1. avatar Rocky
    I've been thinking about purchasing a 16 track 2" tape machine and I'm wondering what the general level of interest is here for bands looking to use this type of facility.

    This is for Start Together Studio, so the recording set up would incorporate Pro Tools HD3 if needed, and our usual
    selection of mics/pres/instruments and rooms.

    It would be a big step in taking us closer to the platforms used at places like Electrical, Inner Ear, Abbey Road, Presto! and so on.

    As far as I'm aware, no one else in Northern Ireland is running 2" tape at the moment, but I want to know, why?

    Are bands interested in this? Are you interested in recording in this manner, aware in the pros and cons? Prepared to pay the £300-600 in tape costs for an album?

    We currently have a 16 track 1/2" tape machine,
    the type that many a fine punk rock album has been recorded on.
    But after 2 years of business, we've only had our first
    tape project start this week.

    I'd love to know what people think about this!

    www.startogetherstudio.com
  2. avatar AliceKonaBand
    My first post!
    if we ever had the cash, we'd be all over that rocky.
    would it only be available for album-length recordings, or are singles a viable option for cash-strapped but analog lovin' funboys?
  3. avatar Rocky
    It would be available for whatever anyone wanted it for.
  4. avatar Pete
    I offered 16 track 2" recordings at Blueroom (using an MCI J16) for a couple of years and only one band was ever interested and in the end they didn't bother. After a while I just stopped giving people the option knowing that I could at least do it if anyone specifically asked.
  5. avatar AliceKonaBand
    cheers rocky, we'll be in touch when we figure our lives out. for either this new tape jive, or the one you've already got.
    ta'
  6. avatar jazzmasta2000
    theres def a bit of a difference in wat u get.. do u do much producing in the studio rocky??
  7. avatar Rocky
    Yeah,
    I've worked on a lot of stuff,
    there's a partial list here;

    www.myspace.com/rockyoreilly
  8. avatar albrechtspencil
    Rocky, great to see someone trying to get some analogue recording established in NI. As Pete says though it is quite a niche market and generally for bands that really know what they want.

    We've been recording recently with a guy called Dan Acheson (with digital equipment mind) but we've been talking for a while about the method and sound associated with analogue 2" recording and how it would be great to have that set up in NI. In future we'd definitely be interested in properly exploring it but like you say it does require a bit more thought (and financial commitment).

    Anyway, hope you can develop a bit of interest for this because I think a lot of potential candidates might need to gain a better understanding of the technique before they'll declare a proper interest. Hopefully you can use your position in the mini-hub that is start together/ohyeah to start some buzz about it and get an idea of how many artists would genuinely consider it.
  9. avatar Declan
    Just out of interest, would you record an Oppenheimer album to 2"?
    or would you use it as an effect (some tracks to tape/some straight to protools) or record everything to tape then use protools to edit? then back to tape...or various combinations?

    [quote:5790f84d09]As far as I'm aware, no one else in Northern Ireland is running 2" tape at the moment, but I want to know, why?[/quote:5790f84d09]

    3 reasons imho:

    1. I would guess most people don't know/haven't heard or can't hear the difference.
    2. Extra cost for how much extra gain, if you're not an audiophile/geek (see above)?
    3. ipods/myspace/interweb - does the quality translate down if it's going to 128/256kb mp3 at the end of the day? (genuinely don't know the answer to this)

    I love, love, love tape but digital is cheaper, easier to understand for bands.It's generally quicker... sounds great if you know what you are doing, easier to not fuck up etc...Actually, I love digital too..there was a time a few years ago, when it was brittle, colder and harsher sounding but definitely not any more... Digital recordings can be as real and warm and punchy as anything I've heard...It's the guy/girl behind the desk that makes the difference.

    My attitude would be if you can really afford it...fuck it...get it...educate...but then I shouldn't really say that as you're competition an all.. ;-)

    Let me know what you do....interested.
    D.
  10. avatar The Ronster
    Surely, and this is speaking as a complete ignoramus, adding an analogue stage into a recording process that will inevitably be digital is an act of futility?

    If you record at the highest resolution possible digitally, surely that will translate to the exact same resolution when the tape is digitised?

    All notions of warmth, et cetera could be sorted out when mixing/mastering? No?

    I'm quite prepared to be completely wrong on this one, I'd just like it explained to me. Is it just the cache of being able to say it was recorded on tape?

    Without trying to sound like the technophile I so clearly am - isn't the very notion of physical formats for music on its arse? And I don't mean for collectors - they quite clearly have a problem. I mean for Joe Public - in 5-10 years this whole industry will be digital, purely for economic reasons.

    Please note - I'm not having a go at vinyl-heads - I love my vinyl, but only for stuff that was recorded analogue in the first place. Anything else is just, well, posing.
  11. avatar tinpot anto
    two words: TAPE SATURATION ron, it's still impossible to adequately replicate digitally.

    Listen to Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family stone.

    That's the sound there you want all the time :-)

    I'd love to record to tape
  12. avatar The Ronster
    My experience is that as soon as you say its impossible to do something digitally, someone has created a widget that does just that.

    Might take a bit longer, but it'll happen eventually.
  13. avatar tinpot anto
    Yeah but the processing power required to even do a half arsed job at emulating the swell, differential frequency response and soft distortion created just by running a tape recorder a bit "hot" probably requires dedicated equipment costing 10x the price of the tape you'd use doing it right.

    Clarity is overrated in music :-)
  14. avatar The Ronster
    Ah but Anto, Moore's Law clearly states that a laptop capable of just that will be released next week in PC World for £150. :lol:

    Actually, it doesn't sound like something that would require a heavy duty machine at all, but then what do I know!
  15. avatar tenrabbits
    [quote:25de9693da="tinpot anto"]Yeah but the processing power required to even do a half arsed job at emulating the swell, differential frequency response and soft distortion created just by running a tape recorder a bit "hot" probably requires dedicated equipment costing 10x the price of the tape you'd use doing it right.[/quote:25de9693da]

    That's completely true, as long as you're still living in the late 90s. That kind of processing is the kind of thing your phone could do now - it's not particularly complex, just needs a bit of number crunching! The difficulty is that whereas tape does it automatically, it takes a bit of brainpower to get the same effect from a digital emulation.

    But not much.. it's all about what sounds good innit.
  16. avatar tinpot anto
    I kept torturing pete to try the currently available plug ins on our stuff and the result was always
    A- crap
    B- crippling to the computer

    So i conclude that a successful tape emulator is some way from being a viable option for affordable studios

    This man concurs
    http://www.audiomasterclass.com/arc.cfm?a=what-important-feature-do-analog-tape-simulators-lack
  17. avatar tenrabbits
    Ignoring the usual even/odd harmonic argument.. what's new to me is wow/flutter being a good thing (or rather just the flutter). There really is a lot of bollocks talked about this kind of thing. The pro-level tape recording units actually boast about how LITTLE wow and flutter they have - increasing cost results in less of both - so by that what he's saying is that the cheaper the recording unit the better it sounds? All that time I've spent with line-up tape and a bloody oscilloscope trying to get rid of these sort of effects and there now it's exactly what you want!
  18. avatar tinpot anto
    My thoughts:

    Sounds like Sly and The Family Stone = Good
    Doesn't sound like Sly and The Family Stone = Less good :-)

    Whatever it takes to get that class warm speaker filling sexy niceness.
  19. avatar tenrabbits
    Haha! Fair enough - now that I can understand!
  20. avatar Motor Sounds Records
    We recorded the Bonnevilles album to tape (albeit cassette tape on a Tascam 688 ) but we wanted a real real lo-fi tape sound, we didn't even use noise reduction. Obviously it suits that band and wouldn't be right for most, it sounds great, but for the next album we're getting a 1/4inch 8 track which will bring the quality up a tad but not much.

    the Analogue vs digital argument will roll on but I love the tape sound, theres just no comparison, tape sound is almost like another instrument.

    By the way Rocky nice article in Tape op, well done.
  21. avatar Rocky
    [quote:95b11ee4eb]Just out of interest, would you record an Oppenheimer album to 2"? [/quote:95b11ee4eb]

    Hell yeah. It may not be at every stage of the process,
    with extreme electronic manipulation that is part of Oppenheimer, that'll be done in pro tools. I imagine we'll lock the two up and record drums/bass synth & guitars
    to tape. Maybe even spit all the electronica and vox
    onto tape when they are mixed down to stems.



    [quote:95b11ee4eb]
    1. I would guess most people don't know/haven't heard or can't hear the difference.
    2. Extra cost for how much extra gain, if you're not an audiophile/geek (see above)?
    3. ipods/myspace/interweb - does the quality translate down if it's going to 128/256kb mp3 at the end of the day? (genuinely don't know the answer to this) [/quote:95b11ee4eb]

    1. I think that any of the artists I've worked with in the past year know the difference and any bands I'd like to work with in the future know the difference. I know the difference. But I'm interested to see how far beyond that
    musicians in Belfast care about such things.

    2. I honestly believe if you can't hear the differences
    between tape/digital or for that matter any recording processes, you shouldn't be making the decisions for your band - which drops it back into the production talk we were having.

    3. I think it does. On my i-pod, the albums that sound amazing on cd still sound good, the ones that sound bad still sound bad on mp3. It hasn't changed my quality control in slightest, because it hasn't changed what music or production is for me.

    RONSTER - You get certain sounds by using certain pieces of equipment, that will never change.

    If you use a Stagg guitar into a Behringer amp, into a Samson mic to a M-Audio pre amp into a Korg multi-track,
    it will sound a certain way.

    If you take a Les Paul into a JCM 800, mic with a U47 into a Neve Channel strip and record to 2" tape, it will sound a different way.

    Despite both things ending up on CD/mp3.

    Otherwise we could all record to dictaphones!

    -------

    I think emulators can be interesting, but they are not the same as using the actually units. They sound different,
    be they tape, guitar amps, microphones.
    Sometimes interesting, often useful but not the same.

    Clearly, emulators are made to give people who cannot afford the things they want, something around the area of things they want. Otherwise no one would be making guitar amps any more, Neve/SSL would be out of business and there would be no tape manufacture.

    -------

    Bottom line for me is:

    If you like how certain things sound and the qualities they hold, that's how you record them.

    No amount of trickery will deliver the same results,
    they might deliver interesting and amazing, possibly "better" results, but not the same.

    To me, the most inspiring studios and producers use certain equipment and there's a certain quality and style of sonics achieved because of it.
    If I want to achieve that level of results I need to
    use an equal style of equipment.
    That's why we choose to buy the guitars/drums/mics/amps/desks/recorders/pres/compressors/strings/sticks/distortions/echoes that we do.

    Of course non of this matters above the songs that are being recorded.








    [/quote]
  22. avatar Sadoldgit
    Good on you for offering the service.

    As one who grew up listening to vinyl which was all AAA, not CD`s whcih were DDD or AAD if old stuff, I can hear the difference.

    There is a warmth and honesty about older recordings that is lost somewhat on more modern stuff.
    Funnily, when you listen to vinyl from the early 70s, its production has aged well, as opposed to the excess of the 80s and beyond.

    It is funny though that vinly, predicted to be dead , buried and decomposing is making a comeback - I bought a nice early rega III last year and have bought some vinyl in the past couple of years...its also ironic that recording to tape is also becomin ght e audiophile`s method of choice.

    Digital gear is amazing ...truly mindblowing, and i dare say, if spoend you time on getting the right sound and use very little post processing and fuckin about, you will get something close to the hands off production style of some of my favourite albums, but, good on someone for offering the service.
  23. avatar Pete
    The other aspect to working with tape that most people forget when considering the technical side is the mental and logistical side. With Terabytes of hard drive space you can spend all day doing take after take, drop in after drop in and edit the whole thing together, "fixing in the mix".

    Working with tape brings a more linear approach to recording and every take counts. A limited track count combined with expensive tape tends to either focus the mind a bit better or reduce musicians to nervous wrecks.
  24. avatar rl-vl
    i use alot of tape for rl/vl stuff, though i'm more into the destroyed sound of degraded tapes. i bought 40 unopened pyral tapes from the 70's and the degraded sound is just incredible. gives anything a bit of character.
    i've been after a proper 1"/2" reel to reel for a while, perhaps i'll get one some day.
  25. avatar Sadoldgit
    i could have bought an old reel to reel not that many years ago for a burger and packet of sweets.
    Perfectly functioning with about 50 reels, many unused.

    It all ended up in a skip befoe I knew the bloke was looking rid.
    Crying shame.
  26. avatar feline1
    some points...

    —"Ferox" is a good freeware VST tape simulator plugin.
    http://www.jeroenbreebaart.com/audio_vst.htm#ferox

    —it's a bit naive thinking that if you record onto tape, your tunes will automatically sound as good as classic albums from the early 70s. If that were the case, people's 4-track cassette portastudio demos from 1993 would just just as good as classic albums from the early 70s. Whilst this is of course the case for Feline's four track 4-track EP which sold one copy in 1994 in Hereoes & Villians, it most instances it is demonstrably NOT the case.
    Other important factors are: how good your songs & arrangements are, how good your playing and performances are. The quality of the outboard equipment. And the mix. And the hairstyles.

    Plus, everyone chainsmoked in studios in the early 70s, and the nicotene and particulates made a big difference to the circuits.[/list]
  27. avatar Rocky
    Thanks for all the input guys.

    It's going to be essential in achieving certain sounds I'm after, so there will be a tape machine appearing sometime soon.
    I'll keep anyone who's interested updated.
  28. avatar legitmik
    Use a 1" 16 track down at Blast Furnace when the need arises. Tascam 85-16B.

    Works great for bands who want to record live. The Landed Gentry being an example.

    Record to tape, dump into PT, edit, add some overdubs and mix. Did 2/3 of Junior Johnson's contribution to the latest Glasgowbury CD that way. I loved it, so did he.

    Definitely sounds better on cymbals and room mikes than our HD2 rig (192 convertors).

    2" would be nice to hear.
  29. avatar Chi-Lite
    We used a 2" analog machine when recording our album "Sticks and Stones".

    I'm not much of an audiophile, and don't really understand the tecnologit, but it's the best sounding recordning I've ever made. the drums sound absolutely brilliant, so full of depth and body. I'd definitely do all of our later recordings on such a machine, assuming someone else is paying for it.
  30. avatar pauldoherty
    aye, we actually recorded drums and bass from the machine onto pro-tools and the results were amazing...real depth in the sound of each. I would def do it again.