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Author Topic: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones  (Read 2945 times)

lek

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Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« on: September 20, 2006, 04:37:59 pm »

- Anyone care to either point out a website / book that explains tape splicing or explain it yourself? I need to splice leader tape for my own use and for mastering. I guess I'll be using the block provided on the top of my ATR102 (or is it better to buy a separate block?)

- Not sure if I'm printing test tones correctly. I've been using the tone generator out of Samplitude through my Benchmark DAC into the ATR102. One mastering engineer told me to adjust the level (in manual mode on the ATR) on the ATR so that in REPRO mode the level shows 0db on the VU (and I have had to adjust it for each frequency recorded as they are showing up as different values), is that correct? (instead of adjusting in INPUT mode). Or do I not want to touch the levels on the ATR at all?

Thanks for any help you tape freaks
Greg

p.s. I also posted this on gearslutz
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Rail Jon Rogut

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2006, 08:26:51 pm »

If the tone is showing up at different levels off repro vs. input -- you need to first align the machine before you use it.

Rail
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archtop

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 12:04:02 pm »

your shooting in the dark if you don't first align with a MRL (what Rail said)
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Thomas Lester

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 02:50:44 pm »

I would suggest you hire someone in to do this for you.  This is fairly basic stuff for people used to working with tape, but you clearly haven't worked with tape much (no offense) or have never been on your own working with tape.  

Or you are in Nashville...   Shocked Where I've worked with far too many assistants that when I asked them to align the multi-track, they look at me like a deer caught in the headlights!

If you are near NYC, you should have no problem finding a freelance assistant engineer to come by and align your machine...  they may even be able to borrow a MRL so you don't have to buy one.

Of course, you'll need to do this at the beginning of every session.  So you may want to pay the assistant to teach you how to do it and then buy yourself a MRL.

-Tom

lek

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 03:33:06 pm »

It has been aligned by ATR services some months ago and then again by an ampex expert (who used to work for ampex) more recently.

I was merely asking, when recording test tones, how to set (or not set) the levels on the machine. In other words, do I just let it record at the signal in terms of whatever enters from my tone generator, or do I adjust the levels on the tape machine to read 0 (as was suggested by a fairly reknown mastering engineer).

Should every signal show 0 on the input and off the repro?
The tones as they enter the ATR, are showing up at different levels - I figured this is exactly what I wanted as this would show the tape machines's curve, but then the mastering engineer told me I should adjust incoming levels so that the repro levels show zero.
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rnicklaus

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 03:52:28 pm »

Not being part of the conversation with mastering engineer noted, I will say that most likely they meant to align the machine in playback and record, so the meters read 0.

If they don't - outside some slight .5 DB variances and the extreme top and bottom end - the machine needs to be aligned again.

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Thomas Lester

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2006, 04:18:51 pm »

Brand new tape machines need to be aligned before every session.  If you have a vintage ATR, depending on how much it floats, you may need to align it before every song.  That's why I'm saying you should pay someone to show you how to calibrate a tape machine.  It's not hard...   but there's a LOT of other factors in deciding what you should do.

The short answer... YES the meters should all read 0 VU if you send a 0 VU source into the deck.  The short answer ends there.

- What ips are you running?
- What tape manufacturer and formula?
- What level of overbias does that manufacturer recommend for that formula on an ATR?
- Do you have an oscilartor that can generate 100hz 1K and 10K at 0vu?
- Do you have a MRL?

If you know all that...   Put the machine in record safe.  Put the MRL up on on the machine.  Put the machine on the playback head.  Find the 1K 0VU tone on the MRL.  Play back the 1K tone and align the playback head so that the needles read 0vu.  Move to the 10K tone and do the same, last the 100hz tone.  Double check 1k, 10K, and 100hz one more time to make sure they are still at 0vu.  If not, repeat.

Put the machin in sync and repeat for the sync head.

Pull the MRL off the deck and store in a dark cool place.

Put up your tape to be used on the session.  Take the machine out of record safe.  Put the machine to the repro head.  Send 1K @ 0vu to all channels.  Put the machine in record and adjust the 1K record calibration until the needle is at 0vu.  Do this again for 10K and 100hz.  Then.....   put the 10K tone back up and adjust the over bias until the needle has gone up and then started to go back down.  Go back down however far the manufacturer recommends.   This is listed as the overbias amount.  Once overbias is set, repeat the 1K, 10K, and 100hz tones and get everything back at 0vu (it will have changed a bit during biasing).  

Go back up to the top of the tape.  Cut a big chunck of leader on the top.  I like about 15-20 seconds worth.  At the end of the leader, label it as "TONES ->", then "1K @ 0vu".  Print 30-60 seconds of 1K.  Put 5-10 seconds of more leader and lable as "10K @ 0vu ->" and print 30-60 seconds of 10K.  Another 5-10 seconds of leader labled "100 Hz @ 0vu".  Last 30 seconds of so worth of leader.

Fast forward to the end and add 30 seconds or so of tail leader.

If you are a "tones at tail" kind of guy, then do the same thing, but at the end of the real.  However... if at the end...  put plenty of leader before the tones to help prevent you from wiping out the tones while recording the music.

That's the quick and dirty guide to calibrating a tape machine.

-Tom

PS.  Hire someone to show you the first time you do it.

Rail Jon Rogut

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2006, 04:54:33 am »

Thomas Lester wrote on Thu, 21 September 2006 13:18

Find the 1K 0VU tone on the MRL.  Play back the 1K tone and align the playback head so that the needles read 0vu.


I doubt he'd have an MRL which was at the fluxivity level where you'd play back the 1kHz tone and align the needle to 0vu

Rail
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lek

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2006, 02:37:35 pm »

Hi Tom and everyone
thanks for your time.
I do have an mrl, will try what you said
As to my machine, it might not to be setup again now, figure out what's up.
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Mike O

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Re: Tape splicing and Recording Test Tones
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2006, 02:57:39 pm »

Perhaps this http://www.atrservice.com/seminars/index.php would be useful to you at some point.
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