Multi-Track Reel-to-Reel Tape (1/4", 1/2", 1", 2") - Audio Restored

Fostex E-16 / Fostex G-24 / Tascam TSR-8

Fostex E-16 / Fostex G-24 / Tascam TSR-8

The principle behind analogue tape-based multi-tracking, is the simultaneous recording of separate sounds (e.g. guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, lead / backing vocals etc.) onto discrete tracks on the tape as it moves past the recording head. When played back, the individual sounds are reproduced simultaneously from the tape, giving perfectly synchronised audio. The resultant multi-track recording can be mixed and re-mixed until the desired sound is achieved.

Due to the ever-increasing demand for transferring multi-track tapes to discrete digital .wav files, we have furnished a second studio dedicated to all types of multi-track transfer, from 4-track to 24-track, 1/4 inch to 2 inch, 7.5 ips to 30 ips.

Studio_2_small Studio_2_Right_small

Unique recording sessions from the past can now be recovered to a format which permits re-mixing and mastering by the client using software such as Cubase, Pro-Tools or Cool Edit.

With all multi-track tapes (see below), each individual track is lifted simultaneously and saved as a discrete .wav file at up to 24 bit, 96kHz sampling rate to data DVD or the customers’ own flash drive or HD. Alternatively, the files can be sent directly to the client for download using any of the popular ftp services, e.g. We Transfer or DropBox.

 

4-Track 1/4 inch Tape

These studio recordings are received on 7 or 10.5 inch reels, and are TEAC_A-3440_smalltranscribed on a TEAC A-3440 4-channel multi-track tape deck (‘Simul-Sync’), running at either 7.5 or 15 ips.

If dbx type 1 encoding was used during the original recording, a four-channel dbx type-1 noise reduction unit (TEAC RX-9) is used to decode the signals during the transfer process.

 

8-Track 1/4 inch Tape

These studio recordings are received on 7 inch reels, and are transcribed on a Fostex R8 IMG_2908_small8-track open-reel tape deck running at 15 ips.

The Dolby C noise reduction facility is included on this deck, and if this was used during the recording process, it will be used during transcription, to obtain the optimal noise-free transfer.

 

8-Track 1/2 inch Tape

Tascam_TSR8_small

These studio recordings are received on 10.5 inch reels, and are transcribed on a Tascam TSR-8 8-track open-reel tape deck running at 15 ips.

If the original recording was encoded for dbx type I noise reduction, this will be decoded during transcription.

 

 

16-Track 1/2 inch Tape

Fostex_E-16

By far, the most common multi-track format we transfer, these 16-track studio recordings are received on 10.5 inch reels, and are transcribed on a Fostex E-16 16-track open-reel tape deck running at 15 ips.

The Dolby C noise reduction facility is included on this deck, and if it was used during the original recording, it will be used during transcription.

 

 

24-Track 1 inch Tape

IMG_2890_small

These studio recordings are received on 10.5 inch reels, and are transcribed on either a Fostex G24s or a Tascam MSR 24 24-track open-reel tape deck running at 15 ips, catering for both Dolby S and dbx type I noise reduction.

 

 

24-track 2 inch Tape
Otari_smallThese studio recordings are received on 10.5 inch or 14 inch reels, and are transcribed on an Otari MTR 90 II 24-track open-reel tape deck running at 15 or 30 ips.

 

 

 

PricesMulti-track factsObtaining the individual tracksSticky Shed Syndrome (Baking Tapes)

Prices

1/4 inch 4-Track Tape £55 / reel
1/4 inch 8-Track Tape £65 / reel
1/2 inch 8-Track Tape £65 / reel
1/2 inch 16-Track Tape £80 / reel
1 inch 24-Track Tape £90 / reel
2 inch 24-Track Tape (10 inch reel) £90 / reel
2 inch 24-Track Tape (14 inch reel) £100 / reel
(Prices include baking)
Tape Baking Only (no digitisation) £20 / reel

Multi-track facts

  • Multi-track analogue tape recording dates back to 1955 when Ampex developed and released the first 8 track recorder on 1 inch tape.
  • Building on this early success, multi-track recorders became available in 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 2 inch formats, ranging from 4-track through to 24 track capability.
  • By the 80s and 90s, 24-track studio recordings were commonplace, and indeed, some multi-track recorders were portable enough to be taken to venues to make live recordings of singers and bands for subsequent mix-down in a studio.

Obtaining the individual tracks

QU24 digital mixing desk

QU24 digital mixing desk

With all multi-track tapes, the analogue output is routed to an Allen and Heath QU24 digital mixing console, and the raw tracks are saved as individual .wav files to a dedicated hard-drive. The tracks (.wav files) can either be supplied on a data DVD, or the clients’ own memory stick or hard-drive. Any sampling rate can be accommodated – from 16 bit 44.1 kHz (standard CD quality) to 24 bit 96kHz – just let us know beforehand.

Sticky Shed Syndrome (SSS)

Many studio tapes that we receive for transfer are affected to some degree by Sticky Shed, a noticeable ‘squealing’ sound as the tape is played, often accompanied by excessive wow and flutter and the shedding of sticky iron oxide particles on the record / playback heads and pinch roller.

The most common offenders are Ampex 406/407, 456/457, 499, and the ‘Grand Master’ consumer/audiophile back-coated tapes.

Some ‘pro’ tapes (manufactured by Scotch/3M) can also be afflicted, including 206/207, 226/227, 808, and 986 as well as audiophile tapes such as “Classic” and “Master-XS”

SSS is caused by moisture-induced breakdown of the binder holding the iron oxide particles to the base tape, Due to the unpredictable nature of the problem, we always bake studio tapes prior to transfer without exception. Baking quarter inch tapes at an accurately controlled 55 degrees C for 24 hours (48 hours for half- and one inch tapes), drives out the moisture in a slow and controlled way, allowing us to retrieve and transfer the recorded content to digital.

Carbolite_oven_smallAt Audio Restored, we use a Carbolite type 201 laboratory oven (with over-temperature safety cut-out) to’ bake’ tapes suffering with SSS.

Be advised – never attempt to play any tapes exhibiting SSS –  it may well destroy the tape and its recorded content. Contact us to discuss a solution.

Contact us to discuss your requirements fully.