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Teac 3340s bouncing/syncing help
Old 21st January 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Teac 3340s bouncing/syncing help

Hi,

I have an old 3340s machine that yields the perfect tone for my music and studio set up. However, I am encountering an issue that is becoming a hinderance in my workflow.

The syncing is a little awkward on this antiquated machine, and although at some point I plan on upgrading to an otari 8 track or something similar, this is all I have at my disposal.

When I record band material, I track the drums, bass and guitar separate. The idea is to mix down to a basic track, but since I only have 1/4" I usually put the bass and drums together and leave the guitar open for further pairing with guitar overdubs. The issue is that I seem to only have two options. Either I bounce tracks A and B over to track D without changing sync settings which leaves everything MINUTELY out of sync, or I flip the sync switches for tracks A B and C for the aforementioned bounce of A and B. the latter option moves the playback for those tracks over to the record head, in turn greatly muffling the tone. I can compensate a bit with the EQ on my sound workshop board, but i am still losing important elements of the tracks.

I encounter this issue also later when I want to merge more tracks together to open up space.

I love bouncing and sub-mixing my songs this way, but as I'm already losing fidelity with the bounce, I really don't want to sacrifice proper syncing or even more fidelity.

The only theoretical fix I can think of would be to bounce A and B normally, then to bounce C separately to bring them back into sync. But this still doesn't help me later on when I only want to bounce two tracks together, not the whole load.

I'm hoping there's some trick I haven't considered out there, any help would be great. And yes I know I'm using antiquated gear and there and concessions to be made, but I'm not interested in doing this stuff digital.

Thanks a bunch!
Dylan
Old 21st January 2013
  #2
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
There are ways around this, by putting the guitar (which is now a few milliseconds ahead of the drums and bass) through a digital delay.

But to be honest, why not track to the 3340 (for the sound) and then dump it all into Reaper or some similar DAW?
Old 21st January 2013 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre ➡️
There are ways around this, by putting the guitar (which is now a few milliseconds ahead of the drums and bass) through a digital delay.

But to be honest, why not track to the 3340 (for the sound) and then dump it all into Reaper or some similar DAW?
Unless you're going to put a delay on the guitar, the only way to avoid the syncing issues is to record the bass after you've bounced them down. Of course this can always be dumped into a DAW, but working on 4 tracks has an appeal of it's own. If it's just the sound of the TEAC you're after, you can just put it in-line with the daw, and take the sound off the repro head as you're tracking.
Old 21st January 2013
  #4
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donnylang's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinggods ➡️
Hi,

I have an old 3340s machine that yields the perfect tone for my music and studio set up. However, I am encountering an issue that is becoming a hinderance in my workflow.

The syncing is a little awkward on this antiquated machine, and although at some point I plan on upgrading to an otari 8 track or something similar, this is all I have at my disposal.

When I record band material, I track the drums, bass and guitar separate. The idea is to mix down to a basic track, but since I only have 1/4" I usually put the bass and drums together and leave the guitar open for further pairing with guitar overdubs. The issue is that I seem to only have two options. Either I bounce tracks A and B over to track D without changing sync settings which leaves everything MINUTELY out of sync, or I flip the sync switches for tracks A B and C for the aforementioned bounce of A and B. the latter option moves the playback for those tracks over to the record head, in turn greatly muffling the tone. I can compensate a bit with the EQ on my sound workshop board, but i am still losing important elements of the tracks.

I encounter this issue also later when I want to merge more tracks together to open up space.

I love bouncing and sub-mixing my songs this way, but as I'm already losing fidelity with the bounce, I really don't want to sacrifice proper syncing or even more fidelity.

The only theoretical fix I can think of would be to bounce A and B normally, then to bounce C separately to bring them back into sync. But this still doesn't help me later on when I only want to bounce two tracks together, not the whole load.

I'm hoping there's some trick I haven't considered out there, any help would be great. And yes I know I'm using antiquated gear and there and concessions to be made, but I'm not interested in doing this stuff digital.

Thanks a bunch!
Dylan
Forget about the computer, you're on the right track ...

Welcome to the world of old-school recording!

This is how these machines work. You actually have lots of options, but you need to think and plan it out ahead of time, or deal with the compromises and work-arounds. Keep in mind lots of great, classic recordings were made with these very limitations.

If you want the bass & drums to be combined onto one track & put the guitar on another, record them that way live. You'll get better fidelity than bouncing anyway. You'll need to get your mix right going in.

If you need to bounce, you need to bounce all elements at once in 'playback' mode. Or you can get into bouncing a couple, then recording another, then bouncing two more, etc., but on a 4-track, I can't see the point of that method.

You can also use the 'Sync' sound to your advantage. If you have some parts that may benefit from this type of fidelity, save them for that.

Here's a 4-track recording of mine ... made on a Scully 280 with similar limitations:

Magic Hero vs. Rock People

here's the layout of how the thing was tracked to illustrate what can be acheived:

main track:

1 - maestro rhythm king
2 - acoustic 12-string
4 - drums
bounce all to 3 (in PLAY mode)

1 - glockenspiel
3 - additional drums
4 - maestro/acoustic/drums
bounce all to 2 (in PLAY mode)

1 - vocal 1
2 - maestro/acous/drum1/drum2/glock
bounce 1 to 3 (in SYNC mode), while recording vocal 2

1 - rocksichord
2 - maestro/acous/drum1/drum2/glock
3 - vocals
bounce 1 to 4 (in SYNC mode) while recording 12-string lead to 4

1 - bass
2 - maestro/acous/drum1/drum2/glock
3 - vocals
4 - 12-string electric/rocksichord

--

intro:

1 - bass
2 - rocksichord
3 - glockenspiel
4 - electric 12 string

--

outro:

1 -
2 - rocksichord
3 - melodica
4 -

--

I'm still working in this method on 8-track. On 8-track the bouncing of several groups in 'playback' mode makes more sense because you have a lot more space, though I still do occasional bounces in sync mode.

Oh one more tip -- when bouncing with 4-track, forget about optimizing for stereo. It's just a distraction and will cause you to make poor mix choices. You can mix to stereo, but use what you have available at the end, rather than trying to plan this great stereo track. Others will of course disagree ... but how many others here are currently working in this method?

Donny
Old 22nd January 2013
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks Donny for the words, most of what you said stood as confirmation to my path against some of my doubts in the processes I use.

Mos of my techniques come from recording solo most of the time, so even when I am working with other people I think in terms of sub mixes. Usually I keep things separated as much as possible and pair like with like, like rhythm, guitar, etc. I usually avoid more than one generation of bouncing as well. It generally falls into about 6 tracks of material when it's all said and done.

I do have a tascam/teac 80/8 which I just for vibe with, so I always fall back on my trust nasty sounding 3340... Ad I suppose some of that has to do with these concessions and limitations.

The actual song I'm having trouble with so far is:

1: bouzouki
2: moog sonic 6
3: drums

I was attempting to merge 1 and 2 onto 4, which was bringing up my aforementioned issues. There was either extreme signal loss in bouncing with sync, the tracks being off sync with the drums or distortion because of te frequencies clashing. I took a few days off and will try and work at it again.

Of all your advice, most of which is how I already operate, the last tip was most helpful... Not that I worry too much about the stereo outcome, but more so that I need to serve the song and know which of these bouncing techniques will be best, it's not always the same.

Next time I'm doing my old school heavy metal stuff I might have to pull the 80/8 out again and give it another shot.

D
Old 22nd January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
donnylang's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinggods ➡️
Thanks Donny for the words, most of what you said stood as confirmation to my path against some of my doubts in the processes I use.

Mos of my techniques come from recording solo most of the time, so even when I am working with other people I think in terms of sub mixes. Usually I keep things separated as much as possible and pair like with like, like rhythm, guitar, etc. I usually avoid more than one generation of bouncing as well. It generally falls into about 6 tracks of material when it's all said and done.

I do have a tascam/teac 80/8 which I just for vibe with, so I always fall back on my trust nasty sounding 3340... Ad I suppose some of that has to do with these concessions and limitations.

The actual song I'm having trouble with so far is:

1: bouzouki
2: moog sonic 6
3: drums

I was attempting to merge 1 and 2 onto 4, which was bringing up my aforementioned issues. There was either extreme signal loss in bouncing with sync, the tracks being off sync with the drums or distortion because of te frequencies clashing. I took a few days off and will try and work at it again.

Of all your advice, most of which is how I already operate, the last tip was most helpful... Not that I worry too much about the stereo outcome, but more so that I need to serve the song and know which of these bouncing techniques will be best, it's not always the same.

Next time I'm doing my old school heavy metal stuff I might have to pull the 80/8 out again and give it another shot.

D
I had a 3340 a few years back. I have an 80-8 now along with an Ampex AG300 8-track. Of course the Ampex sounds better, but the Teac is a cool machine.

You're right though, the 3340 has a special sound. To me, it sounds more like the older Scully/Ampex stuff, but not quite.

If you only have 3 elements so far, bouncing only two of them is asking for trouble! If you bounce 1+2 in Sync, it might not sound so good, but you should be able to get it under control if you play with your levels. If you bounce in Playback mode, the drums will be out of sync, and you will have to bounce them later as well. Overdubbing will become a little complicated because you will have to remember which tracks to monitor in sync and mute the other tracks.

Easiest solution on 4 tracks is to bounce everything when you're gonna do a bounce, then overdub. If you're going to bounce in Sync, I recommend doing an overdub along with it to save a generation and get better fidelity (follow the model on my reference above as a guide).

Best,

Donny
Old 22nd January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinggods ➡️
Hi,

I have an old 3340s machine that yields the perfect tone for my music and studio set up.

The idea is to mix down to a basic track,

Either I bounce tracks A and B over to track D without changing sync settings which leaves everything MINUTELY out of sync, or I flip the sync switches for tracks A B and C for the aforementioned bounce of A and B. the latter option moves the playback for those tracks over to the record head, in turn greatly muffling the tone.


I love bouncing and sub-mixing my songs this way, but as I'm already losing fidelity with the bounce, I really don't want to sacrifice proper syncing or even more fidelity.

Dylan
I owned two 3340s in 1972-73 and bounced to open tracks. In fact, in the studio, I did this with larger format machines from 74 onward.

Let me say this in the most strongest way that I know.... your bounce mindset will cause you great great regret 30 years from now. It is the wrong approach... and I say that as strongly as possible.

Submixing to open tracks is a wonderful exercise in learning to track. BUT... BUT... doing a bounce that in ANY WAY ERASES AN EARLIER STANDALONE TRACK IS CREATIVE SUICIDE. YOU WILL REGRET IT. MAYBE NOT TODAY. BUT SOME DAY.. YOU WILL REGREAT "LOSING" ACCESS TO THE ERASED TRACKS.

My suggestions of things to consider.....

Fill up the four tape tracks.. all four of them. Then force yourself to pipe them in real time over to a computer daw to save for the "if-when-maybe" future time when you may want to get back those individual four tracks for any number of future reasons.

THEN.. go ahead and mix the four tracks to a SECOND tape machine in stereo. My second 3340 was exactly for that purpose in the early 70s. I could then simply TAKE THE REEL off the second machine and place it on the first 3340 and then add two more tracks there (since my wiring was routed to the first machine for tracking. Then, bounce THOSE new tracks (submix l-r and new tracks 3-4) over to TWO tracks of the second 3340... on a new reel or on an empty spot further up the reel where I wouldn't be erasing anything.

Nothing is lost if you dump any newly recorded "mono" passes over to your computer daw for safekeeping..... do it quick & dirty.. no sync necessary on the daw... just get the tracks safely stored in there ..."for the future".

Don't have two tape machines? No problem.

Do your initial scenario... record three tracks or two tracks and submix to an empty 3340 track. BUT BEFORE ERASING THE ORIGINAL MONO TRACKS... PORT THEM INTO A COMPUTER FOR SAFEKEEPING!!!!! ONLY THEN IS IT SAFE TO ERASE THE TWO OR THREE TAPE TRACKS TO OPEN UP TRACKS.

All my recordings from 1959 onward were done in a fashion where I bounced between mono or stereo or four-track or 8-track or 16-track, or twin 24 tracks. Except for very few instances, I kept every reel that represented a slave or "reel before a bounce".

It was only by keeping all the reels and takes that I was able to ... years later... feed the reels of takes into a daw... sometimes six or seven reels of tape representing one single song and it's various takes.

The simple, easy, magic of nudging those tracks around once in the daw, then allowed me to re-assemble ALL my first takes of EVERY track for remixing in the daw.

I NEVER stop thanking myself for working that way in the past... even though there was NO conceivable way I could have ever envisioned in 1960 what the power of a daw could do.

Bottom line... this is your art and your music. You WILL want access to each track for future remixing. To not have that at your fingertips is as bad as that feeling you get when you play the "magic part" on a take ... the one take in a million.. only to realize that you didn't have the record button armed.

The four sync buttons on old 3340s automatically cut your frequency response and introduce a weird quality to the sound when bouncing... even with careful gain staging.... that's the way it always was with those.

A second machine would be an ideal way to do submix bounces... or better yet.. into a daw and then back to two tracks of your four track.

It's up to you and the way you want your journey to be.

But I'll say it again. DO NOT ERASE ANYTHING..... EVER. ESPECIALLY IN THE COURSE OF A SUBMIX.

IT WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER.

And in 2013, there is just no need to be under the limitations we all lived in in 1964.
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