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07/25/16 at 13:00:59 


1  AUDIO FORUMS / General Discussion and Support / Re: Why would a DAC have a volume control?
 on: Today at 12:10:24 
Started by Matchstikman | Post by Lon
Look up Steve's articles about "riding the gain." With the amps' input controls, preamps in DACs and other preamps you have three volume controls to play with and experience the sound changes.

That said my DAC has a preamp and it works marvelously (it should the darned thing was so expensive); I actually use this into the amp directly and prefer that sound to the Decware preamp added in the chain. So I have my amp all the way up and control volume on the DAC for most of my listening, and love the sound. And the DAC has a remote for volume, source switching, phase reversal, and balance (and the remote also controls my P10 power regenerator).

2  AUDIO FORUMS / Music / Re: What's spinning?
 on: Today at 09:59:05 
Started by Lon | Post by Luis

3  AUDIO FORUMS / Analog Tape Forum / Re: Places that produce NEW analog master tapes
 on: Today at 07:01:24 
Started by Steve Deckert | Post by Steve Deckert
Killer find!  Thank you!

4  AUDIO FORUMS / Analog Tape Forum / Re: Master Tape versus 180g Vinyl versus Blu Ray Audio
 on: Today at 06:35:09 
Started by peter2727 | Post by Steve Deckert
Hi peter2727,

Welcome to the forum!  And thanks for joining our new family of tape lovers! Your question is a great one, and even before I got into Reel to Reel tape I took my best CD's and transferred them to metal cassette tape on a simple AKAI machine and the playback from cassette was quite a bit better sounding than the CD player even though I didn't know specifically why, I intuitively knew it was the mechanical process of the tape format and the preamp circuit in the Akai that was responsible.. That was in the 1980's and the CD players I used at the time were a top end Denon and a Sony ES player. The Denon was warmer, the Sony had better detail and imaging.

I consider this a fairly extreme example, because you're taking a reasonably sub par source and making it sound considerably better. No loss of detail whatsoever, no veil, no insertion losses, just better sounding playback.

Since that time, and in particular after recently getting into Reel to Reel I've had to learn how they work in an effort to align my machines, which took about a year.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of tape machines is the fact that you can't just lay down a recording on tape with a varying magnetic field of the recording like you would think... instead you have to create an oscillator which works at a high frequency well above the audio band, to assumably excite or break loose and randomize the iron oxide particles on the tape. Picture them all dancing in circles as a result of the strong oscillating magnetic field, and then the music is laid down on top of that determining where the iron oxide particles stop (magnetically point)... which is your recording.

This oscillation has to be adjusted or aligned for each tape head. This alone means that there is a window of adjustment which will effect results.... aka alter the sound signature of the recording either closer or farther away from your intent. This is of course an opportunity for magic to happen (or disaster).

The point to all of this is simply that beyond the flavoring you can get from different types of tape, and different bias settings for those tape types, the osicllation mechanism that drives the ability for the tape head to lay down a recording on tape could well be the illusive missing link to the magic of tape. I believe it is in part capable of re-animating music beyond the actual source.  

I have as part of the learning curve I inflicted myself with, figured out how to make all but the very best sounding tapes sound better upon duplication. Turns out there is quite an art to it. You first listen to the recording and assess it's weaknesses. Then you pick a tape formulation that will best serve your intent. After everything is set up you do multiple dry runs where you find the best sounding levels using dynamics as an indicator. You monitor everything you do live in reference grade headphones (not speakers) and as a part of those test runs, which you erase and repeat several times, you adjust the record bias by ear. What happens as you make tiny adjustments in bias, is that you unlock a transparency and immediacy that was not there before.  It's a magical experience to hear.  By half way through the tape, you'll have the perfect setting of the record bias which will dumb down or excite the actual recording signal.  You now have the levels and the record bias adjusted perfectly for the recording so you rewind the tape, and in my case bulk erase the tape on a 19 amp tape eraser to completely remove your test tracks down to as far as I can measure which is -90dB... basically jet black x 2.

I know of no other medium that can do this kind of surgical extraction of the music's intent without penalty because there is no jitter, and absolutely perfect time, no oversampling, no quantization, no smearing, just rock perfect absolute phase across the recording, so far as I can tell from listening to the results and this is what we love about tape, the timing is perfect, even if you raise or lower the speed, i.e.., pitch!  This is because timing is relative.  

This winter I plan to follow Mr. Pong's lead with custom tube recording chain, and that will make everything I just babbled even more better Wink

So to summarize, with a reel to reel that you can easily adjust (I would recommend the Otari MX-5050 series to start with) the tape bias on, it would be easy to make your best LP's sound better and expand the dynamic range while doing so.  Literally, it is like an archeological dig where you find the hidden room with the actual source and can then extract it into reality... music hidden within itself.

-Steve  :)

5  AUDIO FORUMS / General Discussion and Support / Movie; Miles Ahead
 on: Today at 05:26:46 
Started by Matchstikman | Post by Matchstikman
This is a snippet of Miles Davis' life when some clever ways of looking into his past.  It sounds like it would be good.  Well, I thought it would be.  But, it wasn't.

If you are a Miles Davis' fan it is not worth a watch.

Ok, you've been told.

6  AUDIO FORUMS / Analog Tape Forum / Re: Ampex 351 R2R
 on: Today at 05:08:07 
Started by ecx123 | Post by Steve Deckert
Hi exc123 and welcome to the forum and extended Decware family!  Sorry I didn't spot this sooner but I took a week to enjoy some lake time in Minnesota and just arrived home tonight... decompressing with a beer and a peek at the forum after a 12 hour drive.

Congrats on the Ampex 351!  To answer your question, you can hook the ZP3 with tape mod up to the Playback head on your Ampex. You'll have to unhook the playback head cable from the back of each preamp and connect it to the ZP3's RCA jacks. That will of course require a custom adapter or refitting the cables with a male RCA jack. The Ampex preamps can continue to be used for recording.

Please keep us posted about your new toy!  It's a legendary tape machine.


7  AUDIO FORUMS / General Discussion and Support / Re: UFO on ZMA?
 on: Today at 04:53:07 
Started by tes | Post by stone_of_tone
No worries Match. I did not mean to come off as harsh. Keep the inquires coming/appreciated.

I read you. I'm a list maker. My short term is getting worse and my sugar, BP and cholesterol....all getting worse. The chickens have also come home to roost....cervical spinal stenosis....car accident when I was a kid/bad one.

I just wake up each day and be a decent human being.

 on: Today at 04:23:10 
Started by metropolis7 | Post by metropolis7

Anyone try this?
The ZOBs are said to work with amps down to 2 watts, and the Taboo 3 is a little more comfortable with 8 ohm speakers like the ZOB.
Good idea? Bad idea? Not particularly ideal? Advice please!

9  AUDIO FORUMS / General Discussion and Support / Re: Can What We Hear Defy Theory?
 on: Today at 04:18:19 
Started by Blueone302 | Post by TubeNube
OK, thanks Lin, I'll check it out.

10  AUDIO FORUMS / General Discussion and Support / Re: PS Audio about to ...
 on: Today at 04:15:01 
Started by beowulf | Post by TubeNube
Ok, thanks Lon. I'll check it out.