogman's Avatar

An additional thought, which may, or not, be applicable...

If you edit tape - as opposed to digitally (after a transfer) - then 15ips is positively the way to go.

Old 14th October 2005
Gear Maniac

Tape editing is going to remain a lost skill with me. Digital editing is all I'll ever do.

I ended up bringing in two machines and switching between them at 15ips. I liked it, no rush no hassle.
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