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Tape...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Colt, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. Colt

    Colt Member

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    So...if I wanted to get a decent reel to reel recorder...at least 8 tracks...and not spend enough to buy a small sedan...what would I get? Why? etc. etc......discuss
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I agree with Splatt.

    I will give you an example:

    My best friend and co-studio owner is thinking of selling his $90,000 Otari MTR-90 24 track with dolby SR for around 6 grand. That's just crazy, and I told him so.

    Here are some good machines with more than 8 tracks that will be cheaper:

    Otari MX-80, 2" 24 track
    Otari 1" 16 track (I forgot the model number)
    Tascam MSR-16 1" 16 track
    Tascam 2" 24 track
    MCI 2" 24 track (hard to find one in decent shape)

    You should be able to pick up a one inch 16 track REALLY cheap. I once had one, and even back in the analog days, when I sold it I only got a few grand for it, and it was originally expensive.

    Also, there are a few companies that remanufacture older machines and heads.

    Also, you need to know that tape is going to require a bit more knowledge on your part to deal with its affect on sound, and you will need a decent mixer.

    You may also wish to buy a machine with a good autolocator, or you will drive yourself crazy.

    I'd personally stay away from the Fostex or Tascam 1/2 inch 24 tracks, they're closer to cassettes in sound quality - though you may actually like that if you're looking for that lo-fi thing.

    Finally, a tape machine requires both mechanical and electrical maintenance, and the bigger the machine, the more expensive this can be. It has to be calibrated, the heads aligned, etc etc etc.
     
  3. Colt

    Colt Member

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    hwo much do these things run?
     
  4. Colt

    Colt Member

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    What kind of mixer should I use? I have a Mackie 24/4 right now for live sound....how would that do?

    Where should I look for these at?
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Denyle, you are right. I actually had an MS-16, it's odd that I got confused, but I sold it in 1992, so it's been awhile.

    Thanks for the correction.
     
  6. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    That Mackie should be good enough to get started. Does the 24/4 have direct outs on each channel? If so, send those to the recorder. If not, you can use the inserts to go to tape and line inputs to monitor the tracks. In this case, you'll need to do your eq'ing during mixdown (better anyway, IMO)
     
  7. Occam

    Occam Member

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    If can afford it I still think it's worth it...I know the digital guys say they can sound as good but they just can't....hell most tape guys can't sound as good as the old stuff because just aren't enough good people still working with it that have mastered the mojo of it all. I hear so many rock bands today that just sound like one big congested mess and tape is only one of many possible solutions but I still think it's the best way to go. When my band looks to record we only look at places with quality tape machines.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I've used both analog tape and for the last 13 years, digital tape, hard disk, etc.

    I love the sound of analog, but I ALSO love the sound of digital. To me, the tool to use depends on the application.

    For rock recording with drums, it's nice to track on tape.
     
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I used to use the same setup with my Emu Darwin (ironic name!) for a few years. Was surprisingly decent for some basic tracking and mixing, although i used external preamps for cutting most tracks. In fact, i still monitor through the 24/4 most of the time.
     
  10. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    You can thank modern "mastering" (and I use the term loosely) for that. Digital is capable of making recordings that will blow you away. The problem is, the industry folk are so carried away with records being loud that that they're being mastered horribly - squashed beyond recognition and limited to the point of clipping. The mastering guys claim to hate it, but they've got to eat, so squash they must... <g>

    In order of importance:

    1. Great song

    2. Great arrangement

    3. Great performance

    4. Great players

    5. Great instruments

    6. Great room

    7. Great engineer

    8. Great gear

    If you've got 1-3, you can use a tin can and a string and have a hit...

    Loudboy
     
  11. Colt

    Colt Member

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    haha, dont' care about a hit, I just wanna play with some tape....for me. but I'm picky as all hell and want one that will sound good...so after my Komet.....I'm saving for tape. You're all giving me some great information!! I really appreciate it all! continue disscussing..... :)
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Have fun keeping it maintained and calibrated.

    JMO but I don't think an 8-track tape machine makes any sense at all for an amateur home studio.
     
  13. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    Our bassist has made records ranging from no-budget local bands to half-million dollar projects for Sony. Without exception, on every project, he uses whatever suits the sound and budget.

    We've got a Studer 2" 24-track machine (tape is REALLY pricey, not being made currently as was stated earlier, and maintenance is a pain). We've got a full Pro Tools rig. We've got an Akai 4-track hard disk recorder...

    The best bang-for-the-buck machine I've worked on, one that we to this day use to track certain stuff, is his venerable old Tascam 1" 24-track. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet.
    Granted, the less tracks, the bigger the tape, the better (so it would seem, right?) But this machine has a midrange character when printing to tape hard, that makes EVERYTHING sound better than the same track hitting the Studer the same exact way. It doesn't have the clean high or low end of the better machines, but it makes all the midrange instrumentation (i.e.: everything important - vocals, most all guitar, snare, the main meat of the tones) jump out of the speakers. And tape averaged about $70 bucks a reel, as opposed to the nearly $300 for the 2". I bet you might be able to find one of these cheap if you look around, maybe even with a bunch of reels of tape. You CAN record over used tape (wink-wink!) Since you're not running a pro studio (I assume), do you really NEED the improvement that 2" is over 1"?

    Just a thought.

    On the side and IMHO, if I was getting into a recording set-up right now, with no experience with a tape machine whatsoever, I'd save a TON of money and get VERY comfortable and proficient on a Pro Tools or similar platform. Right now, guys who know their stuff are getting big bucks working recordinng sessions, you can cheaply record any projects you want, it's portable, plug-ins are a lot cheaper than trying to score a sweet used compressor, plus you don't have to maintain your racks. I understand the tape 'thing', it's simply analog v. digital. But you're stll dealing with tons of digital processing, etc.. in the end. The most expensive effect in top studios is usually the lexicon digital delays and reverbs.
     
  14. saros141

    saros141 Guest

    I agree, it's gonna end up in bits anyway.

    If you want the option of the sonic flavor you get when hitting tape, another idea is to just get a decent 1/4" stereo machine like a Revox B77, and use it as an adjunct to your digital system. Hit the tape on the way in while tracking, and mix inside the box. Or record everything clean to digital, and bounce whatever you want to give the treatment, from any single part to submixes to help them gel. Think of it as you would any other outboard processor.
     
  15. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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