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Author Topic: The Future Without Tape  (Read 13781 times)

Lee Flier

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2005, 11:24:37 am »

ted nightshade wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 10:48

Took me a long time to find digital I like, but I really do prefer the sound of a live band in a room to a couple mics to digital (SLAM!), than to ATR 1" 2 track. This with no processing whatsoever. The digital just sounds a whole lot more like being there- far more dynamic, for one thing.



Yeah I agree... I think if you are not doing any multitracking or processing to speak of, digital can be as good or better.  And it's fine as a distribution medium.  But that's not the reality that most of us live in or necessarily want to live in.   I can certainly see why classical recordists and such prefer digital.

Sometimes I wonder if the main difference is in how, and how well, the two media handle "abuse."  That is to say, you can beat up good analog gear in a musical way - even if the designer didn't intend it.  Certainly that's true of tape!  But if you beat up digital gear it just sounds bad.  Seeing as artists (and I include recording engineers as "artists" here as well as the musicians) have a tendency to beat things up and use them in unintended ways... that isn't good.

Bob Olhsson

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2005, 01:19:11 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 09:28

...
Did digital tape sound better than digital hard disk?  Do people often just base audio opinions on musical content, or on the vintage of a recording?...

I think people frequently compare class A analog gear to class B digital when a more appropriate comparison might be with a Teac 3340.

One would HOPE that a $30,000 analog tape machine sounds better than any $2,000 digital 24 track rig! You can't get around the fact that cheap solid state electronics never sounded very good.

wwittman

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2005, 01:55:08 pm »

Well for one thing, one compares what one realistically has to choose from.

So i might compare the A800 in the corner to the ProTools rig in the room.. those are my choices. what it might have sounded like an a Mitsubishi 850 is somewhat moot. (although in that A800 to Mitsubishi head-to-head i HATED the digital in Montserrat)

Or I comapre the ATR 1/2" to PT  or the GML conversion, as stated.

But really at the mastering stage that's usually some fairly high-end A-D.
At least as high end as real world choices tend to get.

And it's there that it's STILL obvious that you can hit that little button and compare "there it is, there it isn't, there it is, there it isn't..." <g>

It's a bit like a newspaper photo... no matter whether the original is a 35mm photo or it's the Mona Lisa, the newspaper photo of it still only has so many dots.

Anyway, I'm much happier mixing to analogue and only doing the inevitable A-D at Sterling.
Much LESS happy walking in there with it already digital.
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lucey

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2005, 03:07:23 pm »

wwittman wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 13:55


Anyway, I'm much happier mixing to analogue and only doing the inevitable A-D at Sterling.
Much LESS happy walking in there with it already digital.


Digital artifacts (sheen, lack of depth, etc) smash badly and add up quickly with 2 mix processing.  Thus a well done, all analog recording can survive a Sterling slam, or any mastering far better.  A dynamic analog mix is REALLY able to be manipulated in mastering with still musical results.

Mastering is inevitably about fighting the harmonic artifacts just as much as it is about eq and sweetening.  When I record here it's  2" 16 mixed to 1/2" and only after the analog mastering pass does it get converted with the Pacific, maybe a little Weiss eq, L2 level up, Hedd sparkle and presto!    To my ear nothing sounds better than that process.
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Brian Lucey
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maxdimario

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2005, 05:23:58 pm »

David Kulka wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 14:30

 "repro cannot sound truer than input".


I didn't say truer than input! I said that passing through analog can add intelligibility and smooth over a track in a way that the limits of digital are not so obvious.
increased intelligibility denotes that the master has been processed, and therefore is less natural.
digital can't reproduce the musical detail as well as big analog.
truer to performance and feel=analog
truer to overall sound balance and low noise =digital

but analog masters are like photos on a hasselblad-sized camera -- detail to spare if you care to look.

I'd like to check out the slam! converter.

what is it that makes is special compared to the usual lot of converters?
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ted nightshade

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2005, 06:27:52 pm »

maxdimario wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 14:23

David Kulka wrote on Wed, 09 February 2005 14:30

 "repro cannot sound truer than input".


I didn't say truer than input! I said that passing through analog can add intelligibility and smooth over a track in a way that the limits of digital are not so obvious.
increased intelligibility denotes that the master has been processed, and therefore is less natural.
digital can't reproduce the musical detail as well as big analog.
truer to performance and feel=analog
truer to overall sound balance and low noise =digital

but analog masters are like photos on a hasselblad-sized camera -- detail to spare if you care to look.

I'd like to check out the slam! converter.

what is it that makes is special compared to the usual lot of converters?


Good question. Bob O tells me Weiss is better- I believe him. Costs a bit more though.

Part of it may be that it's faster than heck- I definitely hear timing stuff (which equals spacial stuff, more or less) rendered WAY better than with say HEDD or Genex. We do a lot of music with sloppy human grooves, and the best of it sounded great off analog tape, groovy and infectious, but died on the HEDD. This stuff sounds great on the SLAM!- better than tape for my tastes. All the eccentric human grooves work really well. With the HEDD, only the most normative-for-today metronomic hit-you-over-the-head-with-how-regular-it-is stuff was surviving the transfer from tape to digital. Makes me wonder if this property of needs-help digital has anything to do with our slide-to-grid obsessions.

And the SLAM! front end for the ADC can be as simple as a transformer and a couple other minor components. Very simple and to the point.

Anyhow, whatever it might be, the difference is enough, that in my SLAM! vs. ATR 1" 2 track comparisons (2 mics live to 2 tracks) I found that my conclusions were reversed from what you wrote above.

truer to performance and feel=SLAM!
truer to overall sound balance and low noise =well, the noise on that 1" 2 track is pretty negligible- both tape and SLAM! did very well here.

But, the SLAM! is the first converter I've found that I would say this about. Mostly, I find great tape to be much better with perfomance and feel than "pretty good" digital.

But I'm not talking about multitrack stuff. Haven't tried that with the SLAM! yet. I do find though, that multitrack is not very true to performance or feel- possibly one of it's greatest advantages!

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Bill Mueller

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2005, 08:59:29 pm »

C'mon Nika. I know you are out there somewhere.

Bill
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WhyKooper

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2005, 09:33:45 pm »

That's what I was going to say.  Everybody better watch it or Nika will turn this thread into a math-a-thon.
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Level

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2005, 01:50:48 am »

We can get to 9 pages in one hell of a hurry. Nika, the turbocharger!

(In all due respect, I am not disrepecting him at all here)
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maxdimario

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2005, 07:02:46 am »

ted nightshade wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 00:27


Anyhow, whatever it might be, the difference is enough, that in my SLAM! vs. ATR 1" 2 track comparisons (2 mics live to 2 tracks) I found that my conclusions were reversed from what you wrote above.

truer to performance and feel=SLAM!
truer to overall sound balance and low noise =well, the noise on that 1" 2 track is pretty negligible- both tape and SLAM! did very well here.

But, the SLAM! is the first converter I've found that I would say this about. Mostly, I find great tape to be much better with perfomance and feel than "pretty good" digital.

But I'm not talking about multitrack stuff. Haven't tried that with the SLAM! yet. I do find though, that multitrack is not very true to performance or feel- possibly one of it's greatest advantages!





what electronics were in the atr machine?
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ted nightshade

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2005, 11:23:34 am »

maxdimario wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 04:02

 


what electronics were in the atr machine?


That's a very relevant question. I've wondered if things might have come out differently with different tape machine electronics. These were the most expensive ones available, as far as I can tell- EAR/Tim Paravencini (sp?) custom tube electronics. I wonder what it would have been like with the Dave Hill electronics or the stock ones.
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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maxdimario

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2005, 12:08:56 pm »

ted nightshade wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 17:23

maxdimario wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 04:02

 


what electronics were in the atr machine?


That's a very relevant question. I've wondered if things might have come out differently with different tape machine electronics. These were the most expensive ones available, as far as I can tell- EAR/Tim Paravencini (sp?) custom tube electronics. I wonder what it would have been like with the Dave Hill electronics or the stock ones.



I am not familiar of the design philosophy behind the tape head amps by EAR, but they should be of a high enough quality to address the imaging issue...

I am going to look into this further, it seems too good to be true, but maybe somebody got it right after all.


gotta check that out.
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compasspnt

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2005, 02:14:17 pm »

maxdimario wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 12:08



I am not familiar of the design philosophy behind the tape head amps by EAR, but they should be of a high enough quality to address the imaging issue...

I am going to look into this further, it seems too good to be true, but maybe somebody got it right after all.


gotta check that out.



Believe me, if anyone ever got it right (in this modern day), it's Tim.  I've dealt with him since '85-86.  I have many of his pieces, the EQ's Limiter, and Mic pre.  He does good...

Terry


PS:  ask Fletcher
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Fig

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2005, 04:17:48 pm »

The drama is killin' me,

Tape is not gone.

Are tubes gone?

I just checked again and the library is still stacked to the ceiling with rolls of the stuff.

Its not like tape is extinct - ie:  died off and disappeared, gone the way of the do-do bird, like a battery or something -- useless.

I have reels specifically reserved for re-use (as in track to 2" and dump to something less...ummm...bulky?).  They say reels can last a lifetime, so what are we worried about?

I think back to when there were no more Pultecs, or Fairchilds.  But then, I go into a recording studio and there they are!  No wonder I can't find 'em on *Bay!

ELAM 251s??  Remember when there were no more?  What brought 'em back?  Fools like us willing to pay ANYTHING for one (thanks John McBride, Alan Sides and Sony Music Corp, etc.).

Same with the 1176 & LA2a - it was "worth" it for Bill Jr. to bring them back.  It will be worth it for Quantegy to rise from the ashes or ATR to come up with something else.

All the debates about "how many times can I record over it?" crack me up.  You know how many times one occasionally has to punch-in on the same spot over and over (generally right before the guitar solo)?  I think the reels enjoy getting used over and over, kind of a masochistic pleasure that rivals young performers' enthusiam.  Beats the heck out of "undo" or "next virtual track".

Whomever it is that's interviewing engineers and they say "no one uses tape" must be in the outback somewhere - no offense, Linear.

Linear said, "Maybe I'm stupid but I'm focussing all my attention on how to continue recording in the analog domain."

You are certainly NOT stupid, and you are probably not thrifty either <wink>.

Saying that the delivery medium to the public (mp3 or worse) is reason enough to lower our sound quality standards and nobody cares/notices "these days" is a bunch of hogwash, too.  If you cannot tell the difference, sonically, perhaps you are in the wrong field of expertise.

Those that wish to record to analog will find a way to do it.  Just like those that hunt wild game or drive muscle cars or whatever.  The process is the pleasure.

Warm analog regards,

Thom "Fig" Fiegle




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slicraider

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Re: The Future Without Tape
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2005, 11:05:15 pm »

In other words, is analogue a desirable, non-losable "effect" that can be utilised?


I have to say yes. I have recently tracked straight to PT HD and all other times I have gone to 2" analog prior. Going to analog has always provided glue between all the recorded instruments which provided a much more musical sound. Listening to the tracks going straight to PT I can see where my energies will be spent during the mix.

Rick Slater

New York
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