Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by jaminem »

Having come from the world of 4 track cassette 'demo's' all I remember is noise, inconvenience, no transients, overblown flabby bass, and no treble.
...and when you finally finished your 'masterpiece', the car stereo eating your master tape...but that was pretty much as good as it got for the home recordist!

You (OP) may have missed out on all of that, so go for it, see what you can get out of it, you never know it may be just the thing you were looking for.

Sadly for me it wasn't, and I progressed to minidisc multitracking/mastering as soon as possible. That sounded crap too, but in a harder, more trashy ATRAC'y digital way. One day that may be the (old) new retro thing, then someone will be recommending some subtle bit crushing plug in.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Arpangel »

jaminem wrote: Thu Sep 29, 2022 9:42 am Sadly for me it wasn't, and I progressed to minidisc multitracking/mastering as soon as possible. That sounded crap too, but in a harder, more trashy ATRAC'y digital way. One day that may be the (old) new retro thing, then someone will be recommending some subtle bit crushing plug in.

I was playing in an improv group back then, we recorded to a Fostex four track, we thought we’d "upgrade" to a Yamaha four track minidisc, it was actually noisier and sounded worse than the Fostex!
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by sonics »

James Perrett wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 9:50 pm And Sonics - I've seen a few Tascam DA20s for sale around £100-150 in the UK and bought a £100 one for a friend of mine who seems happy with it.

Thanks James. I'm in Canada, and want to find a reliable seller. I'll keep looking. So much old gear (and boy is there a lot of it now!) is sold broken or with no hint of a warranty. I have some sessions that I'd really like to hear again.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by DC-Choppah »

You can experiment with your tape deck. Put your finger on the rubber wheel to slow it down while recording the wet track. That's how the flanger came about!

Or get some magnets and bring them near the heads.

Our use a cassette tape with defects and stuff.

Much more fun than a plugin and you won't sound like anybody else.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Kwackman »

DC-Choppah wrote: Sun Oct 02, 2022 10:30 pm Put your finger on the rubber wheel to slow it down while recording the wet track. That's how the flanger came about!

I thought it was caused by putting finger pressure on the outer flange of the feed reel on a open reel tape machine, to slow it down a bit? And that's why it was called Flanger? Could be an urban myth though!
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Arpangel »

DC-Choppah wrote: Sun Oct 02, 2022 10:30 pm You can experiment with your tape deck. Put your finger on the rubber wheel to slow it down while recording the wet track. That's how the flanger came about!

Or get some magnets and bring them near the heads.

Our use a cassette tape with defects and stuff.

Much more fun than a plugin and you won't sound like anybody else.

Trouble with all this stuff, is it’s such a PITA to do, all of it, it’s interesting sure, and when I had no alternative it was great, you just accepted it, but now with pedals and software, it’s all so much easier, and sonically just as interesting, and different, I’ve still got tape, cassettes, portastudio's etc, but they hardly get used these days.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Lavender Thief »

I'm sorry for my late response.

RichardT wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 3:07 pm It’s a lot of hassle - why not look for a plugin?

It's the hands on approach, having something to experiment with for a bit.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Tim Gillett »

A "three head" cassette deck set to "tape" mode could be used upstream of your input chain. No sync issues that way.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by James Perrett »

Tim Gillett wrote: Wed Oct 05, 2022 9:22 pm A "three head" cassette deck set to "tape" mode could be used upstream of your input chain. No sync issues that way.

Though there would be a short delay as the tape passes from the record head to the play head if it were to be used on individual tracks. This would be of the same order as the latency for some interfaces so could probably be compensated for automatically by using an insert plug-in with the appropriate delay compensation.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Lavender Thief »

I recorded my shakuhachi (Japanese end blown flute) on to a crappy type 1 cassette:
https://youtu.be/H95L5ykguDU

I noticed the usual: noise (there already was noise coming from my laptop though, but the cassette added), less transients in the waveform.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Exalted Wombat »

Whatever was good about vintage music, it wasn't the crappy recording quality. But if you want to emulate it for some reason, there are easier ways than hooking up an actual cassette deck.
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Re: Using cassette tape as an effect on individual tracks

Post by Arpangel »

Lavender Thief wrote: Sat Oct 08, 2022 11:15 am I recorded my shakuhachi (Japanese end blown flute) on to a crappy type 1 cassette:
https://youtu.be/H95L5ykguDU

I noticed the usual: noise (there already was noise coming from my laptop though, but the cassette added), less transients in the waveform.


That’s nice, but I’m not sure how much the vintage film effects are adding to it :)

Exalted Wombat wrote: Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:20 pm Whatever was good about vintage music, it wasn't the crappy recording quality.

It was both, the music, and the sound.
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