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Using Tape to Record an Album? In 2012?

March 6, 2012

Dear Readers,

Lately, I've been seriously getting back into vinyl; there's just something about listening to that analog sound. So, when I found out L.A. Engineer/Producer/Guitarist Jason Gutiérrez recorded Fanny Franklin's new album Get Wet on a TASCAM 8-track tape machine, I just had to find out why and how he did it.

Look for the full interview in an issue coming soon... For now, here's an excerpt for all you analog-heads:

What inspired the decision to go for a vintage sound and use tape?

Well, I abandoned tape probably over 10 years ago. I started out recording on four-track cassettes and eight-track cassettes, and eventually a reel to reel, but when I built my first computer I abandoned the tape recording but I always missed it. For many years it was just straight DAW recording.

Some of my friends had started getting back into tape recording and had been coming out with some very exciting recordings. So I thought this idea of tracking first into tape but then dumping into a DAW and being able to have that initial sound that we loved and then being able to take advantage of all the modern editing and plug ins would just be a great way to go.

So over the last year and a half I started getting some tape decks. The TEAC 88 became the main deck. So that was the main thought process.

8 Responses to Using Tape to Record an Album? In 2012?

Faiz Fadzil says

March 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Is there a real, concerted effort to move back into the analog domain? Or is this just another bandwagon that people are jumping on - just another passing fad? Especially after the Foo Fighters' win at the Grammys.

JasonG1974 says

March 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Its not a fad. Its really a thriving scene in LA and the Bay! Once you go back to tape you get hooked. Its not for everybody/every style of music. I mean the Foo Fighters record doesn't really sound that analog to me. It sounds great but its a very high fidelity record. Heavy tape coloration is where the real fun is! Its like using different filtered lenses on a camera. When you A/B a digital track and the same track mixed down to tape, the smooth compression and fat bass bump just make it a no brainer!

dapianoplaya says

March 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Especially after the Foo Fighters' win at the Grammys. ^ Very good point. However, fad or not, tapes don't let you cheat.

Beto Hale says

April 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen. What are your recent experiences with tape, by the way? Just curious. All the best and happy holidays! B.

Beto Hale says

April 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen. What are your recent experiences with tape, by the way? Just curious. All the best and happy holidays! B.

jen says

June 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

hello fellow audio masters! i have buck owens "on the bandstand" with loretta lynn's "i like em' country" both recorded on an "allied" brand polyester 1.0 mil. 7 inch. tape. who owns the copyright? can i turn it into a few bucks for myself, or would they lock me up? desperatley in need of some suggestions.

Steve Paris says

December 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Analog RULES!! A Dolby SR-equipped tape machine running at 30 ips has superior frequency response (by far!) to digital and a signal-to-noise ratio that is quite close, while still having that warm feel. When headroom is exceeded in digital, it just goes SPLAT! and sounds horrible, but in analog it just compresses nicely. Digital video is great, but the human ear has greater dynamic range than the eye, thus the preference for analog is real.

Matchless Mix says

June 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Slate's VTM plug with a great DAW is my personal choice. Lots cheaper and more convenient and sounds great while always remaining sonically consistent.

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