Dante:  If I remember correctly it's possible to have record and pickup transducers on the same head. Add to that an erase head and 60 seconds 1/2 tape loop - put in small box with motor, electronics and USB3 for 192 KHz transfer etc etc and mass produced / released at NAMM you have a real hardware hi quality near zero latency tape 'plug-in' to be used in the record or insert signal chains!! Luxury version includes Sharc chip, adjustable azimuth and is Ferrofish branded.  Every studio or musician desperate for 'tape sound' can then run out and buyed one instead of buyed Slate Digital and all the other 'warming plugs' they spend on each year trying to get that sound.

This would be a hardware version of tape plug-ins that emulate hardware in the first place. Call it 'RealReel' - the hardware tape machine for the future !!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

Dawman:  The big place in Vegas actually runs Logic tracks into to SSL4000G+ out into your choice of 3 Tape machines. They are all on those rolling tripods still too. What kills me is the Manley rack takes it back to 2 track...?  But these kids pay extra for Tape and the guy is making 1000s a week from underground hip hop artists. There were young cats there talking about the video they will make at the pool out back where the guy makes even more money.

Not sure if the gold they wore was real but they definitely had Mr. T starter kits.

Yayajohn:  Dante - I think you may have forecast something in the future, that actually sounds like something someone would make and buy. You better go get the copyright on it pronto then you can sue whoever makes a fortune on it.

Dante:  Possibly. But maybe the tape loop could be a weakness. How often did the tape cartridges in the old Melos echo decks need replacing in a pro studio ?  Then there's the idea of converting a Mellotron to a multitrack version !  :P  Call it 'RealReel'

Bud Weiser: Yesterday night, I watched a Walter Trout documentary and the studio where his last album was done has exactly that name,- the "REAL REEL STUDIO".  8)   Then in that documentary he introduced his band rehearsal room which was about a bit more size than a closet in his house and there was his 'home recording studio' setup on a big and old bureau furniture thing,- a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder, a toy drum machine and a hi-fi amp with hi-fi speakers.

I was speechless.  Then he demonstrated how it sounds and there was a drum pattern recorded and some guitar riffs and licks ... He commented, 'now I put some lyrics on that and have a new album'.  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:   Well, they went into that studio mentioned above to do the album, but that's an example how pros work and better spend their time practicing and playing their instruments than tinkering with technology,- and enjoy life.   You see, it works.  This guy is making and selling albums and touring around the globe for many decades and I always enjoyed visiting his gigs and watch him performing with Sammy Avila on the organ.  There's the bus directly into the bin missing

My friend, owning the biggest studio here, he pulled out all the old tape machines, now people come and pay again.   There's also Logic and SSL.  Another one, who could never made a living with music before, he bought a lot of my old analog gear, especially FX like Roland Rack series and some stomp boxes, bought from other's too and for cheap and collected.  Nowadays he makes a living because people come to his studio and pay because it's vintage.  He always had MAC & Logic, excellent audio interface and keys, NORD and real Hammond as well as plug-ins, but that was for a hobby.  Analog is what now makes the money here again.

Catscratch: I Recorded this single:  http://www.mreggae.com/player/index.php ... 44&track=1 in 1996 on a cassette 8 track (Tascam 238) and mixed to DAT. It was only ever released to vinyl (hear the crackle in the file). That machine was a work-horse. I made money with that setup, but more importantly, I learned about the quality of musicians necessary to make a quality recording. I also learned how limits were a good thing. They force you to commit to ideas and to have arrangements settled BEFORE you start recording. These concepts are mostly (but not universally) lost today in the infinitely mutable world of computers. I miss this aspect of tape! Rant over and out.

Bud Weiser: I also learned how limits were a good thing. They force you to commit to ideas and to have arrangements settled BEFORE you start recording.  Exactly !  I had 8 tracks but lost 2, one for the SMPTE, the other because of the crosstalk of SMPTE, so I left it free always. Atari with Unitor N and Notator synced to the machine because for keys I recorded MIDI only, had guitars and vocals on tape.  With some careful bouncing, that was enough.  The drums always became the most complex task, I programmed drum machines nearly a day for 1 title to make sure it sounds and grooves like a drummer.  Well, I needed a lot of mixer channels when doing a mixdown directly to DAT.

Dante:  Possibly.  But maybe the tape loop could be a weakness. How often did the tape cartridges in the old Melos echo decks need replacing in a pro studio ? 

GaryB:  Not very often at all. in a Roland Space echo, anyone with some 1/4" tape and some cellophane tape could make a new tape in about 15 minutes for next to nothing. the tapes last for years, though.

Dante: Cool. Maybe it would work then !  I always used up the sync track with final vocal, after doing bouncing. You can use all 8 tracks that way.  If needed to sync after that you could hand sync because of having 16 beat hi hat count in at start. That's all you needed to retard the feed spool or push the take up spool with hand till it match Atari sequence  :lol:  :lol:

Tlaskows:  All this talk wants me to save up for a tape machine... :lol: How much for an 60s Ampex?

Garyb: It's not the cost of the machine.  It's the cost of rebuilding and maintaining it.  You can find a machine from the 60s, 70s or 80s for $1000. then there's a constant stream of money need to keep it running, probably several thousand to get it up to speed, and plenty more where that came from. it never stops.   Oh!  One other problem...most of the good techs who could fix it and help you get it going are dead or retired. the ones that are still working are mostly burned out or over worked. have fun! a tape deck is for a real engineer who can practically build the machine himself, or it is a status piece that shows how much money you have to burn for heat in the winter. If you have extra cash after a winters worth of burning it in the woodstove, you have enough money to operate the machine.

Jksuperstar:  Gary, that is the best description of tape I've heard yet. I always felt many emulations were driven by marketing and sales telling you what you need, hence my endless sarcasm on the subject. But there's always technical reasons, like avoiding maintenance, too.

Catscratch: Absolutely! I have an Ampex MM100 story I could tell, but it's too long and painful to recount. Short story is this, I spent a year trying to get it to work. The relays (responsible for sel-sync switching...sound on sound recording) cost more than I paid for the machine and when I got them from California, other problems arose. Tape costs a fortune too.  I just watched a short doc on Tidal about DNA's new album 'Daywave'. There is video of him slamming tracks on to a cheap (and in my experience shitty sounding) Akai 2300 2track at 7 ips (I have one in the basement) then back into Logic. Definitely an inexpensive way to experience tape. Whatever floats your boat!

Garyb: Well, that's also part of the beauty of tape, I guess.  Back when tape was the only option, people who actually had home studios were hard core nutcases for audio. even the real studio had hardcore nutcases running them. only someone who really loved audio could deal with building the studio and maintaining the gear. these days, every idiot with a computer thinks that he's a real producer and he just leaves audio knowledge to the plug-ins....

Eanna:   http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.c ... -recovery/ Fixed link, sorry about that.  There's a lot of hits in Google for 'bring back cassette'! The hipster generation are growing up.

Garyb:  Cassettes were convenient. they traveled well and worked well in cars. they sucked, however. as the article states, there is quite a big difference between 2" tape and a cassette's performance. reel-to-reel tape doesn't usually get caught up in the pinch roller destroying the tape, either. I guess that's because reel-to-reel decks actually get cleaned.

Eanna:  Ah cassettes... They may have been cheap and cheerful, but for many of us, our memories of early music purchases are framed in a little folding box that held a cassette.  That, and I'll wager the majority of this community's earliest recordings were to a cassette - be that on a simple ghetto blaster, or on the Tascam four-track that your friend's friend had... Anyone recall the XDR tone at the start of cassettes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjbhsFbvBUg

On our half-decent Hi-fi at home, the promise of high fidelity playback was enhanced (in my ten-year-old mind at lease) with the sound of those rising octaves!  Seems it was an EMI technology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XDR_(audio)

We got Now That's What I Call Music 2 (UK-centric pop compilation) on cassette in early 1984, had that XDR thing going on... First song on Side Three was Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood... With Trevor Horn's hyper-80's sound, and the Dolby B switch engaged on the tape deck, that first E chord was a real "this is the sound of the future!!" moment for me!  I never even heard of Studers or 2-inch tapes until about 2008/9 when I started into my "music production on a computer" vibe, picking up the odd Future Music mag in the local newsagents in town... I'm sure those machines were great!  :D

I occasionally promise myself, to resurrect the nice Aiwa tape deck in the attic, and run modern synths thru cassette... But, I have never done it.

Let's not forget Kensuguro's wonderful VHS emulation modular patch! viewtopic.php?f=15&t=26172   And Voidar's device wrapping of Ken's patch: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=26202  There's even a MaxForLive patch emulating a cassette...  http://www.maxforlive.com/library/devic ... p-cassette

Dante: Well, there's always an app for that...Many - in - fact - Some even with moving spools !! 8)

Eanna:  Ha! When I saw that pic, I thought - my, that's a wide cassette!  While some kids have attempted to put iPhones into cassette decks on older cars (http://boingboing.net/2015/09/03/car-ca ... n-for.html) - if you handed this iPhone to me Dante, I'd probably have done the same myself :-)


Dante August 2015