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Author Topic: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?  (Read 9892 times)

Werewolf10

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Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« on: January 28, 2006, 02:53:16 pm »

I currently work with digital.  I track with Lynx converters and would like to start mixing that down to 2 track reel to reel.  Unfortunatly it's hard to find 1/2 inch two tracks.  Would a Otari Mx5050 or Tascam BR20 at 15ips be suitable for mixdowns?  Let me add that my recordings sound "OK" in professional terms. This is my home studio.  Also, is there a way to bypass those built in preamps on those tape machines? I just know they must add noise, I can't imagine them having an exceptable noise floor.  

Sorry guys im 24, im a digital baby:)
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electrical

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 03:05:04 pm »

I have used Otari MX5050 and Tascam 1/4-inch machines, and there is no reason you should worry about them, provided they are in good shape.

The Otari has a switch to remove the mic preamp from the input circuit, and I would suggest you have it in the "off" position, although this is hardly a monumental problem if it isn't.

All records were made on 1/4-inch tape for a long time, and nobody ever thought twce about it. You'll be surprised how good it can sound.
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Werewolf10

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 03:13:23 pm »

Kool... Thanks Steve!
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cerberus

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2006, 05:03:43 am »

5050?  don't forget lots of spare swingarms, the one you get will already be bent. brakes?  pros don't need them, so no worries.

maybe it was the tape i used back in the 90s, but every dub from one 5050 to another sounded like ass by comparison with a80s.  what does that mean?

anyone who wants to pool some petty cash, drop an example of "the workhorse" from a roof while professionally recording the event on a "reference quality" recording system... count me in.

imo, a typical reason to use tape in mastering is a typical reason not to use a 5050.  you don't want wow and flutter from a tin foil  transport. and the electronics don't flatter music.. who cares how they might spec.. nobody ever told me they were pining for this machine's sound (a matter of ears i suppose?);  but they do help make the piece of shit about five times cheaper than an a80.

steve, i am sure you could make a great record on your fingernail...
if this machine is "close enough for rock and roll"... OK...but i suspect that in BB's mastering forum you will get some responses like mine.

jeff dinces

electrical

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2006, 01:32:25 pm »

cerberus wrote on Sun, 29 January 2006 05:03


if this machine is "close enough for rock and roll"... OK...but i suspect that in BB's mastering forum you will get some responses like mine.


The question was "is one of these machines good enough for mastering?" My answer is yes, provided it isn't broken. Almost any pro-format machine will make acceptable masters if it is in good condition. If you have a broken MX5050, you should become phone-friends with the Athan corporation.

If the question was "What is the best machine for 1/4-inch recording?" I would have given a list that didn't include either the MX5050 or the Tascam, but that wasn't the question.

I used an MX5050 for years and I never felt like the sound of the machine was the biggest problem on a record.
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Teddy G.

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2006, 01:53:36 pm »

I encourage you to try your idea of mastering to 1/4".

I encourage you to determine for yourself whether it is better than whatever you are doing now or whether any number of "simulation"(distortion adding) "plugins" will do better.

Buy an old Otari, Tascam or Teac. Actually, when you find such a machine ask the owner if you may "take it off his hands", for free? If you're careful, you may even get someone to PAY YOU to take one! After all, they haven't used it for many years, (Really would have rather had an Ampex, when they did - don't want either now!)and will never use it again - what's it worth? The trashman, for one, will charge "extra" to include such a thing in this weeks collection rounds and it's too heavy to haul up/down the steps(The guy is old!) and even carry it to the curb - which is why he still has it at all...

Most young recordists(And some old ones) have a distorted idea of what running their digital signals through tape will do and not do. Even those "ultra pros" who DO use tape, somewhere in the process, go to amazing "pains"(And alot of cost) to make sure it is doing something "good" for the process, something worth the time, trouble and expense - check out ATR Services, of York, PA, to see the kind of machines they try to use. Far as finding good tape, itself? Even pro's, with money no concern, have had trouble finding such tape since at least the early 1980's.

Again, give it a try! Don't spend much on the project! Don't spend ANYTHING on the project if at all possible! The person with the old machine likely has boxes of old reels of useless tape around that he'll give you(Gladly) as well.

If someone made a brand new tape machine, good as any ever made and someone else made new tape, good as any ever made, ANY "HSN special" Dell, with on-board sound and a "trial version" of any audio recording program would bury it - in every way...

If you could go out and buy a 1963 Chevrolette Corvette, would it be better than a 2006 Corvette? Yes, in some ways it would - particularly if you were a young person in 1963, and couldn't possibly afford it then. But as a car? Today? Don't trade your Ford Focus(Plus lots of cash!) on the '63...

If every good thing said about tape, tubes, film and carburators is absolutely true, it is still no longer possible for most of us to make use of this past technology.


TG
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pg666

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2006, 02:29:12 pm »

sorry if this seems obvious, but one thing you should keep in mind when using semi-pro otari/tascam recorders is that they should be used within their limits. while hitting the tape hard can be a desirable sound on a well-maintained Ampex, you'll just get flutter, dropouts, and more crosstalk with the lesser machines (and that 'saturation' is basically just the inputs crappin' out). hell, my p.o.s. fostex 8 track sounds pretty good as long as you keep it away from the red (and don't mind a little noise).

i also wouldn't record over the same piece of tape over and over on these things as the eraser heads aren't perfect, but if you're mixing out of the box you shouldn't need to.
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Greg Norman

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2006, 02:59:10 pm »

Werewolf10 wrote on Sat, 28 January 2006 13:53

I currently work with digital.  I track with Lynx converters and would like to start mixing that down to 2 track reel to reel.  Unfortunatly it's hard to find 1/2 inch two tracks.  Would a Otari Mx5050 or Tascam BR20 at 15ips be suitable for mixdowns?  Let me add that my recordings sound "OK" in professional terms. This is my home studio.  Also, is there a way to bypass those built in preamps on those tape machines? I just know they must add noise, I can't imagine them having an exceptable noise floor.  

Sorry guys im 24, im a digital baby:)

Both those machines have regular line level inputs.  The mic input on the MX-5050 is just an extra feature.
The best thing you can do is find a studio with a working! 2-track, and record something on it.  If you can, rent or borrow one.  Test it out before committing.  If you buy a roughed up machine, you will not have a good frame of reference for its quality.  It might play and record well, but have old caps which would f- with the frequency response for instance.  You wont know if the sound you're hearing is normal for the machine or not.
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Spiritwalkerpro

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2006, 12:30:55 pm »

Anybody had any experience with a Studer A807?  I mixdown digital right now but have the opportunity to acquire an 807. Is this machine considered worthwhile or should I look for other Studers?

Norm
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magicchord

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2006, 05:43:15 pm »

"Studer Snobs" consider the A807 and the A810 (which I have) to be lesser machines, designed for broadcast use and without the precision transports that the A80, A800, et. al. have.

Still, I think my A810 sounds damn sweet and I don't hesitate to mix to it.
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redfro

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2006, 09:22:32 pm »

Teddy G. wrote on Sun, 29 January 2006 12:53

I encourage you to try your idea of mastering to 1/4".

I encourage you to determine for yourself whether it is better than whatever you are doing now or whether any number of "simulation"(distortion adding) "plugins" will do better.

Buy an old Otari, Tascam or Teac. Actually, when you find such a machine ask the owner if you may "take it off his hands", for free? If you're careful, you may even get someone to PAY YOU to take one! After all, they haven't used it for many years, (Really would have rather had an Ampex, when they did - don't want either now!)and will never use it again - what's it worth? The trashman, for one, will charge "extra" to include such a thing in this weeks collection rounds and it's too heavy to haul up/down the steps(The guy is old!) and even carry it to the curb - which is why he still has it at all...

Most young recordists(And some old ones) have a distorted idea of what running their digital signals through tape will do and not do. Even those "ultra pros" who DO use tape, somewhere in the process, go to amazing "pains"(And alot of cost) to make sure it is doing something "good" for the process, something worth the time, trouble and expense - check out ATR Services, of York, PA, to see the kind of machines they try to use. Far as finding good tape, itself? Even pro's, with money no concern, have had trouble finding such tape since at least the early 1980's.

Again, give it a try! Don't spend much on the project! Don't spend ANYTHING on the project if at all possible! The person with the old machine likely has boxes of old reels of useless tape around that he'll give you(Gladly) as well.

If someone made a brand new tape machine, good as any ever made and someone else made new tape, good as any ever made, ANY "HSN special" Dell, with on-board sound and a "trial version" of any audio recording program would bury it - in every way...

If you could go out and buy a 1963 Chevrolette Corvette, would it be better than a 2006 Corvette? Yes, in some ways it would - particularly if you were a young person in 1963, and couldn't possibly afford it then. But as a car? Today? Don't trade your Ford Focus(Plus lots of cash!) on the '63...

If every good thing said about tape, tubes, film and carburators is absolutely true, it is still no longer possible for most of us to make use of this past technology.


TG



Wow... I could not disagree with this entire post more...other than the "try it out" part...
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Wes Pitzer
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pipelineaudio

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2006, 03:13:39 am »

you guys are making me feel very bad about my partner selling our 1/4" 2 track, especially now that tape may be available easily again

it wont fit in my room
it wont fit in my room

(keep telling myself that)

Werewolf10

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2006, 02:02:35 pm »

Redfro ,  Interesting you feel that way about Teddy's post.  That post had me questioning everything about everything.
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vernier

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2006, 03:46:18 pm »

Quote:

If every good thing said about tape, tubes, film and carburators is absolutely true, it is still no longer possible for most of us to make use of this past technology.

We can all use past technology ...there's a jillion tape recorders out there. Go for it!
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redfro

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2006, 04:12:17 pm »

Alright, here we go...

Teddy G. wrote on Sun, 29 January 2006 12:53


I encourage you to try your idea of mastering to 1/4".
I encourage you to determine for yourself whether it is better than whatever you are doing now or whether any number of "simulation"(distortion adding) "plugins" will do better.



As Steve has stated before, tape in most cases is NOT used for saturation. Saturation USUALLY means you don't know how to use tape. And no plug in I've heard does tape effects worth a crap. Not even close.

Quote:


Buy an old Otari, Tascam or Teac. Actually, when you find such a machine ask the owner if you may "take it off his hands", for free? If you're careful, you may even get someone to PAY YOU to take one! After all, they haven't used it for many years, (Really would have rather had an Ampex, when they did - don't want either now!)and will never use it again - what's it worth? The trashman, for one, will charge "extra" to include such a thing in this weeks collection rounds and it's too heavy to haul up/down the steps(The guy is old!) and even carry it to the curb - which is why he still has it at all...



Look on EBay and see how much these machines are going for before you make a blind statement like that. If people were giving them away I don't think they'd be selling for $200 to $500.

Quote:


Most young recordists(And some old ones) have a distorted idea of what running their digital signals through tape will do and not do. Even those "ultra pros" who DO use tape, somewhere in the process, go to amazing "pains"(And alot of cost) to make sure it is doing something "good" for the process, something worth the time, trouble and expense - check out ATR Services, of York, PA, to see the kind of machines they try to use. Far as finding good tape, itself? Even pro's, with money no concern, have had trouble finding such tape since at least the early 1980's.



Again, another completely untrue statement. It's not about it doing something good, it's about it not doing anything at all. And no one I know (including myself) has any trouble at all finding tape. Hell, you can get it from Musician's Friend.

Quote:


If someone made a brand new tape machine, good as any ever made and someone else made new tape, good as any ever made, ANY "HSN special" Dell, with on-board sound and a "trial version" of any audio recording program would bury it - in every way...

If you could go out and buy a 1963 Chevrolette Corvette, would it be better than a 2006 Corvette? Yes, in some ways it would - particularly if you were a young person in 1963, and couldn't possibly afford it then. But as a car? Today? Don't trade your Ford Focus(Plus lots of cash!) on the '63...



This part of the statement, in my opinion, is so wrong I can't even begin to comment on it.

Quote:


If every good thing said about tape, tubes, film and carburators is absolutely true, it is still no longer possible for most of us to make use of this past technology.


TG


Strange, cause I can. And I'm fairly new to it. And it hasn't cost me anymore than good digital to do it. And at least I know in 20 years I can still play it. What digital recording medium will be unplayable in 20 years? How can you tell?
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Wes Pitzer
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redfro

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2006, 04:14:33 pm »

Sorry if that post sounded shitty. I just don't want someone who's looking to try analog to be scared off by someone else's uninformed post.
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bigaudioblowhard

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2006, 07:43:30 pm »


My answer is deffinately yes,1/4" is good enough for mastering. I recently met a guy who owns an ATR 1" machine. When I asked him how he liked it his reply was "I like 1/4", I got this for my clients".

ALL THE BEATLES RECORDS were mixed to 1/4", ALL ROLLING STONES, KINKS, THE WHO, MILES DAVIS, COLTRANE, PHIL SPECTOR, MOTOWN, THE DOORS...YOU NAME IT.

I once had an original mix up of WAYNE NEWTON doing Danke Shoen (sp) and the bass sounded like a fucking hip hop record. That thing is cut at like +6 on early Scotch tape and it practically broke the VU meters. I loved it. They dumped all that gorgeous bass in mastering to get it to fit on a lacquer.

People spend so much time researching "the sound" of a Doors record and finding VOX, U47, Fairchild and forget about the Ampex 350, now being gutted for the pre's. My feeling is that Ampex is the other half of the sound.

Quarter Inch Rules.  

Me. I'm getting my Space Echo restored and looking for a Stellavox SU8, and it wont take up much more space than a Masterlink, which I intend to continue using. Why not have both! In the 80's, a Stellavox was like $11,000. Today, they're like $2-$3k.
I think thats a good deal.

bab,

bigaudioblowhard

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2006, 07:48:29 pm »

bigaudioblowhard wrote on Fri, 03 February 2006 17:43



ALL THE BEATLES RECORDS were mixed to 1/4", ALL ROLLING STONES, KINKS, THE WHO, MILES DAVIS, COLTRANE, PHIL SPECTOR, MOTOWN, THE DOORS...YOU NAME IT.

,



Okay, I got a little overzealous with my point. Not ALL Rolling Stones etc. but certainly lots of it, the '60's, early seventies. Just saw the Steve Miller "Fly Like An Eagle" master... 1/4", 1976.

Does anyone know what Rolling Stones "Some Girls" is mixed on?

bab

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2006, 02:08:15 pm »

redfro wrote on Fri, 03 February 2006 21:14

Sorry if that post sounded shitty. I just don't want someone who's looking to try analog to be scared off by someone else's uninformed post.


Compared to what I would have said, it was very calm and well reasoned!

Somebody better call ATR and tell them to quit now DELL is coming!!!

Mike

And for the record, I like 1/4" too!  
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canada

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2006, 05:33:28 pm »

I just sent away a mix on Otari MX5050 1/4" to Gateway.  They said it sounded great.  Just don't try to do the sheisty "saturate" tricks "that analog tape is known for(TM)."  Just make it sound nice on the tape, and mastering will bring out the niceties of analog FOR you.  Once again, don't print ultrahot levels to an Otari MX5050.
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bblackwood

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2006, 08:42:25 pm »

Some of my favorite records I have mastered are off of 1/4".

1/4" 456 @ 15ips is the sound of rock.
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Brad Blackwood
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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2006, 08:02:36 am »

Whats the verdict on these Stellavox SU8:

http://www.mancini99.freeserve.co.uk/Stellavox.html

Looks rather well built!


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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2006, 03:04:11 am »

This is a great thread.   Many years ago I picked up an Otari MX 5050BII and MX 5050 MKIV-8 and still have boxes  of sealed BASF tape.   Once I went digital I parked these machines and never learned how to align nor maintain the machines; other than cleaning and demagnatizing.    

This threat makes me want to get the old machines out but I need some sort of step by step book on how to make sure that these machines are set up properly.    Are there any good publications that are very very basic that any of you are aware of?

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MI

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2006, 04:35:57 pm »

1/4" analogue is great.

I'm pretty much an anologue guy, but a lot of mixes get done
on digital hard disk.

Last couple of days I've been re-mixing songs that I originally
mixed to 24/96 for clients, now onto 1/4" 456 at 30ips on my
MCI 110A....
It just sounds amazing!! The natural compression, harmonics, etc.

Transfering the mix into DAW and comparing the same digital mix
vs analogue, the analogue almost looks like a Mastered version of the direct to digital recording...

Mario
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MI

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2006, 04:37:01 pm »

midnightsun wrote on Fri, 03 March 2006 03:04

This is a great thread.   Many years ago I picked up an Otari MX 5050BII and MX 5050 MKIV-8 and still have boxes  of sealed BASF tape.   Once I went digital I parked these machines and never learned how to align nor maintain the machines; other than cleaning and demagnatizing.    

This threat makes me want to get the old machines out but I need some sort of step by step book on how to make sure that these machines are set up properly.    Are there any good publications that are very very basic that any of you are aware of?




Have a look at Mike Gore's web site: http://www.analoguerules.com/basicalign.html
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minister

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2006, 12:14:59 am »

bblackwood wrote on Mon, 20 February 2006 19:42

Some of my favorite records I have mastered are off of 1/4".

1/4" 456 @ 15ips is the sound of rock.
this is intersting and timely for me.    my assitant is mixing a 60's-70's rock band (what it's worth, love the one your with...).  he wants me to master it.  (okay, one, the band is not that good, and two, they have very little money.  and they don't expect much.  that is why we are not using a real M.E., and i have mastered hobby projects before).  just today, he asked me about our 1/4" for mastering.

we have an OTARI MTR-10.  i use it mostly for sound desing stuff -- you know, stuff you can NOT do digitally.  i took almost ALL of my animal sounds, recorded them at 30ips, and redigitized them at 15-11-7 ips for some great DINOSUAR sounds i am doing.  plus othe tricks like that...  anyway.  it is in good shape.

couple of questions.

i have a box of 456, new, sitting in the closet.  the MTR-10 has a  label on it (SCOTCH 996).  it used to be MN Public Radio's...  

should i get some calibration tapes?

should he mix to it?

or should i master to it and then redigitize?

and so, NOT 30ips, but 15?

thanks!
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Teddy G.

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2006, 03:40:24 am »

1/4" tape certainly was used to "master", seriously. When "hi-fi" was one speaker(One big, expensive speaker, maybe?), and radio was AM(If you don't recall music on AM radio, it was kind've like a very low quality .mp3.). 1/4" was then used, quite often, right up to "computer days" as the "final" medium, right before the "mothers" were made to press the records. Why? It was all there was. If someone HAD a 1/2", 2-track, mastering machine(Anywhere near as good as the modern ATR), they certainly would have preferred that. Truth to tell, "serious" masters were made on anything and everything that recorded - because that was what they had... Wax cylinders were used for "masters", too. I'm sure they had some sort of "appealing" sound, that was lost in the transition to "wire" recorders. Yeah? So?

Kid? Guy? Person? Werewolf10(Do you and the other 9 have a club???), I can't say much about analog. Tape, mics, turntable preamps, consoles, table radios(One on my shelf, here) whatever, I just used them because they were all there was. I have used tape recorders, "professionally"(?), so bad they would make you cry. I have also used tape recorders that would strike you dumb, with awe, at their very "coolness"... A good friend of mine worked on the development of the original Crown, tape recorder - said to be quite nice, don't recall ever seeing one... All I'm saying is, that if, today, I wanted one, or two, or more, I could, literally, drive accross town in my pickup truck and get 'em. Wouldn't have to pay, I'd just "long-term-borrow" them, from a friend of mine who'd be glad to see them get some use. I'm tellin' ya', I wouldn't do that with YOUR pickup truck and YOUR back to carry them with. And these were among the finest tape machines ever. I'm also tellin' ya' that I helped take two of the first Otari 5050's(The B's, I think?) in the United States out of their boxes(The station I was at, literally, "had connections" - seriously. We also had a gorgeous Collins xmtr and one of the first Optimods!). Parts popped-off of the Otari's! We got two more. Parts popped off of them. Years later, at other stations, I used 5050's. Parts had long-ago popped off of them and were long gone. Tension arms..... enough. I did 1000's of radio commercials and other types of recordings with the things(I still have a recording or two done on them on my web site "oldies" section.). They were, at best, "OK". They had all the bells and whistles but none of the ruggedness needed for a professional, day-in/day-out environment(In a home studio they'd have been fine). They got used! You bet! Because... after a while... that's all there was... No new Ampex, no Studer(Well, Revox, maybe? Ha!). It's all there was. They got the job done - 50% of the time - thus, the name "5050", I can only assume.....

But, you speak of "mastering"! Not mere "fooling around"... Not just "getting into analog", hearing and seeing what it's like. Like you think that you will turn out "fine masters" with any such of a machine with any brand name? Hey, I want to get into(Back into? Though I never really left.) analog, myself! I find I cannot live without, somehow, coming up with the 3 grand needed for a very particular tube mic and another 3000 for a particular tube/solid-state, mic pre I've recently used at another studio. I have never, in all my years doing VO, sounded so good as on these two pieces of "analog" gear. So be it. Analog - just another way of doing "things"...

But, "mastering"? Mastering is a term that has quickly denegrated into meaningless marketing crap. Much like the term "sub-woofer". The very term, mastering, was to be "the often subtle, but so neccessary for that 'final' sound, tweeking, of an, already fine, mix", and was done only(Performed, actually) by "masters", with "golden ears", on "mastering equipment", spoken of only in hushed, secretive, tones, generally hand-made and of such a rarified quality of performance that......... enough! I have "mastering" software, myself, that I run on a cheesey computer in my bedroom. Mastering, indeed...

Yeah. Get your old 1/4" off of E-Bay(Ask around, locally, first - honest to God! You might find one along with a guy who'd love to help you shine the thing up?) and get plenty of tape from Musician's Friend. Master away!

*** Just for a moment, a serious note, direct to you? If you have the bucks, do it! It'll be fun, you'll learn stuff, you will never make a "master" on it(Though you may make a hit record on it? The two terms need not meet.).

I started typing on a fine-quality, manual typewriter. It was all I had. I never did learn to even print well, so, it was good. Then I got a horribly cheap, portable, electric typewriter. It was gooder! Then I got an IBM Selectric(The PRIMO typewriter!) It was goodest(Though not exactly portable.)! Then I sat down to an Apple 2+(An antique computer, even in the mid-80's), that I asked our station engineer to dig out of the closet, dust-off and get working for me. I have never again touched a typewriter(Except to kick the Selectric, in the attic, out of the way. I say - and mean - "wonderful typewriter", everytime I kick it.).

Wolfie, my boy, typewriters and tape machines are still "good". They still can do just exactly what they did the day they were built(Well, the good ones, properly maintained by incredibly knowledgeable people - far beyond my ken). But, all things considered - "quality" of tape recordings, compared to quality of digital recordings made today? Maybe analog did have a "sound", a good sound, that is hard to duplicate, digitally, today? But, I'm tellin' ya', to take your lovingly crafted digital master, with it's astounding clarity, huge dynamics, "0" noise level, bizare frequency response and superb consistency and run-it-through a tape recorder, as some sort of "holy final mastering step"? Wolfemeister? What the Hell?? Isn't this like spending the day hand-waxing your Rolls, then taking it down to the $2 "automatic" car wash with the "swinging mats", high pressure water jets and the "BIG FAN THING" to, somehow, "finish" the job to perfection??? VOLFGANGER!!! I think I'm going to faint!!! And, even if that DOES WORK, for some recordings(We use whatever we need to to get "the sound" whatever the sound is for THAT performance, THAT recording! Tape recorders, old telephone hand-set mics, or broomsticks beaten on trash cans!), to consider doing so, "seriously", with a machine that wasn't considered to be anything more than "all I can afford", when it was new? Otari, Teac, Tascam, Revox? How about a Magnacord? "For fun"? Sure! For experience? Fine! "It gives me JUST the sound I was listening for, for THIS recording, THIS time!" Vunderbar, Volfster!!!!!! But, don't you dare even begin to believe any garbage you hear about this "method" of "running everything accross the heads of an antique machine" being, somehow, ANYHOW, "THE BEST WAY" to go, for your mastering!  

Even if the old way WAS the best way. I think my 4x5 view camera, shooting Tri-X, rated at 80ASA, developed in HC-110 for an experimentally determined time, in an experimentally determined dilution takes the goodest pictures there are. Haven't touched it since the day I bought my plastic digital camera - makes me sad, but not sad enough to try to find a box of Tri-X - maybe Musician's Friend? Really, it isn't the Tri-X, it's THE WHOLE THING!!! Used to be able to up the street, in my tiny town, and buy everything I needed to do 4x5! No more. No more, Wolfling. No more. I am saddend(Plus, what do I do with this equipment and darkroom?). I WILL ALWAYS be able to "send away" to "some place" for parts, materials, even service - but? BUTTTTT?????? Here's the line at the bottom(Well, near the bottom), kiddette. There is, for all practical purposes, in a day-in/day-out, working environment, anywhere below the stratosphere world of 1000's of dollars worth of everything and irrespective of marketing or hyper, likely old(Or just stupid), "diehard" fans of the technologies, NO Tri-X, NO tubes and NO tape. Mastering is not done on a home computer, with software purchased from the Guitar Center and sub-woofers don't have 8" speakers.

For gosh sakes, W, get a tape machine! Get some tape - IF IT INTERESTS YOU IN THE SLIGHTEST!!! The history of our craft should interest us all! On another post, here somewhere(?), someone is talking about the modification they madce on their 1940's Hammond organ! I'm tellin' ya', I DO hope he "posts" a sample of "the sound" - MY LIFE didn't really start until I first heard, then played(Or "picked at" - for HOURS at a time!), then listened to EVERYWHERE on EVERY RECORD, the Hammond organ! What a machine! Anyhow, let us all know how it goes. Let us know where you find splicing tape, how you align the machine, where you find a replacement "stop" button and all the tiny lightbulbs - we want to know! WE LOVE THIS STUFF!!! Some of us get... sort've... ahh... insane and nasty about this stuff. Forgive us, we can't help ourselves. But, please, this is for fun(Or maybe a hit record? I'm hoping!)! There can be no "serious" effort to "master" with such junk. It would be fun to have an old, manual typewriter just to do envelopes on! Maybe even to write my memoirs on?(No, too hard on the fingers, I'll keep my computer.) NOT to "master" my 388 VO files that are due, for money, tommorow morning at 9. Do you get this??? I USE, when I use it at all, a "ham" radio with tubes! I have one radio with 25 tubes! 25!!! I love it!!! I do not expect to make a buck with it. I do not expect to be able to get a consistant/endlessly repeatable, quality, marketable sound out of it. I WILL HAVE my 3000 dollar tube mic and my 3k pre, BUT I will always keep a solid state pre and an RE-20, in the closet(And sometimes I'll use them, because they will be "better".)! If you want to do a better master, buy a better sound card. Work on your accoustic space(Your room). "LISTEN" very carefully to "the masters" of the masters. Try to figure out how they did it, then do it better. Learn how to use the stuff you have, NOW.  It's 2006. Musician's Friend, be damned, there is no more tape, there are no more tubes, and the 5050 is, at best, about a 2080, now......  


Teddy G.


BTW: Wes! Buddy! How ya' doin'? Any relation to Croy Pitzer???
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bobkatz

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2006, 04:15:05 am »

Should he mix to it? Well certainly give it a try, and shoot it out against a 2496 done at the same time.

Just because it has a sticker on it labelled 996 from MPR doesn't mean the machine has not drifted physically or electrically since then. In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, this machine needs to be aligned and calibrated for the tape in question. I would recommend a thorough initial one by a seriously competent tech who can check tensions, head heights, zeniths, distortion, SNR, etc., and after that you can follow up bias and EQ tweaks based on your technician's recommendations. You might even find someone at MPR who knows his stuff, maybe even the guy who stuck the 996 sticker on the machine.

BK
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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2006, 01:54:44 pm »

Here we go:

Teddy G. wrote on Wed, 08 March 2006 02:40

But, please, this is for fun(Or maybe a hit record? I'm hoping!)! There can be no "serious" effort to "master" with such junk.(snip)
NOT to "master" my 388 VO files that are due, for money, tommorow morning at 9. Do you get this??? (snip)



Funny....Dave Collins, Brad Blackwood and many others have stated that they do "serious mastering" on this medium. Some of these guys actually prefer it. And I use 1/4" for paying projects every day. The reason I don't use it on voice-over is because of the turn around time. Remember, you are a voice-over guy, not a recording engineer. (If I am mistaken on this PLEASE let me know. I'm only going on what's on your web site.)

Teddy G. wrote on Wed, 08 March 2006 02:40


If you want to do a better master, buy a better sound card. Work on your accoustic space(Your room). "LISTEN" very carefully to "the masters" of the masters. Try to figure out how they did it, then do it better. Learn how to use the stuff you have, NOW.  



Couldn't agree more...

Teddy G. wrote on Wed, 08 March 2006 02:40


It's 2006. Musician's Friend, be damned, there is no more tape, there are no more tubes, and the 5050 is, at best, about a 2080, now......  


Teddy G.


BTW: Wes! Buddy! How ya' doin'? Any relation to Croy Pitzer???



As I've stated before, Quantegy, ATR Magnetics, and a few others are manufacturing tape. I only mentioned Musician's Friend to show how easy it is to get. Here's another place that I use...
http://www.tapestockonline.com/quretore.html

Nope, no relation...but doin' fine. Thanks for asking.
And since you keep saying you can get all these free tape machines if you just go and pick them up, do it. I'll pay to have them shipped here.  Laughing
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minister

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2006, 02:29:09 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Wed, 08 March 2006 03:15

Should he mix to it? Well certainly give it a try, and shoot it out against a 2496 done at the same time.

Just because it has a sticker on it labelled 996 from MPR doesn't mean the machine has not drifted physically or electrically since then. In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, this machine needs to be aligned and calibrated for the tape in question. I would recommend a thorough initial one by a seriously competent tech who can check tensions, head heights, zeniths, distortion, SNR, etc., and after that you can follow up bias and EQ tweaks based on your technician's recommendations. You might even find someone at MPR who knows his stuff, maybe even the guy who stuck the 996 sticker on the machine.

BK
thanks bob for the suggestions.  i have put in a call to someone.

i guess we will just experiment with it.  he can bring the mixes in and we can transfer them, and then i could digitize and master.

bob or brad or steve or anyone, is 15ips better than 30?  or should i just experiment?  as you can tell, i have not worked with a lot of tape machines -- when i did, it was when i was paying someone else to engineer.

TEDDY G ease up on the coffee man!
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minister

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2006, 11:40:45 pm »

believe it or not, i got eddie ciletti to make a house call.

well, it will only take an hour or so (barring any unforseen) and he teaches 3 blocks from here....

i'll let ya know, if ya care.
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bobkatz

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2006, 11:42:10 am »

minister wrote on Wed, 08 March 2006 23:40

believe it or not, i got eddie ciletti to make a house call.

well, it will only take an hour or so (barring any unforseen) and he teaches 3 blocks from here....

i'll let ya know, if ya care.



Fantastic. Eddie I'm sure will tell you if 15 is better than 30....

It's a potential tradeoff. 30 has better transient response and lower noise, but for most typical machines, 15 has a smoother low end (less peaks and dips and goes down lower), but only on the repro side. On the record side, 15 and 30 are equal as far as I'm concerned. So if you are going to be transferring back from the analog tape to digital, then the quality of the repro side of the analog tape is what counts.

BK
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Teddy G.

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2006, 03:53:53 pm »

I don't drink coffee! Tried... couldn't handle it...

But, I have backed off on my case of Pepsi a week, down to about one bottle a week. Maybe it'll help??? Now, if I can just stay awake..?

And poster, werewolf10, don't get "caughtup" going along with these guys by making cutesie comments on my mental attributes. I am not a desenter. I give you my opinion, which you asked for, for free, on my own time. READ WHAT I SAY! READ WHAT OTHERS SAY! DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH/EXPERIMENTATION! Make your choice.

I have to admit, if you get Eddie Celletti to drop in for even an hour, maybe there's a chance..? I really enjoy - and learn - from his writings, I envy your proximity!

A forum wish: That all you guys would forget the "quote" button and just "talk" - whatever you have to say. Holler if you like - but don't "react", think, espose, enjoy. This is OUR, collective life, here.

A comment - MY COMMENT - or two:

The Beatles used what they had, good, bad or indifferent. You will attain little new fame doing what the Beatles did. The Beatles, the early Beatles, at least, if they were recording today, would be recording on ProTools, or something very like it and would not be involved in the mastering process at all, as they were not then(The Mastering Department at Capitol Records would be handling that.). Though,  probably some time, early-on in their recording career, they did get a "tour" of the mastering department, where they were likely kind enough to "ooh and ah" at the mysterious equipment and the, equally, mysterious people, who ran the gear. "This is where your recordings go to get them ready to be pressed to records, boys!" "Well, it sure is im-press-ive!(They were "cutesie", too!) Thankyou very much for doing such wonderful work on our songs!"(I hear they were also very polite.)

Here's something I really hope you DO read - again:

DO WHAT YOU WANT! JUST DO NOT THINK THAT MASTERING TO TAPE, ANY TAPE, ANY MACHINE, IS SOME SORT OF HOLY GRAIL!!! It's just "a way". My worst thought is that someone should "try analog tape"(Holding up some of these outlandish statements made here as their "guide".), using a cheap, antique machine, improperly maintained and setup, running inferior tape, get to the end of the "process"(Likely incorrectly implemented) and say ..."Gee, that doesn't sound very good..?" and quit. You guys get so wrapped-up in your "vast experience and knowledge" that you forget just how much experience and knowledge is(Was) needed to make this stuff work correctly! As well as to how much of this technology is just no longer there, for the potential 'entrant' into it, today...

ATR, said they were getting into the tape providing biz, 'cause there ain't no more tape(At least good tape) - or something like that? Didn't they? I have no "quote button", for their comments. If ATR is now making tape, I trust it is "good tape". I guess I could jump in the pickup and drive over and ask them(About 30 miles west), been a long time since I've been there..? Maybe next week?

The original question was something like - Is 1/4" good enough for mastering? MOST OF US SAID, YES. Most of us, conveniently, left out the "qualifiers" - lots of "quotes" on things we felt we could fight with, but, not enough of the "oxide shed and tears", not enough reality. Not "knowing" the technology, I have to say(I have no other choice), that if 1/4" was "best", that's what ATR would push. Is 1/4" "good enough"? Yes - a definite, qualified, yes.

Did the Beatles use 1/4"? I'm sure they did. A 30 year old  Otari 5050B? Did John Lennon, himself, align the tape machine? Did he ever see the tape machine? Maybe..? Was there anything else the Beatles could have used, besides 1/4"? I don't know? For sure, they used what Capitol Records mastering department used - period. If 1/4" was it, that's what the Beatles used. Today it would be Protools, or something very like it, for recording and whatever Capitol Records would be using today for mastering. If it's still 1/4" tape(And the same old guys in the dept.), that's what they'd be using. This, in itself, does not make it "right". Right? Today, "Luck Lindy" would take a 747 to Paris(Though it is rather an antique itself!). Though, that, in itself, does not make the "Spirit of St. Louis, somehow, "wrong", just that he would not still be flying it, today - and I'm sure it was a fine plane and - still is - far as it goes... I would like to learn to fly, today. If it ever happens I will try to learn in a Piper Cub, from the 50's. Why? Not because it's "still the best plane, dammit!", just because, to me, personnally, the piper Cub "is" flying(I was born and raised in the town where they were made) - but, that's a personal thing, from it's history... and mine. "The sound", would, I'm sure... be a beautiful thing...

I've got to get some work done(Painting the living room, today - notp flying or recording - dammit!), so I'll leave you to your "fightin' quotes" and the latest episode of "The Antiques Roadshow" - already in progress:

...ankyou very much for bringing in this, delightful, Otari 5050B, model, tape recorder! As I said, it was not exactly the "premier" machine of it's day, and it's not worth much this day, in the best condition(And, of course yours is missing the STOP button and the take-up arm is quite bent-over, like so many others, heh, heh...), but it looks in good shape, otherwise, and as long as you're willing to take the time to know how to make it work, you're going to have alot of fun with it. It was a pleasure showing the young folks in the audience how audio recording used to be done! Thankx again, for lugging that brutally heavy thing in here for all to see! Ya'know that case is made of wood! well, sort've wood, anyway... And... heh, heh, a little Tiger Balm, may sooth those back muscles tonight... ha, ha... Now here's Jane with a lovely 1966 Chevrolet Corvette operators manual discovered in an old garage, right here in Portland...

TG
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bigaudioblowhard

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2006, 11:57:05 pm »

bobkatz wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 09:42



Fantastic. Eddie I'm sure will tell you if 15 is better than 30....

It's a potential tradeoff. 30 has better transient response and lower noise, but for most typical machines, 15 has a smoother low end (less peaks and dips and goes down lower), but only on the repro side. On the record side, 15 and 30 are equal as far as I'm concerned. So if you are going to be transferring back from the analog tape to digital, then the quality of the repro side of the analog tape is what counts.

BK


Yeah, back in the tape days Hip Hop guys routinely recorded at 15 ips claiming better low end. With little more than a lead vocal and a hihat for top end, it wasnt hard to dial in a little 'air' if you needed to open out a mix.

Eddie Kramer still prints at 15 +6 SR. His patent quote, "30 IPS is for wimps". He's a funny guy.

bab

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2006, 11:58:55 pm »

bigaudioblowhard wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 21:57



Eddie Kramer still prints at 15 +6 SR. His patent quote, "30 IPS is for wimps". He's a funny guy.

bab


Oops, forgot to add that Eddie Kramer is using 1/2" tape, which would make this OT.

Oh well.

bab

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2006, 12:28:32 am »

Well Mr. Katz I just got a  Lynx Two Card .. would that qualify as 24/96?  I know when you say 24/96 it must mean somthing like BenchMark / Mytek / or Cranesong..  Don't get me wrong I would love to stack both of them up and give it a go,, but as you know 24/96 is not always 24/96.  Maybe since Im thinking about a lower end analog machine it would be even against a lower end converter like Lynx... Well low end in the "PRO" world.



And yea I am young (25),, and most of you guys are much older and more experienced than me... But I don't appreciate the constant  condescending bullshit by (Teddy G).. OK we get it, you hate analog , you think digital is the cure all.. And you hate young people ... we get it asshole!!  I don't go around calling you (grandpa) or make jokes about you squeezing your old ass into some (depends) in about 5 or 6 years....Teddy G?? what kind of name is that, sounds like Kenny G's gay little brother... see I can be an asshole to, its not hard, it doesn't envolve much "real" talent..so stop talking to me like a baby... You should be happy younger people are comming to this board and asking for advice, face it , we live in a time were (nobody gives a shit about the engineer) you are getting older and all this shit you have learned over the years is going to die with you.. You should spread your knowledge with a better attitude.. Why do you have all of this hostility to younger generations?? We are not all pop/punk/mindless/ungratefull/foolish/jerkoffs....


Oh yea.. The only reason I even thought about analog tape is because I heard John Frusciante's new album (Curtains) it was done completly in analog and it sounds tons better than his other albums, so yea that was it , not that im young and dumb and falling victim to some analog conspiracy you jackass.


Thanks BAB,,, made me think about alot of older recordings... I did'nt know half of them were mastered that way..







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vernier

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2006, 01:36:42 am »

Only thing I'd mix to if the Ampex broke, is another Ampex.
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MI

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2006, 09:51:52 am »

Werewolf10,

Please keep personal comments private. REP is no place
to flame anyone who is offering you his opinion.
You may or may not like the response, but all you have
to do is not read it.

As for your Otari, I'm glad to other younger people giving a
go at Analogue, but yes keep in mind that technology will
always be used to the fullest. I take advantage of all
my digital gear.

Good luck, and let us know how the Otari works out!

Mario






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Werewolf10

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2006, 02:33:42 pm »

Mario

werewolf10 , please keep personal comments private



What? ... did you even read his post?  How many times did Teddy G give his rude personal comments?? I counted about 25..You need to tell him that, not me.  Refering to me as "KID" and even making fun of my name!? That's not his professional opinion on audio related material, it's him being an asshole.

But thanks for the encouragment regarding the Otari, I am buying one from a local theater center (at my college). I will post some 24bit/wave files in a few weeks.  It probably won't do much in the eyes of many because its a sub-par tape machine and some mid-grade converters, but I might be able to get some wheels turning.  I think I will make it a blind test.

Does anyone know a Technician in the San Francisco Bay Area that can tune this thing up?  I looked at the heads, they look really nice. The School has a maintanence log that shows they where replaced 3 years ago.  But I'm sure it will need calibrating.
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MI

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2006, 05:17:05 pm »

Actually no, I didn't read everything in his post.
But I did take the time to read yours, and found it was
worth replying to try and help you out.

Mike Gore is in the Bay Area. He probably one of the best.
http://www.analoguerules.com/contact.html

He's even got free info on his site.

Good luck.

Mario

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2006, 06:25:19 pm »

Werewolf10 wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 00:28

Well Mr. Katz I just got a  Lynx Two Card .. would that qualify as 24/96?  I know when you say 24/96 it must mean somthing like BenchMark / Mytek / or Cranesong..  Don't get me wrong I would love to stack both of them up and give it a go,, but as you know 24/96 is not always 24/96.  Maybe since Im thinking about a lower end analog machine it would be even against a lower end converter like Lynx... Well low end in the "PRO" world.






Actually, Lynx makes one of the most respectable A/D converters on a card you can buy. A genuine shootout of Lynx versus a high end external A/D would be very surprising. So don't be embarrassed. Go for it!  And then do that shootout.

It's the holistic total that counts; maybe analog tape is what you want, maybe analog processing of a particular type, maybe all digital processing, it all has to be looked at as a whole. I try not to mix what I master, but this weekend a good client who is mixing their own album asked me to tweak his mix and then master. He came down with his Sonar and we had a good time mixing in the box using the mastering quality reproduction system. I tightened and fixed a number of problems in his mix and he was very grateful.

Then we cleared the plate and the next day we mastered. I never try to put mastering processing on while mixing. You want to get the best sounding mix possible and then concentrate on getting the best possible master. So, with no preconceptions I listened in the cold Florida morning air <g> to the mixes of the days before and I decided that the sound was a bit brittle and a bit "digital", whatever that means. Running it through my analog chain produced a nicely warmer, fatter, and even more spacious master. That was the answer.

But I've gotten plenty of mixes on analog tape that for me sound best when mastered on my high end digital chain. If I received a nice, fat, hopefully not "overstuffed" analog tape I would consider my digital chain first.

BK
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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2006, 09:24:16 pm »

Werewolf10 wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 13:33


Does anyone know a Technician in the San Francisco Bay Area that can tune this thing up?  I looked at the heads, they look really nice. The School has a maintanence log that shows they where replaced 3 years ago.  But I'm sure it will need calibrating.





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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2006, 10:02:14 pm »

WoW , Thanks guys.  Bob , Bob , and Mario.. Thanks for being so helpfull.  And getting a post like that from Mr. Katz is always gold in my book.
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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2006, 02:34:18 pm »

hey guys, i don't want to be off topic, but i think this just takes the discussion to the next point.

i also wanted to get something like a 5050 for mixing down to (and also for tape delay), and have never used tape. I"ve read a bunch of websites, but still have a few specific questions.

1. if i get say an mx5050, what exactly do i need? (i.e. a specific alignment tape? a demagnetizer, etc. . . )

2. people have been talking about hitting the tape with a high level, but i've heard that a lot of people --> specifically STEVE, send a really low level to tape because that's where the compression happens. is that true? would that work as a mixdown thing? on that machine? how low is low?

thanks, hope it's not too off topic,
chris
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scottoliphant

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2006, 04:09:18 pm »

Quote:

and have never used tape. 1. if i get say an mx5050, what exactly do i need? (i.e. a specific alignment tape? a demagnetizer, etc. . . )


alignment tape, demagnatizer, some cleaning fluid for the heads, them manual, some sort of scope if you want / can align azimuth / zenith, know what to look for in a poor condition deck. If you get one with crappy worn out heads you are wasting your money

Quote:

2. people have been talking about hitting the tape with a high level, but i've heard that a lot of people --> specifically STEVE, send a really low level to tape because that's where the compression happens. is that true? would that work as a mixdown thing? on that machine? how low is low?


the hotteru the signal, the lower the noise floor, but the increase in distortion /  compression. I doubt steve sends a "really low level" to tape, but, i learn something new every day. I suppose we could debate what too low a signal would be. Anybody still record at "0"? I hang around -6 to 3 on a deck aligned +6, biased for 456. Other folks slam GP9 way into the red with all the peak meters flickering constantly. You'll find the flavor that works for you and that soudns best to you

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Re: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2006, 10:01:38 pm »

ok, i'll admit it, i am a lucky guy.  ... knowing a few people who know eddie (last name pronounced CHeletty), and being 3 blocks away from where he teaches a class ... increased my chances.

it was a pleasurable learning experience let me tell you!!  very nice, and serious guy!  funny in his way!  and DC is right, he does a great dog impression. ...

he brought all his tools, and a very funny old test tape.  obviously, this is something he has done countless times so he could keep jabbering away about his experiences in new york (and here for the last 7 years.) while he worked.  he even talked about his watch oil that he buys from some place in boston.  he cleaned the whole machine and immediately found some problems.  which he fixed.  he gave me an education in azimuth, zenith, alignment, etc.  he even got my assistant involved as his 23 year old ears can hear 18k better than ours -- he set the phase!

i have spoken to several people about this.  several people who KNOW what they are doing, including eddie.  they all agree, a well setup and maintained 1/4", with good tape and good engineering skills can be a very good mixdown medium.  so, to answer the original poster, if he is still listening, and to others who asked in this thread, i just learned that it IS good enough to send to mastering.

as has been suggested many times, get a tech in your area to set it up for you!  they have the test tapes, the know-how etc.  maybe even an engineer, who can do it.  but spend the $100 - $300 to have it done right.

eddie told me some great stories about his 3-day crash course in becoming the chief tech at bearsville and installing sub woofers there for peter tosh's visit.  Laughing Laughing and lots of other stories about the recording studios in nyc.  and he embraces digial and analog.  ..then he started talking about feedback in api's and how you can't get them to clip and ... and ...
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