Best way to get a tape sound on a budget?

Techniques for getting your tone to tape.

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Best way to get a tape sound on a budget?

Post by adam10603 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:16 pm

I'm having a dilemma here. I want to achieve a nice rich tape sound on my recordings, but I don't really have the money to buy a professional studio tape recorder. So I was thinking that maybe I could get an old camcorder which uses tape, and plug my mic into that (those cameras generally have mic input jacks). So would that be any usable? Or would it be just a waste of money and time? There are also audio plugins out there that simulate the sound of tape recorders very well. Should I just get one of those? :what:
Currently I record my amp with an SM57, that goes straight into my sound card. I can get a pretty decent sound, but that typical SM57 top end fizziness drives me crazy. SM57s and digital recording don't really go together well.
So anyway, I'm looking for a cheap solution that would get me some nice rich analog tape sound without having to spend hundreds or thousands of $. Any ideas?

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Re: Best way to get a tape sound on a budget?

Post by Blix » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:04 am

SM57's and digital recording works just fine.

Your camcorder idea won't work, and if it worked it would most likely sound crap.

There's really no magic tape sound, you'd probably be disappointed to hear how hi-fi and pristine sounding a good 2" 24-track really is.

You need to work on what happens before the mic and what to do with it. Yes , there's plenty good tape software, but there's no magic bullet.

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Re: Best way to get a tape sound on a budget?

Post by rockdude1 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:37 pm

Hi :). I drove myself nuts for years trying to accomplish a nice analogue tape saturated guitar tone. :stars: Depending on your budget you could maybe try a small 2 track recorder like an old Ampex, there are some you can buy for really cheap. But the tape reels will be small, and the smaller the tape, the thinner the sound. I would advice not getting one at the same time, because they all require maintenance at some point, and that can get expensive. That's something to take into consideration if you decide to try that. And in buying a tape machine, I would only buy one I could experience in person before purchasing, I think it would be risky to buy a tape machine you can't see in person like off Ebay, you'd be taking someone's problem off their hands basically. There are audio / recording gear stores whom sell Tape Machines that are maintained which is a little more trusting, and you can get your money back in some cases if your not happy with a machine. There is a place in Nashville I know of. I Personally don't do enough music, or play enough to justify owning expensive studio gear as it would be laying around unused, and I'd have it just to have it. It's taken me years to go the digital recording route, but honestly the quality of digital recording just keeps getting better in my opinion. Some may disagree, but I don't feel software can't successfully emulate tape saturation, or even amps. Just my opinion though. But you may find a way to be creative with some cheap software just for fun if you're not looking to spend a lot of money. I think when it comes down to analogue vs digital, it's a give, and take on both sides sometimes. I'm more confident with digital recording than I was 10 years ago. Otherwise I found the only way to get that nice saturated tape sound on guitar many love so much would be to get a time machine, and go back to the 80's. lol jk jk :) I've met a lot of people whom worked in studios years ago when tape was more widely used, and they'll tell you tape machines can be not very fun.

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