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The very first time you ever recorded anything
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
KingsX's Avatar
 

The very first time you ever recorded anything

Sorry if this has been asked. I was thinking about my first recording experience, and chuckled, thought, I'd like to share, and if you are will to share, great. I will start. I'll try to keep short.

The year was around 1992. I was in high school, and in a rock/metal band. We wanted to record an "album". We knew NOTHING about recording. Went to our local music store, and rented a Fostex R8, and a pos Ross mixer. Got to our jam space and tried to hook up. Didn't know what we were doing, so we went back and got some tips on how to get sound out of the mixer for recording.

We didn't have tape, but my father had some 7" reels from an old Roberts reel to reel with some ancient tape with 60's music on it. So we used one of those tapes (can you imagine, probably had been recorded over 100 times, and was from the 60's and 70's).

We didn't have an "engineer" and we were all in one room, so we multi tracked, because someone in the band had to man the reel to reel and mixer. We had NO effects (didn't even know that was something you might want, or what it was) and we had no compression (didn't know what that was). We had ONE single mic, our vocalists crappy $20 who knows what, dynamic mic. We just multi tracked by putting the mic in front of whatever.

We didn't have a click track...lol. I started by playing guitar, my part. Drummer would listen and try to match my tempo. Let's just say - it was carnage! But we didn't care. No effects, bad levels...we thought we were kings.

We mixed that down to cassettes. Then shared that garbage music with our friends at high school. We were rock stars!

Years later, I acquired an R8, and digitized those old tapes on my pro tools rig. I did my best to normalize, compress, add effects and edit so the timing was better. Lets just say, I couldn't really salvage it, but at least I still have it!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Not sure what I recorded but I remember what it was recorded on. It was a toy reel to reel. It actually worked and recorded but had no capston so the sound was full of massive wow and flutter. I was in the 6th grade I believe and it came from the Montgomery Wards catalog.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Oldone's Avatar
I turned on my cheap cassette recorder at age 15, brought my guitar in close so i could record my vocal and instrument together. Then I sang "If I were a carpenter" (dates me I know). I reviewed my work and thought I was ready for fame. I played it to my family who provided requisite "Great job!" kudos.

It seemed like magic because home recorders were a new thing. I've been hooked for life and numerous reel to reels, studio ventures and building my own studio has always followed my life. I'm still ready for fame but only if it comes with large influxes of cash.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Not sure what I recorded but I remember what it was recorded on. It was a toy reel to reel. It actually worked and recorded but had no capston so the sound was full of massive wow and flutter. I was in the 6th grade I believe and it came from the Montgomery Wards catalog.
That thing was probably a lot like the first recorder I ever used.

It was 1962, and I was 5 years old:

A friend of my father's came over to the house, and had a little portable tape machine meeting that same description with him (complete with a little "clip-on" crystal mic).

He let me play with it for hours on end (because it kept me busy and out of their way).

I was instantly hooked.

I have still yet to recover.
.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
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Some of the responses reminded me.

A buddy had this kind of dual cassette, which you could plug a microphone into (1/4 inch). You could record to one cassette, then move that cassette to the other one, and dub it to the original, WHILE at the same time record on the microphone.

Needless to say, over multiple passes it got so bad.

And now that I think about it, in elementary school, for a project, I did a fake radio program...I can't remember what I recorded that one. Some cassette recorder with a build in mic I assume.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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The first machine I ever bought with my own money (at age 8):
Attached Thumbnails
The very first time you ever recorded anything-myfirstrecorder.png  
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
The first machine I ever bought with my own money (at age 8):
I love how "Rewinds" is a feature. I mean, just imagine having to rewind by hand. Was that ever a thing?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
7+1
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I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 13. My parents had a Panasonic cassette player from the 70s that had the absolute worst 60Hz hum ever. I bought a really cheap 4 channel radio shack mixer. (wasnt cheap to me then. Think it was somewhere around $150.) Spent the next year recording myself with my guitar.

When I hit 14 I went to a public school auction for the city. There was all sorts of stuff here. Old reel to reel tape machines, projectors, tube amplifiers. microphones.. Tape duplicators. Headphones. ALL 60s-80s era. I had about $125 saved up and bought as much stuff as I could. I started to record immediately to a reel to reel and bounce back and forth to the tape cassette to get tracks.

When I was 15 I had a little studio in my parents basement. They let me take over part of the room and gave me $100 to build a wall since they never let me have a tree house. I then sold the Tape Duplicator that I bought at the auction for $32 for $260 on a rag classified magazine. (Remember those?) I then bought my first 4 track Tascam 424. Which I still have in my control room to this day.

When I hit 16 I was recording all the high school bands and sounding town bands with a mixer and the Tascam. And printing to MiniDisc.

Those days were fun and exciting. Then I found out about girls
Attached Thumbnails
The very first time you ever recorded anything-img_1896.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Drumsound's Avatar
Besides goofing off with a little cassette recorder, or boom boxes...
My brother borrowed a cassette 4-track and we tracked an "album" while I was home for thanksgiving break during my freshman year of college. It was all done in a spare bedroom at our folks house. I played all the drums, most of the bass, some guitar. They were all my brother's songs, he played guitar, sang, probably some bass. He probably did a few tracks after I went back to school. He mixed the whole thing. It was a really fun weekend, and its really how I got hooked on recording. We got our own 4-track and did a ton of stuff on it. Each on our own, with on another, bands we each played in. He still uses it for idea and whatnot.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Nut
I recorded this 55 year old rasta man playing a steel drum, kind of poorly! We tried to overdub but the first take had some speeding up and slowing down issues. I was in audio engineering school so I put like an SM57 under the thing, two 4040s left and right over it, and u87 behind his head pointed down, some random pencil condensers way up and out pointed down. I think I still have it on soundcloud somewhere. I tried eq them all differently and did some trippy delays. The thing is kind of out of tune. Theres one part where I feedback a delay, it sounds kind of cool randomly. I was just trying random things that my instructor, mike rogerson, was telling us about.

WHELP! Turns out I deleted it from my old soundcloud. Must have not sounded "pro," enough due to the less than perfect performance and the lack of editing. Oh well. Maybe I can dig it out of my old drive.

For some reason when I listen to this it makes me deeply sad. It's the music of an old man who was meant to be a musician for his whole life but who instead spent 30 years being a math teacher in a high school. He's probably still living on his next-to-nothing pension not realizing that he has to practice his ass off to get a little more stable on steel pan but he's not young anymore and he just smokes weed. I haven't met him since and I don't even live in that city anymore. The cool thing is at 2:15.
Attached Files

Concrete Jungle.mp3 (11.25 MB, 340 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7+1 View Post
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 13. My parents had a Panasonic cassette player from the 70s that had the absolute worst 60Hz hum ever. I bought a really cheap 4 channel radio shack mixer. (wasnt cheap to me then. Think it was somewhere around $150.) Spent the next year recording myself with my guitar.

When I hit 14 I went to a public school auction for the city. There was all sorts of stuff here. Old reel to reel tape machines, projectors, tube amplifiers. microphones.. Tape duplicators. Headphones. ALL 60s-80s era. I had about $125 saved up and bought as much stuff as I could. I started to record immediately to a reel to reel and bounce back and forth to the tape cassette to get tracks.

When I was 15 I had a little studio in my parents basement. They let me take over part of the room and gave me $100 to build a wall since they never let me have a tree house. I then sold the Tape Duplicator that I bought at the auction for $32 for $260 on a rag classified magazine. (Remember those?) I then bought my first 4 track Tascam 424. Which I still have in my control room to this day.

When I hit 16 I was recording all the high school bands and sounding town bands with a mixer and the Tascam. And printing to MiniDisc.

Those days were fun and exciting. Then I found out about girls
Wow, you have two original Spectra Sonics 610s. That's some awesome mangling power there.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
7+1
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Sadly not mine. They belong to a really great engineer that is in the building.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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vernier's Avatar
Got my first recorder in late fifties.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingsX View Post
Some of the responses reminded me.

A buddy had this kind of dual cassette, which you could plug a microphone into (1/4 inch). You could record to one cassette, then move that cassette to the other one, and dub it to the original, WHILE at the same time record on the microphone.

Needless to say, over multiple passes it got so bad.
This was going to be my story, word for word.

My 17 yr old mind was BLOWN when I discovered that my boom box would do this.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Addict
My grandfather would record Lawrence Welk on a huge mono reel to reel . He would let me run the tape deck and hold the mic to the tv speaker . I hated Lawrence welk but it hooked me on recording lol
Still have the working tape deck
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
rwsand's Avatar
I forget the model but it worked with 3” reels and we did those man on the street reporting intercut with song gags. (Please Mr Custer ec) Very fun! I was 8 or so. The grownups were upstairs playing Canasta.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
A Korg Poly 800 and a Roland TR-707 with a cheap Tascam 4 track.

Totally awesome when you are 16 years old.

I mean when I was a child my parents bought me a tape recorder as a toy, but this was totally different...
Old 6 days ago
  #18
TJ5
Gear Nut
My first recordings were on a Teac cassette deck using a cheap microphone with a 1/4" jack while playing my guitar in the late 80's. When I went to recording arts school in the early 90's, I was able to buy a Fostex R8 for multi-track recording from saving money from my full time day job. It was a huge step for me and made a bunch of cover song recordings with friends. Some were good and some were so-so but it gave me some really good experience with a reel to reel tape machine. I had a Yamaha DMP7 for effects as well as an Art Multiverb and dbx 160X. Wound up getting patchbays and rackmounted synths and a Roland M-16E.

Jump to 2003 when I upgraded to a PowerMac G4 with Pro Tools LE 5 and a Digi002 and I started recording and mixing both OTB and ITB. I transferred all my Fostex R8 recordings to PT and they are all kept digitally now. I tried to remix some songs but figured it wasn't worth the effort to do that given the lower level of recording gear I had at the beginning (AKG C1000 mic). I upgraded to an AT4050 and Shure SM7B and the difference was night and day in terms of sound quality and headroom with a good preamp.

Fast-forward to 2018 when I finally went fully ITB with a Mac Mini and Apollo Twin Quad and Pro Tools 11 and Sphere L22. Slowly getting back into recording and looking forward to making higher quality recordings than the past 30 years!
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Very first was when I was about 11. Panasonic cassette player with inbuilt mic and hum.

Later in about 1978, a Tascam 3340 4 track reel to reel, a Roland PA60 mixer and a Sony ECM200 mic and a Shure 588SB.

I wish I still had those recordings, it would be interesting. I'd be not very good though.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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M.S.P.'s Avatar
My first recorder was something like this:



I recorded EVERYTHING with that machine... From songs off the radio, to people talking, tv dialogue, to farts. hah.

My first multitrack was Cakewalk Homestudio v5 (1996, Windows 95 or 3.1 support, hah) with 4 tracks of glorious digital audio and a Gravis Ultrasound soundcard. It sorta worked (Gravis's drivers were complete sh!t). I thought I had the world by the tail.

I kinda did..
Old 6 days ago
  #21
Gear Nut
 

The cheap 3 1/2” reel-to-reel machine I received for Christmas ruined me, also. No capstan and very little fidelity but I had great fun with it and actually did sound design with the thing! I discovered that if I put the crystal mic at one end of the hose of my mother’s hair dryer and spoke into the other end the result sounded much like the radio communications of the early astronauts! Then, using the mic as kind a contact microphone, I would strike the guy wire of a utility pole outside our house with a hammer and record the whangy, phasey result. MANY years later I heard that sound in the first Star Wars movie! I saw a documentary on the sound design for the movie and that’s EXACTLY how they got some of the laser sounds!

I never recovered! Thanks for helping me recall those memories.

Last edited by zjrt02; 6 days ago at 05:40 AM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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T_R_S's Avatar
Studer A 80 Mk II wide body from 1980 - still works as of 2019 -

39 years old and counting
Old 6 days ago
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Not sure what I recorded but I remember what it was recorded on. It was a toy reel to reel. It actually worked and recorded but had no capston so the sound was full of massive wow and flutter. I was in the 6th grade I believe and it came from the Montgomery Wards catalog.
That sounds a fair bit like my first recorder. It had no capstan -- and the 'erase head' was a permanent magnet cemented to a lever that moved over to swipe the tape when engaged. Battery powered, of course. (Separate C cells for the motor, 9V 'transistor radio' battery for the electronics.)

I'd become fascinated and later obsessed with tape recorders after a neighbor and my parents 'candid miked' me singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" when I was about 3-1/2 (would have been 1954 or so -- it was an old, original model piano key Wollensak). I absolutely refused to believe it was a recording of me, though I recognized it was precisely what I had said and sung. I was -- for a day until my neighbor showed me a little more of it and recorded me again talking off the top of my head -- absolutely convinced that someone was playing some kind of trick on me, that the voice on the tape simply wasn't me.

Later, after I got the battery powered toy described above, I recorded improvised (and once or twice scripted) 'radio plays' (complete with my very bad impression of 'classic' voice actors stereotype characters.

But my first 'serious' recordings of music that got played for folks were with my cousin's Sony stereo portable deck. I recorded his bluegrass band at a couple of backyard jam/parties. My first overdub (two track sound-with-sound, actually, same diff) was on the same deck, recording my mother singing a duet with herself on "Anniversary Waltz" for my grandparents' 50th anniversary. The tape was played at the party and the consensus was that my mom had a lovely voice and I was a boy genius. I was not, of course. But I basked in it, anyhow.

PS... later I got a little mono, plug-in Sony (5" reels) and when my dad got a (nice-ish) portable recorder of his own I decided to try to figure out how to set up a usable tape echo with my recorders. The closest I got was 'inventing' the Eno Loop -- a big spliced loop of tape going through two recorders, one recording, the other playing back, the playback combining with new live input. I didn't play music as a kid so all I could think to do with it was try to create a round-style version of Frère Jacques... but I was such a terrible singer and clueless with regard to rhythm that it was a total, muddy trainwreck.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by zjrt02 View Post
The cheap 3 1/2” reel-to-reel machine I received for Christmas ruined me, also. No capstan and very little fidelity but I had great fun with it and actually did sound design with the thing! I discovered that if I put the crystal mic at one end of the hose of my mother’s hair dryer and spoke into the other end the result sounded much like the radio communications of the early astronauts! Then, using the mic as kind a contact microphone, I would strike the guy wire of a utility pole outside our house with a hammer and record the whangy, phasey result. MANY years later I heard that sound in the first Star Wars movie! I saw a documentary on the sound design for the movie and that’s EXACTLY how they got some of the laser sounds!

I never recovered! Thanks for helping me recall those memories.
I got my own cheapo no-capstan recorder right around the time of John Glenn's orbital flight ('62), about the time my family also got a new washer/dryer that came in a huge box that I immediately set to with my pocket knife and a magic marker to turn into my own space capsule. Natch, I turned the tape recorder into the capsule COMM system.

Later, or maybe the next year, for a 6th grade science fair, my project was an 'electronic music synthesizer' -- actually just my little tape recorder in a 'mysterious' box with an outboard speaker plugged into the earphone jack to act as a PA -- which I then 'artfully' used to generate 'eerie' electronic music in the form of regular old feedback. It also had a built in 'display' -- blinking Christmas tree lights inside a box with different shaped holes cut in that projected the shapes onto walls in the dark. Once again, the rubes were impressed. Doubly so, since I was able to simultaneously record my performance. If only studios full of jaded punk rockers had been so easy to wow.
Old 6 days ago
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
KingsX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShogunOfHarlem View Post
This was going to be my story, word for word.

My 17 yr old mind was BLOWN when I discovered that my boom box would do this.
Ya same! I remember it clearly, my buddy and I were like - WHOA! We can be rock stars now!
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