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Thread: How's my cassette sound?

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    How's my cassette sound?

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    Hey,

    I read this forum every day but post here infrequently as much of the subject matter revolves around repair and other tech sorts of things that I have no real understanding of and hence little to offer. I spend most of my time in the mixing clinic and post cassette recordings maybe once every month or two.

    I really appreciate the feedback I get there, although I have to admit to being kinda self-conscious about the whole cassette stigma thing. Sometimes getting feedback like, sounds good for cassette. I guess I'm just not sure what that means.

    I normally would never double-dip on a recording as each of these made the rounds in the clinic in the past month. I got nice feedback about the performance and whatnot, but would really appreciate some objective input on the fidelity from some analog-centric ears. How am I doing sonic-wise with the cassette medium? I am using a tascam 688.

    The first one is an original and mostly humorous look at the mp3 clinic. There is plenty of profanity, so steer clear if that is an issue:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...songID=7303086

    If you're in the mood for something safer, the 2nd is a talking heads cover:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...songID=7258977

    Feel free to let me know if this is not the kind of thing that should be posted here. Otherwise, I appreciate any input you could provide...

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    I enjoyed them a lot.
    Gritty but not too lo fi.
    At least on my laptop speakers.
    Want to share how you put these together?
    whatever it is...i'm against it.

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    I like both of the recording. They sound good for cassette

    What they mean when they say it sounds good for cassette is they wish they good get that kinda sound from the junk they use uh I mean they wish they could get that good of a sound with the computer they use.

    Sounds great and dont be a stranger we like it all hear if it has something to do with analog recording.
    Also I would love to hear more about how it was recorded,like mics preamps keys guitars things like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zorf View Post
    I enjoyed them a lot.
    Gritty but not too lo fi.
    At least on my laptop speakers.
    Want to share how you put these together?
    Thank you zorf! So, "grit" in this case meaning extra noise that, in moderation can be good, but in excess just sounds noisy? Just trying to be sure I get it...yes, I will be happy to share any and all info...more to come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herm View Post
    I like both of the recording. They sound good for cassette

    What they mean when they say it sounds good for cassette is they wish they good get that kinda sound from the junk they use uh I mean they wish they could get that good of a sound with the computer they use.

    Sounds great and dont be a stranger we like it all hear if it has something to do with analog recording.
    Also I would love to hear more about how it was recorded,like mics preamps keys guitars things like that.
    Thanks Herm! I really doubt there is any envy involved in "their" comments, but I guess you never know . I think unintentionally it can seem condescending though. Unlike some, I honestly don't have a real aesthetic or emotional attachment to this medium...it's just what I know and what I can afford. The whole layout and process of using tape just seems more intuitive to me as opposed to screens with menus and so forth.

    I don't know that anyone has ever actually asked me how I did something, but I will happy to go into as much or as little detail as desired. I am just thinking about what might be most relevant or interesting, as I have trouble with brevity !

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    Welcome to the forum heatmiser!

    Your music sounds very authentic. There is nothing "sterile" about it. The sound is gritty, grainy and earthy in its tone and while it's not, by definition, hi-fi, it's certainly good enough for airplay or pressing onto vinyl. There's something very appealing about your sound. Great job.

    BTW, I wish more people would post their analogue recordings here.

    --

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Darko View Post
    http://www.myspace.com/casacassette
    also all done on a 688

    great job heatmiser
    Danke Hermann!

    I have checked out your recordings many times but not so much lately. Just listened to "Jorn" and the "Woody and Paul" number with the most plays and there is a real nice smooth, natural and full quality to all of your stuff. Myspace's player doesn't always do stuff justice, but it still sounds great. Plus, Casa Cassette just looks like a great place to hang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjacek View Post
    Welcome to the forum heatmiser!

    Your music sounds very authentic. There is nothing "sterile" about it. The sound is gritty, grainy and earthy in its tone and while it's not, by definition, hi-fi, it's certainly good enough for airplay or pressing onto vinyl. There's something very appealing about your sound. Great job.

    BTW, I wish more people would post their analogue recordings here.

    --
    Thank you very much cjacek ! That is a nice overall impression that you got from these tracks which is reassuring to me. I too would love to hear more actual recordings in this forum, but I understand that the need to convert to mp3 discourages some. In my case, I don't know that too much is lost in the process .

    I've managed to clean up my sound considerably over the years, but still a little on the lo-fi end of the spectrum. To some extent (depending on the kind of song) I am fine with that. I really just want to keep trying to find out just how much sound I can pack onto that tiny little tape surface...

    I've read more than once that "slamming" cassette tape is not a good idea - I guess meaning that tape saturation as a desirable sound is really reserved for R2R, but I have to say, on these recordings I tracked as hot as I could without overtly distorting, and I found the effect quite pleasing. I got a much better signal to noise ratio in the end and it seems to fatten things up a bit. This technique may create some of the grit and graininess though.

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    but wait...there's more...

    As for how I put these together...if anyone is still interested...read on.

    I am on a really tight budget - so the process is kinda pathetic actually.

    For the original tune, I spent one evening programming my dr. rhythm drum machine (beat inspired by a flaming lips tune). I spend hours picking different snare and kick sounds, changing the color and decay of each and then layering two or three sounds on top of each other. I create maybe half a dozen patterns and program the whole song out of these patterns basically humming or singing along with the drum machine to try to get the breaks and the changes right. There has gotta be a better way to do this!

    The drum machine stereo outs go straight into the line ins on the tascam and by tracking really hot (3-5 dbs), it takes some of the digital edge off and smooths it out a bit.

    Bass came next. Cheapo Peavey Milestone bass played through a Behri mic 100 preamp into a digitech dp150 multi-fx pedal for fuzz. This was my first time distorting a bass and I kinda liked it...

    There are 4 rhythm guitar tracks - all with a '68 gibson sg special. 2 were DI through the digitech and the other two were an sm57 in front of a '65 ampeg reverbrocket amp.

    Lastly, vocals were done with a studio projects B1 condenser mic thru the behri mic 100 pre amp.

    At mixdown, I (sadly) run the aux out into the digitech multi fx guitar pedal as an effects loop. Adding some amount of reverb to each track. The group outs go through a technics graphic eq for a little fine tuning and then straight to a sony cd recorder.

    Whew...low budget indeed. Basically low to mid-range mics, the cheapest pre amp ever made and a bunch of guitar pedals !

    The Talking Heads tune is similar except there is so much going on I needed 12 tracks...so I bounced the rhythm section down to 2 tracks and added guitars and vocals to the remaining 6. Also, the guitars on that one were a friend's '77 strat through a '78 princeton reverb amp. And, uh, I also split the drum machine signal and ran it through a guitar amp to add some color and room sound. The sg was used for the "solo" and the repeating high pitched part that I think is a keyboard or synth on the original version.

    So that one has: 3 drum machine tracks - 2 bongo tracks - bass guitar - 2 rhythm guitars - lead guitar - lead vocals - 2 background vocals

    Ok...really sorry for the long post. Hopefully something of interest for someone. Any suggestions on things I might try differently would be welcome. Any not-super-expensive gadgets I might want to invest in? I told you I have trouble with brevity.

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