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Tape sound question - Particularly for those who've used real tape

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?

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Quietinthedark
KVRist
 
180 posts since 5 Oct, 2012

Postby Quietinthedark; Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:02 pm

I am intrigued by your attempts at using impulses. Of course, I've used them for reverb, but not for tape simulation.

My first recordings were on tape and I had the foresight to bounce some of my old band's recordings to digital back in the day, and when I switched to recording mostly with software I did a lot of experimenting.

I was able to compare tracks we had done direct to tape and digitally. The nice thing was, same band, same equipment for the most part, same sound engineer as he moved from tape to digital from the 1st to the 2nd time we recorded...

The best result in emulating the sound of the 1st recordings I got was splitting the audio into three bands and applying different degrees of tape saturation to each band.

I am more of a musician than an engineer than I think a lot of you are, so I can offer no convincing theoretical reason why this resulted in comparable sounds, but in A/Bing these things a lot, the method worked.

That was years ago and I now use Tonebooster's Reelbus, various Variety of Sound plugs, and Melda's multiband saturator.

But I just write this to give you another idea that might be worth exploring.
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annode
KVRAF
 
4905 posts since 28 Mar, 2003, from Location: Location

Postby annode; Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:24 pm

Yes, this is one of my questions to those with experience of the analog world and tapes, ideally as far as (4x4)dance music goes, what sort of processes and chains were used.. eq I've heard exciters/EQ's were used BEFORE tape due to it being dull but this is second hand info(And like you've just said, not all tape is dull) and I'm guessing not everyone did this or in that order etc I'm already experimenting with chains but I'd like to know what was actually being done so I can aim my focus in the right direction.


I don't have an answer to that...I don't know.
There are different reasons one would use EQ. To make a 'surgical' sort of correction, to form a smooth envelope curve across your master bandwidth, and low and high pass cuts...to mention some common reasons. There are no good plugin 'exciters', so don't waste your time. I don't know any history on exciters.

Faster sample rates can make your material sound crisper/clearer etc when sampling higher then 44.1khz but not because it is capturing/rendering higher listenable frequencies then the 44.1khz. Depending on age, ppl only hear up to 16 - 17khz at best(I won't debate this)...and higher sample rates only "improve" the quality of the sound in the upper mid/upper high end of the listening spectrum. Good quality tape recording at speeds of 15 and 30 ips can match anything digital can capture and reproduce ,(within ideal conditions). Some differences are those of noise getting mixed with signal from analog tape/electronics , and jitter, bit depth and aliasing as some quality determining factors for digital.

So does the impulse sound 'dull' to you or like normal tape?


That A/B demo recording of the IR you posted sounded like the mids to upper ranges were flattened and the whole range level was reduced. No, it didn't emulate tape in any way I could hear. (I listened on a home hi-fi system with Bose speakers.)

Heh, I've had GClip for years and used it for distortion on leads, never thought about using it for saturation, I shall play with it.


Use it on individual tracks and not as a master effect.

Which maybe is so but it isn't acting like a regular EQ, it's acting individually related to each input, right?


Maybe someone else will want to analyze it, i'm not curious about it.

I would suggest reading up on what an IR is and it's sole applications. That should clear up any preconceptions you might be wrestling with.
Since the dawn of digital sound ppl have been comparing it to analog tape. There's a plugin for almost anything and finally ppl caught on to the cries for their old analog devices back in the digital world. They emulated analog synths , tube saturation/harmonic distortion plugin effects/stages, and then tape machine virtual emulations. It's just a demand thing. Because ppl make them doesn't mean they actually give you that something you wouldn't recognize if you heard it. Hence the topic of this post.
"It`s difficult to work in a group when you`re omnipotent." Q
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Agility
KVRist
 
114 posts since 6 Nov, 2004

Postby Agility; Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:47 pm

Interesting, Thanks for listening. Like I say, I don't know exactly what the impulse is doing if it doesn't sound like tape to you but I know the sound it is giving me is part of the sound necessary to make my music as accurately as I can so I must investigate and try to understand it and what it's doing.

It's interesting you say it doesn't sound like tape, what are your thoughts on tape emulation VST's then? If this VST

Anyway, on another long night of researching(trying to find out info on tape usage, which is surprisingly hard) I ended up on a vid on youtube of a guy making similar music with all analog gear and he mentioned a noise reduction unit... So I went to my DAW and opened one up on my drum buss and low and behold, it sounds VERY much like the impulse, rounding off the start of the sound(I'd been playing with gates and transient designers before but this sounds much more 'organic') minus the tonal differences of the impulse(which can probably be EQ'd in) I'm only on headphones since it's late at night but will investigate tomorrow.

So does anyone know if it realistically or likely that this is due to the sound I'm hearing on the records(possible it was used deliberately to shape drum sounds?), to me it seems possible but I don't know and I've never read of it but it would make sense atleast in how similar it is sounding, or maybe the guy used noise reduction in the chain when recording the impulse?

Thanks again. :)
kylen
KVRAF
 
2026 posts since 18 Sep, 2003, from West Virginia USA

Postby kylen; Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:53 am

Agility wrote:
kylen wrote:I seem to remember when I was using SIR and Voxengo CurveEQ (older version with preamp 'impulse-type' curves) that something was happening with phase (because of the impuse tail setting?). I was going to drag out SIR later (Is that the one you're using?) and put it in CBudde's VST Analyser for fun.

It is kind of interesting what is happening with your sound when you 'Impulse' it with the Beamsonic.


...I've tried it in SIR and the Voxengo one, same result although you have to remember SIR has a wet and dry so if you don't turn down the dry you get it playing too, maybe that was the source of your issue?

Oh well - I can't find my old IRs and Beamsonic impulses, must've gone down with the harddrive crash I had last year. I wanted to play! :hihi:

I was thinking that the interesting 'softening' I was hearing on your Beamsonic'd audio had to do with some amount of phase shift due to SIR/Impulse. I don't think it was wet/dry but could've been. I can't test that idea now but as I remember it was a nice side affect during my SIR days.
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annode
KVRAF
 
4905 posts since 28 Mar, 2003, from Location: Location

Postby annode; Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:39 pm

I suspect this should answer all your questions concerning the Beamsonic and IRs in general. (from Sound on Sound mag.)

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep10/a ... tion.htm#2
...and the full article;
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep10/a ... lution.htm
"It`s difficult to work in a group when you`re omnipotent." Q
My SoundCloud
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robojam
KVRAF
 
20783 posts since 26 Jul, 2005, from Inside Schroedinger's Cat...or am I...

Postby robojam; Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:49 pm

Have you thought about recording to actual tape then recording it back to your DAW?
Agility
KVRist
 
114 posts since 6 Nov, 2004

Postby Agility; Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:12 pm

annode wrote:I suspect this should answer all your questions concerning the Beamsonic and IRs in general. (from Sound on Sound mag.)

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep10/a ... tion.htm#2
...and the full article;
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep10/a ... lution.htm


Interesting.

Anyway case closed guys, Noise reduction is what's doing the sound. Got it now finally!

robojam: Nah, not feesible, tape itself doesn't appear to be the sound I was after anyway, I'll stick to plugins for any tape needs.

Cheers. :)
kylen
KVRAF
 
2026 posts since 18 Sep, 2003, from West Virginia USA

Postby kylen; Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Agility wrote:Anyway case closed guys, Noise reduction is what's doing the sound. Got it now finally!

Details? or state secret... :hihi:
Agility
KVRist
 
114 posts since 6 Nov, 2004

Postby Agility; Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:41 am

kylen wrote:
Agility wrote:Anyway case closed guys, Noise reduction is what's doing the sound. Got it now finally!

Details? or state secret... :hihi:


lol, no secrets here, get a noise reduction plug like you're old trusty X-Noise, I assume Izotope stuff would work too and throw it on your drumbuss(or wherever, it works on other things needing smoothing too, One engineer I know uses NR as a secret weapon all the time for this, So I'm pretty sure this is common) and voila! Play with the settings etc if you're stuck.

So if it really is a secret/trick then I've exposed it for those that don't know of it. :lol:
kylen
KVRAF
 
2026 posts since 18 Sep, 2003, from West Virginia USA

Postby kylen; Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:53 am

Agility wrote:...get a noise reduction plug like you're old trusty X-Noise, I assume Izotope stuff would work too and throw it on your drumbuss(or wherever, it works on other things needing smoothing too, One engineer I know uses NR as a secret weapon all the time for this, So I'm pretty sure this is common) and voila! Play with the settings etc if you're stuck...

Nice! So dragging the audio through some dirty FFT muck is what did that I guess...hmmm put a GUI on it and voila - instant analog soft-grit-izer.
trupro
KVRer
 
20 posts since 14 Aug, 2012, from New York City

Postby trupro; Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:50 am

Just a tip...alot of people do actually saturate to tape. One thing you can do is get an oldschool beta or high end vhs in good condition, some even master to them. Alot cheaper than a 1/4" deck, although if you can: get a 1/4 inch deck.

Also: I am not kidding, saturator/bit degrador plug that is built into ableton has been more useful to me than any of these 'i am a tape emulator saturator plugin'. Mainly they just deaden things. I can do that with a 3 band eq lol.

Thirdly: Tape compression is not the only compression that can create the same vibe. After you've compressed normally for impact (individually, say kick, snare, etc, separately) you may want to use a nice hardware compressor or even a plugin to bring the hammer down on the whole drum buss mix, using fast attacks, slow releases, a medium threshold and a rather high ration. Im sure you already know what i mean but going from there, try to then break your sound. Some interesting 'saturation' type effects will be produced.

anyway cheers!
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annode
KVRAF
 
4905 posts since 28 Mar, 2003, from Location: Location

Postby annode; Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:08 pm

trupro wrote:Just a tip...alot of people do actually saturate to tape. One thing you can do is get an oldschool beta or high end vhs in good condition, some even master to them. Alot cheaper than a 1/4" deck, although if you can: get a 1/4 inch deck.

Also: I am not kidding, saturator/bit degrador plug that is built into ableton has been more useful to me than any of these 'i am a tape emulator saturator plugin'. Mainly they just deaden things. I can do that with a 3 band eq lol.

Thirdly: Tape compression is not the only compression that can create the same vibe. After you've compressed normally for impact (individually, say kick, snare, etc, separately) you may want to use a nice hardware compressor or even a plugin to bring the hammer down on the whole drum buss mix, using fast attacks, slow releases, a medium threshold and a rather high ration. Im sure you already know what i mean but going from there, try to then break your sound. Some interesting 'saturation' type effects will be produced.

anyway cheers!

Could'nt resist it;
- Audio head recording to beta or vhs is a hell of a lot worse quality then a standard cassette , and that's a fact.
- Hi-fi vhs audio recording is laid down by 2 extra heads on the video head cylinder that use frequency modulation to lay down an audio track. If you check into the circuitry, you'll find a dynamic range no more then 80db, an agc circuit and nothing at all that resembles recording to audio tape...not to mention for mastering use.

Whoever told you such nonsense should not give advice.
"It`s difficult to work in a group when you`re omnipotent." Q
My SoundCloud
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robojam
KVRAF
 
20783 posts since 26 Jul, 2005, from Inside Schroedinger's Cat...or am I...

Postby robojam; Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:16 pm

If you really want to put it down on a format that will give you what you need something like an old Revox B77 might do the trick.

The fact that it has live monitoring of what is being recorded is awesome, and 3 speeds that will give you better frequency response if you choose the slowest.

(All the above from memory of almost 30 years ago, so apologies if it needs correcting).

Only problem is, you won't find one cheap.
Claudio G.H.
KVRer
 
11 posts since 9 Jan, 2013

Postby Claudio G.H.; Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:57 pm

Interesting talk. This inspired me in designing an real electronic analog circuit to replicate all the stages involved in tape recording, including the magnetic stage.
Actually there are so many things involved in analog recording on tape, that I think it is really hard to put them into a software model.
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