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Saturation at mixdown
Old 2nd September 2009
  #1
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Saturation at mixdown

I work in digital mostly and have a crap reel ot reel which i never use as the noise amoung other things is too much so im thinking about getting a newer really good reel to reel but im wondering is it most just in getting that sound to record to the reel to reel or running a full mix will saturate/compress the mix and get a tapesque sound?
im sure running it thru will give some kind of satuartion but i dont think the effect will be as good as if the tracks were recorded to the reel from the get go
Old 2nd September 2009
  #2
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If you consistently have great sounding mixes, then dumping to tape would work out great. There are time when I think taking a digital mix and hitting to tape gels it well, only if the mix is tight to begin with. Otherwise, recording to tape first and dumping to digital will be best, and the mix will just fall into place.

If it's the tape saturation and compression you are wanting then you must get a reel to reel. But if you are just looking to get a bit more warmth and saturation, there are many other solutions in the form of preamps.

One is the OSA MP-2, which has a line in for audio as well as mic in, so you don't need to attenuate the signal before going into the MP-2.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #3
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Try the Anamod ATS-1.

No noise. Fully adjustable.

Authentic 'Tape Saturation'.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #4
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would love to get it but outta my price range at the moment
they took out the wow and flutter from the Anamods im sure some people would have liked it in there
Old 2nd September 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTC View Post
they took out the wow and flutter from the Anamods im sure some people would have liked it in there
I assume you're kidding
Old 2nd September 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
I assume you're kidding
Old 2nd September 2009
  #7
You can send your mixes to a lot of places to get them dumped to tape. And a 2-track 1/2" or 1/4" machine is going to be cheaper/same price as an Anamod/Fatso type deal.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #8
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really?
do you know of any places online?
Old 2nd September 2009
  #10
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HOTC's Avatar
 

fleaman nice one
have u any experience with this place?or anyone on here for that matter?
looks badass
Old 2nd September 2009
  #11
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Sorry, no.

Heard some good things about the guy....but I can't remember why/who/what/when/where.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #12
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thanks cool man thanks
you wouldnt happen to know how much a track costs?
Old 2nd September 2009
  #13
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Sorry, not a clue.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #14
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Seems about a month or two ago, there was somewhere on here (or Tape Op) offering to dump to tape. The rates were included in the post. Sorry I can't be anymore specific than that. My recollection is that it was on the Tape Op Msg board.

Edit: found it for you. It lies here Tape Op Message Board :: View topic - Anyone into this? FTP me your digital tracks to hit analog??
And there is a website at Analog Anywhere

Haven't used it but it's another option.

Last edited by Scinx; 2nd September 2009 at 09:09 PM.. Reason: Solved the Mystery
Old 2nd September 2009
  #15
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
I can take it for you over to 1/4 Quantegy 456 as long as I own my Telefunken M 15 A seems that I have to sell it I use it too seldom.

PM if you want some saturation from it.

Andreas
Old 2nd September 2009
  #16
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cool thanks for all the replies guys
I have good few saturation plug ins but i dont have URS
been hearing great things about it tho
Old 2nd September 2009
  #17
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If you have the funds I would recommend the Portico 5042 True Tape. I've been using that for about a month now. And my love affair continues with it, until I get bored of course.

If you are very budget conscious, then find a good s-vhs vcr and put that on your two buss.
Old 2nd September 2009
  #18
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"You get that unmistakable warm, saturated tape sound - perfect for synthesizers, guitars, drum machines"

......and the 2 buss.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #19
Chris over at Welcome to 1979 is a cool guy. At Gear for Days in Nashville they do a lot of transfer from tape, but I'm sure they could do one to tape if you supply it. They have:

Ampex ATR 102- 1/2” 2 track analog recorder
Studer A 80- 1/2” or 1/4” 2 track analog recorder
Otari MTR 15- 1/4” 2 track analog recorder

Converts would be Digidesign 192's. They have Apogee and Radar as well. You could even have them run it through a buss compressor of your choice.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #20
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I know that this is not tape saturation, but I kept the line amps out of my old Ampex A440 tape machine because I could hear their contribution to the tape path. I had the class A line amps moded so they would function outside of the tape path and viola. It is exactly what I remembered from the tape machine. All the colour and tone and SATURATION from the big ass input transformer. The tops get all silky with the harmonic saturation and the low end seems to get that nice bump that I used to hear and love. I run my mixes through it and it is almost like having my tape machine still with me, but without the hassle, tape and maintenance. Oh...and it cost me about AUS$500. The tech also added phantom power and a low gain mic pre path. It now gets more use than it ever did as a tape machine. Sweet.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTC View Post
cool thanks for all the replies guys
I have good few saturation plug ins but i dont have URS
been hearing great things about it tho
MH after using extensive hardware to get some saturation I am not sure longer if plug ins are doing same.
I think some hardware is more subtle but more a tone shaper.
You can use them for what they do no matter the question is if you like what they do.

To get a compromise where you do not have to worry about the fact of saturation you should try to strap a nice tube unit over the two-bus to get some very subtle harmonics which cover the sometimes liveliness DAW sound.

My opinion is even if you do not use a HIGH END unit for this and you nudge it very very subtle you get a nice growl what is usable for the most rock music.

For my taste for example Jazz stuff I sometimes like pure clean digital sound.

I have been using for a longtime the SPL Charisma 2
"Warning very very subtle once the damage is done may your mastering engineer is unhappy with you" check with headphones as well.


The nice thing about this unit is you have also the charisma knobs!
In left position "SOFT" the saturation and harmonics set in slow like a soft limiter you get a smooth picture and more harmonics.
If you tweak this Knob to hard right position you get late harmonics but it is more like hard limiter.

So if you do not drive the unit too hard you do not have to be afraid of limiting but you get some nice saturation all over the mix.

Some engineers told me you cant do it this unit is a destroyer but it depends on how you use the destroyer.
The only minus point for the SPL charisma is that the low end is a little bit spongy.

But for the price a good alternative to the DAW mixbus.
Oh yeah its design is....

Old 3rd September 2009
  #22
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Fatso jr? I heard that thing kiiiiiillllsss.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #23
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaeridley View Post
Fatso jr? I heard that thing kiiiiiillllsss.
I heard that thing to and to my taste the SPL was more easy to use and did nice things to it TUBES!!!
Old 3rd September 2009
  #24
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaeridley View Post
Fatso jr? I heard that thing kiiiiiillllsss.
Fatso is cool. UBK fatso is cooler.

What really kills, for tape saturation, is the Anamod.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #25
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FWIW, UAD just released Fatso Jr and Fatso Sr.

Universal Audio | Analog and Digital Audio Products and Plug-Ins
Old 3rd September 2009
  #26
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTC View Post
im sure running it thru will give some kind of satuartion but i dont think the effect will be as good as if the tracks were recorded to the reel from the get go

This is absolutely correct; running a 2-mix into an open reel deck is a lovely way to pull things together and, depending on the deck, tape formula and how you've got it calibrated, you can do some pretty significant shaping of the tone as well (sweetening/thickening).

But this is not remotely the same as tracking to tape (or re-amping everything thru tape); in this case, you'll find every element has the right amount of saturation, there is less eq'ing and compression needed on individual elements and busses, and the sounds come together more easily because they behave better and blend better. Tape is pretty magical that way.

On the other hand, you can achieve similar results if you have a colored, musical compressor and you track/re-amp everything thru that and mix into it as well. 2500, ubk fatso, manley mu, 33609... these are a few that I experience as doing similar things to sound in terms of helping them to round out and fall together in ways that make your life easier (and your mixes tastier).

My experience is that 4-6 stages of analog saturation --- be it transformer, tube, and/or tape --- are what's required to get mission critical sounds where I like them. So if I track everything thru a transformer pre and transformer comp to tape, have things hitting more transformer comps in the mix (not necessarily compressing), have the mix running thru transformers on the 2-bus, another comp, and everything to tape... that's 7 stages of analog love that everything gets subjected to. The effect of this cannot be overstated, it is world's apart from hitting 1 or 2 stages then converting to digital and finishing everything up with dsp.

This is why I love analog OTB mixing, there're so many more opportunities to shape the sound in subtle, meaningful ways that add up. But regardless of how you work, nothing will make your life easier than treating most or all of your sounds to multiple stages of analog saturation.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 3rd September 2009
  #27
No plugin sounds like real tape.

No plugin ever will sound like real tape.

You need either a tape machine or one of the 2 analog hardware tape simulators on the market (Anamod or Portico).

For what multiple channels of tape simulators will cost you might as well buy a 24 track.
Old 4th September 2009
  #28
Greg makes a good point. I track digital because I do a lot of work at home and everything in Nashville is "get in and get out it" seems, but tracking with class A preamps with a nice compressor before hitting the DAW, and mixing through an analog console and bouncing to tape really helps. I plan on getting a 1" 8-track or 2" 16-track and 1/2" 2-track for the house at some point...

...if you are looking to do something like this Gear for Days could run your mix through their Neve BCM10, tap, and a buss compressor but that's getting more complicated and expensive.

I don't know where you are located, but you should consider renting a day at a decent studio and mixing OTB. Have everything pre-mixed and ready to go when you get there and just spend a day running your tracks through a nice board, analog EQ and compressors, and bouncing to tape. A lot of studios are struggling, and I bet you could get a really good rate.
Old 4th September 2009
  #29
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I recently bought an Otari MX-55N for a song, and I'm almost always delightfully surprised when I run my mixes through some 456 tape. It works especially well for some of the grittier rock mixes I do.

So often, I get tracks recorded by the band with an Mbox or similar, and subsequently have little grit inherent in the recorded tracks themselves. i usually do a combination of running individual tracks through tape and running the final mix through it. I've not found any plugin or technique in the box that satisfactorily replicates the musical compression that the tape machine does so effortlessly.

On a similar note, do some people find it beneficial to record the mix to tape, rewind it and play it back into digital rather than just monitor the playback head as one records? I'm quite sure that the tape loses a bit of sound very shortly after it's been recorded to, and I wondered if that adds to the softening of the tape in a pleasant way? I mean, thinking back to all of the great records that have been mastered to tape, they certainly weren't just running the mix through the tape to only be erased later! The tape sat for a while. Months. Years. Decades. Or is just running it through on the fly just a better solution?

-Noel
Old 4th September 2009
  #30
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post

This is why I love analog OTB mixing, there're so many more opportunities to shape the sound in subtle, meaningful ways that add up. But regardless of how you work, nothing will make your life easier than treating most or all of your sounds to multiple stages of analog saturation.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
And thats the reason why one if even not high end analogue unit on the mix bus for real can improve mixing ITB.
It makes a difference it sweetens the sound e.g just a slight breeze of saturation to my impression keeps reverb more alive.

And sometimes sending this mix to my master tape recorder improves it even if I have two times conversion with it.

It helps a lot and makes mixing for me more fun.
Thats the reason why I will buy two more HW units in the end of the year.

Some Plug Ins are great but in the domain of sound-shaping (frequency domain) there a just a few great plug ins. One for me is the Fairchild emulation of Waves which brings you a step forward and the new PSP Old-timer which reacts on the sound depending on the input level. One of my favorite plug ins for my ears not far away form it s HW counterpart is the UAD 1176 LN emulation.

For EQing I use in 90% of the cases the Waves SSL Bundle.
So for me it is a clever combination of some hardware as well as of the sound of the best plug ins I can get for money.
But this does not mean that all plugs do things to the sound which I like.

I even like the aggressive attitude of the Neve 33609 Plug In by UAD for the drum bus.
I guess the problem with some plug ins is still that you get not only harmonics you also get inharmonic distortion.
This forces you to watch out for the best sounding plugs for your need and to stay with them to know them very well.

I think saturation alone is not the answer it is an interplay between many factors like in the analogue world as well.
But things stand upside down because with hitting the digital gear harder nearly nothing happens in the frequency domain ....

But some plug ins are improving in this point and get better and better even in the last few months.
Maybe one thing is hard for some real analogue fans you always get the same saturation form plugs and real gear differs there more.

We will see better plugs in the next few years but this does not mean for me to stop buying hardware it is also a matter of touching a knob and this makes me working different.
But for my personal small setup I guess I can live with plugs and some outboard without spending thousands of dollars.
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