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Hearing the music before you hear the music

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  • Hearing the music before you hear the music

    Here's another question relating to the physical sciences, from yours truly. As ever my mind hungers like those of the great masters of the Renaissance, except that unlike that worthy band of ninja turtles I lack the wherewithal to work anything out for myself.

    Has anyone ever noticed that sometimes (usually on headphones), you'll hear a very quiet "ghost version" of the start of a song about 1-2 seconds before it starts? Try it out at a high volume with a song that starts with a big loud brass stab or something.

    I imagine this has something to do with how the needle tracks, perhaps some worthy can explain it to me...

  • #2
    i thought this was answered already? it's tape bleed on the master tape - each layer of tape in the reel starting to magnetise the adjacent layers, but it's most noticeable at the start of the tape when there's no music.
    it think to avoid this reels of tape should be wound to the other end every now and then in storage.

    it's early, so i hope that makes sense...


    • #3
      Hey, cool, that makes perfect sense.

      Not an explanation that would've occurred to me either.



      • #4
        tape print-through is very common on older tape formulations generally, rather than just old tapes, which is a common misconception. for mastering these days, you can use quantegy (ampex) 456 tape which has a low print through, but for some applications it's nice to use the older formulation, 406, which suffers from print-through but has a nice sound to it (and was used on many recordings from the late 60s / early 70s).

        it doesn't matter how well the tapes are stored or how many times you wind the tapes on, certain formulations just suffer from it.