Originally Posted by con struct
Do any of you have any idea what it takes to keep a top of the line analogue tape recorder clean and up to spec? Digital makes it so you don't need to do any of that. Also, your music is safer in the digital format and will not degrade over time, which is what happens to reels of analogue tape, not to mention generation loss.
Yea, I've been working with and servicing tape machines for over 45 years and I'm still the tape engineer at one of the studios where I work. Tape machines are not as delicate and unpredictable as most everyone thinks. Azimuth is very critical from edge to edge, but very easy to maintain with higher quality machines. We charge a premium for working with tape primarily because of the current cost of the tape, but still our Studers and Ampex machines are kept very busy. Here at my home studios, I make drum recordings on both analog (15ips) and digital formats and pick the analog sound every single time.
The primary reason for tape breakdown was the introduction of "back coating". This turned out, after many years, to be a thorn in the backsides of both Scotch and Ampex. Most of the early tape formulations without the back coating, such as Scoth 111, are still fine and even today are still being used to make digital copies of material that was recorded more than sixty years ago. No one really knows the life expectancy of our current digital media or processes.
I have to use both, it goes with the territory, but I enjoy using analog because it was instilled into me at a very early age.