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Dolby 363, really?
Old 19th August 2007
  #1
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soupking's Avatar
 

Dolby 363, really?

Is it really worth buying if you record to tape?
Old 19th August 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I would say not. Dolby was all about two basic things: pre-emphasis eq for tracking, followed by de-emphasis eq for mixing. And compression for tracking, followed by expansion for mixing.

The basic idea is that tape makes lots of noise, rolls of the high end, and has a limited dynamic range. If you boost the highs more than you need going in, you can then roll them off at mix time, which will also have the effect of rolling of the tape hiss. And if you compress more than you need going in, you can expand the dynamic at mix time, which has the effect of making the noise floor lower.

Since you already own a Pultech and a whole bunch of high end analog gear, why don't you just apply your own eq and compression to taste, using the same basic principles.
Old 19th August 2007
  #3
Kiwi,
you should read more about Dolby SR and listen to some recordings made using it before dissmissing it.
Old 19th August 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupking View Post
Is it really worth buying if you record to tape?
If you record to 2 track - no
If you record to 8 track - yes
Make sure it's calibrated correctly, easy and the instructions can be found online.

Hunt around and you can find the 363's cheap, the only problem I've had is with the fans - either broken or noisey - but I've been able to get them fixed.
Old 19th August 2007
  #5
The day I aligned a recorder to +9 with 996 Scotch was the day the SR was permanently shut off. They might call it noise reduction, I call it music reduction. Getting a A-810 or JH-24 to record at +9 with a distortion of .15% vs .55% at +3 with 456 changed how I record. With a 75 db S/N, I didn't need the Dolby anymore. I don't miss it. The SR24 rack constantly needed a tweak when mixing, they drift. The studio paid $24k for that thing, what's it worth today?

In 1990 I did an article for REP magazine on how to mod the 363 for better THD. It caused quite a furor at Dolby labs, London and SF. An employee sent me a copy of an internal memo describing how Dolby was to deal with this. It read like a CYA memo from the White House. I was very amused. I still will work on them, I just did one a couple of months back.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 19th August 2007
  #6
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soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger View Post
I would say not. Dolby was all about two basic things: pre-emphasis eq for tracking, followed by de-emphasis eq for mixing. And compression for tracking, followed by expansion for mixing.

The basic idea is that tape makes lots of noise, rolls of the high end, and has a limited dynamic range. If you boost the highs more than you need going in, you can then roll them off at mix time, which will also have the effect of rolling of the tape hiss. And if you compress more than you need going in, you can expand the dynamic at mix time, which has the effect of making the noise floor lower.

Since you already own a Pultech and a whole bunch of high end analog gear, why don't you just apply your own eq and compression to taste, using the same basic principles.
K, I only have one compressor though, and it's not one I'd use on everything.

I've actually seen these boxes go for quite a pretty penny. It seemed a bit high for only 2 channels. I am recording to the "forbidden" 1/2" tape. But my results haven't been too shabby with the 1/4". Way better than the PortaStudio. Cassettes are crap from MHE.

I guess I'll start out working with what I have and then apply more NR if necessary.

Thanks guys!
Old 19th August 2007
  #7
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Soupking - i'm never quite sure whether to take you seriously or not. I don't use tape, but if I did it would be integrated into a computer DAW setup anyway. I personally would never use Dolby or DBX, based on bad experiences in the cassette days. I appreciate these tools worked well for serious tape based studios, and if still working in all-analog might still be necessary.

I just don't think you need to concern yourself with it, based on the content of your posts.

Personally, if I used tape again, I would apply the pre-emphasis compression during tracking with my analog gear. I would then use software tools to deal with hiss and dynamics and gating etc, and totally avoid this stuff. I'm not a purist.
Old 20th August 2007
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger View Post
Soupking - i'm never quite sure whether to take you seriously or not. I don't use tape, but if I did it would be integrated into a computer DAW setup anyway. I personally would never use Dolby or DBX, based on bad experiences in the cassette days. I appreciate these tools worked well for serious tape based studios, and if still working in all-analog might still be necessary.

I just don't think you need to concern yourself with it, based on the content of your posts.

Personally, if I used tape again, I would apply the pre-emphasis compression during tracking with my analog gear. I would then use software tools to deal with hiss and dynamics and gating etc, and totally avoid this stuff. I'm not a purist.
Cool, sounds good man. I'm really unfamiliar with a lot of this stuff. So sometimes I don't know if it's overkill or not. I'm no purist either. Solid state devices were made for a reason, same as software. I'm just not a software guy. Music allows me to free myself from "the screen". Of course, I'm not commercial, or that'd become necessary.
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