Recording to Tape
Our beloved Sony MCI JH24 2″ 24 track tape machine runs at 30 IPS (inches per second). Which means a reel fits 16 minutes of music.
Our Tascam MS16 1″ 16 track runs at 15 IPS (inches per second). Which means a reel fits 32 minutes of music.
Tape costs can be expensive, and add up quickly. 2″ tape can cost $80 (used) to $250 (new). 1″ can cost $60 (used) to $130 (new). We prefer using Quantegy 499 tape, although they stopped making this brand so it is getting harder to find. Contact Matt DeWine to discuss your specific tape needs.
We love working entirely on analog tape, but it is not always in the budget. To keep costs down while also keeping the great benefits of recording to tape involved, Pieholden offers “house reels”. Basic tracking (guitar, bass, drums, etc.) can be recorded to tape, then transferred to digital. The tape is then gone back over for more recording. Usually the band does a few takes of a song in a row allowing them to hit their stride. Then they listen back to the tape picking the best take or takes and transferring them to digital. The process is then repeated for the next song. Once all basic tracking is done, overdubs and mixing are done digitally.
This process facilitates a little bit of the best of both worlds. Basic tracking gets the warmth and punch of a great sounding tape machine, with the speed, organization and additional tracks of the digital machine for overdubs and mixing.