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Old 22nd August 2006
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Fletcher's Avatar
Originally Posted by dubrichie View Post
i'm thinking of including a 16Tr 2" machine in the spec for a new facility which will be intended primarily as a tracking studio.
Are you planning on a maintenance tech for this studio as well? 16 track machines aren't like computers. You need to do tape path alignments, you need to do electronic alignments... it will help to have an MRL available, and an oscilloscope... and a fair bit of knowledge in the care and feeding of analog decks...

i am not intending on getting an analog desk; very nice selection of outboard pres, eqs and dynamics for tracking through, into PTHD with Lynx Aurora converters.

now, if tracking to the 2" before the converters (with eq and dynamics pre-tape) how might i get around the record-playback head spacing latency for monitoring?.
Monitor off the sync head when recording, then do your transfers off the repro head locked to SMPTE time code [I usually stripe 30 DF code in case I run into video mooks down the line... it makes everybody's life easier that way].

do i need to use an analog desk?
I reckon that depends on the way you work. I know I couldn't work without one but I'm old and grew up on analog desks. I've seen kids who can skip around a computer like I used to dance around 80 input SSheLls. If you're comfortable just working from the DAW it won't be any different coming in off an analog deck than it would be from any other source and if that's the way you're comfortable working, then in the words of my people, Mazel Tov.

or if i am recording at high sample rates am i as well to track straight to PT and then bounce to and from the tape after editing, comping, etc.?
You could do that. From my personal wall of belief it is all that "editing", "comping", "etc." that has been killing records for the last decade so I would say cut the album to 2"-16 then drop it in the DAW to maul and over correct some perfectly good audio but that would be a production decision I am in no position to make.

i'm really just getting the 2" for the SOUND. will this still be achieved by hitting it after AD/DA at 88.2 or 96K?

or do i really have to hit the tape before the AD/DA to make it worthwhile?

Shoot me.

You can accomplish 99.9% of "the sound" with an Empirical Labs "FATSO Jr." with zero maintenance or tape cost. Do you know what "the sound" is? I sure as hell don't and I've been working in analog the majority of my career. I know how to work tape so I can get it's "sound" out of my way or get it's "sound" to enhance what I'm doing... but that "sound" will change from tape forumulation to tape formulation and tape machine to tape machine.

Much like a BMW will not handle like a Porsche you have to know your machinery before you take it full out on the Autobahn. You're not going to wave some magic 2" 16trk. wand and have everything sound like T-Rex... you're going to have to learn to be/work like an analog engineer of the days of yore.

You're going to have to learn about overbias and it's effects, you're going to have to learn about the MOL of a given formulation and how that MOL applies to high end and low end as well as it's effect on the midrange.

GP-9 and 456 sound radically different from 900 and 911... but it's not in a manner I could describe in a 10,000 word article. It's something you're going to have to learn through experience... which means that you're going to have to do some experimentation recordings to "get the feel" of the different formulations.

You don't get this "feel" in an afternoon, you get it over years. It becomes part of what you do and how you do it. For me, when I started working in the digital domain 99% exclusively about 5 years ago I had to relearn a lot of what I knew in order to work sucessfully in the digital domain. This is after 25+ years of working analog. It took me a good 3 years before I felt really comfortable in the digital domain [I still can't run a fvcking DAW but the RADAR V feels enough like a tape machine and sounds so much better than any DAW I've ever met I'm fine with it].

My point is that if you're thinking about picking up a 2" machine to use like a piece of outboard gear you should probably get yourself a FATSO Jr. instead and process your stuff a couple tracks at a time or a half a dozen FATSO Jr.'s and process your stuff as you track rather than trying to use a 'washing machine' that will take you [literally] years to learn to use properly.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck with all you do. If I can be of any further assistance please feel free to give me a shout.