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DAW > TAPE > DAW vs. Plugins
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

DAW > TAPE > DAW vs. Plugins

I have found a studio with an Otari 24 track 2" that is offering this following service for $20.

In a nutshell:

"Send us 24 .wav files and we will print them to our tape machine and send them back to you as .wav files.

What do you all think about this and how do you think it would compare to using tape saturation plugins?

Cheers.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #2
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gussyg2007's Avatar
Will they give it a rub with some snake oil at the same time ?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #3
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It would only compare if you were able to real-time monitor the tape-returns from the Otari and adjust send levels to achieve the amount of saturation you wanted on each channel.

Sound quality may be subjectively better with the Otari....I can't possibly comment....but you're more likely to end up with what you want, if you do it yourself with a decent sat plugin.

my 2 pence anyway
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
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It will make sound just bad. Too many negative effects than positive effects and you can't have true analog sound anyway. I tried this before with Studer A80. But $20? it might be a good idea. Maybe some tracks will sound interesting, not all of them. It is just a gamble.

I strongly believe you will have better result with UAD A800, if you want to use analog tape effect on ALL channel.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
 

sounds a bit desperate. if you love tape so much, get yerself a tape machine.

the method described above gives you no say over how you hit the tape, and just seems like an incredible faff anyway. what if you don't like the result? do you send it back for another go? and would they know what to change or if changing anything could actually make you happy.

the more i think about it, the more depressing it becomes.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
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Chris Parsons's Avatar
 

I say for $20 go for it and let us know how it turns out. Keep in mind that you can always mix tape tracks with non tape tracks in your mix if need be.

-Chris Parsons
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
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Sigma's Avatar
The 1 thing i noticed is that when stuff goes to tape and back in a DAW that it's easier to get hot RMS levels in the ITB mix
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
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The90049's Avatar
 

I was under the impression that the actual live analog signal to tape is what made it sound "tape-like".
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Parsons View Post
I say for $20 go for it and let us know how it turns out. Keep in mind that you can always mix tape tracks with non tape tracks in your mix if need be.

-Chris Parsons
I absolutely agree!

20 bucks is a sort of magic number cut off. Above that, you might hesitate, but 20 bucks, what the hell, give it a shot.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The90049 View Post
I was under the impression that the actual live analog signal to tape is what made it sound "tape-like".
I know we have just recently had a long long thread here about this. Comparing the "order" Tape > DAW vs DAW > Tape > DAW.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #11
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A4722's Avatar
 

copyright

If its critical for your business, have it all copyrighted if possible.... BEFORE sending it.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #12
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Copyright rights are in effect as soon as your music exists in a fixed medium (i.e. tape or hard drive and not in your head).

Getting a formal copyright is expensive and takes months.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #13
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BrianW's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paddyo View Post
I have found a studio with an Otari 24 track 2" that is offering this following service for $20.

In a nutshell:

"Send us 24 .wav files and we will print them to our tape machine and send them back to you as .wav files.

What do you all think about this and how do you think it would compare to using tape saturation plugins?

Cheers.
Hi,

Doing this can help some tracks... and hurt some others. Def. gonna do something to the tracks, whether it's something good or something bad I suppose is up to your ears. Of course, what tape they use & how hard they hit it can make a huge difference in just what you get as a result.

If you'd like an idea of what this will do to your tracks, send me a track & I'll bounce it through my own Otari & 192k HD DA/AD, no charge. Then you can decide for yourself if you like what the tape machine does to your tracks.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Copyright rights are in effect as soon as your music exists in a fixed medium (i.e. tape or hard drive and not in your head).

Getting a formal copyright is expensive and takes months.
Take that to court with you and see if it holds up. Always get the formal copyright. If a $35 registration fee is too expensive for your hard work then...

Quote:
Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
That basically says it doesn't exist in the real world unless your register it.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #15
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I'll do it for $15 to a Studer A827 on almost new tape stock.
That's per minute, per track.

No guarantees I wont steal your awesome songs though.
Do you feel talented and lucky punk?

Do you?

I wont actually steal your songs.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by paddyo View Post
I have found a studio with an Otari 24 track 2" that is offering this following service for $20.

In a nutshell:

"Send us 24 .wav files and we will print them to our tape machine and send them back to you as .wav files.

What do you all think about this and how do you think it would compare to using tape saturation plugins?

Cheers.
What DA/AD converters are they using? For $20 I suspect non-high-end converters might be used.

Gain staging - a proper recording level to tape can be quite different from the level to DAW, so if they transfer everything at unity gain, then you might not get the same benefit as if you had tracked to tape first.

.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Copyright rights are in effect as soon as your music exists in a fixed medium (i.e. tape or hard drive and not in your head).

Getting a formal copyright is expensive and takes months.
It's true that you have some rights once the music is in a fixed medium, but it's significantly more difficult to prove the timeline in the event of a problem. I don't know how much .wav file "date created" tags would hold up in court - it'd be pretty easy to change / forge those.

As said below, it's $35 and although it takes a while to process, the copyright is in effect from the moment you send in the form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
Take that to court with you and see if it holds up. Always get the formal copyright. If a $35 registration fee is too expensive for your hard work then...



That basically says it doesn't exist in the real world unless your register it.
thumbsup

Anyway, my thoughts on the OP would be that part of the desired effect would be to be able to adjust the levels at which you're hitting the tape machine, and being able to hear the process and adjust if necessary. Just sending them out to get run through, with levels set at someone else's discretion , doesn't seem like a worthwhile endeavor to me.

Is it $20 per song, or per track, or what?
Old 23rd December 2010
  #18
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I'd definitely make sure that they :
1. Knew what they we're doing .. So at least had some sense about playback/record alignment, machine calibration and flux, and knew what tape formulation the machine was biased for, etc ..
2. We're clear about VU meter ballistics
3. We're OK with me specifying the levels I wanted individual tracks recorded at.

If they could satisfy me that they we're legit and knew what they we're doing then I'd just go ahead and do it. I mean .. It's just $20.00 .. Sheesh .. At that price I'm thinking the offer could well be from an assistant working in someone else's studio trying to use the machine in downtime to pocket some extra cash. Who knows?
Old 23rd December 2010
  #19
Gear Head
 
BrianW's Avatar
 

The studio he's referring to is legit with plenty of credibility and gear. They're running an SSL 4000G, Otari MTR-90 2" 24tk, PT HD, and all the expected outboard & mics. Nashville studio with plenty of legitimate, commercial talent in their demo reel.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
The studio he's referring to is legit with plenty of credibility and gear.
It could be a sign of the times. It makes a lot of sense, like out-sourcing. 2" Tape machines don't make pay for themselves by sitting around gathering dust do they . It couldn't hurt to find out more.

Brian, do you have the website/name/contact details for the studio in question? Not sure what $20 represents? Per 24 Track Song? Questions ...
Old 23rd December 2010
  #21
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dualflip's Avatar
 

Another thing that could work is actually offering the service of printing to 2 track tape your Mixdown, and send it back to you, that could also be a good idea...., hmmmmm i have a technics 1500, and 2 MCI JH-110s, anyone interested?
Old 23rd December 2010
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualflip View Post
Another thing that could work is actually offering the service of printing to 2 track tape your Mixdown, and send it back to you, that could also be a good idea...., hmmmmm i have a technics 1500, and 2 MCI JH-110s, anyone interested?
I have seen studios advertise that service before. 'Don't know if they had any takers...

.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #23
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

For 20 bucks, it's a nobrainer!! Try and do an A/B test. You'll know that way for sure.

As for me, tape is still king.

1. If the artist can sing, we'll do the basic tracks on tape with vocals.
2. If they suck, then I'll do the basic tracks on tape and record vocals on PT.
3. If it's a commercial/ad spot, I'll fergit the tape and just do it all ITB (they get what they pay for so I don't mind).

I like everything tape... 1/4", 1/2", 2" multi. Whatever it takes to make a good sound. I've got 9 machines.... but that's another subject...
Old 23rd December 2010
  #24
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pete's Avatar
 

ok could somebody post the adresss of this studio - I'll probably check it out for a project I'm recording right now...
Old 23rd December 2010
  #25
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The dman's Avatar
 

I've done it before with my buddies A827 but I'll tell you it's not the same as going straight to tape and then the DAW
Old 23rd December 2010
  #26
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Doesn't it make more sense to do this to every track rather than treat it like a mastering plug? In the tape world, you would have recorded each track to tape therefore you'd need to emulate that to get the most tape-like effect. That makes the cost considerably higher than $20.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Doesn't it make more sense to do this to every track rather than treat it like a mastering plug? In the tape world, you would have recorded each track to tape therefore you'd need to emulate that to get the most tape-like effect. That makes the cost considerably higher than $20.
+1, maybe invest in the UAD card and UAD Studer A800 plug like its been mentioned so far in this thread. This way it might be more expensive at the start...but you won't have to continually pay $20 for a product you're not sure will sound better anyway...tape on the master sounds pretty different to tape on every track (as if it were recorded to tape). The UAD will get closer to this tape sound as you'll be able to do it on every track...and be able to judge whether it works or not for free...you will also have creative control over how hard the plug is being driven etc etc...
Old 23rd December 2010
  #28
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i've been doing something similar for a couple of years, and have had lots of takers from all over the world. i focus mainly on people sending me completed, pre-mastered mixes. i run them through my console for analog gain staging, then to one of my mix down decks, and back into the DAW. $25/song, and offer full album discounts.

not trying to hijack the thread or anything, but just wanted to add that it's been a nice way to get involved in projects that i normally wouldn't have been able to (like working with artists in sweden!) and it really does make financial sense if you don't have access to a tape machine - especially for artists releasing EPs. a lot of artists i do this for have a mastering engineer they like, but s/he doesn't offer analog mastering. the artist usually sends the pre-tape and taped versions to mastering to let them sort it out, and i must say that the vast majority choose the taped versions.

you can check out Analog Anywhere for more info on how i approach this if you'd like.

chris mara

Old 23rd December 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for posting this Chris. Definitely worth considering as well. So $20-$25 seems to be a bit of a de facto standard rate per SONG then. Still, the original posters deal is pretty amazing for 24 Tracks on an Otari. I'd assume for now it's an MTR90MkII.

I've often done the stereo tape dump to 1/2 or 1/4 inch at Mastering. But when you're on high hourly rates that really starts to chew into a budget. I've already got an 8 Track and a 1/4 inch, but if you have a 1/2 2 Track Deck or a 24 Track that could be a great option.

Cheers RAy
Old 23rd December 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
The UAD will get closer to this tape sound as you'll be able to do it on every track ... and be able to judge whether it works or not for free. you will also have creative control over how hard the plug is being driven etc etc.
All fair points. Are you using the Studer UAD plug yet? I've heard it, and for me it doesn't ACTUALLY do what Tape does. It sounds like a good emulation that mimics the characteristics of tape. Not much different to the Neve 33609 plug-in (which I like) or any of the other vintage emulation plug-ins we're using.

The plug-ins are ok if you drive them gently. Drive them hard and the wheels fall off the car. Some jobs in this world just DO require analog tools. So plug-ins still won't be replacing hardware in my sphere for a while yet. I still haven't found ANY plug-in that does what Tape or Transformers do to Spiky Snares, Hashy Cymbals, Piercing Guitars and screeching singers recorded on condenser mics.

Also, I find all that all that extra Creative Control can be a bit of a curse some days. I'm always open-minded about the future though

Cheers RAy
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