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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jun Sat 08, 2019 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 23, 2010 6:37 am
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Location: Powell River BC Canada
At one time my firm sold Dokorder tape recorders , 3 motor, 6 head, bidirectional,
tube, but with transistorized preamp.

Somewhat similar to the Concertone line of machines.

When the Docoders worked, they worked well.

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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Thu 18, 2019 6:17 pm 
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Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
I worked on a lot of RTR machines over the years, both broadcast and home types. They do require regular and frequent maintenance to perform well. The biggest issue on an older machine is going to be the condition of the heads, and replacements will be hard to find, as well as expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Fri 19, 2019 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sun 02, 2014 9:13 pm
Posts: 1981
Location: Roanoke, VA
bob91343 wrote:
4 track compromises dynamic range.

That is because 4 track has a lower signal-to-noise ratio than 2-track.

bob91343 wrote:
I have a Revox A77 that I'd love to see get a good home. But I don't know if it works properly or its head configuration or speed.

Look at the record head. If it is a 2-track the head sections will be about 1/8" wide.

Dale H. Cook, Radio Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
https://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Fri 19, 2019 3:13 pm 
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Location: Roanoke, VA
arbilab wrote:
Profess'l studio machines put 24 tracks on 2 inches, which figures to 3 tracks per quarter inch.

That is for machines retrofitted with digital signal processing. Fully analog studio machines, such as the classic Studer 827, used 2" tape for 24 tracks.

IIRC from seeing Sound City Dave Grohl is using a pair of 24 track 2" machines, probably Studer, at Studio 606 in Northridge.

Dale H. Cook, Radio Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
https://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 20, 2019 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
arbilab wrote:
24 tracks on 2 inches.(for DSP)
Dale H. Cook wrote:
2" tape for 24 tracks (without DSP).
Huh? Must be early in the morning there with coffee still brewing.
Dale H. Cook wrote:
Look at the record head. If it is a 2-track the head sections will be about 1/8" wide.
if they are CCIR which is around 100 mils (eighth-inch is 125 mils and cassette tape is 150 mils across). The other track widths are 82 mils for two track bi-directional mono and the third configuration is 75 mils - times three is 225 mils - plus guardbands equals 250 which equals......
arbilab wrote:
3 tracks per quarter inch.
which is why they could perfect the stereo NAB cart machine so fast. With only using the two outer tracks at 75 mils each they had plenty of room to put a third one in the center for stop tones.

Except the only radio stations or programmers that ever used the center-track stop tone format was a couple of the e.g. Drake Chenault types of places so their tapes could only be played on players they sent. Everybody else used bottom-track cue tones.

That was always a pain because unlike in the mono cart days where you couldn't just slap a reel of loop tape on a normal half-track reel to reel (82 mils was the same as the mono cart machine tracks) and get to taping records onto which the cue tones were added later and then cut apart and loaded into the cart.

Saved a lot of tape that way since you only had to allow 5-10 seconds at the end. That was fine for commercials and etc where a 60 second spot was on a 70 second cart - but more often than not, your e.g. 3:03 song had to go on a 3:30 cart - or your 4:min song had to go on a 5:min cart etc.

So of course anybody who got old DC etc tapes given to them by guys at other stations to use as backups - all we did was load the DC carts into a red shell to be able to tell the difference and either solder in a track switch button between the center and bottom track to go from Normal to Special or else scrounge an old DC cart deck - repair it ourselves spray-paint it red and set it in the studio under all the red carts and go about our business.

Or we converted to the DC format because then you could go back to taping all your stereo records onto a normal Ampex format stereo reel to reel loaded with loop tape - add the stop tone in later - cut them apart - load them and go on about your business.

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Last edited by ndiamone on Jul Sat 20, 2019 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 20, 2019 3:14 pm 
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Location: Roanoke, VA
Many formats have been used over the decades with varying track widths and tape widths. The standard in broadcasting and recording was long 1/8" per track, until Studer and others began making high-quality studio machines with narrower tracks. The advantage to, say, a 16 track 2" machine is that the tapes are generally compatible with other 16 track 2" machines. That is not always the case with machines with track widths other than 1/8". I would have to do some serious digging through the boxed and stored portion (now that I am mostly retired) of my technical library to find more information about some tape formats. I am largely going from memory, which may be faulty as it has been over 20 years since I last had to maintain tape decks.

Dale H. Cook, Radio Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
https://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 20, 2019 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Dale H. Cook wrote:
I would have to do some serious digging to find more information about some tape formats.
Already did most of it - especially since every other guy and his brother was already doing all the normal 1-inch 8-track and half-inch 4-track and so on and so on I had no choice but to specialize in all the odd tape disc and film formats:

search.php?keywords=82+mils&terms=all&author=ndiamone&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

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2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 20, 2019 4:26 pm 
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mjohansson2 wrote:
I inherited a ton of reel to reel tapes from my step father who used to have an old Gurndig and a Teac reel to reel some must have been 4 track though as I can hear other music while playing on my Sony as if I am picking up another track. So either I have to get another reel to reel that is a 4 track or.........So what do you all suggest?
Unless your Sony TC-640 was modified with half-track heads, it is a quarter-track, 2-channel machine. "4-track" implies that that the machine has 4 VU meters and can record and play all 4 tracks at the same time.

Many quarter track stereo machines can be set to record 4 separate tracks in mono (two mono tracks in one direction and two in the other). Some people used this method to save on tape. If you are listening to both channels at the same time on your machine, you may be hearing two separate mono tracks each with different recordings.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Two track or 4 track witch is better and why?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 20, 2019 9:28 pm 
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Dave Doughty wrote:
"4-track" implies that that the machine has 4 VU meters and can record and play all 4 tracks at the same time.
Well yes and no. As everybody knows - prerecorded stereo reels were all called `4-Track Stereo'. You never saw a tape that said 1/4 Track Stereo even though that's what it was - to distinguish from 2-Track/Half-Track Stereo - to distinguish THAT from 2-Track/Half-Track Mono Bi-Directional.

But then there WAS also a such thing as 2-track mono Single Direction in cases where the orchestra or band would record monaurally on 1 and the vocalist(s) or instrumental soloists would record monaurally on 2 which was intended to be mixed down to mono. Early Beatles records are the most well known example of this.

Although the Sony would most certainly be quarter-track stereo, if tapes were made on the Grundig, and played back on the Sony - the Grundig tapes could very well be old enough to be Half Track Mono - in which case over the left channel you'd be hearing a fairly weak representation of the track intended for Side 1 and through the right channel you'd be hearing the same weak representation of Side 2 - but backwards.

You can't really get a strong signal off playing a half track tape on a quarter track player because most of the energy is in the lower half of the track as I said earlier.

But then as we also all know there was also 4-CHANNEL quadraphonic or independent-channel multi-track inline decks both of which had
Dave Doughty wrote:
4 VU meters and can record and play all 4 tracks at the same time
which WOULD give somewhat of a stronger signal if you used Tracks 2 and 3 to play back your half-track mono tape.

This is because the lower half of Side 1 is going to be Track 2 - and the lower half of Track 2 (upside down) is going to be Track 3.

So quadraphonic or 4-channel inline is to distinguish it from 2-track stereo inline to distinguish THAT from 2-track staggered etc.
Dave Doughty wrote:
Many quarter track stereo machines can be set to record 4 separate tracks in mono (two mono tracks in one direction and two in the other).
Some recordings are Left-Left/Right-Right (i.e. 1-4 and 3-2) and other ones are Left-Right/Right-Left or 1-2 (the other side's Right track) 3 (the first side's Right track) and 4 (the other side's Left track)

Just like the quadraphonic decks which as I said earlier used tracks 1-3 in a pair and 2-4 in a pair could also record stereo. Once the semi-pro multi-trackers came out and left each channel independent to be able to record by itself while listening to other tracks (see Sel Sync) then it was a lot easier to transfer even 4-track mono tape onto other formats without having to sit there for 4 or even 2 passes.
Dave Doughty wrote:
Some people used this method to save on tape.
Especially the background music producers. Only difference is they would use the 2 and 4 tracks as sides 1 and 3 and vice versa so they'd play backwards on a conventional 4-track 2 channel stereo deck regardless of which side you played.

The only way to play those and be able to hear tracks in a forward direction is to either use a 4-channel inline deck either quadraphonic or a straight multi-tracker that doesn't have tracks ganged together in pairs.
Dave Doughty wrote:
If you are listening to both channels at the same time on your machine, you may be hearing two separate mono tracks each with different recordings.
especially if one is backward and one is forward. Or your head could be out of alignment and be reading inbetween tracks. To correct that, see under Head Alignment - Rack Wrap Height Azimuth and Zenith

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2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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