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Author Topic: Is 1/4 inch good enough for mastering?  (Read 9882 times)

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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Wes Pitzer
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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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midnightsun

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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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redfro

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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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Wes Pitzer
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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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