What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

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Paste Human
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What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Paste Human » 24 Mar 2020, 14:49

I had completely forgotten about these, and they never meant much since i was never a musician. But for a brief period I was part of a joke band that recorded shit on a 4 track Tascam, along with an answering machine at one point. We also made shirts and a documentary for lack of anything better to do. Those were my high school years.

So are these devices just out of favor now? Do professional bands still sometimes insist on doing reel to reel live takes? I haven't kept up with this, but there is definitely a noticeable difference here and there. Sometimes it was probably better that they did things the old fashioned way, and sometimes not. At least the way I see it. Although I will say that overproduction (especially making it all spick and span sounding) has been pretty bad for metal on a widespread level for at least 20 years now.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby iamgoat » 24 Mar 2020, 14:53

I think they're awesome. The limitations they lay upon you force you to be creative and make decisions.

One of the greatest pitfalls of modern DAW's are the endless possibilities of editing, undoing, etc. There is no undo with pure analog. Only redo. And that definitely has a positive side to it.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby iamgoat » 24 Mar 2020, 14:57

By the way, many bands still work that way. Check out engineers Vance Powell and Steve Albini.

Albini is still 100% analog tape based, Vance does both and hybrid.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Paste Human » 24 Mar 2020, 15:06

I definitely will.

This was prompted by reading Kelly from Atheist mentioning how electric their first two (and then maybe third?) albums sounded because it was all live analogue takes.

And then it's hard not to slap yourself on the forehead (at least for me) and realize what was missing from a lot of otherwise well written albums that came out later on. And then of course remembering how fun it was to record onto such a limited resource and budget our ideas that way, but try to make it true to form but also memorable on one take because of that. I don't know much of anything about modern production, but in a lot of cases it strikes me as playing tennis without a net. Not very exciting.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby iamgoat » 24 Mar 2020, 15:20

Modern production is awesome as well. It all depends on your workflow, the music, how one would get inspired.... they're all tools to create music. Some stuff isn't possible in the purely digital world and some stuff isn't possible in the purely analog world.

There is no better way. They're just different.

But when digital just came into fashion, a lot of records suffered because the engineers working on them were also new to that domain.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Paste Human » 24 Mar 2020, 15:28

Yeah you're probably right.

I'm trying to remember the more recent albums I've heard where an initial thought was "this would have sounded so much better if it was recorded in Florida 25 years ago" but none come to mind. The number one letdown I can think of is Slayer's first two full lengths because Dave Lombardo was always so big for me, but to be honest I can't even really imagine the Reign in Blood drum sound on those albums. Everything would have to be updated, and I'm not sure I could get on board with that.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby iamgoat » 24 Mar 2020, 15:46

Albums are pieces of recorded history. They should be respected and viewed as such. That's why I hate re-mixed and re-mastered albums most of the time. It doesn't do the music and the timeframe that it was made in any justice.
The little mistakes or blemishes on those old records are what make them unique and part of that time in music history.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Paste Human » 24 Mar 2020, 16:08

Very well put. But don't you have a few albums that you'll listen to and love how it was written but then think "if only they had just recorded it this way..."? I have a few, and maybe my vision would sound terrible, but there are definitely some individual performances from a while back that got shit all over that maybe were not so bad after all.

The early stuff from Slayer, Exodus, Possessed, etc. bugs me for being so tinny. But I could just as easily see a rebooted version of that material sounding "too live" or fake.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby iamgoat » 24 Mar 2020, 16:19

No records come to mind right now...

I only have that feeling with stuff that comes out nowadays. And even then it's still rare that I feel that way.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby arborist shrub tarkington » 24 Mar 2020, 17:08

black metal as fvck
rhino wrote:like transgression but good
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Hitoshura » 25 Mar 2020, 08:52

iamgoat wrote:Albums are pieces of recorded history. They should be respected and viewed as such. That's why I hate re-mixed and re-mastered albums most of the time. It doesn't do the music and the timeframe that it was made in any justice.
The little mistakes or blemishes on those old records are what make them unique and part of that time in music history.


agree bigtime. to expand on the 'most of the time' qualifier though, i think there's some leeway for vinyl/analog-era stuff getting remix/remaster treatments to make up for poor digital transfers in the early days of the CD era. insofar as they attempt to more closely-capture the original, anyway; there are obviously loads of those that were updates for loudness wars standards that wound up being worse than all of their forebears & mostly existed just to milk diehard fans rather than address any concerns about accuracy or fidelity.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby zim » 25 Mar 2020, 10:33

speaking of remixes, cynic remastered/remixed traced in air and removed all the screaming vocals. that really pissed me off :frown:
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Skinfection » 25 Mar 2020, 12:06

Like when Mustaine remastered all of the Megadeth albums. The first three sounded great, then everything after sounded too compressed or over-produced.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby Paste Human » 05 Apr 2020, 12:02

I might be one of the only people who prefers the original first four Megadeth mixes (everything beyond that didn't even need any work) but it was cool to hear all the instrumentation with clarity at least once. Especially on the debut, because Gar was a really great drummer.

A similar example is Death's "Human" which is still a personal favorite. It was awesome finally getting to hear exactly what Steve brought to the table on that album, but I still always go for the original mix. I'm sure there's the sentimental part of it all, but some of the earlier metal releases required such careful listening to pick up on all the nuances that I think it gets to be hard to hear the studio version of those songs any other way.
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Re: What do you all think about still using shit like 4 track recorders

Postby diabolik » 06 May 2020, 00:34

I have a 4 track tape recorder. It's awesome for high volume noise, can lean into the limiter and it doesn't go all digitized mash.

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