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Author Topic: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info  (Read 4238 times)

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van Sinn

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Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« on: Time Format »

Yeah, I know, though didn't know the specific gear used on those recordings.
Nope, not keen enough to start buying such expensive gear 'just' for those otherwise beloved songs.

Later (provided I survive financially), I might build a few pieces of tube gear, like a tube comp and EQ, for partially achieving those old-school sounds.
Don't think I'll ever shop a used Studer - if tapes are even available. However, tapes depending, I think dropping the down-mixed stereo to, say, just 1/4" tape at high speed and back, might at least partially recreate some of that vibe, at least better than digital plugin simulations.
And then finish with the mastering session.

It's fun, this thing about analog vs digital..
I hear lots of old-school stuff that weren't done to the same standards as modern stuff, but on the other hand often sounds decently more authentic.
Ideally, I'd love a small scale home hybrid analog/digital studio where I could decide where and when to this or that part on analog or digital as I'd see most fitting..
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Hey Sinn,

   Yeah, tape is still available, I usually have to order from a warehouse though.
   I do still have a couple of tape decks, and I can use them for the same thing as you are talking about, to get that tape compression and warmth.
   There are a few tube units being made today that are cheap, ART is making a tube mic preamp, but I have serious doubts if it comes close to the old school stuff. The way they process signal in the new units is way different than the old in one sense: when the signal comes into the unit balanced, it is then processed unbalanced through the units, then phase-reversed at the output, to a balanced plug. In the old gear, the signal remains balanced all the way through. ( Two signal paths out of phase ).
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van Sinn

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

Interesting [about the mics]; I haven't looked that much into this..
Haha, I once saw someone on alt.rec.audio.pro (IIRC) write "What do you get out of a tube mic?", with the answer "It avoids condensation in cold weather!" ;)

I also find it interesting looking at just how much electronics goes into, say, an opamp. All those circuits doing feedback, stabilization and compensation.. which is of course very sexy for a general purpose building block, but still.. it just doesn't beat the principle of direct signal paths with as little as possible in it, featuring very little negative feedback.

Good to know tapes are still available, but are those actually still being manufactured?  I believe they were almost extinct some years ago, so, production taken up again?  Part of an analog revival?
(mmnn.. maybe Agfa will start producing Ultra 50 camera film again)

I resently sold a copy of a Jean Hiraga amp with multi-emitter Sanken transistors; very direct signal path and with the Sankens, boy, can it drive a speaker. So, I'm thinking, same thing with other gear.
Maybe getting somewhat OT, but oh well..
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rnolan

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

While there's still a demand for tape it will be available (like tubes in some ways), you can still buy (as far as I know  :dunno: ) Ampex 456 for your various reel to reel needs (2", 1/2", 1/4").  Tape is still a great format depending what you want to do.  Resolution wise it's way better than digital until you get into Sony super audio (2GHz sampling ie flat to 100khz).  Dynamic range is more limited on tape but then depends on the program material, how much do you need?  Moreover, the A/D D/A convertors in most gear is pretty ordinary (this doesn't help the format debate..) eg 192khz 24 bit should be pretty good, hasn't got a patch on tape to my ears..

And rather than dither you 48khz 24 bit mix (generally a "nice" format) to CD quality (44.1khz 16 bit  :facepalm: such a crap format..), send it to decent tape (I use my Nakamichi cassette deck) and then re-sample (it will sound better  :thumb-up: )
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

Richard,

    The dynamic range on tape is just fine, or else how would you explain all the great music we grew up listening to?
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van Sinn

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

Ha ha Ha, good one, Harley :thumbs-up:
And if anyone claims false flags on lack of dynamic range of tape, just say the magic words: Loudness war :lol:
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rnolan

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

Salient point Van, and very noticeable when you rip a CD and compare the signal wave graphs.  Newer CDs are mastered to fill all the bits (my CD is louder than yours  :facepalm: ) where the older recordings have much more headroom.

Tape is great if you don't need (and mostly you don't) such a wide dynamic range (as provided by 24 bit samples, where the least significant bit (LSB) = -144db).  This is handy for some program e.g. classical where there are lots of soft subtle passages.  As the soft passages are close to the tapes noise floor noise reduction techniques were applied (notably Dolby (A, B and C) and dbx)
Dolby A and dbx were expensive and most common in studios.
dbx noise reduction works by compressing the signal 2:1 on record, recording this "squished" signal as close to tape saturation as you can (thus staying away from the noise floor) and then expanding the signal by 1:2 on playback to restore the original dynamics.
Dolby A does similar to dbx but splits the signal (into 4 chunks IIRC) and only applies compression to softer signals (that would be affected by the noise floor), so unlike dbx it's selective.
Dolby B is basically a 10khz boost on record and reversed on playback.  This boosts the signal that is in the same range as tape hiss so on playback the hiss is reduced.  Turning it off on playback of Dolby B encoded tapes gives you the 10khz sparkle (and some hiss) and makes you old tapes sound a bit better.
Dolby C was an extension of Dolby B, but like Dolby A somewhat selective, it didn't really take off that much except in HiFi circles.  And then digital happened with larger dynamic range (dependent on bit depth) making the tape NR unnecessary. 16 bit samples need care when you process them as the LSB is audible (apply digital trickery like eq etc).  With 24 bit the LSB isn't audible and regardless of sample frequency (eg 44.1khz, 48 khz, 192 khz etc)) is a better (more detailed dynamically) format.
The along came MP3 which throws away program to reduce file size.  A good way to loose all you attack transients  :facepalm: unlike flac which just throws away any leading zeros in a given sample and puts them back later.  So when you use flac on modern recordings, you don't get much file size reduction as the program is (as Van points out) squished up as hard as possible to saturation (ie very few leading zeros).
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #7 on: Time Format »

@ Sinn, it's not about the loudness for me, it's the fidelity. The loudness can be taken care of at the mastering stage.

@ Richard, all very interesting to know, but don't you think you might be over-analyzing a bit here? After all, the end product is really what matters. So if you can get what you're looking for, regardless of the medium, or the technique, then it's all good isn't it?
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rnolan

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #8 on: Time Format »

Hey Harley, absolutely, although the analysis helps understand why you may go one way or the other.  E.g. some rip to MP3 then upscale to CD (44.1/16bit)  :facepalm: But as you say it's the end result that's important.  Though some enjoy the conversation (including me obviously LoL), others just want it to work.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #9 on: Time Format »

Hey Richard,

    Don't get me wrong, because I do have a tendency to over-think things myself, and I try to stop myself from doing that because, I'll end up second guessing myself right out of the project I might be working on  :lol:

   It is interesting to understand the differences between Dolby A,B, and C, since I have used those in studios in the past, but never really understood the differences. For me it was more like try "B" and let's see how it sounds etc.

   I completely agree that ripping an MP3 and trying to upgrade that to a CD is totally a$$ backwards, ( a lot of lost fidelity there ), but that is a completely different transfer than going from tape to CD. Also, I am a big fan of recording digital, and getting a really good mix there, then transferring to tape, which cuts way down on the tape hiss, then recording back to digital with the tape compression added, since plug-ins can't give you that quality. They only give you a simulation.

   I guess that's my real issue with plug-ins, they are just simulations. In a side-by-side comparison between the plug-ins and the real articles, through a SSL recording desk, you can hear the differences. Very much like the difference between the Celestion Greenback RI's vs. the original 30W Celestions.
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van Sinn

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #10 on: Time Format »

@ Sinn, it's not about the loudness for me, it's the fidelity. The loudness can be taken care of at the mastering stage.

Fully agree. I think I were a Bit too brief in my one-liner ;)
What I meant with comment on tape dynamic resolution vs loudness wars, was simply that if someone says tape doesn't have enough dynamic range, then who would care - because the loudness war shizzle often removes so much dynamic range that, even if tape, as is sometimes claimed, doesn't have too much dynamic range (which to me is very untrue), it wouldn't matter when music is often compressed as much as is often taking place.

I believe we're on the same pace on these issues..
And, BTW, interesting multiple directions this. initially fairly simple, topic is taking ;)
« Last Edit: Time Format by van Sinn »
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #11 on: Time Format »

I believe we're on the same pace on these issues..
And, BTW, interesting multiple directions this. initially fairly simple, topic is taking ;)

  Yes, we are on the same page, I agree.

   I'll have to take the blame for the direction this topic went into by pointing out the difference in recording technology from the time of those recordings to what we have today. The reason for that is because I'm sure there are many others besides myself, who would like to achieve that kind of recording quality using the technology we have today. It seems harder to do now.
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van Sinn

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #12 on: Time Format »

I shall not accept your self blame!  It's most cool going in several directions on a topic like this, essentially about how to obtain a certain sound scape.
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Kim

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #13 on: Time Format »

It's most cool going in several directions on a topic like this......

To a certain extent, yes.  But I'd like to politely remind everyone that bloating and cluttering a thread only serves to confuse others who may be looking for specific info.  It's like being forced to wade through and endure a hundred popups, spam, commercials, and adverts just to see the score and who won last night's game or match.  A good margin between topical and not-so-topical banter is accepted here, but if you're getting too far away please consider starting a new Topic; there's no shortage of things and opinions to discuss and share. 

A hundred threads to discuss a hundred Topics will always work out better than ten threads trying to discuss a hundred Topics.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Re: Hendrix/ Analog Tape info
« Reply #14 on: Time Format »

I agree with Kim about all the tangents that can be found in a thread like this one. I myself have been going over a lot of early threads that are no longer active in the Forum, trying to find specific information and have read about a lot of different things other than what I was looking for, but it makes for some interesting reading.
   I just believe that when we take some of these classic songs into account and want to try to reproduce the sounds we are hearing for our own guitars, that in addition to the old vintage amps and guitars we are hearing, it's equally important to consider how that equipment was recorded too.
   Let's take "All Along The Watchtower" for an example. Richard's version, which is a very good rendition BTW, is a live version vs. the studio version recorded by Jimi Hendrix. You can hear Richard's guitar is much hotter than  Jimi's guitar tones, but that is because Richard is emulating the lush rhythm tracks that Jimi put down using layers of clean guitars with a tape delay. There is an acoustic guitar track with two clean electric guitar tracks, that while they are clean individually, collectively, they produce a slightly overdriven sound that leaves the listener with the perception that it is one HUGE guitar on the rhythm track. It's really three different guitars Jimi used. A cheap acoustic, a clean Stratocaster, and a left handed Acoustic Black Widow, ( I wonder what became of those guitars). The solos Jimi tracked two guitars there as well, one with his Strat, the other with a Gibson Flying V, and both through his Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. All of this was recorded with old condenser mics and tube mic preamps, with tube compressors, and tube EQ's through tube circuit mixing consoles and onto 2" tape. Back in the day, that was all state of the art, but today, that's dinosaur technology.
    We are all very lucky to have grown up at the time we did, because we listened to all these great recordings, and they inspired us to get into music, because we all wanted to sound like that. Our ADA gear gives us the ability to get closer to getting that kind of sound for ourselves that we can't do with anything else. Instead of needing a warehouse full of equipment, we can use our gear with a laptop, and a few good quality mics, and get closer to that kind of soundscape, than we could if we used more modern amps that are available now. IMHO, our ADA gear is the bridge between the old and the new, and we can go from the vintage sounds all the way to the current guitar tones with a step of a button.
   Sinn, if you set up the right environment in your DAW, and track multi layers of guitars of different types, you could very realistically achieve this kind of soundscape, or at least get very close to it. I don't believe you need to invest in a Two Notes Torpedo or anything like that, but a good speaker cab and a couple of good mic's can get you surprisingly close. It doesn't have to be a 4x12 cab either. A 1x12 with a removable back can give you a lot of options with mic placement and mixing, driven with a low powered amp. Micing the cab on a hard floor vs. on a carpeted floor also makes a big difference. These are just a few suggestions that are much more economical than investing in expensive processing gear.
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