The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why the hate for "narrow format"? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 
nate_dennis's Avatar
 

Why the hate for "narrow format"?

I'm a huge fan of working with tape. I'm a fan for aesthetic reasons, artistic reasons, and auditory reasons. I'm not a gear snob. A lot of the music I listen to is "lo-fi" and indie.

But I read an older post on here where one person was slamming 1/2" 8 track decks. Saying that "narrow gauge analog" sounds like "shiite" (right on que someone asked if they were sure it didn't sound like Suni.") So I did some math that has surely been done before and the numbers are interesting . . .

2" 24 track tape decks end up with .08" per track (less if you count the small space in the heads to avoid cross talk.)

Where 1/2" 8 track has .06" per track. So 2" 24 track has only 25% less track width.

So why, then, does everyone claim that 2" 24 track is so pure and warm and hi-fi and at the same time claim that 1/2" 8tr is so lo-fi and crappy? Surely 25% less width doesn't equal more than 25% fidelity.

So what are your thoughts?

(please note: this is not an attempt to start an analog vs digital debate. I'm interested in your thoughts on "narrow format" and the ability of such decks to create nice recordings.)


-Nate
Old 15th December 2010
  #2
Deleted User
Guest
could it be tape speed? 24 on 2" at 30ips was fresh to my ears in the 70's ..always wished for 16 on 2" at 30 ..but never had that.

and maybe the signal path on the 24 track on 2" is a bit better than the 8 on .5" machines

great post!!
Old 15th December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Some people say that 2" 24 track was a big step down in quality. 1" 4 track (Studer J37 for example) has a track width of 1/4" for each track. A 1/4" 2 track is 1/8". etc. So 1/12" for 24 track and 1/16" for the 1/2" 8 track are pretty small in comparison.
Old 15th December 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 
nate_dennis's Avatar
 

But why? That's what I'm asking. Why is it a step down? The people who (typically) make the statements "pass on the $450 Tascam 48 because it's a 1/2" deck" are typically the ones who say "I don't buy anything made in China." Ok.

Are you actually listening to the difference? I.E. routing the same signal to two different decks and playing both back to hear the sonic changes? Or are you/they just saying "narrow format sucks?"

I've made and heard several recordings on CASSETTE that sound good to my ears. Do they sound "polished" or "commercial"? No. But they were never intended to. Do they sound good enough for release by a band that does not strive for "hi fi" or "commercial" "slick" or "polished"? By all means.

I just question the objectivity of statments that are wide and all encompassing. But if anyone has any legitimate tests or experience with the differnce between .08" and .06" per track I'd really love to hear them. (Again, no argument starting, just trying for understanding. Because I've never had the oportunity to do those tests.)

-Nate
Old 15th December 2010
  #5
Gear Head
 
Jeancab's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
2" 24 track tape decks end up with .08" per track (less if you count the small space in the heads to avoid cross talk.)
Where 1/2" 8 track has .06" per track. So 2" 24 track has only 25% less track width.
An expensive profesional 24 tracks was probably much better bult, with smaller tolerances, than a cheap 8 tracks 1/2"...
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
But if anyone has any legitimate tests or experience with the differnce between .08" and .06" per track I'd really love to hear them.
It is always reductive to sum up, but my experiences/opinions are:
-a 16trk-2” machine sounds really great. (almost any brand/model, I think).
-a 24tk-2” sounds “ok" to "good” . Some brands/models may sound really good. Anyway they have to be perfectly maintained & aligned. (less "tolerant" than 16tk 2")
-a 16tk-1” (8tk/1/2”) sounds “average - ok” , depending on brand/model.
Actually, some Otari models (like the MX5050 8t ½”) sound not bad to my ears (but noisier than a larger format machine, of course)
-I always found awful any 8tk-1/4” or 16tk-1/2” format…

I really think that one may dislike some narrow formats without being a gear snob: these differences are VERY obvious ! It can't be compared with, say, the (subtle) difference between converters.
Old 15th December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

You're right that there's a certain strain of snobbishness in the gear world, but in this case there's actual physics to back up the emotions.

I, too, have heard cassette recordings that sound remarkably good, but that's in spite of the medium, not because of it - 1/32-inch track width at 1-7/8 ips simply doesn't offer a lot of square footage for the signal.

The 24-track starts out with a track that's about one-third wider than the half-inch 8-track, and then runs at double the speed (30 ips instead of 15 ips). So in one second of recording time, the 24-track has (.083 x 30 = 2.499 square inches) of space for recording, while the 8-track has (.0625 x 15 = 0.9375 square inches) of space. That's a pretty substantial difference, and as rogerbrain notes, the 24-track machines were designed for higher-end markets and tend to have better electronics.

Obviously, there are MANY factors that go into how something sounds. And there are tons of examples of great recordings made on narrow-format machines (Lee Perry FTW!). But in this day and age, when using tape is a matter of choice and not necessity, I can understand a desire to focus on the format that has some fundamental advantages.
Old 15th December 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 
nate_dennis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
You're right that there's a certain strain of snobbishness in the gear world, but in this case there's actual physics to back up the emotions.

I, too, have heard cassette recordings that sound remarkably good, but that's in spite of the medium, not because of it - 1/32-inch track width at 1-7/8 ips simply doesn't offer a lot of square footage for the signal.
Oh absolutely!!! I know that it is "in spite of." But they directly contradict the statements that I've read like "you won't/can't get good quality out of (insert 1/2" 8tr deck) so don't bother." Well, yes you can. You just have to work harder.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
The 24-track starts out with a track that's about one-third wider than the half-inch 8-track, and then runs at double the speed (30 ips instead of 15 ips). So in one second of recording time, the 24-track has (.083 x 30 = 2.499 square inches) of space for recording, while the 8-track has (.0625 x 15 = 0.9375 square inches) of space. That's a pretty substantial difference, and as rogerbrain notes, the 24-track machines were designed for higher-end markets and tend to have better electronics.

Obviously, there are MANY factors that go into how something sounds. And there are tons of examples of great recordings made on narrow-format machines (Lee Perry FTW!). But in this day and age, when using tape is a matter of choice and not necessity, I can understand a desire to focus on the format that has some fundamental advantages.
This is one of the best posts on the advantages/disadvantages of track width. In fact it educated me on the advantages of faster decks (as I have "known" that faster is better, but never why.) So thank you.

So it sounds to me like some of the disdain for "narrow format" comes from high-end gear gurus being able to focus on those higher end decks and so forth.

I'd really love to hear a test of, say, a piano or acoustic guitar rercorded onto seperate decks with different track widths to really hi-light the differences.

I for one will never be able to afford a 2" anything so I'll have to be happy with a 1/2" 8tr. I think people can get great results from them (I don't have one yet, so I don't know if I can or not.)

Anyone else want to chime in with their thouhts/experiences with different formats?
Old 15th December 2010
  #8
Here for the gear
 

I run a 2" JH-16 with new 16 track heads, and I still love my Otari MX5050mk3. Great machine!
Old 15th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 

There's a bit of a price factor too. I think a lot of people who have 8 or 4 track Ampex machines got them dirt cheap or rescued them from the trash years ago. So if you mention for example a "$450 Tascam 48" they're going to think you're crazy for messing with that when they got a better machine for $100 or whatever. You have to put it all in perspective. If a machine works for you then it works for you and don't worry about what anyone else says.
Old 15th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Big_Bang's Avatar
 

Quote:
In fact it educated me on the advantages of faster decks (as I have "known" that faster is better, but never why.) So thank you.
The faster the speed, the more quantity o metal particles are magnetized, so the lesser the hiss.

(I'm going to get slaughtered by this) *deep breath*

As an analogy (pun pun) sort of like tracking 44.1 vs 96k, but in the analog world. That means a better signal-to-noise ratio, so better dynamic range, and because it's cleaner, a wider frequency response.

But let me add about the OP.

I am a HUGE indie fan. That was what originally got me into music. I still get the kicks from bootleg cassettes send through contacts made in the early fanzine years, then internet mIRC chatrooms and early forums, most sent directly to tape decks from tape out unballanced lines.

Indie and lo-fi, in sooooo many cases, is completely inaudible if "properly" recorded and sounding pristine. Its the extreme philosophical opposite to "analog warmth and subtle hi-freq saturation".
Its more of a midrage kinky slap in the face! And studio recording... wells... same thing but having "that" magic!

But put on your favourite "crappy" lo-fi indie tune in a f*nked car with crappy cassette audio system and drive 200000km straight without sleep, and you get the shivers everytime that song gets to that part, etc... Drive the same distance with a bag full of modern commercial CD's... it get boring pretty quick if the trip is long. There is just "that" magic.

I'm sure you'll hit the 7,5 ips instead of 30 next time you have a chance heh
Old 16th December 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Electronics is one of the main factors that places Ampex, Studer, MCI, and Stephens in a different category.
.
.
Old 16th December 2010
  #12
Deleted User
Guest
I have an 8 Track half inch that produces recordings with seemingly equal quality to a lower end 2" 24trk that I also have in my studio room (the 'hated' Sony APR 24 ) (my little machine is a TSR-8 by Tascam). The only difference is size of unit and amount of tracks. They both have the same cool sounding results when you push +6 or +9 Levels on the channels... Only difference is that the APR 24 has had to get relapped several times and the trusty little TSR8 has just gotten sent in for its first service since stock I'm sure if you were comparing my TSR to a scully 3m studer otari or MCI the difference would be more apparent...
Old 16th December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
DrFrankencopter's Avatar
faster isn't always better as far as tape is concerned

15 ips is the the sweet spot for analog tape IMO. The low end isn't impressive enough on 30 ips (head bump is different). Sure, there's less noise than 15 ips, but the peak of it is also an octave higher which makes it harder to mask.

Then there's also the fact that your $250 roll of tape only lasts 15 minutes at 30 ips.

Check out this site for some tape deck freq responses, for those who haven't heard the difference between 15 and 30 ips. Response Curves of Analog Recorders

Re: tape width, well 1/2" 2 track is about as good as it gets. 16 track 2" is probably the best multitrack analog format. I think there are some 2" 8 tracks out there (JRF did some custom heads for this IIRC), but these would be pretty rare.

Cheers

Kris
Old 16th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
I'm a huge fan of working with tape. I'm a fan for aesthetic reasons, artistic reasons, and auditory reasons. I'm not a gear snob. A lot of the music I listen to is "lo-fi" and indie.

But I read an older post on here where one person was slamming 1/2" 8 track decks. Saying that "narrow gauge analog" sounds like "shiite" (right on que someone asked if they were sure it didn't sound like Suni.") So I did some math that has surely been done before and the numbers are interesting . . .

2" 24 track tape decks end up with .08" per track (less if you count the small space in the heads to avoid cross talk.)

Where 1/2" 8 track has .06" per track. So 2" 24 track has only 25% less track width.

So why, then, does everyone claim that 2" 24 track is so pure and warm and hi-fi and at the same time claim that 1/2" 8tr is so lo-fi and crappy? Surely 25% less width doesn't equal more than 25% fidelity.

So what are your thoughts?

(please note: this is not an attempt to start an analog vs digital debate. I'm interested in your thoughts on "narrow format" and the ability of such decks to create nice recordings.)


-Nate
Maybe narrow minds hate narrow format. But I like the old saying "Who cares what other people think?"
Old 16th December 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Hammer Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Bang View Post
As an analogy (pun pun) sort of like tracking 44.1 vs 96k, but in the analog world. That means a better signal-to-noise ratio, so better dynamic range, and because it's cleaner, a wider frequency response.
Lousy analogy. Sample rate affects frequency response, not dynamic range. Bit depth affects dynamic range.
Old 16th December 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
The 24-track starts out with a track that's about one-third wider than the half-inch 8-track, and then runs at double the speed (30 ips instead of 15 ips).
You might think that, but this is wrong. The actual track width for a 2" 24-track is about 0.043". The actual track width for a typical 1/2" 8 track is about 0.040" They are virtually identical in track width. Now, the gap between tracks is considerably smaller at 0.025" for 8-tracks versus 0.041" for 24 tracks, so the cross talk is a bit higher. OTOH, tape to head contact is probably better on the typical 1/2" machine and there are only 1/3 as many tracks, so noise build up is less and may not be enough to require noise reduction on the 8-track (I don't use it, for example), while it's generally used on the 24 track machines.

As far as tape speed, there are times when the extended high end of 30 ips is preferred, but I generally prefer the solid low end of 15 ips. I pretty much never feel like tracking or mixing at 15 ips is much of a limitation.

Mostly, it's just snobbery IMO. I tracked for a long time on an M-56 1" 8track which is a great machine, but these days I'm working on an Otari 1/2" 8 track and I'm really not disappointed in the sound, especially after I mix down to the M-23 2-track. There are a few sonic differences, but all in all, the 1/2" machine is not a limitation on getting a good sound.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 16th December 2010
  #17
Gear Nut
 

I owned a narrow track machine, the TSR-8 1/2" for a number of years and it never sounded better than one of the 24 or 16 track 2" machines I worked with in the 80's and 90's. It was ok for putting down ideas at home, but had many drawbacks. Hard to align, dbx, small, grainy, and noisy sound. I bought a 2" 24 track Otari some years back for cheap with 90% headlife and never looked back. It's not a maintenance nightmare, easy to work with and holds an alignment for months, open detailed sound, better electronics, etc. Narrow width machines are what they are - a compromise made when pro machines were still expensive and we didn't have decent digital. It's not about snobbery for me.
Old 16th December 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
stagefright13's Avatar
 

I dunno but most people preferred 2" 24 track or 2 of them linked for 48. Including me. And that is what all the older songs used. Also you could off and on the dbx across backing vocal spreads for the whisper sound we make in daws now. On backing vocals. A lost art. 15 minutes a reel on a cleaned, demagnetized, naked tape and 33 ips. Mixed to 1/2 inch 2 track. The leader tape is the editing...

John
Old 16th December 2010
  #19
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post

So why, then, does everyone claim that 2" 24 track is so pure and warm and hi-fi and at the same time claim that 1/2" 8tr is so lo-fi and crappy? Surely 25% less width doesn't equal more than 25% fidelity.
It's not a 'claim', just an observation.

Own and use a narrow format machine and a wide format machine of the same track count. Your question will answer itself.

Decades before Digital, the narrow machines actually created the Small Studio Revolution, but the small studios did not make major inroads into the business of the larger studios due to the limitations of these decks. As Vernier points out, some of these limitations were due to the machines being built to a price point, not simply the physics of track width, guard band and tape speed.

Signal-to-noise, not snobbery was the reason. Believe me, people would have loved to convince themselves it was 'equivalent' if their ears would only let them.
Old 16th December 2010
  #20
Gear Addict
 
dcrigger's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
But I read an older post on here where one person was slamming 1/2" 8 track decks. Saying that "narrow gauge analog" sounds like "shiite" (right on que someone asked if they were sure it didn't sound like Suni.") So I did some math that has surely been done before and the numbers are interesting . . .

Nate - but you did the wrong math. The actual tape was the easy part - all machines used the same tape.

The more telling math is this - find the ratio between the original list price of the "wide format" pro deck and the original list price of the "narrow format" prosumer deck and multiply that by the axiom "you often do get just what you pay for" - and there will be your answer.

There is no irrational gear bigotry going on - anyone not finding a pronounced difference in sonic quality between a properly set-up wide format pro deck and an narrow track prosumer deck - either doesn't have the pro deck working to spec or hasn't actually compared both, and likely just happens to like their prosumer deck and can't imagine there could be that much of a difference. When there is - there always was.

So many of these discussions always reminds me of the huge resurgence in tube popularity back when? the late 80's - early 90's. Where everybody that discovered tubes then for the first time - did so for their ability to sonically mangle stuff, all fuzzed up, muddy and crunchy. Where of course those that been around tubes the whole time recognized as simple what tubes sound like with cheap, lousy designs - and the really beauty and warmth that could be achieved with tubes was far more subtle and incredibly pristine in its fidelity.

Folks chasing after that great tape sound of the 70's - yet with few few exception none of that great tape sound from back then is from records recorded on basically hobbyist quality tape recorders - which is what most all narrow format machines were considered and actually were.

Man, I suffered through years of trying to coax listenable product out of those machines - always knowing, but not wanting concede that I was just beating my head against the wall - the transients and the punch was just simply never going to be there, not like on a real machine.

I love that time being long behind me. :-) But if you want have it - knock yourself out.

David
Old 16th December 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Big_Bang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer Mark View Post
Lousy analogy. Sample rate affects frequency response, not dynamic range. Bit depth affects dynamic range.
I know I know... I was trying to keep it simple with the "analogy" !! I knew I'd get told off heh

But since there is less his, thus better SNR ratio, the Dyn range does improve in tape. Thats why I didnt go into bit depth.
Old 16th December 2010
  #22
Gear Nut
 
nate_dennis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
You might think that, but this is wrong. The actual track width for a 2" 24-track is about 0.043". The actual track width for a typical 1/2" 8 track is about 0.040" They are virtually identical in track width. Now, the gap between tracks is considerably smaller at 0.025" for 8-tracks versus 0.041" for 24 tracks, so the cross talk is a bit higher. OTOH, tape to head contact is probably better on the typical 1/2" machine and there are only 1/3 as many tracks, so noise build up is less and may not be enough to require noise reduction on the 8-track (I don't use it, for example), while it's generally used on the 24 track machines.
Interesting post Otto. Where did those numbers come from? Was my math wrong or was I just not factoring in the gaurd tracks correctly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 15ips View Post
I owned a narrow track machine, the TSR-8 1/2" for a number of years and it never sounded better than one of the 24 or 16 track 2" machines I worked with in the 80's and 90's. It was ok for putting down ideas at home, but had many drawbacks.
I always find it interesting when different people have different takes on similar events. For instance you and Otto seemed to be using similar set ups (as far as decks go) and he enjoyed it and you seemed to not like it so much. The more we go on with this discussion the more I'm starting to take away that this is almost entirely personal opinion and not so much truth or science or reality. HMMMMM interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcrigger View Post
I love that time being long behind me. :-) But if you want have it - knock yourself out.

David
I'm not trying to convince myself of anything or trying to pretend something is anything other than what it is. I have yet to even be able to use a legitimate open reel deck. But I am buying one in the months to come. I have certainly not been able to compare both a narrow format and wide format deck against each other. My goal in this thread was to honestly hear from different sides and see if the disdain for prosumer gear was based on use and trial/error, or if it was based on sensationalism and gear snobbery.

It is mostly seeming, as I said early, to come down to legitimate preference. My guess is that those who say they weren't able to get a decent recording on a prosumer deck were looking for a highly polished sound (which is not wrong/bad.) While the others were completely fine with having a lower fi record.

However, it has been said (though I forget by whom) that if you can't make a good recording on a Tascam or on a Fostex, that you won't be able to make a good recording on Studer or Otari.

Thanks for a lively but respectful conversation.
Old 16th December 2010
  #23
Gear Addict
 
Capstan Cappy's Avatar
 

edit ..blah
Old 16th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
Interesting post Otto. Where did those numbers come from? Was my math wrong or was I just not factoring in the gaurd tracks correctly?



I always find it interesting when different people have different takes on similar events. For instance you and Otto seemed to be using similar set ups (as far as decks go) and he enjoyed it and you seemed to not like it so much. The more we go on with this discussion the more I'm starting to take away that this is almost entirely personal opinion and not so much truth or science or reality. HMMMMM interesting.


I'm not trying to convince myself of anything or trying to pretend something is anything other than what it is. I have yet to even be able to use a legitimate open reel deck. But I am buying one in the months to come. I have certainly not been able to compare both a narrow format and wide format deck against each other. My goal in this thread was to honestly hear from different sides and see if the disdain for prosumer gear was based on use and trial/error, or if it was based on sensationalism and gear snobbery.

It is mostly seeming, as I said early, to come down to legitimate preference. My guess is that those who say they weren't able to get a decent recording on a prosumer deck were looking for a highly polished sound (which is not wrong/bad.) While the others were completely fine with having a lower fi record.

However, it has been said (though I forget by whom) that if you can't make a good recording on a Tascam or on a Fostex, that you won't be able to make a good recording on Studer or Otari.

Thanks for a lively but respectful conversation.
As far as track width numbers, yes, the smaller guard bands on the 8-tracks leave similar track widths, which will surprise many. Richard L. Hess' site is a handy resource, because he has a handy compendium of tape widths and formats with diagrams showing just about every track width and alignment and other details. Of course, I also have specs from the manuals of the machines around here.

As a musician, the big picture for me isn't whether there are sonic differences between my Otari and 3M machines, but whether I can get the big, open-sounding recordings I want done or not. The 3Ms make it a little easier, but both can do the job.

My Otari meets its factory spec, and the flutter spec is equal to my M-23 2-track and the frequency response spec is tougher and more extended on the top end at 15 ips. I can get an excellent sound out of it, and I'm picky. It's not the same, but it's mostly a matter of differences than better or worse. Tape hiss levels in my mixes are slightly higher on the Otari, but not something anyone would notice unless they were listening just for that and not to the music.

The reality is that there is a lot of variation in the consumer and prosumer models. In many cases, it isn't sonics on a per track basis that fundamentally distinguishes the machines nearly so much as their overall usefulness in a pro versus amateur context.

Most of the things that made pro machines expensive didn't make them higher fidelity, it made them more robust, easier to work on, easier to use in harmony with other pro gear and better able to hold up to intense use.

Many of the "prosumer" machines are capable of a pretty high fidelity sound, but they won't handle the long hours of continuous service without requiring annoying and time consuming maintenance, they won't play nicely with other pro studio gear and they won't meet typical studio needs for track count.

Well, enough said, I guess.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 16th December 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
stagefright13's Avatar
 

Actually the 4 inch 24 track was better for separation....

And more headroom btw.

To bad the tape was so expensive... And took 2 fork lifts to install the machine. Then you built the studio around it like a brick oven pizza house.

John
Old 16th December 2010
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
I'm a huge fan of working with tape. I'm a fan for aesthetic reasons, artistic reasons, and auditory reasons. I'm not a gear snob. A lot of the music I listen to is "lo-fi" and indie.

But I read an older post on here where one person was slamming 1/2" 8 track decks. Saying that "narrow gauge analog" sounds like "shiite" (right on que someone asked if they were sure it didn't sound like Suni.") So I did some math that has surely been done before and the numbers are interesting . . .

2" 24 track tape decks end up with .08" per track (less if you count the small space in the heads to avoid cross talk.)

Where 1/2" 8 track has .06" per track. So 2" 24 track has only 25% less track width.

So why, then, does everyone claim that 2" 24 track is so pure and warm and hi-fi and at the same time claim that 1/2" 8tr is so lo-fi and crappy? Surely 25% less width doesn't equal more than 25% fidelity.

So what are your thoughts?

(please note: this is not an attempt to start an analog vs digital debate. I'm interested in your thoughts on "narrow format" and the ability of such decks to create nice recordings.)


-Nate
I can't answer for everyone -- but it was always my thought that 24/2" was, indeed, a bit of a compromise.

Nonetheless, it does offer a full 33% greater track width over 16/1" (8/.5", 4/.25").

In my mostly low end studio freelancing days in the 80s, I used a lot of 16/1" machines (and owned four 4/.25" and one 8/.5" machines at home over the years) and, I gotta tell you -- I'm not a fan of the format -- with the all-important aspect of affordability notwithstanding.

Without noise-reduction (itself problematic), 16 tracks to the inch formats are quite noisy.

Also they tend to be somewhat bass-deficient and tend to exaggerated head bump -- which can further aggravate NR issues.
Old 16th December 2010
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Maybe narrow minds hate narrow format. But I like the old saying "Who cares what other people think?"
heh

If you like it, you like it.


(Now, it is possible to like the idea of something but, when tested while controlling for confirmation bias, to actually prefer something else. But we all know that already, right? )
Old 16th December 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I can't answer for everyone -- but it was always my thought that 24/2" was, indeed, a bit of a compromise.

Nonetheless, it does offer a full 33% greater track width over 16/1" (8/.5", 4/.25").
Nope, sorry. It doesn't. Actually, 1/4" 4-track has exactly the same track with of .043" as 2" 24 track. 1/2" 8-track is either .039" or .040" for most machines, which is at most 9% less. The guard bands, as I noted, are signifcantly narrower at .025" vs. .041".

Cheers,

Otto
Old 16th December 2010
  #29
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nate_dennis View Post
The more we go on with this discussion the more I'm starting to take away that this is almost entirely personal opinion and not so much truth or science or reality. HMMMMM interesting.
Balance of opinion does not equal balance in science or reality. But looking through the thread, I would say the opinion is actually heavily unbalanced against the narrow decks. You seem to be taking away just what you want to take away.

Quote:
..if the disdain for prosumer gear was based on use and trial/error, or if it was based on sensationalism and gear snobbery.
Trial and error for sure.

Quote:
It is mostly seeming, as I said early, to come down to legitimate preference. ...While the others were completely fine with having a lower fi record.
A romantic but historically inaccurate view.

Nobody chose those decks because they were "fine" with a 'lower-fi' record. tutt They chose them because they were all that they could afford.

And of course, nobody at the time was "shooting" for low-fi. The preference for 'low-fi' as an aesthetic choice is a luxury we can safely contemplate here in the 21st century. I detect in your posts a form of reverse snobbery about low-fi. Reverse snobbery is still snobbery, when you come right down to it.

Further, I would wager that 90% of the qualities you perceive as "Fi" are achieved by instrumentation, microphone selection/placement and mixing techniques, not recording medium. I wonder how many of the recordings you admire were actually made on a Tascam or similar? Probably zero. I wonder when you get your Tascam how long it will take you to realize it's not giving you the 'sound' you thought it would?

Quote:
However, it has been said (though I forget by whom) that if you can't make a good recording on a Tascam or on a Fostex, that you won't be able to make a good recording on Studer or Otari.
It has been said (by me) that if you can't make a great low-fi recording on a Studer you won't be able to make one on a Tascam or a cassette deck, either.

Used decks, even high end ones, are practically being given away vs. their original price. Why would anyone buy one of those narrow decks now when you can get a REAL machine for a song?
Old 16th December 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 
DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Nope, sorry. It doesn't. Actually, 1/4" 4-track has exactly the same track with of .043" as 2" 24 track. 1/2" 8-track is either .039" or .040" for most machines, which is at most 9% less. The guard bands, as I noted, are signifcantly narrower at .025" vs. .041".

Cheers,

Otto
Thanks for explaining this, Otto - it's news to me, and very interesting.

Presumably the wider guard band gives the wider-format machines more tolerance for slamming levels, which was/is one of the key tools in the tape toolkit.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
chrisg. / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
0
PlayRadioPlay / So much gear, so little time
29
rallycapmusic / Rap + Hip Hop engineering and production
187

Forum Jump
Forum Jump