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Greenhorn guide to recording?

Discussion in 'Cassettes' started by Command8, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Command8

    Command8 Member

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    Before I try shipping my Aiwa hs-PC202mii and WM-D6C I want to make 2-3 mix tapes and record an album on my tapes: a sony Chrome class UX 60, a BASF Chrome Maxima II 60, a TDK Type II Sa-X, and a type IV Sony Metal XR.
    The Input will be from my computer playing lossless files. I'm currently working on a list for the songs, I'm trying to follow Hugo's article for excellent recordings, but I am confused with a lot of the steps and am not sure how to calibrate for recording on the D6C.
    Your collective opinions and tips would be greatly appreciated, also if you have any suggestions for the mixtapes feel free to drop a song. One mix tape will focus on "rock" (it's open to any rock, from psychedelic...to heavy metal), another mixtape will focus on a 70's vibe (feel free to drop any hidden gems), and I haven't decided what album to record yet.
    Im hoping that afterwards the D6C/202mii is serviced I'll play the mixtapes again to see if a difference can be heard.
    IMG_20170205_173501.jpg
    Also do you guys record with or without Dolby NR? What do you recommend and why?
    Thanks :)
     
  2. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Command. I'm glad you followed my guide.

    The D6C cannot be calibrated because it doesn't have any bias knob. That's something only a technician can do inside by tunning it. Dr Walkman tuned mine for TDK SA, XLII and other similar tapes, but once done, it always work for just those tapes.
    I do not know what bias has natively the D6C nor which tapes are most appropiate for it, but I can do some tests to figure it out, though @Doctor Walkman can surely explain better...
    For rock music I'd clearly differentiate from modern ones ('95 and later) and earlier ones. The former have very compressed dynamic range (so the meters barely move). In this case, be sure to not record over Dolby mark. I often record 2dB under, to avoid saturation at such high levels all the time.
    With earlier rock (and greater dynamic range), you can record a bit hot. With such tapes you can go up to 3dB over Dolby mark in the highest peaks...
     
  3. Boodokhan

    Boodokhan Active Member S2G Supporter

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    Which high end walkman (DC2, DD9, Boodokhan...) can be calibrated??
     
  4. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    Not any of those as no one actually can record...
    The only one portable recorder with calibrating features is the Marantz PMD-430
     
  5. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    Calibrating is something that affects the recording and allows for a very good recording quality. Once recorded, the quality is printed on the magnetic tape and can be enjoyed everywhere without other that adjusting the azimuth.
    No calibration is made on a player. The main calibration is done with the bias, and fine-tuned with rec cal and EQ.
    A bad recorder can play good but usually the opposite is false.
    So I'd say 70% of the perceived quality while playing a cassette is in the recording. Playing it good is more or less "easy". But to make an excellent recording is quite difficult.
     
  6. Boodokhan

    Boodokhan Active Member S2G Supporter

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    Thanks Hugo
    Is there any step by step guide/ link to calibration or how to calibrate a player?
     
  7. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, as I just said in the very text you quoted me: "No calibration is made on a player." "Calibrating is something that affects the recording" ;)
     
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  8. Command8

    Command8 Member

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    Since you are a more experienced user of the D6C, what should i do to get the best recording quality on the D6C? I've seen the record levels and Dolby, but have no idea how to use them, I know i wont be using Dolby NR since i find it troublesome and unreliable at best on my walkmans.
     
  9. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    The D6C is a great performer, but the level meters have pretty low resolution. They don't give you a lot of information, like many deck's does. There is only one LED for -5, 0 and +3 which is not enough for precise adjustment.
    However, if you get used to them you can "read between lines" and adjust them finely enough. As a rough guide, with good chrome tapes you must keep peaks under +3 and with ferric preferably over zero but not higher.

    I mean the highest peaks in the whole song. What counts are really the peaks, not the average level.

    Did you see my video about setting the levels? I think you can get the idea about the importance of the dynamic range and the peaks.
    What is important is to understand that each level has its own saturation level, and you must always keep under it; otherwise you'll cause distortion in the sound. So the highest peak in the music should reach the highest possible recording level for that tape, which approximately is about +1 with ferric, +3 with good chrome and +5 with good metals.
     
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  10. walkman archive

    walkman archive Administrator Staff Member

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    When I mean numeric values like +3, I mean +3 over the real zero mark. The problem is that the vast majority of decks, except Nakamichis don't have a zero which is real zero (which is the Dolby mark, not the zero in the deck's own scale). There were different standards for the zero mark of the scale that caused lots of misunderstanding.
    Here are the three different scales. The D6C seems to have the DIN, with Dolby mark over -1dB, so in practice there's not big difference, even less considering how low is the resolution of its meters.

    escalas-meter-01.png
     

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