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tape usage
Old 27th April 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
tape usage

As long as we're on the subject with polls etc etc ... here's another 'important' question :


How many times do you use a fresh tape ... say you do not need to archive it ... how many passes would you do on it.

My best guess is that this is probably very dependend on the quality and how good the heads are alligned. Let's say in perfect conditions ... how many times ?


Jon can maybe launch a poll on this one too ... he can probably come up with plenty more related elements to add in the poll list than me.

My lpoll list would look like :

How many times do you use your tapes :

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10


Old 27th April 2003
  #2
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I suppose it depends on the 'importance' of a project. If I was tracking an album or single I would use fresh tape or used-once-only as long as the client would bear the cost. Otherwise for demos using hire stock, as many times as I could get away with!heh
Old 27th April 2003
  #3
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Chris,

The answer may partly lie with the tape machine you're using and the tape choice.

With the A820+GP9 or 900 combo I currently use, the only real difference between the first pass and all the others is a roughly 3 dB increase in hiss.

What I often see is this: An important project records to tape, throws it into PT, and either stores the used-once reel to the end of the project or re-uses it a few more times to save on tape costs.

I always have a few used tapes like this around for projects that want tape just temporarily on the way to PT and don't want to buy a reel.

For rock stuff like I prefer to do, I track everything to 2". For example, instead of doing lots of vocal passes into PT and then comping it -- which I used to do and most everyone all does nowadays -- I'll work with 2-3 tracks on the Studer and punch parts in/out until all sounds good. It's old school, and more demanding on the artist, but the performances tend to be more soulful and real to my ear. And the sound is there, too.

I don't count the number of passes on a part until it's right...with GP9 the tape sounds fine even after, dunno, 20 passes over the same part. Maybe there's a slight decrease in quality, but none that I've noticed or been bothered by. And I'm a ball-breaker when it comes to that, which is why I'm not tracking to PT to begin with. However, it's just vital to hit the tape in the sweet spot, gain-wise, to make it sing on each particular instrument...similar to the way the gain structure during the chain before is critical as well (esp. the right gain level on the 1073s).

So, the answer in a nutshell for me...with my current rig is....after the first pass, it doesn't matter much.
Old 27th April 2003
  #4
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
So Jon - talk us through exactly how you do the following..

"it's just vital to hit the tape in the sweet spot, gain-wise, to make it sing on each particular instrument..."

Do you do much trial and error testing per overdub?

Or is is the truth simply that you have aproximate "pet settings" for various signals, that are learned and beyond that, there is no real particular 'technique' involved level setting when using tape?

So please iluminate us and describe the procedure & techniques YOU go through to make "it sing on each particular instrument". I am sure other will find it interesting too.

Old 27th April 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
For rock stuff like I prefer to do, I track everything to 2". For example, instead of doing lots of vocal passes into PT and then comping it -- which I used to do and most everyone all does nowadays -- I'll work with 2-3 tracks on the Studer and punch parts in/out until all sounds good. It's old school, and more demanding on the artist, but the performances tend to be more soulful and real to my ear. And the sound is there, too.
this is actually how I record to PT most of the time with most instruments ... not only vocals.

I'm not a great believer of the 'comping' process .. I'm a 'performance' believer ... for any kind of music I do ... even dance.

Old 27th April 2003
  #6
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jules,

Nothing mysterious beyond recording while monitoring the PB head while setting levels...and yes, there are basic levels that I know from experience are good starting points for each instrument/sound style context.

Sounds simple, and it is, but most people I've seen do it screw it up just the same.

heh
Old 27th April 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I never re-use tape. As a matter a fact, before the mix, I dub safety copies, and if I'm printing to 1/2 and start printing a mix that's effed up, I'll just cut the tape out and print to a virgin section of the new tape. Hell, tape compaines need all the help they can get now a days.
Old 27th April 2003
  #8
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For printing mixes, I agree.

I think the previous posts were referring to tracking stuff to tape rather than mixing to it.
Old 28th April 2003
  #9
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Humor me on this one... Why would you cut off a section of tape for a ****ed up mix but use the same piece of 2" for 14-20 takes of a song?
Old 28th April 2003
  #10
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Let's say you have drums and bass tracked to 2" and are overdubbing gits and vox. Each overdub may require a number of takes before it's right, so each track of the tape is being recorded to a number of times. You don't really have much choice but to continue with that reel.

When printing mixes, usually only a few mixes are printed so it's feasible to stay with virgin tape. Also, 1/2" or 1/4" is much cheaper than 2". Finally, the overall mix is arguably more important than an individual track.
Old 28th April 2003
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I guess I "Getto Joe" here, but I buy and use used tape all the time. In a small town where the other rooms use HD recording I need to keep costs down a bit. I usually have a rental reel or two that gets used a bunch of times until I want to do something of my own, and then I use it and keep it and start a new rental.
Old 29th April 2003
  #12
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jon, I totally understand that. But, I've never thought twice about rolling back a half-track if I'm 30 seconds into a mix or printing a mix and then going over it. I try not to beat the **** out of the tape but I'm not obsessive over it either.

Tony, when do you have time to write your own stuff, let alone record it? I'm jealous.
Old 29th April 2003
  #13
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've never been bothered too much about using used tape for rock stuff - for anything that needs to be really quiet, that's another story. But like Jon said, it used to be (and still is for those who still work with tape more often than not) de rigeur to do all your punch-in's and re-takes on the same piece of tape, so even if you started with virgin tape you're going to end up with something that's effectively been used a bunch of times anyway.

I remember reading an article in Mix or someplace a long time ago that cracked me up, about how Keith Richards would play back and/or punch in on the master 2" reel dozens and dozens of times and give the engineers fits. Doesn't seem to have hurt any of the Stones' recordings. I guess there is something very rock'n'roll about beating the crap out of a piece of tape. heh
Old 30th April 2003
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs


Tony, when do you have time to write your own stuff, let alone record it? I'm jealous.
I still play in a band. We just started our third studio record. The first two were digital. The first back in the ADAT days. The second at the guitar player’s home MOTU studio. The new one in my new room, analog only.

My brother is coming down this weekend and we're going to "revive" our old acoustic duo for a few tunes.

I will NEVER stop being a player. I need to start a solo record soon. It's been about four since the last one, and it was a very specific project. The new one will be more free, if I ever start it.
Old 6th May 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
stealthbalance's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
scotch tape works really well if you have a tear on a peice of paper.
thats how i use tape.
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