DAT-heads Digest #187
Re: DAT-heads Digest #185 (email@example.com)
ISO email for Dan Heend (the 24 bit FAQ author) (-bob)
Tapers wtd: Satriani 20th anniversary shows (NY, Chicago, LA) (Jeff Shirkey)
Subject: Re: DAT-heads Digest #185
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:23:50 -0400 (EDT)
>From: "john e. bogus" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: digest #183 - fading
>Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 19:20:53 -0500
>>"Hell, I'm still transferring cassettes a/w/a DATs, and as there's a pile >>of 'em laying around it's likely I'll finish up the last of it sometime
>>in 2015 or so... ;)"
You raise some interesting points which I'll try and address, but I'm gonna' make some insertions, & see if I can get this a little clearer for those playing the "home version"... ;)
>>...the Otari decks are staying! They still work, and I actually used the
>>8 track on a session to capture the drummer & bass player, before we
>>recorded the rest of the tracks into Pro Tools. Gave me a very nifty >>analog squashed tape sound which really worked well with what the band >>wanted the project to sound like."
>**And this is exactly why some are reluctant to replace perfectly good >gear, whether analog or digital....it's still doing it's job, and the >expenditure is not justified. Also worth mentioning is the reason given >for holding onto that great old analog deck.....the modern method that was >supposed to replace it does NOT duplicate the exact same function, even if >you're talking about a subtle nuance.
I'm hanging on to the Otaris more out of sentiment than anything else...
I learned to cut tape and edit on a 3M Wollensack machine many (many...)
years ago, and really got good at it in college on the Otari decks...
That, and they kinda' dress up the place... ;) Same reason I'm rebuilding
a 1940s' leather-covered RCA Victor 2 track reel to reel.. It _looks_ cool!
Other toys, like Neve rackmount channels, quality multi-band parametric EQs, vintage 1060As, etc. are just too useful to get rid of, and besides that the digital plug-ins that supposedly replace them are twice the price...
Other items, say the ill-conceived Sabine "Feedback Eliminator", or the BBE Sonic Maximizer (a very expensive "loudness" processor...) have long since go on to other less discriminating owners.
>>"I found the sensible solution for me to be a SD 744T, as I can get the
>>SBD and AUD channels on the same box with the same timecode. It allows >>insane bit and sample rates if needed, generates .bwf, or .wav files in >>both mono and poly formats, and shows up as an external Fire Wire drive to >>the editing computers... saves time in loading DATs, but you loose some of >>it back on the other end in burning data to DVDs"
>**Why did you choose this particular unit over the R-4? What do you feel
>justified the price difference? For taping allowed shows, the path that I
>am so far considering is a laptop and a MOTU Traveller....this seems to be
>the best option for me when you consider price-to-performance ratio, the
>fact that the purchase can be made incrementally in smaller chunks, and >that this is the option that is most flexible / future proof / least costly >to upgrade further. However, this still will not replace my D7 for stealth
>situations, so the problem is NOT entirely solved!
I feel that the Edirol unit's are pro-sumer machines, at best. They're
designed more to cater to the hobbyist or musician who needs some fast scratch tracks to capture a song idea than for the definitively rough
environment of the club and concert taping world. I've always had better results, and greater reliability over the long run with machines designed
for location recording in the professional world.
The SD units are sealed-boxes that have very few moving parts, are able to capture audio at higher bit and sample rates, and interface directly with
computer editing systems. The flexibility of the SD units when setting
input parameters (like adding a 24 dB/octave low-cut filter at 40 hZ on a windy day to the mic channels with three button pushes... !!!) Add in the
regular firmware upgrades and support from the manufacturer, and a dedicated base of location recordists in the film, television, and concert world who
all contribute feedback to make the next set of upgrades better suited to their needs, and it's nearly ideal. I'd have loved to go with one of the Deva 8 channel units, but the $10,000 buy in was just a bit steep. ;)
Laptop systems are clunky, and harder to power on location for longer
shows and festivals. More complexity = more breakdowns and failures, and with a live performance you don't usually get "Take two".
Recently spent two very frustrating hours reloading software, dll drivers, and rebooting a friends laptop + transfer box that decided it wasn't going to be a functioning recorder that day... The stand-alone "fast-dumb" recorders that only do one thing really well all ran flawlessly. "It ain't the heat, it's the humidity..." We still haven't figured out why, and the system has since run, but the possibility of catastrophic failure is always higher on more complex systems. SD recorders have run successfully on expeditions to Mt. Everest, and in Death Valley. (though probably not on the same day... ;) ) I recently spent an afternoon recording in 102 degree heat, and then within half an hour ran at a club show indoors at 68...
No dropouts, no clipping, no worries, no problem. ;)
>><snip> ... cheap recordable BlueRay dual layer discs ...
>**At this point, I don't feel that the price-to-performance ratio justifies
>an $800 bluray drive when you can get a DVD drive for less than 50....
>discs are cheap, too.
Just whining for larger off-line storage... And to think that only a few years ago a 80 Mb drive was _huge_! ;) Instead of archiving tapes I'm now archiving hard drives, data-DVDs, and CDs... It now takes up less physical space than it used to, and I'm guessing the trend will continue. Just not
happening fast enough to suit me is all...
>>"At this point, the buy-in price of a SD722 stereo machine (adjusted for
>>inflation) is comparable to what a DA-P1 would have cost you 10 years >>ago."
>**A very interesting argument, one which I do not think I've heard before.
>Has inflation really doubled the prices on electronic gear? I would tend >to doubt this, as prices on electronic gear tend to either go down, or stay
>stagnant in times of inflation.
I bought new-in-box DA-P1 10 years ago for $1250. Current listings from Location Sound in LA shows this:
TASCAM HD-P2 Hi-Def Portable Stereo Recorder (STAS0097) $1,249.00
Sony PCM-D1 Digital Recorder (SSON0027) $1,999.95
Sound Devices 702 Portable Digital Audio Recorder (SSOU0702) $1,875.00
Sound Devices 702T Portable Digital Audio Recorder (SSOU0702T) $2,495.00
Sound Devices 722 (SSOU0022) $2,495.00
Sound Devices 744T (SSOU0044) $4,095.00
If we account for inflation (despite the Fed's insistence that it's trivial...) the P2 is actually cheaper than the P1 was.
I stand corrected on that one.
However, the SD 700 series devices replace mic preamps + phantom power supplies, and tape based storage in one unit that is trivial to power in the field and will record nearly indefinitely... You need a decent mic pair, cables and a stand, but I think that the pricing on a full recording package
is about the same as that of the cigar-box sized "pro" DAT machines + preamp and phantom power supply. The new boxes cost more, but they offer more features and functionality.
The 702 will only record to CF cards, the 722 and 744 units have internal hard drives a/w/a the card slots.
If I'm doing the math correctly, at a Mb/minute in stereo you can fit around 60 hours onto a 40 Gb drive. With V2.0 upgrades it'll also record to any external Fire Wire capable drive or recorder.
>The cost of a D6 was just under $300, from
>the time it was introduced up until I last heard they were still selling
>them several years ago (are they actually still making the D6 and the D3
>cassette decks??) at the same price, and the just under $200 price of a D3
>had remained the same, too. To a working-class kid who wants to start
>taping some live shows, this is a significant investment involving a pretty
>good chunk of change. When portable DAT's first hit the market in 1990, >the Sony D3 and the comperable Casio / Denon model were selling for just >under a grand....the prices on the progression of following models only >came down to the $600 range....still, this is a price decrease. Yet, the >cost of going digital was twice that of the product that it rapidly >replaced.
Sadly the analog cassette D3, D5, & D6 are no longer in production.
Neither are the DAT D3, D7, D8, or M100. I think it's a mistake to equate the miniature analog cassette units with the similar DAT units.
A better comparison would be between the mini-disc and the analog cassette.
The features, recording quality, and cost are all about the same. DAT is
an upgrade in sample rate, with a subsequently greater increase in available headroom and resolution if running at 48 kHz rates. Too bad they never got it to roll at 88.2, as the even division of sampling rate when downsampling
for CDs sounds considerably better.
>I waited for years for the prices to come down (yeah, I know....
>I'm still kicking myself for being cheap and not making the leap at
>least 5 years earlier) enough to where it could be considered "affordable" >by the standard set by the analog gear it replaced.....when I could no >longer put off the upgrade, I broke down and bought a used D7 for >$300....the fact that a healthy used market existed by this time was the >only way that I could afford the upgrade. While the last thing I would do >is to fault any company for trying to make a profit, and feel that most >times you only get what you pay for, it seems that the entry-level price to >portable recorders has about doubled with the upgrade to DAT....and is now >about to double again with the upgrade from DAT. It isn't that you are >getting better performance by spending more money, that is >indisputable....the issue is the startup cost for someone new to portable >recorders is not as affordable with current technology than it
>has been in the past. It would be interesting to see a numerical
>justification or refutation for the "increased cost is only normal
>inflation" argument. And assuming that increased cost IS only normal
>inflation....it's great to hear that we can replace a DAP-1 with something
>similar in size that outperforms it for about the same
>adjusted-for-inflation cost....but the problem remains that no one has
>provided an equal or better recorder that is the same size or smaller than
>the Sony portable DAT's....in other words, we can replace our DAP-1 or
>Fostex D5, but there is still no replacement on the market for the M1!
Taping has never been a sport for the faint of heart or the financially
challenged... There has always been a certain level of expertise required to even begin to play the game, and there is also a certain level of financial ability to afford the gear, and the tickets, and the travel time, and the beer... ;)
DAT recording never really caught on with "Joe average", for much the same reason that DCC (digital cassette cart)never did, while the audio CD did. Size of the media involved, simplicity of use (and if you never used a DCC deck, be _very_ glad... "for best response clean the heads and tape path every 6 hours of use..."), and no noise floor from the medium. A huge jump in perceived performance over the existing analog vinyl LPs or analog cassettes fueled consumer demand, while the ability to resell back catalog pushed the product driven recording industry to also get behind the new format. It wasn't until enough folks wanted to be able to record at that bit/sample rate level that we saw the first portable digital recorders. Prices remain high on these because there isn't all that much demand.
We're a niche market...
Pricing is more dependent on market penetration through demand than you'd think. Early adopters of new formats not only pay higher prices for them, but also run the risk of "dead-ending" - having a format replaced by a newer
one. Beta was a better medium for both video and audio quality, but VHS
was cheaper to make. Mini-disc, and now MP3 & Apple's AAC formats have
succeeded because they're just good enough for the average ear.
"No one has ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American public." - P.T. Barnum
It seems to me that the manufacturers, under pressure from the RIAA and the recording industry, seem to have decided that the only way of putting the digital recording and high bit/sample rate lossless copying cat back in the bag is to offer recorders that will only record at degraded less than optimum rates.
(Editorial aside: Mini-disc is evil, ATRACS is _really_ evil, and lossy compression schemes just plain suck... ;) I've been playing around with
an ipod recently, which will accept audio files at various rates.
I've loaded on both high and low bit rate versions of the same songs so I can A/B. The 16/44.1 rate sound almost acceptable, while the AAC 8/22 is more like ass, and is missing stereo depth of field, definition of both
high and low frequencies, and offers some really alarming distortions of tone and timbre on some material. What the downsampling did to the sound
of Frank Zappa's "Guitar", Derek And The Dominos "Live At The Fillmore 1970", Led Zepplin IV, Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me", and some vintage New Bohemians sets should be liable for criminal prosecution... :| )
>>"The game is the same, only the gear has changed."
>**Exactly! The big difference is that this time around, there is a steeper
>learning curve which is much more daunting to some. The professionals will
>have to learn to cut it if they are to survive in the marketplace...they
>haven't much choice. The rest of us will either struggle to keep up, or
>fall by the wayside....
>john e. bogus
The learning curve isn't all that bad, especially if you have some basic electronics and audio knowledge to start with. It's only sound gear, after all.
The two most important questions are still "Is it plugged in?", and "Is it
turned on?". 90% of all problems are still located in the first foot from the end of any cable. A good song that is well performed by a musician who
know how to convey what he's feeling emotionally is still better than any amount of processed product recorded to sell "units".
While it does seem at times that I'm engaged in the Red Queen's race (running as fast as possible to stay in the same place...) I do find that I'm a lot more productive on an integrated digital system that allows me to work directly on the audio data. I can be tracking a show within an hour after recording it, and burning finished CD mixes an hour after that.
In the studio I'm able to do complex edits, mixes, and fixes in minutes that would have taken days of cutting and splicing tape and 5 sets of hands on the board to do only a couple years ago.
I no longer have to worry (much) about the relative humidity and temperature and whether the deck is going to go belly up because the tape got stuck to the heads... (I have less of an environmental comfort zone than the gear now does... :\ )
From: -bob <email@example.com>
Subject: ISO email for Dan Heend (the 24 bit FAQ author)
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 05:59:52 -0700 (PDT)
If you have Dan's email, please pass it along to
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From: Jeff Shirkey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Tapers wtd: Satriani 20th anniversary shows (NY, Chicago, LA)
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 09:47:18 -0500
Can anyone tape any of these Joe Satriani shows? It's the 20th
anniversary of "Surfing with the Alien", and Joe will be playing
three special dates where he'll play the entire album + other fan
favorites. Tickets are on sale today through Joe's web site. Regular
sale starts July 20th.
Here are the details from Satriani.com:
We're rolling back the clock and Joe is going to hit a few cities for
intimate engagements where he will play Surfing With The Alien in its
entirety, plus select fan favorites.
We're also rolling back the price-- these tickets are only $35 and we've
also pulled every string we could find to reduce those pesky service
fees as well.
Tickets go on sale TODAY at 10 AM for the following special engagements:
Aug 15 Gramercy Theatre - New York, NY
Aug 16 House Of Blues - Chicago, IL
Aug 17 Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
For ticket purchase information, links and passwords, visit:
Tickets are listed exclusively on SATRIANI.COM until Jul 20th.
Thanks a lot.
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