Benefits of recording to reel to reel

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powertran
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Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by powertran » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:02 am

I've got an Akai reel to reel. Can anyone advise me on the benefits of recording my analogue modular stuff to tape rather than hard disk. I'd have to record the tape to hard disk eventually anyway. Is there any sonic benefits or should I just record it digitally in the first place?

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BailyDread
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by BailyDread » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:15 pm

sonic benefits? depends on what you're going for. if you're looking for the qualities imparted by recording to tape (softened transient response, softened high frequency content, possibly some saturation depending on how you drive it), you will certainly find a benefit to recording to tape before you record the tape digitally.

if you're going for clean, then no, because anything in between the source and the converter will degrade the signal in some way. it just depends on if that particular flavor of degradation is what you're looking for.

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Toowoombaus
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by Toowoombaus » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:37 pm

powertran wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:02 am
I've got an Akai reel to reel. Can anyone advise me on the benefits of recording my analogue modular stuff to tape rather than hard disk. I'd have to record the tape to hard disk eventually anyway. Is there any sonic benefits or should I just record it digitally in the first place?
There is definitely a difference!

But there are so many unanswered questions and so much of determining what is “better“ depends on what you’re trying to do and what other tools you have available to you.

First of all can you get the right tape?
Secondly make sure that the machine is biased properly this will affect your sound.
Do you have a good microphone preamplifier? This is probably one of the most important links in the chain.
Don’t have to spend a fortune but if you don’t have a great one I would recommend getting one that is very clean and one that won’t color the sound a lot.

Focusrite ISA TWO is a good example and you can get them used for 500 bucks and they are the mic pres in the Focusrite board that sir George Martin used the Air studios anyway....

You’re going to get a little bit of tape hiss and that’s OK just make sure you send it a nice strong signal so you have a good signal to noise ratio.

The benefits are sometimes difficult to put into words but you can “see into the sound“ with analog more than you can with digital, it has a depth of field. Bass always sounds better on analog to me bass frequencies I mean.

What’s the recording for? Because these are very subtle differences and if you just want a good quality clean noiseless recording maybe digital would be a better way to go... it’s hard to say without knowing the context.

I have a real to reel eight channel machine myself but of course it needs to go to the shop.

Let us know what you end up deciding and tell us some more about your project, sounds exciting!

powertran
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by powertran » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:56 pm

Thank you very much for the good advice. I'm probably fishing for those answers!
I've got an akai 4000ds mkii. I record to it in stereo live from a basic Mackie mixing desk. I've bounced some recorded tape stuff to hard disk before. It's a very primitive setup.

https://goldair.bandcamp.com/releases

sorry to spam (and it's so miserable) but it's probably the best way to hear how it sounds.

I want to release an album as a physical tape to try to keep the whole thing analogue. Instruments and recording. I like the sound of early sheffield rough trade/mute sound i.e. that eras rough 7 inch vinyl sound. When I try to record solely digitally i don't like the sound.
Even though there is some obvious wow and flutter on the tape recordings I prefer it. It seems like the sound gets kind of distilled once it's on tape if that makes sense.

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Toowoombaus
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by Toowoombaus » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:33 pm

powertran wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:56 pm
Thank you very much for the good advice. I'm probably fishing for those answers!
I've got an akai 4000ds mkii. I record to it in stereo live from a basic Mackie mixing desk. I've bounced some recorded tape stuff to hard disk before. It's a very primitive setup.

https://goldair.bandcamp.com/releases

sorry to spam (and it's so miserable) but it's probably the best way to hear how it sounds.

I want to release an album as a physical tape to try to keep the whole thing analogue. Instruments and recording. I like the sound of early sheffield rough trade/mute sound i.e. that eras rough 7 inch vinyl sound. When I try to record solely digitally i don't like the sound.
Even though there is some obvious wow and flutter on the tape recordings I prefer it. It seems like the sound gets kind of distilled once it's on tape if that makes sense.
Yeah I’m listening to it now sounds good. And I don’t view this is spam you’re sharing the music that you were talking about in the post. Wow and flutter is part of that medium and I I like hearing that.
It doesn’t sound like you have any compression or limiting on the first track, do you?

I watched an interview with Steve Albini and he was talking about an analog compressor that sounds just as good as very expensive vintage ones it’s called “the really nice compressor“ I bought one it’s stereo and it does compression and or limiting. New they are only $175 used about 150 I’ll include a link.
https://reverb.com/item/118104-fmr-audi ... compressor

If you have the budget it might be cool to run your mix through something like this before the tape machine.
One trick is to set the attack time to 25 or 30 ms so the punchy part of the sound comes through and the compression turns on after that.

When I was younger I used to get to go to Bernie Grundman mastering all the time with projects for the company I work for for the mastering sessions he mastered Michael Jackson’s thriller and princes purple rain and a bunch of stuff and he actually mastered my bands demo tape for free one day.
But that was the beginning of me learning how important a little bit of compression is in shaping the sound and the analog ones sound way better than the plug-ins.
Just a thought.

I think it’s cool that you’re doing a whole analog release not many people have the ability to do that even if they wanted to you so I say go for it!

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naturligfunktion
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:49 am

I would try to record on it! If it sounds good it may become a part of your sound, who knows :)

Give it a go at let us hear the results!
:sb:

powertran
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by powertran » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:39 am

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement.

Technologear?
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Re: Benefits of recording to reel to reel

Post by Technologear? » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:42 pm

Listening to your bc link, which is really good, I think it stylistically fits to do anything that makes your recording more gritty and less clean. Anything characterful. I'd try hitting the tape hard; running the mix through pedals and fx on the way to the tape; blasting it through your monitors and recording a stereo mix; anything bolder.
Keep making music.

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