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Kilian_Leon

How to produce Tapes for my band in a total DIY way

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I've been told that some bands do their own tapes and then they sell them on bandcamp but I dont know how to put your music into tape.

Don't know what equipment I need or anything.

Another question I have related to that is that if its worth the effort and the money. I dont care if I dont make money at all but I also dont want to spend alot of money and effort if these tapes don't sell.

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At the very least you need a good-quality recording deck in good working order, which can be a problem these days since most of the high-end consumer gear is decades old. Lots of little moving parts equals lots of different ways for things to fail. I haven't dealt with any of the currently available new consumer-level tape decks to judge their quality, but I wouldn't waste money on a knockoff brand. Keep in mind that even if you find a good deck, you'll still be making these one at a time, unless you invest in a real duplication machine that can run a few copies at once.

Then there's the cassette tape itself - the actual tape inside the shell. You can look around on forums for better/more information than I can give you, but it seems to me like high quality tapes are getting harder and harder to find. Normal-bias cassette tape is ok, but brightness/clarity/overall fidelity compared to the source material (in my experience) is inconsistent and somewhat lacking at best. 

One of my bands is actually dealing with this very issue right now and it's been a shitshow. Our first duplicator did a terrible job and had no quality control; the tapes were unusable and the company wound up refunding us. The second company did much better overall, but doing a quick spot check this morning, two tapes out of the six that I had time to check were faulty. And this, I stress, is coming from a "real" company with "real" equipment. The kicker for us is that our release show is tomorrow night.

All of this is on top of the other pitfalls that tapes are subject to, especially fragility and loss of fidelity over time. In my opinion tapes are a waste. They can definitely sound pretty good, if the stars align in your favor, and it's neat being able to record and listen with that kind of spontaneity, but no amount of nostalgia or glorification of physical media makes it worth the hassle for me.

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1 hour ago, FatherAlabaster said:

At the very least you need a good-quality recording deck in good working order, which can be a problem these days since most of the high-end consumer gear is decades old. Lots of little moving parts equals lots of different ways for things to fail. I haven't dealt with any of the currently available new consumer-level tape decks to judge their quality, but I wouldn't waste money on a knockoff brand. Keep in mind that even if you find a good deck, you'll still be making these one at a time, unless you invest in a real duplication machine that can run a few copies at once.

Then there's the cassette tape itself - the actual tape inside the shell. You can look around on forums for better/more information than I can give you, but it seems to me like high quality tapes are getting harder and harder to find. Normal-bias cassette tape is ok, but brightness/clarity/overall fidelity compared to the source material (in my experience) is inconsistent and somewhat lacking at best. 

One of my bands is actually dealing with this very issue right now and it's been a shitshow. Our first duplicator did a terrible job and had no quality control; the tapes were unusable and the company wound up refunding us. The second company did much better overall, but doing a quick spot check this morning, two tapes out of the six that I had time to check were faulty. And this, I stress, is coming from a "real" company with "real" equipment. The kicker for us is that our release show is tomorrow night.

All of this is on top of the other pitfalls that tapes are subject to, especially fragility and loss of fidelity over time. In my opinion tapes are a waste. They can definitely sound pretty good, if the stars align in your favor, and it's neat being able to record and listen with that kind of spontaneity, but no amount of nostalgia or glorification of physical media makes it worth the hassle for me.

Since you have a band could you explain me the process of talking to a label and asking for working with them for CDs?

I tried to do that several times and they always ask for crazy quantities of money and I think that shouldn't be like that because I am trying to sell them my music for them to make CDs on their label not make CDs to sell them by myself, I can do that with fucking Kunaki you know hahahah

Also thanks alot for the tapes info, very useful!

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5 hours ago, Kilian_Leon said:

Since you have a band could you explain me the process of talking to a label and asking for working with them for CDs?

I tried to do that several times and they always ask for crazy quantities of money and I think that shouldn't be like that because I am trying to sell them my music for them to make CDs on their label not make CDs to sell them by myself, I can do that with fucking Kunaki you know hahahah

Also thanks alot for the tapes info, very useful!

You definitely shouldn't work with a "label" that wants to charge you to put your own music out. If you're funding it then the only thing they're offering is their connections for distribution and promo. You'd be better off hiring a PR company at that point. As far as finding a "real" label, I wish I had some good advice for you, but I'm not any kind of promotions expert. I'm lucky that a couple of small labels have seen fit to put out music by a couple of bands I've been involved with, and I'm lucky to have found a few reviewers who seem to genuinely enjoy some of what I've done. The only way things have ever come together for me is by making personal connections with people in local scenes and online communities.

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On 5/24/2019 at 10:09 AM, FatherAlabaster said:

At the very least you need a good-quality recording deck in good working order, which can be a problem these days since most of the high-end consumer gear is decades old. Lots of little moving parts equals lots of different ways for things to fail. I haven't dealt with any of the currently available new consumer-level tape decks to judge their quality, but I wouldn't waste money on a knockoff brand. Keep in mind that even if you find a good deck, you'll still be making these one at a time, unless you invest in a real duplication machine that can run a few copies at once.

Then there's the cassette tape itself - the actual tape inside the shell. You can look around on forums for better/more information than I can give you, but it seems to me like high quality tapes are getting harder and harder to find. Normal-bias cassette tape is ok, but brightness/clarity/overall fidelity compared to the source material (in my experience) is inconsistent and somewhat lacking at best. 

One of my bands is actually dealing with this very issue right now and it's been a shitshow. Our first duplicator did a terrible job and had no quality control; the tapes were unusable and the company wound up refunding us. The second company did much better overall, but doing a quick spot check this morning, two tapes out of the six that I had time to check were faulty. And this, I stress, is coming from a "real" company with "real" equipment. The kicker for us is that our release show is tomorrow night.

All of this is on top of the other pitfalls that tapes are subject to, especially fragility and loss of fidelity over time. In my opinion tapes are a waste. They can definitely sound pretty good, if the stars align in your favor, and it's neat being able to record and listen with that kind of spontaneity, but no amount of nostalgia or glorification of physical media makes it worth the hassle for me.

I cannot agree with this enough.

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