thread: Future of Tape
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Old 15th November 2005
Gear Head

Originally Posted by Chuck Ainlay
Good Question, we should talk about this one or perhaps this is something for NARAS or AES. I for one still love the sound of analog recording and generally track in a hybrid approach. I love the sound of 2" 16 track so I'll cut bass and drums to that while I cut everything else to 96k digital. Once we arrive at a take I then transfer the analog tracks into the hard disk system and carry on there. I mix through an analog desk to 96k and analog two track. I've got a 1" ATR 100 that I love to mix to at 15ips. We just need reliable tape. The last few batches I got of the latest Quantegy was fairly problematic. I'm hopeful they'll get it straightened out and I'm really looking forward to the new production of the EMTEC 900 formulation that's promised from Europe.
It would be interesting to see if defluttering these tracking transfers and the mix retains what you like about analog while giving you back the pitch and time stability. Our contention is that what most guys actually like is the HF compression, the subtle de-essing that tape provides, and maybe a little help from head bumps in the low end. What they don't like, and what constitutes generation loss has much to do with fast flutters and FM distortion, which we can eradicate at the A/D into the DAW of those tracks that were recorded on tape. This may yield the best aggregate option, but so far we've been unable to prove it, since it's a subjective issue, and is best determined by the ears of the producer, regardless of what the specs (which improve drastically) show. It could be that the wobbles and warbles of the machine create a "charm" that is otherwise missing. If so, it's a matter of an attractive defect, like 2nd harmonic. Would be good to know. If it's the former there's an easy plug-in scenario I have envisioned but have not yet built. It's a lot easier to work with a tape as it's recorded, rather than one that's 50 years old.