Tape for saturation Otari MX5050 1/2"? & Chicgo src

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
witchfeet
gettin' sounds
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:30 am
Location: Chicago

Tape for saturation Otari MX5050 1/2"? & Chicgo src

Post by witchfeet » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:49 pm

I've searched some and can't quite find my answer. Two questions

1. Which currently produced new and readily available 1/2" tape should I use with an Otari MX5050 1/2" 8 track if I want to hit it hard and get some saturation? I'm leaning toward ATR but I'm not sure on which kind. I would like to have my machine set up for said tape as well as buy some! ;)

2. Also, does anyone know of a tape source in Chicago where I can walk in a store and buy some tape? I can't find one with Google. Ordering online is fine, but I always like to support local businesses and for some reason I also just like buying things in person better. I'm old enough to have experienced consumerism pre-internet.

Thanks in advance!

djimbe
tinnitus
Posts: 1179
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:55 am
Location: chicago
Contact:

Post by djimbe » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:56 am

For your question #2:

this used to be the place when Quantegy was producing tape:

http://www.malelo.com/


It looks like an old camera store from the street. It IS an old camera store. Do not be decieved, though. Back when there was demand for tape, this place sold it by the case to most of the big users in the city. You'd have to call them and see if they still have tape in stock these days. Good people there (used to be anyway). As local as a business gets...
I thought this club was for musicians. Who let the drummer in here??

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Post by @?,*???&? » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:03 am

All tape saturates.

The harder you hit it, the better the signal-to-noise ratio.

ATR tape is nearly a +21 tape- that means it's clean, with very little hiss. Is that what you want?

ofajen
pushin' record
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Columbia, MO

Post by ofajen » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:55 pm

Can't speak to LPR 35, as the spec sheet only shows 7.5 ips data, and I'm assuming you're working at 15 ips. I think it would saturate at lower levels than the other tapes mentioned below., but I"m not sure it would meet expectations for signal to noise the way the other tapes would.

So, with Ampex operating level as 0 dB, SM 468 is easiest to saturate, with 1% distortion at 12.5 dB and 3% distortion at 16 dB. SM 911 is just a tad harder, with 1% distortion at 13.5 and 3% at 16.5 dB.

The MX series record electronics are supposed to be calibrated no higher than G320 which is actually about +4, and the peak lights go on at +15. If you try to go too much higher, you will hear not just tape saturation, but electronic distortion in the record electronics, if not also in the input and output electronics.

ATR tape has a 3% distortion spec at 18 dB, so it will be a couple dB higher in peak levels for the machine to try to do to saturate the ATR tape, and thus more electronic distortion. I can't see a 1% figure on their spec sheet, and there is no graph, but I suspect the 1% figure is a tad over 14 dB.

Personally, I"m tracking to SM 468 on my Otari, and it works fine. I just turn the level up until I can tolerate the resulting noise level and then hit record.

I hope that helps.

Cheers,

Otto
Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Post by @?,*???&? » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:22 am

ofajen wrote:ATR tape has a 3% distortion spec at 18 dB, so it will be a couple dB higher in peak levels for the machine to try to do to saturate the ATR tape, and thus more electronic distortion. I can't see a 1% figure on their spec sheet, and there is no graph, but I suspect the 1% figure is a tad over 14 dB.
I knew it was somewhere around that.

The output electronics on the tape machine may have difficulties with signal level that hot. They may also distort and harmonically saturate your signal.

Having done some +10 recording for grins on an MCI JH-24, even the console had difficulty with an input level coming that hot off tape. Even at unity gain, the end result can be difficult to manage.

ofajen
pushin' record
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Columbia, MO

Post by ofajen » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:28 am

@?,*???&? wrote:
ofajen wrote:ATR tape has a 3% distortion spec at 18 dB, so it will be a couple dB higher in peak levels for the machine to try to do to saturate the ATR tape, and thus more electronic distortion. I can't see a 1% figure on their spec sheet, and there is no graph, but I suspect the 1% figure is a tad over 14 dB.
I knew it was somewhere around that.

The output electronics on the tape machine may have difficulties with signal level that hot. They may also distort and harmonically saturate your signal.

Having done some +10 recording for grins on an MCI JH-24, even the console had difficulty with an input level coming that hot off tape. Even at unity gain, the end result can be difficult to manage.
You could probably work around the issues with the output electronics by using a higher reference level on the tape (which lowers the output level for a given magnetization level on the tape) or maybe just by switching the Otari to the "low" level output setting, which I do anyway just to make life easy for the Mackie mixer, but the issues with the record electronics can't be finessed (unless possibly by circuit mod, which would be a difficult and pointless quest, IMO). Either it can put that level on tape without distorting or not.

As an alternative to using the low level output setting, you could work around any remaining mixer input issues by running the tape outs through a bank of fixed pads. I did that when I mixed from my M-56 on the little Mackie and I do that when monitoriing 2-track playback from the M-23 through an aux return on the Mackie.

Cheers,

Otto
Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby

joel hamilton
zen recordist
Posts: 8876
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 12:10 pm
Location: NYC/Brooklyn
Contact:

Post by joel hamilton » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:43 pm

Tape doesnt do the distortion thing like people seem to think it does.
Get something that distorts really nicely, like a culture vulture, and print that to tape and then use it during the mix on two more things.
Modern tape formulations saturate at such high levels that you really need a tape machine that saturates well more than you need tape. the tape itself will scream ito the repro electronics (as stated above) and just beat the line amps in whatever you are using to mix. That can be cool, if everything in the chain imparts a pleasing drive to the signal that you are in to.
It works for me often. Live to 2 track, super pushed, but getting a ton of saturation and pushing a ton of circuits on the way TO the tape machine, and printing at a good level but without making the repro amps fart seems to be my favorite. Nobody knows what stage is crumbling, but the sound is great so nobody cares.

User avatar
bannerj
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 625
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:40 pm
Location: Holland, MI
Contact:

Post by bannerj » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:19 am

joel hamilton wrote:Tape doesnt do the distortion thing like people seem to think it does.
Your points above are well taken, but I assume the OP means "tape saturation" which can have what some might call a kind of distortion.

I haven't had to buy any new tape in years. I use my 5050 three or four times a year. Wish I had the patience to pull it out more often. When I want to do something fun with a drum loop I'll run it hot on to some old rolls of 456.

So, I'll add to the question since I haven't kept up with what has happened to tape manufacturing: does anybody make a 456 or something like it anymore?

ofajen
pushin' record
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Columbia, MO

Post by ofajen » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:03 pm

joel hamilton wrote:Tape doesnt do the distortion thing like people seem to think it does.
Yeah, for me the trick is to get the level hot enough to have decent signal to noise without it coming back bent. I've been pleasantly surprised tracking for the last year and a half with the little Otari and found that it gets a good sound without needing a lot of prcessing. The hiss is more obvious per track than with a 1" machine, but in the mix it doesn't seem to be a problem.

Cheers,

Otto
Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Post by @?,*???&? » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:05 pm

ofajen wrote:The hiss is more obvious per track than with a 1" machine, but in the mix it doesn't seem to be a problem.
Hiss is never the problem. People who hate hiss are.
Last edited by @?,*???&? on Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

ofajen
pushin' record
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Columbia, MO

Post by ofajen » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:14 am

@?,*???&? wrote:
ofajen wrote:The hiss is more obvious per track than with a 1" machine, but in the mix it doesn't seem to be a problem.
Hiss is never the problem. People who hate his are.
Hiss is how I know how loud to turn the music up.

Cheers,

Otto
Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby

witchfeet
gettin' sounds
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:30 am
Location: Chicago

Post by witchfeet » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:26 am

djimbe wrote:For your question #2:

this used to be the place when Quantegy was producing tape:

http://www.malelo.com/


It looks like an old camera store from the street. It IS an old camera store. Do not be decieved, though. Back when there was demand for tape, this place sold it by the case to most of the big users in the city. You'd have to call them and see if they still have tape in stock these days. Good people there (used to be anyway). As local as a business gets...
Thanks for this! They do still stock tape which is really awesome:

http://www.malelo.com/Open_Reel_Analog_Tape_s/78.htm

---

Thanks for all the suggestion guys. I'm mainly looking for a little bit of tape saturation on drums to fatten them up a little.

I'm leaning towards the RGMI SM911

Are the high/low outputs on the back there to avoid clipping the inputs on the conosole on the way back in? I'd assume so. But, mine has a sticker that the previous owner put over the printed letters (L&R) that says -10 and +4. I was under the impression that the recorders ins and outs were -10 unbalanced?! So, I'm not sure how it could be a +4 output unless it's just sending a hotter unbalanced signal.

ofajen
pushin' record
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Columbia, MO

Post by ofajen » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:18 pm

witchfeet wrote:Are the high/low outputs on the back there to avoid clipping the inputs on the conosole on the way back in? I'd assume so. But, mine has a sticker that the previous owner put over the printed letters (L&R) that says -10 and +4. I was under the impression that the recorders ins and outs were -10 unbalanced?! So, I'm not sure how it could be a +4 output unless it's just sending a hotter unbalanced signal.
Right. +4 is just a particular signal level, and can be either balanced or unbalanced. The high/low settings are for best connection to -10 or +4 gear. The -10 setting has the least stuff in the audio path, IIRC.

Cheers,

Otto
Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby

witchfeet
gettin' sounds
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:30 am
Location: Chicago

Post by witchfeet » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:10 am

ofajen wrote:
witchfeet wrote:Are the high/low outputs on the back there to avoid clipping the inputs on the conosole on the way back in? I'd assume so. But, mine has a sticker that the previous owner put over the printed letters (L&R) that says -10 and +4. I was under the impression that the recorders ins and outs were -10 unbalanced?! So, I'm not sure how it could be a +4 output unless it's just sending a hotter unbalanced signal.
Right. +4 is just a particular signal level, and can be either balanced or unbalanced. The high/low settings are for best connection to -10 or +4 gear. The -10 setting has the least stuff in the audio path, IIRC.

Cheers,

Otto
Awesome, thanks! So my thinking was correct. Think I'll stick with -10 for now since I'll be using my Tascam m312b until I can afford a larger console type mixer.

User avatar
@?,*???&?
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5804
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 4:36 pm
Location: Just left on the FM dial
Contact:

Post by @?,*???&? » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:07 am

witchfeet wrote:I'm leaning towards the RGMI SM911
You won't be disappointed. This is an awesome formulation of tape.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 63 guests