Tape vs Digital

We have recently recorded one of our bands rehearsals with a few dedicated microphones to get a better sound than with the Zoom H1 which we are normally using. We had one large condenser mic for the drums, one shure sm57 for both guitar amps and a DI box from Atelier der Tonkunst for the bass, recorded through a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 into Reaper.

We had a few nice ideas for new songs which were recorded and later mixed by me. Then I thought I will do something special and record one of those jams onto a compact cassette via a ONKYO Integra TA-6711 tapedeck just to see how it would sound.

I connected the tapedeck to my Focusrite interface, recorded the song straight from Reaper onto a Sony chrome cassette and then recorded it back into reaper from the cassette.

I tried to match the two resulting files in average loudness (RMS) and would like to know if people can figure out which is which by just listening to the two versions, without looking at the waveforms because that would give it away I guess. Just try to listen to it back and forth. Personally I was surprised how close both versions are and have doubts whether I could tell them apart on cheap headphones.

So remember, its just a rehearsal room jam – not a finished song, right? Here are the two 24bit/48kHz aiff files for you. Let me know in the comments which one you think is which and I will resolve it in a few days:


Bonus Question: Which one do you like better?

Click Here for the Solution

9 thoughts on "Tape vs Digital"

  1. robert says:

    I think version A is the cassette recording and version B is the digital recording. Version A has some extra noise and sounds flatter in some parts. Or maybe it’s just my imagination. 🙂

  2. Audiphil says:

    A ist Tape

  3. Tobi says:

    Uhm both sound great… I think I prefer A.

    1. Andreas says:

      I think A is the Tape. It sounds a bit duller.
      High notes of the guitar or the hi-hats are a bit crisper in B.

      Nevertheless its detectable only in comparison.
      I like B a bit better.

  4. Süppchen says:

    I prefer B because of the crispness. A must be the tape. 😉

  5. Gregoa says:

    A klingt wärmer. Aber ist auch sehr schwer zu unterscheiden, ziemlich leise gemastert deine Aufnahme. Zumindest kommt trotz voll aufgedrehter Regler auf dem X200 nicht soviel raus auf die DT 770.
    Daher sehr marginal die Unterschiede. Ich meine es an einer gewissen Weichheit (Nachhall) bei A erkennen zu können.

    1. Gregoa says:

      Aäh, ja A wäre demnach das Tape (-;

  6. Tom says:

    Schätze A ist Tape…mehr Oberwellen.
    (Hatte mal einen auf der Bühne stehen, der mit der Gitarre in ein Tapedeck gespielt hat, so laut dass es übersteuerte. Das ‘Hinterbandsignal’ von der Endloskasette ging dann ins Mischpult. Das Tapedeck war quasi sein ‘Verzerrer’. 🙂 Er mochte den Sound- was soll man da machen!)

  7. Julian says:

    Hey, what a nice test! Here are the spectra of both files:

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