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Author Topic: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550  (Read 15080 times)

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Offline rocksuitcase

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I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

Same level of difficulty as sneaking in a PCM F-1/SL2000 rig.  Luckily just pat downs then.  Anyone whining about how difficult it is to get an Sony A10, CA9200 CA-14 rig should just carry a Nak 550 around for a day.
I must admit, seeing a few guys sneaking in their PCM-F1 rigs is one reason, aside from $$$, that I never tried building one of those rigs. I gotta say difficulty level at least 1 notch higher with the F1 rig given the two devices plus motorcycle batteries and such.!     8) ;D
music IS love

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Offline DSatz

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Well, plus the PCM-F1 and the SL-2000 (if I'm remembering the model number of the companion video recorder correctly) each required substantial operating current, and the rechargeable battery that they each worked with could only hold about an hour's charge. So you either had to create a big, heavy external battery arrangement, or else pre-charge and swap out a pair of roughly paperback-book-sized NiCads every hour.

Plus, the mike inputs of the F1 were unbalanced, and could be overloaded rather easily; they weren't designed for professional condenser microphones. And while the "PEAK" LEDs on the meters were reliable*, the meters themselves were not; you would sometimes see "PEAK" indications while the meters registered only -4 dB.

The boundaries between professional and consumer recording equipment were clearer back then, with the F1 being decidedly on the consumer side, even though a lot of professionals (including me) bought and used them. There were other compatibility issues between consumer digital and professional digital as well (see P.S. below if you're interested).

--best regards

______________
* What that meant in those days was: If _three or more_ consecutive digital samples reached full scale, either positive or negative, the PEAK indicator would flash. But the Red Book standard required there to be _no_ full scale values at all in an entire CD tape master (in fact it reserved the lowest-order four bits as a safety zone, so a tiny fraction of a dB below full scale was also forbidden). And the PEAK indicators didn't flash in playback--only in record.

So even if you recorded an entire performance with no PEAK LEDs, you still didn't know whether your recording could be used as a CD tape master or not. To avoid rejections at the pressing plant, tape masters sometimes were recopied with a gain just below unity, even though this added a tiny amount of noise and violated the idea of bit-transparency.

and the promised P.S.:

[1] In the United States, Japan and a few other countries, the frame rate for NTSC color video was slightly modified from the standard frame rate (30 frames per second) of black-and-white video. The "pseudo-video" signal from consumer digital audio adapters such as the PCM-F1 contained no chroma signal, but consumer videotape recorders by and large were designed for color video recording only. So the NTSC version of the PCM-F1 sold in the U.S. and Japan actually ran not at the 44,100 Hz sampling rate of the CD medium, but at 44,056 Hz so that the samples could be encoded at the 29.97 Hz frame rate of NTSC color video. So if you took an F1 recording and "bumped it up" to PCM 1600/1610 format for CD mastering, there was a pitch shift of about 1/50 of a musical semitone. Some musicians (hothouse plants that we are) could actually hear that.

[2] The original version of the PCM-F1 had only one A/D converter which was shared between the two channels. A "sample and hold" circuit alternated between the left and right channels at twice the sampling rate, fed its output to that shared ADC, and the output of the ADC was then buffered, interleaved, and formatted into lines of "pseudo-video" for recording. (If you recorded a pure mono signal, the digital content of the left and right channel of that recording were never exactly identical for this reason.) During playback the process was reversed so that each stored pair of left and right digital samples was fetched from the de-interleave buffer and converted with the same 1/88,200-of-a-second delay between them. Thus the simultaneity of the two channels was restored in the analog output even though it didn't exist in the digital samples stored on tape.

However, in the professional realm there were always separate A/D and D/A converters for each channel, and the left and right channels were sampled simultaneously. Thus any PCM-F1 recording that got "bumped up" to PCM-1600 format for CD mastering always had that tiny time lag between channels. It was too small to be audibly significant in most stereo recordings, but caused some phase cancellation at high frequencies in mono material if the channels were summed in playback--and if you knew about it and were a perfectionist, it was bothersome to the conscience.

Also, on a technical level, the alternation between channels in the consumer adapters, and the switching interval on each half-cycle (during which the sample-and-hold has to be disconnected entirely from incoming signals to avoid garbage from the switching process itself) cut the settling time of the circuit to less than half of what it was in the professional equipment--thus adding several dB of noise to the analog signals prior to conversion. That's part of why these early 16-bit adapters could never achieve the full signal-to-noise ratio of the CD medium.

It's also why we old curmudgeons get testy when you young whippersnappers talk as if 16 stored bits -> a 16-bit dynamic range. That misconception is very convenient for people who sell "24-bit" digital audio recorders, but I can confidently predict that in my lifetime _or_ yours, there will never be one with an actual 24-bit dynamic range from analog input to output, or even from analog input to digital output. It's also why a higher sampling rate, back in the days of linear/ladder A/D converters, meant WORSE audio quality rather than better--something that was audibly demonstrable, but that the audiophile magazines (The Absolute Sound especially) got completely wrong, even though they were the ones who supposedly used their ears rather than specifications to judge everything.

(Damn--that grudge is now almost 40 years old and I'm still carrying some of it ...)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 08:11:31 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline morst

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WOW thanks for the PS, DSatz!
I knew about [1] but not [2]
hey now!

Offline MakersMarc

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I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

Same level of difficulty as sneaking in a PCM F-1/SL2000 rig.  Luckily just pat downs then.  Anyone whining about how difficult it is to get an Sony A10, CA9200 CA-14 rig should just carry a Nak 550 around for a day.

I reminded myself of my good fortune at having tiny 😈 gear the other night when I was feeling a little weighed down running the 620 over the A10. I know they didn’t commonly have detectors back in the day, but I can’t comprehend bringing in one or two 550s, a couple of motorcycle batteries and full sized mics, for open let alone 😈. I tip my hat.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 05:04:53 PM by MakersMarc »
😈 Mk4v/41v>nbob actives>Baby nbox>Oade warm mod Marantz 620.

Open: 4v/41v>nbobs>Nicky mod Naiant PFA>Oade warm mod 661.

Home: the Stereo Hospital budget refurb rig: Lappie>DragonFly Cobalt/Red with Jitterbug>Nikko NR520 amp>B&W V202 speakers.

Offline DSatz

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Don't tip your hat while recording, though, if it has microphones in it! The sudden image shift could make your listeners dizzy.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline H₂O

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i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).



 
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Offline Popmarter

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Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
Recorders: SD MixPre 3 II; Sony A10; Edirol R44; Sony M10; Sony WM-D6; Edirol R-09HR; iRiver IHP-120; Sharp MD-MT20; Sharp MD-MT190
Microphones: Nevaton MC59/S (cards); Milab VM-44 Links (cards), AT853 7.4mod (cards); AT831 (cards); Nakamichi CM300 (all CP's); Soundman OKM II Rock Studios
Preamps: Beyerdynamic MV100; JK Laboratories DVC-X-17b; Naiant IPA; Nakamichi MX-100 modded for 9v battery use

Offline rocksuitcase

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i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).
I never ran the F1/SL2000 rigs, too much cash investment for our crew!
The two guys I hung with who did used motorcycle batteries, two in tandem with some sort of trickle charge device. Also, some used their Sony TCD5's for Pre-amps at the beginning (1983-ish) Later on I noted several custom OADE pre-amps among that crew. Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
Let's also note tapers such as Frankie Streeter and Jeff Silberman had crew access to help them get the gear in so it wasn't a pure  >:D job.
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Online jefflester

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Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=193386.0
DPA4061 HEB/AT943 -> CA-UGLY -> R-09
Samson C02/Superlux S502/iSK Little Gem -> DR-680MKII
AKG CK63 -> AKG C460B -> DR-680MKII
AKG CK63 -> nBob actives -> Baby NBox -> R-09/DR2d

Offline Popmarter

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thanks, missed that

Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=193386.0
Recorders: SD MixPre 3 II; Sony A10; Edirol R44; Sony M10; Sony WM-D6; Edirol R-09HR; iRiver IHP-120; Sharp MD-MT20; Sharp MD-MT190
Microphones: Nevaton MC59/S (cards); Milab VM-44 Links (cards), AT853 7.4mod (cards); AT831 (cards); Nakamichi CM300 (all CP's); Soundman OKM II Rock Studios
Preamps: Beyerdynamic MV100; JK Laboratories DVC-X-17b; Naiant IPA; Nakamichi MX-100 modded for 9v battery use

Offline daspyknows

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i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).
I never ran the F1/SL2000 rigs, too much cash investment for our crew!
The two guys I hung with who did used motorcycle batteries, two in tandem with some sort of trickle charge device. Also, some used their Sony TCD5's for Pre-amps at the beginning (1983-ish) Later on I noted several custom OADE pre-amps among that crew. Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
Let's also note tapers such as Frankie Streeter and Jeff Silberman had crew access to help them get the gear in so it wasn't a pure  >:D job.

We got the gear in both ways.  I walked it in for 2 of the Dylan/Dead shows but for U2 and Pink Floyd we had help from security. 

Offline morst

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It was not locked to BETA, but Sony didn't make VHS machines with matching form factor to the F1. VHS would work too, but Beta was both smaller, and may have somewhat higher reliability. I guess you could even have eventually used a Hi8 deck, but given that DAT machines were popular by that time, there would be no reason to. Also Beta is bigger tape than Hi8.

Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
https://www.technics.com/global/chronicle/sv-p100/
check this all in one home recorder by technics. 14 bit PCM stored on internal VHS!
« Last Edit: February 05, 2020, 03:21:44 PM by morst »
hey now!

Offline DSatz

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Actually I did try some Video 8mm recording with the F1. Unfortunately, even in 14-bit mode the uncorrected errors were just too much; there were snaps, mutes and "gronches" in playback. (In 14-bit mode, the lowest-order two bits per sample were filled with additional error-correction data so that more severe tape dropouts could be corrected or mitigated than in 16-bit mode--and 14-bit mode still had a wider dynamic range than any professional 15 or 30 ips open-reel recorder ever. Unfortunately it didn't have proper dither, but room noise usually kept that from mattering much.)

The optimal videotape format for the F1 and its successors was "industrial Beta" (e.g. the SLO-325 and 383). It operated exclusively at Beta I tape speed. Since there was no slower speed that needed accommodating, it used taller heads and wider tracks, and more tape area was under the heads on each scan, thus reducing the likelihood and severity of dropouts. "Industrial VHS" also existed, though less well-supported; I remember seeing one portable deck from Panasonic that looked pretty nice, and of course it offered two hours of recording on a single tape.

Sony's Beta decks from ~1980 on generally made some provision for PCM recording. There was generally a switch setting that made two changes in the playback behavior: It defeated "sharpness enhancement" (basically a high-frequency emphasis in the luminance channel), since that enhancement would slightly alter the timing of black/white transitions. It also defeated "line buffering" which was a way to conceal dropouts that made good sense for human visual perception (if a given scan line of video was unreadable, the entire previous scan line from that same field would be replayed from an analog buffer). But that tended to feed disruptive garbage into a PCM processor, which had a very powerful error correction/concealment system of its own that worked best when fed honest video, warts and all. Even a bad dropout within a line of video need not wipe out that entire line's PCM data--yet with line buffering switched on, the decks delivered the entire line EITHER from the tape OR from the buffer, while the majority of ordinary dropouts were less than one scan line.

--best regards
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 10:23:27 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline JEMS

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Does Anyone know if Mike Millard recorded any of the Pink Floyd Wall shows at the LA Sports Arena in Feb of '80? I know he recorded the 1975 shows at the LA Sports Arena but I have never seen anything of his from the 1980 run.

He did not.

Offline OldNeumanntapr

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Does Anyone know if Mike Millard recorded any of the Pink Floyd Wall shows at the LA Sports Arena in Feb of '80? I know he recorded the 1975 shows at the LA Sports Arena but I have never seen anything of his from the 1980 run.

He did not.

Oh that's a bummer. Do you know why by chance?

 

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