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Anyone mixing to cassette?

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Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby Iwan Morgan » Sat May 03, 2008 8:49 pm

Not a late april fools I assure you!

My client loves what his fourtrack does to his demos. Can't quite get that sound from the full album mixes. He wants to try dumping them to his 4 track. I'm not too keen on the idea, as I will have to convert the mixes back to digital through my 002, and its one extra conversion. On the other hand I'm willing to give it a try as it may add more than what the 002 takes away.

He's dropping the 4-track off next week for me. In the meantime I dug out my old Sony Professional WM-D6C recordable walkman

http://picnic.ciao.com/de/21770090.jpg

. I've always loved this portable machine. It has the best tape heads I've ever seen in a cassette recorder.

So I've hooked this up as a hardware insert in pro tools. Sending ready mixed songs to it is a bit problematic as the levels are too hot for it.

I suppose I could put my Tfpro P2 before it and pad the inputs.

I figure the mechanism in this machine is better than the 4-track, and i'll have double the tape diameter from it.

My meandering question/musing is therefore does anyone here regularly mixdown to cassette? any tips?

I know Portishead have done for their new album "Third"
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby _ Six _ » Sat May 03, 2008 9:07 pm

I had a similar thread not long ago and got told off by the regulars!

Do you know what though? My mate does it regularly. From a technical point of view the sound is degraded and sounds sh!t but to my ears so does pristine 24bit audio! In saying that though listen to 50s and 60s music. They're classed as classic recordings but sound terrible by todays standards!!

Music and sound are subjective. If it feels right go with it. Don't follow the crowd.
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby chris... » Sat May 03, 2008 9:27 pm



Ooh - thanks for posting that pic - you've taken me back to 1988 when I had one of those. Handy for portable recording pre DAT.

Sh*t sound quality though.
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby Iwan Morgan » Sat May 03, 2008 9:29 pm

Really? you don't rate the sound? I think it sounds pretty good.

Still as the previous poster said - its subjective!
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby tomafd » Sat May 03, 2008 9:48 pm

SixStringzzz wrote: In saying that though listen to 50s and 60s music. They're classed as classic recordings but sound terrible by todays standards!!


If you haven't, have a listen to the classic Capitol recordings of Frank Sinatra, 1953-62, especially the ones arranged by Nelson Riddle. You may not like the music... but the recordings are extraordinary. Likewise albums like 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis. They sound a hell of a lot better than a lot of the stuff I hear these days, (musically as well, IMHO, but that's definitely subjective)
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby Steve Hill » Sat May 03, 2008 9:59 pm

Yes, but that was hardly cassette quality kit!
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby thescientist » Sat May 03, 2008 10:36 pm

funny that you should mention it, but I had to try that the other day because I was having ground loop issues when going out from my mixer to my computer. So instead, my friend and I tried routing the outputs to vinly/cassette player but the cassette player wouldn't play, rewind or anything. So next we tried his portastudio and that worked well....until we went to play it in my car, and it came out wicked slowed down, lol. It was cool, his song ended up kinda sonding like something of a Sigur Ros album so it was worth the shot. I eventually got rid of the hum and now we're back to digital (kind of), but I record everything on my fostex reel-to-reel recorder first through my 812 mixer and then out from that into the computer to make cds. fun thread. :D
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sun May 04, 2008 10:50 am

depends on the 4 track... but it's quite possible for it to be able to achieve much better results than the Sony.

1) they often run at a higher tape speed.

2) you can effectively double the track width, by feeding Left to tracks 1+2, and right to Tracks 3+4.

3) you can alternatively reduce cross talk by running left to track 1 , and right to track 4

4) one or two had Dolby S , FAR better than dolby B or C or Dbx.



running at high speed, with dolby, and either doubling up the tracks, or splitting them further apart, will very probably sound better than that Sony. which sounds best will likely be subjective...




(the only time I'll speak up for cassette based 8 track is the ability to do both..... nearly... 3 tracks per channel, and 2 tracks spacing between.... increased tape width and speed and reduced tape based cross talk..... of course utterly pointless today....... but way back when that kind of kit was the pinnacle of the home studio.... tricks like that were very much worth knowing... )
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby Steve Hill » Sun May 04, 2008 11:05 am

I remember doing some good stuff with a Panasonic Nicam Stereo VCR which had an audio-only "hi-fi" mode, running the tape at half speed (so you could get 6 hours from a typical VHS tape).

The sound quality was really, really good. I used it to store 2-track backups for a long time, till it finally died.
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby James Perrett » Sun May 04, 2008 1:04 pm

I used to do something similar to Steve - but the sound of a Hifi video is closer to digital than normal analogue tape.

I had a client last year who was still cassette based and who persuaded me to dig out some of the old cassette decks so that I could do a run of cassette demos for him. I wasn't convinced by the sound but he liked it.

There is certainly something 'right' about analogue tape for rock music but I wouldn't really want to deal with all the stability and cleanliness issues with cassettes on a regular basis.

Cheers

James.
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby chris... » Sun May 04, 2008 1:10 pm

Steve Hill wrote:I remember doing some good stuff with a Panasonic Nicam Stereo VCR which had an audio-only "hi-fi" mode, running the tape at half speed (so you could get 6 hours from a typical VHS tape)

Yep the VHS hi-fi system was great - much better quality than cassette.

It did have some sTrAnGe artifacts of its own however.
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby R. Spisketts » Mon May 05, 2008 9:08 am

Max! wrote:4) one or two had Dolby S , FAR better than dolby B or C or Dbx.

Yup, always sounds better in Dobly
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby _ Six _ » Mon May 05, 2008 11:09 am

While we're on the subject whats the deal with demagnetising the tape heads?

Is it absolutely necessary?
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Re: Anyone mixing to cassette?

Postby James Perrett » Mon May 05, 2008 11:37 am

If you never switch the machine off while it is in record then demagnetising is rarely needed. I do it to my machines once every few months just to be safe but I can think of only one occasion where it made a noticeable improvement - and that was on an ancient reel to reel recorder that someone had just given me.

Cheers

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