cheap tape saturation

- ask away
oblioblioblio
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2556
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:38 am
Contact:

cheap tape saturation

Post by oblioblioblio » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:35 pm

you want tape sheen / saturation / compression?

Consumer recording decks had some pretty high quality designs so people could use them for recording vinyl etc.

There are some decks that have 3 heads. These have a head after the recording head which allows you to monitor what's just been recorded.

Therefore, for cheap real time tape saturation look for a deck like this. I got a really nice deck a while ago for cheaper than a tape emulation plugin, and only just found out how to do this. It sounds really nice I have to say.


oblioblioblio
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2556
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:38 am
Contact:

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by oblioblioblio » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:59 pm

Nice link. i think I got lots of info from there, including the recomendation for the deck I got.

I read quite a bit that Nakamichi recordings only sound good on Nakamichi decks, which implied to me a bit of a conspiracy and not just transparent work. I guess maybe that's less relevant if you're doing this trick. The other thing worth paying attention to is how easy it is to maintain. Luckily lots of these companies are designing things for the real long term.

I got a Denon DN790r pretty cheaply which has balanced in out and works on all tapes including modern metal ones, and has auto detect to calribrate itself to the exact tape you are using.

It's a joke how cheap this is, firstly compared to tape emulation plugins. I even saw some tape emulation digital hardware for big money, like 10 times the price of getting a cassette deck.

Get the real thing for much cheaper and it sounds great. I wouldn't want to use cassette for full recording but for individual tracks its fucking fantastic.

sorgenkind
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 538
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:41 pm
Location: zh - switzerland
Contact:

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by sorgenkind » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:29 am

Oblio, or Steevio:
I have a couple of questions about tape decks.
What about availability of cassettes?
I remember they used to start sounding horribly after you re-re-recorded on them –but this was 20 years ago, using cheap cassettes and cheap equipment, I wasn’t even making music yet, just taping my favourite radio shows.
So I guess for studio use you don’t want to record 2 time on the same cassette, unless you are after some kind of lofi effect, am I right?
What about S/N ratio? Are those recommended decks top of the line with reasonable S/N ratio?
Considering that at least in my case I’d record on cassette from the computer (went ITB early this year) and then from cassette to computer again, I fear a hiss fest.
I understand plugins emulate tape machines and not cassettes, so I think having the two options would be great but since I never consciously heard tape saturation of real tape machines yet (or better said, never compared the same recording with and without tape treatment, but hopefully next year I should be able to go to a studio and record some of my stuff on a otari machine and finally hear what’s all about) I wonder how do you rate the difference here.
If you have experience with tape machines, how would you compare the cassette vs tape saturation?

Thank you

oblioblioblio
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2556
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:38 am
Contact:

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by oblioblioblio » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:40 am

I don't know how many times you can use a cassette. I think they will surely start to wear, but I'm happy to use it till it degrades, maybe if I want to record pop in a new one.

Availability of cassettes isn't a problem, especially if you get a deck that can use all tapes, some are in production still, and there are hoardes of new/slightly used tapes on ebay etc.

I think different tapes will sound different, as well as different settings and different levels. This cassette method is a much better way to check than using a vintage tape machine. THe real time playback thing is the big difference to me.

I noticed some hiss and tape noise yesterday, after not hearing it at all the first night I spent. Using this method, on my tape deck at least, it was possible for me to use Dolby Noise reduction (which I didn't think would work actually, but it did), but I believe that uses some kind of compression algorithm. It seemed to sound good transient wise but I'd like to check further. It made the noise almost unnoticeable. The other option to avoid hiss is just to hit the tape as hard as possible.

For me the signal to ratio using this method was much higher than say a distortion pedal.

lem
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 742
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:31 pm

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by lem » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:06 pm

I used to use an old 80's (?) NAD tape deck. It was quite hissy, but it all added to it imho.

It could do evil things to a signal. All sorts of artifacts, but thats part of the reason for using something like this. I was always using old degraded tape, the eraser head wasn't that great and would leave traces of old radio recordings in the background, which sounded bloody marvelous btw.

I used it on everything for a while... Until something mechanical went wrong then I stupidly threw it out. I just didn't have space for it anymore. I wish I had at least ripped out those VU meters..

sorgenkind
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 538
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:41 pm
Location: zh - switzerland
Contact:

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by sorgenkind » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:10 pm

Thanks oblio!
After my holidays I might start looking for a tape deck.
There is a shop near my house which is specialized in vintage hifi stuff, it has piles of tapedecks, amps and so ob, the guy should be able to give some good advice I guess.
Next year I’ll be probably taping, after 20+ years without having used a cassette!

kdgh
mnml mmbr
mnml mmbr
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:51 pm

Re: cheap tape saturation

Post by kdgh » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:51 pm

I use a tascam portastudio 414.
Don't know if it has 3 heads, but it works damn good for some good dirt on the sounds!

Also planning buying a revox 77 with 15 ips to use it as a mastertape for all my pre-masters

Post Reply