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Thread: Tascam 38 with Protools syncing problem

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    Tascam 38 with Protools syncing problem

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    Hey everyone I'm Tommy and this is my first post. This forum is freaking awesome by the way. I have a rather in-depth question and am rather lost and I know someone here knows the answer! I used "search" already.

    So, I am using Protools with a Tascam 38 reel to reel for recording a combo of some digital/analogue sounds. I recently recorded a band and used Protools to track some guitars, hit hat and symbols and the Tascam to track the kick, snare, two overheads and bass. In the headphone mix for the band I sent a submix of the tape drums/bass through Protools using the tape outs to a mixer that splits the signal between monitoring and recording (Teac Model 5). I was able to do this WHILE recording the individual kick, snare, overheads and bass to tape to mix separately as individual tracks later. I of course did this so the band would have reference of the tape's rhythm tracks during tracking. After the song was over I imported the 5 separate tape tracks back in to Protools and lined the beginning of the tape tracks with the Protools submix of the drums/bass with the idea that I could zoom in to a precise transient in the waveform and align the tape tracks with the Protools stuff. I was able to line up perfectly the imported tape drums/bass with the Protools submix and it sounded in-sync with the rest of the audio. However, after a few measures I noticed the imported tape tracks became slightly out of phase sounding with the reference in Protools. Then at irregular times throughout the song the imported tape/Protools stuff alligned again for a few measures, then got out of sync/phase again! I zoomed in SUPER CLOSE and made sure the waveforms were aligned exactly right and still the issue is happening. WHY!!!? Anyone know what could cause this imported tape audio to become impossible to align with the same exact same track in Protools?

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    Tape machines won't play back perfectly with digital tracks and will slightly drift at parts.

    You need to use a sync box like JLC PPS-2 to start with when doing something like that.

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    For that matter, you'd get a similar effect with an outboard digital recorder, unless you had some kind of word clock.

    What you'll have to do is get a sync box, as mentioned, and record a timecode on track 8. Then you'll have to configure your software to do an MTC chase as a slave, with the '38 as master.

    You may have perhaps noticed a large (and at times flaming) thread about whether it is better to make the tape machine chase the computer or the computer chase the tape machine. You are spared this indecision because the 38 has to run as master, it doesn't have the ability to chase the computer at all. Not without substantial modifications, anyhow.

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    Thanks for the help guys. Wow I had no idea the tape would need to run through a sync. I thought it was as easy as lining up waveforms. Makes sense though. Is the speed fluctuation effect the result of dirty heads or worn belts or simply something all tape does? Now I am spending hours alligning the tape audio with the digital stuff! Not fun

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    What kind of tape are you using?

    Certain tape types can go bad and bind or get sticky...worst case is it goes gooey all over your tape path. So if there are patches that are more grabby that will effect speed as well...worn belt...hardened pinch roller...all these things underscore the fact that its a mechanical device.

    Yep. Something needs to follow the other so they stay in step.

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    Yes, you will find the audio from the tape slips and such. That being fact, still, I am using my Tascam 38 without sync. However, I am limited to 7 analog tracks without using any audio stretch. I am not too familiar with Pro Tools as I use Logic Pro.

    I create a click track in Logic, or software drum track in my case, plus a softsynth like a piano track and mix those to track 8 on my Tascam 38. Then I can record up to 7 audio tracks, guitars mostly, using the Tascam only. Then I bring all 8 audio tracks back into Logic. Logic has a beat map feature. I can lock the audio first so it does not stretch and I can align the original midi beats to the beats from the incoming click track 8. Very easy to do in Logic (probably Pro Tools also). Basically it just changes the tempo slightly at certain points on the midi timeline but the audio remains the same.

    From there, I can record additional tracks if needed within Logic, but it would tricky without audio stretching if I tried to add more analog tracks and re-imported them.

    It all sounds like a pain, but it really only takes me a few minutes if you have beat mapping or tempo mapping built in to the daw.

    YMMV

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    Use either the tracks recorded on tape or Protools, not both . You will always get phasing between digital and analog pairs of the same material.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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    Guys thank you so much for the replies. I've learned a lot already. I am going to have to reinvent the way I'm recording tape with a DAW. By the way i'm using quantegy 456 1/2 inch master tape by the way

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpmorris View Post
    You may have perhaps noticed a large (and at times flaming) thread about whether it is better to make the tape machine chase the computer or the computer chase the tape machine. You are spared this indecision because the 38 has to run as master, it doesn't have the ability to chase the computer at all. Not without substantial modifications, anyhow.


    On that same thread you mentioned above...I posted and interesting "no-sync" method for transferring from tape to DAW. The real benefit comes if your deck has a dedicated PB head rather than a single REC/PB head...but it really is a nice way without worrying about sync while still getting the benefits of tape and also REDUCING any Wow & Flutter instead of increasing it by making the deck chase the DAW. Here is my post from the other thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I’ve been kicking this discussion around on another forum…and all of a sudden thanks to some suggestions from others…a whole new approach came to light that allows tape decks and DAWs to be used without ANY consideration for sync…kinda like the CLASP system minus all the neat electronic switching that it has (but not really a deal breaker).

    Basically…just use the tape deck…AS A PLUG-IN…which is what we were talking about with the CLASP system.
    You never need to sync up the DAW and the deck….never.

    The suggestion was this:
    You arm both the tape deck and the DAW simultaneously for record.
    Hit REC on the deck and then also on the DAW…taking the output off the PB head of the deck into the DAW.
    If you need more tape tracks…you simply “rewind” your DAW back to its “0” start point…hit REC on the deck and then also on the DAW, same as before.
    You simply monitor all your playback off the DAW…not the deck.

    Yeah…the tracks on your tape from pass to pass will never be in sync with each other…but who cares…the tracks are already in your DAW, that’s what you are monitoring. You get full tape deck use, without the need to sync.
    By doing it this way...the DAW runs on its internal (or external Word) clock...and the tape deck runs on its internal clock. So by removing the need to sync them together, you actually minimize the Wow & Flutter since they are not pushing-n-pulling at each other trying to stay in sync.
    Someone pointed that out to me...that syncronization actually introduces MORE Wow & Flutter than if you just let the deck run on it's own, internal clock...and of course, same goes for the DAW.
    There is no Master & Slave relationship.

    It’s a very interesting way to go….

    Of course...if you GOTTA keep the multitrack tapes for future use, and all in sync with each other...that's a different story.
    Currently I still hold on to and save my multitrack tapes...but I gotta say...I've wondered why I was bothering with that, since I already had them in the DAW and archived digitally 3-4 different ways. I never thought about this "no sync" way to record with a tape deck and DAW before, but I still often wondered what was my reason for saving the multitrack tapes once I dumped the into the DAW...???

    Granted...some folks will really feel the need to save their tape tracks even after they dump-to-DAW, maybe for some possible future remix...etc...so of course, for them it's back to the sync methods, since without timecode stamps those tracks will be hard to use later...thought you know, even that's not too out of the question as long as you have maybe a click reference or similar that will aid you in lining up the tracks later in the DAW...but that's another story....

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    ...but it really is a nice way without worrying about sync while still getting the benefits of tape and also REDUCING any Wow & Flutter instead of increasing it by making the deck chase the DAW.
    Miroslav...honest question...how does slaving the deck increase wow and flutter? I'm guessing the answer is in your post you referenced but I'm missing it...

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