Analogue Tape Tricks?

After Klevgrand launched the DAW Cassette app, I started playing around with various apps to get a little more control and tape-like sounds. I've been combining some settings in AD Grind, without the wavetable, and using the Soft Saturation algo, etc. Add to that, AD Quatro Mod. There's a preset for the diffuser part that creates a nice wobbling sound. You can also get a nice wobbling sound with built-in tape saturation with italizer, with the mix turned up to 100% and no feedback. Then add Tap Delay for some exaggerated wow/flutter and tape hiss. AD RoughRider2 can soften up the edges. Master Record on top of that if you haven't damaged it enough. (I'd love for Master Record to go AUv3)

These combos give me about all the control over the sound that I want... but DAW Cassette gets specifically to the authentic sound a bit quicker I think. So, it's worth it if you don't already have all of the apps I'm using.

Beyond that, I've been digging up any old cassette gear and cassettes. I have 2 old portable cassette recorder/players that simply don't work anymore. Just got old I guess. One had a tape in it from when I was traveling in Morocco many years ago. I mentioned that in another thread. Had to do with a tape I'd made after getting the news that my mom had passed, and my last conversation with her from a payphone in Marrakech.

I've listened to that tape about 6 times now. Digitized it to my iPad and will make a little heavy life/art piece out of it later.

So, I also hooked up an old Technics home tape deck I had in the closet. Still in good shape and works well. Was able to round up all the cables to get audio from the iPad/iPhone in to record, and back out to the iPad/iPhone. Ready to experiment.

I found some high quality cassettes with music on them that I might record over... or, I might just buy a pack of Normal tapes to experiment with for lofi.

One tape I found in the trunk of my car was from law office about copyright on the web or some nonsense ;) It's a old, cheap tape, that's baked in the trunk of my car for who knows long. And the tabs weren't broken off so I can record over it. My first experimental specimen! :)

Any interesting tricks to try with this tape? I was thinking of maybe pulling a bunch of tape out, scrunching it up to damage it a bit more, then reel it back in for even more decay. There's a bias setting dial on the cassette deck. I know that's to adjust for high bias tapes while recording... but can it be used for weird effects on normal tapes? Or anything that's not what it was intended for?

Comments

  • edited April 2018

    try slowing the tape speed down while playing back, put a finger on it and hold it if possible? finger wobble ...
    if you put a piece of tape over the hole or put a piece of paper in it you can record over all the old cassettes (you knew that)
    if you are recording new stuff always drive the tape hot at +3 or so
    sorry about your loss, don't torture yourself forever with that tape. ;)

  • edited April 2018

    @Max23 said:
    try slowing the tape speed down while playing back, put a finger on it and hold it if possible? finger wobble ...
    if you put a piece of tape over the hole or put a piece of paper in it you can record over all the old cassettes (you knew that)
    if you are recording new stuff always drive the tape hot at +3 or so
    sorry about your loss, don't torture yourself forever with that tape. ;)

    Thanks. I’m good. No torture. First bit and pieces were hard, as well as the first full listen. I then listened to it several times while recording it to the iPad and already made a soundscape out of it. Interesting bit of life time traveling for me. :)

    Bummed those portable cassette player/recorders don’t work anymore, but it looks like cassette player/recorders are cheap on eBay. And, there are some new... very low end player/recorders on Amazon for cheap that could likely make as horribly lofi recording that you’d ever wanna make. lol

    Why riding new recordings ride hot up around +3? More distortion?

  • edited April 2018

    it doesn't really distort,
    its more like compression and a subtile overdrive,
    its a nice sound,
    I always recorded like that.
    and it gives a much better signal to noise ratio than 0 db VU ...
    so you get more of the good analog stuff and less of the bad analog stuff ...
    I did this with Sonys and harman kardons
    that sounded really nice
    they had 3 heads so you could listen to the recording on the tape while you recorded it (thats what the 3rd head was for), this was called "Hinterbandkontrolle" must be something like "read after write" in English.

  • edited April 2018

    @Max23 said:
    it doesn't really distort,
    its more like compression and a subtile overdrive,
    its a nice sound,
    I always recorded like that.
    and it gives a much better signal to noise ratio than 0 db VU ...
    so you get more of the good analog stuff and less of the bad analog stuff ...
    I did this with Sonys and harman kardons
    that sounded really nice
    they had 3 heads so you could listen to the recording on the tape while you recorded it

    Cool. This isn't a high-end pro deck... just a decent home unit that's in good shape. Technics RS-BR465. It's got L/R mic jacks on the front, as well as a bias dial. That's about it. It's got a couple dolby settings and an MPX setting (whatever that is). Can't get to the tape while recording, because you have to eject first. Will likely experiment more with damaging tapes, stretching, etc. Maybe make, or buy an endless loop cassette to mess with.

    Just put in a decent metal tape that I'd made a long time ago. It's peaking close to +3.

    Funny... now that there have been so many years of digital... tapes don't sound as good as I remember. Not bad at all, but they don't match my memory of "high fidelity". Or, maybe the tapes I have broken down over time. Though, I would've expected metal tapes to be more resilient..

    This lofi fascination may be short-lived. lol ;)

  • edited April 2018

    tape is aging badly, remember the reruns of Star Wars on tv before they digitally remastered it?
    Darth vader was blue instead of black. ^^

    if I remember right normal tape did 14 kHz and metal did 15 kHz.

  • edited April 2018

    @Max23 said:
    tape is aging badly, remember the reruns of Star Wars on tv before they digitally remastered it?
    Darth vader was blue instead of black.

    Interesting enough... I'm listening to one of my old mix tapes right now. It's a good recording on decent Denon Metal tape. When I first started listening... my initial impression was "Ewww, that doesn't sound great a all." But, after listening to it for about a half hour now... it seems like my listening has recalibrated and it sounds fine now. I thought maybe the tape is still in better condition further in, so I rewound it and started over. Still sounds very good, even from the beginning. Warm sounding.

    It was just going straight from crisp digital for so many years.. back to analogue quickly. Brain didn't have time to adjust. Like when you buy new headphones. At first, if they're significantly different than what you've been listening to every day, they don't sound as great as you were hoping. Then, after a week or so, they sound awesome.

    I don't subscribe to the idea of headphones "breaking in". I think it's your brain and aural processing thats adjusting and recalibrating for the new input.

  • edited April 2018

    thinking about it read after write is really a brilliant technology,
    there is no way to do this with digital stuff,
    you always have to check your recording after you stopped recording it.

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