4 track cassette tape recorders

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downfader
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4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by downfader » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:06 pm

When I turned 19 (quite some time ago) I saved some money to buy myself some recording and music gear. One of those items was a 4 track cassette recorder by some minor brand that I forget. It was grungy as hell, noisy, unreliable, and I struggled to get rid. I think in the end I gave it away to clear some space and bought myself an 8 track hard disk recorder (which cost me a fair few months wages)

I now see on various youtube videos and facebook posts that musicians are trying to get these tape recorders again. Kind of a nostalgic phenomenon. One of the Tascam devices went for about £70. 8O

I love the fact that someone sees something valuable in something that I couldnt get on with myself. Some people are producing some amazing music with these things. 8) Whenever I personally wanted tape-effect I would use my Sony hifi unit and record a track to tape there ...you could gently speed it up or slow it down with the help of one knob... and then add thing sweet warm crunch to beats with the preamp on there by turning another.

So, is anyone here using cassette in any form still?
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Angstrom
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by Angstrom » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:30 pm

Heh, I've not used an analogue 4 track since about 1995. Starting with my trusty and crusty old Fostex-X15 in about 1985 !
ten years of cassette tape.

Personally the fun bits of tape are
  • the nonlinearity of the signal in various parts of the machine, tapeheads and tape (ie saturation)
  • the wow and flutter adding a very unusual instability to the sound.
  • The ability to make fripp/eno style tapeloops with overdubbing (on cassette I used a small piece of cotton stuck in place to pull the loop away from the erase head !)
For all of those reasons I think open reel format is the better choice.
Back then it was near impossible to afford a decent reel-to-real at an affordable price ( I was 15). But now I think open reel would be the way to go if you have the urge. Surely there's a forgotten open reel model lurking unfashionably on e-Bay. The saturation and sheer fun of grabbing the spool flange and fucking with the sound is great. I had an old Bang and Olufsen open reel for a while with multiple heads and it made a magnificent tape-echo device, very unpredictable. While B&O are a well known manufacturer they wo

So, I'd go open reel personally.

102455
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by 102455 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:39 pm

I had a Yamaha MT-2X. Recorded lots of stuff on that. Even used it with SMPTE synced to Cubase (Tape for acoustic and sequencer for synths).

In fact it's still here, stuffed in the back of a cupboard. After years of sitting idle, it's just seized up internally.

My next step up was to Cubase Audio on the Atari Falcon. 8 / 16 track hard drive recording!

beats me
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by beats me » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:00 pm

This reminds me that I keep meaning to ask if anybody still has their setup from the 90’s so they can respond to every outraged noob or DAW switcher with a “Let me answer that in the 90’s” YouTube video.

Q: The waveforms on different tracks don’t appear to be perfectly aligned. How can I tell if they are in sync?
A: We’re going to see the waveforms with our ears. Stick with me on this….”

Q: I only have 30 tracks in my set and the computer keeps running slow or freezing up.
A: Once you’ve exhausted your 3 track limit we’re going to bounce to the 4th track so we can continue to record more tracks.

downfader
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by downfader » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:17 pm

beats me wrote:This reminds me that I keep meaning to ask if anybody still has their setup from the 90’s so they can respond to every outraged noob or DAW switcher with a “Let me answer that in the 90’s” YouTube video.

Q: The waveforms on different tracks don’t appear to be perfectly aligned. How can I tell if they are in sync?
A: We’re going to see the waveforms with our ears. Stick with me on this….”

Q: I only have 30 tracks in my set and the computer keeps running slow or freezing up.
A: Once you’ve exhausted your 3 track limit we’re going to bounce to the 4th track so we can continue to record more tracks.
Yeah, sometimes we dont know just how good we have things :D
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slatepipe
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by slatepipe » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:42 am

i use tape quit a bit with the stuff i do, currently i use this hand held regular cassette recorder thing which plays at two speeds and has a pitch wheel so i can play stuff ultra slow. i tend to pick up odd cassettes with talking on them - language tapes, kid's stories and religious speeches etc, and play them in the background for an added layer in a butthole surfers kind of style, bringing it up and down in the mix now and then

i got two 4 track cassette recorders - a tascam and a yamaha. i havent used them much lately but i used to use them to record jams with friends on and then record each track into ableton and edit and build up from there. like this thing : https://thirdpartysouthseadaybook.bandc ... frictional the cassette influence is pretty evident

i did a half live remix of duran duran's save a prayer track a few years back with my pitch wheel cassette thing, in the same place they made the original video in sri lanka. the main loop of the track is the intro to save a prayer manually slowed down on the tape https://vimeo.com/18078079

then i did a whitney houston tapestretch remix using slowed down loops from some tracks from one of her albums i found on cassette : https://vimeo.com/40689838

i got a portable reel to reel as well, uses mini 3 inch spools. i had trouble finding some spare spools for it, found some place in korea that did them luckily :)

so yeah. i like tape :)

Angstrom
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by Angstrom » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:53 am

On the most recent Sonic State podcast they talk for a while about Tape. getting masters on 2" from another studio and then trying to set the azimuth on your heads.
Rich Hilton remembers. Anyone under about 40 might be amazed at what we had to go through. Sitting watching the studio clock saying "there goes another £100" as the tape machine still isnt set up right.

fishmonkey
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:20 pm

once upon a time my studio equipment consisted of a Yamaha MT4X, a Sony Walkman, and a Zoom 9002 guitar effects unit.

ah yeah, bouncing to the fourth track, good times!
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

oblique strategies
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:33 pm

I currently have:
- Tascam 238 Syncaset 8-track cassette deck.
- Tascam 302 MkII dual cassette deck with independent input & outputs per deck.
- Tascam 103 mastering 3 head cassette deck.
- Sony WM-D6C Pro Walkman.

LUV
:mrgreen:

beats me
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by beats me » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:30 pm

A studio I worked for in the early 90's had a 16 track reel to reel tape machine and at the time state of the art 3 ADATS (24 tracks). One of my jobs was switching cable snakes depending on what the client wanted. So unplugging and re-plugging 32 to 48 cables. Given the option I would have rather taken out the trash or vacuumed.

But I will say walking out of the studio with a reel tape in hand made you feel like you were playing with the big boys. A file in your email? Not so much.

Richie Witch
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Re: 4 track cassette tape recorders

Post by Richie Witch » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:38 pm

downfader wrote:So, is anyone here using cassette in any form still?
Yes! :D

I picked up a Marantz deck on eBay a few months back and use it to record samples from my Eurorack. Then I bring bits and pieces of that into Ableton for further slicing and processing. It's been a great way to develop my own library of Minimal samples with lots of movement, texture, and variation.

I also like the ability to get up in the middle of the night with a piece of something in my head. I don't have to power up the entire studio. Synth, mixer, tape deck, done.
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2

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