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10/23/14 at 09:53:42


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Getting into Tape (Read 5415 times)
Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest this Spring?
Reply #15 - 04/06/14 at 00:39:55
 
So that said, I would like to turn as many of you on to it as want to hear it.  Hence a mini fest in May sounds good to me.

The tape club made me want a tape machine before I ever got one.  The joining thing was a turn off to someone like myself who was just getting into it.  Instead I found a great place in Australia that makes reference grade tapes for sale and I also found a guy in Canada (Mr. Pong) who's presentation and equipment won me over so I purchased one of his tapes.  That was the $300 tape with shipping, but it's new, recorded on the best gear God has to offer and is done live straight to the machine via pure silver wire and interstage transformers all the way.  This tape is so good that you really have to listen to it several times to absorb all the data and emotion.  Then you just want to listen to it again.  It was worth the money.  I'll probably listen to it at least 50 times before I grow used to it.

Here is the link to his site: http://ultraanaloguerecordings.com/wpsite/home/

Additionally, I found but have not yet tried:

http://internationalphonographinc.com/master_tapes.html

http://www.mastertapesoundlab.com/MasterTapeSoundLab/Catalogue.html


After hearing Mr. Pong's tape I know I'll be buying more.  And I'll be listening to the tape so much I'll probably start to wear it out.  This is what the second machine is for.  It's an OTARI MTR-12 that I am working on with the goal of being able to exactly duplicate a master tape without embedding the signature of another type of machine onto it.  That way I can enjoy my tapes without fear of wearing them out, not to mention I would sell many of the master tapes I get from eBay.  

I've already discovered that it's possible to make a copy that sounds better than the original by increasing the dynamic range and so on.  Keeping the transparency from suffering is going to be the real challenge, but even at this early stage the copies are being enjoyed immensely.

Once I get all that to work, and have perfected the record and playback amplifiers I'm designing, I may just get back into recording at which point a second machine is required to create the safety masters.


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Lon
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Re: Mini-Decfest this Spring?
Reply #16 - 04/06/14 at 01:38:42
 
Nice chronicling Steve. I know full well how detail and pace can really take you by surprise using tapes you recorded. I use rehearsal, gig and demo tapes I recorded of two bands I was in in the 'eighties to evaluate components and system changes. Especially in the case of rehearsal tapes I know the players, the room, the mike placement and the tape deck's signatures. . . it can be fascinating to hear them played back.

I won't go this direction with tape even though I know how amazing they can sound. I just wouldn't easily and inexpensively find the material I want to listen to on tape, and I'm picky about what I listen to and there's lots I don't want to listen to. Yes, perhaps I'm a snob although my interests are broad. Luckily thanks to you and Bob I have the heartbeat of a system that allows me to really deeply enjoy cds and records, of which I have so so many, and more coming in it seems every day.
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« Last Edit: 04/06/14 at 01:39:45 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Mini-Decfest this Spring?
Reply #17 - 04/06/14 at 06:06:12
 

Steve, you mentioned that there were some consumer grade decks that you thought would suffice for those of us looking for playback. Any particular models we should be looking at? I'm seriously considering picking up a deck, if I can get a working one for $600 or less.

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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest this Spring?
Reply #18 - 04/06/14 at 17:49:00
 
My second choices for tape decks were:

Studer A807
Teac A 7300
Ampex ATR-700
Teac X 2000M
Otari MX5050
ReVox A700
ReVox PR99
ReVox B77
Technics RS1506

Akai GX 650D

TEAC A 6600
TEAC A 6300

TEAC 35 2B
TEAC X10R

Probably the one I would have gotten was the MX5050 or the ATR-700 as they seem to be the biggest bang for the buck, ranging from 500.00 to 1500.00 on ebay.


Beyond this, you want to look for 1/2 track machines.  That means the machine only plays 2 channels on one side of the tape.   Some machines do both 1/2 track and 1/4 track.  1/4 track, means the machine plays 2 channels on each side of the tape for twice the music, but less resolution.  This btw is almost always mistakingly called 4 track.  4 track is quad, not 1/4 track.  

Also, the machine should play 7.5 IPS and if it plays 15 IPS you can listen to a lot more master tapes since the majority are mastered at 15 IPS.

Most of the machines listed above have switches for both TAPE BIAS and EQ.  Being able to switch between two or more bias settings or at least be able to adjust tape bias while you listen is THE KEY.  Record and Playback EQ are also nice to have, as the combination of these switch settings can MAKE or BREAK the sound of a tape.  Especially master tapes as the formulation of masters is all over the place.  Consumer grade reel to reel tapes with pre-recorded music most popularly configured for 1/4 track machines are likely all the same type of tape, negating the need for bias and eq adjustments.

So if you decide to go consumer grade with 1/4 track and 1/2 track heads try to make sure it has these settings.

Also insist on a close up picture of the heads before buying anything.  If you can't tell what condition the heads are in, e-mail me the picture.

Steve
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« Last Edit: 04/06/14 at 17:53:02 by Steve Deckert »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #19 - 04/07/14 at 04:06:07
 
LOL - thanks Steve. Without even knowing anything about a good reel to reel, the Otari MX5050 is the one that caught my eye.

There is one within 3 hours drive of me I'm trying to work out a deal on. I'd like to hear some master tapes on my ZMA with the MG944 and see what's what!

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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #20 - 04/07/14 at 05:07:23
 
Here's another possibility if you want to just get potentially terrific sound at 7.5 IPS

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MINT-AKAI-M-8-Reel-to-Reel-StereoPhonic-Tape-Recorder-Tu...


My guess is it might actually sound better than the ATR700 I like so much, but the transport would be less friendly.

Gee for 250.00 I might buy it myself.  Crossfield heads are magic.

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #21 - 04/07/14 at 05:14:53
 
Lonely Raven,

I have to say,  since I respect your ears from knowing you since ~ what 1998 or so... to let you hear the  tapes ranging from best to mediocre.... for you to consider a tape machine after only two hours of listening to  ours, I fell a sense of conformation that I'm not just high on tape fumes...

God bless,

Steve
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« Last Edit: 04/07/14 at 05:19:25 by Steve Deckert »  
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #22 - 04/07/14 at 05:23:45
 
There's absolutely no doubt that any MX5050 will be almost indistinguishable from my OTR-10.  
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #23 - 04/07/14 at 15:39:09
 
I think Otari is the only company still making R2R machines. If you have a chance I would go for the MX-5050BIII. This is their latest and reasonably priced used. The BII is also good but older and might be worn out unless they were rebuilt.

On a side note, just watched the movie Frozen over the weekend. At the end after the movie credits they have the main song from the movie playing in different languages. It is recorded in a studio, look in the background. I believe that is an Otari in the background recording.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #24 - 04/07/14 at 16:06:00
 

Steve, the one I'm looking at looks a bit rough, well used. But I might be able to get it for an even trade of some rare CD's that I really don't need...so it might actually work out very inexpensively for me.

Here's the deck and heads.







Another one just popped up that looks better, but I'd have to pay cash, and I'm not sure I'm ready to spend that much right now.

That Akai you posted looks good, but it looks like many of the tapes I'm interested are 15ips.
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #25 - 04/08/14 at 03:55:58
 
@ Lonely Raven ... looks you're going to need a Preamp for sure!
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« Last Edit: 04/08/14 at 03:56:28 by beowulf »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #26 - 04/08/14 at 04:37:29
 
Quote:
@ Lonely Raven ... looks you're going to need a Preamp for sure!


Nah, it's looking like I'm going to have Steve add the balanced inputs on my ZMA. I kinda regret not just having it done right of the bat. Steve says the balanced transformers do something similar to what having a preamp in front of the amp does. So maybe it's what I need to bring my Oppo up to another level, and get this R2R working for me.

If this deal does through on the R2R, then I'll be dropping my ZMA off with Steve the very next week.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #27 - 04/08/14 at 05:40:28
 
Cool LR, I saw this one above...I remember that mark on it. I hope you get it or another one (has to do 7.5 & 15 IPS). Since I just bought the CSP3/April, ZMA/Jan & Kimber Select 3035/Nov (I already had the Kimber 1030 IC).....I need to wait until the Fall. I hope to learn from your experience and Steve's with this ongoing Thread! Thanks Steve for your insight chronicle in Reply #14 and your ongoing information.

LR, I also look forward to reading about Axpona. I hope you an Polamino still plan to go (PS Audio DSDAC).

Steve, cool new Logo!   Wednesday night I should have my Pre in the System if I'm not compelled to stay out on the back Patio at 70 degree's! Wahooooo warm weather!

Also, incredibly cool (Steve wrote in Reply #15): "This is what the second machine is for.  It's an OTARI MTR-12 that I am working on with the goal of being able to exactly duplicate a master tape without embedding the signature of another type of machine onto it.  That way I can enjoy my tapes without fear of wearing them out, not to mention I would sell many of the master tapes I get from eBay".  

I thought that is what the 2nd machine was for!
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« Last Edit: 04/08/14 at 06:12:56 by stone_of_tone »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #28 - 04/08/14 at 22:48:41
 
The heads and tape lifters show a lot of wear.  The lifters can be removed and filed smooth then polished before you play any tapes else you'll have tape particles everywhere.  The record head is pretty bad, the playback head is fair.  Heads can be lapped, but on this model you could probably find an entire head stack and just replace the whole thing.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Mini-Decfest (Tapefest) this Spring?
Reply #29 - 04/09/14 at 01:14:31
 
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