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Old 15th August 2011
Q & A Guest
ev33's Avatar
Hi Eric, thanks for being here and cheers from the cold russia!

I have a question about tracking (recording) and bouncing to tape.
What IPS do you prefer when recording to tape and bouncing? and why?

Thanks, Roman
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
this is a trick question, right?

work at highest ips that you can in order to minimise noise and get most possible audio bandwidth.
I think I would have had the same reaction if I was asked this question 5 or 6 years ago. I didn't start really experimenting with slower tape speeds until more recently.

A long time ago I read an interview with Jimmy Page where he said they only use 30ips no dolby on everything. That was all I needed to hear and that is pretty much all I ever did for a long time. It wasn't until later that I realized that was most likely technically impossible on their first 2 records at least.

I had heard people talk about the low frequency advantages of 15ips and tried it a couple of times. It was always kind of unsatisfying and noisy. I actually remember trying it at the beginning of the QOTSA tracking on my Ampex MM1200 for drums and ended up sticking with 30ips. Shortly after that project I learned a lot more about tape machines from Larry Jasper. I discovered the IEC or CCIR curve for 15ips. Its the way it should have always been done and was the standard being used in Europe in the era of most all of my favorite sounding records. It changes the pre emphesis eq in the record electronics. IEC/CCIR adds about 3db of high frequencies and reduces about 3db of low frequencies. The result is less noise and more headroom at the slower tape speed. Once I discovered the IEC/CCIR EQ curve I started using 15ips much more. I am now starting to experiment with 7.5ips. It is wonderful. It is definitely noisy but its a small price to pay for the beautiful thick smooth sound that happens on the J37 when its in 7.5ips. I think its fair to say that I am using 7.5ips as an effect and I wouldn't normally do that unless I was looking for something pretty extreme.

Here are some examples of projects at different tape speeds:

Persephonees Bees 'Notes From The Underworld' - 15ips IEC/CCIR
Deathray 2nd LP "Believe Me" - 15ips IEC/CCIR
Third Eye Blind 1st LP - 30ips
QOTSA 'SFTD' - 30ips
Taking Back Sunday (self titled) - 30ips
Slash Solo Record - 15ips IEC/CCIR

The decision to use one or the other in general is based on how intentionally "vintage" I want something to sound, but The way my different machines (Ampex MM1200, Studer A800, Scully 16track, Studer J37 etc) respond at different tape speeds is pretty dramatic. Where the head bumbs fall and move to at the various speeds can be a big deal. Its complicated but there are very clear reasons to run particular machines at particular speeds for particular source material. If I have time I'll try to organize and post that stuff.