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Old 26th August 2006
Lives for gear
Zep Dude's Avatar

Originally Posted by Improv View Post
re: monitoring from sync and recording to DAW from repro...

Would it not be possible to modify a machine (I've never heard of one like this stock) to have two sets of track outputs... one for each head. That way musicians get the record head for sync and you and PT in the control room listen to all the tapey goodness.

doable? Anyone seen it?
Studers do have dual outputs (at least the 800's do). So, yes you could feed the musicians the sync head signal and simultaneously have the repro head signal being captured by Pro Tools. If you use the machine as an "inline" effects box, like a compressor, you'll need to figure out the delay between record and repro -just send a tone or drum sound out of pro tools to the machine a recapture it from the repro head at the same time and calculate the delay. Then remember after each take you have to shift that track. Don't forget!

You can work this way without any smpte -just freewheel the machine -put it into record and for 30 minutes (at 15ips) it will run while you do your session. If you don't have dual outputs (like a studer has) you need to put the machine in repro mode and either build splits or have a tech build a seperate set of outputs from the sync head (a big job). Send the splits to your cheap mackie monitor OR send them also into pro tools on aux tracks and back out to the musicians (if this is the way you are already set up to monitor. The pro tools tracks being captured from the repro heads will be muted. The tricky part is when you punch. If the musician needs to hear his performance up til this point you now have to play them the track in pro tools (transfered from the repro head and shifted) then manually mute that repro track when the punch in pro tools occurs . This becomes a bit of a procedure if you do a lot of punches. However, if the analog machine is freewheeling in record and you do an auto punch in pro tools, the only thing you actually have to do is hit the mute button on the track (or grouped tracks) when PT goes into record and also keep track of which takes are shifted vs not shifted. If you get confused if a repro track was already shifted or not just spot it back to original record position and nudge.

The other option is to simply do the session on the analog tape then transfer at the end. For this you will need smpte sync and either the pro tools sync io or a microlynx / adams smith type of syncro box to keep pro tools and the machine running together.

I always encourage people who want to use tape. I am one of those who feel it sounds better. I have never heard a drum session sound as good as when it goes to 16 track 2" at 15ips first.

Also, keep in mind that all of these tape decks require maintenance and upkeep. Make sure you have a good tech in your area to help you get the machine up and runnning.

Owning a tape machine in the digital age is a labor of love, but then again, isn't that why we do this?