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create tape delay with tascam 4-track ?

 
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Dub Cowboy



Joined: 15 Jul 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 9:23 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

I have a simple tascam 4-track and I want to use it to create a tape delay effect.
Mostly I'd like to know where to stick the plugs, which out to which in.
The machine has a pitch control, so thats a plus.

I'm also curious about other techniques, but am having a little trouble deciphering all the information.

for now, the goal is to be able to recreate any live dubbing with live instruments. (still using the Tascam)

any help is much appreciated

Nick
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Mike Zee



Joined: 20 Mar 2001
Posts: 766
Location: NY, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:52 pm    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

Nick, Which Tascam machin do you have?

General idea is:
First of all your recorder must be 3-head, meaning that it has separate record-head and play-head. It also needs to have a Monitor function, usually a switch between source and tape tape. When you select 'tape' the output of you recorder 'plays' back through play head what the record-head is recording. So the delay here is a 'function' of tape-speed and distance between two heads. Then you also need to send output signal back into mixer so you can send a 'portion' of delayed sound back to record-head (input of your recorder) and by adjusting gain on your mixer - you adjust FEEDBACK.
Connections are:
example:
AUX (from mixer) to tape-recorder's input.
Tape recorder's out (siwitch to monitor/tape) to IN of the one of the mixer's channel.
So this way AUX send-Knob of this channel will become The Adjasment Of Feedback Knob and Channel's Gain will be a Delay Level.
Also if you have more sophisticated mixing desk, then you can have more options on how to patch signals of your tape-delay machine. You can use subgroups asignment, so you can use mixer's channels gain instead of AUX send.
Now where is Delay Time Knob? :) heh heh ... well there's no damn thing. So there's nothing you can do here. However, you can change tape's speed. Or you can add another 'device' into the chain - a compromising device, I shall say - Digital delay pedal (or other unit which has digital delay). This will simply delay a signal between Tape's output and BackIn of the mixer. Since digital delay pedal has a Delay Time knob - now you have Time adjustment in your analog tape delay "system". What you'll have to live here with is the fact that you in general terms let your signal to be once converted into digital sample, being copy/paste once (sort of :), and then converted back to analog. If this is unacceptable for you, then the only way to have delay time control would be tape speed (which has limitations), or try to use your mechanic's creative cells and build up something on your machine, so you can smoothly adjust distance between record and play-back heads. One way of doing it to pull tape from between heads and create some V-like roll around, which you can adjust. You can call it V-tape-extension (I just made it up :))

/Respects
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE
ZEE DUB LAB

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JB Sepia



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:32 pm    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

Hi!
i`ve heard of varispeed or varispeed-modded tape machines in old studios that had fine adjustment on tape speed to vary the echo, anyone knows about this and how to do it?
thank you!

JB in Montreal!
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 12:26 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

JB,
could you be more specific on what do you mean by "vary the echo". Just to make sure what is your question about.
Do you mean delay time or something else?

respects,
/Mike Zee aka DrZEE

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JB Sepia



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:10 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

i mean vary the speed of the delay, (delay time)
JB
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Mike Zee



Joined: 20 Mar 2001
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 5:18 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

well, then it's simple as is. Faster you spin - sooner the recorded signal gets to play-head - shorter delay time. Slower - longer delay.
You have to adjust by 'ear' in real time... it's not going to be perfectly to the beat/bmp...which is of course the BEAUTY of it :).
Again, let's say with 12% pitch/speed control you have not so much to play around with. Also heads are very close to each other... so you can not really long delay time. So other options are:
1.using actually two same model reel-to-reel machines (place one next to the other on the same desk (level them), run the tape from one machine to the takeup reel of the other.... vary the distance between machines to get longer delay)
2. Using extra digital delay (like guitar pedal) in the chain.
3. Pull the tape between record and play heads, extending tape-distance between record and play back.
What ever you do, the fine speed adjustment on the machine may really help to get better delay timing to the bmp of the track....

/respects,
/M ZEE

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JB Sepia



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 7:14 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

Mayba that`s all it is then, i was thinking of a more radical speed variation, something that made the motor run much slower or much faster, that had more range, would it possible to modify a motor to do such a thing?, thanks for all the info!
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 9:25 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

technically it is possible, however, I'd say it would be more complicated and not really practical. Here's what I mean. You don't want to slow the tape allot, because slower tape- less recording quality. Too fast? -what's the point? - you already have pretty short delay to begin with.
So, again, I'd say if you wish to really use your hands and creative mind :) modifying your machine for tape-delay, then I'd say, try to build up something mecanical - a simple roller-stand(s), which would pull/guide the tape inbetween record and play heads, which you can move away/back (pulling more or less tape), so you create a V-loop like tape pass. This way you can make longer tape-space between heads. First you'll be changing delay time in 'hard-step' - mechanically, and then fine-adjust by tape speed/pitch-control.
But, again, the most practical method is to use a digital delay for delay-time control, also see this topic

/respects,
M ZEE

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Dub Cowboy



Joined: 15 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 1:52 am    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

Ok, the Tascam that I have is a portastudio 414. My sound is coming from another source (roland sp-808) into the 1st channel in the Tascam. When I run from the "monitor out" into the mixer and then back into the 2nd channel of the 414(while the tape is recording)...all I get is nasty distortion and feedback, not the good kind either.

Much appreciated
Nick
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Looter



Joined: 13 Mar 2001
Posts: 111
Location: US

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 5:52 pm    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

I think you're using the wrong equipment for tape delay. It would be difficult, if not impossible to use a cassette portastudio as a delay machine. If you would really like to make an echo unit from a tape machine get an old Ampex reel unit or something similar.
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Mike Zee



Joined: 20 Mar 2001
Posts: 766
Location: NY, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 7:54 pm    Post subject: create tape delay with tascam 4-track ? Reply with quote

Nick, you can not use 414 for delay. You need a tape recorder (cassette or reel-2-reel) with 3 heads. 414 has only two: erase and record/play (rec/play is one head which does record or play depending on what you are doing). I think you are confusing with the word "monitor". It's just the same word, you know...heh heh
In three head machine setting/switch between "source" and "monitor" means that you selecting between sending signal to output/monitor-section/headphone-out from the INPUT SOURCE (so you hear what is comming in before being recorded) AND sending signal to output/monitor-section/headphone-out from third head (play head), so you hear actually what already is being recorded (has been recorded) on tape during recording, but you hear it with a short delay (time delay from recorded signal) simply because the play head seats next to record head.

/respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr.ZEE

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