STONE WALL'S HELPFUL HINTS FOR
RECORDING VOCALS TO ACCOMPANIMENT TAPES


If you are planning on singing to an accompaniment tape for your recording project, there are several things you need to know about use of accompaniment tapes for recording purposes.



1. "Tape Hiss" and "Tape Generation Loss": There are two basic formats for recording: analog and digital. Cassette tapes are analog; compact disks ("CD") and digital audio tapes ("Dat") are digital formats. Analog tape machines operate by pulling a plastic tape with magnetic information across a magnetic head. The magnetic head processes the magnetic information and produces the sound. Each time the tape is used, the tape suffers wear and tear as the analog machine's transport pulls the tape from one reel of the tape cartridge, over the magnetic head (friction involved here), to the reel on the other side of the tape cartridge . Over a period of time the tape can fatigue (stretch) and wear out. This fatigue and wearing out of the tape can alter the pitch (tuning) of the music being sung to. Digital formats such as a CD do not have a direct touch of the digital information because CDs use lasers to read the digital information; DAT machines use tape similar to analog but of a higher quality, and thus the tape hiss is greatly reduced. Additionally, the information is in a digital format rather than analog and there is no generation loss as found with analog tapes. Accompaniment tapes, by their very nature, are at lease one generation removed from the original source. If you make a copy of an accompaniment tape, then that is a second generation removed from the original source. Each time the analog tape is pulled across the magnetic head, there is generated a "tape hiss". When an analog tape is recorded, the tape hiss is likewise recorded to the new recording (next generation) of the tape. With each generation of a tape being recorded, the quality of the information is diminished. This is referred to as "generation loss".

2. "Public performance" versus "Recording": Most accompaniment tapes will have copyright notices and language to the effect that they are intended for public performance only and not for recording. Most accompaniment tapes are not available in digital format intentionally so that the work product of the accompaniment tape folks cannot be reproduced in a high quality manner and used in place of live musicians in the recording studio. When digital formats for accompaniment tapes are available, they usually cost over $100.00 per song and normally include a license to record. You are responsible for compliance with all copyright and license laws. See Stone Wall's "Copyright Infringement Notice".

3. "Stone Wall's Procedure/Advise": Stone Wall normally dumps (records) the accompaniment tape to digital format and the musician(s) will then sing and are recorded digitally. Because of the tape hiss and generation loss attributable to analog recordings, especially when compared with the high quality equipment used at Stone Wall Studio, there is often a marked difference in the quality of the recorded track versus the quality of the vocal tract recorded at Stone Wall. Nonetheless, we use our equipment to enhance and clean up, as much as possible depending on the quality of the tape presented, the accompaniment tape. To get the best possible recording, we suggest that you buy a new accompaniment tape(s) of the song(s) you want to record. Make a copy of the original tape to practice singing to. Bring the original accompaniment tape to the studio with you and we will use the best generation to go with your singing.

 
We hope this will help you leave Stone Wall with as good a recording as
possible if you choose to use accompaniment tapes.
Thank You!!!!

NOTE: When a singer uses an accompaniment tape to record a demo or other project, the singer assumes all responsibility for compliance with copyright laws.