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Thread: 16-bit digital versus cassette

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    You know, I own both a Fostex DMT-8vl (digital hard disk recorder) and A Yamaha MT-4X (cassette 4-track). As to the Fostex, I love having the option of the 8 tracks, and with digital you can definitely get a higher quality when bouncing tracks. But to tell you the truth, I think I actually prefer the sound of the cassette 4-track (provided each track is used only once for individual instruments, with no sub-mixing). Do any of you agree with me? I think tape just sounds nicer (even cassette tape!). I find I prefer to use the cassette machine for anything requiring 4 tracks or less, or even start an 8-track recording by using four cassette tracks and then transfering these to the 8-track just to add more tracks. Am I crazy, or does anyone else agree?

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    If you like the sound of tape, do the 8 tracks on the DMT8VL then transfer and mixdown to 2 or 4 tracks on the tape deck then master from there. You will pick up the analog warmth of tape (also some noise) but it will sound pretty good. I have done this just to make hard drive space on my 8 track, and the cassettes sound surprisingly good.

    Dom Franco

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    DF: Thanks for the advice, but actually I have to disagree with you there. I think cassettes are rather lame for mixes. But they do extremely well for raw tracks (particularly guitar and vocals). I like using cassette tape for four distinct tracks, but when mixing these I vastly prefer digital. I imagine that thicker reel tape probably sounds great for mixes, but I have never heard a particularly great cassette mix. ---------- Hey -- just a difference of opinion, but isn't that what these boards are for?

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    Hmmmm.... I hear what you are saying, but I wonder why would cassettes sound different for mixed instruments than for individual ones?

    Mabye the combination of Frequencies that are present when different instruments occupy the same track?

    Or mabye the "tape saturation" effect is lost because it compesses the mix rather than the individual instrument? Hmmmmm.....

    I know that the pros still prefer tape for drums and guitar sounds; and they often use a combination of analog and digital recording to achieve the best results on each instrument.

    Anyone out there with a scientific background, that could explain the physics of tape saturation to us?

    Sincerely;

    Dom Franco

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