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Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe

 
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Mike Zee



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

PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 11:39 am    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

Hi All.

Guys, i've decided to start this separate topic,
just to cover specifically reel-to-reel analog tape multi-track recorders issue.
I really would appreciate any input here from anybody who has and willing to share any experience with any machine.
Bad experience, good experience.
Also, if it is related to specifically dub-production it would be the best, but any other aspects and technical issues are VERY welcome,
even if you do not produce dub at all, but have some info about reel-to-reel(s).
The reason I want to know anything, is because I am looking closely to get some machine to add to my digital-multiTrack recording set-up. I am pretty happy with my AKAI(s) HD-recorders plus computer-based HD-recording,
but it's not the point.
I really want to add analog multi-track.
I am looking into at least 8-track.
was thinking mostly about machines like Tascam TSR-8.
I know how/and have tool to sync it to my midi/digital set-up.
What I don't have is any past technical experience with tape multi-tracks.
And as it is for today, we are talking here about some used machine,
so I would appreciate any advice on what to look for, what to avoid, what's is ok price, any other tech advice etc...
also, I have some knowledge about reel-to-reel recorders in general,
well I'm pretty good at some aspects of older electronics,
but I never happened to have actually multi-track analog tape-machine. I just had in the past some stere-machines of non-pro grade.

or what ever you've got to share about reel-to-reel machines.
Also any info/advice on 'supporting' gear, like NR-units, remote-boxes, what tapes to use etc...
any info on 'care' etc.

Also, I am NOT talking here about 'cassete multi-track recorders' or 'porta-studios'. Only about open reel machines, pls.

would deeply apreciate any input.

thank a bunch,
n' respects,

/Mike Zee
zee dub lab

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interruptor



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1138
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

Mike, I am not recording analog myself (apart from the Revox A77 2-track reel to reel i use for tape delays) but you may like Jack Endino's frequency response graphs for various tape machines:
http://www.endino.com/graphs/

Also this "Why retro is better and cheaper" article may be to your liking:
http://www.digido.com/analog_versus_digital.html
I have to admit though that this guy is moving in different spheres than i do. I am still quite happy with 16bit/48kHz resolution and prefer to get creative instead of counting bits..

finally this one is worth checking out for the nice picks of old reel 2 reel machines alone:
http://www.bassboy.com.au/getreel/
(it's mostly about 2 track recorders though)

Why exactly do you want to record fully analog?
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Mike Zee



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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 3:31 am    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

Daniel, thanks a ton for these linx.
garphs are good to check out 'side-by-side' for different machines.
bassboy's collection :), he he, some 'cool'-old reels pics there. yeah, it's an 'exhibition' :)
************

No, man, don't get my specific 'needs' wrong ;)
I am not here at all 'about analog-vs-digital'.
I don't even want to think about this 'issue' at the moment. Actually I don't really think that analog should be compared vs digital.
I mean , of course, you can talk about it like forever., you know...
but, really, analog and digital are just different. and in mane ways simply can not 're-place' each other, all depends on specific task/situation/needs/ideas in production process.

My main "idea" is to add analog open-reel tape multi-track to my existing recording set-up, which bassically is a 'system' of 8-port midi/w sync (computer sequenser(driving all my midi-synth and sampler and computer-HD-recording),
and two akai-dr4HD-recorders (which gives me 8 nice digi-tracks externally).
So my idea is to sync analog tape via AKAI (trough) which will also master Computer-sequencer via MTC.
You see, my mad idea is to have analog-tape as a 'MASTER' and take all the 'things' what analog tape recording can give you.
I also have vary ideas in my mind, which I am not even sure about. but I want to do some experimenting with REAL-REEL, to be able to adjast tape-speed (you can not achive the same effect with digital-pitch, if you know what I mean),
I want to be able to actually grab the real, stop-let-go, while sending 'chnl'-to-effect(echo, for example).
also I want to do some experimenting with tape loops, but having them as multi-track recorded, so you also can 'split sounds, parts on your mixer, and do extra-mad stuff, while playing back tape-loop, then recording the 'out-put' to digital HD track, the go back , put the result into the mix etc....
well, Daniel, you get the picture, right ???? he he he ?
In addition I want to try to experiment with recording stuff like playing bass-gtr, recording it to analog tape first, for special tape-effect/compression. I am not sure if it will give me something exiting,
but I can't tell until I try.
I wan to try to really record something 'ovedriven', an it is a hard task with digital recording, where every 'clip' is a disaster. If I has some real-tubes fancy pre-amps /compressors, then I maybe never even thought about it...

oh, well,

thanks again, man,

i gotta check some more through the net.
Guys, if you happen to know any place on the net,
where guys are talking about reel-tape recording etc..., pls drop a note here.
I just want to know as much as possible before I jump into any conclusion about what to do.

later,

/RESPECTS,

/Mike Zee

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interruptor



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1138
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 9:53 am    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

i see..

to find out about the effect of tape compression you could also record to digital first, then copy the digital recording to a simple tape deck setting the recording level high enough to be in the nonlinear range of the tape, then copy the tape back to your digital environment. this way you would have to do the synchronizing by hand/ear.
some tape decks even have the possibility to monitor the recorded tape while recording on it - such a unit can be used as an insert effect! you just need to apply a negative delay to that track in your hard disk recording environment to compensate for the delay between record and play head of the tape deck.

happy dubbing
daniel aka the interruptor
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Mike Zee



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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

yeah, Daniel, I actually was thinking about trying to actually do what your are saying with cassette-tape deck. Well,
you how it goes, when you thinking about something, but never actually get to practical side of it ..he he he, always saying, ahhhhhhh, next time maybe ;)
And I have pretty good pro-level cassette-deck, it's dual-DENON-770, heavy-duty heads, it has really nice head-room also, tree types of nr, 12%-speed on both decks, also I can synch record on both decks the same time. I've gotta try to think closely about what can I do 'alchemest-like thinking' with it, btw - stereo is the whole TWO tracks, you know .. :), not so bad.
I actually was thinking about trying to make loop-cassette... gotta to do some 'creative-hand-work'.

well, as you know open reels have much better frequency respond, at speed-15 it actually very good, cassette-decks are ok to, but again, I really want it to be open, so I can grab it, and I can splice it etc... blah blah, many other reasons why I don't even look at cassette porta-studios, they are however also can be pretty useful in 'creative dub-head-hands' ;)

***********
Daniel, did you notice , that guy who made 'reel-to-reel' testing. he has a graph of 'pro-tools' w/some spec. a-d-a converters on the bottom of the page. HE HE HE, he got nice sense of humor , LOL... it's funny :) :) :)

also, you know what, I don't mean that I don't understand the technical side of his 'testing',
but really do not see any "practical" output here.
After all, what ever tape does, it does... you know. The whole point as for today, when you have affortable option to 'capture' the sound pretty accurate and clear, is to stiill think of using tape-"effect", it's like 'thinking' about analog tape recording as "special treatment effect processor".
And then you need to have the whole bunch of different recorders, so you use the one what does the best for the specific task, just like you use 'effect-boxes' ..ha ha ...

ok,

i'll check in later,

thanks for keepin'me a company,

respects,

/Mike Zee

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ZEE DUB LAB
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David Prophet



Joined: 07 Nov 2002
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2003 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

Hi! I am planning to buy a Revox A77 tape recorder to record my final mix, is that machine good for that purpose? And how much is a good price?

bless!
/David Prophet
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Mike Zee



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

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2003 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

David, hmmmmmmmm... for final master? I would not go for this one. Well, I can't be 100% sure, but if I'm correct A77 has max speed 7 1/2 ips. I don't know... it may sound ok for you (of course if you get a good condition machine), price could vary - from "non" to $300 plus or even hiegher, some people really 'care' for these 'collectables', you must see the machine if you get some cheap one - or you may end up with a piece of useless junk.
Again, if I was you, and was lokking for 'master-machine' , I would try to look into at least 15 ips speed deck. These are some OK-machines: Tascam 32, Otari MX5050 (there are few versions/models), I think there is Revox A700, which looks like a good beast with 15ips speed, but I really don't know much about it. I really think Tascam 32 is the best guess for the line of "cheap" machines as master-2track-deck.

just my 2c.

/Mike Zee

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Despiracy



Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

I've been peeking this forum for a couple of months now. Some interesting shit going on here! =)

anyway, i've got an Otari MX5050 BIII (4-tracks) tape recorder. But i haven't been using it for serious recordings, in fact i have had it standing, gathering dust for about 6 years (what the hell's wrong with me, you might ask? well... i don't know). But, chill winston, i'm picking it up tomorrow and gonna try it out. I'll get back to you guys with comments...

I haven't found any use for it before, but as i have drifted more and more and more into roots and vintage recordings i'm pretty interested to see what you can do with it, and what kind of sound you will get.

One love,
Despiracy
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LeChat



Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 5:10 am    Post subject: Reel-to-Reel tape multi-track: advice, recommendations, expe Reply with quote

The mx50-50 is a great machine. at my school, we have one that the recording class uses, (abuses) and it only needs to get maintained about once a year. a very sturdy and good sounding machine. great low end, for sure.
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