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Author Topic: 500nW/m  (Read 3791 times)

judah

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500nW/m
« on: December 09, 2004, 04:18:34 am »

Hi all,
been calibrating my beloved Tascam ATR80 last week for Emtec SM900. Used 355nW/m as reference. No noise reduction. I'm very happy with the way it sounds. Especially at 30IPS. Last night I was reding "Choosing and Using MRL Tapes" and they suggest calibrating at 500nW/m with high output tapes with no noise reduction. Anyone willing to share their opinion? While I'm at it, my Tascam is strating to show its flaws and I'm looking for 16track 2" for next year wishlist. What should I look for? Ampex is not an option because they are very rare here in Europe. It's all about Studer. I asked to JRF for a 16 tracks headstack for my Tascam but the cost is really too high and I'd better spend those money on a new machine. I rarely go over 16 tracks and I think the quality improvement would be huge compared to my 2" 24. Anyone?
BTW, to who was sayin' analog's dead, shut up!

Cheers.

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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zmix

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2004, 12:32:34 pm »

I did a record in England for the band "Delirious?" on a Sony ATR 16 track 2" at 15ips, no noise reduction.  

I used a custom allignment of +15  !!  That machine was great...

They will likely sell it to you, if you are interested.

judah

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2004, 02:34:14 am »

zmix wrote on Thu, 09 December 2004 18:32

I did a record in England for the band "Delirious?" on a Sony ATR 16 track 2" at 15ips, no noise reduction.  

I used a custom allignment of +15  !!  That machine was great...

They will likely sell it to you, if you are interested.


Sounds interesting. Can you tell me more? Anything'd like to chime in for some suggestion?

Cheers.

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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Fletcher

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2004, 10:27:30 am »

If I'm not mistaken, 500nWb/m is just 3db>355nWb/m which is a pretty standard alignment for tape like Quantegy 499 or Emtec 900
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

judah

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2004, 04:43:20 am »

Fletcher wrote on Sat, 11 December 2004 16:27

If I'm not mistaken, 500nWb/m is just 3db>355nWb/m which is a pretty standard alignment for tape like Quantegy 499 or Emtec 900


Yeah, you're definetely not mistaken. I'm just curious. Never used 500nWb/m. 355 is fin ewith me, and I don't see the needs to get to 500, but I0m curious to know what would happen.

Cheers.

R.
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Ronnie Amighetti
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Fletcher

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2004, 08:31:28 am »

That's the point of "elevated level" tape... that you can get a better "signal to noise ratio" by being able to print a higher level on the tape before noticable/unacceptable distortion.

500nWb/m is a 'noise reduction' technique... but only for tape that is designed to take that kind of level [you can use it for what Steve Albini would call a "stunt alignment" on other formulations]
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

zmix

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2004, 01:31:54 pm »

judah wrote on Fri, 10 December 2004 02:34

zmix wrote on Thu, 09 December 2004 18:32

I did a record in England for the band "Delirious?" on a Sony ATR 16 track 2" at 15ips, no noise reduction.  

I used a custom allignment of +15  !!  That machine was great...

They will likely sell it to you, if you are interested.


Sounds interesting. Can you tell me more? Anything'd like to chime in for some suggestion?

Cheers.

R.


It's an impressive machine.  I was quite amazed by the amount of level I was able to get on tape.  Punching is a bit slower than an A827, but nowhere as slow as an Ampex 1100 !


You might contact the band about the deck, They went back to their radar system on the next record...

http://www.delirious.co.uk/

Plush

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2004, 02:20:10 pm »

Alignment at 520nWb/M is standard stuff here at our studio and has been for more than 20 years. We use this level on Stellavox, Nagra and Studer machines.

In addition we use a special EQ like Stellamaster or Nagramaster to give a velvety quiet background hiss (hardly discernable!)

This level became a standard in European music recording.
Naturally, when aligning your tape machines to this operating level, you need to be conservative with the VU meter. No need to pin the meters to get outstanding sonics. (*you're already blasting the level to tape*)  
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Hudson Fair
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lucey

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2004, 05:32:28 pm »

judah wrote on Mon, 13 December 2004 04:43


Yeah, you're definetely not mistaken. I'm just curious. Never used 500nWb/m. 355 is fine with me, and I don't see the needs to get to 500, but I'm curious to know what would happen.


at 500 your meters would read 3db more off the MRL than if you calibrated to 355. it's no more than that.

actual levels to tape are the real question, not ref level/metering, and this takes some experimenting


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Thomas Lester

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2004, 04:23:39 pm »

zmix wrote on Thu, 09 December 2004 12:32

I did a record in England for the band "Delirious?" on a Sony ATR 16 track 2" at 15ips, no noise reduction.  

I used a custom allignment of +15  !!  That machine was great...

They will likely sell it to you, if you are interested.


I love those guys.  Did you use that machine on Touch?  That album has a cool sound to it.

-Tom

zmix

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2004, 06:11:52 pm »

Thomas Lester wrote on Tue, 21 December 2004 16:23

zmix wrote on Thu, 09 December 2004 12:32

I did a record in England for the band "Delirious?" on a Sony ATR 16 track 2" at 15ips, no noise reduction.  

I used a custom allignment of +15  !!  That machine was great...

They will likely sell it to you, if you are interested.


I love those guys.  Did you use that machine on Touch?  That album has a cool sound to it.

-Tom




Yes I did. If you listen to the drums on "Take me Away" you can really hear the tape working...

Thanks for the kind words.

-CZ

Thomas Lester

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2004, 08:54:35 am »

Yep...   you can definately hear it.  Sounds good.  A827's are my machine of choice (maiinly because of the separate sync and repro head outputs).  When I'm cutting rock, I usually will do a +9 calibration on 456 tape and hit it hard.  I have to still push it pretty hard to get the spashyness that I hear on that song, but it definately gets a cool sound.

Good work on that record...  I may PM you with some other questions... Wink

Fletcher

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2004, 10:19:33 am »

A-800's have the dual outputs as well... IMNTLBFHO, they sound a measure clearer/larger as you're not running through the FETs that make the "electronic alignment" stuff work from the pad but pots that you need to get down on your knees and turn.  I think the 827's punch better, and the transport runs much faster [in FF and REW] plus you have the 'library wind' function [something I really love]... but especially for mixing, I'd much rather see an 800 than an 827 every time [of course at this point in my sorry life I'd probably just fly the shit onto RADAR and leave the tape in the box for the rest of the gig].
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Thomas Lester

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2004, 12:21:00 pm »

Wow...  you know I never realized that the 800 had the dual ouputs.  Do you know how many times I picked studios that had A827's over A800's to mix from for that feature alone!  Go figure.  Sometimes I get the feeling I'm a complete idiot!   Embarassed

I do like the punch of the A827...  especially when hit hard.  Can you beleive Studer was selling those things new at AES for $16K!  Insane.  However...  even with the machine cheap... no one wants to pay for the tape these days.  I recently had a band that I wanted to go analog with...  They were all pumped up, until I handed them the budget breakdown and they saw how much tape was and how many reals they needed.  That ended that discussion.

Oh well...  

-Tom

I love the smell of ferris oxide in the morning!!!

zmix

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2004, 01:21:20 pm »

Thomas,
I'll let you in on a little budget secret... I did the entire Delirious record using only 2 or 3 rolls of 2"... I dumped everything into digital at the end of the day, then I'd spend the evenings editing the takes together..

I did their previous record on Radar, which was nice, but basics on 2", dump to digital and bulk bulk bulk! Much nicer.

One nice feature of the A-800 is that the sync outputs are XLR, not those DB-25's on the 827. I have always run a few on tie lines for triggering, etc... But in general I've preferred the speed of the transports on the A-827 when locking. The a-80 is certainly the  opposite of the 827 in terms of transport, but man what a sound!

-CZ

wwittman

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2004, 04:06:18 pm »

I've used 6 over 250 (roughly 520nW/m) as my standard alignment on 456 since about 1978, often at 15ips.
That's what all of Relish is, on the multi-track, for example.

On 499 or higher output tape, I go another 3 dB, but in truth I like the sound of 456 better.

Totally true about A800's vs the 827 and 820.

I'm not a huge 16 track fan, the improvement in sound is real, but subtle enough to me to not make up for the lack of tracks... and if you end up tranferring to digital anyway, you;re going to LSOE more than the 16 track gained.

Also, I'd be happy to blind A-B an MCI/Sony 16 against an A800 24... I'd wager the Studer would win in a walk.
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William Wittman
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maxdimario

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2005, 10:19:30 pm »

zmix wrote on Thu, 23 December 2004 19:21

Thomas,
I'll let you in on a little budget secret... I did the entire Delirious record using only 2 or 3 rolls of 2"... I dumped everything into digital at the end of the day, then I'd spend the evenings editing the takes together..

I did their previous record on Radar, which was nice, but basics on 2", dump to digital and bulk bulk bulk! Much nicer.

-CZ


I find that the sound loses 'feel' when transferred to digital at the multitrack stage.

I am worried more and more about this issue ever since I upgraded my home stereo and i find the older pure analog recordings so much more captivating, that I can spot the digital recordings with very little effort.

I notice this in the drums and vocals especially.
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wwittman

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2005, 09:20:25 pm »

well, max, forgive me but... DUH.

The question is only if analogue remains practical for you... there's not the slightest question that it sounds better.

one other thing...


saying i "recorded at +9" is, sorry, an utterly meaningless statement.

It's like saying, How tall are you?  "I'm three inches taller"

+9 over WHAT?????
+15 over WHAT?????

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William Wittman
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zmix

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Re: 500nW/m
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2005, 11:48:29 pm »

whatever.....

Compared to pure digital recording, I find that tracking on analog actually "increases feel"....Transferring to dig-a-hole is sometimes an economic and more importantly a -production- reality. My job is to make it sound interesting.

"Complaining about formats is a luxury of the bourgeoise" - to mis-paraphrase Henri Cartier-Bresson
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