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A little Reel to Reel Recording advice... - Gearspace.com
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A little Reel to Reel Recording advice...
Old 29th January 2013
  #1
Deleted dc388e1
Guest
A little Reel to Reel Recording advice...

Hi,

Next month, my band are set to record our second EP.

We're recording in my home studio, and being a rock band of sorts we're looking to record using my Fostex R8.

My other gear includes:

Studiomaster Pro Line 8-4-8R desk

Drawmer DL 241

TL audio Ivory Compressor

Lexicon MX200

Behringer Graphic EQ

Shure SM57/8

Rode NT1a

Should also have access to a pair of Neumans (forget the exact model - small diaphragm condensers)

DAW - Sonar X1

I've also got the Fostex MTC-1, and iv'e spent the day getting my 8-track to talk to my DAW, with apparent success

My question is, should i attempt to record the full band on the reel to reel - forsaking the DAW completely - or given my new found degree of connectivity should i sync the Fostex to the DAW and have the best of both worlds?

The band are drums, bass, 2 electric guitars (plus a little acoustic) and vox.

Whatever the weather, we'll record the drums at a local studio, and take a dry stereo mix.

I'm worried my lack of outboard gear (especially some decent eq) will marr the recording if we go all out analogue.

Conversely, i'm worried we might end up with syncing issues if we try to mix it up.
If we sync i'll put the stereo drum mix in Sonar, and record the guitars and vox to the Fostex. That should give the most flexibility, and the best sounds.

What have other peoples experiences with syncing been?
Can i trust the MTC-1 to keep it all together, or will the Fostex and DAW slowly drift apart as we record? I'd hate to get half way through and have to start again 'cos my gear had let me down.

Any advice?

Thanks,

Matt
Old 29th January 2013
  #2
Gear Addict
 
jmik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I could be wrong, but I don't think you can sync your DAW and tape machine with just the MTC-1. You'd need some kind of synchronizer to control the motors in the machine itself to sync with the DAW. Otherwise the machine will drift over time. Also, you'd have to dedicate a track solely to SMPTE striping, so you'd only be operating with 7 tracks out of 8.

My "less-of-a-headache" suggestion would be to record and mix everything in your DAW, then stem 8 tracks to your R8 to get some of that analog stuff everybody loves.
Old 29th January 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
samth3mancgp's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmik ➡️
I could be wrong, but I don't think you can sync your DAW and tape machine with just the MTC-1. You'd need some kind of synchronizer to control the motors in the machine itself to sync with the DAW. Otherwise the machine will drift over time. Also, you'd have to dedicate a track solely to SMPTE striping, so you'd only be operating with 7 tracks out of 8.

My "less-of-a-headache" suggestion would be to record and mix everything in your DAW, then stem 8 tracks to your R8 to get some of that analog stuff everybody loves.
I agree with this idea especially for the sake of time and headache! Get the mixes sounding pretty good in protools, then bounce stems to tape and do the finishing touches there! Going all analog is a bold move and is something that I think every engineer would love to do in theory.. But once they actually dive into analog recording they realize how much extra work it can be and miss the DAW bigtime.

When I was syncing my TEAC 80-8 (that I used to have) to protools, I set Protools as the slave clock and the tape to be master. This makes the tape machine transport the main way of navigating the protools session and complicates things alot. The computer follows what the machine does, rather than the other way around. Having protools be master is ideal, but requires a more complex setup and a machine that can handle it. My only experience with that was using protools HD and two lynx timecode modules that converted MTC to SMPTE to sync to the transport of a Studer A827 here at school. Much more pleasant experience!!
Old 29th January 2013
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Used to do it all the time - the digital chases the tape. You have to put a SMPTE tone on the tape - you can record it about -6db if I remember correctly to minimize crosstalk.

Only you can decide how you want to do this, but I made many records on 4-tracks and 8-tracks and 24-tracks and…

With a 4-track I would mix bass and drums stereo on 2 channels, use 1 for guitar, and if there weren't going to be overdubs, put a vocal. If there were, I would bounce to a 1/2 track and then back to 2 channels, then there were 2 channels left.

I never bounced an 8-track, but I did have to resort to some interesting tracking solutions, like mixing the drums to 2 stereo tracks, then bass, then usually 2 guitars on 2 tracks, that is 5 tracks so far. So you have a massive 3 tracks left for overdubs.

I will say this - a well done low count multitrack sounds more like a band than most 24-track or whatever they are doing now recordings. It has to, there aren't that many options. If you want it to sound exactly like your band, then I totally encourage that approach.
If you don't want to do this, get a synchronizer, actually I am going to sell a MOTU micro express (and cheap), that's exactly what I used it for. It generates a SMPTE tone that you can put on one channel of the reel, then if your DAW is capable, that will chase the tape. Make sure that you check your DAW is capable of that, when I was doing this I used the Cakewalk sequencer which is a different animal.

I currently use Reaper and that seems capable:

To be honest I have not done this with a DAW so your results may vary…

AS
Old 29th January 2013
  #5
Deleted dc388e1
Guest
Thanks...

Hi,

Thanks for the advice.

To clarify, i'm already striping smpte to track 8 of my Fostex R8, using the Fostex MTC-1 (and yes of course, it's now effectively a 7-track), which also outputs mtc data to my DAW.
Theoretically the two should stay perfectly in sync - and on the basis of my (brief) trials it looks like they will. I've already cued up a drum track in Sonar, and recorded guitar parts to the R8. Both recorded and play back in time.
My main concern was that over the course of recording 4 or 5 songs i'll be starting/stopping/cueing about a half a million times - will the two still be in sync then?
I suppose there's no real answer to that, but does anybody have experience of the R8 and MTC-1? It's home studio gear i guess, but it's surprisingly capable...

Matt.
Old 29th January 2013
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Old 29th January 2013
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Just be sure to record any mics with common spill to the same machine,or the analog wow will cause a phase shifting effect.This meens that all drum tracks with cymbal bleed need to be either all analog or all digital.
Old 29th January 2013
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I never had any sync problems and worked this way for a long time - of course I was syncing a Midi sequencer, not recorded audio.

Guitars sound really great with tape compression. I would slam it on there +6 - I have a TASCAM TSR8.

AS
Old 29th January 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
What kind of audio interface are you using with your daw? If you have 8 or more inputs, I would record everything into the fostex thru the studiomaster desk using it's direct outs. I would put 4 mics on drums, 1 on bass, 1 on guitar, 1 acoustic, 1 vocal. Then do everything else you want to do in sonar, and you'll have as your sound, the sound of the fostex! This way you won't have to worry about any sync. Hope this helps, cheers, Thomas
Sorry, I forgot to say after recording in the fostex, record all eight tracks into sonar and go on from there
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