Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

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Illwiggle
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Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by Illwiggle » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:38 am

Hi,
I’ve sampled some drums from the Vermona DRM1, including the kick in question, into my mpc, arranged a complete beat and am now recording via 8 outputs into a Tascam 688 8-trk cassette recorder, using a maxell xl-2-s tape.
No issues with the deck, sound is a-ok. Oh, Im monitoring in some beyerdynamic high ohm headphones, speaker monitoring is a no-can-do at the moment unfortunately.....

I notice that when recording a synthesized kickdrum, or a particularly heavy kick to the track it sounds good going in, but on playback the kick’s attack is ‘missing’. It seems diffused. Im wondering if Im exceeding the amplitude capacity of the the tape track, would it be better to duplicate the kick onto 2 channels instead & drop the gain a bit just to get some spread for the kick to breathe??

Any tape heads with insight/tips?
No DAW here, just me & the tape.

Thanks

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by ChewyJetpack » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:23 am

Illwiggle wrote:Hi,
I’ve sampled some drums from the Vermona DRM1, including the kick in question, into my mpc, arranged a complete beat and am now recording via 8 outputs into a Tascam 688 8-trk cassette recorder, using a maxell xl-2-s tape.
No issues with the deck, sound is a-ok. Oh, Im monitoring in some beyerdynamic high ohm headphones, speaker monitoring is a no-can-do at the moment unfortunately.....

I notice that when recording a synthesized kickdrum, or a particularly heavy kick to the track it sounds good going in, but on playback the kick’s attack is ‘missing’. It seems diffused. Im wondering if Im exceeding the amplitude capacity of the the tape track, would it be better to duplicate the kick onto 2 channels instead & drop the gain a bit just to get some spread for the kick to breathe??

Any tape heads with insight/tips?
No DAW here, just me & the tape.

Thanks
have you tried dropping the gain? does it sound better? my first thought is that it's clipping.

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Hainbach
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Post by Hainbach » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:05 am

1/8" tape does not have that much low end, especially if you split your kick onto a single track. You are probably oversaturating. Your plan sounds like a good one.

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by Navs » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:51 am

Illwiggle wrote:... on playback the kick’s attack is ‘missing’. It seems diffused. ...
Isn't this what people pay good money for, the 'warm' sound of tape, i.e. transient smearing?

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ChewyJetpack
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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by ChewyJetpack » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:25 am

Navs wrote:
Illwiggle wrote:... on playback the kick’s attack is ‘missing’. It seems diffused. ...
Isn't this what people pay good money for, the 'warm' sound of tape, i.e. transient smearing?
that's part of it, but then there's also the RIAA EQ curve: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization

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Post by Michael O. » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:40 pm

Do you find that the signal is otherwise distorted in addition to a lack of low end? Also, does each channel react in the same way given otherwise similar parameters and input signals?

The suggestion to watch gain settings and to maybe make certain there’s no lo-cut eq/filtering being applied to the recorded signals is a good starting point, but I would guess this problem is more related to alignment or maintenance. Is this deck regularly cleaned and degaussed? Additionally, has the azimuth alignment ever been checked? There’s a lot that can go south mechanically with these things, and in my experience even 8 tracks printed to cassette tape shouldn’t have extreme distortion or lack of transients, but only if everything is in good shape and well maintained.

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by widdly » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:48 pm

ChewyJetpack wrote:
that's part of it, but then there's also the RIAA EQ curve: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization
Is RIAA eq used with tape? I thought the tape equivalent would be some kind of Dolby

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by Jean Luc Cougar » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:26 pm

Navs wrote:
Illwiggle wrote:... on playback the kick’s attack is ‘missing’. It seems diffused. ...
Isn't this what people pay good money for, the 'warm' sound of tape, i.e. transient smearing?
This would be my guess as well.

Can you try to record another version where pre-tape the transient seems extra loud so that post tape it’s at the level / sound you want?

FWIW: I experimented with bouncing stems to tape a few years back. My experiments led me to ultimately skip tape on the kick and drums bc I didn’t like how mushy it made my sound, plus timing issues. The best method I came up with for my style and what I was looking to do was to do 1-3 elements, usually pads or synths to tape and leave everything else alone. They reacted best to tape and just doing a few of the stems gave me enough of an effect from the tape.

YMMV of course

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by Jean Luc Cougar » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:28 pm

Edit: double post

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Re: Recording a deep 909 type kick to 8-trk cassette :))

Post by dubonaire » Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:29 am

widdly wrote:
ChewyJetpack wrote:
that's part of it, but then there's also the RIAA EQ curve: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization
Is RIAA eq used with tape? I thought the tape equivalent would be some kind of Dolby
RIAA eq is used to lower the levels of low frequencies and amplify high frequencies because of the nature of vinyl recording. An RIAA phono amp is needed to reverse that on playback. Has nothing to do with tape.

To the OP, tape does not deal well with transients, even with high end recorders. Aside from the analogue component response times, transients get squashed and smeared through magnetic saturation and erasure.

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Post by timoka » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:55 am

you can treat your kick before going into the tape with compressors and eq so it sounds ok-ish after tape, that's what worked here. but then again you need alot of gear for single instruments just so the tape doesn't destroy it completely. you could of course also lower the input gain drastically and get better results that way, but i guess you want the "tape-sound" for other elements so the mixing gets difficult. anyway it's also a half-religious thing, why tape in the first place if you want a different sound? use the tape for the elements where you truly want "that" sound and leave the rest clean. (this whole tape-as-effect-thing is baffling me, it's like preparing a really great diverse meal and then dip the whole thing in ketchup to serve it. but what do i know, trends are weird anyway.)

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Post by Chevron87 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:14 pm

As others have mentioned keep the gain low to preserve the transients, also have you cleaned the heads? Residual oxide can cause loss of high frequencies and transient details. Prob not a loss of low end but it may be possible..

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Post by dubonaire » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:46 pm

timoka wrote:you can treat your kick before going into the tape with compressors and eq so it sounds ok-ish after tape, that's what worked here. but then again you need alot of gear for single instruments just so the tape doesn't destroy it completely. you could of course also lower the input gain drastically and get better results that way, but i guess you want the "tape-sound" for other elements so the mixing gets difficult. anyway it's also a half-religious thing, why tape in the first place if you want a different sound? use the tape for the elements where you truly want "that" sound and leave the rest clean. (this whole tape-as-effect-thing is baffling me, it's like preparing a really great diverse meal and then dip the whole thing in ketchup to serve it. but what do i know, trends are weird anyway.)
I agree with your last comment timoka, especially cassette tape... I just don't get that at all.

I also agree with the idea of just using tape on certain elements. I sometimes run certain tracks through Waves tape emulation plug-ins which seems a good way of dialling-in the desired outcome. Far easier, more flexible, and cheaper than buying and maintaining an expensive studio grade tape recorder, and I would need a lot of convincing that recording onto cassette tape would be a better approach.

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