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ARSCLIST  October 2013

ARSCLIST October 2013

Subject:

Re: Incorporating analog tape in modern day recording

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 1 Oct 2013 09:30:48 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (176 lines)

There a lot of anecdotes out there along the lines of what Shai said. Especially in Beatles lore. 
I've watched this a few times in commercial-music sessions in the 80s. Hearing a playback will give 
a musician and idea, maybe a new hook for a guitarist, maybe the idea to lay out for a measure and 
let someone else run a hook.  Vocalists also greatly benefit by careful listening to playbacks.

However, I'm not sure this doesn't go on in the GarageBand era. A project studio or a home studio 
isn't under the clock-gun, so why not take your time building tracks, and why not listen back? 
There's no rewind time, but there can be careful listening back and thinking before hitting record 
again. There's also the argument that in today's world, every track can be saved forever, so if you 
go back on a choice later on, the old version is still there.

Bottom line, there are arguments both ways as far as creative flow. As far as signal flow, it is 
definitely another magnitude of complex and costly to set up, maintain and use a tape-centric 
studio. You better have technical skills of the sort definitely not required to build up an album in 
a DAW.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shai Drori" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2013 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Incorporating analog tape in modern day recording


> Hi Robin
> I'm with you totally on that one. One of the things I love about analog audio is the rewind 
> button. I don't understand how people today can record a take, take one breath and then redo it 
> without any pause for thought. With analog, that minute that you have to wait for the tape to 
> rewind is sometimes just what is needed to get you straightened out.
> M2C
> Shai
> בתאריך 27/09/13 8:49 PM, ציטוט Robin Hendrickson:
>> Another common reason for recording to tape rather than computer is that
>> many prefer to work within the limitations involved with analog technology.
>> You need to make your decisions on the spot and stick with them. (i.e.
>> dumping tracks together or erasing a take, among others.)
>>
>> Unlimited track counts can lead to endless overdubs and comping and "we'll
>> fix it later" type of stuff.
>> I know that's not unique to digital workflow, but computers facilitate a
>> kind of fussiness that was previously unthinkable and often unnecessary.
>>
>> I realize the original poster says they are looking to "improve my sound" -
>> which could be taken to mean audio fidelity... But it could also mean that
>> he or she doesn't want to suck the life out of recorded performances with
>> easy quantization and endless dilly dallying.
>>
>> A well-known recording/mixing engineer once complained to me about mixing a
>> song that had 83 tracks of guitars.
>> The band told him they had wanted it to sound "huge". Oy.
>>
>> For me personally, just keeping computer screens out of my music room (and
>> out of my creative process) is enough reason to prefer analog media. I
>> spend enough time staring at a screen while I'm at work.
>>
>> I find that people who advise curious analog recordists to "just get a
>> computer" are often not taking these kinds of factors under consideration.
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM, John Schroth
>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>
>>> Hello Tom and others - I guess what you're saying is this...
>>>
>>> Using an analog tape deck as either the format you originally record to,
>>> or, using it as a pass-through is not necessary in today's world and is
>>> impractical as a means to "color" or add warmth to the recording. You can
>>> still get pretty much the same results without as much headache and cost by
>>> first configuring your studio properly, using high quality analog mics,
>>> preamps and mixers to your taste, then going straight to computer using a
>>> high quality ADC for ingest verses recording to tape. In essence, if you
>>> want to use an analog tape recorder as part of your recording or "coloring"
>>> chain it would be more for the love of incorporating this piece of
>>> machinery and the craft in knowing how to use it properly - but it is not
>>> necessary (like driving to Sunday mass in your classic Model T verses the
>>> family car - you still get to exactly the same place, but it's fun driving
>>> the Model T)
>>>
>>> I did recommend a high quality AD/DA conversion that is transparent as
>>> possible as you didn't necessarily want your AD converter to further
>>> influence or "color" your recording. I told him that Prism Sound and Lavery
>>> were two of the best (I use Prism here for AD/DA). Does anyone have any
>>> other manufacturers to consider along these same lines?
>>>
>>> Kind Regards,
>>>
>>> John Schroth
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 9/26/2013 3:01 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hi John:
>>>>
>>>> You client may see great improvement by first concentrating on the
>>>> following steps:
>>>>
>>>> 1. does he use really good mics and mic preamps? Does he know how to use
>>>> them? This would be the NUMBER ONE area of fous, in my opinion.
>>>>
>>>> 2. does he have a decent acoustic space in which to record? This would be
>>>> a close second to mic technique, only because mic-use craftsmanship can
>>>> overcome some acoustic space problems, especially with amplified music.
>>>>
>>>> 3. does he have good ADC and DAC gear? He shouldn't underestimate how
>>>> much diffence good analog stages before and after digital can make. Many
>>>> good mic preamps today take care of the ADC for you, but this is not true
>>>> of vintage gear.
>>>>
>>>> 4. is he mixing "inside the box"? Sometimes an analog summing box can
>>>> make a huge difference. There are all sorts of math-heavy explainations for
>>>> this, he can search the interwebs to get educated. To add "flavor" which
>>>> may be very good for his style of music, mixing through a high-end analog
>>>> console can be of great benefit to the sound.
>>>>
>>>> 5. IF he wants to move further away from output=input than even mid-line
>>>> digital stuff today OR IF he wants to use the "colors" and sound effects of
>>>> tape compression, different tape types, etc, then he should concentrate on
>>>> looking at an analog tape deck. There is no other reason to use one under
>>>> modern circumstances. WHen you read about people "tracking thru a Studer"
>>>> or using CLASP to run signals through essentially a short tape loop before
>>>> putting it back into the digital realm, these people are all using analog
>>>> tape as a sound effect. It may well be an enhancing effect for what they
>>>> are doing, but it is a sound effect and shouldn't be called anything else.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Schroth" <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:14 PM
>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Incorporating analog tape in modern day recording
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>   I have a client that is looking to incorporate analog tape into his
>>>>> recording studio. I do not create new recordings or mix/master for music, I
>>>>> just digitize old recordings, so I'm hoping to get some input from the ARSC
>>>>> community on his questions below.
>>>>>
>>>>> Kind Regards,
>>>>>
>>>>> John Schroth
>>>>> Media Transfer Service
>>>>>
>>>>> I have a Tascam ATR 60/16 -  1" - 16 track reel to reel deck that I think
>>>>> I may want to put back to use in my recording studio.
>>>>>
>>>>> You mentioned that you had a friend that does alignment and calibration.
>>>>> I think you said he was in Pennsylvania.  Can you give me his email
>>>>> address and phone.
>>>>>
>>>>> I want to use the deck to improve my audio sound by employing analog as
>>>>> apposed to all digital that I am operating under right now.  If you have
>>>>> any advice on the best way to do this regarding a/d d/a converters and
>>>>> signal path, I would appreciate it.  I am running Digital Performer 8.0
>>>>> with MOTU interfaces into my Mac tower.
>>>>>
>>>>> Maybe there is a better solution than this????  I realize tape decks can
>>>>> require a lot of maintenance.  Please advise.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>
> -- 
> Cheers
> Shai Drori
> Timeless Recordings
> [log in to unmask]
> בברכה,
> שי דרורי
> מומחה לשימור והמרה של אודיו וידאו וסרטים 8-35 ממ.
>
> 

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