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reel to reel tape loop / sound on sound question
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author reel to reel tape loop / sound on sound question
I have a TEAC reel to reel player, It's 4 channel ( channels 1 & 3 front, 2 & 4 rear).

I can make regular tape loops and play what's recorded onto the loop, but I was wondering if there was a way I could get some sound on sound going with this machine. I see videos of people layering other sounds onto their tape loops without losing the original loop completely, or the original loop slowly degrades as new sounds are introduced.

I've achieved this affect using two decks in a frippertronics style setup but I was wondering if there was a way it could be done with just one machine and my mixer.
For sound on sound with a loop of tape it must be possible to disable the erase head, but then the sound will build up...

Frippertronics is something else, a long tape delay as achieved with two tape players with feedback, one recording one playing back but it´s not necessarily a (physical) loop of tape-
well, i stopped using tape a long time ago and simply use a good digital 4 (or more) seconds delay with the feedback control pretty open/up. that gives me a sort of frippertronics effect. with the original slowly fading away while i can add new things on top. with some machines you can insert something into the loop. eg roland sde 3000. which is a very clean sounding thing so i mess it up a bit. but you need only a little bit as the sound goes thru it again and again. very subtle phasing is good. very subtle reverb can work. experiment!
to do sound on sound with a tape deck, using loops or not (makes no difference) the machine either has to have a sound on sound mode built in, or you have to be able to disconnect the erase head (easy to do on many machines.

The other way is the Frippertronics way of sharing the tape between two decks with the first recording and the second playing (basically a VERY long echo). The decks are spaced far enough apart to get the delay you want. It can be done with loops but the decks have to typically be very good ones because the wow and flutter is increased dramatically and unless the speeds are precision matched, one deck may pull faster than the other does. With loops you can sometimes get away with bypassing the capstan on one deck. I once made a large "echoplex" with three decks from the collage studio, one recording, one playing and another on a skateboard rolling between them as another playback head. Fun but not practical at all.

Sometimes you can achieve a similar effect by bouncing channels on a multi-track deck but it will still sound like echos. Record on channel one while motoring off the tape, the delayed playback is fed into channel two which is patched into three and then into four and then four mixed back into one. With this arrangement you will get four times the delay time plus the ability to tap out at each track for syncopated echos etc. i w]once did an art installation with a giant loop strung between four decks in each corner of the room. The sounds in the room were recorded by one deck and played by the others, walking around the room while doing so. The Wow and flutter was intense even with the Revox decks I used.
I used to do this a lot (example/plug) but my recorder couldn't just shut off the erase (left-most) head. My workaround was blu-tacking folded train tickets over the erase head to hold the tape away—you need to play around with distance because the magnetism can still wipe the tape!.
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