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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / Tape bakery is open for business

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Aug 19th, 2018 07:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

My tape-to-digital-transfer process hit a snag. My experimental cake-box method I devised to fix SSS (Sticky Shed Syndrome) didn't work.

I bought a food dehydrator and baked 2 tapes for 8 hours yesterday at 130 degrees F. I transferred the first song on the reel this morning. Baking fixed the problems I was having with playback speed variations and rewind/fast forward issues while the tape was running. I did experience some drop-out in places but, there are enough good sections that I could edit together a decent track if desired. If there's enough oxide left I need to do it again because I noticed when I was finished the tape speed variation knob was engaged. :o/ What a doofus.

I started to transfer the second song on the reel and began having playback speed variation problems again. So, I put the first batch of tapes back into the dehydrator to cook them for the rest of the day. Hopefully that will fix it. I have read that the tapes can't be 'over-baked' as long as the temperature isn't too high. 175 degrees or more.

After I bake them I'll put them back into my plastic, desiccant-infused, cake container, to store them in a dry environment, until I get a chance to try another transfer. Probably next weekend.

littleuch
Contributing Member
**********
*******

Ocala, Florida

Aug 21st, 2018 05:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

What a bizarrely fascinating process.

I had a wealth of musical history on cassette tape (both 2 track mixes and grand masters from my Tascsam Portastudio). A year or so ago I tried playing a variety of the 2 track mixes on 3 different devices, all just seized. I then fired up the Tascam Portastudio and after a few minutes of drag and warble it puffed the magic smoke. I took it as a sign from my bitchy muse and dumpstered the whole lot. Fortunately most of the stuff I consider worthy of an occasional listen is already transferred to digital.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 3rd, 2018 03:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

I transferred an entire reel of tape today. It was one I did with a band back in the late 70's in a commercial studio on 1/2" 8 track.

I though I had hit a snag when I realized the tape was dbx Type 1 encoded. Not having access to the analog decoder units I went ahead and transferred the audio anyway. Nobody has ever written a plug-in for decoding dbx noise reduction-encoded audio in the digital domain but, I found a web site where a guy figured out a way to decode encoded audio using a combination of stock, Pro Tools, plug-ins. It was a bit involved but I did it and it worked very well. I had to tweak some of the settings to keep it from pumping but, I'm happy with the results.

Now, if the performance would have been better I'd actually have something.

Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 3rd, 2018 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Nobody has ever written a plug-in for decoding dbx noise reduction-encoded audio in the digital domain but"

Double check on the u-he Satin plugin page. It has several types of encoder and decoders built into the plug in from the tape days. I'm not sure which ones it has but there are a handful. If you want me to run anything through it let me know.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 4th, 2018 01:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Achase. I have a call in to my Sweetwater Sales engineer to pose that question to him. If it will decode the audio tracks I will buy it today.

Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 4th, 2018 10:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'll be curious which decoding it is capable of. Hope it works out for you.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 6th, 2018 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I got Satin and it worked perfectly. The way I was decoding the tracks using multiple plug-ins and channels worked but there were audible artifacts and it required constant tweaking. Satin worked without a hitch and I could hear no artifacts whatsoever on any of the tracks.

As for what it will decode, Dolby B and C and something called Type A Mod. Don't know what that one is for certain. My guess is Dolby Type A. The one I used was called uhx Type 1. There is also one called uhx Type 2. It is my belief that these two "uhx" titled decoders are dBx Type 1 and dBx Type 2. The uhx Type 1 worked on the dBx Type 1 encoded tracks I used it on. So, there ya go.

I'm pretty sure they didn't call it "dBx" because of brand infringement legalities unless they paid a licensing fee to use the name. The only reason I can think of for them actually calling Dolby, "Dolby" is because Dolby B and C were patented in the 1960's and unless they were renewed they are probably public domain now. I think Dolby Type A was patented in the 70's so it's probably not in the public domain yet. That's why they called it "Type A Mod." I dunno. Just speculating. I could be wrong. I was once.

Achase4u
Contributing Member
********

U.S. - Virginia

Sep 7th, 2018 11:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's great news. I didn't know what any of those were for although I had heard of noise reduction techniques from the tape days. I toyed with them for interesting sonic characteristics. Glad it worked out for you and helped.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 29th, 2018 05:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is the first mix I have done from the tape-transfer process. The band is one that I was in who played the local circuit in Phoenix from 1979 - 1981. It was a cover band mostly. We did a few originals. This turned out better than I expected after listening to the raw tracks during the transfer.

This was a live performance recorded in a local 8 track studio at a party they were having. The entire band was recorded onto 6 tracks. 2 for a stereo drum sub-mix, 1 for bass guitar, 1 for guitar (me), 1 for keyboards, and 1 for vocals. By the time I was done mixing I had spread that out into 17 tracks. There was no editing other than me breaking tracks apart and no overdubs. This IS the performance as it was played live. I didn't "fix" anything other than levels and adding effects.

I would have had a really tough time mixing this if it weren't for automation. The stereo drum track was a nightmare but automation made it to where things could be evened out a bit. My biggest issue is the kick drum is too loud in the mix and there's nothing I can do about it. It's not terrible but, not how I would want it. I tried multi-band compression to fix it but, the 'tick' on the beater covers too wide of a frequency spectrum. When I tried to fix it the snare and toms lost all their character. So, I decided that it was better to leave it alone and live with it. As the tape goes along, into later songs, it gets better as the engineer adjusted it.

This first song fades in because we started playing a couple seconds before the engineer hit the record button. Since it was a party we just left it and didn't bother doing it over.

I have only mixed 2 songs from this tape so far. It has taken me a full, long, day to mix each of these first 2 tracks and I don't get a full day to spend that much uninterrupted time but every 2 or 3 weeks. Automation is great but when manually pencilling in gain-riding changes all through the song, it takes a lot of time.

Genesis cover

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 29th, 2018 05:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is the next song on the tape. This one has a few wobbles in the performance but, that's how it was so I left them alone. When I'm done mixing all of the songs I may go back and fix some of the mistakes and timing issues with the tracks. I probably won't though. This is mostly for archival purposes and nothing else.

Cheap Trick cover

littleuch
Contributing Member
**********
*******

Ocala, Florida

Outrage is the new twinkie
Sep 30th, 2018 01:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Production (and performance) sound mighty fine Ken. Very cool process of resurrecting old work. The kick drum doesn't offend on my system.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 30th, 2018 06:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Larry.

littleuch
Contributing Member
**********
*******

Ocala, Florida

Outrage is the new twinkie
Sep 30th, 2018 06:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

You guys were way tight. The fact that these tracks were essentially captured live is even more impressive.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Sep 30th, 2018 06:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

We had been playing 5 or 6 nights a week in clubs for a couple years. We were well seasoned at that point. It turned out pretty well for a bunch of kids. The oldest guy in the band was 24 and he was a couple years older than the rest of us.

FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / Tape bakery is open for business




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