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Looking for an a/d that gives the closest distortion to tape Sound Enhancers & Exciters (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #151
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

I will add that while I still have my FATSO, I had it modded by Gregory Scott, aka UBK. This was before they started selling UBK units. To me, it made my Fatso more usable as a compressor. He doesn't touch the warmth circuit.

I'm mentioning this because he himself agrees the Fatso doesn't sound like tape---he's said so right here on GS, and he knows the Fatso intimately more that most.

But, it's still a cool unit (especially the UBK version)....I just don't use it as a tape emulator.
Old 1 week ago
  #152
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
'everyone' would of course literally mean everyone.

So of course everyone doesn't share my opinion---because you yourself don't.
I do share your opinion that FATSO is more of a tone box than a tape simulator - that's pretty much a consensus here; but it doesn't, for example, make tape sound less like tape - it may even accentuate tape-like characteristics. That's my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
...Even so, from 17 something years of reading Fatso threads on GS, it seems that the Vast majority agree with me---especially in the later years.
Yes. Your experience with tape and the gear gives you some extra insight into authenticity. I can only rely on what I read and hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
...When the Fatso came out, there were no good tape emulators or plugins (it came out like 18 years ago?). It was what we used to make do when real tape wasn't used. So many of the opinions and reviews dating back to that period are in the context of what was available at the time.

The truth is though, that we were using it more like a high-freq compressor/saturater, which is what it would have been marketed as if they were to stick to how the 'warmth' actually works. But that wouldn't have sold as many units of course.

But today, I'd challenge you to find someone, just one, using a Fatso for tape saturation over an anamod or plugin ---all at their disposal.
I agree; good points.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
I can't assume what you think is 'tape-like'. What might be a smoother converter over another to one person, you might translate as more 'tape-like'.

Yet perhaps one converter was just harsher, so the 'smoother' converter was just capturing more accurately.

That is not 'tape-like' to me.
Yes. We have different referents but (in agreement with what you previously said about varieties of tape and machine) I hear and feel that tape, in general, has an intrinsic quality, a sonic archetype that is different to digital. I know what to listen for. I'm not arguing for FATSO, or comparing devices directly to tape. I'm discussing the nuances of converters.

As a kid I could identify all motorcycles purely by a distant engine sound; I could tell the make, engine size/modifications, the speed/gear, a mechanical defect; even whose motorcycle it was.

The nuances I hear in different converters are more subtle but still exist; I had hoped (in my first post) that there might be a discussion about the nuances (as per the OP). It can be lonely hearing differences when others cannot.
Old 1 week ago
  #153
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@Fleaman How would you put into words the effect of tape? Especially on drums? I ask because I'm interested in a 1" 8trk or a 2" 16trk and am trying to figure out what I should get for tracking drums. I've used tape a couple times in the past but it was so long ago that I wasn't experienced enough to take any real advantage of the medium.

Recently, I had an experience where I went to a friend's studio and he played me some drums tracked to tape and some drums tracked to protools. Same room, same drummer, same mics. It's like the tape tracked drums were exploding out of the speakers. It was really eye opening. I felt as if the tape tracked drums were only presenting the useful recorded information and discarding the rest.

The PT tracked drums were really loose sounding in comparison, more full bandwidth but less of the important info was being presented. Less attack, less punch. Even playing them at the same volume the tape tracked drums were just jumping out at me in this really surreal way. It was like they were "ruffmixed" or maybe lightly EQ'd and the PT tracks were just raw.

I'm not sure exactly what tape machine it was (I only got a quick look) but there were two Studer 24 track systems. Maybe they were A827's? Looked like it but I can't be sure. Anyway, what's your take and how would you describe the quality of tape in words?
Old 1 week ago
  #154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Radar tracks don't sound like tape to me.
They don't sound like tape to me either but they do sound more tape-like than other converters/DAWs I've tried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Tape distortion (remember, we are talking about real distortion here) has to be designed into the system---either by the real deal tape, the Anamod (which is essentially an analog computer), or plugin. A converter, even a RADAR, doesn't have any processing that does this any differently than any other converter.
RADAR was designed to have a 'tape-like' quality. Fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
So, IMO one can argue the qualities of the Radar conversion over another converter, but I wouldn't portray any perceived improvements as 'tape-like'.
Bingo!
Old 1 week ago
  #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
I do share your opinion that FATSO is more of a tone box than a tape simulator - that's pretty much a consensus here; but it doesn't, for example, make tape sound less like tape - it may even accentuate tape-like characteristics. That's my point.
Actually, while I've not used my Fatso's warmth circuit on real tape, I actually think it would make things worse---it would de-emphasize the qualities of real tape---making it less tape like to me.

In no way would I think the warmth circuit would accentuate real tape.
Old 1 week ago
  #156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Actually, while I've not used my Fatso's warmth circuit on real tape, I actually think it would make things worse---it would de-emphasize the qualities of real tape---making it less tape like to me.

In no way would I think the warmth circuit would accentuate real tape.
What about RADAR? Have you tried the FATSO on RADAR audio?
Old 1 week ago
  #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
@Fleaman How would you put into words the effect of tape? Especially on drums? I ask because I'm interested in a 1" 8trk or a 2" 16trk and am trying to figure out what I should get for tracking drums. I've used tape a couple times in the past but it was so long ago that I wasn't experienced enough to take any real advantage of the medium.

Recently, I had an experience where I went to a friend's studio and he played me some drums tracked to tape and some drums tracked to protools. Same room, same drummer, same mics. It's like the tape tracked drums were exploding out of the speakers. It was really eye opening. I felt as if the tape tracked drums were only presenting the useful recorded information and discarding the rest.

The PT tracked drums were really loose sounding in comparison, more full bandwidth but less of the important info was being presented. Less attack, less punch. Even playing them at the same volume the tape tracked drums were just jumping out at me in this really surreal way. It was like they were "ruffmixed" or maybe lightly EQ'd and the PT tracks were just raw.

I'm not sure exactly what tape machine it was (I only got a quick look) but there were two Studer 24 track systems. Maybe they were A827's? Looked like it but I can't be sure. Anyway, what's your take and how would you describe the quality of tape in words?
Drums are the biggest difference between tape and digital, though some of what you mentioned is confusing, i.e.--that the tape tracks had more attack than the PT tracks, it's usually the other way around. But maybe what you call 'attack' is just the general impact of the drums, while I think of the initial sharp transients as the 'attack', and in that case, they are softer with tape.

Especially with drums, tape is like an easy button. It's the worlds fastest compressor. Along with tape saturation, tape compresses the signal in a pleasing way, with little side effects---but the side effects (transient softening) is pleasing here, especially with close mic'd drums. The end result is that drums sound fuller, beefier (there's usually a low freq bump too at lower IPS speeds), smoother. So you use way less outboard compression and eq, it's more 'done'.

So it sounds more impact-full (attack if you say).

But, just a heads up that the Studer's, especially the A827, are fairly clean sounding machines. They were designed to be as non-tape like as possible, but you can still saturate the tape by hitting it hard enough of course.
Old 1 week ago
  #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
What about RADAR? Have you tried the FATSO on RADAR audio?
No.

But as mentioned, I don't hear 'tape' in Radar tracks and Fatso doesn't do it either, so not sure where that Tape saturation is gonna come from in that scenario...
Old 1 week ago
  #159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
No.

But as mentioned, I don't hear 'tape' in Radar tracks and Fatso doesn't do it either, so not sure where that Tape saturation is gonna come from in that scenario...
OK but you've never actually tried it yourself (re #121)? Which RADAR cards have you used?

Last edited by Arthur Stone; 1 week ago at 09:12 PM.. Reason: tense
Old 1 week ago
  #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
OK but you've never actually tried it yourself (re #121)? Which RADAR cards do you use?
Correct. I've only listened to Radar tracks, and they did not sound like tape to me.
Old 1 week ago
  #161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Correct. I've only listened to Radar tracks, and they did not sound like tape to me.
That's not the question though; the question is whether RADAR has a more 'tape-like' quality than other converters and not a direct comparison to tape (which nobody is disputing AFAIK). As a user/owner of several converters and having used tape (in the 70's and 90's and again soon) my personal opinion is that RADAR has a more 'tape-like' quality than other converters I've tried.
Old 1 week ago
  #162
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Drums are the biggest difference between tape and digital, though some of what you mentioned is confusing, i.e.--that the tape tracks had more attack than the PT tracks, it's usually the other way around. But maybe what you call 'attack' is just the general impact of the drums, while I think of the initial sharp transients as the 'attack', and in that case, they are softer with tape.

Especially with drums, tape is like an easy button. It's the worlds fastest compressor. Along with tape saturation, tape compresses the signal in a pleasing way, with little side effects---but the side effects (transient softening) is pleasing here, especially with close mic'd drums. The end result is that drums sound fuller, beefier (there's usually a low freq bump too at lower IPS speeds), smoother. So you use way less outboard compression and eq, it's more 'done'.

So it sounds more impact-full (attack if you say).

But, just a heads up that the Studer's, especially the A827, are fairly clean sounding machines. They were designed to be as non-tape like as possible, but you can still saturate the tape by hitting it hard enough of course.

Thanks for this reply. Yes regarding the attack I realize they soften transients but it's weird. It was like I could perceive the leading edge of the drum strikes without the harshness you get with digital. It sounded as if the mics were literally touching the heads. I know this wasn't the case but I think you get my drift because what you explained is exactly what I was hearing e.g. more full, beefy, punchy sound. And yes, these tracks were clean as a whistle but still had that "oomph" I often associate with cleaner type tube pres when slightly driven.
Old 1 week ago
  #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
That's not the question though; the question is whether RADAR has a more 'tape-like' quality than other converters and not a direct comparison to tape (which nobody is disputing AFAIK). As a user/owner of several converters and having used tape (in the 70's and 90's and again soon) my personal opinion is that RADAR has a more 'tape-like' quality than other converters I've tried.
I believe I already answered this on the previous page>>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Radar tracks don't sound like tape to me.

Are they smooth sounding converters?

Yes.

Do they sound good?

Yes.

While you might equate that to being 'tape-like', I don't.

Tape distortion (remember, we are talking about real distortion here) has to be designed into the system---either by the real deal tape, the Anamod (which is essentially an analog computer), or plugin. A converter, even a RADAR, doesn't have any processing that does this any differently than any other converter.

So, IMO one can argue the qualities of the Radar conversion over another converter, but I wouldn't portray any perceived improvements as 'tape-like'.
Old 1 week ago
  #164
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
I love tape and not going into the argument at this time.

However cant get into tape in my setup.
Which AD will get me closest as far the harmonic distortion i like so much.

Thanks
a/d converters are engineered to have the lowest distortion possible.

Your solution involves a real tape recorder.

Acquire one today.
Old 1 week ago
  #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
Thanks for this reply. Yes regarding the attack I realize they soften transients but it's weird. It was like I could perceive the leading edge of the drum strikes without the harshness you get with digital. It sounded as if the mics were literally touching the heads. I know this wasn't the case but I think you get my drift because what you explained is exactly what I was hearing e.g. more full, beefy, punchy sound. And yes, these tracks were clean as a whistle but still had that "oomph" I often associate with cleaner type tube pres when slightly driven.
I want to add that with soft transient sources (not drums!), running at 30ips, GP9 tape, not hitting the tape hard at all, on say a A827 = a very clean recording, akin to a very good converter. It becomes much harder to notice the differences (other than cheating and listening for tape hiss, etc.).

In fact, classical style sessions would likely be something like that---and they are all digital now.

Last edited by Fleaman; 1 week ago at 09:41 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 1 week ago
  #166
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Sigma's Avatar
Let me ask you a stupid question.. errr ummm if you had a true wire with gain ..as in the perfect amplifier ..in the digital conversion realm..WTF would you want to mess with it? TRUE first..FLAVOR second..the place to do that function is not in the converter stage ..unless some mega nerd is writing presets to emulate those flavors and staging it in a "true" converter thruput stage
Old 1 week ago
  #167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
I believe I already answered this on the previous page>>
Not really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Bingo.

Radar tracks don't sound like tape to me.

Are they smooth sounding converters?

Yes.

Do they sound good?

Yes.

While you might equate that to being 'tape-like', I don't.

Tape distortion (remember, we are talking about real distortion here) has to be designed into the system---either by the real deal tape, the Anamod (which is essentially an analog computer), or plugin. A converter, even a RADAR, doesn't have any processing that does this any differently than any other converter.

So, IMO one can argue the qualities of the Radar conversion over another converter, but I wouldn't portray any perceived improvements as 'tape-like'.
Don't impedance, clocking, harmonic backwash, power supply, etc. give different converters different characteristics - often designed or tuned characteristics?
I hear that anyway. It is clear to me that when I compare Sound Devices with RADAR I hear a more linear response in one and a subtle warmth in another.
Old 1 week ago
  #168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
a/d converters are engineered to have the lowest distortion possible.
I don't think the Burl B2 necessarily is. I've heard from others this one acts like similar to a Tape Machine (admintingly haven't heard it for myself)

On paper, adding transformers and active stages to the audio path (as in the B2) is only going to potentially add harmonic distortion, noise etc (while adding cost) so this obviously wasn't designed to have the lowest distortion possible.

However I think people consistently fail to realize that the 'Tape Machine' Sound isn't just from the actual magnetic tape. I would say at least a good 50% comes from the electronics and how they sound when pushed.
Old 1 week ago
  #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
Let me ask you a stupid question.. errr ummm if you had a true wire with gain ..as in the perfect amplifier ..in the digital conversion realm..WTF would you want to mess with it? TRUE first..FLAVOR second..the place to do that function is not in the converter stage ..unless some mega nerd is writing presets to emulate those flavors and staging it in a "true" converter thruput stage

I think it becomes a bit easier to mix when there is a "flavor" to the tracks. Think of it like marinating meat before grilling it. I suppose it is a subjective taste issue whether or not that flavor is suitable to the track but it makes it a little easier to mix. Especially for guys who are mixing completely ITB most of the time like me. Usually the flavor you'll get from the mic pres or converter (vs. the player, instrument and mic choice/position) is subtle in any event.

Yes, I have a 32ch. console with transformer pres as well as select outboard pres, many of them tube but when I track with flavor instead of "wire with gain" type capture I tend to enjoy the final product much more. I also find myself thinking much less when I'm mixing e.g. "how do I get from here to there with this sound!?". Not that "wire with gain" capture is bad because sometimes it's exactly what's needed. I don't speak for everyone, of course.
Old 1 week ago
  #170
Quote:
Originally Posted by RADAR User View Post
mua, rude?

pot calling the kettle?

you want to ban me PM??
I’ve not been rude - I’ve just said I didn’t agree. You’ve attempted (poorly) to slur my reputation and experience, which of course you have zero idea of.

I’ve already said I can happily agree to disagree, but you can’t seem to.

So no - you’ve not done anything warranting a ban in my eyes, and unless it’s blatant, I try not to mod threads I’m a part of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RADAR User View Post
dude, the statement about pro tools latency was from an interview with Mark Howard, not my statement... is Mark Howard banned because he doesn't like Pro Tools?
You really do like to pick a fight huh? No, I wouldn’t ban someone because they don’t understand how to get the best out of their tools...but it’s generally good etiquette to not quote something as supporting your statement, then abandon it because “well, I didn’t say it!”. If you don’t agree, don’t use it as a supporting statement!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
Bingo.



Radar tracks don't sound like tape to me.

Are they smooth sounding converters?

Yes.

Do they sound good?

Yes.

While you might equate that to being 'tape-like', I don't.

Tape distortion (remember, we are talking about real distortion here) has to be designed into the system---either by the real deal tape, the Anamod (which is essentially an analog computer), or plugin. A converter, even a RADAR, doesn't have any processing that does this any differently than any other converter.

So, IMO one can argue the qualities of the Radar conversion over another converter, but I wouldn't portray any perceived improvements as 'tape-like'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by contramark View Post
I don't think the Burl B2 necessarily is. I've heard from others this one acts like similar to a Tape Machine (admintingly haven't heard it for myself)

On paper, adding transformers and active stages to the audio path (as in the B2) is only going to potentially add harmonic distortion, noise etc (while adding cost) so this obviously wasn't designed to have the lowest distortion possible.

However I think people consistently fail to realize that the 'Tape Machine' Sound isn't just from the actual magnetic tape. I would say at least a good 50% comes from the electronics and how they sound when pushed.
Old 1 week ago
  #171
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Re-reading my post #169 I just wanted to make sure no one (especially him) thinks I was trying to "teach" @Sigma as it may have come off that way.

I am fully aware of who he is and his pedigree in audio. I was just, shall we say....providing reasoning (out loud) for any future readers as to why one might not want a completely transparent sound when tracking.
Old 1 week ago
  #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
I think it becomes a bit easier to mix when there is a "flavor" to the tracks. Think of it like marinating meat before grilling it. I suppose it is a subjective taste issue whether or not that flavor is suitable to the track but it makes it a little easier to mix. Especially for guys who are mixing completely ITB most of the time like me. Usually the flavor you'll get from the mic pres or converter (vs. the player, instrument and mic choice/position) is subtle in any event.
I interpreted Sigma's post not as being "anti-Flavor" but questioning why the hell you would want to put your flavor on at the converter stage.

Have economists predicted a looming shortage of 'flavor' boxes?
Quote:
Not that "wire with gain" capture is bad because sometimes it's exactly what's needed. .
IMO, the key word is "capture". If your capture is colored, it's always colored. What do you do when that "sometimes" comes along? Suppose I spent some time and effort and money crafting a sound that to me has the exact right amount of "flavor". Now I have to find some way to 'deduct' some of that flavor because my converters will automatically be adding more?
Old 1 week ago
  #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I interpreted Sigma's post not as being "anti-Flavor" but questioning why the hell you would want to put your flavor on at the converter stage.

Have economists predicted a looming shortage of 'flavor' boxes?


IMO, the key word is "capture". If your capture is colored, it's always colored. What do you do when that "sometimes" comes along? Suppose I spent some time and effort and money crafting a sound that to me has the exact right amount of "flavor". Now I have to find some way to 'deduct' some of that flavor because my converters will automatically be adding more?

I don't necessarily know that that's really an issue. At least it's never been for me. It's why I also said "Usually the flavor you'll get from the mic pres or converter (vs. the player, instrument and mic choice/position) is subtle in any event.".

The flavor I'm referring to is that subtle flavor that allows you to sit sounds in a mix a little easier, with less processing. It's something one has to experience to understand. Bear in mind I'm only talking about drums here. Nothing else really. Usually, my post mix self-conversations are more like..."why did they track it so darn plain sounding?".




P.S. As to why you'd want to put flavor on at the conversion stage I'd say times are changing. Burl seems to have a pretty good reputation for top class A/D converters.

P.P.S. Many people have stated they don't feel Burl sounds like tape. I don't honestly think it's supposed to. I think they are trying to capture the feeling of listening back after tracking to tape, i.e. that "BUMP" or "KNOCK" you feel in the music when you hit tape in the sweet spot.
Old 1 week ago
  #174
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
I think it becomes a bit easier to mix when there is a "flavor" to the tracks. Think of it like marinating meat before grilling it. I suppose it is a subjective taste issue whether or not that flavor is suitable to the track but it makes it a little easier to mix. Especially for guys who are mixing completely ITB most of the time like me. Usually the flavor you'll get from the mic pres or converter (vs. the player, instrument and mic choice/position) is subtle in any event.

Yes, I have a 32ch. console with transformer pres as well as select outboard pres, many of them tube but when I track with flavor instead of "wire with gain" type capture I tend to enjoy the final product much more. I also find myself thinking much less when I'm mixing e.g. "how do I get from here to there with this sound!?". Not that "wire with gain" capture is bad because sometimes it's exactly what's needed. I don't speak for everyone, of course.
i agree with everything you said but bifurcate here... there are stages you want "true" and stages you want "flavored" i want my converter stage to be "true" just like i want the amps to my speakers to be "true"…. as much as anything is true lol
Old 1 week ago
  #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
i agree with everything you said but bifurcate here... there are stages you want "true" and stages you want "flavored" i want my converter stage to be "true" just like i want the amps to my speakers to be "true"…. as much as anything is true lol

Yeah no worries. No right or wrong here. Just preferences.
Old 1 week ago
  #176
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Have economists predicted a looming shortage of 'flavor' boxes?
Maybe not economists, but it's certainly a thing.

I recently started a thread where I was pissing and moaning about the misuse of an La2a (or something very much like one). Thing is, the La2a as a device for gain management is terrible. But it sounds cool. Build a box that sounds like that but leaves the level alone and have the price point reflect the fact that you've omitted the pointless GR and you'll have a winner. Then you can start on the compression-free Fairchild.
Old 6 days ago
  #177
I still think we aren’t looking at this empirically. There is too much variation between the sounds of different types of tapes and machines and conditions and amplifiers used to coral them all into “tape sound”. I’ve heard tape machines that even in perfect working order that sounded thin and took away too much high end to be useful to most “hi-fi” guys.

If we can elaborate on the actual sonic goal and less the why, there is hope. Otherwise this is just a sausage fest of pseudo-knowledge vomit and posturing.
Old 5 days ago
  #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I still think we aren’t looking at this empirically. There is too much variation between the sounds of different types of tapes and machines and conditions and amplifiers used to coral them all into “tape sound”. I’ve heard tape machines that even in perfect working order that sounded thin and took away too much high end to be useful to most “hi-fi” guys.

If we can elaborate on the actual sonic goal and less the why, there is hope. Otherwise this is just a sausage fest of pseudo-knowledge vomit and posturing.
But any tape machine can give you a tape saturation sound if you hit it hard enough.

Even cassette decks.

It's the one 'sound' you can't get any other way.

That is what I think of when talking 'tape sound'.

And, it's the one sound that is hardest to emulate.
Old 5 days ago
  #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
But any tape machine can give you a tape saturation sound if you hit it hard enough.

Even cassette decks.

It's the one 'sound' you can't get any other way.

That is what I think of when talking 'tape sound'.

And, it's the one sound that is hardest to emulate.
I'm gonna record into my Nakamichi
Old 5 days ago
  #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
I'm gonna record into my Nakamichi
Don't laugh, but in the early ADAT/DAT 90's I remember hitting cassette decks a bit hard to smooth out those recordings. 3-head High bias HXpro baby!

No CD burners back then---everyone still had cassette decks though....
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