LOUD, HOT CDs Recorded to Tape

I’ve recorded some semi-unlistenable HOT WALL OF NOISE CDs to tape and I find the copy on tape sounds much more enjoyable.

Why does it seem that recording those CDs to tape seems to take the pain factor down for me?

I am pretty sure I’m not imagining this…
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I’ve recorded some semi-unlistenable HOT WALL OF NOISE CDs to tape and I find the copy on tape sounds much more enjoyable.

Why does it seem that recording those CDs to tape seems to take the pain factor down for me?

I am pretty sure I’m not imagining this…
There’s a sort of dynamic compression inherent in the limitations of the cassette format that will act as a sort of limiter for your recordings. I’m guessing that’s what you’re hearing?
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I’ve recorded some semi-unlistenable HOT WALL OF NOISE CDs to tape and I find the copy on tape sounds much more enjoyable.

Why does it seem that recording those CDs to tape seems to take the pain factor down for me?

I am pretty sure I’m not imagining this…
I've noticed the same thing in copying to RTR tape. Exactly what goes on there I can only conjecture...
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've noticed the same thing in copying to RTR tape. Exactly what goes on there I can only conjecture...
There are actually digital plugins for recording interfaces like ProTools and Logic Pro to emulate tape saturation and compression.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
A quote from the above, which I thing is a good overview of what's happening.

"Tape has the general characteristics of low-frequency distortion (harmonic) and irregular phase responses and if the signal is driven into the magnetic tape then the dynamic range is compromised and the magnetic saturation effect affects the high-frequency content. The limit of analogue tape is saturation. Because tape is magnetic the more signal that is driven into the system the more magnetization of the tape’s magnetic content. Driving beyond this limit means that the magnetic content, or magnetic particles, are exhausted and therefore the reproduction of the driven signal starts to exhibit the qualities stated above. When magnetic particles start to run out saturation compression takes over as there aren’t enough magnetic particles left to store a magnetic field. When the magnetic field in tape has not reached the minimum threshold to be effective it is called hysteresis. Hysteresis can be overcome by using Bias. Bias is the introduction of a high frequency, high amplitude sine wave that is mixed in with the input signal prior to reaching the recording head. This then excites the magnetic particles to produce a stronger magnetic field. If the magnetic field is too strong then not enough magnetic particles are active in capturing the driven input signal and this results in saturation. By altering the bias and hysteresis of tape we can affect different playback and processing qualities and thus affect the saturation qualities."
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
A quote from the above, which I thing is a good overview of what's happening.

"Tape has the general characteristics of low-frequency distortion (harmonic) and irregular phase responses and if the signal is driven into the magnetic tape then the dynamic range is compromised and the magnetic saturation effect affects the high-frequency content. The limit of analogue tape is saturation. Because tape is magnetic the more signal that is driven into the system the more magnetization of the tape’s magnetic content. Driving beyond this limit means that the magnetic content, or magnetic particles, are exhausted and therefore the reproduction of the driven signal starts to exhibit the qualities stated above. When magnetic particles start to run out saturation compression takes over as there aren’t enough magnetic particles left to store a magnetic field. When the magnetic field in tape has not reached the minimum threshold to be effective it is called hysteresis. Hysteresis can be overcome by using Bias. Bias is the introduction of a high frequency, high amplitude sine wave that is mixed in with the input signal prior to reaching the recording head. This then excites the magnetic particles to produce a stronger magnetic field. If the magnetic field is too strong then not enough magnetic particles are active in capturing the driven input signal and this results in saturation. By altering the bias and hysteresis of tape we can affect different playback and processing qualities and thus affect the saturation qualities."
I was never one of those who pushed recording levels to the utmost, though. I happily put up with some tape hiss as a trade-off for lack of distortion. "Saturation compression" was never part of the scene.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I was never one of those who pushed recording levels to the utmost, though. I happily put up with some tape hiss as a trade-off for lack of distortion. "Saturation compression" was never part of the scene.
Well if you're hearing it as something different, that the sound of the output has changed, then some of this is happening... its inherent in the media even before saturation is obvious.

Not directed at you but an overall comment:

I really wish audiophiles would understand the amount of purposeful, complimentary, distortion that is used in the studio world. Adding coloration, using the 'faults' of things to purposefully influence the sound in a pleasing way. I think the OCD over the playback end would calm a bit, and people could just relax and enjoy what they think sounds good (like with the SET folks, whose approach I admire as it echoes this).
 
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