Transferring from 2" tape to Pro Tools - What to watch out for?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Chiba, Sep 9, 2004.


  1. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    If my former songwriting partner can dig up the reel, I'm looking into transferring our old songs from the 2", 24-track tape into Pro Tools for some remixing and, more importantly to me, archiving on CD or DVD.

    Given that I'd go to a reputable studio with both systems, is there anything specific I'd need to watch out for or do specifically to make sure I'm getting the best transfer possible?

    **For instance** - in my recent efforts transferring music from ADAT to Pro Tools, I discovered that setting the PT Clock to "Optical (ADAT)" served to eliminate pops & clicks that seemed to come from nowhere.

    --chiba
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    What you did was to slave ProTools to the ADAT clock, so you eliminated timing errors between the two machines - the clicks and pops.

    I would look into using a studio that has a PT HD/TDM system and is experienced in transfers from tape. The HD A/D converters are top-notch, while lesser TDM systems are not as good. Going that route would be the simplest way with the best results.

    A TDM studio that doesn't have HD but has 24 channels of really good A/D like Prism, Benchmark or Apogee would be a second choice, but I'd only do that if it's a question of expense. Any studio with all that would already know the need to sync to the converter's master clock, but it can't hurt to double check before you roll.

    I would not use a studio with a TDM system other than HD that uses Digi converters. Not if you want the best transfer. Also, odds are that a studio like that doesn't do many transfers.

    Since you're coming off tape, it might be worth doing the tranfers at least at 88.2K. I think 192K is a waste of disk space unless the tape is of stellar quality, but that can be your call.

    Another suggestion: you'll probably save the transfers to a firewire drive. Bring a second drive and copy the sessions to it as a back-up, just in case you drop one in the parking lot (G-d forbid).
     
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the advice MK - I've got a few questions to ask them now and that'll help. I was planning on taking my 80gb firewire drive and both my iPods :D

    --chiba
     
  4. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    I would go ATR/Aria or Euphonix HDCD Model 2s. 24/192. You or your studio can rent the stuff, no need to buy if it's a one time transfer.

     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I don't know much about iPods. What good would they do?

    I don't know how many tracks you have, but at 88.2K an 80-gig drive might fill up fast. Suggest you bring two 120-gig drives minimum, one main and one backup.
     
  6. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    ipods can act like little portable hard drives, 40gb or whatever sizes you have. I wouldn't use one for audio, unless it's for backup.


     
  7. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    What Ted said - during the recording of my current band's album I used the iPod to shuttle tracks (SDII files) back & forth from where we were mixing as we went along.

    --chiba
     
  8. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    It's your call how you do it, but if I were you I'd have enough storage for both the sessions and backup. It doesn't sound to me like you have enough.

    BTW - never fill a disk to capacity or near capacity. I inadvertently did that with a Glyph SCSI drive and it wrote over the TOC. Glyph was two days retrieving the data for me.
     
  9. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    If the tape is analogue make sure that the machine you are transfering from is lined up correctly especially if the tape is Dolby SR or Dolby A.

    If it does have noise reduction then there should be test tones like white noise at the head of the tape.

    Also make sure the machine is the same EQ format as the tape either NAB or CCIR.
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I'd watch out for any engineer who starts out by dancing naked around the reels while muttering ancient curses and covering himself in the blood of a goat.

    What the engineer should be doing is an antler dance, silhouetted against a backlit rice paper room divider, while singing "Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortnin' Bread".

    This stuff ain't magic. It's just a typical analog transfer.

    Due to minute variations in head wear, bias, tape "bounce" etc., all analog machines will sound a bit different. The analog machine and its condition are more audibly important than the digital converters used, IMHO. Though by all means, use good ones.

    :)
     
  11. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    MMMMMMM I Love the Smell of Warm 2 inch tape in the Morning.

    To me it Smells Like VICTORY!!!!!!!:dude
     
  12. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    As luck would have it, if my old singer can dig up the tape (he thinks it's at his mom's house), we'll be doing the transfer from the same machine the songs were recorded on back in '92.

    --chiba
     
  13. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    Thats great but as we have all said just make sure that the heads are clean and that it sounds Ok from the tape.

    Even tho it's the same machine the azzimuth (i.e. Head to tape alignment) will have changed and the Head Lap will be different according to how much tape has gone thru since your first recordings.

    I suppose this is why Digital is such easy media to deal with now and I wish you good luck in any transfer, watch out for print through as well, this is like a slap back echo as one layer of magnetic recorded singnal prints thru to the next layer. You can edit it out in the digital domain but remember that a 1db DOLBY mis-track will be doubled in any transfer that you do and that old analogue loss of top end will become a compression tape nightmare.
     
  14. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    Dear Les and Michael.

    Remember the days of azzimuth and phase coherance when all we were worried about was the max level to tape!

    720 nano webber's for mastering and 520 for the 24 track, 30 mins per reel max and hours of line up and tones to tape!

    Kid's these days they just worry about pre-amps and if the SM57 is close enough to get that cab sound at 5 feet away.

    I'm 43 now played in a punk band in the 70's and have now realised what we have as audio guy's.

    Music be my first Love and it will be my LAST!!!!!!
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>Remember the days of azzimuth and phase coherance when all we were worried about was the max level to tape!<<

    I do, with great fondness. Of course, I didn't maintain my own machine, I had a tech come in once a month to do it. I was clueless.

    I also remember $200 reels of tape. I loved buying those reels, honest. It felt substantial, and budgets were bigger then.

    >>I'm 43 now played in a punk band in the 70's and have now realised what we have as audio guy's.

    Music be my first Love and it will be my LAST!!!!!!<<

    I missed the punk band thing, as I was practicing law then, but music will definitely be my LAST love, since I won't be around for that much longer anyway! ;)
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> Remember the days of azzimuth and phase coherance when all we were worried about was the max level to tape!

    Yeah, but to be honest all I miss is the sound of tape. I don't miss any of the mechanics, hiss, maintenance or cost. I have zero emotional attachment to analog. No way could I have set up an analog equivalent of what I have in my home studio for even 10x what I actually spent... not to mention the cost of tape for me. I spend a lot of disk space experimenting, maybe 10% of which will result in earnings. If that other 90% was tape, forget it. I'd be broke in three months.

    >> Music be my first Love and it will be my LAST!!!!!!

    I can dig it, but that's not what I tell my wife. :D
     

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