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Thread: trying to decide when and if to use Dolby

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    trying to decide when and if to use Dolby

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    After many years of digital, I am dragging out my old tape gear just because I want to have something new (old?) to mess around with. I have an Audio Technica RMX64 portastudio and an Otari 2 track reel to reel. I was given the Otari 8 or 10 years ago and haven't ever used it with the portastudio for bouncing before. I will be recording tracks on the portastudio and bouncing to/from the Otari. The RMX64 has Dolby B and C, the Otari has none and I don't have any outboard noise reduction gear. Can anyone offer advise as to whether I should use noise reduction and when I should have that on or off?
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    Don't know anything about the Otari, but from the pic it looks OK?

    Is it half track? Will it do 15 ips?

    If yes to both, then it prob doesn't need NR.

    Record whatever on the AT, using the NR of your choice. Mix down to the Otari, with NR OFF. Copy back to the AT (fewer tracks ?) with NR OFF. Add more tracks with NR ON. Repeat. Do not decode the Dolby until all finished. The Otari at 15 ips should add so little noise, and you've done minimal encode/decode cycles, that the final result should be fine.

    But try it. What do your ears say?

    Geoff

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    Thanks Geoff. That's what I figured, and yes, the Otari is a half track capable of 15 ips. Of course, I could have just tried it to see what sounds best, but I have had house guests for the last 4 days and have not been able to get back out into the studio. So, instead, I just think about things as I fall asleep.

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    I have an Otari MX 5050 BIII...no NR...no problem.
    Throw some EMTEC/BASF 468 on it...at 15 ips the sound is super clean if the deck is properly calibrated.

    NR is not a requirement....if anything, the lower grade NR types screw up the audio more than they helps, IMO...but then, on lower grade decks, even the lower grade NR is a necessary evil if you want to clean things up a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffB17 View Post
    Mix down to the Otari, with NR OFF. Copy back to the AT (fewer tracks ?) with NR OFF. Add more tracks with NR ON. Repeat. Do not decode the Dolby until all finished.
    While I like the idea of skipping redundant decoding/encoding I worry that this could alter the alignment of the level dependent NR processing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    While I like the idea of skipping redundant decoding/encoding I worry that this could alter the alignment of the level dependent NR processing.
    Yeah, you're altering the signal between encoding and decoding. I'm not sure how well that would work. I suppose it's worth trying, though...

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    I would just leave the NR on at the portastudio as you normally used it before the Otari.
    The signal going to the Otari will not need anything done to it....everything will happen at the portastudio, going out and coming back in.

    IOW...the NR (how ever you are using it) is applied only while the signal is in the portastudio...it has nothing to do with the signal coming out of the portastudio and going to the Otari and back from the Otari.

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    SO are you saying to leave the Dolby on all the time on the portastudio, or to turn it off when bouncing to and from the Otari?

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    Yes, interesting point. Need to try it.

    However, the Dolby is set up for a partic machine, but you'd expect a tape recorded with Dolby to decode OK on another machine?

    Also, the setting on any given machine would still work OK with different tapes, which might have an effect on the recording similar to the difference caused by the use of the Otari?

    May be totally viable??

    Geoff

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    Quote Originally Posted by drembo View Post
    SO are you saying to leave the Dolby on all the time on the portastudio, or to turn it off when bouncing to and from the Otari?
    I'm saying use the Dolby NR same as you always did (on or off).

    If you recorded tracks to the portastudio with it on...then just leave it like that...and bounce to the Otari.
    If you recorded tracks to the portastudio with it off...then just leave it like that...and bounce to the Otari.

    Now...if you are asking should you still leave the Dolby on when coming back from the Otari, if those tracks were originally done with Dolby...?...that's your choice, same as it was when you originally recorded the tracks to the poratstudio...and you could try it both ways....Dolby on for the first pass on the portastudio...and again Dolby on when you bounce them back from the Otaru, or Dolby off when you bounce them back from the Otari.

    I wouldn't get into some kind of "half-Dolby" scenario between the portastudio and the Otari...like on for tracking, off for bouncing to Otari, on for bouncing back...etc....but it really is very easy to try it a few ways and let your ears guide you.

    Speaking of "Dolby"...


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