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Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel (Read 738 times)
pursuitofnow
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Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
07/27/19 at 18:29:57
 
I'm considering purchasing a reel to reel and don't know much about where to start. Would this be a good one? https://www.ebay.com/itm/TECHNICS-RS-1506US-2-4-TRACK-DECK-REEL-TO-REEL-W-ORIGIN...

I would also need to send my zp3 back in to have tape deck mod?
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Thorens VN-150(2M Black)
Decware ZP3-25th > ZSTAGE-25th
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Decware ZTPRE > ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th
Decware SE84UFO3-25th
Omega Super 3 HO XRS, Deep 8
Zenwave D4, ZSTYX, TWL
PI Audio Uberbuss, Digibuss, Mongo
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Geno
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Without music, life
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #1 - 07/28/19 at 04:25:26
 
That is a beautiful machine, that looks to be in wonderful shape. But in my opinion, overpriced.  What is your budget?

I got a Teac several years ago, and have done hours of research on the subject. I have units split into 3 groups depending on how much you want to spend:

1) Buy new - there are some really awesome units currently in production. But they have a pretty hefty price tag - starting about $7000. If you can afford it, this is the way to go, because the heads (3) would be new and probably properly aligned and calibrated. You want one that is 15 ips. This, as Steve says, is the holy grail of music playback.

2) Buy vintage, FULLY RESTORED  -  there are quite a few companies now that sell nice vintage machines that have been restored to like new condition. Oak Tree Vintage is an example of this. You can get a nice player like this starting around $1500.  Otari, Revox, Technics, Tascam, etc are machines in this category. Once again, 15 ips capable.  Just make sure the heads are new or like new. There should be a long list of things done as part of the restoration process.

3) Buy Vintage, unrestored -  This is what I did. I got a Teac in great shape. Got it on the Reverb site for $500. But what I didnít understand was that it would need to be restored. I spent $800 to get it back to spec. Mine is not 15 ips capable, just 3 3/4 and 7 1/2, but I love it.  I buy new reels of tape ($70) and record on it. I love the results.  Also, sometime in the near future, Iíll need to get new heads ($800-$1000)

So you see, you can save money upfront if you by vintage, but ultimately you will probably spend more in the long run than if you had just bought one fully restored to start with.

Good luck,

Geno
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pursuitofnow
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Posts: 380
Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #2 - 07/28/19 at 05:03:22
 
Thanks so much, Geno. Exactly the type of information I was hoping to get. I'll familiarize myself with the options you provided and see where I'm at. Smiley
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Thorens VN-150(2M Black)
Decware ZP3-25th > ZSTAGE-25th
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Decware ZTPRE > ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th
Decware SE84UFO3-25th
Omega Super 3 HO XRS, Deep 8
Zenwave D4, ZSTYX, TWL
PI Audio Uberbuss, Digibuss, Mongo
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Geno
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Without music, life
would be a mistake.
Nietzsche

Posts: 500
Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #3 - 07/28/19 at 06:00:52
 
With you living in California, in the vicinity of big metro areas, you may be able to find a nice one fully restored and ready to use within driving distance.
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SE84UFO-25thMods
PS Audio DSDAC JR
Cambr Audio CXC
ZBIT
ZLC
Lonely Raven Audio PC
Technics PL 1210MK5-KAB Mods-Soundsm.Carmen MKII
ZP3-25thMods
Zstage
Teac A-3300SR R2R
Caintuck Audio Betsy Baffles & Lii Audio Crystal 10 Baffles
(2) 12" Bass Baff
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Geno
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Without music, life
would be a mistake.
Nietzsche

Posts: 500
Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #4 - 07/30/19 at 02:05:04
 
Pursuit,

This is a great example of what youíre looking for:

https://reverb.com/item/25936422-otari-mx-5050-bil2-silver-black-in-excellent-co...
ndition?gclid=Cj0KCQjwsvrpBRCsARIsAKBR_0Il_w3kQ25SPZgL8Yi-QzJ0smzFUoWgQ1mDEftvlf
SlW0TbuqwzlTMaAk1wEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&merchant_id=120322306&pla=1&utm_campaign
=672877369&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google
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SE84UFO-25thMods
PS Audio DSDAC JR
Cambr Audio CXC
ZBIT
ZLC
Lonely Raven Audio PC
Technics PL 1210MK5-KAB Mods-Soundsm.Carmen MKII
ZP3-25thMods
Zstage
Teac A-3300SR R2R
Caintuck Audio Betsy Baffles & Lii Audio Crystal 10 Baffles
(2) 12" Bass Baff
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pursuitofnow
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Posts: 380
Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #5 - 07/30/19 at 05:10:01
 
Thanks for sharing, Geno! I was just reading up on the Otari MX-5050 and the Technics RS1500 series over on https://tapeproject.com/machines/. The upgrades over at https://bottlehead.com/product-category/kits/reel-to-reel/ look to be a good value as well.
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Thorens VN-150(2M Black)
Decware ZP3-25th > ZSTAGE-25th
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Decware ZTPRE > ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th
Decware SE84UFO3-25th
Omega Super 3 HO XRS, Deep 8
Zenwave D4, ZSTYX, TWL
PI Audio Uberbuss, Digibuss, Mongo
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JVR
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #6 - 08/18/19 at 05:09:07
 
I just bought a similar (RS-1506) machine for about $1,500. I have sent to J-Corder near Seattle to refurb and bring back to factory specs plus a few mods. If nothing else, you might look at their website to see whatís possible. Good luck to you.
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pursuitofnow
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #7 - 08/18/19 at 16:36:01
 
Thanks! I'll look them up.
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Thorens VN-150(2M Black)
Decware ZP3-25th > ZSTAGE-25th
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Decware ZTPRE > ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th
Decware SE84UFO3-25th
Omega Super 3 HO XRS, Deep 8
Zenwave D4, ZSTYX, TWL
PI Audio Uberbuss, Digibuss, Mongo
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charlieboy
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Posts: 184
Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #8 - 08/19/19 at 16:43:38
 
Any of these decks will be amazing when operating as new with well recorded media. †The media is where things get crazy. I have several Teac, Akai, and other machines restored that run 3 3/4" and 7 1/2" ips and after much saving and searching I  have acquired 2 amazing 15" and 30" ips decks in the last 18 months ( a Studer A810, and an Otari MTR10-2) and they are in MINT condition and operate as new. It's the media that is the killer. I have established a handful of very reliable collectors that have slowly let me into their circles. I'm talking guys who have 500-1500 albums of VERY low generation copies that I have been slowly building my collection from, but at 200-450 and up an album it is not for the faint of heart. Having said that nothing has put a smile on my face or blown my mind like high quality tape through a good system.
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Ullur
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #9 - 08/22/19 at 00:20:32
 
If you go the Technics RS-15xx route, be prepared to re-cap the boards. I had mine done a few years back for around $600.

The original little purple capacitors leak in their old age. Unless a listing specifically states this has been done during servicing, it hasn't. This isn't to say a machine that hasn't had this done won't work. They will usually tune right up then wander and provide inconsistent playback over time. Sometimes you will also experience weird intermittent issues. A close visual inspection will most likely reveal corrosion on the pins on the underside of the caps (looks like white mold).

I've found the forums at tapeheads.net to be very informative. That's also where I sourced my deck and the local technician who re-caped it. Also had him mod the outputs so I have the option to use an external preamp while he had it apart.

As for choosing between the Otari MX-5050 and the Technics RS-15xx, the Otari has more pro end features. I needed something that could play 3-1/4,7-1/2, and 15ips. and look good sitting in the living room. The Otari looks like a set pice from Star Wars. Most have had a hard life professional life in radio/studio production and have dings and scratches. Changing tape speeds from the high 15 and 30ips settings to the lower 3-1/4 7-1/2 speed settings requires calibration each time it's done. Those factors lead me to the Technics.

BTW, you might find yourself considering the RS-1520 due to the builtin EQ setting for NAB and IEC. I know I did after reading the Tape Project site. My Tech informed me that they may look similar on the outside but there are 1520 specific parts that are basically unobtainium. He has customers that have been working for years trying to source parts for needed repairs.
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Marantz 2270, ZDSD, Technics RS-1500, Technics SL-1200M3D, Benjamin Miracord - ELAC 50h w/ Grado Prestige 78C, AR-4x, JBL L65 Jubal
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #10 - 08/22/19 at 02:41:15
 
Great info Ullur!  The issues with aging internals and designs based on functions other than just stellar playback are great reasons why bypassing the onboard electronics and using an external tube playback preamp not only makes sense, but will sound better.  Just depends on how much you want to invest in this tape system and whether or not recording is important.
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pursuitofnow
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Re: Seeking Advice on Reel to Reel
Reply #11 - 08/22/19 at 06:05:01
 
Thank you Ullur! I agree with Jeff, great information. I'll definitely check out the forums on tape heads.net.
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Thorens VN-150(2M Black)
Decware ZP3-25th > ZSTAGE-25th
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Decware ZTPRE > ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th
Decware SE84UFO3-25th
Omega Super 3 HO XRS, Deep 8
Zenwave D4, ZSTYX, TWL
PI Audio Uberbuss, Digibuss, Mongo
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