• Beckview Studios

Vintage Tape Vibes

Have we told you about our fully restored MCI JH24 2" tape machine? Well, it sounds great!!

Originally commissioned on 27th September 1984, the Tape Machine required a bit of TLC when we acquired it in March 2020. We bought the tape machine at the same time as our Sony MCI JH-628 mixing desk [more info about the desk here]. Both came with all their original documentation which, considering their age is quite unusual.

Tape Machine engineers are not as easy to find today as it was in the past when all the big commercial recording studios hired in house engineers to keep the machines running. However, Iain at Reel Resilience has done a great job restoring our machine to its former glory.

Restoration took several months and has even included re-lapping the head block - which meant sending it away to be restored before getting it back to optimal working order.

We have a mixture of new and used tape, which we're able to use during sessions. Some of which is 'low use' ex-BBC tape - originally used to record Herbie Hancock at the Barbican!

Recording to analogue tape transports you back to a recording environment of days gone by. Some people believe that tape has a 'warmer' vibe to it. The process is different to digital. There is no 'undo' button and the length of time you can record to tape is limited. Because of this we generally keep only one or two versions of a performance. Therefore decisions need to be made at the time of recording. This creates a different energy and dynamic in the room compared with tracking digitally and can often be a great help in keeping the sessions moving forward.

At Beckview Studios we have options to either record to tape or digitally to Pro Tools. We really believe in using the right format and equipment to suit each artist and project and because of this philosophy, you have access to all equipment during a session at no extra cost.

Our tape machine is a 24 track. This means you can record up to 24 separate inputs at once - more than enough inputs when tracking a band and instruments. We can stay entirely analogue throughout a project (recording and mixing on tape through the analogue mixing console), or have the option of recording to tape and then transferring the recordings to Pro Tools to mix. The advantage of recording to tape and then transferring to Pro Tools in our opinion means that we get the best of both worlds. The smooth, warm tones of recording to tape, but the ability to be more flexible during the mixing process (quick and easy recalls for mix adjustments, access to plugins and the ability to easily automate parameters). So why don't you give tape a try?

Check it out in action - the fantastic Jazz trio, AC3, recorded straight to tape. and this is the result. Sit back, play video below, and enjoy!

AC3 are:

Adam Carpenter

Rowan Oliver

Tom Townsend

Contact AC3 here

Check out other AC3 videos recorded at Beckview Studios here

Our tape machine is maintained by Iain @Reel Resilience - Contact Reel Resilience here

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