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Thread: Is there a desirable quality to recording to cassette...

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    Is there a desirable quality to recording to cassette...

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    rather than recording to a R to R?

    What i mean - i know a R2R will most likely have much better fidelity but is there a desirable quality a cassette can offer that a R2R cant?

    I have a TSR-8 and there is a tascam 238 being sold locally for $125 and Im thinking about picking it up and using it for recording projects that might benefit from a more cassette sound...or should i just save my cash and my rack space?

    i was even thinking about tracking drums to the 238 and then bouncing them over to the TSR-8 for a more lofi sound.

    whats cool is i can switch over to the 238 pretty easily with all existing connection and even use the same remote as the TSR-8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickson Gracie View Post
    rather than recording to a R to R?

    What i mean - i know a R2R will most likely have much better fidelity but is there a desirable quality a cassette can offer that a R2R cant?

    I have a TSR-8 and there is a tascam 238 being sold locally for $125 and Im thinking about picking it up and using it for recording projects that might benefit from a more cassette sound...or should i just save my cash and my rack space?

    i was even thinking about tracking drums to the 238 and then bouncing them over to the TSR-8 for a more lofi sound.

    whats cool is i can switch over to the 238 pretty easily with all existing connection and even use the same remote as the TSR-8.
    If you are serious about your recordings, cassettes are not the way to go. As far as I'm concerned they are very close to the bottom of the fidelity barrel.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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    It would be really great if Rick would just come clean...

    and tell us all how he really feels...

    No offense Rick.

    I have to agree with him in part.

    Y'know cassette multi-track does present the lowest potential fidelity in typical analog multitrack formats...that's just logic right?

    But rather than taking a glass is half-empty view of it I think I'm always enamored by the potential of it...cassette multitrackers are not what Philips Corp. ever imagined would be done with their cassette...semi-professional companding noise reduction developed for the format...high speed...8 discreet tracks... It really is an anomoly of a format. While MCI was looking at 3" 32-track technology, Tascam was busy figuring out how to cram more into less. And they did it. And while it may be the format offering the tightest tape real-estate, I think it sounds nice...even great. Its one of the paint brushes okay?

    Now to give you my opinion on your question, I'm not sure if it is going to have its own sound compared to your TSR-8 which is a great sounding deck. Its going to offer the same family of character...its analog tape. But its not going to reach as wide or travel as deep as a 1/2" 8-track at 15ips. Just my subjective 2p. You're not going to get some sort of unique eclectic sound out of it. A Reel Person and ksounds have done some great, even surprising sounding stuff on cassette multitrack. I personally have experience with the 488mkII, and a 424mkII.

    For me a big part of the allure is the simplicity of it. It is "compact"...the Philips compact cassette. There are lots of ways to do demos on digital multitrackers today, but the analog equivalent is the cassette multitracker. You pop it in, track your demo, and then pop the little door open and slip it in your pocket. There's a simple peace about it...and frankly I think you can get some great sounding results. And, juxtapose that simple peace with a serious looking piece of equipment like a 238 and I think it is downright exciting.

    I don't know if that helps. $125 for a 238 is a good price (especially if it is in good condition). I don't see the sense necessarily in tracking drums to it and dumping to the TSR-8...hey...get an MTS-1000 or an ATS-500 and sync the two!

    For my money I'm more drawn to the 4-track format which is why I've got a 234...I think the 234 is the ultimate in simplicity. You can hook mics directly up to it and run a cue mix and even mix down directly to two-track with it without an external mixer...no eq, effects sends...simple peace. you need an external mixer with the 238, but it is one cool cassette deck.

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    Arrow It's economies of scale.

    The 238 8-track cassette format is way more inexpensive to run per minute than the TSR-8 on 1/2" tape, with a sacrifice of fidelity as tradeoff, but you get what you pay for!

    It is what it is,... 8-track cassette,... it's a small, inexpensive format that's convenient as hell & sounds way better than it looks on paper. Is it lofi by definition? MO is not necessarily so, but YMMV.

    If I were given the choice of either a 4-track cassette format that required a lot of bouncing to layer my parts, or a dicrete 8-tracks on cassette, the 8-track cassette wins hands down. I've used both formats and have done it both ways.

    If I were given the choice of either an 8-track cassette format or a 1/2" reel 8-track format for a project, it would depend on how serious I was about the project, how I envisioned the end result in production value terms, and per minute cost of the recording. Cost figures into e'thing, I suppose, but I've used both formats and wouldn't disparage either.

    I'm okay with the idea of recording onto cassette, FWIW.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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    Hey,

    Interesting question, and one I've not seen posed before - "would a cassette sound in some way compliment a RtR set-up due to the contribution of some kind of uniquely casette sound?". Much as I love the cassette format, I'd have to venture to say, "no".

    I think sweetbeats hit on it in that the 238 is unlikely to offer some kind of special character to the sound that your RtR doesn't. My feeling is it will simply give you a smaller version of the same basic sort of sound.

    Now, this comes from someone who has strictly used cassettes for almost 20 yrs, and has admittedly never used another format, but I have listened to countless home recordings done on all kinds of formats. I really enjoy trying to squeeze all I can from the bottom of the barrel, and the results at times are pretty satisfactory.

    I think the benefits of cassette have been nicely outlined above...inexpensive, fun, ease of use, readily available tape, etc. But none of these things really justify doing what you propose. Personally, I don't use RtR because I find it too intimidating in terms of cost, maintenance, etc., but if you are already comfortable with all that, I'd stick with it. As great as I think cassettes are, I would be surprised to hear that they offered something sonically that RtR does not.

    Having said all that, $125.00 for a 238 sounds like a tremendous value, so I'd get it any way just to play around with.

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    a friend of mine recently gave me a CD of an album his band released a few years ago. he told me it was recorded on a 2'" 16-track and i thought it sounded pretty good. i listened to it a few times and the final track really stuck out as being the highlight, both musically and sonically. i told him the other day, "hey i really like that track" etc etc. he said, "oh its funny you mention that. that song was recorded on 8-track cassette." we talked about it for a few minutes and it turns out that was the demo and they liked it and ended up putting the cassette master onto the album. i promise if you listen to this record, you would never know this song was recorded any differently than the rest of the album.

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    For me its a no brainer. Its not going to add anything to what you have.
    But as a collector and tascam fan and recording nut and a unit that can go anywhere without breaking your back. Heck yes I am getting it if its in good shape for 125.00. Hell since they are small Il take two.

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    Another thing to keep in mind is the process, which sweetbeats talked about. Sometimes using a 4-track cassette recorder is just fun.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I cut my teeth on cassette 4-tracks. Sometimes I have songs now that basically just tell, "Record me on 4-track cassette!" I may do more than one version, but maybe not. My point is that using 4-track cassette recorders is just flat out enjoyable to me.
    famous beagle

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    and tell us all how he really feels...


    For me a big part of the allure is the simplicity of it. It is "compact"...the Philips compact cassette. There are lots of ways to do demos on digital multitrackers today, but the analog equivalent is the cassette multitracker. You pop it in, track your demo, and then pop the little door open and slip it in your pocket. There's a simple peace about it...and frankly I think you can get some great sounding results. And, juxtapose that simple peace with a serious looking piece of equipment like a 238 and I think it is downright exciting.

    Ahh. The simplicity of my old Fostex X15. Then again, maybe not. It sure put a fire in me to try get a better sound and more available tracks.

    It was a dirty rotten trick, I tell ya.

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    I think there is a desirable quality to recording to cassette, it does sound different to a r2r recorder, heck.. all r2r recorders sound different from eachother... even if we assume that all R2R recorders use the same tapes... a cassette recorder does offer a different sound to a r2r recorder, I'm not even sure there are any R2R recorders that sound the same as cassette (1/4 inch 8 track running at 3 1/4 IPS anyone?).

    It is well known that bands would purposely record their albums to a cassette tape or a poor sounding R2R even though they had budgets for professional studio recordings... that's what the whole lo-fi bands were all about, adding character to there music through low quality recordings. I'm sure at least some people here think of the audio recorder as an instrument and not just a machine right? An instrument that can add or expose different/more elements to your music.

    You don't have to be a lo-fi band to maybe include a really old and worn sounding piano in one of your songs? You might use it rather than a fancy Steinway because that's the sound your after...

    So... Yes there is a desirable quality to using a cassette recorder over another medium IF that's what you desire.

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