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Analog tape smile

Yup. Sure, you can own the tape recorder. But then you get nickeled and dimed, or should I say dollared and tens of dollared, every time you want to record something new.

Compared to that, even the Pro Tools subscription fee of $30 a month looks pretty darn good...and the $15/month PreSonus Sphere is an effing bargain.

No, I do not miss tape at all!!!
And you don't have to clean and demagnetize the heads, worry about which way the tape is wound to avoid that pre-echo, and ProTools probably won't eat your song up, and even if it does, you should have already made an identical backup copy.
I'm an analog diehard and had seriously considered multitrack tape system until a friend convinced me otherwise. I am glad he did. I chose a hard disk recorder and it was the better choice.

There's a good story back when Lynyrd Skynyrd was getting started. They recorded a song in the studio, and when the multitrack tape was played back for mastering they were horrified at the bad sound quality. Ronnie VanZant was so mad that they left. When they took the tape to another studio and played it back, the engineer got curious. He flipped the tape over and suddenly the sound quality was much better. Ronnie was so shocked that he immediately called the previous studio owner to apologize.
I still have a 4 track cassette recorder in my closet. It's one of the later Tascam ones with 4 XLR inputs and more or less a complete mixer - an all in one.
I even have unopened cassettes, nice ones like high bias Maxell and TDK.
Our bassist left it on permanent loan after I converted all of the recordings of his old band into 4 track digital so he could mess around with mixing them.

I've considered doing a project on it, or "mastering" to it for the feeble output, low dynamic range and extra noise but it just sits there unloved.

I think you do have to weigh the cost of a subscription against the cost of an upgrade. Right now I can upgrade Waveform once a year for about $60 so that would be $5 a month. They usually have at least one free update every cycle as well, with one coming very soon. I could use Tracktion 5 or 6 just fine for all it matters.
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I think you do have to weigh the cost of a subscription against the cost of an upgrade. Right now I can upgrade Waveform once a year for about $60 so that would be $5 a month. They usually have at least one free update every cycle as well, with one coming very soon. I could use Tracktion 5 or 6 just fine for all it matters.

It depends what the subscription includes. If it's "buy this or you'll never see your projects alive again," that's one thing. But if it's "buy this and we give you all kinds of plug-ins and content periodically," that's a different story.
Originally Posted by The Real MC
I'm an analog diehard and had seriously considered multitrack tape system until a friend convinced me otherwise. I am glad he did. I chose a hard disk recorder and it was the better choice.

I've been following the progress of "tape emulation" plug-ins. Although personally I don't use them very much, they're interesting from a technical standpoint. I wrote a blog post for Waves comparing their
Abbey Road J37 and Kramer Master Tape plug-ins. It was really quite revealing (and BTW, props to Waves, who never edit any value judgements I make when writing). The plug-ins don't offer all the possible options, like bias and EQ trims, although they do offer different tape formulations and speeds. They modeled specific recorder and tape combinations based on input from the Abbey Road engineers, and it's clear those engineers had different preferences for bias and EQ trims for the different tape formulations.

As someone who was raised on tape, I have to say, they really nailed the "tape sound." After doing the analysis of the J37, I'm much more likely to use it because I'm not groping around in the dark, hoping to find a "right" sound. Instead, I know what to try, and if it works...it works. If it doesn't, no harm.
I'm not an analog tape diehard. I sold my Ampex MM1100 more than 20 years ago, and now the 1/4", cassette, and DAT machines are only used for playback - transferring analog recordings to digital. But I'm not an enthusiastic software DAW user either. One reason is that I don't record much any more that I need more than 2 tracks. I've put many more recording hours on my portable digital recorders than I have using Reaper, Mixbus, or Pro Tools. Another reason is that the projects that I work on don't require a lot of fooling around. No massive amounts of signal processing, no drum replacement, little or no vocal comping.

When I have a multitrack project, my Mackie HDR24/96, which works almost exactly like a tape deck until you get into editing, gets put into service first. If someone wants to take home a Pro Tools file to work on, I'll import the HDR's WAV files into a PT session and send him on his way. Like a tape deck, the user interface doesn't change so I don't have to re-learn things that I use. I don't have to get a new tape deck when I update the operating system on my computer. Nor do things get discontinued that require a new "tape deck."

I never really was bothered by maintenance when I was recording on tape. An alignment took a few minutes, and then I was sure that it was working to the best of its ability. Unlike with software, when something breaks, I usually know why or can figure out why pretty quickly. I feel uncomfortable "fixing" a software problem by downloading a new version of the program or of a driver for the interface hardware that I'd been using for years. Maintenance is maintenance and it doesn't go away because you don't have motors, ICs, and tape.

So that's why I don't keep up with the latest plug-ins or reverbs or updated versions that let you upload your work to YouTube without leaving the program. If I was 40 years younger, or if I've been working continuously over the past 40 years, I'd probably have gone with the flow. But since I don't feel any compulsion to, nor do I think it will make the little work that I do now better, I'll stick with what works for me, and won't discourage others from trying new old things.
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
When I have a multitrack project, my Mackie HDR24/96, which works almost exactly like a tape deck until you get into editing, gets put into service first. If someone wants to take home a Pro Tools file to work on, I'll import the HDR's WAV files into a PT session and send him on his way. Like a tape deck, the user interface doesn't change so I don't have to re-learn things that I use. I don't have to get a new tape deck when I update the operating system on my computer. Nor do things get discontinued that require a new "tape deck."

Even better...I have a Telecaster from 1966, and I can still buy strings for it smile Can you imagine if you went to pick up a guitar one day, and upon opening the case, you're told that you not only need to buy entirely new strings or it won't play, but it now has seven strings instead of six, and the bridge is entirely different and has to be intoned from scratch?

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So that's why I don't keep up with the latest plug-ins or reverbs or updated versions that let you upload your work to YouTube without leaving the program. If I was 40 years younger, or if I've been working continuously over the past 40 years, I'd probably have gone with the flow. But since I don't feel any compulsion to, nor do I think it will make the little work that I do now better, I'll stick with what works for me, and won't discourage others from trying new old things.

Which is eminently sensible. The only approaches I've found that work is to keep everything updated all the time, which is indeed a maintenance issue, or leave everything alone.
I used to have a Teac A-3440 which I made backing tracks with before I went digital. I don't miss it at all.
Originally Posted by Anderton
Even better...I have a Telecaster from 1966, and I can still buy strings for it smile Can you imagine if you went to pick up a guitar one day, and upon opening the case, you're told that you not only need to buy entirely new strings or it won't play, but it now has seven strings instead of six, and the bridge is entirely different and has to be intoned from scratch?

Well, that's a little far out, but you might find that the brand and type of strings that you've been using on that guitar for many years, after finally being happy with a string that sounds and plays great on your instrument, is no longer available. Or (and this has happened to me) you can no longer find your favorite strings, but you're told that this new type is the same as the ones you've been using. New packaging, new name, new model number, and maybe they changed a couple of gauges in the set by a couple of mils. I had a similar awakening 10 or so years ago when Charmin switched their descriptive brand names to "Ultra Soft" and "Ultra Strong" and I didn't know which one to buy to get what my A$A was accustomed to.

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The only approaches I've found that work is to keep everything updated all the time, which is indeed a maintenance issue, or leave everything alone.

Oh, don't I wish. Seems like these days, whenever I open an app on my phone that I haven't used in a month or so, I get a notice that it's obsolete and offers me an update. If I don't take the update, I can't use that app. This is mostly with commercial apps like airlines, hotels, grocery stores, and such. When I look at the app info to see what's new or changed, most of the time it's something like "to give our users a more pleasant experience." BAH HUMBUG!
I still have my Tascam 246 I bought new back in 1990. Low mileage so not much wear on the heads. Input mic/line preamps are not great but if you use an external mixer to the direct inputs the fidelity is really good. Since going digital the 246 is now my "scratchpad" recorder for those moments of inspiration.
A friend of mine I've known for years has lead a somewhat interesting life. We work at the same company, joined a band together (him on bass and myself on guitar/keys) and then he played bass for a while back when I'd started my own band. It's been over a decade ago now but he'd gotten remarried and they had an absolutely amazing new house built. The lower section of this home was primarily a professionally designed and built recording studio, a top notch state of the art place. I figured that would flop as a business but not at all, the place was always booked and there was some fairly high end stuff done there with bigger city startup artists, voiceover work for Discovery Channel shows and I don't know what all.
Anyway he was running Pro Tools of course but some of these local blues guy got it into his head that he needed a tape machine. I remember him telling me about it and I tried to tell him not to do it but....well. He bought an Otari 24 track unit that had been in Electric Lady studios. Of course the tape was expensive and that cost had to be passed onto the clients so to the best of my knowledge that machine never got used. It sure looked impressive though!
After thinking on it, my least favorite recording format was anything 16 bit. Sony mini-disc recorder and the DAT machines with the small proprietary cartridges come to mind.
Tape can at least sound good, even 4 track cassette can sound good.
I have some reel to reel from the early 80's that I would love to have converted to digital, but I'm not paying someone to convert 30 reels so I can go through and find which 5 songs I really wanted.
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
After thinking on it, my least favorite recording format was anything 16 bit. Sony mini-disc recorder and the DAT machines with the small proprietary cartridges come to mind.
Tape can at least sound good, even 4 track cassette can sound good.

The dirty little secret is that many of the early "16-bit" products used 12-bit DACs. As to minidisc, ATRAC was a horrific data compression scheme when it was introduced. Sony fixed it over time, but then it was too late - it already had such a bad rep that nothing could fix it.
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
After thinking on it, my least favorite recording format was anything 16 bit. Sony mini-disc recorder and the DAT machines with the small proprietary cartridges come to mind.
Tape can at least sound good, even 4 track cassette can sound good.

The dirty little secret is that many of the early "16-bit" products used 12-bit DACs. As to minidisc, ATRAC was a horrific data compression scheme when it was introduced. Sony fixed it over time, but then it was too late - it already had such a bad rep that nothing could fix it.


Nice. This substantiates my impression that they sounded thin, yet harsh.

I am grateful to have 24 bits, it's amazing to me how capable current software/hardware recording tools are and how great they can sound.

Even the little "all in one" studios by Tascam and Zoom are pretty fabulous now.
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
This substantiates my impression that they sounded thin, yet harsh.

The most common description I heard of ATRAC was "nails on a chalkboard."

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I am grateful to have 24 bits, it's amazing to me how capable current software/hardware recording tools are and how great they can sound.

Even the little "all in one" studios by Tascam and Zoom are pretty fabulous now.

Yes!! I remember when I heard the 20-bit PARIS system from Ensoniq. There was a definite, audible difference compared to 16 bits. If I had to choose between a high sample rate like 96 kHz or a higher bit depth like 24 bits, I'd take bit depth every time.
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
This substantiates my impression that they sounded thin, yet harsh.

The most common description I heard of ATRAC was "nails on a chalkboard."

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I am grateful to have 24 bits, it's amazing to me how capable current software/hardware recording tools are and how great they can sound.

Even the little "all in one" studios by Tascam and Zoom are pretty fabulous now.

Yes!! I remember when I heard the 20-bit PARIS system from Ensoniq. There was a definite, audible difference compared to 16 bits. If I had to choose between a high sample rate like 96 kHz or a higher bit depth like 24 bits, I'd take bit depth every time.

Higher frequencies won't buy you dynamic range, immense low frequencies or natural sounding clarity. 16 bits is barely good enough for consumer audio, barely.

My friend Brittany, who was singing the Christmas song I posted, started with Garage Band (16 bits), it didn't sound good to her so she bought Logic. Didn't take her long at all to upgrade, I never suggested it.
Haven't heard any complaints about the program any more.
Big fan of the Kramer Tape plugin from Waves, here. Gives you what you liked about tape without all the stuff you hated about tape. I need to try the Abbey Road plugin someday, but I want to try their ADT first. Got too many plugins!

I did love my old Teac 2300 stereo reel-to-reel. Did some acoustic recording with it, but mainly just made huge playlists for listening. I'm biased towards gizmos that go round n round and the sound comes out here - the bigger the better.

I'm old enough to have done studio recording on an old Studer 8-track. It did sound awfully good. But I was just a player, so I took all the engineering for granted. Engineers only do one of two things, right? They either avoid screwing up the great sounds you make, or they screw up, right? Players know these things.

nat
Originally Posted by Anderton
The dirty little secret is that many of the early "16-bit" products used 12-bit DACs. As to minidisc, ATRAC was a horrific data compression scheme when it was introduced. Sony fixed it over time, but then it was too late - it already had such a bad rep that nothing could fix it.

And yet, there were a few "pro" Minidisk recorders that were quickly adopted by the news media to replace their Marantz "pro" series of portable cassette recorders. The biggest problem with ATRAC was that they had to transfer it to tape in order to edit or even copy it. That was fixed by the time the multitrack Minidisk workstations came around, and I know a few folky records that were made on those.

Unlike the CD, which was originally a music medium that was adopted by the computer industry, the Minidisk was originally developed as a replacement for the computer floppy disk, but that never caught on.
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
And yet, there were a few "pro" Minidisk recorders that were quickly adopted by the news media to replace their Marantz "pro" series of portable cassette recorders. The biggest problem with ATRAC was that they had to transfer it to tape in order to edit or even copy it. That was fixed by the time the multitrack Minidisk workstations came around, and I know a few folky records that were made on those.

Unlike the CD, which was originally a music medium that was adopted by the computer industry, the Minidisk was originally developed as a replacement for the computer floppy disk, but that never caught on.

They never caught on because their entertainment division that markets CDs/DVDs/BluRay content was always fighting against new recording products, and their storage media were a proprietary design that was incompatible with everything else. Thanks to them, they pressured the technology division to disable copy/edit functions for "pro" recorders. Your recorded content was basically stuck on their devices. They are useless to content creators.

Sony's arrogance to professional music creators turned me off, and their rootkit scandal moved me to stop buying their CDs forever.
Originally Posted by The Real MC
They are useless to content creators.

Sony's arrogance to professional music creators turned me off, and their rootkit scandal moved me to stop buying their CDs forever.

Not a Sony fan either. I'll just add in passing that I picked up a used Sony CD long ago and figured out a way on a Mac to copy their CD, I think I made a Disc Image, which I could then burn to another CD - an exact "un-copyable" replica of the original "un-copyable" CD. I didn't really like the music on that disc in the first place, it was the challenge that set me off.
I'm with Bobby Owsinski on this. I remember running a studio based on a Fostex B16, it was horrible.

Maintenance was a pain.
Putting a reel on was a pain.
Rewinding a pain.
Waiting was a pain.
Explaining tape costs to customers a pain.
Being careful with reels of tape a pain.
Having to have expensive reels of tape laying in reserve a pain.


The funniest thing is having to fight it to get any kind of high end snap on drum sounds while having a balanced low end. Having to fight noise on low level signals, "yeah, that was cool when you kind of whisper-sang that part, but listen to it - I can't make it loud enough to be heard without a wave of noise". The occasional static click. Highend going away. On and on.

Tonally it was"ok". But you were cornered by that "ok", you couldn't escape or transcend it sonically. Which is fine, might be a bonus artistically - except clients didn't understand that. "No, it can't sound as nice as a million $ $2,000 a day lockout studio, but it can sound good".

Ahrgh. No thanks, keep those "good old days", or let me have my MOTU 24 I/O as the "tape machine"....
Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
Rewinding a pain.

Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

I recommended that after hitting "stop," they wait for a while before hitting "play." smile

Hey software companies who make tape emulation plug-ins! Here's your big chance to have a unique selling point! Have a preference that whenever you hit stop on the DAW's transport, play and record are locked out for 21 seconds. I bet people would just LOVE that feature!

Although my favorite "faux" plug-in is still Paul White's April 1 VST cable simulator, which attenuates high frequencies. The 15 foot emulation is $19.95, and the 30 foot emulation is $29.95.
I only make recordings for my own backing tracks, and have done so since the tap days.

I lived near a community college that had a radio station. The broadcasting tower was on leased farmland 'out west' and they thought they could save money by erecting a tower on campus. When erected, if it fell over in our direction, it would have landed on my house somewhere near the top of the tower.

Once they cranked it up, I had their radio in all the tapes I made. It was even in my stereo set and during the quiet parts of an LP, you could hear WQCS.

So I called the FCC to see if anything could be done about that. Unfortunately the FCC used the same engineer as the school, and to make a very long story short, I moved.

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh just remembering about it.

The good thing is I ended up buying a home in a great location that I got for a wonderful deal. All's well that ends well.

Notes
Originally Posted by Anderton
Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

When all we had was tape, which was the period when I did most of my recording in a studio environment, waiting for the tape to rewind was just expected. The musicians would talk after the take, and wouldn't shut up to listen to the playback. Rewind times aren't usually very long, but I know that sometimes seconds can seem like minutes. If you're doing an overdub - a real one where you erase the portion of the track that you're re-doing, a re-wind to check the punch or decide to just do another is usually just a few seconds, and that's a reasonable time to get set for playing again.

Some tape decks had better locators than others - that's something that computer certainly do better. What I (as engineer/tape-op) sometimes got frustrated with is if you had set a marker at the time you wanted to start rolling and the deck wandered back and forth around that marker for a few seconds before parking.

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I recommended that after hitting "stop," they wait for a while before hitting "play." smile

I often do that because I know the players aren't ready to go as fast as the computer is. That's something that you learn when working with other musicians. When you're recording yourself you can work at your own pace and you probably don't rush yourself. If you're letting the computer do the work - set up for automatic punch-in and loop - the player can get rushed, and if he's not quick on the draw and yell STOP after the music starts playing, you're risking over-writing the last (maybe best) take. But then most people don't work in the destructive mode like tape always was unless you did your fixes on multiple tracks so you could decide later on which was the best one. Set the DAW up right (usually the default) and you always have the Undo button.
I have a friend with a studio in a commercial space. He has a Studer 827. Like me, he is a digital native and only got the tape machine much later. He said it was fun to learn how to use, and kind of a cool historical lesson in how records used to be made. But no one will pay him for the tape, and everything is way easier in PT. So, he occasionally runs stuff through it as an effect. But it is quite clear that even for a guy who's entire studio is based around getting the sounds of 70's Americana/roots music, the tape deck is just not very attractive as a recording technology.

While I do have an irrational desire to own a nice analog recording console, I don't have any desire to own tape, use tape, or any nostalgia for a technology that I've never used.

Software subscription models I don't have a problem with. It's a great way to try software. I pay Steinberg $150/yr to upgrade Nuendo - it isn't a subscription but might as well be. I had Slate Digital stuff as my "color" bundle for a few years, but wasn't really using it, so I let it go. I have a few of their things purchased, and I realized I use them all the time. So I let the rest go. But I'm not trying to sound like the past either. I subscribed to PT for a year to try the program out and to see if I wanted to join that ecosystem. I'm sticking with Nuendo.
I think the "subscription" model can actually go in a few different directions. Take technology-oriented books: they die a quick death because the rate of change is so fast. It's impossible to keep print versions of tech books current. So...

With the Studio One books I've written for PreSonus, they're available only as eBooks. But here's the "subscription" part: I often revise the books to reflect changes in the program. For example, Studio One version 5 changed the effect GUIs as well as some of the features. So, I revised the books by replacing the screen shots, and adding descriptive material. This keeps the books current so new buyers aren't getting something out of date. BUT if you bought the book originally, you get to download the updates for free...kind of like a subscription program you don't have to pay for smile They're like point updates to software, like going from version 1.0 to version 1.1. Whatever was in your PreSonus account gets replaced automatically when there's a new version, so you can download it whenever you feel like it.

If a book undergoes substantial changes, then it qualifies as a new edition, like software going from version 1.0 to version 2.0. So this still keeps the books current for new buyers, but if you bought the original edition, you can buy the new edition for half off - again, like a software upgrade.

At this point all the books I wrote have gone to additional revisions, and one has gone to a new edition. People like this approach. smile
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
I have a friend with a studio in a commercial space. He has a Studer 827. Like me, he is a digital native and only got the tape machine much later. He said it was fun to learn how to use, and kind of a cool historical lesson in how records used to be made. But no one will pay him for the tape, and everything is way easier in PT.

Tape today has two places:

  • The hobbyist who just wants to have one and use it for hobby-like projects (paying, not payng, your own music)
  • The professional studio that has clients who want tape and have the means to pay for it (money is no object sessions)


I have an assortment of 1/4" tape decks that are used for transfers, not recording. In fact I have the erase and record heads disconnected on most of them just so I don't accidentally erase a tape. People occasionally pay me to make a transfer, but not for recording. And, as I believe I've said before, for multitrack projects I have a few Mackie hard disk recorders. Their WAV files can be imported into every DAW that I've encountered so, after tracking here, they can work on the project at home on their DAW. If they want to mix here, I have Pro Tools, Reaper, and Mixbus ready to load or import their sessions. The only projects that I start in a DAW are experiments. I don't want to waste a working visitor's time re-learning or figuring out a DAW for the sake of using a DAW. But no tape.

An analog console will work with any DAW as long as you do the system engineering homework and build things up correctly. And needless to say, I don't do software subscriptions. My Pro Tools is Version 10 and that's where it'll stay.
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Tape today has two places:

Let's not forget museums! smile

Interestingly, tape is still alive for digital archival storage. It looks like the next big advance in being able to fit lots of data in a small space will be in tape-land, not semiconductors. IBM says it has developed a method that can store up to 330 TB of uncompressed data on a palm-sized tape cartridge.

Tape is like the prize fighter that gets knocked down, yet somehow, stumbles up from the canvas for another round.
Originally Posted by Anderton
Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

I've heard that too numerous times. That's a weird head-scratcher if I've ever heard one. NO ONE ever says that if they get their computer "hourglassing" after they perform a function.

But you know, if you want, you could always use the "scrub" feature in a DAW and rewind it slowly.

And there's a sort of parallel when photographers talk about film cameras too, where they say that they enjoy the anticipation of getting back to the darkroom or lab and seeing how it comes out. But when we joke and say, "Hey, just black out your LED monitor!" they're not so into that. And the funny thing is that's what I love about digital is its immediacy in seeing the image right away and making adjustments if I want. My creativity shot through the roof after I got a digital camera.
Originally Posted by Anderton
Interestingly, tape is still alive for digital archival storage.

Analog tape isn't exactly dropout-free, but is much better than any tape format for digital domains. Analog is more forgiving than digital for error recovery.

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It looks like the next big advance in being able to fit lots of data in a small space will be in tape-land, not semiconductors. IBM says it has developed a method that can store up to 330 TB of uncompressed data on a palm-sized tape cartridge.

Intriguing but not practical. When's the last time anybody did a seek on a large density tape storage? Waiting... waiting... waiting... 20 years ago I gave up tape storage for backups.
I recall a story of a studio bring in a digital tape recorder and the recording artist was so thrilled because he knew that tape sounded warmer.

Or the punk bass guitarist to the studio engineer:
"What tape are we using?"
"Two inch tape"
"That's kinda short, isn't it?"
Since we're on the subject of sounding warmer, do you remember when people used to keep insisting that drawing green around a CD produced warmer sounds?
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Tape today has two places:

Let's not forget museums! smile

Interestingly, tape is still alive for digital archival storage. It looks like the next big advance in being able to fit lots of data in a small space will be in tape-land, not semiconductors. IBM says it has developed a method that can store up to 330 TB of uncompressed data on a palm-sized tape cartridge.

That's a lot of data to lose if it dumps and you haven't backed it up. That's something that sounds like it would be good for use in a well managed archive where there are regular backups, hopefully to a different medium.

We in the audio community know a lot more about tape and its failure modes. I wonder if the IBM folks are aware of how their tape might fail and when. DAT didn't live up to its supposed life testing, and we know how not to make analog tape now, but digital tape is a whole different ball game.
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Intriguing but not practical. When's the last time anybody did a seek on a large density tape storage? Waiting... waiting... waiting... 20 years ago I gave up tape storage for backups.

I believe it's intended solely for archiving.
Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Since we're on the subject of sounding warmer, do you remember when people used to keep insisting that drawing green around a CD produced warmer sounds?

From Slashdot: "What was first thought to be an April Fool's joke, now appears to be true. Some Audio CD protection schemes such as Cactus DATA Shield 100/200, KeyAudio, and perhaps others may be defeated by invalidating the outer ring of the CD with a black marker or post-it sticky note. www.chip.de has their report in German."
I do remember the green ring around the CD edge. I tried it, but it still didn't sound like my LPs. I even tried an LP and identical CD title with the green rim.

Every recording/playback media and device has its different kind of distortion. Often it's a "which do you prefer" situation.

I've heard the great but now gone sax player Stan Getz in person. Stan had a unique tone, and when recorded on analog tape and pressed on an LP it sounds more like Stan than anything digital. And on my friend's vacuum tube McIntosh system it's even better. On CD his tone is more like Zoot Sims, even on analog recordings.

There is also something about the sound of a bass, especially a 'gut string' stand-up acoustic bass that sounds better to me on an analog/tube system.

But at home I listen on a CD. To me the change in tone ls less distracting than the clicks and other surface noise of an LP. I've even digitized some of my LPs that are no longer in print in the digital format. I clean them as much as possible to reduce the surface noise and record. I've gone through some digital clean up to minimize the surface noise, but too much of that is not very good to my ears either. But the convenience of playing them on CD and the fact that I'm not slowly degrading my LP are also good points.

All in all I don't think the analog/digital thing is as important as some of us like to make it, but that's just me. In the end, most consumers don't care, they will listen to mp3 files with cheap earbuds just as we used to listen to 45rpm records.

... back on topic ...

I'm not fond of subscriptions to software. But I know for the software company to survive, they need something new again and again and again, so the choice is constant updates that eventually bloat the program or a subscription. Again, it's a choice.

For my aftermarket Band-in-a-Box style e-disks and fake e-disks, I choose to simply create new products to keep alive. If anyone wants or needs a replacement and can download it, it's free. If I've updated the e-disk since the last time you bought, you get the newer edition just for asking.

But I'm a private business and don't need to feed stockholders with perpetual growth. All I need to do is pay the mortgage, utilities, feed ourselves, and keep up with inflation. Anything above that is extra.

Insights and incites by Notes
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
I'm not fond of subscriptions to software. But I know for the software company to survive, they need something new again and again and again, so the choice is constant updates that eventually bloat the program or a subscription. Again, it's a choice.

It also has to do with cash flow. Without a subscription, a lot of companies are in "feast or famine" mode - feast when the update comes out, famine otherwise.

I think the companies that will come out ahead are those who offer permanent ownership of a specific program, or a subscription that encompasses additional goodies. That's basically what PreSonus is doing, so we'll know soon enough whether it works or not.
The real issue of software subscriptions is that it is the business model that matches the way customers want the business to run. Software is not like making a hammer or even a car. These are things that exist in a "finished" form. No one has that expectation of software outside of airline computers and blackboxes. Most software is expected to evolve, add features, get better, and generally undergo continuous development. If nothing else as hardware changes, the software has to be re-compiled. There is no "done". Permanent ownership of a static program that does have bugs is only so attractive.

It eventually forms an increasingly large hurdle. There are still plenty of places using PT10, and even earlier versions that allow them to use old HD hardware, or early control surfaces. This is all good and health and working for those people. But it ends up like ignoring computer upgrades for years - eventually there is something that is needed or wanted and then a huge expense has to happen all at once. There is value in the incrementalism.

Long run, software will be subscription based - just like cars. It is "different" but it is the direction of travel. This industry will adapt, just like others.

The hobby side will be the most resistant. But even Avid offers multiple price points. Reaper exists. Every segment of the market will be serviced - it already is. So I don't see any future where people are DAW-less because it is too expensive. Apple does give away GarageBand with every computer, and almost gives away Logic - I paid $200 10 years ago and it still upgrades! (That is of course a function of them being in the phone business, not the computer business).

But the world of professional software will continue to move to subscription whether this forum agrees or not. It is the nature of the business. I expect Steinberg to announce at some point. I'll subscribe. They get money from me every year. $150 for access to a dream studio inside my computer? Done. I easily get $50/mo of value out of Adobe Creative Suite - I make my living with it.

The whole thing about not being able to recall a project at some indeterminate future is a red-herring for me. If I go to the best analog recording studio here in the Bay Area and record an album, I don't get to use those amps, EQ's or compressors after the mix is done. I can get stems, and it will be good enough for any commercial purpose. There is a discipline to finishing projects and then printing out the right assets and archiving them. It isn't hard. It does take thought and effort. But I am not of the opinion that something like a particular plugin matters to any significant degree over time. Everything matters. But not much changes musical meaning.

The only thing that lasts in digital audio is linear WAV files. PDF and printed music notation is the other option. All digital files need to be in three places, one offsite (preferably cloud where the data is also copied to 3+ locations - AWS S3 does this). All DAW project files are lossy, and I have no expectation they will work in the future, subscription or not. Software isn't hardware and all comparisons break down very quickly outside of skeuomorphic user interfaces and trying to sound like gear from the 60's and 70s.
Great post, and totally true. That "expectation of evolution" is exactly why I decided the concept of a traditional print book about music technology was doomed, and acted accordingly.

I think part of the problem people have with subscriptions is they don't want to deal with change. Cakewalk sold the Sonar program, but then you got free monthly updates. Although some people welcomed them, others (probably the majority) didn't want to feel they had to learn new things every month. Musicians are used to their tools not changing, but changing what they can express through those tools...look at the reticence to embrace alternate controllers, even ones with tremendous potential like the Roli Seaboard and LinnStrument.

Your observation about hobby vs. business strikes me as spot-on. I have a subscription to Office 365 and it's one of the best investments I've ever made. You get a tremendous amount for your money, the 1TB of cloud storage alone is great...but you also get desktop and online versions of almost all the Office programs. It's a subscription I'll happily maintain. Hobbyists are happy if something works. Often they have to squeeze studio time in between work and family or social obligations, and they just want to be able to fire something up and not have to think about it. So that works against dealing with things that change, but at least for me learning is fun. So many times it will take me an hour to learn new things that will save me hours and hours in the future.

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There is a discipline to finishing projects and then printing out the right assets and archiving them. It isn't hard. It does take thought and effort. But I am not of the opinion that something like a particular plugin matters to any significant degree over time. Everything matters. But not much changes musical meaning...The only thing that lasts in digital audio is linear WAV files.

Again, I couldn't agree more. When I archive a project, I archive the project file in the DAW's format. But I also archive each track as a raw WAV file, and each track with all included processing. This has worked well for me, and I probably recycle projects more than most (e.g., creating soundtracks from selected song tracks, and testing new plug-ins/DAWs/etc.). The value of this was brought home to me while writing a new book. I took a song created in Studio One and brought it into projects for Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Digital Performer. Then whenever I wanted to show a technique or screen shot in any of those programs...no problem. I was actually rather surprised at how easy it is to move among a variety of programs that I hadn't used in a while. Between searchable help files and internet search, you can get the answer to anything in seconds. I'd never used elastic audio in Pro Tools, but 30 minutes later, I felt totally comfortable with it....because time-stretching in almost all programs works pretty much the same way.
Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality. You memorized where all the functions were, and suddenly you have to re-learn them. It takes effort to re-learn a new interface. With each Windows upgrade, Microsoft kept moving functions to different places. I had memorized where those functions were, now I have to re-learn them. After the 3rd OS upgrade that gets annoying. Apple is hardly immune, they kept changing the interface on apps like iMovie with each OSX upgrade. With an app I use infrequently like iMovie, it is frustrating to find everything you committed to memory has been renamed or moved elsewhere and you have to re-learn it. I pretty much froze OSX on my Mac devices to High Sierra - no more upgrades.

My MIDI computer for 25 years was a 1993-era WFW311 computer running Cakewalk Pro Audio 3. No it won't do digital recording, no you can't used modern plugins or VSTs, no I don't care. For 25 years I could walk up to the MIDI computer and go right to work utilizing my creativity and not worry about re-learning a system. That computer finally crapped out three years ago; I replaced it with an iMac and Logic Pro, but it was only this year with higher life priorities behind me that I could finally get around to learning LP.
Originally Posted by Anderton
I believe it's intended solely for archiving.

Ah, yes - put the data someplace where you know it's safe, you know where it is, and you probably can't get to it very easily. Isn't that what an archive is?
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality.

Well that's certainly one reason for reluctance to change. But in the case of Sonar, most of the changes were in addition to what already existed. For example, when ripple editing was added, the only change was a toolbar icon and menu item. But people still complained, I think perhaps because they felt it was something they needed to learn, but didn't want to deal with the complexities of learning it (e.g., the difference between doing it with MIDI or audio data).

And it's a double-edged sword. Studio One adds changes, but the overall interface doesn't change, and a lot of the updates aren't apparent unless you drill down - kind of like an iPhone. So then people complain "oh, there's nothing new in the update, same old same old."
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality. You memorized where all the functions were, and suddenly you have to re-learn them. It takes effort to re-learn a new interface. With each Windows upgrade, Microsoft kept moving functions to different places.

That's my beef, too - changes to the user interface. With some software it's like they take advantage of an update just to juggle around the menus or icons and occasionally even rename a function that's only changed a little internally. I think that comes from the marketing department - they need something that will make the customer buy the new update or continue the subscription.

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My MIDI computer for 25 years was a 1993-era WFW311 computer running Cakewalk Pro Audio 3. No it won't do digital recording, no you can't used modern plugins or VSTs, no I don't care.

I thought that Cakewalk Pro Audio was revolutionary (to Cakewalk users) because you could record audio files and insert them into sequences. But that's not like we do it today.

I, too, have old computers running old software, with the "works good enough for me" attitude. A new convolution reverb that I use when I do a new mix of an old recording isn't really going to make it sound any better. An iZotope Rx noise scrubbing might indeed help, but I don't have any commercial prospects for income from a purchase because nobody really wants to re-mix this stuff. There's a market for de-loused Robert Johnson or Leadbelly or Jelly Roll Morton, but for the band of college students who play at the local Irish pub.

I was just having a conversation with a Unix-head friend about the fact that I still use a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet to do my bookkeeping. It's full of macros and a few functions that don't translate to Excel or Libre Calc - it just won't run on anything but the real program. This was freeware (the spreadsheet, that is) and it so perfectly fit what I wanted to be able to do that I've kept using it. I look at bookkeeping software on and off, but, geez, you have to really understand bookkeeping in order to use one. I just want to be able to total up how much money I spend and how much I took in for my quarterly estimated tax returns, and when 1040 time comes around, know what categories my expenses fit in so the IRS can have something to do.

When I moved my "office and writing" computer to a 64-bit Windows 7 system for the sake of some other software, I have to run Lotus in a virtual Windows XP box. I still have some computers that will run it directly, but I've gotta keep up with the times. wink
It all depends on your needs.

I wouldn't subscribe to MS Office because my old purchased one works fine for my limited needs. I don't write books, and most of my correspondence is via e-mail.

If MS ever evolves to the point where the old purchased Office doesn't work anymore, I'll probably go with LibreOffice.

With Band-in-a-Box, the app I use most of all, I get the yearly updates. I prefer that to a subscription model because it seems I'm more in control. I believe if your favorite software uses the yearly update model, it's good to go for the updates because that keeps them in business. I use BiaB almost every day.

I still do all my MIDI sequencing with Master Tracks Pro, and they've been out of business since 2003 or so. All the modern DAWs I've demoed don't seem to give me anything in terms of value for the MIDI editing functions over MTPro. In addition, without AUDIO features, the menus are short, one click gets me where I need to go in MTP, thus the program is very quick. If I need to add audio I go to Cakewalk or Power Tracks Pro Audio when I'm done.

Really, how much does recording software need to evolve? Enough to pay a monthly fee? And when it does, how much time are you going to lose learning where they moved everything, and are you really going to invest time to learn all the new features? I know I don't use even half of the features Band-in-a-Box offers, but others find them helpful.

The only recording I do is either for a Band-in-a-Box style demo or a backing track for my duo. Straight out of one computer, through MIDI and a mixer and into Audacity is sufficient.

As noted, a subscription service is a poor model for hobbyists, and without their participation, it will make the subscription higher for those who need it, especially in a niche market like music software.

For me to subscribe to a software app, it has to give me value for my monthly or yearly fee. If the company goes the upgrade route, I can decide whether the improvements are worth my hard-earned dollars or not.

Anti-malware apps seem like a good platform for subscriptions, and I've done that yearly thing for decades.

My web host, visa/mc authorization service, and shopping cart service are subscription based with a yearly fee plus a usage fee in the authorization and shopping cart services.

Being a self-employed musician in a winter tourist area, I'm very accustomed to the feast and famine business model. For that reason, I tend to be thrifty, keep my monthly expenses low, and I stay debt free. That way in a famine situation, I can rely on my savings to see me through, and the less I have to take out of the savings, means the less I have to replace to prepare for the next famine.

There are very few subscription models I'm willing to invest in. First of all they must give me good value for my subscription fee, second of all they have to be the only way to get what I want. If there is a non-subscription option out there, I'll spend the money up front.

I'm not saying my way is the best way for all. There is more than one right way to make music.

Insights and incites by Notes
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Really, how much does recording software need to evolve? Enough to pay a monthly fee? And when it does, how much time are you going to lose learning where they moved everything, and are you really going to invest time to learn all the new features?

A subscription doesn't necessarily apply only to a core program. The best example I can think of is PreSonus Sphere. Subscribers get plug-ins and sample libraries as they're introduced, online collaboration tools, cloud storage, Q&A sessions and tutorials with product specialists, members-only chats, etc.

Of course, this isn't for everyone. I don't do a lot of collaboration, I have lots of cool plug-ins, there's the TB storage from Office, etc. So I'm happy just to have Studio One, and leave it at that. On the other hand, if I was getting into DAWs, the idea of paying $14.95 to build a studio and have access to expertise would be pretty compelling, given that I could use Studio One, and all the other stuff, for two years at a lower cost than shelling out the money all at once to buy the program outright.

Yet another model is the rental one. If I someone who uses a ton of Steven Slate plug-ins hires me to do a mix, then I can just rent the Slate plug-ins while I'm doing the mix. I don't have to buy them , and I don't have to subscribe to anything.

So I don't think there can be a one-size-fits-all "solution." I suspect companies that offer multiple choices are most likely to accumulate the greatest number of users.

As to Master Tracks Pro, AFAIC that was - and remains - one of the best music programs ever made.
One of the difficulties that companies wanting to transition to subscription plans face is the fact that many companies will not adopt that marketing paradigm.

Tracktion has had a free version of Tracktion/Waveform for many years, apparently it is a good marketing strategy for bringing new customers on board. They do free updates throughout the year and a new version of the DAW annually.
I pay for the upgrade, they've given me great customer service and I want them to stick around. Besides, the upgrades are cheap and sometimes I'll skip one and get the next.

If you use Mac OS, they've embedded quite a set of AU plugins in the system software - undoubtedly to support Garage Band and Logic Pro but many if not all DAWS can support AU plugins. They don't have EVERYTHING but they do have everything you might NEED for a home studio.
At this point, home studio software is essentially free. Not all of it but enough for anybody to start recording successfully if they have a decent computer and a $150 dollar interface.

Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now. There are alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite, including Adobe software. Elements is better than Photoshop 5 or 6 was (I started with Photoshop 1.07 in 1992). If you shop for the previous year's version on Ebay you can get a deal and use the software for several years for one low price.

Where it really gets interesting is the market for hardware that is dependent on software. Line 6 amps come to mind. Are they not simply dedicated computers in an amplifier form-factor loaded with company software? Yes, you are buying the hardware, but you are also getting the software and most of the digital amps will plug right into an audio interface for recording. Not sure about all of them but I can turn the speaker on my Boss Katana off completely and record silently. Not a bad set of plugins in a gig-worthy format, I've more than made back the $300 I spent on it. Being a Boss product it will likely work forever. Keyboards would be another example, just dedicated computers in a form factor that facilitates playing music.

Some companies will switch to subscription plans, others will not. Tons of cool stuff will always be free. We will have choices. That's the future that I see, not much different than it is right now.
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now.

I used LibreOffice before getting the Microsoft subscription, and Open Office before that, and yeah, they work...but I have to say, Office is a lot smoother and more professional. Laying out a book in LibreOffice was pulling teeth, in Word it's a piece of cake (there are even 3D shapes). Excel anticipates a lot of moves and acts accordingly, which makes life easier. PowerPoint is better at how it handles saving and embedding media, and the integration of all programs with the Cloud for functions like auto-saving is very cool. So LibreOffice works, and is probably all that the vast majority of people need. But I'm glad there's an option for power users, and am willing to pay for the privilege. It's the same with music software...GarageBand is fine for most people, but Logic goes a lot further.
Originally Posted by Anderton
<...snip...>
As to Master Tracks Pro, AFAIC that was - and remains - one of the best music programs ever made.
I agree.

I tried and tried and couldn't find a DAW app that had both the power of MTPro and the simplicity of use.

After Passport Designs dissolved, it was sold to GVox who also went belly-up and one of the guys in GVox took it, revived the name Passport for his new company, promised to update it, but it never happened.

The day it quits working on Windows will be a sad day for me. Unless of course something better comes along before it dies. I actually liked the Mac version a bit better, but Mac doesn't do back compatible that well, and I think it died when Mac went from Motorola to IBM CPUs.

It works on Win 10 OK, but I keep an old XP ThinkPad around because it works better on that OS. If someone would revive and modernize it for today's OS, they would get some of my money. But I don't know how profitable that would be. So many people have decided MIDI is dead simply because they don't know how to coax expression out of it.

Insights and incites by Notes
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
It works on Win 10 OK, but I keep an old XP ThinkPad around because it works better on that OS. If someone would revive and modernize it for today's OS, they would get some of my money. But I don't know how profitable that would be.

You should look into Cakewalk. It runs on Windows 10, it's free, and it has this feature called "Lenses" where you can focus on a part of the program, like MIDI, and ignore the rest in the UI and menus.You'll have a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to create a lens, but from there on, it will be just like Master Tracks Pro, with some added useful tools (like MIDI Effects).

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So many people have decided MIDI is dead simply because they don't know how to coax expression out of it.

MIDI is far from dead, it's literally on something like 2.6 billion device world-wide. As to expressiveness, that's a large part of what MIDI 2.0 is about, and Real Products aren't too far away. Of course, then you'll need a program that can speak MIDI 2.0 smile
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now.

I used LibreOffice before getting the Microsoft subscription, and Open Office before that, and yeah, they work...but I have to say, Office is a lot smoother and more professional. Laying out a book in LibreOffice was pulling teeth, in Word it's a piece of cake (there are even 3D shapes). Excel anticipates a lot of moves and acts accordingly, which makes life easier. PowerPoint is better at how it handles saving and embedding media, and the integration of all programs with the Cloud for functions like auto-saving is very cool. So LibreOffice works, and is probably all that the vast majority of people need. But I'm glad there's an option for power users, and am willing to pay for the privilege. It's the same with music software...GarageBand is fine for most people, but Logic goes a lot further.

All true I am sure. We all need tools that work for our needs. Like Nathanael, I used to need the Adobe Suite to get my work done - this was pre-subscription but life would have been very tedious and difficult without InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat and while I could have done almost every thing I needed Photoshop for with Elements or an older version it was really nice to have the latest and greatest (I stopped about CS4, they went to CS6 and then the Cloud Suite.

Long ago and far away, CorelDraw was for PC and Illustrator was for Mac and some artists used Freehand plus people were split between Quark and Pagemaker so I needed some skills in all of those programs - to say nothing of the time a customer brought in a complete graphic design that somehow was in Excel. Quite a bit of work required Power Point too.

Makes the brain hurt after a while. Then I shifted gears and not only needed to learn silk-screening (WTF?) but also how to operate a 3d Stratasys printer - both in the same shop. GAH!!!!!
Originally Posted by Anderton
<...snip...>You should look into Cakewalk. It runs on Windows 10, it's free, and it has this feature called "Lenses" where you can focus on a part of the program, like MIDI, and ignore the rest in the UI and menus.You'll have a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to create a lens, but from there on, it will be just like Master Tracks Pro, with some added useful tools (like MIDI Effects).<...>
Thanks. I downloaded Cakewalk over a year ago, never discovered the lens, but then after a few weeks of ignoring the audio features in the menus, I went back to MTPro simply because it's quicker.

But now you piqued my interest with added useful tools.

Originally Posted by Anderton
MIDI is far from dead, it's literally on something like 2.6 billion device world-wide. As to expressiveness, that's a large part of what MIDI 2.0 is about, and Real Products aren't too far away. Of course, then you'll need a program that can speak MIDI 2.0 smile

You and I both know that that MIDI is far from dead. There are a lot of people, mostly hobbyists I think, that disagree with us. In Band-in-a-Box land there are numerous people going to 'real tracks' (pre-recorded audio) and abandoning MIDI simply because they don't understand the lousy tone they are experiencing with MIDI is not the fault of MIDI but the cheesy software synth that comes bundled with either the Win or Mac OS. And for some reason, all the explaining and demonstrating in the world can't convince them that MIDI doesn't sound cheesy, but some synthesizers do.

I think another problem with the misunderstanding of MIDI is that almost anyone can step-enter a song and when the output comes out stiff and expressionless, they don't understand why and blame MIDI. There are a lot of bad MIDI files out there, and it isn't the fault of MIDI -- but it's easier from someone to make a bad MIDI file than it is to make a bad audio file.

I'm a big MIDI fan, and using the original continuous controllers in MIDI 1.0 I can coax a lot of expression out of the music -- and it's MY expression, not someone else's.

When I have some MIDI 2.0 devices going, I'm sure I'll learn how to make even better music.

Motes
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
Rewinding a pain.

Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

:Chip, in the 21st century reality will be indistinguishable from comedy"


That's selective memory, leaving out all of the times when the singer is starting to be warmed up on a part and..... now they're asking "was I singing "lalala" or "la la lala"?

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I recommended that after hitting "stop," they wait for a while before hitting "play." smile


"Chip, in the 21st century reality will be indistinguishable from comedy": I am bracing myself for a DAW that includes a "rest" feature setting for the transport control. "Delay offset for rewind/fast forward (x ms, seconds, minutes)".

Which again I shouldn't besmirch, in some situations it might be a good thing; but HAVING to wait and not having a choice was horrible.


BUT.....

By the same token, the key-board short cut dance in order to do takes and over dubs isn't really any different from a kinesthetic-mind abstration layer standpoint. For some situations the "gottagoasfastaspossiblenotimetousethemousegogogogogog" ... "storming the beach" approach
is not automatically conducive to art, either IMO.

I've thought about, if my original plans had worked out and I had a physical studio for myself that doubled as a semi-commercial place, at this point I would be doing producing/recording by treating my DAW (Reaper) as ...


The multitrack tape machine with endless tape.


Because isn't that what we all would have wanted originally, back in the day?


I haven't seen any Name Producer work like this, but to me it makes sense artistically, and as a pragmatic, seasoned approach to not going crazy: you make sure you've got the hard drive space, the memory and machine to handle it, and you just

1) let the band set up and then hit "record". They either play to the DAW click, or a prerecorded tempo map, or they... freewheel as a band.
2) take notes and hit markers when there is a good or bad take (not unlike "the old days")
3) marker where a take stops and starts.
4) have your macro set up to dice the takes up into subprojects
5) put it together.

More "work" from the standpoint you've got to have good notes, and go find the places where the good parts are (if you're comping...) - but - *it's a much more natural work flow*. The band/artist just plays. This thing of "stop the band, back up, jump through hoops to do a pretend "faux tape machine hard edit-"over dub"" might be the way to record a voice over for a radio spot, but it's NOT a natural way of working to record ART.


In other words, it's not that rewind was a hassle, and it's instant now - in reality, we shouldn't be rewinding at all



I'm waiting for a DAW that abandons the "temporal shunt" tape-traveling approach to recording, and instead just buffers inputs continuously and displays everything you've done on a *continuous* timeline, that would look like one of those "earth epoch timeline" graphs; the session started "here", this happened "here", "here" and "here". It would change the process from *the illusion* of "rewinding" to what I'd call "true non-linear editing", in that you'd have functions that while in recording mode would behave like "rewinding" (loop to start of track; loop to start of edit point) it would show up on screen as a linear plot, a line with annotated "notes" of the transport controls but would actually be a horizontal representation of a playlist.

IMO it's curious how DAWs have started out as visual skeumorphic evolutions of "a multitrack tape recorder" and some have evolved that into a playlist-editing workflow. The playlist is a tacked-on feature; I understand how it evolved out of the underground tracker-music production style, but it's unwieldy IMO in it's present state. If you had a horizontal time-line graphical representation of the playlist it would possibly be the best of both worlds; the faux mechanical-movement illusion workflow and the true digital NLE approach. But without the (IMO) clunkiness of keyboard shortcuts.


Wow. Ok, sorry for the detour, had to get that out. I look forward to seeing this in a DAW a few years from now. Oh well.


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Hey software companies who make tape emulation plug-ins! Here's your big chance to have a unique selling point! Have a preference that whenever you hit stop on the DAW's transport, play and record are locked out for 21 seconds. I bet people would just LOVE that feature!

Hah, right, it might happen, we're in an apocalypse movie.

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Although my favorite "faux" plug-in is still Paul White's April 1 VST cable simulator, which attenuates high frequencies. The 15 foot emulation is $19.95, and the 30 foot emulation is $29.95.


I'm not sure if I should mock that either, because I'm presently deliberately going through 20' of unbuffered cable in front of my pedals... <g>.
I'll admit, TLDR, .... but searched,


People should really check out the CHOW tape emulation on Github.



That's all, carry on.
Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
I'm waiting for a DAW that abandons the "temporal shunt" tape-traveling approach to recording, and instead just buffers inputs continuously and displays everything you've done on a *continuous* timeline, that would look like one of those "earth epoch timeline" graphs; the session started "here", this happened "here", "here" and "here". It would change the process from *the illusion* of "rewinding" to what I'd call "true non-linear editing", in that you'd have functions that while in recording mode would behave like "rewinding" (loop to start of track; loop to start of edit point) it would show up on screen as a linear plot, a line with annotated "notes" of the transport controls but would actually be a horizontal representation of a playlist.

If that's the way you work, you aren't creating music/art, you're assembling a bunch of attempts at playing music. How do you know you're getting toward where you're going if you don't listen to playbacks now and then?

But on the other hand, a good bit of music that we hear today is conducted from fragments, some recorded in the studio, some recorded at home, some are sounds captured on the street with a handheld recorder or a phone, some are pre-made loops. You mess around with that stuff long enough and you (the engineer/producer) become the artist. And indeed that's the gig for some.

In my world, you know, when you start recording, how you want the final product to come out, and everything you do, even if it's just a nutty idea that you try and it works out to fit nicely (or doesn't, and you know it won't go into this song) those involved with the production need to keep things on track so that most parts go toward a pre-conceived goal, and not become a pile from which maybe you can make a song that you never really thought about until you started going through the recordings you have available to work from.

Gimme music, please.
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