Something worth trying to warm up your recordings.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by RockHardGuitars, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. RockHardGuitars

    RockHardGuitars Silver Supporting Member

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    Many times when you record your guitars and or vocals with your favorite DAW, you can get a great sound. Although the sound is great, sometimes it is lacking warmth and or compression. A cool and inexpensive way around this is to buy a cheap 1/4" or 1/2" reel to reel on ebay or CS.

    Hit playback on your DAW and simultaneously record your vox to the DAW and the reel to reel. When you have a good take, simply bounce the reel to reel recording onto a new track on the DAW and line it up. Edit, add EQ, Compression or whatever floats your boat.

    Now you have a warm, analog sound on your Digital recording.

    Ok yes it takes longer to do this, but it's cheap and gets you that unmistakable sound!

    Thoughts? Ideas? Hope that might help some of you.

    Peter
     
  2. 2leod

    2leod Re-Member Gold Supporting Member

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    If you are happy with the results then go for it! Do you maintain your reel to reel yourself or have someone keep it running for you? Did you have to replace the heads when you got the inexpensive machine?
     
  3. Wolf_Daddy

    Wolf_Daddy Member

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    A friend of mine was just telling me about this last week. I need to try it, as everything sounds relatively natural and warm except the vocals.

    When you say a "cheap" reel-to-reel, how cheap are you talking?
     
  4. RockHardGuitars

    RockHardGuitars Silver Supporting Member

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    I pretty much maintain it myself. The heads have a lot of life. I do the calibration. If something really bad happens, I have a great tech.
    His name is Bob Shuster here in NY. Shuster is a rocket scientist! Should you need a good tech.

    I try to do most of the work on my stuff by myself. I rebuild my consoles power supply and recapped and re chipped my Soundcraft TS24.
     
  5. RockHardGuitars

    RockHardGuitars Silver Supporting Member

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    $300 to $750

    You can even use an old Fostex 1/4 machine.
     
  6. Wolf_Daddy

    Wolf_Daddy Member

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    Thanks. Come to think of it I sometimes see them pop up on Craig's List for decent prices.
     
  7. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Just be conscious that tape can speed up and slow down over time. This can be due to many factors but it does occur, and it gets worse the longer the song. You might not notice it if you are only recording a few tracks, but the more tracks you add the time differences can become quite a problem. This is usually solved in most studios by having the DAW chase the tape through printed time code on a track of the tape. Of course if you are just recording base tracks (like drums) onto tape and then dump them into a daw for other tracks the time fluctuations wouldn't be a huge deal as Everything else you track will be playing along.
     
  8. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Also tape doesn't automatically = warm, just like tubes don't. Digital is only as good as your analog front end, and your knowledge to use your gear. I've heard some very warm sounding digital mixes, and I've heard just as many harsh analog recordings.
     
  9. Wolf_Daddy

    Wolf_Daddy Member

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    Thanks for adding this. I personally love all my instrument tones right now but not the vocals. Perhaps the plugins such as reverb and compression are what sound artificial to my ears, as I haven't really added much to my setup in that area.

    Of course, I cringe a little when using the word "warm" since it is somewhat vague and I've heard people use it in seemingly contradicting manners.
     
  10. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    +1

    I've found that if you're careful with what gear you use in tracking, then the mixes don't sound so "digital". I usually spend a bit of time with mic placement for drums and do most of my overdubs with a UA710 mic pre all the way on the trans side (SOMETIMES the tube side, but not often), warms everything up quite nicely when the tracks stack up. Gotta invest in a couple more flavours though.
     
  11. RockHardGuitars

    RockHardGuitars Silver Supporting Member

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    Another thing that would REALLY help is a kick ass analog / tube Mic pre.
    I would suggest if your going to shell out some money for one important thing, get a killer Mic Pre. A pretty good one you can usually find cheap online is the HHB Radius. It has Mic Pre, EQ, Compression. Nice sound. But if you really want to go for it buy a Tube Tech or a Manley.
     
  12. Scott Whigham

    Scott Whigham Member

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    Where's chrisgraff? He'll be around shortly to disagree with that statement haha :) FWIW I've never heard a tube pre that I liked better than a transformer-based one.

    I've been wanting to try the Anamod ATS-1 for a while now. It's supposedly able to get you 90% of the tape sound without having to deal with the annoyances/idiosyncrasies of actual tape.

    http://www.anamodaudio.com/ats1.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  13. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    I agree, tubes are overrated. Transformers on the other hand...tube preamps have their place, but to me warm is usually from pushing good solid state circuitry when it comes to mic pres
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I have to comment. My studio got started back in the analog days, with two inch tape, a 1/4 inch mastering deck, and a very nice analog mixer. Over the years, I migrated to digital for a variety of reasons.

    Though I still own an Otari MTR 15 mastering deck that ran about 12 grand back in the day, I don't have any need for it.

    Truth: There are plugins that make my mixes sound as analog as the Otari.

    And there are plugins that were able to mimic my analog Neve summing mixer so well that I no longer found it necessary to run everything through it.

    At this point, there are so many ways of skinning this "analog sound" cat digitally, that there's a reason a $90,000 24 track with Dolby SR sells for under 5 grand on the used market. There's just no need to own one.

    I'm sorry, but to think that you're going to make guitar recordings sound substantially better by going to analog and then making a digital transfer, fine, but you can do the same thing other, easier, ways.
     
  15. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Take a listen to "Mojo" by Tom Petty - straight to ProTools, using the stock Digi converters.

    If you need a rock recording to sound better than that, by all means, knock yourself out.
     
  16. RockHardGuitars

    RockHardGuitars Silver Supporting Member

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    Not a matter of better. It's a matter of a sound you are trying to achieve.
    Take a record like Abby Road, Electric Lady Land, Back In Black, Dark Side of the Moon....they are warmer, punchier records. I have never heard Pro Tools sound like that. Not even Tom Petty. And don't get me wrong I love pro tools.
    After owning 2 commercial recording studios in the 80's and 90's and having all the fun toys you can imagine.....I am just saying there are some cool things you can do today to get cool sounds. I think an old kick butt analog console for your front end of pro tools will make a difference. I personally like the warmth and punch it adds. Some people may not. It's really your own taste. There is no wrong or right.
     
  17. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Looks cool but $3500! :eek: I'll hold out hope that the upcoming Slate Digital tape emu is less than $200, is as good as VCC and gets a good chunk of the "magic"... :D

    Curious how the Anamod compares to the Fatso Jr, isn't that similar?
     
  18. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

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    Ha! Guilty as charged! :Devil

    PS the Anamod is the shizzle!
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Chris, I'd like to hear some of the shizzle you're talking about. Got any recordings you're especially happy with that you made with this piece of gear?

    It'd be great to hear the pre-effected track, and the effected track; WAV or AIFFs would be perfect, if you have them.

    I'd like to compare the results against some well known plugins.
     
  20. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

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    Don't think I do. Looks like I had it (borrowed) on one session, cutting through it as opposed to applying it post recording.

    I *loved* it. Haven't bought one yet, FWIW.
     

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