I worked at Criteria studios in Miami, and we had 2 of the x80 machines.
They did have an odd sample rate, but were later modified to 48khz. The
would still play back any tapes that they had made at the higher sample
rate after the modifications. Yes, I recall that the exiting process was
just as you describe. It did work well enough as long as you followed the
'rules' for the process. Digital copies of tapes could be made with special
cables between the machines, and this also allowed for digital clones of
the edited tapes that didn't then have the physical splices in them. As
long as the machines were cleaned properly and you were very careful not to
mess with the tape path, they seemed pretty reliable... but heavy as lead
to move around.
On Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 7:41 PM, Hood, Mark <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 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,
> Mark Hood
> 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.