mastering to tape?

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bantam
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mastering to tape?

Post by bantam » Mon Oct 13, 2003 5:49 pm

Hello, I record pop/rock at home using 24bit/48k computer DAW. Before i spend the money on a 1/4" reel to reel I am wondering if anyone else has mastered to tape and then converted back before CD burn? If so did it make much difference? I am wondering if it is worth it and would i notice a difference if i used a decent cassette recorder or should i only look at 1/4"? I'd like your opinons before i part with the little money i have!!! thanks this magazine is incredible.


P.S. i tried the walkman phones (break the little speaker off and put them in the hunting ear muffs) trick (from one of your issues) it worked so well!! I could hear the track so well and i didn't have to crank the phones all the way up!!!!!!!!!!!. Saved me at least a hundred bucks thanks

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by Larsen » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:58 pm

I have tried a little bit of both (to cassette, and 1/4), but I'm also a "home" recordist, not someone in the professional sphere. So, I'll just pass on the advice of a mastering engineer that I respect, when I asked him the same question.
.
I had some digital recorded songs that were scheduled to be mastered, and I felt that maybe I should mix them to 1/4. I wanted them to sound less harsh and to have a tape saturated sound. He told me that mixing down to tape would only degrade my signal, and to just try to keep the files at 24bit.
If the signal isn't great going in, than it's doubtful it will sound better by converting it to another media.
.
If you decide to get a 1/4, you could try first recording to tape, then bringing that signal into your computer in 24bit. That way you get the best of both worlds.
.
This probably is redundant, but it all depends on what sound you going for. If you mix to a cassette tape, it will likely sound muddy and have quite a bit of hiss. That sound can be perfect for certain songs. Personally, I would keep experimenting before spending a lot of money. You could stumble apon a great sound somewhere along the chain.

Kind regards,
john

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by wing » Mon Oct 13, 2003 7:27 pm

buschfsu wrote:Hello, I record pop/rock at home using 24bit/48k computer DAW. Before i spend the money on a 1/4" reel to reel I am wondering if anyone else has mastered to tape and then converted back before CD burn? If so did it make much difference? I am wondering if it is worth it and would i notice a difference if i used a decent cassette recorder or should i only look at 1/4"? I'd like your opinons before i part with the little money i have!!! thanks this magazine is incredible.


P.S. i tried the walkman phones (break the little speaker off and put them in the hunting ear muffs) trick (from one of your issues) it worked so well!! I could hear the track so well and i didn't have to crank the phones all the way up!!!!!!!!!!!. Saved me at least a hundred bucks thanks
when you say "mastered", do you mean you will be doing the mastering yourself, then bringing it back to CD for the final replication?

if the case is that you will be sending a CD to a mastering engineer, bear in mind that most mastering engineers will swear by 1/4 to 1/2 inch tape as being the best formats to send a mixdown as to them. many prefer tape over CDs to work with. this is not an analog vs. digital thing as far as i know, but just that when you create a CD for mastering, the sound is being somewhat limited before mastering. i'm not really quite sure the exact reasons.

but if you were sending it to a mastering engineer, mixdown to 1/4 inch, and keep it at that to send to them. if your mastering engineer can't accept 1/4 inch, then he doesn't know what he's doing, and find someone else.

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by Randall » Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:00 pm

http://webbd.nls.net/webboard/wbpx.dll/~mastering

here is a direct link to many of the best Mastering engineers on the planet, ask them

Glen Meadows, Bob Katz, Lynn Fuston and several hundred others, BIG names, be nice, they wont hesitate to ban your IP Address
Last edited by Randall on Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by bantam » Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:16 pm

thanks all,
I really only want the tape in the chain to get the warmth and feel of a record recorded on 2" tape. Guys i admire like phil ek all use tape and i am just looking for a way to put that into my mix. maybe if 1/4" mixdown isn't the answer then i should look into plug-ins?

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by wing » Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:21 pm

buschfsu wrote:thanks all,
I really only want the tape in the chain to get the warmth and feel of a record recorded on 2" tape. Guys i admire like phil ek all use tape and i am just looking for a way to put that into my mix. maybe if 1/4" mixdown isn't the answer then i should look into plug-ins?
well to be brutally honest, to get the sound like a record was recorded on 2" tape, you're best off recording on 2" tape. if anything, it'd probably be better to use 1/4" before plug-ins to get closer to that 2" sound...

i'm not saying it's impossible to get close, but really the best and only real way to get that 2" sound is to track to it in the beginning. i think that 1/4" mixdown would be a step in that direction...

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by cgarges » Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:24 pm

Are you talking about mixing to tape? I'd say go for it. Be prepared to learn how to take care of the machine and buy tape, but if you like the sound of tape, it's so much better to mix straight to it than to do a digital mix and just bounce it to tape. Tape sounds different playing back and when you're mixing to it, you can comprensate for that. You can take advantage of what you like about tape if you're making mix decisions based on what you're hearing upon playback. You can't do that if it's already been mixed.

Granted, it won't sound like you tracked on a 2" machine, but if it really is the sound that you like, I'd check it out.

Chris Garges
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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by bantam » Mon Oct 13, 2003 9:09 pm

now i guess i hunt for a 1/4" 2 track deck. I know everyone like ampex and studer but they are dam hard to find. Anyone standouts among the not so studio quality 1/4" decks (fostex, tascam, pioneer, et al)?
thanks

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by joel hamilton » Mon Oct 13, 2003 9:56 pm

It will make a big difference. I printed a big involved mix with many different sounds to an Otari MTR15 1/4" last night at 7.5 IPS!!!!!

I kept listening off the repro heads and switching speeds (this little wizard of a machine stores alignments like an A827) and I really loved the 7.5!!!

I actually liked the 3.75 but I couldnt bring myself to be that insane.

Even at 7.5 it looked like slow motion. Man it sounds amazing. This whole song was tracked into protools HD at 88.2k sample rate, then mixed on a nice console, then printed to 1/4" analog. I doubt if anyone ever says, "protools, right?"

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by cgarges » Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:23 pm

Joel Hamilton wrote:I actually liked the 3.75 but I couldnt bring myself to be that insane. Even at 7.5 it looked like slow motion.
Holy..!! That's awesome!
Joel Hamilton wrote:this little wizard of a machine stores alignments like an A827

Really? Interesting. Is this at your place or were you working somewhere else?

Chris

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by joel hamilton » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:03 pm

Probably my favorite 1/4" machine ever made.

Totally versatile, and sounds good.

We have a studer 1/4" machine as well, but the otari just shuttles better, lots more features, weird features, will hold varispeed well enough to play in reverse really well....

Holds its alignment really well.

http://www.otari.com/products/MTR15.html

Check the link...

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by bantam » Tue Oct 14, 2003 5:01 am

that sounds awesome, but i think that unit is like 10 grand. I am looking for something considerably less. JB suggested an AMPEX ATR-700. I can't find one of these so I am wondering if there is something comparable so i have more thatn one unit to look for.

thanks
jason

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by damian » Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:50 pm

cgarges wrote:" Tape sounds different playing back and when you're mixing to it, you can comprensate for that."
Any tips on what you do compensating for the differences?

What would you suggest for a machine that isn't 10 Grand? Hell... Is there something out there that is less than a grand... less than 500bucks...?

Anyone recommend a studio in california that will do this as a service for say 14 songs? I am running a Logic rig... and I don't know if that is as standard yet. What is a reasonable price to pay for such a service??

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by markpar » Tue Oct 14, 2003 2:57 pm

I've seen Otari MTR-10s and MTR-12s go for under $1k on eBay (sometimes under $500). There was a MTR-15 on there a while ago that went for under $1k, IIRC.

-mark

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Re: mastering to tape?

Post by cgarges » Tue Oct 14, 2003 3:07 pm

damian wrote:Any tips on what you do compensating for the differences?

Well, you listen to the playback and see what it needs, like you would any mix. For analog tape, that's generally going to mean a bit more high end going in and more preservation of transients, since tape compression will soften them. Also, more attention to anything that will contribute to noise. This all depends on the machine, the alignment, the type of tape, what level you're printing, and what your program material is like. There may be other factors I'm forgetting now, too.
damian wrote:What would you suggest for a machine that isn't 10 Grand? Hell... Is there something out there that is less than a grand... less than 500bucks...?

Well, you could probably find a 1970s Radio Shack cassette recorder pretty cheap. In all seriousness, though, there were TONS of machines made by MCI, Sony, Studer, Otari, Tascam, Fostex, Ampex, Stevens, Scully, Akai, Webster, and Lyrec to name a few. On the lower end cost-wise for more modern machines are typically Tascam, Fostex, and Otari. Some of the older machines you may be able to find a good deal on, too.


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