28th Oct 2014

The Magic of 2 Inch Tape for Rock Recording

Brent Fitz, drummer for the new Slash recording project featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, gives insight on his day in the studio laying down drum tracks for 17 songs.

He says that the vibe of this record is to keep it simple stating that too much music today is over-analyzed. Even while they are recording, they don't have much to say to each other, the music speaks for them. After 20 years of drumming, Fitz embraces song structure and playing for the song rather than thinking of the fills he can squeeze in.

The group is recording to 2" tape for this record which excites Brent who sees it as a forgotten art form. Slash sought out a specific studio in Los Angeles because of the tape machine that was available.

Mark from X8 Drums also jumped through hoops to record to tape on his band's last EP. We asked him a few questions about tape and how it enhances a recording.


What is it about recording to tape?

In this day and age with everything being digital, recording to tape provides that old analog warmth. What tape does is gives you a type of wamth by putting some natural compression and tape saturation on the audio input. This gives the recording a certain three dimensional quality. Tape also provides a third harmonic which makes the sound fuller.

What types of artists generally seek it out?

Artists seeking a vintage vibe and a vintage character. Not genre specific, it is about the personality of the musician or group.

What's the difference between 2" tape and 1/4" tape?

The difference is literally the size. The width of the tape is either 2" or 1/4". There is also 1" and 1/2" tape. How many tracks you are recording at one time dictates the size tape you need. If you are multi-tracking 16-24 tracks at one time, you will need the 2" tape. In most cases when you are going to basics, you'll likely use 2" tape since all instruments will be recorded with multiple mics. If you were doing overdubs with only one or two mics at a time on one instrument, you could get away with 1/4" or 1/2" tape.

Are you really recording to tape or are you recording through the tape?

You are recording to the tape. The signal is literally getting pressed onto the tape. From there you can transfer to your digital audio workstation.