#73 – Vintage Tech: Tape Based Recording Sneak Preview
If you’re like me and you got into pro-audio in the 1990’s you’ve likely spent way too many hours of your life toiling over tape based recording systems. I was fortunate to have a mentor in Chuck Ferrell, a local music educator who also ran a home studio, who let me join in the fun of many technological firsts in his studio at the time. I remember the excitement of the first (black) ADAT machine he saved up for months and months to buy. The groundbreaking Apple Power PC that could hardly handle two track audio processing, but seemed like absolute magic in what it could do. The exhaustively orchestrated mix down and bounce sessions that went late into the nights and often had us both performing gymnastics around a Mackie 32-8 to get the best possible mix into the fancy new stereo DAT deck that he saved even longer to buy… those were good days.
In those years from the mid 90’s into the early 2000’s, audio technology was moving so quickly. I remember saving up and buying a pair of used ADAT XT model decks for mobile recordings, at the same time the XT-20 (20-bit) decks were being announced and only a few years later picking up an Alesis HD24 hard-disk recorder for about the same money I paid for those two XT’s.
I was also lucky to work at a small retail shop that sold much of the popular gear at the time. Anything from Alesis, Tascam and Fostex was on our shelves, and I got to spend lots of time learning the technology and trying new stuff out over the years. What we didn’t have though was the really cool exotic stuff. I must have had most every audio magazine subscription back then, and I would read them cover to cover many times over, longing to be able to get some hands on time with the gear they featured.
Now we’re some 20 years down the road and that gear is all but forgotten, and sadly coming to a point where it’s simply not feasible or monetarily sound to attempt to use it anymore. In these upcoming installments of the Vintage Tech series, I’m going back to those units that I always wanted to get to know better. The everyday workhorses that we had in the project studios and their exotic counterparts that graced the covers of industry magazines and the racks of world class broadcast and recording facilities of the day.
I hope you enjoy this sneak peak at what I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to share the in-depth videos with you in the coming weeks and months.
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