Reel 2 Reel - bottomless pit of faff, expense and hisssssssss


In theory the CD should be indistinguishable from the original master. But I’d be willing to bet it doesn’t sound as good as the tape.


Convenience over quality
Commercialism over quality
Like truth quality seems to have been sadly relegated in so many areas.

Fuck you Internetdigitaltrumpythirdrate world.


I have a completely untested hypothesis around “hiss” and how a small amount may actually contribute to our subjective enjoyment of any particular recording.

When we listen to live (particularly unamplified) recordings, we are often aware of the ambient details, noise, and room pressurisation in which we listen. The way I would attempt to describe this perceived detail overall is the ‘presence’ band.

A very good live recording, for example, does a good facsimile of this presence band (and hello horns).

Now, a couple of observations flow from this.

Firstly, recordings (and let’s go with classical here) which I would describe as acoustically dead, aren’t that satisfying (subjectively). They can have massive bandwidth, but often a feeling of sterility and uninvolvement, even when well mic’d. These modern recording are delivered on a low noise format - digital.

I feel like the brain has a problem interpreting this, because it’s an artificial soundfield you don’t get in nature. And somehow the ambient details in one’s listening room don’t compensate. This is not a problem with the medium, but with the recording itself.

So on to the point. I often find recordings with a small amount of hiss artificially juice up that presence region, leading to a subjectively pleasing feeling of ambiance and involvement, without feeling distracting (varies from person to person I’m sure).

This works with old and new recordings and may even explain the preference for vinyl (not that it adds ‘hiss’ per se, but it adds some pleasing distortions).


There is this: - some of these sound fantastic.

I’m with @coco in that objectively superior systems are now available, so what is missing now that was present then? I don’t believe it’s just pleasant sounding distortion.


I might try adding some DSP hiss :rofl:


At least one good recording engineer (David R Ferguson) has added hiss to liven recordings


Well there you go. Me and him, we’re the same.


Let me get this straight, the new & modern format that surpasses all others is making digital transcriptions of old tapes? :smiley:


I thought that was what dither was used for.


I suppose if I wanted to choose an extreme (possibly invalid) example to support this, people who have been in anechoic chambers describe the experience as very uncomfortable and unnatural.


That’s digital noise


Also, I don’t think it’s applied in the frequency range or the amplitudes we’re discussing here


From the link:
"The next track may raise some eyebrows, and Ferguson laughed: “Yes, it’s tape hiss. Let me explain that to you! From time to time I use that. It’s subliminal in analogue, and it helps your ears to get used to digital. Tape hiss really helps to disguise edits. Also, when somebody stops singing, the air around them changes. With Johnny singing so softly we left the room sound where we could, but in some cases, when there was leakage, we had to insert silence when he wasn’t singing. Tape hiss helps to mask these things. It’s one of my tricks, and I think most of the tracks on the album have tape hiss on them. This may sound like I’m full of shit, but it seems to work! It really does take the edges off edits. The best way to get tape hiss is to use biased tape, because it sounds different when it’s biased. You find some biased tape, you play it, in my case at 30ips, record a few minutes into your DAW, and bring it up a little bit in the mix.”


I always preferred my home made tapes without dolby noise reduction - sounded lifeless with it on.


It’s carefully designed noise though. The idea is to uncorrelate noise from signal, so that it’s truly random which is subjectively less offensive. Obviously with digital, you’re taking very low levels. Unlike tape.


Probably because your tape heads were misaligned causing high frequency droop.


Tape hiss can sometimes drift into 7.83 Hz region generating Incredible Schumann waves that give you the sense of realism. I’m currently running x2 Schumann generators and I’ve not felt the need to listen to any music this week.


Not even Worlds within Worlds or doesn’t that count?


Along with the generators Worlds within Worlds was violently potent. I felt energized in quite unhealthy ways and needed a nap plus several HCB’s to come down. I’m now just saturated in Schumann and will probably let my record collection go and sell the rest of the kit.


Good work. It appears that Schumann waves and a bit of hiss are all that’s needed anyway. :+1: