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#437661 10/18/00 09:32 AM
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I am moving my overgrown home studio out of the house to rental space to allow for live band recording. (it will still be a private, non commercial studio). Because I don't have to worry about pesky details like attracting clients or turning a profit, I'm free to really do the things that I want to, regardless of whether the result is marketable. My equipment had always been a mix of old (I'll avoid the term "vintage")and new analog gear; but I was completely fascinated with the "When Vinyl Rules" exhibit at AES. Against all advice and economic realities, I've decided to transistion to a "period" studio, say circa 1969. This is feasible because I have never desired to move beyond the 1" 8 track format, so my goals and my equipment are compatible with each other. My question concerns what to do with my newer gear as I slowly replace it and phase it out of operation. The one "bright idea" that I have had concerns my Panasonic SV3800 DAT recorder. I will be mixing exclusively to an Ampex 1/4" recorder but I thought that I could use the DAT recorder as an "always on" recorder that starts recording with the first song run through. DAT tapes are inexpensive enough to allow for burning through a handful every session. And in all my time on the musician side of recording sessions, I can attest to the value of capturing all of those one-off moments that occur between official takes. Two questions: 1) Would it be better to feed the DAT from a tap off of the main stereo monitor mix or would it be better to position a stereo mic in some unobtrusive location?, and, 2)If the DAT managed to capture a guitar solo (for example) that was better than anything in any of the recorded takes, is it really feasible to try and edit that into one of the "official" takes? Or should the DAT tapes be considered simply an audio diary of the sessions that could be used to remember that one time lick, but not attempt to incorporate the DAT recording into the actual mix? Or should I just throw the SV3800 up on Ebay to help pay for all that 1/4" and 1" tape I'm going to burn through?

Thanks.

steve
sjp@soca.com


steve
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Yeah keep the DAT - it will remind you of what it could have sounded like - I started in 1967 with 1" eight track and it would be a nightmare to go back to it

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John

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I've already compared the DAT to the 1/4" tape and its not even close. To each his own, but wanna bet which machine will be running 30 years from now: the DAT or the 1/4" Ampex?


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Hey Steve, just curious, what kind of 8 track machine do you have and what kind of console?

Do/will you have EMT plates or live reverb chamber or what?

I have an Ampex 350 1/4" and love it.

--Lee

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Hey Steve, just curious, what kind of 8 track machine do you have and what kind of console?
Do/will you have EMT plates or live reverb chamber or what?

I have an Ampex 350 1/4" and love it.
<<<<<<<<

I have been partnered with a friend and the "home" studio was centered around his 3M M23 1" 8 track. Now that I will be going it alone, I intend to look for an early A80 1". For the home studio, I was very happy with my little Trident VFM 16 X 8 (Not to be confused with the Aries 16 X 8 that some people claim to be a Trident product. I've talked to Malcolm Toft at both NAMM and AES and the Aries was in NO WAY related to Trident; whereas the Trident VFM was very much a Trident product, albeit their "home" studio effort, circa 1981) Now that I will be moving into proper studio space, I'm back to square one on evaluating consoles. With the 1" 8 track format, a 16 X 8 board is still the perfect configuration in my opinion. Trident 65, 70, 24, Neotek Series 1 or 2 and a couple of the smaller Studer consoles are all possibilities. The correct period piece from Neve or API just won't fit into the budget, although a slowly growing collection of API modules means that a custom 16 X 8 API could happen in 15 or 20 years ;-) The reverb situation will depend on the new space - I really want to build a live chamber. I have a Harry Kolbe Soundsmith Single 12 speaker cabinet that I have used as a reverb playback speaker in a concrete block classroom once. It was a makeshift situation but it shows incredible potential. Congrats on the 354 - with proper maintenance, it will be working fine long after the last DAT, ADAT & DA88 recorders have turned back to dust. I just don't understand how anyone with an appreciation for fine tools can bring themselves to work with cheap plastic stuff that was not designed to be maintained? To each his own.....


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Quote:

I just don't understand how anyone with an appreciation for fine tools can bring themselves to work with cheap plastic stuff that was not designed to be maintained? To each his own.....


Quote:
Because I don't have to worry about pesky details like attracting clients or turning a profit


I think that says a lot. When you aren't worried about that, you can afford to be much more eccentric about your approach to many things.

For people that have to get work done, a myriad of other factors come to play - and many still manage to get a great product out with a less nostalgic toolkit.


[This message has been edited by stevepow (edited 10-19-2000).]


Steve Powell - Bull Moon Digital
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I don't think that I should have to apologize for being in the position of being able to do whatever I want to without worrying about what others might think. This wasn't meant as an analog/digital thread, but rather how to best utilize an "always on" recorder. But it seems like the pro digital folks couldn't see past the fact that someone wasn't following the official sanctioned program, so they went off on my equipment choices instead of my question. Yes, I am building a nostalgia based studio (because I can) - get over it.


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Actually, SJP, I didn't detect MUCH criticism of your "old school" studio yet on this thread. I think Steve Pow may be a little JEALOUS of the fact that you don't need to attract clientele, and can make your own choices of gear without having to consider what will sell. I am!

But, now to your original question...

I think of the two choices you mentioned, the best "always on" way to use your DAT is off the stereo buss. With most material, a pair of mics in the room would sound totally bad.

BUT.

Since a finished mix is usually far better than a live to 2tr, I think you'll have to be really lucky to find a scrap you can edit in to a mix without it sounding wrong, so I suggest your idea of a "documentation" tape to be a good bet.

Another idea (I got to this by you mentioning getting the best gtr solo off the dat and using it...) is to have an "always on" machine dedicated to the lead gtr, or the lead vocal, etc. This could be accomplished by a direct or an aux of the chosen track to one side of the DAT, with the other side a mix of the backing tracks (for sync). This offers the advantage of being able to USE the lick or vox phrase that was erased from the 8 trk hours ago in favor of "just one more try". Often the early ones are the best and get killed. Especially in the less-tracks format, where one can't save 'em all up...

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shit, the only criticism i read here is from sjp, although they try to get themselves off the hook for being critical by starting or finishing with "to each his own"

you are awfully defensive. too bad you will probably be spending more time maintaining your nostalgic setup while we are actually recording on our unservicable plastic pieces [now that i think about it, my stuff has about as much plastic material as your stuff does. moron] i would like to see who is still making tape in 30 years. good luck in getting the parts to fix your broken down setup in 30 years. by then you wont need DAT machines [wait, you dont need them now]

good luck syncing a dat to the tape if you do lose something. why would you want to use something for real that you dont like the sound of anyways? it sounds like to me that you should know the answer to your own question.


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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Lemaire:
Actually, SJP, I didn't detect MUCH criticism of your "old school" studio yet on this thread. I think Steve Pow may be a little JEALOUS of the fact that you don't need to attract clientele, and can make your own choices of gear without having to consider what will sell. I am!


Good guess, but sorry, no cigar - I'm pretty much in the same situation - I don't need to make money off this either and I do the projects I like with the equipment that I want to use. Certainly I don't see any need to apologize for it.

And I was only responding to the "why plastic" portion of one of your intermediate thoughts - it sounded a little condescending.

I have updated my response to reflect this.

It is a lot like making a decision to drive a '57 Chevy. At that point it is no longer about transportation so much as it is about an ideal. For many people, it is just not practical. In matters of getting from A to B, they are no worse off for that.

Additionally, I don't equate analog to metal and digital to plastic for that matter. I think tape is plastic and hard drives are metal - not a fact that is any more relevant, only ironic in context.

As far as your original question goes, I think Mark covered it pretty well on your options.

I think DAT tapes are expensive and kind of outdated technology in a studio. But who knows - maybe they'll be all the rage in 20-30 years.

[This message has been edited by stevepow (edited 10-19-2000).]


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Steve, sounds great! I personally am doing kinda a mix of old and new, whatever I think sounds best (not to mention what I can afford). But one of the first engineering gigs I had (this was around 1981) was in a 1" 8 track studio that had been built in the 60's and still had all the original equipment, including an API board that was to die for. And I've working in a lotta different places since then, some of them were really awesome in their own right... but I don't think I've ever worked anywhere else that sounded that good to my ears, and with so little effort.

I'd love to check your place out when you get it done! And hey, don't rule out the possibility of making some money off it - I'll bet movie studios would love to film something there if they were doing a "period" rock'n'roll movie.

As for the DAT, I'm not wild about DAT either but your idea of using it as a "diary" sounds good. I doubt you could ever edit any of it into an actual track although you never know I guess.

--Lee


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