8 Track Recorder

Hi All

I have some material which was recorded on an an old 8 Track tape recorder which is about 30 plus years old. I would like to transfer this material to cubase 7. As the 8 track only has a stereo out, can anyone suggest the best method of transefering the content.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Many thanks


It would be helpful if you specify the make and model, so people can assess whether the tape would be playable on a machine they own, which may have individual outputs. They could then transfer the material for you.

Your location (country and area) would also help. Someone may be near enough to assist in person.

One (long winded) way you could transfer into Cubase using your machine is to play each track in isolation (assuming that’s possible) then time align them in Cubase.

Or you can do it in four passes by panning each track hard left and right 1 L 2 R, 3 L 4 R etc.

And just hope it can align well once done!

Split, if you do it this way…

then you can easily and accurately align the various passes using the same 1L data.
Takes a huge amount of time to load in, and creates a lot of extra files, but it is the most
fool proof method short of having 8 discrete outputs.


Great idea, but still no guarantee it’ll all lock well, spose it depends on how long the tape is?
But at least you’d know where it drifts.

Steve, if you’ve not done that sort of thing before it can seen odd, but basically with an 8 track (recorder) with stereo out you can only transfer two tracks at a time, where one track is panned hard left and the other hard right thus creating two mono outs as it were.

The problem occurs when transferring multiple tracks (8) the tracks will drift next to each other over time (the longer the transfer the more the drift) especially from say 8 track cassette or even analogue reel to reel.

So using say track 1 as a reference timing track on each pair 1,2 1,3 1,4 etc. will provide a timing track to check where the drift is occurring at any point in the transfer.

The slight downside to transferring 8 times 1,2 1,3 1,4 verses 4 times 1,2 3,4 5,6 etc is that you now have 8 tracks that have varied randomly rather than 4 pseudo (stereo) tracks, the positive being that each track using the 8 times transfer has a reference.

Hope that makes sense?

This just hit me …I had a 246 porta studio and recorded a session , really an interview with my 4 year old daughter, at 2x cassette speed. Of course now that I no longer have the recorder…can I load these two tracks into Cubase and then control the speed of playback using the time control in Cubase?
She’s now 32 and married…it would be great to give this to her.
Forgive my limited exposure to these features

Yes, probably…

Depends what tracks you recorded onto, a normal cassette is 4 tracks, 2 on one side and 2 on the other
A 4 track like the 246 is 4 tracks all going the same way i.e. on one side.
So if for instance you had all four tracks recorded from the 246, when played back in a normal cassette you’d be able to play 2 tracks back at half speed the correct direction and turn the cassette over and get the other two tracks back but backwards!

So depending, you could transfer the audio over and double the speed and/or reverse the results accordingly.

Well there is another project set up for this week, I hope it works out and thank you.

See, I told you that we think alike…kid interviews are very funny at times…especially your own.

Thats a good question . I also have a 3" reel to reel tape of my grandfather and myself ( age 8 ) playing guitars on our porch in 1961. 40 years ago, I tried to play it back and some how, it might have gotten twisted, upside down or backwards …as when I tried it again in 2002, it did sound odd, I would love to get that up and running as well as it still has audio on it.

From the perspective of the parent, The kids on the other hand don’t find it amusing when you play it for their friends later especially if it’s a girlfriend or boyfriend. :unamused: :blush:
Both my boys (now 25 and 30) are musicians one a drummer the other a guitarist. I’ve got some old tape of them playing and singing before they actually learned. One day when they’re “rich and famous” :laughing: I’ll spring it on them, it will be worth a fortune. :mrgreen:

Yes it does along with a truckload of other audio functions - even better is Wavelab. :wink:

Heck yeah… Ive got 7 and 10" reel to reel tapes of parties when we were 18 doing evil deeds of all kinds. I only wish there were video cameras like there are today… OH BOY !

Every version of Cubase including the light versions (at least since VST), plus every light version of Wavelab I’ve ever had, has this function. :wink:

I’ve never seen an 8-track recorder, though I assume there must have been. As the cassette uses an endless loop technique, I’d imagine there would have been the danger of overrecording stuff.

You might actually be glad (count yer lucky stars) there weren’t back then or … well there was Super-8 - I’ve still got a complete home Super-8 studio complete with camera, title kit, editor, splicer, projector - the works…:laughing: