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Author Topic: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?  (Read 3365 times)

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Offline Mr.Fantasy

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Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« on: May 05, 2017, 11:57:43 AM »
My plan is to digitize my dad's collection of Dead tapes that he made from 78 - 95. And also do work on archiving a collection of about 200 hours of tapes of local Tulsa, OK blues guitarist Steve Pryor (R.I.P).

My dad has two Nakamichi tape decks. I plan on cleaning them up and using the better of the two to play the tapes.

Run out of the Nak into a Sound Devices USB Pre2...

Into a Marantz 561.

My dad posed the question as to whether we would benefit from adding an equalizer into the chain after the tape deck and before the pre amp. This is my question. And I would LOVE any other advice.

My only other piece of equipment is a Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite...I picked it up (mint) at the pawn shop for $30....but if I am going to go from tape deck > Scarlett 2i2 > computer....I need to buy a new computer and that is a whole other can of worms (brand, specs, what sound card, etc.)
"I read somewhere that 77 percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves" ---Jerry Garcia

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Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 12:05:32 PM »
My plan is to digitize my dad's collection of Dead tapes that he made from 78 - 95. And also do work on archiving a collection of about 200 hours of tapes of local Tulsa, OK blues guitarist Steve Pryor (R.I.P).

My dad has two Nakamichi tape decks. I plan on cleaning them up and using the better of the two to play the tapes.

Run out of the Nak into a Sound Devices USB Pre2...

Into a Marantz 561.

My dad posed the question as to whether we would benefit from adding an equalizer into the chain after the tape deck and before the pre amp. This is my question. And I would LOVE any other advice.

My only other piece of equipment is a Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite...I picked it up (mint) at the pawn shop for $30....but if I am going to go from tape deck > Scarlett 2i2 > computer....I need to buy a new computer and that is a whole other can of worms (brand, specs, what sound card, etc.)

Do the EQ with software after you do the transfer.

Nothing wrong with either approach - the Marantz keeps you from tying up your computer.

The focusrite - no need for a real snazzy computer to make 2 channels work...the focusrite becomes the soundcard - so no need for anything else...but it does tie up your PC during the transfer
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Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 12:25:27 PM »
Do the EQ after the Transfer on your PC.

Use the Marantz so you can be transferring one while tracking out another.

Check Archive or LL to make sure those same Sources haven't already been Transferred.  Sometimes, there are Upgrades, etc.  It might just be easier to get a new version of the same tape rather than transferring the one you got.  Of course, if he taped the shows himself and they are Masters, you can ignore this...

Terry
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I will return your DATs/Tapes/MDs.  I'll also provide Master FLAC files via DropBox.  PM me for details.

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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 01:42:19 PM »
Add me to the EQ after transfer. This way you basically have the "raw master file" which can be edited in any way you wish just like your modern digi recordings.

One other idea- the Nak tape decks may or may not have automatic azimuth control. If not, it will be important to look up the model number and determine if you can manually adjust the azimuth FOR EACH tape.
You can look this up and hopefully others who do this will also chime in but setting azimuth is the number one action cassette deck wise other than cleaning the heads and take up reels.
As those tapes are quite old, I would plan on cleaning the heads after every xx tapes (for me that is a max of 5, but I typically clean heads after every tape)
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Offline Mr.Fantasy

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 04:03:26 PM »
Thanks for all the responses guys. I think you have all given sage advice and I really appreciate it.

Not being any sort of expert at post-production......is Audacity still the go-to free program? Or are there any programs (free or otherwise) that would benefit me...while still being usable without formal education?  :bigsmile:
"I read somewhere that 77 percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves" ---Jerry Garcia

Modified Nak 300's -> PS2 -> R-09 (looking for a pre-amp but am very indecisive)

Offline morst

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 10:50:22 PM »
Yep. Stick with a simple signal chain, and only EQ digitally, is my first inclination, unless you have access to one of the high-end mastering EQ's like the Manley Massive Passive
http://www.manley.com/products/view/mmmsmp

or the Pultec
http://www.pulsetechniques.com/products/classic-pultec-tube-eqs-with-enhanced-mastering-controls/eqm-1s3-detail

$$ warning $$ expensive!

... any other advice? I like 24 bits, and 48kHz sample rate!
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Offline lpmaskman

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 12:39:49 PM »
Depends on the material. Of course you can EQ in the way you like on PC after digitizing the tapes.

Offline Roger Gustavsson

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 02:56:34 AM »
I digitized my cassette tapes some years ago. It is a time consuming process… First, you need to optimise the azimuth of the replay head for each cassette. If a noise reduction like Dolby has been used, I hope the cassette decks used for recording were properly adjusted. Any loss of high frequences use to be amplified by the noise reduction. If there is a mean of adjusting the replay EQ before the noise reduction, it is better than doing it in the digital post processing. I had the privilege to use the same deck as used for recording, minimizing the high frequency loss during replay. Still, due to the age of the cassettes there will be some degree of high frequency loss even with high quality tapes. As already mentioned, you need to clean and de-magnetize the heads/transport of the deck frequently.

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 10:18:18 AM »
I took my cassette player to a reputable service provider and had the belts replaced, heads aligned, demag'ed and cleaned.  Bring a sample tape so they can align to that tape.

No EQ.  Go right to the bit box. 

Don't use a computer.

Then transfer to computer.

Goldwave does a good job at EQ, splitting, naming etc
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Offline Moke

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 11:40:35 AM »
save raw master files.  create an edit-master for any alterations.

goes back to the cassette transfer presently underway....
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 02:40:05 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^ this
learned the hard way back in the early 2000's I transferred a bunch of cassettes to MAc, less than 2 GB HDD back then. had to burn all wav's to DVD and didn't do a bunch of them so only have the 16/44.1 edits with no raw file.

Now, I make a 24/48 transfer, name it and keep it raw no matter what else happens. always create/save as a new file from the raw for editing.
music IS love

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Offline Charlie Miller

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2017, 12:44:28 PM »
Are these tapes masters? If not they're probably already in circulation digitally in higher quality.

As for the EQ question, I agree with the other responses. Always record flat and do adjustments after in 'post'.

Edit:
I'll gladly help with supplying the digital files in circulation if needed.
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Offline Popmarter

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2017, 04:25:05 PM »
Indeed, if these are masters. Go for it! If not, make sure the tapes are better than anything in circulation. If not, keep the cassettes in a good box (never throw away, it's history to you) but save the trouble.

If you can have your Naks refurbised by a Nak specialist, Willy Herman in USA is a name.

No EQ, just plain transfer. 24bit 96 khz is good (some say lower is enough, but hell, space is no limit anymore)

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2017, 03:20:19 PM »
The OP is kinda vague on whether or not these are masters. If the Nak decks he has are 550's, I'd say there is a good chance they are in fact masters. ;D

Offline nak700s

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Re: Cassette Tape Conversion Plan---Add an EQ to the chain?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2017, 05:24:14 PM »
Keep it as pure as the original recordings as possible.  I would run from the Nak deck to the Marantz and that's it.  From there, you drop it onto your computer, and if you feel the need to tweak it, that's when you do it.  Keep the original files safe and don't mess with them. Do all of this at 24bit so you have flexibility.
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