The greatest consumer cassette tape deck ever produced?*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cowboy Kim, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I am getting old and I can't keep track of all this....Good info.thanks.
     
  2. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    No argument there. With the exception of my first post on this matter. You speak the truth sir.
     
  3. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    I remember those hard-drive failures well. It happened to me three times in a half dozen years ... :thumbsdow
     
  4. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I've seen 30 year old hard drives fire up without a hitch. Although cobbling together an interface that would allow them to talk to a modern computer can be a challenge, depending on what type of drive it is.

    Backup is pretty straightforward - make multiple copies (cheap) and store on several different formats and out on a cloud server. "Problem" solved.

    Tape is a horrible archival format. The stuff just isn't super-reliable, has proven issues with degradation, and with some of the more uncommon formats it's slowly becoming more difficult to find working decks to play the tapes back in (even if the tapes themselves remain in good condition).

    I certainly wouldn't use any sort of tape as the sole backup for any work I'd done.
     
    mehgeme likes this.
  5. emmodad

    emmodad Active Member

    Location:
    bay area, ca
    "old"?
    We never say "old."
    just "experienced"...

    ;)
     
    john morris likes this.
  6. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I think we are talking about Apples and oranges here. No one was recording music to hard drives in 1987. The best computers at the time couldn't handle multitrack recording. Not 2 tracks, not 8 and no way 24. A hard drive playing back text or the odd graphic file I am sure was no problem. Did the hard drive sit idle for decades without use? Not the same thing as a hard drive that has been used heavily year after year for 30 years. That's great but you do
    realize you the exception.

    I have been working in the Professional Audio field for over 15 years. It's funny to me that you would compare backing of data to a cassette or Jazz cartdrige to backing up a Pro Tools file to a Sony $250 000 (it was in 1992) 3348 HR. Engineers are already having problems recalling Pro Tool or Cubase files from 10 years ago. Tracks are missing, items are in the wrongs place, etc, or the file does not come up at all. These hard drives are HEAVILY USED in the industry and they take a lot of abuse.

    I assume you meant digital tape. There are analog tape from early 50's that play fine. And yes Universal and Motown are backing all their masters to 1 inch tape at 30 ips. Why? Because it has proven to last..In 60 years your hard drive will not be working. And the idea of taking priceless Motown quarter inch full track (mono) and transferring them to a hard drive as a back up is a joke.

    Just this year I had a hard drive from 2008 crash and die. And I had a lot of important video on there. Maybe the 30 year old hard drive you used would still be going. No, silly me. A hard drive from 1987 couldn't have even held in even two of my 1080P HD movies. Maybe they built them better back then.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  7. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Too much experiences in my case.
     
  8. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I know i have posted on this already but here is a good answer to your question.....

    Back in 1995 Rush started their "Counterparts" tour. And the boys wanted to record the show. And hopefully the next tour and album. But analog 2 inch tape is expensive ($70 a ten inch reel back then). A Rush show was two hours and the largest reel would get you 30 minutes at 15ips. I have spent the last 15 years in the hum-drum of dying and dead and deader (not a word) Pro digital tape formats so if some kind (you are all nice) member feels the need to correct me on prices of tape, etc....No problem. Anyway, Rush would be recording to 48 tracks. Four 2 inch tapes per hour - 2 every half hour for the two synchronized machines. That would be 8 for a two hour show and 12 for the well known 3 hour shows of the "Test For Echo." Tour. At $70 each one night would be $560. 100 shows at least for the Counterparts tour would have been $56 000 of tape. The 3 hour "Test For Echo tour would be a little more at $84 000. The total cost for of tape for the two tours is $140 000. Now this is just a rough estimation on prices and shows. Could be less could be a lot more. But I was told this is round about the figure.

    Sony DASH 3348HR was very popular at the time and was another option. But DASH tape wasn't cheap either. And either DASH or analog would require the rental of a mobile recording truck. I can tell you from experience they ain't cheap. Now add on top of that the price of tape and it's insane. What made this worse was that Rush wanted to RECORD EVERY SHOW.

    Hey, I know (some fool) said. Let's use ADAT. We can buy our machines and have them at the mix center position. One hour of ADAT tape was $20. And if we knock everything down to 24 tracks instead of 48 we only need three machines. Well four, incase one breaks down. How did they knock the track count down in half? Magic...They took a lot of group outs from the board. For example, say there are a set of 6 toms and whatnot that have been grouped together.Very handy in a live mix if you need to raise the level of that particular set of toms. Normally all 6 toms would be recorded on 6 seperate tracks but in this case they don't have the real estate. So the group out that has the stereo mix of these 6 toms is recorded to two tracks of the ADAT. Ta-da-a-a!

    A whole 2 hour show would only cost $180 of tape and we would won't have to rent one those super-expensive mobile recording trucks. Just look at all the money we will save. Sounds like a good idea right.

    ADAT uses the same technology as DAT (spinning heads in a drum).
    three years later they get into the studio to listen to all the live Rush shows to pick the best ones.

    Guess what?....Only half the tapes play back.
     
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  9. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germantown, Md.
    I have tapes from '75 that play just fine. I have transferred them to cd-r and external drives, but the tapes are still good! (Maxell and TDK's) :laugh:
     
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  10. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Got a Western Digital Elements external HDD from 2010. Loaded with films and music. Still going strong.
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  11. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germantown, Md.
    I have the same external. :righton:
     
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  12. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    I know about SSS. And you can bake a tape. Digital tape gets damaged, it's often game over. There are less than 5 working Sony DASH machines in the USA, Nashville has more working analog 16 or 24 track machines than that by themselves, and that don't count NYC, LA, or any record town. Analog tapes can be played long after digital is dust too. I know of older than 20 year old hard drives which work, and everybody with hard drives needs to back them up to multiple media.
     
  13. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    That probably has more to do with changes made to the software in the interim than bad data on the hard drive. But again, if you only have one copy of your data stored on one drive, you're an idiot and deserve to lose everything. And you will.

    Even with analog, there are also tapes from the '70s and '80s that are pretty much toast. But digital tape is especially problematic, especially units that rely on helical scan or other tricky head technologies.

    In 60 years I won't care.

    :biglaugh:


    Oh, I've got a couple about as old, too. I've also got CD-Rs that are 20 years old already and still play just fine (and can be ripped accurately). But if you really want something to last, you'll store multiple clones in multiple formats in multiple locations, and you'll migrate your data often to newer media and formats as they become available.
     
  14. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    Ok...I give up. You guys win.


    Seriously though. I am not saying DASH is some great format of old and that every Pro studio should go out and buy one. Never said every studio should back up their Pro Tool projects to DASH either. That would be stupid. That's clear now right?

    Our studio is thinking of buying one used. My Uncle's studio (which at the moment is under renovation....reconstruction..Changing it's name,etc.) can get a functioning one for $2000 on EBay.. Must be more than 5 then? Working just not....ahh.....Working. There are a lot more DASH units in: Canada, Japan, and Europe. Well, a few more. Not enough for a hockey team though. Anyway we have more than a few clients with DASH tapes from the 80's and 90's. Some want to remix but most want their music off of dead format onto Pro Tools and then to a flash drive or whatever.

    In a few months I will be emersed in DASH. (Assuming my Uncle makes the purchase) I am not looking forward to it. Have some pity guys....

    I only mentioned DASH as an example of a dead digital format that is still being used that was even more dead than cassette. Tom and Chris Lord-Alge are respected engineers in the business. They back up all their Pro Tool files to DASH for the reasons I mentioned. And also because they like the sound of older more colder converters. (NO JOKE). And the Lord-Alge brother have produced hundreds of hits. The DASH idea was theirs, not mine. I think considering their reputation in the business that they deserve some respect. Just saying.

    Weather hard drive or programming issues - I don't know. And it doesn't matter. Both of them had had problems with Pro Tool files coming up wierd. With DASH if you have 48 tracks of music it comes back perfect - 48. Not 12 missing.

    As for damaged tape.... You are in a professional studio. After you are done the DASH tape goes back in the box and stored safely with all the other tapes. It is highly unlikely that the tape would get damaged. It's like saying don't buy glasses. If they break you will never be able to drink from them again. So, don't break them. Unless you have incompetent staff your DASH tape should always be in mint condition.

    Those who have worked with Pro Tools know how easy things can go wrong. I have gotten several Pro Tool files that were not as specified. Client says, "They are 140 tracks on there (not joking) and 60 are vocal tracks. I
    pull the Pro Tool file up and lo and behold they are only 80 tracks. All the vocals are missing. Or I pull up the file and there is nothing. And this doesn't just happen to me either.

    As for Sticky Tape Syndrome, not ALL the tapes that have been baked played back as normal. For example, the 2 inch 24 track for Queen's, Night At The Opera. It suffered from it. So they sent it out to be baked. And it played about twice. Just enough to make a 24/192 transfer to Pro Tools. Brian May said if they tried to play it again it would probably fall apart. Don't take my word. Watch the episode of Classic Albums. And that isn't the only 2 inch 16 a 24 track just barely got transferred to Pro Tools by the skin of it's teeth.

    Remember The Hair restoration project. They wanted to remix it. One problem - The one inch 8 track was in horrible condition. This was years before the sticky tape issue. You sound like you've been in the business a long time. Maybe you heard about the Hair Restoration Project?. I think it was sometime between 1989 - 1991.
    The engineer couldn't get one pass of even a song without the tape jaming or flying apart. The solution was for him to record it to the DASH 3348HR in many parts. He would get a minute here, two minutes there, another minute over here, etc until after many hours he was finished. And then the many parts were edited very carefully together. From that finished edited tape was a remix of Hair.

    Yes, they are hard drives that will last 20 years but that is the exception to the rule. And we don't make except
    ons the rule. For every hard drive that last 20 years, they are hard drives that bit the bullet after only a few years. The ones used in studios are top grade and are built very well.

    But it's not 1993 anymore. Every 17 year old kid with a laptop, a free copy of Reaper, a midi keyboard, a microphone and a pair of headphones is calling themselves a studio. And the hard drives they buy are crap. You know the $80 portable drives - some of them are none functional right out of the box. And a lot of artists are recording and mixing their own music at home. The trend is disturbing since most of them do not know what they are doing: Mixing on monitors that are not full range in untreated rooms. Or worse - mixing in cans.
    Yes, I know they are a few audio engineers who do mix on headphones but they also check their can mixes on full range monitors later. These bedroom studios guys don't. They are home studios that are very good and up to basic min. professional standards. But most are bedroom/den studios. And worse still - they master their own music.

    Anyway I digress...

    Analog is the best when it comes to archiving and sound quality. No argument there. But, it's not perfect.

    Sorry for the long post. Pretty much agree with most of what you say.
     
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  15. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    For transfer and archiving of old Sony DASH masters, a DASH machine is recommended. Don't use it for new recording and expect it to be a machine you can keep on using it years down the road. Sony built few of them. Working machines are valuable for those who work with DASH tapes for transfer. Digital today is a DAW station medium. Face reality. Back up your work in digital. That Hair multi could be worked with, and still can, and needs to be retransferred to analog for preservation and a new analog mix needs to be done anew. DASH is a dead format, so is every other tape based digital format. Yes I know about the Hair remix project. And the RCA studio they worked in was being dismantled around them.
     
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  16. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I hope so. It would be pretty crappy if your hard drive broke down after 7 years. I don't think 7 years for an external hard drive is something to write home about. Or maybe I am wrong...Which I am....Frequently. I have heard about these cheap portable external hard drives that some of them were nonfunctional right out of the box.
     
  17. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I don't want to keep repeating my self. Maybe you didn't read my whole post. I just mentioned DASH as an example OF A DEAD DIGITAL TAPE FORMAT. So what reality do I need to face? There is no need for the aggressive post.
     
  18. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    I'm not being aggressive. I don't recommend you buy a Sony DASH for new recording. Call Sony and ask if they have parts, and service available. Chances are, they will flat out tell you, NO. If you're transferring old DASH project masters, you need one. Otherwise, buy something you can maintain and you can keep running, my point. I know you hate hard drives, and ProTools. Use tape, stick to reliable, maintainable analog machines which have some resources, heads available if need be. and which have parts and service resources. Buy the wrong machine or format, you can wind up with a very expensive money pit which is a failure prone, unreliable money pit in a hurry. Downtime costs you money and clients. Apologies, if my viewpoint is jaded and a bit abrasive. You have a studio, a business, when your tools don't work, you don't eat. Choose your tools wisely and well, not based on someone famous who does things outside of norms. Dead formats, are not wise buys unless you specifically need them. Especially when you must rely on it to eat and get shelter and make a living. I deal with archival media a great deal, and sometimes keeping machinery running for archiving and preservation is a full time job. I'm just stating the facts and realities of now in the professional field. Make sure your rear end is covered and you can still work when your old money pit is down. I have machines in my past I loved, and also moved on from because they were difficult to impossible to maintain, and I had better options I could maintain and rely on. Just consider all sides of the equation. Which is the point I am trying to get across. And I am sorry if I sounded too abrasive. I want to see you succeed in the studio, by the way. And advance in your field. And I'd rather be your friend than an adversary. Do your homework, research and learn what you can maintain and keep running when failure isn't an option.
     
  19. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Yup, and I recall some tales that crapped out within a few plays. I was pretty much a TDK SA man myself.

    So I'll get back to you in three years and see how the WD is going then. :)
     
    McLover likes this.
  20. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I'd transfer it digitally to ProTools and store lots of backups.

    But even that isn't going to last forever. ProTools will change over time, so the whole project will doubtless need to be reopened every 5-10 years and upgraded to whatever the editing software of the day is.

    I'd make an analog multitrack backup too, just in case.
     
  21. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Records effectively last forever, they may not be perfect, but once we've released something on vinyl I know it's almost guaranteed people will be able to play it back in 100 years or even 500 years, cant say that about any other format, it just puts the onus on us to get the vinyl right first time.
     
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  22. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    At what point do the mods thread ban all those who have thread crapped this thread?

    I've been thread banned for a whole hell of lot less than what the crappers have posted in here, seems to me there is no care about this thread because it's not what they like?

    Say something bad in a power cord thread and go ahead and just try to get away with the negativity all these naysayers are getting away with here. What gives? :waiting: :shrug::shrug::shrug: :waiting:
     
  23. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germantown, Md.
    Ya, records stored properly will keep their "information" forever. And, as long as records exist, there will be turntables to play them. Perhaps even better turntables.
     
    Rick Bartlett likes this.
  24. I think one good practice would be to export stems from ProTools sessions. That way, you export every track and effects track as its own .wav or .aiff at whatever resolution the session was done in, but you free the track from the constraints of being a ProTools session. Archive that collection of files and import them into whatever DAW you're working on in the future. Of course, you have to copy and migrate those stems, but it makes them more "openable" in the future.
     
  25. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Get a mouse with a scroll wheel. Problem solved.
     
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