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Hearing Music Before The Music

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Hi Guys, since I received the RAAL-requisite SR1a headphones and I've been listening to some Three Blind mice jazz, I've really noticed (more than usual) that I'm hearing music before the music is played. Yes, this sounds crazy but bare with me. 

 

For example, on the track Stella by Starlight from the Terumasa Hino Quintet's Live! album (TBM-17), there is clearly audible trumpet playing a second or two before the actual notes come through at full volume. It's like the recording is in the control room but the sound is coming through the glass before it travels through the soundboard. I know this is a primitive explanation, but I'm at a loss. I've heard something similar on Shelby Lynne's Tears Lies and Alibis. 

 

Can anyone shed light on what this is? Why this happens?

 

@astrotoy do you have any idea? I've heard it's related to recording on tape and think you might know (fingers crossed).

 

Here is the track I'm talking about, but it isn't the TBM version and it's YouTube quality. 

 

 


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1 minute ago, Speedskater said:

Analog tape recordings sometimes have bleed-thru problems like this.

So it's actually recored to the tape and it goes through to another "layer" of the tape? One would think this would create an echo effect after the initial playing of the instrument, not before it. But, as I said, I have no clue. 

 

Thanks!


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4 minutes ago, Kal Rubinson said:

When wound, each recorded portion affects both adjacent layers, the one wound inside it and the one wound outside it. Perhaps more if left tightly wound for very long periods of time.  

Wow. Thanks!


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1 hour ago, Kal Rubinson said:

When wound, each recorded portion affects both adjacent layers, the one wound inside it and the one wound outside it. Perhaps more if left tightly wound for very long periods of time.  

 

yes, there's a name of this - IIRC it's called print-thru

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3 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

When wound, each recorded portion affects both adjacent layers, the one wound inside it and the one wound outside it. Perhaps more if left tightly wound for very long periods of time.  

 

With the latest comments, how does this post stack up?  There will always be a layer of tape on the inside, and a layer outside. any point in the tape - what makes the print through occur in only one direction, if that indeed is what happens?


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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

what makes the print through occur in only one direction, if that indeed is what happens?

It doesn't although it may not be the same in both directions.


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3 minutes ago, astrotoy said:

Print through occurs primarily (overwhelmingly) on one side of the tape.  Tape has two sides.  One side is coated with iron oxide - that is the side which faces the inside of the reel and faces the heads of the tape recorder and can record music by lining up the iron oxide particles with the record head of the tape recorder. The other side is usually coated with a protective non magnetic coating (so called coated tapes which have been the norm for professional tapes for decades).  When tape is tightly wound and stored the inside oxide side of the tape can pick up the magnetic field of the tape that lies below it.  Since there is no oxide on the other side of the tape, the coated side, that side acts as a protective buffer against picking up the magnetic field from the tape that lies above it and there is little or no effect.  That is why if you play the wrong side of the tape, the signal is very weak. 

 

When the head side (where the tape starts) is at the outside of the reel, the tape has no signal recorded on it, that is, it is quiet for the first few seconds of the tape playback. If the tape has been tightly wound and stored so that the tape layers are in very close contact, the tape may have picked up the signal of the music lying in the layer below it, so that when played back there is a "pre-echo" a faint playing of the music a couple of seconds before the music actually starts.  A professional reel is about 10 inches in diameter (circumference is about 30 inches - 3.14 x 10).  The speed of the tape is 15ips - so the layer above comes across the tapehead about 2 seconds before the layer below - hence the pre-echo occuring about 2 seconds before the music starts.  Since the print through signal is at a much lower level than the music, one can only hear it when there is otherwise silence.  In an album with several songs and a few second gap before each song, the pre-echo can be heard in the silence - with a slightly shorter delay the further into the reel one goes. 

 

If the tape is properly left tails out after playing and not wound tightly, then there is both less print through since the layers are not so tightly packed and the echo is a post-echo, buried in the music, with the same delay, but with a much lower volume.  It is possible that you might hear a post echo at the very end of the tape, but then the music is usually fading out and the signal is getting weaker and any post echo is difficult to hear. 

 

So in the case of Chris' files, my presumption is that the tapes used to make the files had some pre-echo from improper storage.  The pre-echo was captured by the digital transfer and not edited out, resulting in the sounds Chris hears.  BTW, if you have four track stereo tapes, sometimes one can hear a faint signal of the sound of the adjacent tracks (for example tracks 2 and 4 when you are playing tracks 1 and 3). They are much fainter and running backwards to the tracks you are playing.  They typically are noticeable when the passage your\ are playing is very quiet and the opposing tracks are very loud (much like hearing your neighbor's children practicing the drums or trumpet in the adjoining apartment.)

 

Any professionals or other knowledgeable folks please correct anything in my post.

 

Larry

Wow, thank you so much Larry. 


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11 minutes ago, astrotoy said:

When tape is tightly wound and stored the inside oxide side of the tape can pick up the magnetic field of the tape that lies below it.  Since there is no oxide on the other side of the tape, the coated side, that side acts as a protective buffer against picking up the magnetic field from the tape that lies above it and there is little or no effect. 

 

Forgive me for being obtuse, but I still can't register why the "protective buffer" is one-way in its action - is it a special material in its behaviour in this regard?


Frank

 

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2 hours ago, John Dyson said:

Digital print-through doesn't happen for a few reasons -- one is that digital tape is more difficult to record/erase so changing the bits is pretty difficult (also the encoding isn't amenable to print thorugh.)   The other reason is that since the signal is digital, a mutual interfernece, if it really did happen, would be error corrected.

The encoding methods just dont add/subtract with each other in the same way as analog.

On analog tape, the signal only has to be modified a little bit to be noticeable, but digital signals are usually more "sticky" and need more gross, large scale changes to be noticeable.

 

John

 

how about the ghost orchestral music in Gould's 1981 digital recording of the Goldberg ; where does it come from ?


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An interesting and informative thread.

 

I’ve noticed the same phenomenon in the lead in to certain (analogue) LP tracks.  Up till now I thought it was maybe a pressing fault or possibly anti-skate being out, but from the above I presume it was most likely a fault on the master tape?

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3 hours ago, Le Concombre Masqué said:

how about the ghost orchestral music in Gould's 1981 digital recording of the Goldberg ; where does it come from ?

I would have to see information on the entire signal chain to figure out that one.   All I know is that digital tape, by virtue of the fact that the material is recorded in an encoded form that such interference, if big enough to interfere, would not manifest as echo, but instead would be a full-on error, possibly would be corrected up to a point.  After correction failure, then it would be a glitch -- and would seldom happen.

 

It is possible that such a digital recording might have been stored for some time on analog, or ther could have been other things going on in the signal path.   Early on, stuff wasn't always 100% digital.   Also, however unlikely, an LP is more likely to create echo than any reasonable digital tape scheme itself.

When commenting on this question, my answer was a very narrow, specific answer ONLY about digital tape.  The signal paths can be more complex than just the digital tape.

 

John

 

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Not having seen a response yet that clarified the value of the tails out storage, I did some further digging, and found this very informative bulletin, http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/3mtape/printthrough.pdf.

 

In particular, this explained the reason clearly,

 

Quote

Normally, the outer layers of tape from the printing signal will receive more print-through than the inner layers, since the signal must reach the top of the oxide coating to be noticeable. To reach the top surface of an outer layer of tape, that signal's magnetic field needs only to pass through the base material. To reach the top surface of an inner layer of tape, it must pass through both the base material and the oxide. So by storing tape tails out, the strongest print-through will be postprint

 

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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12 hours ago, John Dyson said:

Digital print-through doesn't happen for a few reasons -- one is that digital tape is more difficult to record/erase so changing the bits is pretty difficult (also the encoding isn't amenable to print thorugh.)   The other reason is that since the signal is digital, a mutual interfernece, if it really did happen, would be error corrected.

The encoding methods just dont add/subtract with each other in the same way as analog.

On analog tape, the signal only has to be modified a little bit to be noticeable, but digital signals are usually more "sticky" and need more gross, large scale changes to be noticeable.

 

John

 

That’s pretty much what I figured. I have limited experience recording on digital tape. In the early Eighties, I recorded using a modified Sony digital encoder to a Beta VCR, but I went to DAT as soon as possible and then to HDD and Solid State memory with a Korg MR-2000 and a Korg MR1. I’ve never heard any digital print through, and figured that it wouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for the info John.


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8 hours ago, fas42 said:

Not having seen a response yet that clarified the value of the tails out storage, I did some further digging, and found this very informative bulletin, http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/3mtape/printthrough.pdf.

 

In particular, this explained the reason clearly,

 

8 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Thanks for the article.  Explains things very well.  I didn't know that rewinding before playing (necessary when the tapes are stored tails out) dissipates much of the print through, even though it is buried in the music.  I just started playing my 1/2" safety master of Kind of Blue.  No pre echo that i could hear.  

 

Larry


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I've heard it on lots of LPs starting back it th '70s. While I think it's only on a minority of the recordings, it wasn't a tiny minority.

The pre-echo is probably more audible simpliny because it's has no other 'musical' sound at the same time. The post echo would be masked in almost every instance.

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1 hour ago, Skip Pack said:

I've heard it on lots of LPs starting back it th '70s. While I think it's only on a minority of the recordings, it wasn't a tiny minority.

The pre-echo is probably more audible simpliny because it's has no other 'musical' sound at the same time. The post echo would be masked in almost every instance.

I think that pre-echo on LPs has a different source. The first couple of grooves in a record “cut” are not modulated - in other words, silent. But when the music starts, the groove modulation can actually distort the adjacent un-modulated grooves. The distortion disappears from the subsequent grooves because the cutting stylus “erases” as it cuts the next groove.


George

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