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Old December 28th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Recording Session: "studio" asked us to bring tapes

So we're recording a few songs at a local bar, who dabbles in recording in their basement. I think of it as a gig business relationship development type thing. I barely know my ass from my elbow about recording, as I've dabbled with Reaper and an Alesis firewire mixer board at home. He told us he will be recording to both computer and tape. He asked us to bring 3, 1/2-inch 30 minute tapes, said they'd be about 50 bucks a piece.

And using that information, my google-fu is failing me. Can someone point in the right direction as to what tapes I might need to purchase?

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Old December 28th, 2012, 09:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I assume he means reel-to-reel tape; try incorporating that into your search terms. On Amazon I can only seem to find 1/4 inch tape like this and this.

You know what, I bet Fezz Parka would know; I think I saw a tape machine in a studio pic he posted a while back IIRC...
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Old December 28th, 2012, 09:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I did find this guy (I got curious). I'm sure you'll want to check with your recording guy to make sure it's the right kind and everything. Man, that's expensive stuff!
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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OK I'm getting somewhere, I find "456 vs. 499 vs. GP9" So I think those are types of tape I might need.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Most studios will rent tape to you (they re-use it after your project is mastered and/or waiting an agreed period of time)

Assuming he is recording at 15 inches per second, you'll need 2500 foot reels for 30 minutes.

Something like this:

http://usrecordingmedia.com/1oprereta.html

There are/were various different brands available, although not many currently being made.

Tape is a very expensive way of recording, of course and I wonder if it's worth doing unless the studio has top quality desk and outboard gear and you are pressing vinyl. If you are planning to end up with CDs or (more likely these days), MP3s listened to on tiny headphones then recording to tape could be overkill - it's gonna end up converted to digital sooner or later in the process.

There are many forums where you can spend all day discussing this with people far more knowledgable than I though.

For your future reference, I'd recommend doing some AB comparisons of the recordings to tape and the same ones to hard disk and see if you think the extra cost is worth it.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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http://www.fullcompass.com/product/344165.html

OK, Mr. Twang, that seems to make sense. I think I see what's going on here. He's got older gear, and needs some tape. He said we could keep our tape, but he'd really appreciate it if we gave him one. I'll have to mull this over.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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THis info is helping: http://usrecordingmedia.com/whtashius.html. If I gotta buy reels, the tape is like 90 bucks.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't understand ... if the guy has a computer-based recording set up why does he want to double up by recording to tape as well?

Whatever the case, a studio (or anyone recording you) should quote a fee for the recording and making sure they have enough disk space or tape or whatever is up to them.

As for you getting to keep the tape, there's no point in that at all unless you have a machine to play it on.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Knowing what I know about the place, I'm guessing this is the sitch:

1. Dude has some old recording gear and some experience with it. There's an ENORMOUS mixing board in framed out room in the basement.
2. Dude doesn't have a ton of experience recording to computer or maybe no way to get the enormous mixing board output to computer?
3. Dude has little to no capital left to fund the recording operation having spent it all on his bar.
4. Bar is making ends meet but nothing more.
5. Dude supports live music, that's the place's raison d'etre

I'm naive and always will be, but this might be an opportunity to learn and build a relationship if I invest in the cost of a few tapes. What do ya think? Help me rationalize this.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Can we just clarify here, what sort of recording will be made? Just straight to stereo or multitrack? A live recording of your gig or an actual recording session?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Commodore 64 View Post
He said we could keep our tape
And do what with it?

If it involves listening to what's on it it'll cost you studio rental time.

Of course, you could use it to record your next session - if you decide tape is the way to go.

I'd be a lot more excited about the prospect of recording somewhere where you could take home a hard disk of the multitracks in Reaper format. You would learn a lot more about recording by firing it up and dabbling with it, soloing tracks, doing a few more overdubs etc.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hmm, I don't really know. He said he's going to record individual tracks. We are going to play 5 songs, 3x through recording each time. He seemed really concerned about the bass and drums. We can add/replace tweak guitar tracks and vocals later if we want. The term EP was mentioned.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Does he have any recording he can play you as a reference for his work?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MrTwang View Post

I'd be a lot more excited about the prospect of recording somewhere where you could take home a hard disk of the multitracks in Reaper format. You would learn a lot more about recording by firing it up and dabbling with it, soloing tracks, doing a few more overdubs etc.
I'm pretty sure I can get the tracks in .wav format. If not it's something I can negotiate for providing tapes, I reckon. Thanks a lot for helping me through this. I need to go talk to the dude again, and this is helping me figure out what I need to do.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Having read your last post, if he is looking at this as an ongoing project where you go back and do overdubs and generally experiment with him - work with him on the mixes - and he's not charging you by the hour then a few reels of tape might be a fair investment.

Otherwise (or if the situation isn't clear) I'd think about options a bit more.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I think you need to take a step back... What do you want from a recording? Do you need a demo? If an EP is made, what will it be used for? Will you just sell it at gigs for a few bucks? It all seems a bit vague right now.

But hey, if his 'fee' will in effect be three tapes at 90 bucks each, and no other charge, you may feel it's worth saying what the heck and giving it a go.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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By the way, get him to tell you EXACTLY what tapes to get, including brand and product number. If he doesn't know that, then I doubt he really knows much at all.

I have a reel to reel eight track recorder and no way would I just ask someone to get tape without giving them exact details: I know what tape I use and I wouldn't try any other brand or type, and I doubt many reel to reel owners would either.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:48 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I would work with this guy , it seems he is motivated but like the rest of us these days has no slack in his funds.
It will stand you in good stead to do virtually all the mix and on to master in analog. Once you get to digital then you can do as much compression as you like (yuk )
You will probably learn a lot from this bloke. priceless
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:51 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTwang View Post
Having read your last post, if he is looking at this as an ongoing project where you go back and do overdubs and generally experiment with him - work with him on the mixes - and he's not charging you by the hour
Thank you. This summarizes the situation perfectly.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 10:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Well, anybody who started recording in the analog days has stacks of old tapes in a closet somewhere- I have piles of old 2" tapes and no machine to play them on at home ( I do have a 1" machine and a 1/2", but I'm a weirdo that way). It's not weird for him to tell you that you can keep the tapes if you're paying for them. That way you have the tracks if you want to go back to them at some point. Not files, tracks. Not "my harddrive died and I lost your files/ this upgrade won't open those files,etc."

The main thing is that he needs to tell you what tape his machine is calibrated to. It basically breaks down to +6 or +9 calibrations, but it makes a difference. +6 is easier to mush, tape compression which sounds beautiful if it's on purpose.

Don't be afraid. I wouldn't take the guy's interest in recording to tape as a sign that something shady is going on. You'll have two different sounding recordings of your material to chose from. You're lucky that you'll get to experience your music coming back at you from tape, it's a different thing than watching sound files flying by on a laptop.
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