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 Forum index » How-tos » Production - engineering/mixing
Mixing + mastering for cassette
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macumbista



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:29 am    Post subject: Mixing + mastering for cassette Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been invited to do an electroacoustic piece for cassette release next year. Does anyone have tips on producing for tape?

I'd be most interested in the noise floor, signal-to-noise ratio and frequency response specs typical for cassette tape, so I know which parts of the work I'm making are most likely to disappear in the final release so I can still work around that problem.

If possibly, I'd love it if this thread steered clear of the usual "cassettes = good vs bad" swamp-pit that most other threads on the topic I've located eventually fall into. In my case, the medium is already chosen and what I want to do is make the most of it. Thanks much!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Bit hard to say in general as it depends on tape type very much and if you'll use Dolby.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You could actually consider buying some old tapes with major label produced music on it and then study how they have solved the obvious problems.. and also become familiar again with how cassette tape sounds. That way you will have some references.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The good thing here is that you will probably work in the digital domain with the mastering so this means you will have decent control of overall levels and peaks.

Do you have a decent cassette deck to record with or will you use a cassette duplication service of sorts? Is the cassette for general distribution?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the replies! Quick answers:

1) No Dolby.

2) Checking commercial cassette releases are a good idea. However, if they use Dolby then I would get different results.

3) Source material is analog (modular synth and speaker feedbacks) so not entirely predictable in what they produce, however yes if I mix/master digitally then I have a lot to say about final results.

4) Label will use cassette dup services, I've already asked them for some spec but they haven't provided any yet. In the meantime I'm looking around for a tape deck to play around with. Funny thing is, I'm doing a residency at a music conservatory right now, and you'd figure they would have a cassette player somewhere hidden behind the high-tech fiberoptic networks between the concert halls and all, but...

Best!
D.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it might be a good idea to ask the label what they want from you
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Is there stilll a market for Cassettes?
I'd suggest the CD market would make more commercial sense.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Frenzy-Records wrote:
Is there stilll a market for Cassettes?
I'd suggest the CD market would make more commercial sense.


Troll question, or simply no knowledge of the underground scene? Do CDs actually make commercial sense? I don't know, but they make nice drink-coasters these days. Does releasing any physical format make commercial sense these days? Alright, sorted then.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have adequate knowledge of the underground scene being a DJ, Producer Label owner associated with Hardcore & Trance music.. Just no-one sells or uses cassettes, CD's are fading away too.. its all digital formats in 2013, people want instant music..
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nah, my underground is waay more underground Shocked

Since when does art have to make sense or be danceable Confused

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Frenzy-Records wrote:
I have adequate knowledge of the underground scene being a DJ, Producer Label owner associated with Hardcore & Trance music.. Just no-one sells or uses cassettes, CD's are fading away too.. its all digital formats in 2013, people want instant music..


Perhaps there is no call for cassettes in hardcore/trance, but there is in other scenes, e.g. improv/noise/experimental/synth, possibly due to the more DIY ethos. Lots of tape labels put a lot of work into making very nice physical products that seem to be very collectible.

There are also lots of people doing vinyl, CDs/CDRs and even downloads for when the limited releases on physical format sell out, which they do very quickly.

Downloads may be instant but not everyone wants instant gratification, and they're really hard to sell at gigs Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

And guess what: not everyone is interested in doing this just for the money either... amazing but true!!!!

My point really was this: people are attracted to different formats for different reasons. Some are particularly attracted by the limitations/characteristics of the medium itself. The more restrictive and "outdated", the better. To inspire.

If this were not true, I would not have been able to live perform sets for the last 6 years using only overhead projectors for both sound source and visuals.

For example...

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