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Offline ButchAlmberg

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Analog set up
« on: June 11, 2019, 02:35:06 PM »
Back story... I got into taping fairly recently and never had the opportunity to record a show with analog equipment. I'm intrigued by the gear that you guys used 'back in the day' and sometimes feel like I never earned that merit badge. That said, I know there is old analog equipment floating around out there and I've been inclined as of late to buy something in order to tape a few shows... just to say I did.

So, I'm looking into different decks. I've considered the Sony D-5 and the Marantz PMD430, but... that tape flip  :angry3: I guess the question is, if you had to record in analog today, what deck would you dust off?
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Offline heathen

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 02:46:46 PM »
If I had to record analog today my first concern would be obtaining quality tape.  I haven't looked into it, but my understanding is that quality cassette tapes are kinda' pricey these days.  I imagine reel-to-reel even moreso.  If it's just for a few shows, though, it might not be that big a deal.

As to decks, I'd look for a Sony D5 or the Marantz deck that was popular among tapers (I can't remember the model number).  The Sony D6 is pretty good and even more portable, and is what I had/have, but the metering is very crude and it can't pass a signal while doing a tape flip.  There is probably other functionality it lacks compared to the D5 or Marantz, but I never used either of those so I can't say for sure.

There is a thread on here where someone recreated a '70s cassette rig...I believe with a big Nakamichi deck.  That project is pretty awesome, so you may want to dig up the thread.
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Offline jefflester

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 05:14:44 PM »
There is a thread on here where someone recreated a '70s cassette rig...I believe with a big Nakamichi deck.  That project is pretty awesome, so you may want to dig up the thread.
Yep.
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Offline ycoop

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 07:40:11 PM »
Hope I’m not high jacking the thread too much, but I’m unclear on the mechanics of the tape flip and subsequent patching from other sources. Could someone explain to me how that would work?
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Offline jefflester

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 09:46:54 PM »
Hope I’m not high jacking the thread too much, but I’m unclear on the mechanics of the tape flip and subsequent patching from other sources. Could someone explain to me how that would work?
There are all sorts of factors in deciding when to perform a tape flip. Biggest factor is who the band is - how long are their songs and how much time do they take in between them, if any. And how long of sets they play. When you get close to end of Side A and a song ends, you do a quick flip. If there is time you can rewind Side B to the start to save tape. If they only play 60-75 min sets though, you don't need to worry so much about using up most of Side A or rewinding back to start of Side B (for standard C90). But if the band starts up quick while you're flipping or rewinding, yeah you lose a few seconds. To patch it, you load both sources into a multi track DAW, align them, match levels, and switch over to the alt source to cover the gap in the first one.
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Offline daspyknows

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 09:50:23 PM »
Hope I’m not high jacking the thread too much, but I’m unclear on the mechanics of the tape flip and subsequent patching from other sources. Could someone explain to me how that would work?
There are all sorts of factors in deciding when to perform a tape flip. Biggest factor is who the band is - how long are their songs and how much time do they take in between them, if any. And how long of sets they play. When you get close to end of Side A and a song ends, you do a quick flip. If there is time you can rewind Side B to the start to save tape. If they only play 60-75 min sets though, you don't need to worry so much about using up most of Side A or rewinding back to start of Side B (for standard C90). But if the band starts up quick while you're flipping or rewinding, yeah you lose a few seconds. To patch it, you load both sources into a multi track DAW, align them, match levels, and switch over to the alt source to cover the gap in the first one.

How I remember the days of running 6 D-5's and having to do the flip/rewind thing.  I was so glad to go digital with the PCM F-1/SL2000 with 2 hour tapes.

Offline ycoop

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 10:15:23 PM »
Hope I’m not high jacking the thread too much, but I’m unclear on the mechanics of the tape flip and subsequent patching from other sources. Could someone explain to me how that would work?
There are all sorts of factors in deciding when to perform a tape flip. Biggest factor is who the band is - how long are their songs and how much time do they take in between them, if any. And how long of sets they play. When you get close to end of Side A and a song ends, you do a quick flip. If there is time you can rewind Side B to the start to save tape. If they only play 60-75 min sets though, you don't need to worry so much about using up most of Side A or rewinding back to start of Side B (for standard C90). But if the band starts up quick while you're flipping or rewinding, yeah you lose a few seconds. To patch it, you load both sources into a multi track DAW, align them, match levels, and switch over to the alt source to cover the gap in the first one.

Thanks. I imagine there were some tricky moments if there were long, unexpected jams.

Surely one didn’t patch in this way when taping was all analog.
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Offline jefflester

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 10:52:52 PM »
Thanks. I imagine there were some tricky moments if there were long, unexpected jams.
Yeah. Usually with a Dead show set two Side A would take you into drums and you wouldn't care so much about losing a few seconds on the flip. But sometimes pre-drums would run long and you might have a cut while they were still in a song or doing some interesting jamming.
Quote
Surely one didn’t patch in this way when taping was all analog.
Ah, is that what you were asking? Yeah, nobody bothered patching from other sources back in the tape days. You'd just live with the cut.

For the few cases of splicing/patching, it would have been done on reels rather than cassettes. IIRC, someone put together a splice job of 11/08/70, since the best quality source (Ken and Judy Lee) had lots of cuts from starting/stopping the deck.
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Offline lerond

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 11:36:21 PM »
Hah! I got acquainted with tapers soon after becoming a deadhead in the early 80's ... but I waited for DAT to show up to become a taper, in large part because I didn't want to have to deal with analog tape flips.
Been very happy with the progress in taping technology ... these are the good old days!
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Offline DATBRAD

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 06:35:40 AM »
I recall plenty of Dead shows in the '80s when I counted up to 12 decks running out of my rig, D5s first, with a few D6s at the end. When flip time came, it was usually a crowd of dudes that looked like they were giving somebody CPR from a distance, lol. Holding down the record button with the right thumb, you flipped the tapes with left hand to keep signal from cutting the next decks. Between that and riding levels, taping in the cassette days was not a "set it and forget it" proposition. One of the biggest benefits DAT delivered was to eliminate flips.
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Offline ButchAlmberg

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 12:16:30 PM »
Were portable reel to reels ever a thing?
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Offline lsd2525

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 12:27:24 PM »
 ;D

FOB no less
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Offline heathen

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 12:32:41 PM »
Were portable reel to reels ever a thing?

Absolutely.  Lots of great audience recordings came from portable reel-to-reel recorders. 

Edit: Check out this discussion https://archive.org/post/344701/reel-to-reel-question
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 12:34:59 PM by heathen »
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Offline ButchAlmberg

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 01:45:50 PM »
Isd2525 that guy's doing the mic stand block before there were mic stands  :) Great pic!
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Offline ButchAlmberg

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2019, 01:49:30 PM »
Heathen, cool information in that link. Thank you. That Ampex mm1000 weighed in at only 650 lbs
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Offline johnmuge

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 02:00:26 PM »
My buddies were all running Sony D5's and they were solid machines.  I got a Sony D3 in the late 80's and I loved that recorder, great little stealth deck.  I still have it but I would never us it again. It got put in retirement when i switched over to DAT in 93 and it sure was nice not to worry about flipping tapes.  I would go with a D5 if you really want to play around with analog in the field.
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Offline IMPigpen

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2019, 03:35:00 PM »
My buddies were all running Sony D5's and they were solid machines.  I got a Sony D3 in the late 80's and I loved that recorder, great little stealth deck.  I still have it but I would never us it again. It got put in retirement when i switched over to DAT in 93 and it sure was nice not to worry about flipping tapes.  I would go with a D5 if you really want to play around with analog in the field.

I got started with a Sony D3 too.  The only thing I hated about it was that sometimes the tape jammed at the flip.  I upgraded to a D6 and don't remember having that problem.  I usually used XLII or XLIIS 100min tapes for mastering since you could actually get 52-53 minutes per side.  Of course then I upgraded to a Tascam DA-P1 and DAT!
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Offline heathen

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2019, 03:48:23 PM »
I still have my D6, but there's something wrong with it and I don't see much point in getting it fixed.  I also have a tough time parting with it because of the sentimental value.   :zoomie1:
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Offline IMPigpen

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2019, 05:10:22 PM »
I still have my D6, but there's something wrong with it and I don't see much point in getting it fixed.  I also have a tough time parting with it because of the sentimental value.   :zoomie1:

Funny story, I ended up selling my D6 back in early 2000 to a guy I knew who wanted to get into taping since I had gone digital.   It was Ben Collette, who's now an audio engineer who manages Phish's studio, the Barn, in VT and his own studio in Burlington, VT.
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Offline jefflester

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2019, 05:40:20 PM »
I still have my D6. I had a D5 for only a year or so before going DAT, so didn't have too much heartache moving it along. I threw away my TCD-D3 (DAT) because it came down with a serious case of sticky rubber-itis. In hindsight I suppose I should have seen if anybody wanted it for parts or something before chucking it.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2019, 07:02:43 PM »
The TCD-D5 series had a better transport, with audibly lower flutter than the WM-D6 or -D3, particularly if a tape cassette had higher than normal friction. On the other hand, the later version of the -D6 offered Dolby "C" noise reduction. I never understood why Sony didn't add that to the D5.

When interruptions are expected, patching for multiple recorders needs to be done on a "star" basis--splitting the signal at the source rather than passing it through one recorder into another.

From about 1973 to maybe 1981 I recorded concerts with a Nagra IV-SD + QGB large reel adapter. Even at 3-3/4 ips that deck sounded good. But when the PCM-F1 came out, I bought one from Laox in Tokyo and never looked back. I think that the experience of analog tape recording can be instructive for people who've never done it, but it doesn't offer any overall sonic advantage over digital recording, unless one happens to like a particular type of distortion in a particular situation.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 07:05:25 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline ButchAlmberg

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2019, 07:12:03 PM »
DSatz does the Nagra record 2 channel?
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Offline heath

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2019, 08:01:28 AM »
There are full track (mono) as well as half track (stereo) versions of the Nagra--I've got 5 Nagras here for various transfer purposes and I'm attempting purchase my unicorn--the Nagra T.  Would round out the collection nicely!

https://www.nagraaudio.com/product/nagra-t-audio/

Someone asked earlier if reliable open reel tape is available and the answer is a resounding YES!!!  ATR Magnetics here in PA is pumping out some very high quality tape, so if anyone wants to dust off their decks, have at it!!  They are making all sizes--1/4", 1/2", 1", 2" and also are able to supply most accessories needed for geeks like us--splicing tape, leader, hold down tape, takeup reels, etc.  Last I heard, they started slitting 1/8" cassette tape as well

https://www.atrtape.com/




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Offline ts

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2019, 05:11:01 PM »
I still have my D6, but there's something wrong with it and I don't see much point in getting it fixed.  I also have a tough time parting with it because of the sentimental value.   :zoomie1:

Same here. Still have my D5. Hasn’t worked in years. I have the case, original AC adapter, box and service manual. Strap got lost somewhere along the road. I’ll never part with it. Not that it’s worth anything. Too many memories.

But to get back on topic. Definitely look for a D5.
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Offline darby

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Re: Analog set up
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2019, 06:27:06 PM »
I still have my D6, but there's something wrong with it and I don't see much point in getting it fixed.  I also have a tough time parting with it because of the sentimental value.   :zoomie1:

Same here. Still have my D5. Hasn’t worked in years. I have the case, original AC adapter, box and service manual. Strap got lost somewhere along the road. I’ll never part with it. Not that it’s worth anything. Too many memories.

But to get back on topic. Definitely look for a D5.

still have one of my D5s left... but it hasn't ran in years

 

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