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R/E/P => Recording - Engineering & Production => Topic started by: Bubba--Kron on March 15, 2011, 11:11:27 pm

Title: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Bubba--Kron on March 15, 2011, 11:11:27 pm
Ive read that Massenburg does not use tape at all anymore.     Does the majority of stuff making money ever get bounced to tape??      Is that only in the mastering phase usually?


Is there certain types of music that using all tape would be a disservice to the music??

Thanks
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: BobSchwenkler on March 16, 2011, 02:08:29 am
Not a direct answer to your question at all, but "disservicel to the music" is very subjective.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Gio on March 16, 2011, 09:17:29 am
I would imagine these days there are plenty of major releases that never see tape.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Jim Williams on March 16, 2011, 11:11:25 am
The closest a commercial CD ever gets to tape is that packing tape used on the box that shipped them.

Modern music production has bigger issues to solve than formats, like the sound for example? Or the music maybe?
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: rosshogarth on March 16, 2011, 01:11:33 pm
i recently cut some mixes to vinyl in the mastering process to see if they were altered in a cool way ....
and they were
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Jim Sam on March 18, 2011, 01:24:48 pm
The closest a commercial CD ever gets to tape is that packing tape used on the box that shipped them.

Or the data tape the Archives server is running for backups. :)
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Extreme Mixing on March 18, 2011, 03:04:30 pm
Tape???  I think tape may account for 2% of the work being don in 2011.  Tape is over.

Steve
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Sean Eldon Qualls on March 18, 2011, 05:58:30 pm
Tape???  I think tape may account for 2% of the work being don in 2011.  Tape is over.

Steve

What about all of the truly great work? What percentage of that is done on tape?

Mid-high double digits.

Lots and lots of great studios and engineers still using tape. ATR is currently manufacturing fantastic tape, too.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Fletcher on March 19, 2011, 03:40:54 am
i recently cut some mixes to vinyl in the mastering process to see if they were altered in a cool way ....
and they were

I've gotta ask... did the label pay for the "cut to lacquer" session - and was it released on vinyl?
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: meverylame on March 19, 2011, 03:52:43 am
Rented a ATR 102 1/2" with extended frequency heads (and own a a80) and a Lavry Blue.. The producer and I were absolutely astonished as to the sound of the ATR. Maybe its that one, but damn... I certainly would say it was a superior mix format to the lavry, in this instance.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Michael Brauer on March 19, 2011, 08:45:14 am
tape is great, it has a gluing factor unlike anything else. depending on the brand and the type of machine, it can make a rock mix rockier, jazz jazzier, R&B...umm R&Bier?

My favorite was a Studer 1/2" 827 using quantegy 499 or before that BASAF. there's a setting in the menu that you can extend the high end so my mixes always had a really cool air on top of the mix. I did primarily R&B or pop rock at the time and it was great for that sound. most guys doing rock used the ATR with Ampex 499 tape. It always sounded like there was a midrange bump around 2k and a small dip around 400 hz on ATR's I think.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: saint on March 19, 2011, 11:10:14 am
I know several mastering engineers, whose ONLY resort is to transfer the mixes to tape in a last ditch effort to 'hand rub' or bring some fading ember of warmth and 'glue' to the finish of the digital crunch that is delivered to them as a 'final master'. The size (1/4", 1/2" or 1"), the type of tape (brand of manufacture), the alignment choice (NAB?, CCIR?), bias choice ('0'/180nwbm, '0'/250nwbm, +6, +9), and speed (7.5 ips, 15ips, 30ips) ALL affect the final sound.

Sadly, tape is effectively 'done' in this 'bizness' now, (more an effect of economics and sheer laziness), but the sound it has (along with the vinyl that was cut from it) will never be 'done'. Also GONE with tape is the fact that ALL the 'digital only' music created in the last 2 decades will NOT be preserved to be remixed, remastered or re-released in the emerging formats to come because the archiving of the current product is not being done properly or thoroughly! I recommend to ALL my clients to 'back up' their masters to multitrack tape and mixes to 2-track analog tape because it has PROVEN itself to last at LEAST 25 years and as much as 40 years.

Because computers have replaced tape it is now a REQUIREMENT to store not only 3 copies of your Masters in 3 different locations, but because the computer hardware AND software are dynamic; constantly evolving simultaneously, if you are not ALSO archiving several of the computers that you worked on with spare drives for them along with several copies of the operating software for the computer, the software for the DAW you used, the versions of plug ins used at that time, as well as paying someone to store them in a bonded, insured location with temperature and humidity control (ideally to not exceed +/- 2.5 degrees or 2.5% excursions), along with paying someone to EXERCISE those hard drives (and replace with working copies of your masters, those which will INEVITABLY break), then your 'Masters' will effectively, NOT EXIST either. DVD & CD have a very limited shelf life in comparison to tape and are notorious for having digital error much more frequently than a hard drive. The hard drives that have replaced the SCSI drives as "professional" are a joke... temporary at their VERY best. You all know how obsolete a computer is in 6 months to 2 years; IMAGINE what computers will be in 25 to 40 years! Do you actually think your Mac Pro, G5, WHATEVER, will be around, supported and actually WORK when you decide you want to put out that 25 year anniversary release?

There is, IMO, by comparison to the "heyday" of music when tape and vinyl ruled, much less WORTH archiving,
but there are a FEW things deserving of being heard several generations down the line. I fear that one of the REAL losses (not just the great audio) with the demise of tape is our ability, attention and concern for proper archiving our music at all!
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Extreme Mixing on March 19, 2011, 06:22:39 pm
What about all of the truly great work? What percentage of that is done on tape?

Mid-high double digits.

Lots and lots of great studios and engineers still using tape. ATR is currently manufacturing fantastic tape, too.

Well...  I suppose "Truly great work" would be different for everyone.  Depends on who you are.  I know that for my son, it would be different that your definition.  He's 19 and he likes what he likes because it defines his world.  It's in the eye of the beholder, that's for sure.

I'm going to quote from Michael Brauer's post here:

My favorite was a Studer 1/2" 827 using quantegy 499 or before that BASAF. there's a setting in the menu that you can extend the high end so my mixes always had a really cool air on top of the mix. I did primarily R&B or pop rock at the time and it was great for that sound. most guys doing rock used the ATR with Ampex 499 tape. It always sounded like there was a midrange bump around 2k and a small dip around 400 hz on ATR's I think.

You'll notice his choice of words--was, had, at the time, was great, most guys doing rock used, it always sounded like there was.

See what I mean?  Past tense.

I'm also not sure how I feel about masters being saved so that they can be remixed later for the 25 year re-release.  Maybe they should be left as they were.  Final mix?

I'm in LA.  The last time I used tape was to make a digital copy of an old master.  But I'm not doing that much great work. 

Does mid high double digits mean 50-90%.  I think that's way too high.

Steve 
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Jim Sam on March 21, 2011, 07:49:15 pm
Because computers have replaced tape it is now a REQUIREMENT to store not only 3 copies of your Masters in 3 different locations, but because the computer hardware AND software are dynamic; constantly evolving simultaneously, if you are not ALSO archiving several of the computers that you worked on with spare drives for them along with several copies of the operating software for the computer, the software for the DAW you used, the versions of plug ins used at that time, as well as paying someone to store them in a bonded, insured location with temperature and humidity control (ideally to not exceed +/- 2.5 degrees or 2.5% excursions), along with paying someone to EXERCISE those hard drives (and replace with working copies of your masters, those which will INEVITABLY break), then your 'Masters' will effectively, NOT EXIST either. DVD & CD have a very limited shelf life in comparison to tape and are notorious for having digital error much more frequently than a hard drive. The hard drives that have replaced the SCSI drives as "professional" are a joke... temporary at their VERY best. You all know how obsolete a computer is in 6 months to 2 years; IMAGINE what computers will be in 25 to 40 years! Do you actually think your Mac Pro, G5, WHATEVER, will be around, supported and actually WORK when you decide you want to put out that 25 year anniversary release?
I highly suggest you read the archival suggestions of NARAS (which AES endorsed) regarding these issues.

http://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/producers-and-engineers/guidelines
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Jim Williams on March 22, 2011, 12:35:45 pm
Rented a ATR 102 1/2" with extended frequency heads (and own a a80) and a Lavry Blue.. The producer and I were absolutely astonished as to the sound of the ATR. Maybe its that one, but damn... I certainly would say it was a superior mix format to the lavry, in this instance.

Great idea, IF the product released is analog tape too. When I was a kid I could buy commercial 7" reels of albums on 1/4" tape. Then came 4 track cartridges, then 8 track, then cassette.

Now days, it's a MP-3 download, unless you are one of those weird people that still buys CD's (like me).

The means you must STILL digitize that master tape if you want to release the music. The question remains: Does the music suffer or is it flattered by taking the listener one additional generation away from the artists by using an analog recorder between the mix and release platform? Is it better to just use the Lavry before or after the analog pass? Which format sounds best on MP-3 or does it make any difference?

Is this the best way to "encode" the analog tape sound? Or is it a better idea to track to an analog 24 track and then bounce to a digital platform?
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: bblackwood on March 22, 2011, 05:16:55 pm
I'd say very few major label projects see tape anymore.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: Joao Bessa on March 24, 2011, 09:49:55 pm
Have you guys heard about endless analog Clasp? It seems tape its getting back again!! Not archive wise but at least for the sound.

http://www.endlessanalog.com/
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: saint on April 21, 2011, 08:20:11 pm
I would recommend that you mix to your 1", 1/2" or 1/4" tape and, in REAL TIME, send the signal off the playback head (BEFORE it wraps) to a HIGH resolution 2 track digital recorder (with the BEST CLOCK you can afford, and the best a/d & d/a you can afford) at no less than 24/176.4. Master from the TAPE and once you have your final e.q.,compression, etc. down then make another (at least 24/17.6,4) digital copy of that as well. Another analog back up of the final mastering to the same (or better) analog format and your usual two or three more digital back ups of that.
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: grievousangel on May 02, 2011, 03:46:00 pm
I would imagine that unless it is specifically requested, the tape machine is not rowed out of the corner or you booked the wrong room for tape. Having said that, I still advance the notion that if tape is done right, tape has an 'bonding' & 'sweetening' effect on the recording that is hard to walk past if you are listening. As most of us can, I can identify a good analog tape recording, with everything else being equal, fairly easy and make very positive comments on said recording. I am 60 years of age so I am from the old analog/tape world but I do agree that digital offers features that are unmatched when comparing to other formats.

BTW: I am not real sure, if humans will actually enjoy 'pure' natural sounding recordings (what ever that is) as they might sound boring. There are many. many sound-changing influences on the actual sound source. Sound capturing & reproducing devices are 'trendy' as well. Again, listen to your ears and your taste, and hope, others have similar ears and taste. Isn't that what makes artists, engineers and producers a brand name? It's not necessarily right or wrong or better or best, but a joining of similar taste within a given trend and current state of the technology. Having rambled on, I do agree that sound quality matters. And, oh yea, what about the song. A great song works regardless of the technology.

Anyways . . . I miss tape or should I say, I miss the sound of tape, as tape can be a pain in the a..! But, I do wish I had a new 1/2" stereo tape machine.

Take care,

William
Title: Re: Do any commercial releases never see tape??
Post by: myles83 on May 04, 2011, 08:49:35 pm
I think "commercial recordings" is a bit hard to pin down, but I think I know what we're talking about...

I've got my hands on 2" GP9 4+ days a week on average.  All rhythm section tracking (drums, bass, basics) goes down on our A800.  So much that I'm restoring a 2nd a800 to be a dedicated 2" 16 track.  Tape is not dead, but I understand the reluctant attitude by many to keep machines calibrated and running properly as well as the clients wishing to forego the expense of tape.  Offering rental reels and discussing the benifits with clients beforehand helps swing em.'  Also, the option to dump to PT at the end of the day eases their worries about "not being able to edit" (razor ;)) I can say definitively that I prefer the workflow, commitment to parts/takes, and sound of tracking analog over the 9 billion vocal takes and gtr parts I wind up with in digital for ods.

Unfortunately, I end up mixing down to digital on most sessions because so many (affordable) mastering facilities are not offering 1/2" or even 1/4" decks anymore.  Its a drag but I'm not the one paying for the record.