Using tape as an effect AFTER recording

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Jeff White
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Using tape as an effect AFTER recording

Post by Jeff White » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:39 pm

Question for you all:

Has anyone on here recorded drums digitally, say, through nice converters, and then went back and using an 8-track tape machine as basically an FX box, hit the tape for the desired drums sound, and re-recorded it back into digital? So, record digital, send basics (drums especially) out to tape, get desired drum sound, then back into computer.

The reason that I ask is because I have my studio in the basement of my 1920s Philly rowhome. My neighbors never complain, room is treated with a nice vocal booth, etc. I have small rehearsals down there, have tracked some drums for my own stuff, but when I work with bands doing live tracking I rent a room to record in and then bring the project back to my spot to overdub, mix, etc. It saves me from dealing with neighbors, gives me peace of mind, allows me to not worry about noise and focus on sounds. It all works out fine. Happy clients.

I am getting a Tascam 38, however, FOR FREE and with tape stock (new and once used), and I would like to work it into my process, starting with my own drums/basics. I do not think that I have the patience to start a project of my own on tape. I feel like I won't use it for tracking client's basics as they won't want to pay for tape. I also feel that I have a nice A2D setup these days (Black Lion mods and clocking, Metric Halo, CAPI, PM1000, Sytek, etc) and since I roll digital like tape my work flow is perfect.

I understand that I can't sync the drums up with other tracks that are digital only. I'd have to start building up again or use stereo path (or mono for bass) to tape for any rough basics that are usable.

I'm just curious about any possibly pitfalls that anyone has encountered.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

chris harris
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Post by chris harris » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:53 pm

If you're just running drums out to tape and back in off the repro head in one pass, you can still line it up with the digital only tracks. Just slide your drums back the distance between the record and repro head. Should be fine.

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Post by Jeff White » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:01 pm

I heard that sometimes tape speed can not be accurate, so you can run into issues, as well as tape stretching, etc. So just hitting the tape and immediately recording off of the repro head is the way to go instead of recording to tape and then turning around and playing it back into the A2D?

Is there any benefit of recording to tape FIRST and then going digital, instead of doing all tracking digitally and then using tape this way (provided that converters to/from are solid)?

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:17 pm

tascam 38 is pretty portable..unlike many other RTR machines..

couldn't you just take it to the drum space and track through it?

yea the digital to tape back to digital might give you some problems..if you have drum bleed on other tracks for example that won't be good..

the other setback is you're digitizing twice so it won't be the best you could capture..don't know how much it would matter in your situation but a thought..

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Post by kslight » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:05 pm

You would definitely have sync issues, my suggestion is why not print all of your stems (at the same time) to the tape machine, rather than just drums?

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Post by chris harris » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:44 pm

Jeff White wrote:I heard that sometimes tape speed can not be accurate, so you can run into issues, as well as tape stretching, etc.
Yes. If you print to tape, and then in a separate pass, print back to digital, then drift/sync will be an issue.

Jeff White wrote:So just hitting the tape and immediately recording off of the repro head is the way to go instead of recording to tape and then turning around and playing it back into the A2D?
EXACTLY. If you print to tape, and then back to digital (via the repro head) in the same pass, then your "sync issues" can be corrected by simply dragging the tape tracks back in the timeline to match the starting point of the original drum tracks.

No muss, no fuss. This would be the best way to incorporate a tape machine the way you say you would like to.
Jeff White wrote:Is there any benefit of recording to tape FIRST and then going digital, instead of doing all tracking digitally and then using tape this way (provided that converters to/from are solid)?
Maybe? ;)

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:36 pm

I've used my MCI JH24 synched via SMPTE to my PTHD rig, after the fact, sure.

This way you get the best of both worlds.
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Post by Orpheus » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:51 am

Sheep in Punk Clothing wrote:tascam 38 is pretty portable..unlike many other RTR machines..

couldn't you just take it to the drum space and track through it?

yea the digital to tape back to digital might give you some problems..if you have drum bleed on other tracks for example that won't be good..

the other setback is you're digitizing twice so it won't be the best you could capture..don't know how much it would matter in your situation but a thought..
Packing up a 38, a small mixer, a few pres and some snakes isnt as much of a hassle as you may think. Try it your way, but try it out the traditional way. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Post by Jeff White » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:53 am

kslight wrote:You would definitely have sync issues, my suggestion is why not print all of your stems (at the same time) to the tape machine, rather than just drums?
Sure! I may end up doing this once I incorporate it into my workflow. My RAMSA WR-S4424 is only a 4-bus but has direct outs on every channel. Easy for me to send 4 stereo pairs from DAW to RAMSA ---> Tascam 38 ---> (RAMSA again?) ---> Metric Halo 2882 back to DAW. I'll nail the work flow down. I'm certain that on some projects I'll end up starting digital and hitting tape, and on others I'll end up starting on tape and digitizing.

I know that in theory A2D --> Record to DAW --> D2A --> USE TAPE --> A2D --> Back to DAW seems a bit...uncool, but I really won't know if the sound is degrading (outside of "in theory") in a bad way until I start doing this. Remember, this is getting used like printing an effect. I may find out that I end up blending a mix of limited/tape compressed drums under the original digital tracks if using the repro head allows me to line things up without phase and timing weirdness. Definitely looking forward to having access to tape for some things soon.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

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Post by Jeff White » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:53 am

Orpheus wrote: Packing up a 38, a small mixer, a few pres and some snakes isnt as much of a hassle as you may think. Try it your way, but try it out the traditional way. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Agreed, but you should see what I'm loading up already for remote rigs!
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

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Post by chris harris » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:07 am

I wouldn't sweat the "multiple conversions" thing. That was a fear that originated in the early days of bad digital conversion. These days, with modern converters, you can make multiple trips out of and into digital and you'll still be fine.

Then again, I'm always more concerned with how things sound than with the integrity of the signal path.

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Post by Jeff White » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:09 pm

chris harris wrote:I wouldn't sweat the "multiple conversions" thing. That was a fear that originated in the early days of bad digital conversion. These days, with modern converters, you can make multiple trips out of and into digital and you'll still be fine.

Then again, I'm always more concerned with how things sound than with the integrity of the signal path.


:^:
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