electro-music.com   Dedicated to experimental electro-acoustic
and electronic music
 
    Front Page  |  Articles  |  Radio
 |  Media  |  Forum  |  Wiki  |  Links  |  Store
Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
 FAQFAQ   CalendarCalendar   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   LinksLinks
 RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in  Chat RoomChat Room 
Live streaming at radio.electro-music.com

  host / artist show at your time
  EdisonRex Edison's Electronic Review
  Twyndyllyngs Special Monday edition of Chez Mosc
Please visit the chat
 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Commentary and Editorials
Let's all sit in a circle and talk about mastering
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Page 2 of 5 [108 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Next
Author Message
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sudden wrote:
cyxeris

that makes total sense.. i agree

sigh...now i need 2 inch tape hehe..then an ultra good a/d to preserve that analog magic...

then we need a great daw that does not mess with the audio in the mixing stage or editing


With regards to production, I work purely in the digital domain. I do use analog synths and do track through an analog console, but all of the work is done in the virtual domain, 24 bits at 48khz. I'm also a huge proponent of maximizing the quality of the sound, and RMS is more for "calibration" purposes than anything. I've never been into the sound of equipment itself, such as tape saturation, tube compression, etc. I like these qualities, but for my own work, I prefer as transparent and understated a production as possible. But that is just me, and digital is a dream for that, given the correct techniques which I am always learning.

If I were to go for the analog sound you're talking about, I would achieve it the way I noted above, as a means, not as an end. This is, however, purely an issue of taste. Always stay on top of the number of A/D and D/A conversions that are made. optimally, you'll only contend with 2: when you convert your audio to digital (at whatever stage), and when the listener's playback device converts it back to analog. The quality of your A/D converters is paramount. "Harsh" and "gritty" digital is usually caused by poor converters or multiple conversions back and forth between analog and digital.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ahhh.. ok.. I mostly use plugins.. personally I am aiming for stereo concert sound and you all know which synths and gear I love. One thing I do not aim for is that chrunced concert sound.. where details disappear.

There is no point in driving up against that 0dB digital limit where no real saturation happens.. you just get clipping. Keep a nice headroom and use some eq before you push the signal into a limiter.. and then a compressor. One trick is to use the combination of limiter and compressor to create that "loud" saturated top peak where the PA loudspeakers almost starts to burn.. but you can adjust the attack/threshold/slew in both units so you get different effects. try this.. on some loud synth solos.. and you can also add some distortion from plugs like supercamelphat and others. But do listen to the real thing first.. a synth thru a vintage PA. I love bass synth voices thry those old Ampeg bass amps.. NICE! And you can also add that other trick I mentioned earlier in this thread.. by running a 100% reverb feed into an enevelope which complenets the main signal. You can even fade out the reverb earlier than than the main signal so you do not get that lone reverb tail.. and you can run the reverb feed into some slight distortion and then into a stepfilter array. ( This is really a stepsequencer which has does not control CV pitch.. but filter values in a VCF. Howard´s analog sequencer design is perfect for this. For every step the filter has a new position. Throw in a limiter like the Waves L2 in order to cram the signal dips and the signal peaks together .. and if the signal is "steppy" .. it has pauses.. not completely legato.. you can also add a compressor after this and tweak the attack/slew/release on both units and go hunting for some sweet spots in the signal. Very often you can find really hot stuff in this combination. If you wanna go really wild.. use a stereo path. Send the synth signal first into a stereo reverb... which spreads the signal out.. then into pair of VCFs which are stepped by the sequencer ( you can use the same filter CVs for both VCFs, the stereo reverb will give you enough "stereo space" in order to make the bass shake .. in stereo.. Actually.. a stereo plate reverb will do fine too ) .. then into stereo limiters/compressors. The bass synth sequence at the start of my song "A Scanner Darkly" is done this way. I have been doing this since way way back.. and you can do this live too. this adds far more life to a part than phasing.. Phasing.. hmm.. It is great fun to use an old style sequence wher you have right and let channel echoes ( Roland Space Echo .. or modified Tandberg reel to reel machines ) .. keep the clean signal panned to mid.. then send the sidechhain to the phaser and then into the echo unit.. with the delays set to pan out left and right.. I prefer using reel to reel decks. Some very soft tube distortion on top of this and you have a killer sound. You can also setup many chains of this type for each instrument .. for more ambient effects... like what I did in "utost Savagery" you then use volume pedals for playing the various feeds in the mix. You can easily create patches which are VERY playable.
All this can be done digitally. bu the trick is adding "analog" signal behaviour... some slight tubish or solid state distortion here and there.. and of course compression. Loudspeakers does compression. You can aim for that type of compression instead of the usual "pop music" type of compression. Instead of just loud you create a different feel which is much more subtle and far more effective. if you cannot quite understand how to do this, you can try miking the various parts off a PA. When I think of it.. the big TDl transmission line loudpeakers.. old stereophile thingies.. those works fine too. Some of the boomy bass parts in "Blinded By Memory" comes from runing the signal thru some TDLs.

Btw.. forgot.. the stepfiltered reverb thingie.. do the signal mix at 40 - 50 % clean/reverb and adjust the reverb time .. you will know when you have it right!

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

See, arent these threads delicious? Wink

It just occured to me that I literally do not use any distortion whatsoever. Perhaps I'll start experimenting with that later on. 3rd album perhaps. The second is shaping up to not bennefit from that sort of sound. It's looking highly symphonic and thematic. One of these days I'll be in the mood for more experimental stuff.

I look at digital audio like a movie screen. There are rigidly defined parameters wherein the content itself can reside. You can have any content you like, but it has to fall within the limits of the screen. Exceed these limits and you have no picture there, just a truncated version of the original image. Analog would be more like the equipment used to film the movie. You can play with different lenses and filters and lighting and whatever, and come up with some killer imagery. And you cant really compare, say, a widescreen plasma display and a 6-figure movie camera. A similar distinction, I believe, exists between digital and analog recording.

Digital is the format, analog is the technique. I suppose. Or something like that.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, lots of great information here in this thread.

I realize, after reading this, that I don't do mastering at all. I mix. I look at tape and CDs as just media to play my mixes. Of course, I just compose electronic music. I might view things differently if I was a recording engineer or producer.

I want my music to sound good on great speakers, not necessarilly on home budget systems or in cars. It seems to me if you are targeting budget stereo, then you have to make it sound less good on great systems, either by adding or taking away something you otherwise wouldn't.

Someone mentioned radio stations running the music through all kinds of processing chains. Actually, that makes sense. If you figure the music is going to be played in a car, process for the car.

Nobody mentioned mastering for mp3. MP3 format makes a mess of music. I surprised how we tolerate it. I know, it's the only way most of us have of getting our music heard. I've seen, on other lists, people rant on about how they wouldn't use anything less than 24 bit at 96 KHz for their recordings, and then they release MP3s.

So, I ask. What is the purpose of mastering? Why is it a separate process?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
paul e.



Joined: Sep 22, 2003
Posts: 1567
Location: toronto, canada
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
So, I ask. What is the purpose of mastering? Why is it a separate process?


i think that mastering is a general term and is over-used

as you said mosc, mastering can even mean just 'normalising' all the files


but for certain musical applications [i.e. styles of music and the energies associated with those tones] and the medium used to deliver these sounds, mastering can mean a lot more

i.e. in rock music...it has tonnes of energy..usually has a full spectrum of hi to lo frequencies...has a vocal line that needs to be very clear to the listner..and is usually deliverd on FM radio or a large club PA

so special considerations come in to play in these circumstances [some of which was mentined above]

but also this kind of music is not 'intuitive' in the sense that it is processed extensively after the fact, unlike the 'prima facie' sounds in a lot of electronic mixes [i.e they are processed and filtered or delayed prior to them being recorded]

for my electronic music, i never ever compress or even normalise...because for me, many of these sounds/dynamics are inherently 'good to go' as we select them for our mixes - like cyxeris described..and perhaps also this is your expereince, mosc


but for remixes or demo mixes of rockbands..i pour it on

_________________
Spiral Recordings
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I want my music to sound good on great speakers, not necessarilly on home budget systems or in cars. It seems to me if you are targeting budget stereo, then you have to make it sound less good on great systems, either by adding or taking away something you otherwise wouldn't.

Nobody mentioned mastering for mp3. MP3 format makes a mess of music. I surprised how we tolerate it. I know, it's the only way most of us have of getting our music heard. I've seen, on other lists, people rant on about how they wouldn't use anything less than 24 bit at 96 KHz for their recordings, and then they release MP3s.


You can think of mastering as the process of "filling the screen." They master in film as well, and it serves the equivalent purpose in film as in audio. There is more to it than just normalization. Once upon a time, that is all that was done, in the early days of the CD. The analog master was converted to digital, then normalized to -0.3 db. The idea was that CDs eliminated the need for compression of the signal, which was necessary for LPs and such. It is a joy to go back to early CD's which were basicly uncompressed in the digital domain. Then the RMS marathon began, in the 90's and fidelity was somehow forgotten.

mosc wrote:
So, I ask. What is the purpose of mastering? Why is it a separate process?


It's a seperate process for 3 main reasons, in my opinion. First, the equipment traditionally utilized for mastering is vastly different than that of production. Second, the process itself is of a very different function than production, and the skills of one do not translate to the other, necessary. And finally, seperating the processes allows for an additional degree of objectivity towards the material before sending to press.

My ultimate goal is to have enough power to where sequencing, tracking, mixing, and mastering can all bel fulfilled in one process. Currently, that is technically impossible. There is a demarkation point with sequencing and recording on one side and mixing/mastering on the other. The only thing preventing me from performing mixing and mastering at once is the power necessary to run all of the necessary tools in tandem. Otherwise, that is currently possible. To have a setup where I can playback a sequence, and have all of my tools applied to the incoming audio, on a track by track basis, and have all the chains in place to where what I hear, what I monitor, can be a precursor to the final mastered signal, would be a dream. Hopefully this is only a couple of years out.

I think that for a person to tackle all of these functions, composer, musician, engineer, producer, and mastering engineer, one is at once given an overwhelming amount of control, and an overwhelming number of, often conflictory, duties to perform. I, myself, am admitely having a hell of a time trying to juggle all of these duties, which I hold up to my own level of perfectionism. It is wearing me down. Thus, another reason to seperate the processes.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One way to think of mastering is to think of a circle. Let's say that the optimal final product is a 10 CM diameter circle. Your mixdown may translate to a 9 cm x 7.5 cm oval. Mastering would be the process of adjusting your frequency content and levels in order to fill the circle. Normalizing would be like upping the oval to 10 CM x 8.2 CM. It's the act of efficiently utilizing your available headroom and balancing out your frequency content, and also making these aspects of all tracks on the album as uniform as possible. That is why the tracks on a CD may all sound very similar holistically, while all CDs sound different from one another.

Of course, the best option is always to get the mix to as close to the circle as possible, but ultimately it's far more efficient and productive to focus on getting your mix itself well balanced and clean, and then make your overall corrections in the mastering stage. Otherwise you'll spend alot of valuable snooze-time tweaking all of your parts up to the perimeter of the circle. If you can get your mix balanced well and everything set well in the mix, then you can make your sweeping changes to that good mix in one go, rather than in 30, over and over and over until everything is both balanced well in the mix AND up to mastered levels. Just tackle one problem at a time and do so intelligently.

Even within the scope of creative endevors, never overlook the relevance and applicability of raw unadulterated laziness. It can go a loooong way.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good discussion. I've learned a lot.

So, I guess I do mastering, but I integrate it into the mix process. Since I don't use any softsynths, I have ample prcessing power.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I try to do as much "mastering" in the mix as possible, but there is always room at the end for some minor overall tweaking and shaping. The less, the better.

I have a vision of a scenereo where I have a song both mixed and roughly mastered before I commit a sequence to audio. What a lovely idea.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
nothing happens



Joined: Nov 14, 2003
Posts: 44
Location: Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is all way more in depth than I know anything about mastering, etc. But even I can tell a lot of modern pop/rock stuff sounds like jankola from being over-compressed/limited to try to make it as loud as possible. I think you really lose the attack on drum hits that way, the beat gets mushy, as well as wussifying all the dynamic contrasts.

I beg to differ about rock music not having much dynamics, though. Perhaps you need to look for some better rock music. Er, I mean, not all rock music has dynamics, but quite a lot of it does. But then, rock music isn't the most popular thing on a website full of electronicko-heads.

My overly simplistic, highly uninformed idea of mastering is this: after I mix from my 8-track tape or whatever else into the computer in Cool Edit, I do a little EQing if there sems to be a serious need for any, normalize, limit out any big peaks that don't seem to belong there and are going to get in the way, normalize again, give it some relatively nonintrusive compression (usually either 2:1 > -10 or a preset called "Classic SoftKnee" depending on the characteristics of the song in question), normalize again, and that's about it.

I basically shoot for the little meters to spend most of the time flickering around/topping out in the -3-and-up area (what that is for RMS I don't know, how would I find that?). A little more for particularly loud parts/songs, a bit less (say in the -6 neighborhood) for softer parts, maybe even less than that for really soft parts. This fairly bonehead process of mine gets that done and sounds pretty good unless I really screw something up. Volume-wise it competes well with (and is even sometimes a little louder than) most CDs I listen to, so if I put it in my car CD-changer on random, my own stuff doesn't sound out of place. I usually listen to lots of indie label and older post-punk stuff, and they seem to be pretty tasteful about mastering, so I figure if my stuff can hang with them I'm at least getting a decent level. But I'm probably doing it all wrong in the first place...

I just like to keep things simple.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nothing happens wrote:
I just like to keep things simple.

Sounds like a good methology to me. Some might wonder about the audible effects of repeated normalizations, but I think it won't hurt anything, or at least it is a good compromise. If you normalize after each adjustment, then then each adjustment has the highest resolution to work with. Seems like it would reduce artifacts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You're going to get some degree of artifacting with such a technique, but if you're working in the 24 (if not 32) bit domain, as well as perhaps some dithering, then these are negligable. One thing to make note of, though, is that each time you normalize, you reduce the amount of headroom available to the next stage in the process.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Oxford, NJ
Audio files: 6

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah to be able to get the true sound of analog tape in the digital world...whoever figures THAT out will be lifted to Saint-hood! Laughing

Unfortunately because of the physics involved with tape - signal saturation and you have pieces of metal becoming magnetized and each piece of metal is magnetized differently - and then the phase differences between these pieces as they go across the tape-head - it is very difficult to emulate in the digital world. What a lot of engineers do is once they have the track(s) basically mastered, they run it out to a 2 track machine and then pick up the signal off the tape machine and bring it back into the digital domain. It works wonders and you only have to buy the tape for a 2 track machine as opposed to 24 track tape which is very expensive. The end results are not the same as doing it all on tape - but really does add a certain warmth and cohesivness that you would not have being totally in the digital domain....

Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Oxford, NJ
Audio files: 6

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cyxeris - I don't know which Waves package you have - but try the renaissence EQ's and compressors - I have found them to be quite useful. Another recommendation would be to try EQ's and compressors from different companies on your tracks. Plug-ins do have a certain sound to them which is due to their algorithms...different manufacturers products use different algorithims and as such sound, well, different..this can be used to spice up the mix.


Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Cyxeris



Joined: Oct 30, 2003
Posts: 1125
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
Cyxeris - I don't know which Waves package you have...


Platinum Bundle 4.0. The RComp is what I use for the majority of my compressions, the C1 Comp for some noice removal, and of course the Q and Linear Phase EQs.

Cyx

_________________
∆ Cyx ∆

"Yeah right, who's the only one here who knows secret illegal ninja moves from the government?"
-Napoleon Dynamite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
Ah to be able to get the true sound of analog tape in the digital world...whoever figures THAT out will be lifted to Saint-hood!


Ha! In the 60s, 70s, and 80s people HATED tape. You always had hiss, and usually hum. You couldn't make a decent copy. You had to use compromise bullshit like Dolby A, B, C and SR or DBX. The tapes deteriorated even in those days after a few uses. A large format 2" tape needed for 24 track costed $350 a reel. Tapes made on one machine didn't work well on another. They constatanly needed cleaning and demagnetising, not to mention realignment. The machines made noise and generated heat, and they were very expensive. The heads wore out. We used to dream about digital, but couldn't afford it.

Tape was used for recording. An ideal recorder would have no sound. The "true sound" of tape is distortion and noise, no matter how romantic. When you are stuck with tape, you do whatever you can to get rid of it.

Oh, and I didn't mention those other things, WOW and FLUTTER.

Sainthood. How about Saint Osama!

Evil or Very Mad

What about the great sound of wire recorders and wax?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with Howard. Fact is, if we dig into the tape tech we will find a lot of very entertaining issues which kinda raises the question: how the hell did anyone manage to make great recordings using tape?

OK, it is possible to use tape for signal processing, and that might be the best way to go about it. I have used tape A LOT, and not portastudious, but the real ( hehe.. reel.. get it? ) shit. Fantastic machines, but digital is far better... and digital will become even better. Many of the most significant "tape-effects" can be simulated digitally one way or another.

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
nothing happens



Joined: Nov 14, 2003
Posts: 44
Location: Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As a matter of fact, I do do all that stuff in 32-bit. Thanks for asking. Then convert to 16 when done, to burn to CD, convert to mp3, whatever.

One reason vocals in rock bands require so much compression to be heard is because of the predominance of big loud distorted rhtyhm guitar hogging up all the midrange. The modern rock music aesthetic is practically built to make the singer and the guitar have to compete for inample space in the mix. And then we wonder why we head down to the local rock club and we can't understand any of the lyrics. (Then again maybe if we could we'd realize they often aren't worth hearing.) I'm just as big an offender as anyone (my guitar amp has a 15" speaker), but lately I've been trying to be more cognizant. Rock musicians seem to have forgotten that old adage about the "space between the notes."

Quote:
A large format 2" tape needed for 24 track costed $350 a reel.

2" tape is still quite popular, and they still cost close to that much ($200+ I think). And those reels ran about what, half an hour? You can get 16-track 2" machines too, I suppose you can record the tracks much hotter on those?

Quote:
Tapes made on one machine didn't work well on another. They constatanly needed cleaning and demagnetising, not to mention realignment. The machines made noise and generated heat, and they were very expensive. The heads wore out.

There are a lot of sticky technical issues with using tape, but still many insist you can't beat the sound when it's done right. Some probably just like the way it sounds, whether you consider that sound better or worse might be somewhat subjective... You'd think however, they could apply some of the technology we have now to make tape work better... we could engineer a more durable tape material, outfit tape machines with computerized equipment that could keep the heads aligned and calibrated perfectly to some standard, measuring with lasers perhaps, sense when they need cleaning/demagnetizing and do it automatically, and goodness knows we have the ability to make the machines run quieter and generate less heat... I mean, come on!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nothing happens wrote:
apply some of the technology we have now to make tape work better... we could engineer a more durable tape material, outfit tape machines with computerized equipment that could keep the heads aligned and calibrated perfectly to some standard, measuring with lasers perhaps, sense when they need cleaning/demagnetizing and do it automatically, and goodness knows we have the ability to make the machines run quieter and generate less heat... I mean, come on!


Hee Hee. We'd call it digital.... Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tape for professional audio recording is in essence dead. There will still be some use for tape, but that is for pretty fringy tasks. Tape machines are to expensive, too messy, too huge, consisitent sound quality is so and so, tape itself is too expensive and volatile and then.. the business is now about nonlinear editing. Tape is dead. And I still have a few old reel to reel machines I cherish.. I keep them just because they look good.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did mention that tape can be used for processing. Of course it can.. it works well too. But .. some of the great myths about tape sounding warm.. the great saturation etc.. are not quite true. Of course, a good machine and a very good tape can be used in order to do this.. to a certain extent... but alot of this is pure mythology created by people who do not understand the issues with the technology.

Better tools would be various breeds of line tube amps, tube compressors, certian breeds of hybrid or solid state devices... like the brand new SSL XLogic Superanalogue Channel.

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am actually waiting for a new circuit design to show up soon. It would be a digital or analog device which has a limiter, then EQ, then a compressor and last another limter. The very special thing here is that the EQ varies its settings depending on volume, and it must also have a feedback option for using compression factor as a CV for the filters.

I can elaborate on this.. anyway.. if the various processing sections have sensible designs.. this unit can be used for some very interesting simulations and processing. I guess digital attempts as plugins will show up first, then TC or someone will make this as a hybrid diftal/analog device.

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Oxford, NJ
Audio files: 6

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Ha! In the 60s, 70s, and 80s people HATED tape. You always had hiss, and usually hum.


There were a lot of issues that contributed to poor tape performance then - mostly in the electronics sections - noisy components, poor mechanical logic, underrated or poorly designed power supplies. Tape did/does break - it needs to be cared for and stored properly and most people don't. CD's/DVD's get scratched or the label side starts to peel.. All of the storage technology has it's problems...

I don't like the maintenance problems associated with tape and their machines - the only tape machines in my studio are DAT and a dual - cassette. BUT with that being said if you have a well maintained machine operated by a good engineer who knows how to set up the machine to the tape - and you use good tape - the sound is REAL good! At 30ips on a properly set up machine (2 track or even 24 track) the noise is extremely low... My friend and mentor Jack Senecal and I were doing comparisons between 30ips 2-track tape, 16 bit 44.1 digital, 24bit/48 and 24/96 digital - the tape did have a warmth or depth to it that the others lacked - especially the 16/44.1. The 24/96 was the best and I would think that going to 24or 32/192k would be even better. Jack had been working with BASF on optimizing their tape and found that the way BASF recommended setting bias and such left a lot to be desired - he did some testing and came up with significantly better performance and I believe that BASF incorporated that into their specs.

Now I am talking professional gear - NOT a Dokoder, Panasonic, Fostex etc. 1/4" tape machines..those were/are junk.

But would I trade my digital gear for tape? Nope - too costly to operate with tape and I like the editing capabilities of digital. However a lot of the "big guys" still track to tape and then bounce it into Pro-tools or Nuendo or Saw Studio, etc.. And I bet that if someone could duplicate the "Tape Effect" in a digital or hardware version - they WOULD be seen as a Saint by the people who love tape. Exclamation (Just think of the money they would save from not having to buy tape and maintain the machines!)

Dave
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Michael Chocholak



Joined: Nov 27, 2003
Posts: 305
Location: Cove, Oregon, USA
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
And I bet that if someone could duplicate the "Tape Effect" in a digital or hardware version - they WOULD be seen as a Saint by the people who love tape.


Well, but you can't duplicate analog with digital.

I loved my 'junk' 1/4 Fostex R8 and made some incredible recordings with it. Transformer fried and Fostex doesn't support antiques. So now I do it on a pc. Can't beat the duplicate storage abilities. Punch in/out editing is fast & slick. But I like it in real time & hate waiting for the conversions to see if I got it right. I like twirling knobs & dials for the 'right now' results. Mixing on the fly. I can handle the learning curves of each new piece of software, but it's a hassle. Didn't think machine maintenance was a hassle at all. Very Happy Like working on the bike.

Besides, I'm one of those that swear that analog just has a different, deeper, rounder feel to it. Of course, that could be a touch of that Dostoyevskian, synaesthetic, Midnight disease kicking in again.

I'd go back to tape in a flash. (Anybody got a good R8 they want to sell? I'm selling a horse in the spring... ). But I have to admit that I wouldn't abandon digital now that I've got my feet in it.

_________________
Que la musique sonne - Edgard Varese

I was seriously tempted to give up everything and go be a farmer or something... - Jack Endino, Seattle record producer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mezmer wrote:
(Anybody got a good R8 they want to sell?

I've got an R80, I think that's the number. The one they made before the R8. A friend picked up a mint R8 on Ebay for a little less than $500. He's building a studio with all kinds of tape beasts for a business to convert peoples old tapes to digital.

That thing about the bias. Every engineer messed with the bias on their machines and got it better than spec. Problem was that the tapes weren't too good on other machines. There used to be a genius in every town. Every tape tech was a genius. I used to get my machines tuned by a legend in the San Fransisco Bay Area by the name to Don Helmholtz. He could inprove the S/N ratio on a machine by 10 to 15 dB by redressing the power supply leads and adding local filter capacitors.

Warmer sound. That ususally means either the highs are rolled off or the is a lot of 2nd order harmonic distortion.


Instruments all sound different. I know a fellow that thinks Steinway grands sound like shit. He likes only Boesendorfers.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Now that's an arguement I like. Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Page 2 of 5 [108 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Next
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Commentary and Editorials
Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
e-m mkii

Please support our site. If you click through and buy from
our affiliate partners, we earn a small commission.


Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Copyright © 2003 through 2009 by electro-music.com - Conditions Of Use