Mastering from a 1" 8-track

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seanyworny, May 10, 2009.

  1. Seanyworny

    Seanyworny New Member


    I've just invested in a 1" 8-track but i'm in the dark as to the best way to master from it. I'm contemplating buying my own mastering deck but my before I do, i'd like to know, regardless of price, should I be looking to get a 1/2" or a 1/4" machine?

    Is there really any difference? Should I be looking to keep the Inch per track the same e.g. by buying a 1/4 or could I improve my original recording in some way by investing in a 1/2 inch machine?

    Any help (audio examples) would be kindly appreciated- at this moment, resolving this quandary is my sole priority and it's bugging me!

    Cheers fellas,
  2. seriousfun

    seriousfun Active Member

    Everything else equal, your 1" 8t should record and reproduce the same as a 1/4" 2t.

    Is a 2t head available for your 1" machine? If so, that would make a supurb 1" 2t machine for mastering.
  3. tps

    tps Active Member

    Philadelphia, PA
    Are you mastering some type of multi-channel surround format where you need 8 channels? A friend of mine did so back in the 1980s; he mastered the 8-channel surround audio for the "Battle of Tippecanoe Outdoor Drama". I got some free tickets to opening night for letting him borrow my Yamaha Rev7 for the mix.

    Or, will you be mixing from the 8-track to a stereo mix tape?
  4. Rolf Erickson

    Rolf Erickson New Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I used to own a 1" 8 track and 2" 16 track deck. In my studio.

    Are you going all analog? Or are you going to eventually get on Digital? .. If all analog, I would try to obtain a 1/2" 30 ips analog to preserve as much of the original of what is on the multi-track tape.

    The mixes down from the multi will be a little noisy-er and have a bit less "snap" if you use 1/4" and 15 ips..

    But you might have a tad more bottom-end at 15 ips. But the rest that you get will be better at 30 ips.

    My two cents... And what brand/model deck did you get?

    Mine was 3M, M56.

    If you are going on Digital eventually, I would go onto Digital for the mix-down, using the best format I can obtain.... Why not? It's going there anyway.

    Rolf E.

    Me and my gear 36 years ago. Ampex, Revox, 3M, Opamp Labs kit-built mixer, Altec speakers, SAE EQ, JBL SA600 amp... Having fun and doing sessions in 1973.

    Attached Files:

  5. pharmboycu

    pharmboycu Active Member

    Fayetteville, NC
    Wow... now THAT's some cool gear!!!!
  6. erniebert

    erniebert Shoe-string audiophile

    Toronto area
    Yeah, but, what's with the eye goggles, though?

  7. P2CH

    P2CH Active Member

    Is that an Amana at the left of the board? :)
  8. Key

    Key New Member

    , USA
    I think that's a TV. I thought the same thing though like man this guy must have a serious microwave burrito addiction to have that so close to the console. Did they even have microwave burritos back then? :zing:
  9. Lownotes

    Lownotes Well-Known Member

    Denver, CO
    You forgot to mention the paper towel holder!

  10. Rolf Erickson

    Rolf Erickson New Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    NO, that's a Sony Trinitron 15" TV. Good for down time between sessions.

    KV-1510 Trinitron. .. AFAIR.
  11. william shears

    william shears Active Member

    new zealand
    That's a great shot Rolf. What were you working on back in '73?
  12. erniebert

    erniebert Shoe-string audiophile

    Toronto area
    It must be for cleaning the eye goggles. ;)
  13. Seanyworny

    Seanyworny New Member

    Sorry, I maybe should have said mixing down from a 1" 8-track

    Hey fellas,
    To 'serious fun', i'm unaware if there's a 2track head available for my multitracker but yeah that might be else worth considering- cheers.

    To 'Tps', sorry if i've caused any confusion with my post but to answer your question, it's the latter. I'm gonna be mixing down from the multitrack to a stereo. The problem is there's seemingly so many ways to do this that without any hard evidence, i'm unsure of which road to go down.

    It has been suggested to use a seperate stereo tape deck- some preferring 1/2", whilst others swear by using a 1/4" (especially they say because it matches the inch-per-track of my multitracker). This option aside, others have suggested that it's pointless mixing down to tape from tape if the tracks are gonna be ending up on CD anyway. Between them these folk have proposed two options and the respective people swear by each method. The first being to mix down to a 2-track digital converter and the second to smiply send all 8 tracks sperate via an 8-track converter. The second suggestion has since been poo-pooed by some who reckon that if you're gonna start messing about with 8 seperate tracks in a computer, then the tape warmth and 'realness' will soon be lost.

    So in short, after realising that I require the tape sound over digital fundamentally (in order to achieve the kinda early Dylan/ Nick Drake type recording I wish to somewhat emulate), i'm now left with two further conundrums. The first being is it worth mixing down and mastering to tape (and if so 1/2" or 1/4" and 15/30ips) and the second being if not and I should just mix down to digital- and then what is the best method to keep what was originally recorded.

    Then there's PCM or DSD- oh the joy! cheers for the reply though mate.

    To Rolf (loving the Jamjars!)
    Most of my stuff is gonna end up digital but at the same time, it'd always be nice to be able to knock out some vinyl if the demand was there- I ssume this would mean I would really require both a stereo tape deck and a converter though ay?
    Thanks for your reply though mate- you have confirmed what a lot of other folk have been saying- that of if it's ending up digital then why go to tape again etc.

    As for the machine I've managed to get- well it's a modified TEAC 80-8 to play 1" rather than 1/2" (15ips). I appreciate that it's no gonna be up to audiophile standard crystyal recording but as stated earlier, this is not what i'm after- I much prefer the warmth and 'realness' for want of a better term (though ironically of course less clear) of say early Dylan & Nick Drake recordings- that's the kinda thing i'll be trying to recreate somewhat.

    If anyone out there reckons they could help in some way solve my dilemma, your input will be very much appreciated,
    Thanks again,
  14. Tim S

    Tim S Forum Resident

    East Tennessee
    This tells me you want to keep everything tape-based through mixdown.

    If what you said above is that important to you, then, yeah, mix it down to tape. Personally I like the clarity of 30ips, you get a better bottom with 15ips, that's the only basic difference. (Pretty sure someone has already said this).

    If you can afford a good 1/2" machine, sure, go for it - if not, 1/4 is fine - that deal about "matching the inches per track of your multi sounds loopy to me, never heard that, and can't figure out how in the world it would make a bit of difference.

    Really, just get the best machine you can and run the speed for what you want: increased clarity or bottom end.

    The other thing about tape is when you mix you can hit it hard for "natural tape compression" - if that's part of what you want.

    I also doubt that you have really HIGH quality converters that would make a digital mix or transfer of all 8 tracks sound close to the "tape sound" you'd be feeding it.
  15. Seanyworny

    Seanyworny New Member

    Hey Tim,

    Cheers for the suggestions mate- they're noted. As for the converter, I don't mind investing in a high end one if it means I won't have to (need to) mix-down to a separate tape deck- I don't own either at the minute-I just don't wanna pick the 'wrong' one, if there is one?

    I can afford at least a two track and mix-down through it but I'm just worried that I might lose the tape sound if I raise the cash to buy a high end 8-line converter and start pissing about with the separate tracks in the computer.

  16. Tim S

    Tim S Forum Resident

    East Tennessee
    You're welcome - you should check this out:

    You (and all of us) are very lucky to have Barry Diament
    as a member, and one who is very active and accessible. I totally recommend you ask him directly about keeping your tape sound when transferring via this unit.

    As far as what you do AFTER the transfer, don't muck around with a lot of gadgety plug ins, crazy EQ or weird edits, and I think you'll be fine - mostly just don't fall for the "well now that I can do all this neat stuff in a digital workstation I'm going for it!" syndrome. Seriously, ask Barry, that's a resource not many people in your shoes have!

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