I mixed several jazz projects from analog 24 track 30ips NNR to a rental
Mitsubishi X-80 (1/4" open reel) digital stereo machine in the early
1980s. It came with an "editing kit" that consisted of cotton gloves,
extra-thin splicing tape, a custom editing block and a special "magic"
marker to replace the standard grease pencil. It had an unusual sample
rate (50.4 kHz, IIRC) and at least three cooling fans that sounded like a
helicopter had parked in the corner of the control room. We would
surround it with gobos so I could hear what we were mixing. This was
inconvenient as the X-80 front panel meters were the only digital peak
meters in the studio. The heads looked very unlike a standard analog head
stack - they had some weird number of "tracks", like 9 or 11.
Editing by razor blade was relatively straight forward, except you had to
use only 90 degree butt cuts and leave a small, visible separation between
the two tape segments. I was told this was to make sure that the various
error correction circuits were activated by the gap at the edit. We made
many musical splices in this manner and thought they sounded fine.
Standard plastic leader tape could not be used to space or head/tail
leader master compilation reels. Instead we were instructed to use
digital 1/4" tape recorded with the input levels at -inf as leader/spacer
tape, same gapped splicing techniques.
The assembled mix tapes were mastered in Tokyo and the CDs sounded
amazing, although the vinyl versions (transparent blue pressings) were
excellent as well.
It was a short-lived transition format in between familiar open-reel
analog tape and more mature digital formats that required external editing
Best to all,
IUB Media Preservation Task Force
Assistant Professor of Music
Department of Recording Arts
IU Jacobs School of Music
On 11/6/12 5:45 PM, "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Thanks for the details. Don't forget what Sony stands for (as told me by
>a former employee) Soon Only Not Yet!
>One of the benefits of the DASH machines (whenever they were released)
>was allegedly to be razor-blade editable, I believe. Any
>comments/timeline on that?
>The Mitsubishi "DASH" machines (X-80) were out in this timeframe, I
>think, but I think the SONY DASH machines were out a bit later, no? The
>first Sony was the 3202 and then the 3402 had more metal and an upgraded
>look, I think to go against the Studer D820, I believe.
>Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
>Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.