Dubbing from digital multitrack to analog multitrack to get that fat sound?

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

Is this a substitute for a good 2-track mixdown machine?

Addition: as we don`t have the big money to buy a Studer 2-track mastering recorder, would it be smart to dub to a multitrack machine (instead of hard disk) to> achieve “louder”, more retro/analogue sound?

Or dub the digital mix to analogue tape and back again?

and I replied…

Well, it has to be the right analog tape. If it’s wide-track, well-maintained multitrack analog, then the “cure” may be better than the disease. If it’s the good parts of analog you’re looking for you have to have an analog machine that makes it “fatter” without getting fuzzy.

But for the past 10 years or so, and in the article, I’ve been preaching that good analog tape has higher resolution than cheap digital. If you dub from your harddisk to analog tape, saturating it too much, you’ll get bad analog sound! If you dub to the analog and use its gentle compression characteristic to get a fatter, more full, warmer sound, it can be a win-situation. But it’s not win-win! Because you still haven’t replaced the mixdown DAT machine. Mixing down to the 16-bit DAT from your multi is like taking your hard-earned Corvette, and feeding it cheap, watered-down gas. Please don’t do that… Both attempts are compromises, in my opinion.

In my opinion, if you have the time and the energy to dub it to multitrack analog and then mix then you also have the ability to mix it down to a good 2-track machine. I’d rather you stayed on the digital multitrack without dubbing it, and then mixing to the 2-track analog. The losses are much less that way, in my opinion.

That way, you haven’t lost any additional resolution, haven’t done an extra D/A conversion, and you’ll still have an analog mixdown with the best qualities of analog. And then don’t dub that analog mix tape any further. Send it direct to the mastering house, where it will be transferred with loving care through the best A/D conversion in the world…

After 3 projects, the 2-track pays for itself. Try to work on “cures” instead of bandaids.

Good luck in your search for the perfect sound,


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