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Here's the teac plan


bookumdano4
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Tascam Japan began re-integrating the tan/orange color last year on the Japanese tascam web area. Teaser stuff. As I noted then.

 

A non-working 38 was in the Anaheim namm booth 2018 for what seemed like simple nostalgia. What it (and other orphans) were really for was for discussion input.

 

The ' classics reborn ' thing..complete with woodgrain...is the beginning of a tool-up. For various stuff. One item has appeared in the form of a hybrid product. The next items will work backwards, away from hybrid.

 

While my pre-show namm walkthrough in a few weeks may reveal some nice, additional teac/tascam 2019 goodies, I'm convinced the 2020 show will be the one to bring on the teac smiles.

 

Right on time, in the 36-48mo timeframe I've been predicting. By the way, teac guys kept popping in to that ballfinger display last month. And my studer contacts at Harman still say, "we don't know if the guys here wanna do it".

 

1970.....2020. tan/orange...classics reborn. Tool-up.

 

The others will follow.

 

As always, I know nothing. I know no one. Never believe anything i claim to know. This thread will self-destruct in five seconds. Or not

Edited by bookumdano4
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You still read about artists who just don't give up the tape. Indie, old school sorts, Americana, etc. Some record just drums/bass on tape, the rest digi.

 

A new unit that looks vibey and is better than the old units?...I bet there's a market there somewhere. Won't take the world by storm, but if vinyl can be a niche...why not tape?

 

nat

 

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Recording The Masters (the folks that are the latest end-of-tail of Agfa, BASF, RMGI tape) just re-introduced newly made C-60 cassettes. I believe this is in support of the rumored resurgence of music distribution on cassette, but can an all-analog Portastudio be far behind?

 

I totally missed the TASCAM booth at AES this year, and I know I was right next to where they were supposed to be. I assume that they were actually there, probably a pretty small display - but NAMM has been a bigger show for them for a good many years. But one thing that I noticed over the past couple of years is that after Jeff Laity got promoted to Big Chief, it's been harder to find a pro marketing manager at their show booths.

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Tape availability? I equate those discussions to the "what are we gonna do now that hostess Twinkies are history?".

 

The answer to the availability of hostess cupcakes was..... Just relax a few minutes and watch what happens.

 

For those who didn't wait, there were always leftover hostess sno-balls to be had via eBay. Or places like like ATR....doesn't the T stand for hostess twinkies?

 

As to the quiet nature of us teac.....in 1970, you had the initial spinoff tascam guys in marina del Rey (before the Montebello move) putting the pressure on Japan to fabricate what the us guys needed. ASAP...pronto...yesterday. stuff started flowing over in pieces and mdr/Montebello would assemble. Then, Japan understood what it had and ramped up production into overdrive.

 

Now.... We're in a different era. Japan is navigating/directing this thing. Complete with hindsight and a keen awareness of brand-identification. Probably only 2 us guys know the plan and they're not exactly guys on the radar. Teac Japan sees the way into this thing clearly. Unlike in 1970.

 

Imo.

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Mike, I thought Jeff was with Guitar Center - he used to be marketing mgr. at TASCAM, but I was under the impression he went to GC a year or two ago... :idk:

 

That could explain why I haven't seen Jeff around. I know I saw him once or twice after Gibson bought TEAC. I guess he got while the gettin' was good.

 

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As to the OP...is it still possible to buy reel-to-reel tape?

 

As Mike said, the answer is yes, but it's more expensive than ever. I used to pay about $140-150 a reel for 2" - now it's more like $320 per reel... so while buying a (used) 24 track reel to reel is now much cheaper, the tape is more expensive.

 

With the current low price of HDD's, you can get a drive and a backup for under a hundred bucks, or maybe a bit over, and have enough storage for a full album (easily), but you're going to pay $900+ for enough tape to do an album... is it any wonder why so many people don't bother with tape anymore?

 

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As Mike said, the answer is yes, but it's more expensive than ever. I used to pay about $140-150 a reel for 2" - now it's more like $320 per reel... so while buying a (used) 24 track reel to reel is now much cheaper, the tape is more expensive.

 

Ouch! No wonder only quirky people record on tape now. I used to buy 2" tape on hubs and don't recall paying much more than about $60 a reel, but I think it's been 20 years since I bought any.

 

With the current low price of HDD's, you can get a drive and a backup for under a hundred bucks, or maybe a bit over, and have enough storage for a full album (easily), but you're going to pay $900+ for enough tape to do an album... is it any wonder why so many people don't bother with tape anymore?

 

There are some who are using one reel to do a whole album by transferring tape tracks to a DAW for mixing. As long as you have A/D/A converters that are as good as clean analog - which isn't hard to do these days, that's a workable approach. Whether a Neve plug-in is as good a mixing on a Neve console is questionable, it's cheaper to take your hard drive to a studio with a Neve console and mix it there than to bring a car load of 2" tape and hope their tape deck is properly maintained.

 

5-10 years ago, you could buy a 2" tape machine for a song, but by now, most of them, and even 1/4"-1/2" AG-440s, have been either bought up, canibalized for parts, or destroyed. At this fall's AES, there was a nicely refurbished MCI JH-110 showing for $5,000. If you could still find a 24-track Ampex MM1200 for a couple of grand it would probably need a lot of maintenance before it's good for anything more than a signal mangler.

 

Eight or ten years ago, a small group of really analog-smart people including Mike Spitz and John French had plans to manufacturer a new 2" 24-track tape recorder. When they figured that they couldn't possibly sell any at what it would cost, they scaled back and started thinking about a 1/2" 2-track, but eventually abandoned that plan for the same reason - cost.

 

So it's highly unlikely that we'll see a new analog reel-to-reel multitrack from TASCAM any time soon, but then bookemdano seems to come up with some inside information now and then.

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The decks aren’t as plentiful as they used to be, but there are still quite a few out there. There is an A80 on Reverb for under $5k, and an A827 for under $15k... and someone was telling me about a JH24 for under $5k just the other day... Vintage King has one for $9k listed right now....

 

And for anyone considering making a new analog machine, that is a problem. They have to compete with those prices, which I honestly don’t think is possible to do and turn a profit.

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There are some who are using one reel to do a whole album by transferring tape tracks to a DAW for mixing. As long as you have A/D/A converters that are as good as clean analog - which isn't hard to do these days, that's a workable approach.

 

We used to track to 2" and then transfer (or send it to the DAW in near real time by monitoring off the playback head) straight to Pro Tools for edits and overdubs - that's still a somewhat popular approach out here in LA, but you see it being used less and less as time goes on. I guess I'm just old-school, but if I'm going to track to tape, I want fresh reels for every pass - especially if we're waxing an album. But of course that's not very practical today.

 

One of my favorite tips I learned from Craig Anderton is the "tape machine as signal processor" approach. I still have a 1/4" Otari that I keep in service for just this purpose - track to the DAW, and then do pass-throughs on a three-head analog deck; monitor off the playback head, and re-record to new DAW track(s). Nudge the offset / processed track(s) back into alignment in the DAW.

 

This approach lets you experiment with different tape formulations, over and under-biasing, tape compression / distortion and how hard you're going to slam the signal to tape and all of that after the recording is already made, which is much harder to do if you're recording to tape from the get-go. You're making a couple of extra passes through the converters, but the idea is to muck the signal up anyway, and the tape artifacts that you're trying to impart are going to mask any slight coloration you get from them.

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So where does the magic happen with tape recorders? Is it in the recording head? Playback head? On the tape itself?? The saturation that's always talked about...and perhaps other audio-favorable artifacts.

 

'Cause I'm wondering if advances in tape manufacturing could tip the scale on the usual problems with tape - noise, friction, clumsy editing potential, degradation over time, and the sheer amount of physical tape required to hold the audio.

 

I may just be displaying my ignorance, but tape is actually the cutting edge medium for big data storage these days. Maybe there's no translation or relation between storing bits and storing audio...out of my depth on that. (but cassettes used to hold data, right?) But IBM has got tape that holds insane amounts of data per square inch of tape - can such advances t somehow be put to use in the world of audio recording??

 

If the tape didn't have to move much - would the noise go away??

 

nat

 

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We used to track to 2" and then transfer (or send it to the DAW in near real time by monitoring off the playback head) straight to Pro Tools for edits and overdubs - that's still a somewhat popular approach out here in LA, but you see it being used less and less as time goes on.

 

Remember CLASP? This was a system developed by Chris Mura (the guy who's refurbising MCI JH-110s) that involved a hardware controller for a tape deck that was realized as a VST plug-in. The idea was that you ran the audio through the tape, and the CLASP calibrated itself to the time delay so it put the played-from-tape signal on the track in the right place. I asked him at the show this year if anyone was buying them. He did sell a couple, that was it. He's hoping to do better with the ready-to-go tape decks.

 

 

 

 

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So where does the magic happen with tape recorders? Is it in the recording head? Playback head? On the tape itself?? The saturation that's always talked about...and perhaps other audio-favorable artifacts.

 

Well, some see it as magic, but it was always the goal of the people who designed and built tape recorders to make them play back what went into them as accurately as possible. It wasn't until rock engineers started to push the tape and electronics beyond its design area that they heard some distorted sounds that they didn't know how to make otherwise, and there were places where that was a good thing. The magic with a well designed and maintained analog tape recorder is that it reproduces what went into it very accurately (which, today, most would say: "BOOORRRRR-RING"

 

I'm wondering if advances in tape manufacturing could tip the scale on the usual problems with tape - noise, friction, clumsy editing potential, degradation over time, and the sheer amount of physical tape required to hold the audio.

 

I have to answer to that. The first on is easy: Digital tape recording. The Alesis ADAT revolutionized multitrack recording. Very low noise, no flutter, accurate speed beginning to end, no degradation to speak of (until the tape wore to the point of unrecoverable dropouts), and an hour of 8 track recording on a $6 tape cassette. They had a sound, oh, yeah, but if you built one today with modern A/D and D/A converters it would sound better than an analog tape deck.

 

The other answer is that there were advances in tape manufacturing over the 50-some years of tape recorder glory. Polyester backed tape was nearly impossible to break - but the trade-off was that under enough strain, it stretched, and so did the sound along with it. A clean break was easy to fix with a splice. But overall, polyester tape was a big improvement. There was a fair amount of development in oxide formulation, and also in manufacturing, to make lower noise tape that could record linearly over a wider dynamic range than the original ferric oxide. Along with this development came the differences in non-linearity between different formulations when pushed into their non-linear range, and that's what brought the "magic" to tape recording. Before that, it was just a recorder. Back coating made for smoother winding, which made for a more accurate tape path, but the after-effects of a bump in the road with that technology was sticky tape that had to be refreshed before it could be played. But we know how to deal with that.

 

There were better mechanics along the way, too. A good servo motor for the capstan along with tension controlled reel motors gave better speed stability and gentler tape handling. 3M experimented with a lubricated oxide surface for a while, but there's only so much you can do to avoid friction if you want a perfect tape path. As far as the amount of tape required to hold a program, look no further than a cassette. That had other problems, but the high grade cassette decks from Nakamichi, Sony, and TEAC made for some really good sounding recordings, an hour for a few bucks worth of cassette. And if we thought we'd actually want to play our tapes 50 years in the future, we could have come up with a better way of storing them so they wouldn't get damaged in a flood, fire, or just grow mildew.

 

I may just be displaying my ignorance, but tape is actually the cutting edge medium for big data storage these days. Maybe there's no translation or relation between storing bits and storing audio...out of my depth on that.

 

Thousands of terabytes of audio are stored on tape at the Library of Congress' A/V archiving and preservation facility in Culpeper, VA. It's digital tape on cartridges, and when you want to play something, there's machinery that plucks the cartridge it's on out of a rack, sticks it in a transport, and music (or a presidential inaugural speech, of "I have a dream") comes out. And your income tax records are probably stored in some similar fashion.

 

If the tape didn't have to move much - would the noise go away??

 

Well, it needs some help. Again I point you to cassettes. At 1-7/8 ips on narrow tracks, you need to goose some things up in order to get frequency response equivalent to standard track width tape at 15 ips. With that comes noise, so we add Dolby or dbx noise reduction to counter it. Those aren't without artifacts of their own, so it's a trade-off.

 

 

 

 

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Ya done me a solid there Compadre. Was running my Akai RTR this weekend and realized I had no blank tape. Gonna order some just for grins.

 

An aside....The Lad loves watching it run....Lol. I asked him what he found so fascinating about it...His reply? "It's just so Steampunk!"

 

he's a constant source of joy...

 

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Well, some see it as magic, but it was always the goal of the people who designed and built tape recorders to make them play back what went into them as accurately as possible....The magic with a well designed and maintained analog tape recorder is that it reproduces what went into it very accurately

 

 

Sure - but isn't what would drive some new market for tape be other than the desire for clean/accurate recording? The "other" being the saturation/distortion, etc.

 

I have to answer to that. The first on is easy: Digital tape recording. The Alesis ADAT revolutionized multitrack recording.

 

Appreciate the detailed answers - I am familiar with ADAT and DAT et al. But again, some new market I don't think would be sellable on that.

 

The other answer is that there were advances in tape manufacturing over the 50-some years of tape recorder glory. Polyester backed tape....better mechanics...better speed stability and gentler tape handling...

 

 

I'm wondering about another entirely new level of tape abilities...the old tape is, as all have been mentioning, too expensive, too unwieldy, etc.

 

As far as the amount of tape required to hold a program, look no further than a cassette.

 

What I've been reading about is IBM's very recent advances in tape storage abilities. A quote from a zdnet article from 2014:

 

"IBM said they can pack 85.9 billion bits of data per square inch on areal data density on linear magnetic particulate tape. At that density a standard tape cartridge could store 154 terabytes of uncompressed data, 62 times better than existing cartridges. With the advance, IBM is keeping tape relevant for big data applications. Tape still has appeal given that it can last for decades and doesn't require power when not in use."

 

Just wondering here - if a new super-version of tape came available that held a lot more analog audio per reel - and perhaps could run a lower speeds - and if the new tape machines were improved mechanically over the old lot still being maintained out there...that I think could draw a new market.

 

nat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's a difficult argument to make, because I don't like distortion, but I think that the problem is that people who want to use tape today have never used it before and think that it's the only way they can make recordings that sound like tape. There's a lot more than tape saturation that went into making the revered 1970s and 1980s recordings. The most important thing is how they were made - a combination of great musicians playing together at times, and at at other times, working on tiny bits to get them to sound just like what they want them to sound like. And when newer tape formulations came into the market, their goal wasn't to offer different tape distortion sounds, it was to reduce distortion and noise.

 

A lot of the distortion that you think it tape is overshadowed by getting the tone out of an instrument amplifier or overdriving a mic preamp or choosing the right mic. I think it's possible to completely emulate all of the non-linear characteristics of a tape recorder, and even any tape recorder. And I think it's also possible that some people will use it creatively rather than saying "well, that's what the recorder does so let's work both with and around it."

 

What is it that makes you think that we need tape today? That you can't make good records without it?

 

As far as reducing tape cost by increasing recording density - well, first off, those huge tape storage systems for data still use vast amounts of tape. They can increase the density of information to well beyond that of analog tape because you dno't need any dynamic range. You can pack a few terabytes of digital data on to a spinning magnetic disk because all you need to know along the length of the spiral track is whether, every clock cycle, there's a change in magnetic polarity or not. But for analog magnetic recording, there's a lot more mechanics at play that interact to affect frequency response, noise level, and distortion including, but not limited to non-linearity.

 

If some new super tape appeared that could provide significantly higher density analog recording and be cost effective, it would probably have its own "sound" that would be different from what people today think that tape sounds like. How much more storage efficiency do you want than 1000 hours of stereo on a 1 terabyte hard drive that costs less than an hour's worth of 1/4" analog tape? And using hardware that costs 10% of the equivalent analog recorder?

 

WE DON'T NEED TO RECORD ON ANALOG TAPE ANY MORE . . . but that won't stop some people from wishing they had it available. And I think that those who really want it should be able to get it, so I'm glad that there are still tape manufacturers, and people keeping the recording and playback hardware available. Just like after all of our cars are solar or nuclear powered, there will still be people who want a car with a gasoline engine because the newfangled cars just aren't the same. And someone will still be making gasoline even if it costs $50 per gallon.

 

 

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What is it that makes you think that we need tape today? That you can't make good records without it?

 

Oh, I'm probably not in the market myself on this. I'm happy with digital and plugins - and the Kramer Tape plugin from Waves in particular. I won't go so far to say I'd never ever go back to tape - depends like everything else on cost and efficiencies and results. I'd certainly go back to a hardware digital recorder if the right one came along. My VS-1680 has been gathering dust for a decade or so....but not because it was hard to use (it wasn't/isn't) but because of the lack of VST support, the small HD capacity, and the less-than-stellar sound quality by current standards. If some new recorder used some super-souped-up-super analog tape and it passed the cost/efficiency hurdles - what do I care what the physical medium is?

 

 

 

If some new super tape appeared that could provide significantly higher density analog recording and be cost effective, it would probably have its own "sound" that would be different from what people today think that tape sounds like.

 

You're probably right about that. Wouldn't it be just like the manufacturers then to add digital effects to make it "vintage tape"-like?

 

WE DON'T NEED TO RECORD ON ANALOG TAPE ANY MORE

 

Well, "need" is as "need" does. If it works, and it's inspiring to the musicians and studio types, they'll want it. Same type of thing with hardware summing boxes, right? You can tell folks all day they don't need to sum outside the box - but if the hardware summing unit imparts some magic they can hear (or even simply think they can hear), they'll buy it and love it. If people only bought gear they absolutely "need", then the gear market would be a few whales-squared smaller, gear would be more expensive, and a lot of happy accidents would never happen.

 

My interest in all this is to just see where it goes. Places unexpected is what I expect.

 

nat

 

 

 

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My interest in all this is to just see where it goes. Places unexpected is what I expect.

 

Fair enough.

 

My Mackie hard disk recorders still work (somehow I've manged to collect four of them) and my Soundcraft console doesn't need no stinkin' VST plug-ins. ;) I'd really like to replace the console with something newer, but, like analog tape, the cost of a functionally equivalent analog console has become prohibitive. Actually, that's not really the case. The Soundcraft cost about $8500 in 1980, so I could buy a Trident 78 for the $26,000 that the Soundcraft's cost would be in today's dollars.

 

Problem is that in 1980, I was doing enough paid work so that I recovered the cost of the console in just a few years. At the rate I'm doing paid work now, I'd never recover the cost. I keep thinking about a modern modest priced digital console, but they're all basically designed for live sound work and for recording, they expect to be mated to a computer DAW, and while it would be possible to expand the I/O with some outboard boxes, it would still be missing some routing and easy-to-see metering. That's all too fiddly for me, so most gigs nowadays are done with a couple of mics and a pocket-sized 2-track digital recorder and edited in Sound Forge on a computer running Windows XP.

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My interest in all this is to just see where it goes. Places unexpected is what I expect.

 

Fair enough.

 

My Mackie hard disk recorders still work (somehow I've manged to collect four of them) and my Soundcraft console doesn't need no stinkin' VST plug-ins. ;) I'd really like to replace the console with something newer, but, like analog tape, the cost of a functionally equivalent analog console has become prohibitive. Actually, that's not really the case. The Soundcraft cost about $8500 in 1980, so I could buy a Trident 78 for the $26,000 that the Soundcraft's cost would be in today's dollars.

 

Problem is that in 1980, I was doing enough paid work so that I recovered the cost of the console in just a few years. At the rate I'm doing paid work now, I'd never recover the cost. I keep thinking about a modern modest priced digital console, but they're all basically designed for live sound work and for recording, they expect to be mated to a computer DAW, and while it would be possible to expand the I/O with some outboard boxes, it would still be missing some routing and easy-to-see metering. That's all too fiddly for me, so most gigs nowadays are done with a couple of mics and a pocket-sized 2-track digital recorder and edited in Sound Forge on a computer running Windows XP.

 

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I just happen to stumble on this thread. In my attic, I have a table top Tascam 246 and a Tascam 488 mkii.

 

Not best formats for recording. You really need to plan things out. I have Some new Maxell high bias 60 minute tapes.

 

I might be up for a challenge, break em out and see if I can make a recording. There's not much headroom on a cassette tape. I have a old spring reverb unit too, and some old Tube compressors and an old analog Soundcraft mixer.

 

Good to know

The folks that are the latest end-of-tail of Agfa, BASF, RMGI tape) just re-introduced newly made C-60 cassettes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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