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Thread: Hmmm.........

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    Question Hmmm.........

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    Could someone please explain (natural) tape compression and tape saturation to me........ Thank you!!!! Steve

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    Exclamation Well, not being an expert, I'll take a stab at it.

    Tape saturation is the point at which the analog tape has stored the maximum amount of magnetism it can hold, without distorting. Beyond this level, clipping will occur, which is a type of compression.

    True analog clipping and digital clipping will sound different, by definition. As they say, when analog overloads a little, it sounds 'warm', and when digital overloads a little, it sounds 'harsh'.

    I don't think 'tape compression' is a 'straight' technical term, or an analog term, at all. I think it's a term devised by digital recording audio engineers, to describe actual analog tape saturation, and the relative 'natural' , 'warm' clipping sound thereof. I think the digital people coined that term, 'tape compression', when referring to their digital-plugin-software gizmos, that are software algorithms used to get a digital recorder to mimick a 'natural' analog 'warm' clipping sound.

    I don't recall any reference to the term "tape compression" in actual analog recording, but I believe it's a term the digital crowd coined, to describe the effect they desired to have on their digital recorder, to... [get this]... make it sound more like analog. Is that ironic, or what?

    That's what I know of it, anyway.

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    spot on...

    i think tape compression is a real thing though - if you bounce from 4-track cassette to 2-track casstette a couple of times, you definately hear some heavy compression....

    i think....

    just my 2 penneth

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    Yeah, tape compression is not just clipping. Magnetising things is not a process that are anywhere near linear, and you get loads of effects. One of these is that when you get near to the saturation levels, you'll get a compression effect.

    I couldn't even start to explain WHY this is though. That would require some heavy physics which I really don't know much about. :-)

    If you are bouncing casettes and get compression, that COULD be an effect of the noise reduction though, unless you have turned it off.
    Random Pavarotti Disease Victim.

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    Arrow Right,

    I'm sure there's some amount of nonlinear things that occur at, or near the point of saturation. It's more than just clipping.

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