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Old 02-26-2020, 11:43 AM
hat hat is offline
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Default Does anyone use tape anymore?

I discovered some 10" reels of Maxell tape that had been stashed away, and it started me wondering if anyone still even used tape to record with anymore?
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:57 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Deserving of a long, complicated answer. But since it's a yes/no question... yes. People do still record on tape.
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Old 02-26-2020, 01:41 PM
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Yes there is a small cadre of pros that still record to analog tape. And no doubt some small unknown number of amateurs as well
There is even a niche company called Endless Audio, that makes outboard HW units to interface directly between multi channel Tape machines and Pro Tools while working in Protools

http://www.endlessanalog.com/home
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Old 02-26-2020, 03:19 PM
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I've got a Sony APR-24 2" 24 track with Dolby SR noise reduction and a Sony APR-5003 2 track sitting in the machine room. I also have my personal Tandberg 9100Xm consumer format 1/4" deck available.



I still do analog work, from archiving analog tapes to mastering others for CD or streaming. I occasionally get a job like remixing a legacy movie score for CD or MP3 release. Most of my current music recording is digital.

These days there are modern, high-tech studios and there are studios that have outfitted themselves with restored top-end gear from the golden age of studios. Interestingly, several consoles that I spent years on now live in studios like this. Some artists prefer legacy class-A recording consoles and analog tape. It is getting incredibly expensive to do, especially when you consider that top analog builder Studer destroyed all their stock of spares when they decided to go out of the analog business.

And, as Kev mentioned, there are the hybrids that record "through" an analog tape deck onto a DAW. It is an interesting concept.

Bob
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:15 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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I still have a number of 1/4" & 1/2" analog tape machines that are used for playback of clients' tapes but haven't recorded or mixed to analog for at least 15 years.
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:55 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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There's nothing quite like the saturation you get from real tape. Some tape plugins do a fairly decent job of emulating that but I haven't heard one that doesn't fall short of real tape. I have a pair of the Neve 542 units. I like them but I think they work best if you mix into them. Adding them after the fact often doesn't quite feels right. Things sound overly saturated and force you go back and make adjustments elsewhere, essentially mixing the song a 2nd time.

At about the 5:45 mark you can hear a song A/Bed with the tape machine and without it. There's a bit of a volume difference that makes the comparison a bit unfair, but I can absolutely hear the nice creamy saturation the tape machine is delivering.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I've got a Sony APR-24 2" 24 track with Dolby SR noise reduction and a Sony APR-5003 2 track sitting in the machine room. I also have my personal Tandberg 9100Xm consumer format 1/4" deck available.



Bob
I'm jealous. Back in the early 70's, I bought a Tandberg stereo receiver. I always wanted to get a reel to reel to match it, but never could find one that I could afford. I finally sold that Tandberg just about 10 years ago. They made excellent equipment, much better than Pioneer, Marantz, etc did back then.
So, there are about 15 unopened rolls of Maxell UD35-180, and probably another 5-7 than have been opened.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
But since it's a yes/no question... yes. People do still record on tape.
With the simplicity and economy of digital recording, especially with the ability to cut and paste, among a great many other capabilities, this really surprises me!
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hat View Post
I'm jealous. Back in the early 70's, I bought a Tandberg stereo receiver. I always wanted to get a reel to reel to match it, but never could find one that I could afford. I finally sold that Tandberg just about 10 years ago. They made excellent equipment, much better than Pioneer, Marantz, etc did back then.
So, there are about 15 unopened rolls of Maxell UD35-180, and probably another 5-7 than have been opened.
Over my years of being an engineer I've had the opportunity to cash in on a number of "fire sales" as studios have closed or updated. I've ended up with some really nice gear at ridiculous prices. That Tandberg is a great example: I paid $25 for it when a radio network was going out of business. A few years ago I was asked to restore a master tape of a national artist's concert at the white house. The tape was a 1/4" consumer-format tape. While I was doing my due diligence and research, I discovered that producer Phil Ramone was asked by the Kennedy Administration to update the equipment used in the White House. He chose Tandberg tape decks to record all the events. I "baked" the master tape to fix the oxide to the backing and then transferred it to digital using the Tandberg 9100X. The record and playbacl decks matched wonderfully. From there I mastered it for release as a CD. We are waiting for the legal issues to move through and expect a release "sometime soon." More HERE.

Bob

By the way, the reason I bought this deck is because this model was the deck I did my first professional recording on way back in 1978.
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:33 AM
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Very cool reading Bob. In this day of 'instant' everything, and digital streaming muzak, it's nice to hear a tale of real music being preserved.
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:41 AM
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I have an old Teac AR40S two channel tape recorder and a whole bunch of tape with many recordings of bands from the 70's and a couple of blank reels. About 10 years ago I had to put on a new drive belt as the old one turned to mush. After that it worked perfectly. I haven't used it for a long time , but it is sitting in my studio if I need it. Now that I have a Tascam M108 mixer I may hook it up, and bring it back to life. I have a couple of spare channels on the mixer I just may do that.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:05 AM
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Anything having to do with tape use is interesting.

I had a top of the line Tascam 4 track cassette multitracker that I purchased new and literally couldn't give away for several years. One of my friends spied it in a box and told me they were once again very popular with the "lo fi" crowd and I should ebay it. I was shocked to sell it for close to what I paid for it when it was new.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Anything having to do with tape use is interesting.

I had a top of the line Tascam 4 track cassette multitracker that I purchased new and literally couldn't give away for several years. One of my friends spied it in a box and told me they were once again very popular with the "lo fi" crowd and I should ebay it. I was shocked to sell it for close to what I paid for it when it was new.
When I finally sold my Tandberg receiver on Fleabay, it brought something around $350. I too was shocked. Guess I'll list this tape, and see where it goes...
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:35 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCougar View Post
With the simplicity and economy of digital recording, especially with the ability to cut and paste, among a great many other capabilities, this really surprises me!
A couple comments on that...

1. It's pretty easy to fill up a 24-track tape for "the sound" and then transfer to a DAW for the simplicity and economy. Beyond those first 24 tracks, you can still do it but it's a lot less simple.

2. Most of us of a certain age haven't heard recorded or broadcast audio that's Never Been Digital in a really long time. Most folks 30 and under probably never have.

Speaking strictly for myself, hearing a recording that has never undergone a digital conversion is an experience that's very different from a CD or a digital file. It's not just "hearing," it's something on a central-nervous-system that just plain feels good, and I can do it for hours on end. When I put on a CD, even one of music I adore, I get all twitchy after about ten or fifteen minutes and need to shut it off.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:16 PM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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Well I fired up my Teac tape recorder and it has a few problems, the record buttons don't activate, the transport isn't working right, and the left channel doesn't take a signal.....only good for parts now.
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