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Quantegy? Say What? - EMusician

Quantegy? Say What?

It was one of those Where Were You? moments. In January 2005, Quantegy—the last existing manufacturer of tape—announced that it was shuttering its tape-making ops. Studio jocks were envisioning making payments on machines they could no longer use and hardcore analog heads were calling all over trying to snag most of w
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It was one of those Where Were You? moments. In January 2005, Quantegy—the last existing manufacturer of tape—announced that it was shuttering its tape-making ops. Studio jocks were envisioning making payments on machines they could no longer use and hardcore analog heads were calling all over trying to snag most of what little remained. Irrational exuberance? Or well-placed paranoia? And more importantly, what’s the next step for those for whom an analogless world is no workable option at all?

Producer/engineer JIMMY DOUGLASS [Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Timbaland]: “I am still gonna use the tape I’ve got. All the old reels will be seeing new life. I’ll dump to digital media, and start again...two or three times a reel.”

JACK DANGERS [Father of the breakbeat, Meat Beat Manifesto, Tino Corp.]: “I use my old Revox 2-track to master on for the main reason that it can’t be emulated.”

Mastering engineer EMILY LAZAR [Sonic Youth, Nada Surf, Jeff Buckley]: “The closing of the Quantegy plant is VERY, VERY upsetting to say the least, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed that there will be a revival of sorts. I am most certainly an analog ‘tape head,’ but also have witnessed some digital formats that have come quite a long way! I don’t think that there is a ‘replacement’ for tape per se, but rather that there are now a lot of options out there.”

Musician/producer/remixer BT [Madonna, Seal, N’Sync]: “My fav is recording to a 4-track. I do that all the time. But for live drums, I record ALWAYS to 2" and bounce to 1/4" at 15ips. But to add warmth and color without tape, I use valve gear: Neve pre’s, tube compressors, etc.”

Producer, remixer, and recording artist CARMEN RIZZO [Paul Oakenfold, BT, Seal, Esthero]: “The plug-in I use that helps me feel warm and fuzzy is the ‘Smack’ plug-in—it’s my current favorite. That, and the T-Racks stuff, gives good warmth.”

Supah Engineer DURO [The Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Will Smith] is a serious tape diehard. In serious denial: “It’s tape ‘till the end!!!!!!!!!”

Tape fiend producer, MALCOLM BURN [Daniel Lanois, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris] also seems to be in denial about the end of tape: “It’s not gone, it’s just hiding.”

Producer/remixer/video game soundtrack composer CHRIS VRENNA: “I like processing sounds through pedals and outboard effects. I never wanted or expected any DAW to attempt to ‘sound like tape’. And the new Digidesign HD Accel rig sounds so good and so clean that digital just sounds great.”

Producer JASON SLATER [Queensryche, Twisted Method, Slaves on Dope]: “Without a doubt, the best thing I’ve heard is the Crane Song Phoenix TDM plug-in. It emulates tape compression better than anything I have heard. It adds amazing warmth to bass tracks, kick drums, and vocals. I was very skeptical at first, as I am not a huge fan of compression-type plug-ins on drums, but it has proved to be an amazing tool in a sea of worthless distortion generating ‘emulators.’ It’s a great product. Download the demo and throw it on a bass track and you’ll be sold.”