Sunday, November 30, 2008


Test Tone Tape

I am such an idiot. I've spent years working with tape recording... 4 tracks, reel to reel, multiple levels of mixdown between decks. For some stupid reason I've never used a calibrating test tone to stripe the beginning of tapes. I've read about it before, but just always blown it off. This came back to bite me in the ass recently when I dumped some tracks back to the 4track and accidentally had the pitch just slightly off. Re-tuning the track was the biggest hassle I've dealt with in months. As a result, I'm now running a 440hz and 333.33hz tone at the start of every tape. Later, regardless of what equipment the tape is played back on, the deck can be tuned to make it run at it's original speed and pitch. Why didn't I think of this before? Because I'm a moron that's why. Honestly, I would suggest doing this even with digital recordings. It can't hurt.

As a side note about analog vs. digital: I still have 4track tapes from 1995 whereas I've lost whole records due to digital audio workstations crashing. Think about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Minidisc Brings All the Boys to the Yard...

Well, I finally figured out what to do with my $2.00 minidisc deck. I now use it as a lossless, transparent intermixing stage! "But, Mason," you say, "What the fuck does that mean?". Well, dear boy, I'll tell you. When you're 4-tracking, sometimes you actually need more tracks. One option is mixing down what's been done to cassette (what I've done in the past) before running it back into the four track. This leads to over-compression, loss of highs and lows, pitch problems and the over-dubs sounding more clear and upfront than the original four backing tracks. That sucks. The other option (this is where the MD deck comes in) is mixing down to a lossless digital medium to run back into the 4-track. HAHA! Yeah, I know, I'm pretty happy about it too. Is this cheating? Maybe, but who fucking cares. I really need a standalone audio CD burner with a really good A/D converter for the digital dump from the cassette master.