How can I make the best of a budget analog recording setup?


New member
While the term 'fully analog' is loaded and quite elastic, my goal is to make a reel to reel recording setup with that lo-fi feel but with moderately good recording quality without any digital post-production (until it has to be put up online).
My current setup is a couple MXL condenser microphones going into a Peavy PV8 8-channel mixer running to a Teac A-3440 reel to reel tape recorder. So far everything has been a dream, but I really want to impro ve the quality and the overall volume of my recordings.
If anybody has any similar setups of their own, please post a pic or describe what you are running. How do you get the best of your recordings? Thank you in advance!
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i'm running a Teac A-3440s with a Yamaha MT400 four-track cassette recorder as a mixer. it has low-mid-hi EQ and really does pack a punch when playing back the tracks from the Teac through it. for a mic I'm using an Audix f50, which is pretty cheap, i bought it because it didn't cost a lot, but it does sound pretty good for its price. finally, a Behringer UCA222 when I'm transfering the songs onto the computer.

i mostly use the four-track for recording, but during last summer, i finally faced the intimidating A-3340s. I put some old reels on it and recorded an album. ( )
all of the songs were done on the A-3340s except for 1st, 7th and 9th song which were recorded on the MT400 (those songs sound a lot more lo-fi (intentionally) than usual). The only digital post-production done on this project was the mastering of each song.

if i may ask, what do you think is lacking in your recordings?


transitional phase
It's a combination of things, but in order of importance I would ensure the below to get the most out of your setup:
- Make sure that your tape recorder is regularly cleaned and demagnetized as well as calibrated and aligned to the tape you are using.
- Spend as much time as you can trying out your microphones (selection and placement) to understand it's sound, where it shines and where it doesn't. Good, versatile dynamic mics like an SM57, E609 and 635a are all less than $100 on the used market and are pretty bulletproof so definitely worth spending money on these.
- Consider upgrading your mixer, one that has a bit better preamps, EQs and master section (summing) will clean up the overall sound of your recordings. Or get some quality external preamps and a passive summing box if you want to save a bit of space (avoid having a big mixer/console) and don't feel like you need EQs.