Thread: Tape vs Digital

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  1. #1
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    Default Tape vs Digital

    https://youtu.be/D3NQfsOpJW0?t=56m42s

    **Disclaimer... Bad thread name. Not meant to be which is better**

    I know this is old, but the workflow he describes seems odd to me.

    Basically, track to tape... fly into protool... make all mixing decisions and program all automation based on protools playback... swap back to tape and let tape run through the automation.

    Is that how you dudes used to do it?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    https://youtu.be/D3NQfsOpJW0?t=56m42s

    **Disclaimer... Bad thread name. Not meant to be which is better**

    I know this is old, but the workflow he describes seems odd to me.

    Basically, track to tape... fly into protool... make all mixing decisions and program all automation based on protools playback... swap back to tape and let tape run through the automation.

    Is that how you dudes used to do it?

    Sounds ass-backwards. Record to tape, fly it into the DAW.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    Ive only had the opportunity to track/rough mix with tape. Sounded great, but took close to 2 weeks for the machine to be serviced.

    Iirc, we just synched pt and the tape machine together, and dumped it all into pt
  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    The part where he makes his mix based on what his DAW is spitting out, then dumps it to a completely different media (where it will likely change) and hopes for the best ... yeah, seems odd. But beyond that, I can only tell you stories of how I've seen others do it. Mostly like what John describes. Record to tape, dump to DAW, mix, print. I'm sure there are other flavors.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    If you run the audio off tape but back through the A-D to use the pro tools automation, how is that not exactly the same as just playing back the audio you've ALREADY run in to pro tools???

    its the same A to D
    Last edited by weedywet; March 18th, 2017 at 05:22 PM.
  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    If you run the audio off tape but back through the A-D to use the pro tool automation, how is that not exactly the same as just playing jack the audio you've ALREADY run in to pro tools???

    its the same A to D
    I thought he said about writing automation on the board, no? The idea was to avoid tape wear etc.
    So you use PT as a playback machine while you're doing your mix and when it's done print from tape playback.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    Listen to that again and I think you're right meLoCo_go. I heard it wrong. They are using the play back from PT to work through the automation (on the board, not in PT) then hitting play on the tape and letting the board do the automation for the final capture.
    I thought they were taking it into PT from the tape, mixing in the box, then printing it back out to tape.

    Still seems like you're not getting an apples to apples comparison. They are making decisions on how they will set the mix based on audio that won't be used in the mix. Am I still missing something there?

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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    Still seems like you're not getting an apples to apples comparison. They are making decisions on how they will set the mix based on audio that won't be used in the mix. Am I still missing something there?

    -r
    Yes, that's true. Question is how close PT playback is to tape, with regards to mixing decisions.
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    Botheration!

    Do the whole thing itb and use a console plugin
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    They are then operating on the assumption, or belief, that the pro tools copy sounds exactly the same, or so close that they can make all of their out of the box choices from the PT files.
    I don't buy that.

    In fact, again, if the PT copy is exactly the same then why go back to tape?
    Last edited by weedywet; March 19th, 2017 at 05:01 PM.
  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    I agree, weedywet. But there's got to be more to it than dumb luck, right? They aren't just getting lucky when it bounces to tape and everyone is happy. Absolute speculation on my part, but maybe the differences are so negligible that it doesn't really matter much? Despite him saying it's a night and day difference?

    I wonder if there's a mindset similar to a new engineer/recordist starting out, mimicking what the "pros" are doing? I'm guilty for sure. Seeing an article about the eq magic of a Pultec so I run out and look for something I can get my hands on. Never really thinking about why I need it, just locked into the idea that a creditable source says putting it in the chain somewhere will make the song better.
    And I don't mean to take anything away from Jack White and/or anyone who's worked on making his records (I like his sound a lot), but do you think they might be guilty of blindly buying into this belief that tape is so magic that it's really a mental trick they are playing on themselves?

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    Ive only had the opportunity to track/rough mix with tape. Sounded great, but took close to 2 weeks for the machine to be serviced.

    Iirc, we just synched pt and the tape machine together, and dumped it all into pt

    Let me guess - it had been quite a while since the machine had been maintained?

    What kind of machine was it?
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #13
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    I'll add a couple comments:

    You never want to lock the machine to the digital because you'll get a massive increase in flutter.

    Jack White all but cornered the market on NOS 456. It isn't just "tape!"
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    You never want to lock the machine to the digital because you'll get a massive increase in flutter.
    So...lock both the analogue and the digital to video black?

    If so...I'd imagine you'd have to do all of the analogue work locked to black before you start the digital transfer shenanigans.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    No, forget about it if it's music!
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    By locked to digital, I mean by an external clock (rosendahl iirc). I didnt notice any flutter effect going on, maybe we got lucky.

    And yes, john, beautiful machine, but rarely got any use. It may have been partially the band that caused the delay. Had 2 different techs in to service and calibrate the thing. I honestly thought it sounded fine, but I'm by no means an expert there.

    As far as the "night and day difference" point, I'd have to say that it was for me. Never heard drums like that before, ever. But again, I did ref mixes right from tape so its hard to compare the two side by side.
  17. #17
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    Default Re: Tape vs Digital

    I certainly don't disagree that analogue can sound much better.
    I still do a few 100% analogue records a year.

    but I don't think we usually have a problem (wild exceptions, such as A Night At The Opera aside) with just running the tape machine during mixing.

    in fact, even in the Queen example, it wasn't mixing, it was the long time spent overdubbing that wore out the tape.
    if you're not going to do the overdubs in Pro Tools, I don't really think you're saving anything.
    it's a kind of a weird contradiction to be all lo tech and grungy on one side and then to be all Roger Nichols prissy about tape wear on the other.

    I just think it's a waste of time and effort.

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