Old 11-19-2019, 10:18 AM   #1
bucketfoot
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Default Old 4-track transfers (with bounces)

I've converted a variety of old multi-track recordings to digital. The 8-track reel recordings are very straight forward, but I have multiple 4-track cassette recordings where I recorded 4 tracks, then bounced them down to 2 tracks using a second cassette deck.

I have just started playing with getting these recordings down to all of the individual tracks. The first thing I have found is that, not surprisingly, the two tape decks I used ran at slightly different speeds.

I've been able to use the time stretch/compress function, but would love to hear any additional lessons others have learned in doing this.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:20 AM   #2
bucketfoot
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Actually I have one other question...

Does anyone have suggestions on the best settings to use in order to digitize metal tapes without a tape deck with a metal setting?

These particular ones are not multi-track, but are final mixes of a couple of songs that I do not have access to the original 8-track reels.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:32 PM   #3
cyrano
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Just listen...

BIAS needs to be adjusted when recording. Playback is just EQ. Usually, the Cr setting is OK, but with an old tape and an old recorder, it might sound better set to Fe.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucketfoot View Post
I have just started playing with getting these recordings down to all of the individual tracks. The first thing I have found is that, not surprisingly, the two tape decks I used ran at slightly different speeds.
Looks like you already know this, but you'll never get it perfect with multiple playbacks, even same machine. Assuming you can't capture all four tracks on the same playback, you should at least be able to marry two by panning hard left/right to a stereo out.

Otherwise, time stretching as you mentioned will be the tool to use. Don't be afraid to deep-dive into individual sections or even drum hits to line things up - adjusting the entire length is probably not getting desired results.

If you've the budget and willpower, you can try a stronger medicine like Capstan, which I believe can also be used to match playback speed variance (on top of wow and flutter).
https://shop.celemony.com/cgi-bin/We...0.0.29.23.5.33

HOWEVER, at the end of the day, you could also get the band back together and just write new music
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:49 PM   #5
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I managed to transfer the 4-track recordings of my old Tascam Porta 01 by connecting the 4 individual track outputs to a pair of sound cards (old pci card style) on my computer. That way I was able to achieve 4 channel simultaneous recording and it was all in perfect sync.
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:02 AM   #6
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Guys, he's transferring 8 tracks. Don't you think he's got an interface capable of handling those?

I've got a four track cassette player too. For rare archival purposes and to transfer reversible stereo cassettes a bit faster. I record four channels and reverse two of them in Reaper. That's twice as fast. Used to have a deck that could run at 9,5 ips too. But that died.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucketfoot View Post
I've converted a variety of old multi-track recordings to digital. The 8-track reel recordings are very straight forward, but I have multiple 4-track cassette recordings where I recorded 4 tracks, then bounced them down to 2 tracks using a second cassette deck.

I have just started playing with getting these recordings down to all of the individual tracks. The first thing I have found is that, not surprisingly, the two tape decks I used ran at slightly different speeds.

I've been able to use the time stretch/compress function, but would love to hear any additional lessons others have learned in doing this.
The constant varying speed (when zoomed in on) of analog motors in tape decks really jumps out if you try to combine two separate passes. There's a constant back and forth ebb and flow (wow and flutter) between the multiple passes.

Not too long ago, it was 100% impossible to sync that kind of stuff back together without both sources also having a timecode track. Today it's possible between Reaper and iZotope RX!

Reaper uses Elastique Pro for time/pitch expansion/compression. In linked time/pitch veri-speed mode it's lossless.

Start by sync'ing one source to the other. Line up the ends first. Keep subdividing and stretching until you have the whole thing to within the accuracy of a stereo tape with azimuth error offset. (And now you see where this is going!) Now go to iZotope RX and the adaptive azimuth correction. You'll need to prep the files first in Reaper and render a stereo file with program A on one channel and program B on the other. iZotope RX is all or nothing. Get the aligment close enough at the start in Reaper and iZotope RX will just nail it. Make iZotope RX work too hard and it falls apart completely and gets lost.

This is still a labor of love but it's possible now. And while keeping the audio actually digitally lossless instead of mangling the hell out of it like all digital expansion/compression from a few years ago.
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
Guys, he's transferring 8 tracks. Don't you think he's got an interface capable of handling those?
OP indeed noted the 8-track projects were a non-issue; I understood the issue was with the 4-track cassette machine outputs, but I see now I was assuming... And... you know...
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
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OP indeed noted the 8-track projects were a non-issue; I understood the issue was with the 4-track cassette machine outputs, but I see now I was assuming... And... you know...
Exactly, these are cases where I mixed the first 4 tracks as a stereo recording on a secondary deck.

I then used the two open tracks to add additional instruments or vocals.

In most cases I stopped here, but there are a few instances where I did another bounce to get a total of 8 tracks
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