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Tape machines

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

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Re: Tape machines

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:58 pm

mountain lion wrote:Why do companies like waves choose to model old vintage tape machines?

Cos they're the ones the middle-aged and older bedroom engineers remember coveting in their youth... :lol:


Is There a difference in Sound?

Every tape machine sounds different....
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:03 pm

If you want a tape machine as an ornament, which I suspect most of these new machines will end up as, nothing still looks better, I think, than a nice A77 with matching metal NAB reels.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:24 pm

Trevor Johnson wrote:If you want a tape machine as an ornament, which I suspect most of these new machines will end up as, nothing still looks better, I think, than a nice A77 with matching metal NAB reels.

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Tape machines

Postby MOF » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:31 pm

If you want a tape machine as an ornament, which I suspect most of these new machines will end up as, nothing still looks better, I think, than a nice A77 with matching metal NAB reels.

I still have my Teac A3440 and 2A mixer which cost £1000 in 1978. I plan to put them in a display case when I get a bigger house, along with my Sony TC 377, Crumar electric piano and ARP Quartet. I haven’t used any of them in years but haven’t had the heart to sell them.
If someone wants to buy the A3440 for £30k+ then I might consider it though, I’ll even pay to get it refurbished. :lol:

P.S. I now use tape plugins.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby desmond » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:52 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
mountain lion wrote:Why do companies like waves choose to model old vintage tape machines?

Cos they're the ones the middle-aged and older bedroom engineers remember coveting in their youth... :lol:

Why? Fun, nostalgia, a preference to that kind of sound...

I'm mean, who'd have though in 2020 there'd be a resurgence and consequent s/h price increases of *4-track cassette portastudios* from the 90s... I mean, I threw mine away, and it was one of the few bits of gear I was *happy* to get rid of... :headbang:
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Stratman57 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:00 pm

What sort of price are 4 track Portastudios going for? I still have my Tascam 244.

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Re: Tape machines

Postby mountain lion » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:11 pm

But the newer ones probably sound cleaner ???
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Johnsy » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:47 pm

blinddrew wrote:Probably because the Ballfinger link in Hugh's post is http not https.

That's the badger. Well spotted.

Sam Spoons wrote:You're not running a 7 ½ ips ¼ track computer are you 'cos this is a 15 ips ½ track thread? :D

Or maybe I just need some isopropyl alcohol.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby desmond » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:49 pm

Stratman57 wrote:What sort of price are 4 track Portastudios going for? I still have my Tascam 244.

No idea. Check ebay/Reverb/your favourite online s/h retailer of choice.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby wireman » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:09 pm

If someone was to give me a nice Nagra IV machine I would be happy to take one.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:16 pm

mountain lion wrote:But the newer ones probably sound cleaner ???

Nope. Distortion and noise are inherent in the physics of the medium. Check the specs.

... and sounding cleaner really isn't the reason some people still like tape... quite the reverse, in fact!

But if you really want tape you could buy a very good refurbished Studer (etc) for much less than a brand new ballfinger.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:17 pm

wireman wrote:If someone was to give me a nice Nagra IV machine I would be happy to take one.

You'd be very lucky indeed to be given one, but they do still come up occasionally on the pro resale sites. In the UK Bblist is very good for that kind of thing, although I see a lot of 'wanteds' an no 'for sales' at the moment.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Arpangel » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:40 pm

Stratman57 wrote:What sort of price are 4 track Portastudios going for? I still have my Tascam 244.

Regards, Simon.

I have a 414, cost me £100, yours should go for anything around £200/300 depending, more in mint condition.
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Re: Tape machines

Postby CS70 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:23 pm

mountain lion wrote:Why do companies like waves choose to model old vintage tape machines? Is There a difference in Sound?

Well, they chose to model tape machines when they weren't old - meaning, working to specs.

The reason is that yes, recording to tape (an analogue signal, not DAT etc, for which tape is just a way to preserve the bits making up the digital stream) can contribute some pleasing characteristics to a sound or an entire mix. In the right (small) doses both the natural compression occurring to tape, the small equalization provided by the medium itself and even added artifacts as noise, wow and flutter my change the sound so that it sounds a bit subjectively better (or perhaps familiar.. as many very well known record were made to tape and exhibited these properties).

On real tape, it can also lead to horrible stuff if one's not careful, typically with huge loss of high frequency loss both when a new "generation" (i.e. copy to a new tape) or even when just playing the thing! Noise, wow and flutter are mostly your enemies and to keep them to a very minimum, the amount of maintenance needed for to a tape machine is considerable. Adding to the fun are heads that wear out over time and can even get magnetized.

Tape emulations don't suffer from any of these problems and tend to keep the "pleasing" properties.

The only thing they lack is the hipster mojo. But you can always keep in the studio an old non-functioning tape machine for the looks and take instagram pictures to impress the impressionable. :)
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Re: Tape machines

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:02 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
Trevor Johnson wrote:If you want a tape machine as an ornament, which I suspect most of these new machines will end up as, nothing still looks better, I think, than a nice A77 with matching metal NAB reels.

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

That's exactly what I owned many years ago 8-)


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