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Thread: Evolution of Analog Machines

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    Question Evolution of Analog Machines

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    I have the new Tascam book, 30 years of recording. In it it states that the first cassette portastudio had better specs and sound than the machine the Beatles used on Seargent Pepper. Could this be true? This had made me wonder then, Could my TSR-8, MSR-24 and MS-16 be far more better sounding than that same machine used on Pepper. If that is so then these last generation Tascams could be better than all the machines that recorded all my favorite bands form the late 60's and early 70's. There seems to be a lot of people who critisize these "narrow format" Tascams. I am sure they cant compete with the latest high end 2" machines, but if my studio is better or at least comparable to the gear they had way back when Floyd recorded "Dark Side Of The Moon", Then I am all set. I believe they used a 1" 16 track.
    VP
    Last edited by Victory Pete; 01-02-2010 at 07:35.

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    I bought that book when it first came out. A very interesting read. I guess that means some of my equipment might be better than what was available in the 60's, but I sure as hell can't play as good!
    The interface said to use "Windows XP or higher"...

    ... I used tape...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Pete View Post
    I am sure they cant compete with the latest high end 2" machines, but if my studio is better or at least comparable to the gear they had way back when Floyd recorded "Dark Side Of The Moon", Then I am all set. I believe thay used a 1" 16 track.
    VP
    More likely 2", I think you'll find. 1" came later and was considered a budget format.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Pete View Post
    I have the new Tascam book, 30 years of recording. In it it states that the first cassette portastudio had better specs and sound than the machine the Beatles used on Seargent Pepper. Could this be true?
    No

    I am sure they cant compete with the latest high end 2" machines, but if my studio is better or at least comparable to the gear they had way back when Floyd recorded "Dark Side Of The Moon", Then I am all set. I believe they used a 1" 16 track.
    It was a Studer A80 . It was originally a 1" 8 track later updated to a 2" 16 track. So it could have been the 16 track.
    Last edited by SteveM; 01-02-2010 at 08:08.

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    Thumbs up

    Well I think the sonic quality might have improved over the years but I'm not sure of the durability. Your decks might be better then when they did Pepper, but the outboard gear and the knowledge and raw talent of the boys could never be outdone. Cool thread. I just hope all people can stay on the topic at hand.

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    VP, where is that statement at in the Tascam book? I've read it cover-to-cover butits been awhile and I don't recall that...I'd like to see the context.

    When was Dark Side of the Moon recorded? Tascam is credited with putting the first 1 inch 16 track to market, the 90-16 and I believe it was in '79. It was indeed considered a budget format and I can't imagine Roger and the boys were on that kind of a budget...

    Dodge, we should be alright staying on topic since this is an analog vs. analog discussion, not analog vs. digital.

    Here's my 2p: my understanding is that Pepper was done (in part) using a 1 inch 4 track Ampex MR-70. I may be wrong, but of course there are people that swear there has never been a better sounding recorder. I must say I'm very fond of them. And there are others that will fall down laughing at the notion of even comparing the MR-70 with a cassette 4 track. head manufacturing technology and electronics have improved and improved, but there are laws of physics to overcome. It is also very flawed IMHO to compare spec sheet to spec sheet. Standards changed and sometimes the rating system changed so two specs can't be directly compared...audio energy is a 4 dimensional animal and thinking we can get the whole picture on a spec sheet is short-sighted. The cassette 4 track surely has better signal to noise specs particulary if you look at the spec with noise reduction...60's decks didn't show specs with noise reduction. Sure, the crosstalk, signal to noise and frequency range are similar between my Ampex MM-1000 and my Tascam 388 which has a similar track width to 4 rack cassette, but I don't think they will sound the same...NOTHING against the 388...I'm not bashing it tall and thos of you that know me here know I am a huge proponent of Tascam products particularly from the 80's, but the amplifier electronics in the MM-1000 are a totally different beast and 1 inch 8 track at 15ips has a better potential at capturing that.

    EDIT--

    I've been informed that it was not an Ampex MR-70 but Studer J37 1 inch 4 track throughout. Thankful to be corrected before I can't edit the post anymore...
    Last edited by sweetbeats; 01-03-2010 at 00:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    When was Dark Side of the Moon recorded? Tascam is credited with putting the first 1 inch 16 track to market, the 90-16 and I believe it was in '79. It was indeed considered a budget format and I can't imagine Roger and the boys were on that kind of a budget...
    1972, I think. Maybe early '73. To my shame I don't have a copy of it so I can't check the liner...

    EDIT:
    It first charted in late March 1973.

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    MR-70 brochure here. Steve Puntilillo of Sonicraft, Inc. has a really nice refurbished/upgraded MR-70

    I've heard amazing sounds come off a cassette 4-track. I really love that format. Biggest difference I hear with wide format high-speed stuff is the (get ready for the subjective touchy-feely word) air. The stereo separation and aliveness of the recording.

    EDIT--

    BUT, and I may get kicked for this, that "air" is not always necessary/important for all types of program material...I just know that I was really impressed after downloading the Sgt. Pepper files off the sticky on this forum...they've been copied/converted/compressed/expanded/blahblahblah and they sound like NO other digitizedmessedwith audio I've ever heard...they still sound alive and airy. You can hear the digital artifacts too...don't get me wrong, but there is IMHSO (in my humble subjective opinion) something else there.
    Last edited by sweetbeats; 01-02-2010 at 13:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    Tascam is credited with putting the first 1 inch 16 track to market, the 90-16 and I believe it was in '79.
    i remember having a tascam brochure (wish book!) in march '79 and it featured the 85-16B.
    whether or not it was actually available at that time, don't know.

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    Yeah, that sounds about right for the 85-16...contrary to logic the 85-16 followed the 90-16 which was short-lived.

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