The tape filter

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The tape filter
Heading back in Paul's way back machine to 1968, when I first began working at our local FM radio station, and then a few years later, when I moved up to working with Giorgio Moroder in his 16-track recording studio, the sonic impacts of tape recorders had already become apparent to me.

Despite the fact that both the radio station and Giorgio's studio, Musicland, had state-of-the-art tape recorders made by Ampex and Studer, the filtering effect of tape was unmistakable.

Recording voice or music on an analog tape recorder imparts a softness that is easy to identify. Listen to any older recording, like the classic Miles Davis Kind of Blue, and you'll hear that softening I am referring to. That you-are-there clarity we can now achieve is missing.

It's not that tape recorders have limited dynamic and frequency range where the problem crops up. In fact, I have never been clear on the mechanisms at play in both tape and vinyl.

Both mediums, tape and vinyl have a <em>sound</em> to them that is rather unmistakable. It's not an unpleasant sound. In fact, most audiophiles rather prefer that softening of music.

I wish I understood <em>why</em> these analog mediums sound like they do, but for now, it's going to remain a head-scratcher.

Fortunately, now that we have no need for either analog recording medium, we're finally free of the tape filter and its sound.

I couldn't be happier.
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Paul McGowan

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