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Old 24th August 2006
Lives for gear
dubrichie's Avatar
thank you both for your comments.

to Fletcher:

Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
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...
even though i have very little experience of working with 2" tape to date i do understand that they are complex mechanical machines that require a lot of TLC. to this end i fully intend to educate myself on the operation and maintenance of any such machine that i may purchase before i actually do so and certainly before i am allowed anywhere near it. i already have at least a rudimentary understanding of most of the relevant concepts (bias, azimuth, zenith, de-mag, etc.) and would like to get to grips with these beasts, somewhat out of respect, something to do with romance and some may just say fetish.

Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
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].
monitoring from the sync head? i had never heard of this before. do all good 2" machines have sync heads (i would be going for a Studer of some kind, most likely from Funky Junk UK or Francais)? are these sync heads exactly parallel with the record heads on each track? tell you what, i'll do some research! sounds promising though, as i am loathe to introduce an undesirable element (ie ickle mackie mixer or such) to the recording chain just to be able to monitor. my interest has certainly been piqued.

Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
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 share this belief wholeheartedly. if you can't play the song then you shouldn't be recording it. you should be practicing it until you can, even re-writing it if necessary. what about gigs ffs? what do these dudes do when they have to play live?! i don't comp my own bands recordings, live guide tracks and live takes need only apply, except for vocals, which i think is fair enough. BUT, with this being a commercial facility that we are talking about it must be put together to suit the working methods of its potential clients... who will probably want to do a lorra lorra slice and dice. is it just me or are metal bands the worst for this? jayzus lads, if you have to play the drums in 2 bar sections THERE AIN'T NO BOOGIE. and rock and roll was going to save us all... anyway...

Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post

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.
aha. perhaps a nerve i did gently strike?
"the SOUND" reference was made because i have had it up to my eyeballs with every single person i have encountered, either real or online/imaginary, who has relevant experience tracking to tape ALWAYS INSISTING that "nothing sounds like tape man, NOTHING!", "no box or plugin can REALLY emulate the beautiful sound of hitting Formula XXX real hot on a 16 track Studer A8XX", etc. ad nauseum. i have come to believe these bold statements and i do feel comfortable claiming that i can in fact hear at least something of what they are talking about when i listen to many records. i believe that i am coming to understand the sounds of these saturations, compressions and the rest.

so, to this end i would like to be able to revel in the allegedly irrefutible and irreplaceable magic that tape may bring to sound.

but besides my own personal sound quality satisfaction i also feel that being able to offer the opportunity to record to (good) tape (well) might bring in some clients. you never know, maybe even some who don't want to edit the life out of their music. i'm told they're out there, somewhere...

Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
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.

many thanks again for your time and thoughts, they have consistently been of great interest and even greater help more often than inconsistently.

i think that sentence was a bit wow'd n fluttr'd...

best regards,