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Tascam 4 track into DAW
Old 24th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Tascam 4 track into DAW

Anyone experimented with recording onto an old Tascam 414; 4 track tape machine; and then importing the audio from the tape into their DAW?

Basically I'm wondering if I can use my Tascam unit to get 'some of that tape sound' into my digital recordings.

I was thinking of miking my drums as normal....but then maybe running a room mike into the tascam and import the audio afterwards

one thing I noticed doing this before was that The tascam audio will not sync with the digital audio, the tape audio drifts out of time with the digital audio!

This can only mean that tape players have a different concept of Time!
Old 24th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You'll get a lot better result using one of the DAW tape emulators. The pro-sumer Tascam/Teac/Akai/Pioneer etc tape machines never ever did make that 'tape' sound about which people wax so poetic. Those sounds came from pro machines in studios.
Old 24th September 2012
  #3
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wink

+1 what Bill said.

IMHO sometimes a good use of "lo-fi" is to record an acoustic guitar through a cheap cassette recorder-to sound more "electric". This is basically what Keith Richards, for example, did on on a mono Phillips cassette recorder for "Street Fighting Man".

Chris
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
to the OP, people do what you propose all the time.

you can't record to tape and digital simultaneously on a portastudio. you need a three-head tape deck to even dream about doing something like that, and it won't work too well on drums.

what you do is start your song on the portastudio, then dump it to a daw for overdubs. you can't go back and forth w/out serious hassle. yes tape has a different "concept of time" as digital. it drifts.

what you get is what you have...a portastudio sound.

Just like 8mm film is film, it's not 35mm film. they are completely different in so many ways. same with cassette and what people usually talk about with "tape" (reel to reel machines).

personally, i use everything at my disposal, portastudios, reel to reel, tape simulators, to get interesting sounds.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
wonder if the high-end machines drift?....relative to a computers concept of time

I'm interested in the drift, maybe this has a lot to do with people liking tape; because it is a mechanically moving medium, the human brain interprets the audio signal in a different way to how it interprets a computer spitting out binary code...



it 'sounds' nicer...
Old 25th September 2012
  #6
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fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
the "tape" sound you're after is reel to reel, not cassette
Old 25th September 2012
  #7
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I personally also prefer high end 2" reel to reel sound over high end digital (yeah been lucky enough to ear-witness them A/B'd). But comparing cassette is sorta like comparing a go-cart to a dragster, both cool but way differentheh.

Chris
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldTimey1 ➑️
Tape has a different "concept of time" as digital. it drifts.
This is the main problem. If you digitally build a song around imported drum tracks, BPM, click track and MIDI are basically out the window.

If you can live without the grid, I say go for it.
Old 25th September 2012
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
There's something interesting about running a source into a 4-track cassette machine and into a DAW, making sure you get the meters on the "tape machine" way up into the red. I don't usually hit the record button to do this though. Of course, this can be done 1,000 different ways, but think I sort of like the sound of ****ty electronics being pushed too hard.

This also works with pro-sumer tape machines of a slightly better class than a Portastudio (I have a 424 I do this with sometimes.) Sometimes if I'm starting a song with a drum machine or synth part, I'll run that through an economical tape machine (1/2" or 1/4") like my Tascam 38 and hit that really hard. Of course, I'm not really a grid guy, even when I'm using programmed rhythm stuff, so I don't worry about that. It's pretty much an effect, not a smooth tape sound.
Old 25th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Doesn't the noise reduction on these cheap 4-tracks make tape saturation an impossibility?
Old 2nd October 2012
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
On a cassette machine, I think the term "tape saturation" is too kind.
Old 2nd October 2012
  #12
Gear Nut
 
NikMuso's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
A lot of great points already made... The hiss I'd get from the Tascam Porta was always a shortcoming, even with high quality cable. It certainly is not "reel" tape. The kind laypeople revere anyway. Reel to Reel is the hautness You're probably after, ideally.
Old 2nd October 2012
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
johnnygri's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you find it inspiring, do it! Music first! I frickin' love doing it.

I played an engineer a song I tracked on a 424. I told him it was to tape but didn't specify what flavour. He said it sounded great (he was right IMHO). Then I told him the good news! He was most surprised.

To my mind, this served as a reinforcement of the notion: writing and performance first, everything else second. And also, people can't necessarily truly discern (I'm sure there are plenty of folk around here who can). Same goes for pres/mics etc. Of course, it doesn't hurt having a top quality mic and pre, and a "high speed" 4 track, Ampex cassette, using only the channels without EQ for the cleanest signal path.
Old 2nd October 2012
  #14
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gravyface's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I listened a bunch of old tapes I recorded on my Yamaha MT-50 in the mid 90s when I truly had no idea what I was doing (not sure if that's changed sometimes) and was amazed at how good some of the tracks sounded when a "high end" mic locker (which we fought over where to use) consisted of a SM 58 and a SM 57; the rest were Radio Shacks and other assorted dynamics.

Now when I got my Tascam M308, this improved the sound quality immensely, because I was actually providing proper gain and impedance for the microphones, which reduced the noise on the way in considerably. Comparing the early tapes using the built-in preamps is night and day.

Having said that, it's hard to objectively say whether the sonics were truly good or whether nostalgia and the music itself are clouding my judgement. I certainly had a smile on my face the entire time I was listening to them.
Old 23rd November 2017
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I have learned a work around with this machine that does,in fact, give you four individual track outputs. As far as I know I am the first to print this to the internet.
Surely someone else has said this because it is very obvious:

To get individual outs for external mix:1 pan L fader unity,same for 2 but pan R,master fader unity,line out LR.3 tape cue out,switched to tape cue,fader down.4 sync out,fader down. Send 2/ Tape cue switch must be set to Tape Cue.Channel faders for 3&4 must be down.

It works.

Last edited by Gooch Audio; 23rd November 2017 at 10:02 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 24th November 2017
  #16
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ruffrecords's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I do this all the time with an 8 track cassette. An artist I record brings in demos recorded on his Tascam 8 track cassette and we import them into the DAW. Some of the tracks we re-record but many of them we keep for their unique tape punchiness.

Cheers

Ian
Old 18th December 2017 | Show parent
  #17
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hello people's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Mastering ➑️
to the OP, people do what you propose all the time.

you can't record to tape and digital simultaneously on a portastudio. you need a three-head tape deck to even dream about doing something like that, and it won't work too well on drums.

what you do is start your song on the portastudio, then dump it to a daw for overdubs. you can't go back and forth w/out serious hassle. yes tape has a different "concept of time" as digital. it drifts.

what you get is what you have...a portastudio sound.

Just like 8mm film is film, it's not 35mm film. they are completely different in so many ways. same with cassette and what people usually talk about with "tape" (reel to reel machines).

personally, i use everything at my disposal, portastudios, reel to reel, tape simulators, to get interesting sounds.
What is the best way to 'dump it to DAW'? How do you get the tape into the DAW?

Old 25th December 2017 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
BazzBass's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner ➑️
the "tape" sound you're after is reel to reel, not cassette
and usually 2 inch tape,

you'd be better off finding an old Beta video machine (if you could find blank tapes). This will get you closer to a studio tape sound.

Beta video machines were great for audio recording because of the revolving head that always contacts the tape. iirc
Old 25th December 2017
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Data_Shrine's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Is your Portastudio made for standard tapes (type 1) or others ? I use a Yamaha MT4X with Type 2 BASF Chrome tape and I think it sounds great.
It's totally possible to re-record the drums back into your DAW ; you'll have to nudge the file around to put it back into place.
Old 26th December 2017
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Just did this recently, and yeah - it sounds exactly as you'd expect. So if that's the sound you're going for, do it!

Obviously very crunchy and hissy, but that's it's own vibe. Nothing close to "tape sim" plug ins, which are usually trying to simulate big boy tape machines like Studers/Otari...etc
Old 26th December 2017
  #21
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zealy ➑️
This can only mean that tape players have a different concept of Time!
Not only in comparison with digital, but also with itself. That is to say, if you record 1 track from the exact same recorder/tape combo to digital, and then record another track from that same combo to digital, it still will not be perfectly synchronized to itself (after manually aligning the start point).

Causes: variations in rotation speed, tape stretch etc.

To clarify, it doesn't really have anything to do with analog versus digital, strictly, nor how the human brain interprets "digitalness" or any such notion. Time is time. It has to do with mechanical imprecision and the laws of physics. You can also have digital systems that differ in time, it's just that the crystals typically used as real-time clocks for digital timekeeping tend to be more accurate, consistent, and reproducible than analog systems which depend on physical (read: machining) tolerances. A digital system can be designed which is more sloppy than its analog equivalent, although that's almost always seen as undesirable.

Last edited by Rasputin1916; 26th December 2017 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 8th January 2018 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
hello people's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people ➑️
What is the best way to 'dump it to DAW'? How do you get the tape into the DAW?

Must be osmosis

πŸ“ Reply

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