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40 Channel Reel to Reel Recorder!? Anyone? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 4 weeks ago
  #121
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
lets just leave it at "people can believe what they want"

Agreed.

Back to the Stephens machines. Has anyone seen the new movie, "Bohemian Rhapsody?" The executive producers on that Queen movie are Brian May and another band member. There is a scene in the movie where they are recording tracks for Bohemian Rhapsody. The many close ups on the 2 inch clearly reveal it to be a Stephens. The machine had no pinch rollers or capsans. The tape just going straight into the head stack. (Or was it a 3M machine?) The buttons, the look - it was clearly a Stephens. Don't know if it was a 24, 32 or 40.

I know Queen did use a Stephens 2 inch 40 track for an album. Don't know which album it was. Can any kind member clarify on this.

Check the movie out. That is definitely a Stephens. Finding a Stephens muti-track that works is hard to get hold of (the reels were moving and the buttons worked). They could have used any early-mid 70's, 2 inch 24 track for the movie. Why go to all that trouble to get a hard to find Stephens especially since it is very likely to break down on you? Unless they really did use a Stephens. But that is a lot of detail for a Hollywood movie.

It's an O.k. movie but they make it look like Freddie was seduced into the homosexual lifestyle by evil men. Ridiculous! Too much drama and not enough about the music. The movie ends after Live Aid as if Queen stopped after 1985.

Last edited by john morris; 4 weeks ago at 05:24 AM.. Reason: mistake
Old 4 weeks ago
  #122
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Drumsound's Avatar
Its a 3M M79 in the movie. Early Stephens machines used 3M transports. I asked RTB on Twitter wich records he used the 40-track on, but he didn't answer. Do you know what year the 40-track became available?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #123
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by john morris View Post
Our Mitsubishi 2 inch 32 track has the optional 7 1/2 ips speed.
@ 15 ips....30 - 20 000hz +-2db
@ 7.5 ips....20 - 17 000hz +-2db
Mitsubishi 32 track?

They had a digital 32 track, not an analog machine that I am aware of.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #124
Gear Maniac
You could always built one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Try contacting these guys in NJ... Sonicraft A2DX Lab: Ultimate Multitrack Reel to Reel Analog to Digital Transfers. If they don't have a working 40 track machine I don't know who would.

Terry Manning was just saying how he tracked to one of the Stephens 40 track machines back in the day and it actually sounded pretty good.
Worse come to worse and the 2 inch 40 track tape is really important there is the option of building a machine to play back the tape. I don't know where you would find a 2 inch 40 head stack. And I suppose machining the heads is out of the question.
My sister came up with this bizarre idea and said, "It's not a toaster!"
Old 4 weeks ago
  #125
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Mitsubishi 32 track?

They had a digital 32 track, not an analog machine that I am aware of.
my apologies. My stupid mistake. We have two Otari MX80'S. I haven't slept in 3 days days (80 hours and counting) due to insomnia.

But question, what professional would use the 7 1/2 speed?... I can see the 7 1/2 ips speed on a quarter inch half track for half speed mastering but on a 2 inch machine?

Last edited by john morris; 4 weeks ago at 05:02 AM.. Reason: addition
Old 4 weeks ago
  #126
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Its a 3M M79 in the movie. Early Stephens machines used 3M transports. I asked RTB on Twitter wich records he used the 40-track on, but he didn't answer. Do you know what year the 40-track became available?
1973. I figured it was probably a 3M. The cost and expense and headache of finding a working Stephens for a movie would be silly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #127
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by john morris View Post
1973. I figured it was probably a 3M. The cost and expense and headache of finding a working Stephens for a movie would be silly.
You ain't kidding there!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #128
Lives for gear
 
nobtwiddler's Avatar
Years ago I purchased 2 new Otari MX 80 tape machines, and purchased them with the optional 32 track heads & electronics.

They worked fine, and sounded great.
At the time, anything you could offer over & above another studio, got you business!
And they did.

Funny enough another bonus having these machines, was the fact, they only sold a handful of them, so the artists, could;t take the project elsewhere to mix!
My plan worked like a charm.

But that was then.

in the meantime
Roy, locked up 2 x Stephens 40 track machines for one of the Queen albums,
if I remember correctly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #129
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last night, what a great movie. A new appreciation for the record, which I am listening to right now. What a brilliant piece of art, in every way.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #130
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarmJetGuitar View Post

Also with an album like "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" recorded in 1969 using "wild tracks" depending on pressing play at the right time during mixdown or at least copying into the 16 track.
Yeah, well I do a bit of the rolling eyes thing if anyone spouts stories of regularly freewheeling tracks into sync with others in 196*.

Roy and the Bridge album was a whole lotta subbouncing between machines back and forth. Not freewheel sync attempts. In my opinion of years of analysis of that one anyway.

I don't know if they had two eight track machines or a couple of 16s (the pingpongs sound like 8s to me)..... but you take a track like "The Boxer" and it's an absolute thick bunch of bounces. It's always been pretty easy to analyze what's going on on that one. I even suspect (though Roy's never discussed it) that those elevator shaft reverb captures were printed to tracks (rather than dialed in at mix).....because it was a hard setup.......which then means those factored in to the bounces too... probably towards the end of the bounces when they had 5 or so tracks (bounced comps) on one of the two machines, were testing final mixes, and dialed in the printed elevator shafts to see if they worked.

My theory on "The Boxer" is that stuff was getting so screwed up frequency wise after all the bounces of the strings/brass.....no... let me redefine that......the stuff was sounding pretty cool but it wasn't appearing to be a wise decision to bounce much more (plus the arrangement was pretty much together and the bounced strings/brass were about as good as they were gonna get level-wise..........my theory is that Roy/Paul pretty much decided to start some fresh overdubs at the end of the song for the two-acoustic-guitars outro. There was probably already the guitar guide there....now severely bounced into obscurity.... and they had to have something a bit more pristine at the end (ie..decided for something more pristine)... so they... caught the beat and groove at that last lie-lie-lie part, hit "record" and used one or two tracks on the master machine to cut those last guitars section.

By the way, the intro to Boxer is an edit. A cool one too.....(as an aside... the first 17 notes of the intro guitar can't be played in realtime....not with standard tuning....took me years to discover the tuning used by whatshisname...not Paul)....and then the intro was edited to the top of the master. Cool.....sorta like the edit piece at the head of "No Milk Today" from two years earlier)......

I figure the actual "Bridge" track was becoming something of a bounce nightmare...and in some ways, it doesn't sound like there's a lot going on there.....but I again believe the reverb was printed....because it was unweildly....and even Roy wasn't sure how/if it was going to work at mix (another clue to me that the guys were on one inch 8 track machines).

Bottom line....no sync, no freewheel punches. Just good old fashioned bouncing.

Roy can chime in here if he passes by and wants to claim I'm wrong. But I'm pretty darn confident on what's going on on that record, steps-wise.

I watched enough of that type of stuff being constructed back then. An then participated heavily. You start to know the sound.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #131
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by john morris View Post
I thought D1 was still be used. For example a lot of old 2 inch quad and 3 3/4 video was transfered to D1 tape in the 90's. Some television shows only now exist on D1 because the original analog video or film elements hsve gone missing/wiped/stolen/abducted by aliens.

I was a Class 3 security guard working at Eglinton Square, Toronto back in 2001. One of our clients was T.V. Ontario. One day I stumbled upon the video library room. (I had keys to everywhere!) And there was hundreds of 1 and 2 inch NTSC tapes. There was some note saying, TRANSFER ALL TAPES TO D1. And the 2 inch machines were out as if someone had been transfering. I even saw 1 inch tapes of the T.V. Ontario produced "The Undoctor." Yes, they still exist.

For those who are wondering, "The Undoctor" was a 10 minute show that came at the end of an episode of Doctor who back in the 70's. An old woman would come on and heavily criticize the episode. Real good professional journalist level criticism, not YouTube criticism. You think with all the extras they put on classic Doctor Who DVD's you would think they would have included some, "The Undoctor" shows.

I hadn't seen those in 40 years. I forgot they existed. So D1 is still around.
Oh different formats still exist and are being digitized if worthwhile. We do a lot of that here. Finding and maintaining the decks is another story.....Tape is also a fickle medium. I went into WGBH's library here in Boston and amazing specs. Climate controlled to the nth degree with gas fire extinguishers.

The museum link I'd posted actually is a great source for tape conversion and digitizing from machines properly speced. We actually have a special oven for audio tape and engineers that can take machines apart for servicing. A lot of work!...... The fullcoat machine is the size of a refrigerator......
Old 3 weeks ago
  #132
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny McNerney View Post
Yes, it was a Stephens 40 track. Effanell used those, I used one once...

How did it sound and perform? Did it live up to the hype?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #133
Gear Maniac
HI-FI sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I believe there was one of those at Sun in the 80s. Maybe even U2 used it on the Rattle and Hum songs they did there.
O.k. no one bite my head off but.. (just take a small bite) I heard all through the 80's that Beta Hi-Fi (AFM) sounded better than VHS HI-FI. Has anyone had experience with both VHS and Beta Hi-Fi sound? I would be eager to hear your opinion on this issue.

I am curious as how the AFM recording system (HI-FI sound) sounded in professional 3/4 inch video. Was HI-FI noise and DBX pumping less of a problem on the 3/4 inch format? I had a JVC Super VHS HI-FI and I heard no HI-FI noise or DBX pumping on the tape. Even on the EP speed it was perfect. This was using $10 S-VHS tapes.

I had read an article back in the mid-90's that claimed JVC had developed a circuit that completely eliminated switching noise in the AFM recording system. Perhaps my editing S-VHS HI-FI machine had the new circuit in it. Or maybe S-VHS HI-FI is just superior to begin with.

Any thoughts gentlemen and ladies?.....

Last edited by john morris; 3 weeks ago at 01:47 AM.. Reason: mistake
Old 3 weeks ago
  #134
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Yeah, well I do a bit of the rolling eyes thing if anyone spouts stories of regularly freewheeling tracks into sync with others in 196*.

Roy and the Bridge album was a whole lotta subbouncing between machines back and forth. Not freewheel sync attempts. In my opinion of years of analysis of that one anyway.

I don't know if they had two eight track machines or a couple of 16s (the pingpongs sound like 8s to me)..... but you take a track like "The Boxer" and it's an absolute thick bunch of bounces. It's always been pretty easy to analyze what's going on on that one. I even suspect (though Roy's never discussed it) that those elevator shaft reverb captures were printed to tracks (rather than dialed in at mix).....because it was a hard setup.......which then means those factored in to the bounces too... probably towards the end of the bounces when they had 5 or so tracks (bounced comps) on one of the two machines, were testing final mixes, and dialed in the printed elevator shafts to see if they worked.

My theory on "The Boxer" is that stuff was getting so screwed up frequency wise after all the bounces of the strings/brass.....no... let me redefine that......the stuff was sounding pretty cool but it wasn't appearing to be a wise decision to bounce much more (plus the arrangement was pretty much together and the bounced strings/brass were about as good as they were gonna get level-wise..........my theory is that Roy/Paul pretty much decided to start some fresh overdubs at the end of the song for the two-acoustic-guitars outro. There was probably already the guitar guide there....now severely bounced into obscurity.... and they had to have something a bit more pristine at the end (ie..decided for something more pristine)... so they... caught the beat and groove at that last lie-lie-lie part, hit "record" and used one or two tracks on the master machine to cut those last guitars section.

By the way, the intro to Boxer is an edit. A cool one too.....(as an aside... the first 17 notes of the intro guitar can't be played in realtime....not with standard tuning....took me years to discover the tuning used by whatshisname...not Paul)....and then the intro was edited to the top of the master. Cool.....sorta like the edit piece at the head of "No Milk Today" from two years earlier)......

I figure the actual "Bridge" track was becoming something of a bounce nightmare...and in some ways, it doesn't sound like there's a lot going on there.....but I again believe the reverb was printed....because it was unweildly....and even Roy wasn't sure how/if it was going to work at mix (another clue to me that the guys were on one inch 8 track machines).

Bottom line....no sync, no freewheel punches. Just good old fashioned bouncing.

Roy can chime in here if he passes by and wants to claim I'm wrong. But I'm pretty darn confident on what's going on on that record, steps-wise.

I watched enough of that type of stuff being constructed back then. An then participated heavily. You start to know the sound.

Wow! You learn something new everyday.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #135
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobtwiddler View Post
Years ago I purchased 2 new Otari MX 80 tape machines, and purchased them with the optional 32 track heads & electronics.

They worked fine, and sounded great.
At the time, anything you could offer over & above another studio, got you business!
And they did.

Funny enough another bonus having these machines, was the fact, they only sold a handful of them, so the artists, could;t take the project elsewhere to mix!
My plan worked like a charm.

But that was then.

in the meantime
Roy, locked up 2 x Stephens 40 track machines for one of the Queen albums,
if I remember correctly.

I am speechless!.... (The top of my head as exploded) Two Stephens 40 track machines?! 40 was a lot of tracks back then. I figured 40 for all the extra vocals and stuff but 78 tracks? If they ever plan to remix that album for 5.1 where are they going to find two Stephens 40 track machines?
Was the album the Jazz album?

Last edited by john morris; 3 weeks ago at 02:00 AM.. Reason: mistake
Old 3 weeks ago
  #136
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last night, what a great movie. A new appreciation for the record, which I am listening to right now. What a brilliant piece of art, in every way.
They don't write ' em like that anymore!
And to think: No automation, no "Pro Tools self-indulgent" endless track count, and editing with a razor blade.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #137
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by john morris View Post
O.k. no one bite my head off but.. (just take a small bite) I heard all through the 80's that Beta Hi-Fi (AFM) sounded better than VHS HI-FI. Has anyone had experience with both VHS and Beta Hi-Fi sound? I would be eager to hear your opinion on this issue.
I had Beta Hi-Fi and VHS Hi-Fi units.

Beta was better for both picture and sound. Unfortunately Sony was greedy and tried to own the market and Beta eventually disappeared.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #138
Lives for gear
 
Denny McNerney's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by john morris View Post
How did it sound and perform? Did it live up to the hype?
Well... this isn't going to answer your question...Effanel was a mobile company, set up in a dressing room or anything...U2 The Unforgettable Fire, was that the one recorded in a castle?

So, I was recording a concert for The King Biscuit Flower Hour,later broadcast...

So, knowing I was going to mix it somewhere else, they put in a 24 track headstock.

But... it was cool, and tiny.

Hype? No. It wasn't a Studer A800.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #139
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Magnetic tape is the best analog sound storage medium yet devised. Quality machines in proper calibration should sound far closer to one and other than one would suppose from reading these forums.

The engineer at the controls would make far more difference than the choice of deck.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #140
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Also sub-mixes on one good 16 track sometimes lead to unexpected great results. Pre-mixing sub groups is like lots more hands on deck without automation. Plus you can use your best effects and processors multiple times at different settings on multiple instruments and groups of instruments.

Assuming you have the guts (and skills) to commit.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #141
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I had Beta Hi-Fi and VHS Hi-Fi units.

Beta was better for both picture and sound. Unfortunately Sony was greedy and tried to own the market and Beta eventually disappeared.
not for movie length though, that's what propelled VHS, getting 2 hour films on a single tape
Old 3 weeks ago
  #142
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
not for movie length though, that's what propelled VHS, getting 2 hour films on a single tape
It was more than that.

Videotape format war - Wikipedia
Old 3 weeks ago
  #143
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Magnetic tape is the best analog sound storage medium yet devised. Quality machines in proper calibration should sound far closer to one and other than one would suppose from reading these forums.

The engineer at the controls would make far more difference than the choice of deck.
Ummm I don't think so. Maybe video metal tape, but audio tape is very iffy. We bake old tapes routinely here for archival projects, since the binder breaks down and shedding was a problem even when new on certain brands and batches of tape.....

Machines really needed a high degree of maintainence and I agree great tech could keep them well specc'd. They were beasts however and the nostalgia to me is overrated, for the sound benefits.

Anyone considering buying a used machine should know a good engineer. Setting up a deck to perform with a specific tapestock is an art. Syncing generation loss and proper deck maintainence is something that should be considered in workflow and expense.....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #144
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Quality machines in proper calibration should sound far closer to one and other than one would suppose from reading these forums.

.
The operative phrase being "in proper calibration." I remember a lot of reports of problems with Dolby calibration between studios or even between machines in the same studio. The reputation of the Dolby NR system was just about ruined as a result.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #145
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
It was more than that.

Videotape format war - Wikipedia
that was the game changer.

"the perceived value of longer recording times eventually tipped the balance in favor of VHS"

But with any game changer, you can always say "it was more than that"
Old 3 weeks ago
  #146
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post

Quote:
Magnetic tape is the best analog sound storage medium yet devised.
Ummm I don't think so. Maybe video metal tape, but audio tape is very iffy. We bake old tapes routinely here for archival projects, since the binder breaks down and shedding was a problem even when new on certain brands and batches of tape.....
Are you aware of something better?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #147
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
that was the game changer.

"the perceived value of longer recording times eventually tipped the balance in favor of VHS"

But with any game changer, you can always say "it was more than that"
The story was that Sony was requiring other manufacturers to pay licensing fees to use the format and they balked and came up with VHS instead.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #148
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

And ‘game changer’ is so old and tired. Sounds like a commercial, ‘free shipping! Game changer!’ Blah
Old 3 weeks ago
  #149
Gear Maniac
8 Track Tascam

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARIEL View Post
Your insinuating that I didn't use the machine, I came to that conclusion as I had a 4 trk and the 8trk.

I need to clarify something. I know that Tascam in the early 90's made a stand alone 8 track cassette tape unit with Dolby S. This unit was remarkable even by 4 cassette tape standards 30 - 16 000 hz +-3db. It had no mixer. Is this the good one you are referring too?

Dolby Labs made strict requirements for any company to use their Dolby S licence. So any cassette machine 2, 4 or 8 tracks with Dolby S had to be good. And this is why you will never find Dolby S on a two head deck. And if you do...Then it's really good. And Dolby Labs insisted that the Dolby S circuit had to be on it own. In other words you couldn't have: B, C and S on the same board.

But all the other 8 track Portastudio's were pretty thin. The Tascam was an exception. But it shows that good quality on really really narrow tape is possible even with 1/8 tape.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #150
Gear Maniac
The Fifth Admendment

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I refuse to answer this question based on on the the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

And to protect the resale value of any analog equipment I may have.........

We are going to find out one way or another.
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