I am perfectly happy recording digitally and frankly, I love the sound. I do enjoy the “smoothness” and grit that pushing tape can add. I have figured out a way to get my reel to reel into my system in a way that is easy to work and keeps it in a comfortable position. I also like the grit that my reel to reel can add to some music but I could work without this for the rest of my life never truly missing it. I have certain clients that love the mystique of recording reel to reel. This would be for them.
I’ve never really learned how to take care of a reel to reel properly. I never really understood de-magnifying, cleaning etc. I will be hooking up the reel to reel at the beginning of July after I get it back from my tech that will be going over the whole unit to make sure everything is ship-shape. Does anyone have anyone know how to really maintain a reel to reel?
Wish I could help ya here but I can’t. This is way outside my knowledge area. All I can say is there are two top dollar flagship studios in the Carolinas that carry Otari and Studier machines on their riders, but when I pressed them on the phone, both fessed up and told me they have no idea how to maintain them either. Both studios said they mainly use the tape heads for delay or just the transformer section for some added drive.
I’d LOVE to hear you get a non-digital recording posted. You’re one of the few guys on here with enough outboard gear to pull it off if you wanted to.
I hope it’s not breaking any codes of etiquette to suggest another forum, but the people over on Pro Recording Workshop would definitely have suggestions, advice and knowhow in the world of keeping tape machines well maintained and calibrated.
Reel to reel isn’t a magic bullet and bear in mind you will be losing a generation in the bounce from tape to DAW or however you bounce. I have never stopped using tape although I am firmly entrenched in digital. If you don’t have a multitrack machine 8-24 track and you’re recording more than one thing at a time wait until the tracks are recorded and edited and send each one through the tape machine then finish in DAW adding effects etc. If you record one track at a time then run through the machine and as you record feed the signal directly from the play head into the DAW. The idea is to run the tape and machine as sparingly as possible. Tape is very expensive head wear is a problem and new heads are not available.
My plan is to hook the IP’s of the Reel to reel up to the 16 group busses of my console and the OP’s to 16 console channels that have direct outs going to my DAW. This way I can put tape anywhere in the chain that I wish. Record direct or send some tracks through it that are already in my DAW.
If you are talking about why, magnetic tape does shed on the heads, which eventually lose a little contact with the tape which can cause drop outs and frequency response problems. Isopropyl alcohol takes care of it. The purpose of demagnetizing the heads is that after a certain number of hours of use they pick up an opposite charge from the tape that causes problems with proper playback and recording. If I’m not mistaken, you use a degaussing device to get rid of the magnetism and get the heads properly magnetized again. Nothing difficult about it, after one good maintenance you can easily do it yourself.