FOUR TRACK LOVE!!!!

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cstocker77
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FOUR TRACK LOVE!!!!

Post by cstocker77 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:51 am

Glad you had that article on the last page of the last issue about four track cassette recordings.

I fired mine up and have been slaving over it, why? Because it's just fun. It's a comfortable feeling to create on that, and I think it's important to go back to it every now and again.

Thanks for re-invigorating the four track fever.

ONe thing, I have heard a lot of things about Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. On the album it says it was cassette, but then my bandmate refuses to believe it's four track, and he said he founds some shit online of him saying it was done on a 1/4 inch four track machine. Anyone got the inside on that...

Love that album no matter how it was created.
Last edited by cstocker77 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TapeOpLarry
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Re: FOUR TRACK LOVE!!!!

Post by TapeOpLarry » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:02 pm

cstocker77 wrote: ONe thing, I have heard a lot of things about Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. On the album it says it was cassette, but then my bandmate refuses to believe it's four track, and he said he founds some shit online of him saying it was done on a 12/4 machine. Anyone got the inside on that....
What's 12/4? I've always heard it was a Portastudio.
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Post by cstocker77 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:12 pm

oops, typo. I edited it. I meant 1/4 inch tape four track...

TapeOpLarry
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:15 pm

I really don;t think so. I mean, that's one heck of a boring conspiracy if so!
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Post by kslight » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:15 pm

Pick up a Tascam 388...ultimate Portastudio... Love mine...not yet done a record on them but I have done full songs and it really can sound very good if done right...

germaniac
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Post by germaniac » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:14 am

kslight wrote:Pick up a Tascam 388...
. . . But make sure you lift with your legs and keep your back straight--they weigh about 100 pounds!

:wink:

kslight
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Post by kslight » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:42 pm

germaniac wrote:
kslight wrote:Pick up a Tascam 388...
. . . But make sure you lift with your legs and keep your back straight--they weigh about 100 pounds!

:wink:
Nah only about 90 lbs... The weight isn't as bad as the size honestly.

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Post by hugheju » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:47 am

My Portastudio 424 (I guess MK I) does not turn on, and the adaptor works for something else. I hope it's not the end of an era, it has gotten me places. A simple fix perhaps? Was working (mostly) fine the last time I used it, about 7-8 months ago.
Record it before you forget it. You can always record it better later.

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Post by No-Fi » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:23 pm

Found it

http://lutherrussell.com/writings/

Here?s a recent article written for the print edition of Tape Op #81:

Four Tracks and an Attitude

by Luther Russell

As a teenager in 1985 I slaved away all summer as a prep cook to buy a $500 Tascam Porta One 4-track cassette recorder. I proceeded to do what a lot of musicians of my generation did: record like crazy. All I needed to know was that Sgt. Pepper?s? had supposedly been done on a 4-track (though I had no idea which kind) and I was off creating manic bedroom opuses, ones thankfully no one ever heard. But there was an unexpected by-product of this medium: inevitably sounds were created on the Porta One which could never be reproduced in a ?real? studio. Were we all crazy, or was there really an intimacy and immediacy being bottled which could never be recaptured? Seeing as cassettes have pretty much died out, and no one uses analog 4-track recorders much anymore, I wanted to list some reasons why we shouldn?t rule them out just yet and why I love my Tascam Portastudio 424 and have kept using it to record certain tracks on albums and singles to this day.

Ten Reasons to Keep Using 4-Track Cassette Recorders:

1. Cassette tape compression. Cassette tapes are 1/8-inch wide. If you stop and think about all the old classic records you love, think about the fact they were all mixed to 1/4-ich tape. We?re talking about Led Zeppelin and The Who ? you get the picture. It?s only a hop, skip and a jump to 1/8-inch! I?ve heard a persistent rumor for years that Sticky Fingers was mixed to cassette because it was a novel medium in 1971 and the Stones wanted to squeeze it even harder. Whether it?s true or not, it makes perfect sense when you think of how it sounds. Another great story I heard was that Oh Mercy was mixed to cassette because Bob Dylan was taking home rough cassettes and didn?t understand why the final mixes being pumped out couldn?t sound like what he heard at home.

2. Bouncing is fun. Come on, if you?ve never bounced your drums and bass and a shaker down to one track to make room, you haven?t lived. Whenever you are about to do it you always get that pang of stage-fright thinking that you?ll lose crucial balancing and fidelity, but you?re always happy as hell, with the sound of those three crudely recorded elements squashed together and sounding all washy and fat.

3. Limitations. I?ve recorded a lot of other artists on 4-track, whether for demo-ing purposes, or just for fun. I asked Sarabeth Tucek, some of whose cassette recordings have made it onto albums, why she likes it so much. ?I think having less choices helps me get to the essence of the song.? Many artists agree with her, and there is a reason: in this day and age of Pro Tools, plug-ins and programs it gets tougher and tougher to make decisions, therefore working against artistic impulse. Cassettes keep options in check.

4. Some really classic albums have been made on 4-track cassette. Among them are Bruce Springsteen?s Nebraska, Ween?s The Pod, Elliott Smith?s Roman Candle, Guided By Voices? Bee Thousand and Iron & Wine?s The Creek Drank The Cradle.

5. It?s cheap! You (yes you) can achieve the glorious sounds of extreme acoustic guitar squeaks, popping P?s and tape hiss for a mere $50 on Craigslist. Throw in a few cheap cassettes, some rubbing alcohol, Q-tips and a Shure SM57 and you too can take a sizable chunk out of your life indulging in stoned analog kitchen experimentation. Hell, I found a Porta Studio for $10 at a sidewalk sale the other day.

6. Tricks. Yeah, you heard me, ?Tricks.? Wait until you hear what the pitch control on a 424 does. Record a drum beat onto track 1 at top speed then slow it waaay down on playback. Some serious (yet manageable) bottom end, eh? Now flip the cassette over and listen back on track 4 ? holy crap, it?s backwards! It sounds like Hendrix?s ?Are You Experienced!? If you record on a used cassette, weird, random stuff shows up backwards. Now bounce that to track 2, but really overload it like crazy. It?s really good distortion! Now throw it onto track 3 along with some echo, because The Beatles had to do that in order to utilize multiple effects and so do you.

7. Limiting. As some of us older folks might remember when making mixtapes for our sweethearts back in the day, we had to make the songs appear to be same volume. We were like a whole generation of unwitting mastering engineers. Your editor, Larry Crane, remarked to me while transferring some old tapes recently, ?It reminded me of how the cassette limits the audio really hard but in a cool way.? That?s what I?m talking about. And this happens all the time in 4-track recording, whether you like it or not.

8. Vibe. The original so-called ?lo-fi? movement of the?80s and ?90s was really a result of lack of funding, but there?s no denying that it created a mood and atmosphere to some of the music which was missing in a lot of the overly-slick stuff of the time. Anyone remotely acquainted with the field-recording quality and desolate sounds of early 20th-century records cannot deny the spookiness it conjures up when coupled with the right song. Often this essence was stumbled across in some of these lo-fi cassette experiments, such as Michelle Shocked?s The Texas Campfire Tapes or Smog?s Sewn to the Sky.

9. It?s portable. This is what I like the most about the aptly named Porta Studio. I?ve recorded drums in an auditorium, a pipe organ in a church, a grand piano at a friend?s house and vocals in my shower ? all on one song!

10. It really can be hi-fi. I have found that some the best sounds I ever got were captured on a 4-track. This was either a result of using some really nice gear or due to plain resourcefulness. Either way you can?t fake a good sound. I used a Neumann through a UA 1176 into a channel on the 4-track recently and it sounded amazing. I?ve used AKG 414s, Shure SM7s and even ribbon mics. Sometimes lo-fi instruments come off very hi-fi on accident. On my first solo record, Lowdown World, (recorded entirely on 4-track cassette) there is a song called ?Seven? which was really a demo I recorded immediately after a gig late at night because I didn?t want to forget it. I didn?t have a mic available, so I used a cheap pair of Radio Shack headphones to record the vocal. It was a very dark song done after a very emotional night when a friend almost OD?d backstage. I captured a vocal sound I have never been able to duplicate. When I finished the demo, suddenly a live recording of my band came through the fadeout backwards through effects. Coupled with the only instruments I had lying around, an old Wurlitzer and a Univox drum machine from the ?70s, I had created a recording that could not be bettered. Mood, emotion, strangeness and an intangible aura that could never have been recorded at Abbey Road.

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Post by Seej » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:22 pm

I miss using my 4track so much. Damn thing busted on me and I cant fix it so I gotta replace it eventually. Although I do like that I'm using a digital 16T, but there's so many things it cant do that a 4track can: tape saturation, varispeed (especially during recording!!), backwards recording, simple EQ.
"You can have a crappy drum set and still be a good drummer. And then you can have a $15,000 drum set with all these drums and the drummer's crap."-Mike Gibbins (1949-2005)

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markjazzbassist
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Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:44 pm

awesome article, love the 4 track. i'm currently rocking a teac 3340s and loving all the bouncing and limitations.

:)

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Post by egr » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:21 am

I've got a Vestax 200mkII that looks as cool as any piece of equipment I've ever seen. :lol: So many ins and outs on that little thing! The motor isn't stable so it's not for anything serious but it's fantastic for "soundscape" stuff or just screwing around.
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Post by fossiltooth » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:39 am

No-Fi wrote:Found it

http://lutherrussell.com/writings/

Here?s a recent article written for the print edition of Tape Op #81:

Four Tracks and an Attitude

by Luther Russell

As a teenager in 1985 I slaved away all summer as a prep cook to buy a $500 Tascam Porta One 4-track cassette recorder...
Mr. No-Fi, I know you have great intentions. But, unless you're:

A) Luther Russell B) A representative of Tape Op or C) A person who asked both these parties for permission

...Then it's kind of a jerk move to post an entire article that doesn't belong to you on an internet messageboard. (Even if that board is owned by TapeOp). Links please, just links.

Otherwise, great thread. 4 tracks can be fantastic.

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