How To Listen: Vintage Gear Edition Episode 1: Tape Machines

Pro Video

01h 02min


For many years, tape machines have been coveted as the key to many colorful words associated with the sound of analog recording.

In the latest entry to our How To Listen Series, Fab Dupont and Chris Mara (producer, engineer, and owner of the Nashville based recording studio, "Welcome To 1979") sit down with a Mara Machines JH-110 1/4" and 1/2" machine to run multiple mixes through them for the purpose of quantifying the sound of printing mixes to tape.

The examples chosen for the video represent a wide array of musical genres to help identify which format; digital, 1/2" or 1/4" tape; might be best for each piece of music.

In this video, you will:

  • Learn What tape machines do to your music
  • Learn How to align 1/4" and 1/2" tape machines
  • Compare a digital mix to a 1/4" and 1/2" print from tape machines
  • Hear the effects of 1/4" and 1/2" tape machines on a variety of genres of music, and learn how to choose the best format for your music.

Pay attention! There will be a quiz at the end of the video to test your listening skills and see if you can identify the sound of each format on the songs heard in the video.

This is a chance to quantify all of the characteristics you hear about analog tape’s effect on music for yourself as Chris Mara and Fab Dupont print demonstrate, explain, and give you tips on what to listen for to learn the sound of tape.

Equipment & Software


  • Mara Machines JH-110


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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is a Grammy winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has been nominated for Grammys 6 times, including two Latin Grammys and has received many other accolades around the world, including Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards and US independent music awards.


David Crosby

Queen Latifah

Jennifer Lopez

Mark Ronson

Les Nubians

Toots And The Maytals

What do you have to say?
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Jimi Lloyd-Wyatt
2019 Sep 16
Hey Fab, great vid man. Any chance you could do a video showcasing the advantages of each format where they play to their own strengths? Chris eluded to the idea that different results were possible from either machine at a different speeds. I felt like because everything was matched that the 1/2" was left a little wanting and this test suited the 1/4" more especially as the return level of the 1/2" seemed to be a touch lower. It would be great to hear the two machines pushed until they both start to work really hard. Thanks for the education!
2019 Sep 14
This is awesome!
2019 Sep 13
Have worked in this room a couple of times now. SUPER COOL. Tracked fiddle in the room with the LEGIT player piano! :)
2019 Sep 13
I have enjoyed this very much I used those two machines every day for several years to create masters and mixes on. They were very stable and easy to work with. Although editing could get messy if you had dull blades and "undo" was a bit tedious.
2019 Sep 13
Absolutely loved this video! Can't wait for more. Thank you!
2019 Sep 13
Fantastic training! Fantastic concept! Looking forward to episode 2
2019 Sep 13
These episodes are going to be awesome!!
2019 Sep 13
PURE brilliance. Thank you Fab!
2019 Sep 12
Absolutely FABulous! I pretty much missed all the quizz but anyway I learned a lot about tape machines. I'll do some testing with my tape emulation plugins to see if I can improve my listening ability and then use tape emulation plugins more efficiently. Thanks Chris and thanks Fab!