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Author Topic: Mixing to 1/2" tape  (Read 9551 times)

faganking

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Mixing to 1/2" tape
« on: January 19, 2011, 12:03:45 pm »

On January 24th I begin mixing a record at 'Cowboy Technical Services' in Brooklyn. They have recommended I mix to their STUDER A-80 RC 1/2" 2 track which they then put back into PT at 96k and that's what goes to mastering. I've never done this. What thinks ye!

(I tried using search for this. It wouldn't go past the first page. Said 'page can't be found...and there were 15?)
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

zmix

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 12:07:20 pm »

Why not?  I'd recommend printing the mix back to the session directly (as well as through the A80) at the session sample rate, and then going back and making the 96k copies after the fact.. let us know how you like it!

compasspnt

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 12:10:31 pm »

NB: Also mix to a KORG DSD, then compare all three.



But why would you mix to 1/2", and THEN dump BACK to Protools?

If it's 1/2", then take that to mastering.

All the better, K-DSD.
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Gold

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 12:13:22 pm »

They are used to people not wanting to buy a reel of tape. That's why they recommend that. If you want to buy tape I'm sure they'd be happy to have you walk out with reels...They are friends so I know.
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faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 12:13:48 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 12:10

NB: Also mix to a KORG DSD, then compare all three.



But why would you mix to 1/2", and THEN dump BACK to Protools?

If it's 1/2", then take that to mastering.

All the better, K-DSD.



Why go back to Protools? My thoughts exactly!
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

kats

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 12:30:59 pm »

Gold wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 11:13

They are used to people not wanting to buy a reel of tape. That's why they recommend that. If you want to buy tape I'm sure they'd be happy to have you walk out with reels...They are friends so I know.


That's the one thing I find to be the easiest sell, the 1/2" tape. 2" OTOH, not so easy. I can usually convince the client to buy the 1/2" reel because it is future proof if a newer technology comes around and that you would be able to benefit from a re-master. The Beatles just made a sh*tload of money on that Smile

It depends on how the artist feels about the future I guess...
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Bill Mueller

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 12:51:51 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 12:10

NB: Also mix to a KORG DSD, then compare all three.



But why would you mix to 1/2", and THEN dump BACK to Protools?

If it's 1/2", then take that to mastering.

All the better, K-DSD.


+1,

I mixed on an A80 for twenty years and love the machine. I still have a B67 and covet every A80 I see out there. But know that it does change the signal. For certain music, the silky tones of a 1/2" A80 are perfect, for others not so much.

Bill
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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 01:05:13 pm »

Hey Benjy,
that's the format I have: A80 RC 1/2" into the Korg DSD.  It's pretty unbeatable.
If not using the DSD, I'd definitely take the 1/2" mixes to mastering.  Regardless of sampling rate, you lose a lot once you send it into the computer.  Really depressing.
I'm in town- you're welcome to drop by with some tracks and test it out for yourself.  PM me.
David
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faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 01:10:38 pm »

I haven't mixed to tape in a long time. How many songs can I get on a reel?

BTW: They said they use a reel and keep going over it. I emailed yesterday and said just order me my own reel. It's less than $100 for christ sake.
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

zmix

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 01:35:40 pm »

faganking wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 13:10

I haven't mixed to tape in a long time. How many songs can I get on a reel?

BTW: They said they use a reel and keep going over it. I emailed yesterday and said just order me my own reel. It's less than $100 for christ sake.


At 15ips you will get 33-35 minutes on a 2500' reel... and around 17 minutes at 30ips

faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 01:38:20 pm »

zmix wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 13:35

faganking wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 13:10

I haven't mixed to tape in a long time. How many songs can I get on a reel?

BTW: They said they use a reel and keep going over it. I emailed yesterday and said just order me my own reel. It's less than $100 for christ sake.


At 15ips you will get 33-35 minutes on a 2500' reel... and around 17 minutes at 30ips




Thanks Chuck. That is exactly what I would have guessed.
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

thedoc

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2011, 12:05:57 am »

Different speeds = different head bump and Hi freq response.  It would be interesting to see what you think about how tape affects your hi and low end.
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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2011, 02:54:27 pm »

And if you plan to keep the tape, don't forget to print tones test...

compasspnt

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2011, 03:12:32 pm »

Jean Taxis wrote on Thu, 20 January 2011 14:54

And if you plan to keep the tape, don't forget to print tones test...


Ah, how soon the world forgets...
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OOF!

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2011, 06:18:40 pm »

Me?  I never stopped printing tones.
Even when I switched to digital.
I get my old 335 plugged into a blackface Super Reverb and wail away for 3 minutes straight.
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compasspnt

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2011, 09:46:29 pm »

I love feedback!

How well can you hold a 1k?
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Nicky D

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 12:52:00 am »

I did exactly what is being suggested to you..band couldn't afford to buy tape....and I liked it...in the end though at the mastering session, the ME and I leaned heavily towards the mixes printed back into the session...not sure why...not worth the hassle of printing back in at a higher sample rate ...IMO that time is best spent getting the next song up and going...however if you keep the tape and take that to mastering...that's different...I've never done that.
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Fenris Wulf

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2011, 01:26:08 am »

zmix wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 18:35

faganking wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 13:10

I haven't mixed to tape in a long time. How many songs can I get on a reel?

BTW: They said they use a reel and keep going over it. I emailed yesterday and said just order me my own reel. It's less than $100 for christ sake.


At 15ips you will get 33-35 minutes on a 2500' reel... and around 17 minutes at 30ips


It's exactly 33 1/3 minutes, just like the RPM of an LP. Easy to remember.
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John Bailey

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 03:31:07 am »

Hey Benjy,

I did a similar thing on a record a few years ago where we had 3 options at mastering...

To Mastering, we brought:

1. Straight off the mix bus (in-the-box 24Bit-96kHz)
2. The 1/2 masters (ATR-102)
3. The Record-Repro captured back in via nice A/D's (no print through)

In the end, we ended up going with #1 (straight off the digital mix bus).  The Mastering Engineer felt, and we agreed after doing some listening, that the analog (and of course the A/D capture of the 1/2") felt like it was down a generation, and didn't sound as good.  If you feel like the mixes are feeling a little harsh, the the 1/2 might just be the ticket, but when you A-B them, the difference in depth and detail is quite apparent.

If you're mixing on a desk, make sure you capture the 2-mix with a really nice A/D, or better yet, take Terry's suggestion and try to score one of those Korg DSD recorders.  I still think DSD is the closest thing to the real audio.

Still though, if you're going to print to 1/2", there's no better long-term archival medium really...  Well worth buying the tape...

Just some thoughts,
Cheers,
JB  
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faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2011, 11:18:24 am »

Thanks for your input, John.

From Scott Hull:

"When given the choice between Analog Tape and a good digital mix, the producer and I sometimes choose the hi res digital to master from as I have a very "Analog " sounding chain and can get that soft / warm / glow without the negatives from tape.

That said, you can't replicate tape and when recorded carefully its "wow". It really depends most on the machine and the care of the engineer."

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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

mgod

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2011, 11:23:58 am »

1/2"  = good.

1" = better.

Also, bear this in mind:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/file-not-found-the-re cord-industrys-digital-storage-crisis-20101207

Was it me, I'd be rolling one of Tim DeP's 1" Studers into Abbey Road and archiving all them Fabs masters.
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Edward Vinatea

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2011, 11:43:11 am »

Hi Benjy,

IMO/E, in some situations the mixing to tape is a desirable step. Mainly when working all ITB and sounding somewhat 'digital/sterile'.

Otherwise, I don't see the point. For those mixing ITB at 44.1kHz/24 bit; it has never disappointed me and still beats working with the best 1/2 inch tape recorders, hands down. Naturally some engineer folks will object to this, hence my initial comments.

Regards,

Edward

faganking wrote on Wed, 19 January 2011 12:03

On January 24th I begin mixing a record at 'Cowboy Technical Services' in Brooklyn. They have recommended I mix to their STUDER A-80 RC 1/2" 2 track which they then put back into PT at 96k and that's what goes to mastering. I've never done this. What thinks ye!

(I tried using search for this. It wouldn't go past the first page. Said 'page can't be found...and there were 15?)

faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2011, 11:58:52 am »

Not in the box. Calrec console...lots of great outboard.

I'm going to bring Scott an off the board and a print back.

Thanks for the input guys. I can't wait to mix this project. It was recorded in a great room with great mics and amazing preamps. No EQ or compression. I plan on leaving it pretty wide open with a lot of dynamics. This is not going to be a modern slammed record.
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

wwittman

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2011, 01:18:11 pm »

I still don't get why you'd "print back"


Seems to me one would want the clear comparison of a direct into digital mix and a direct to tape mix.
By transferring the tape into digital at mastering, you in essence create that 'print back' for whatever it's worth.

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CWHumphrey

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2011, 04:26:50 pm »

wwittman wrote on Sat, 22 January 2011 10:18

I still don't get why you'd "print back"


Seems to me one would want the clear comparison of a direct into digital mix and a direct to tape mix.
By transferring the tape into digital at mastering, you in essence create that 'print back' for whatever it's worth.




Exactly.

If you're going to go to the effort to print to tape, bring the tapes to mastering.  

Scott is setup to playback 1/2".

For emphasis, print tones! 1k, 10K, 15K, 100, 50Hz.

Cheers,
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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2011, 06:53:08 pm »

CWHumphrey wrote on Sat, 22 January 2011 16:26

wwittman wrote on Sat, 22 January 2011 10:18

I still don't get why you'd "print back"


Seems to me one would want the clear comparison of a direct into digital mix and a direct to tape mix.
By transferring the tape into digital at mastering, you in essence create that 'print back' for whatever it's worth.




Exactly.

If you're going to go to the effort to print to tape, bring the tapes to mastering.  

Scott is setup to playback 1/2".

For emphasis, print tones! 1k, 10K, 15K, 100, 50Hz.

Cheers,

And don't forget the tones.

Bill
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faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2011, 07:17:57 pm »

One more question: Should I print tones??  Laughing


To reiterate: This 'print back' thing was not MY idea, but rather suggested by the studio. Thanks again for all of the input guys.
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

wwittman

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2011, 08:14:33 pm »

I'd go even a step further and argue AGAINST the "print back"

if you do a parallel print directly into the DAW,  you have, in essence, a safety alternative

if you do it as a 'print back', then any drop outs or flaws are simply copied.

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faganking

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2011, 08:20:50 pm »

I'm not going to bother with it. I have six days to mix a record and don't want to spend time on something that in all likelihood won't be used.
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Benjy King

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Phil Ramone quote: "If you can't get a good sound with a 57 and a Portastudio you're not going to get a good sound with a C-12 and a 3324."

bushwick

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2011, 11:35:16 pm »

Benjy. Print to tape after your first mix and listen back to see if you even like what you are hearing back. If so, then running your mixes through tape back in to PT is a sound enhancement you like and you should keep a copy. It will certainly not sound as good as bringing tape masters in, and in the end, you may decide that the digital masters weren't made obsolete at all by the sound of the tape machine, but without trying it out, you'll not know. I print to tape and then back into PT at 96khz usually, even if the tape is getting mastered, as a safety backup. The 80RC isn't an ATR and it isn't a 820 so perhaps they may be more to your liking anyway.

Have fun. Hope it goes well.

Best,
j
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djwaudio

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Re: Mixing to 1/2" tape
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2011, 03:10:18 am »

Not to take this too far off topic; but is anyone having success with printing to tape from a summing box?  It seems like a match made in heaven, yet so many are going back into the computer to capture.  

I still get a little bit of tape to master from, but they are always mixing on an analog board...

Test tones please!
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Respectfully submitted,
Dana

Dana J. White
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