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Luka

tape theory

6 posts in this topic

hey yall

so im getting  a 2track this weekend

and im in the market for an 8track

this is totally new to me

what should i keep an eye out for ?

what problems are inherent in tape and what ways are there to avoid

techniques on cutting and splicing etc

im researching this as we speak so ill pump some info into here as ai find it

but am very keen to hear from you punks

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the only bit of advise i would give ya is make sure you keep up on maintenence such as degausing and general cleaning. ive heard a lot of recordings from people who think their recordings sound great because they tracked it to tape but the recordings sounded dull and lifeless because they didnt maintain their machines properly.

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Are you just using tape to record?  Or as a mastering effect?  eg.  Tape saturation?

Either way:

Here is some great tips from a veteran in electronic music; David Kristian, found i the archives on the G.D forum:

"A good 3 head deck with Dolby B & C and a bias adjust is all you need. On these models, you will find a guide that tells you where to adjust the trim pot so that it is optimised for the brand of tape you are using.

Do not buy a deck that has mechanical switches. Buy one that is servo controlled. It's easy to spot the difference; the mechanical switches are the ones that are located under the cassette drive and look like they could be snapped off accidentally. This is usually what happens.

Stay away from double decks! They are usually very badly made (again, unless you are willing to spend tons of loot on a pro duplicating deck...)

The same warning goes with Auto Reverse decks, but I'm sure you weren't really thinking those would be an option.

If you buy a used deck, make sure that the rubber pinch roller isn't hard and shiny. That's usually a very bad sign that it's been worn out from years of playing or that the previous owner used alcohol to clean them. The best thing to clean pinch rollers is distilled water with a minute amount of clear dishwashing liquid.

The heads should be cleaned with methanol (wood alcohol), NOT regular 70% rubbing alcohol, which leaves residue in the recording head gaps.  Do not drink the methanol, or you will go blind.  ;-)

For demagnetization purposes, I recommend you use a cassette type demagnetizer, no matter how professional the wand type demagnetizers look, they are best suited for reel-to-reels and you could damage your cassette player's heads if you held one at the wrong spot for too long.

Make sure you store cassette demagnetizer away from your recorded magnetic media.

I've been using the same Aiwa AD-F 780 3 head deck since 1990 (bought it used too!) and it hasn't given me one iota of trouble.

Using a cassette deck to record software modular synths (i.e. Tassman) gives them a truly warm and vintage sound.

The best thing to do is record LOUD. A bit of soft clipping will give you just the right amount of analogue warmth and "natural" compression.

I wouldn't worry too much about noise reduction, since you could always clean up your tracks in a computer during the final mastering process. Make sure you EQ your source a little brighter than usual too, because the amount of noise reduction required sometimes takes off too much of the highs."

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^ welcome to soundpunk tommygun and ramos, and thanks for the tips  :) Look forward to hearing more from you guys, feel welcome to pitch in anywhere  ;)

Hey Luka, on top of what they guys suggested, I'd say a visit to cassette and tape supplies in Prahran:

http://www.casstape.com.au/

and invest in some new Quantegy tape and a splicing kit for yr edits. The splicing blocks are designed specially for tape edits and will make life much easier ;) You can get 90% ethanol from the local chemist for head cleaning, about $5 per 100ml from mine.

Here's a handy little pdf on how to edit tape correctly:

http://www.evergreen.edu/media/pdf/editing_tape.pdf

Enjoy, hope it rocks!

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