Fun on the cheap

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

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johnny7
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Fun on the cheap

Post by johnny7 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:30 pm

Wandering through the aisles of junk in the Goodwill today, I was struck by something. It was only a couple hours earlier that I was reading a section in the Keith Richards book about Street Fighting Man and the famous cassette guitar sound. In front of me was a panasonic portable cassette player. Piece of junk for $1.99. Possibly the same model my friend Greg and i stole from school in first grade. (Actually, we were getting on the bus and he told me to go get a paper bag from the woods and be cool. i did. Crap, we were stealing. Still, i was stoked with my reward - the tape. Greg kept the player...) Anyhow, did I really wanna spend $1.99 and have this old junker in my house? And, no, I wasn't considering shoplifting!
Back home, I found a box of cassettes high up in the spare room- and sometime echo chamber - closet. One of these will work. Sittings down with an old Harmony archtop strung nashville, I gave the old machine a test run...

Holy shit - instant Keef!

The little condenser mic seems to have two flavours - some distortion and more distortion. If that is not enough, the deck has enough volume to drive the speaker into a raging, and surprisingly loud, fuzz. Wow and flutter to boot. And that is how my heart felt. The old cassette days! Can't wait to mix this in with some clean sounds down in the studio.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:39 pm

I've been looking for one of those for year. Also looking for a Phillips Continental 210 reel to reel if anyone has one (but it seems highly doubtful).

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:54 am

Can you describe the cassette trick? I haven't read Keith's book yet, but I can assure you we had a name for cassette sound back in the day-- "crappy." :wink:

GJ

Tim A
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Post by Tim A » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:11 am

ive been running my mixes though a walkman then mixing it in underneath, sounds really sweet. Although i might need a new player/cassette because it stretches the track out a little.... need to make a few edits

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johnny7
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Post by johnny7 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:22 am

Gregg Juke wrote:Can you describe the cassette trick? I haven't read Keith's book yet, but I can assure you we had a name for cassette sound back in the day-- "crappy." :wink:

GJ
The main guitar in Street Fighting Man is an acoustic that Keith recorded in a hotel room overloading the "crap" out of it. He dug the sound so they took it to the studio, attached a better speaker, and miked that. It is an excellently fucked up guitar sound.

Johnny7

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:03 am

Ah. Thanks...

GJ

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jgimbel
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Post by jgimbel » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:51 am

timadamson wrote:ive been running my mixes though a walkman then mixing it in underneath, sounds really sweet. Although i might need a new player/cassette because it stretches the track out a little.... need to make a few edits
Tape drift is present in pretty much all tape machines, to varying degrees. Playback never seems to be exactly the same each time. If you only have to make a few edits, then that's pretty good. This is why when people talk about doing transfers to digital, doing it all in one pass with direct outs from each track of the tape machine, because if you do each track separately they're never going to line up right. I use my 464 for this.
My first new personal album in four years - pay what you want - http://jessegimbel.bandcamp.com

captaincarpet
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Post by captaincarpet » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:51 pm

Cassettes are a great way to do a home made flanger-effect, making use of the speed variations. I also like som cassette-sounds pretty clean sometimes just for what it does to the sound without overdrive and distortion. Im a cassette-fan, they go well with computers in many ways.

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CraigS63
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Post by CraigS63 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:15 pm

I seem to remember that those cassette decks fed what the mike hears through the earphone jack, so you won't necessarily have to record to tape, just do the "hold the switch in (that detects the tab on the back of the cassette, or lack of) then hit record + play" trick.

Remember earphones?

Tim A
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Post by Tim A » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:04 am

Tape drift is present in pretty much all tape machines, to varying degrees. Playback never seems to be exactly the same each time. If you only have to make a few edits, then that's pretty good. This is why when people talk about doing transfers to digital, doing it all in one pass with direct outs from each track of the tape machine, because if you do each track separately they're never going to line up right. I use my 464 for this.
ah ok makes sense then. im not really using it on anything major. just scrappy blues recordings.

Listing to alot of The Chariot if you into heavy stuffy. they use it one some guitars and just slow it the crap down with there fingers. sounds wicked

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:12 am

>>>>Remember earphones?<<<<

I still have one from my little hand-held 2-speed cassette recorder (which I also still have and works fine). I put the earphone with my iPod headphone bag, in case I want to listen in mono while I'm driving or something (any other public activity where I need one ear free). I kind of stopped using it, though, because I had forgotten how fatigueing spiked-mid-range-only listening can be.

GJ

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:14 am

PS-- I will always fondly love the single-piece earphone though. The memories that it, and my portable AM radio provided will last a lifetime. Killer pop music, great talk radio, and the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

GJ

ssum
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Post by ssum » Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:11 pm

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:I've been looking for one of those for year. Also looking for a Phillips Continental 210 reel to reel if anyone has one (but it seems highly doubtful).
You have probably found one now, but if not I have one.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:12 am

ssum wrote:
A.David.MacKinnon wrote:I've been looking for one of those for year. Also looking for a Phillips Continental 210 reel to reel if anyone has one (but it seems highly doubtful).
You have probably found one now, but if not I have one.
!!!!!!!!!!!
The cassette deck or the reel to reel?

ssum
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Its reel

Post by ssum » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:03 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
ssum wrote:
A.David.MacKinnon wrote:I've been looking for one of those for year. Also looking for a Phillips Continental 210 reel to reel if anyone has one (but it seems highly doubtful).
You have probably found one now, but if not I have one.
!!!!!!!!!!!
The cassette deck or the reel to reel?
It is a reel recorder. I see how I can insert a web image but not how to upload pictures. How to show you or get you my email?

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