Reel-to-reel tape is the new vinyl

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Brian Gupton, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    If you're trying to compare what is being done here with some piece of **** old Mayfair suitcase style machine then you've already completely missed the point. This isn't for you and you can resign yourself from having to think about any of this stuff or even knowing that it exists. Just forget it and move on. This is like being told about records from someone who only knows turntables as that old stacker in a console, or being told about digital audio from someone who thinks it's all mp3s and earbuds. No offense but your 2¢ would be worth more if scotch-taped to the tonearm of grandmaw's old Zenith. This isn't for everyone and it doesn't have to be, you either get it or you don't.
     
    timztunz likes this.
  2. timztunz

    timztunz "A Dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

    Location:
    Texas and Brasil
    LOL, tell us what you really think Mr Rom.
     
    MrRom92 likes this.
  3. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Darn Mr. Rom, we are having fun here, my face is all bruised where you have busted me so hard. My ribs are aching as well, I might not get off the ground for a while taking those hard punches, but I understand your point of view, and I promise I will be good! Tim, I might need your help!:hide:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    Rick Bartlett likes this.
  4. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    MrRom, you just went way too far making fun of my earbuds!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG] :cop:
     
  5. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Haha, I hope you don't take it personally! It's just clear that you're not really well steeped in this stuff and it gets so tiring seeing the same stale comments over and over, and over, from people who just have no interest. It's fine. Sometimes I see it from the strictly vinyl people here whenever the conversation moves to digital, it's immediately pigeonholed into some anti-Apple rant as if they are representatives for the entirety of digital audio, etc. or the 500th incredulous tech blogger who writes about how the vinyl revival is absolute stupidity because who wants to listen to skips and pops… just some examples, I hope I'm articulating myself correctly here.

    The market for tape is so small that there's almost nobody to stand up for it. There's many more detractors against it than there are people who are even into it. Let's take an objective look at the format. I've already stated this stuff multiple times over but once more can't hurt.


    I get it, it's not perfect. Media is expensive, and selection is limited. It isn't ever going to be anybody's primary format. Pricing inherently can only cater to those who demand the best and are willing to pay for what little of it is available

    BUT.


    It's not prohibitively expensive. Just because there are $20000 decks out there doesn't mean that's where the doorway is. The barrier to entry is actually quite low. I have one of the 2 professional grade tape decks that are explicitly recommended by the Tape Project - one of the labels who are putting out some of these tape releases. Buying it on the used market and later having it completely gone over by a very qualified tech (someone who I've seen speak on tape-related AES panels) still cost me less than my turntable, which is considered to be entry level. It cost less than the stylus replacement for my cartridge. It cost less than a new iPhone, or iPad, or a new TV, etc. it really isn't the exorbitant thing that United Home Audio make it out to be. Furthermore I was doing this on a college student's budget. You know those caveman commercials from GEICO? Well, If I could do it…


    Granted, there's just as much financial outlay to get stuff to actually play on it, and I can see how people get hung up on that. Nobody spends $700 on a turntable and then spends $700 on every LP they buy afterwards. But the thing is, these reissues are relatively low priced. I know, hurts to read, but there's really no profit margins on this. I truly cannot imagine how they could possibly price them any lower. It's a labor of love, nobody is trying to fleece the consumer or bleed you dry. Comparable tapes WITHOUT the provenance that these have would have sold for multiple times this price on the 2ndhand market, so for them to be doing what they're doing at the price they're doing it, is quite frankly amazing. The $450 tape album is crazy - crazy that they're available for such a relatively low price, considering it basically costs that much just to have them manufacturered.


    I'll say this much. If they were really concerned with making money right now, they'd be making records.


    P. S. that is a beautiful Sennheiser setup :righton:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  6. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    That was a very nice post, you covered all the bases indeed. I think your first post was a knee jerk reaction, and obviously I was not comparing the Mayfair recorder to anything, that was some lighthearted fun. Santa brought me that exact tape recorder when I was about 7 years old, it was a proud moment, Santa really got it right! A nice basic United Audio deck goes for about $6,000.00, not $20,000.00, but they are not inexpensive. I was a avid Studer/ReVox fan and owned the PR 99 Mk II recorder for many years, wish I had kept it for sure, great Swiss engineering, and their US facility was right here in Nashville on Elm Hill Pike. I tried to figure and justify some way, any way I could purchase a United Audio deck. The facts that you outlined in your latest post in paragraphs 2 & 3 are the exact reasons I personally could not move forward. One thing is for sure, if I was Dave Wilson or Michael Kelly, I would have the new, ultimate United Audio deck in my demo room at the audio shows, there is nothing that would look cooler or sound better. I certainly wish I was in a position to enjoy this revived technology, but for me, it's not for my lack of appreciation for the refined top shelf technology. I'm back up on my feet now, feeling better. :righton:
     
    MrRom92 likes this.
  7. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I somewhat misconstrued your post and reacted out of frustration, I must apologize for that and I hope you know even still it wasn't 100% directed at your post, or whatever I made of it! I just feel that this thread will get revived every 3 months, the same old pitfalls and complaints are rehashed, and the people who are actually passionate about it don't have an inch of space to actually discuss it… gets exhausting. Wake me up when there's an announcement of another new deck, or someone reviews a title they purchased, or Analogue Productions announces their 2nd year of (hopefully better) titles, or MoFi puts out the press release that they're going to start doing 1 step UHQR reel, or Capitol's master library ends up going for auction… you get the picture
     
  8. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    You are forgiven, band-aids will be off in a day or so, meanwhile, I want to see what your tape deck looks like, what you got there bucko! Let's see some pics here to spice things up. :-popcorn:
     
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  9. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Hey Tim, all in all, I think your audio room is about as well thought out as any I have ever seen. Sure there are zillion dollar rooms on the Internet, but yours is really fantastic. Would love to know how the turntable is working out, and I see my Beatles albums on that top shelf, a wonderful addition if I do say so myself. I have never seen those speakers before, would love to know more about them as well, we could hijack the thread for just a couple of posts! :eek:
     
  10. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    No offense but your 2¢ would be worth more if scotch-taped to the tonearm of grandmaw's old Zenith.

    That was the funniest comment I think I've ever read on this forum. I especially like that it starts with "No offense but".
     
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  11. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Here's my Otari MX-5050 BII. This is the most recent pic I've got handy of this corner of the room, about a year and half old but nothing's changed since. I'm aware the component stacking looks wacky as hell, sadly necessitated due to current space constraints. Also not the best glamour shot, no big shiny metal reels to be seen but... this is what I've got. Not pictured, but I've also got a Tasman 34B that handles 4 track duty on the other side of the room.

    [​IMG]


    Not a bad budget setup. This entire picture cost less than some people's power cables :p
     
  12. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    It would only ever make sense to anyone on this forum. Gotta use it more often
     
  13. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Thanks for sharing the pics, a real blast from the past, I do wish I still had my Studer/ReVox, they just complete the look!
     
    MrRom92 likes this.
  14. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    When not in use, I do leave some empty 10.5"s on for the bling factor. Worth it to have one integrated into any stereo system if just for the eye candy!
     
    Rick Bartlett likes this.
  15. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    That is the reason these high dollar loudspeaker companies should use the United Audio "High Bling" tape decks and the great new tapes, it adds such fantastic visual appeal. That deck I pictured in my post is so stunning, almost as fancy as the Mayfair special. Most of the people at the shows would come in just to see the large reels turning, there is just something about a tape deck, especially theirs.
     
    MrRom92 likes this.
  16. GMcGilli

    GMcGilli Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond BC Canada
    And yet - that picture is worth more than my car! Numark!
     
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  17. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Let's keep the fun going! I have some other relevant pictures already uploaded in my Imgur account, so why not share them here.

    Here is something that had me stumped for a long while.

    [​IMG]


    A bit of tape in the splicing block. This is from a pre-recorded tape I have, circa 1956. You can see a small loop of the "playing" surface of the tape ear the top, just a plan smooth brown. Typical and undistinctive. But you'll notice the backing side of the tape is actually a deep royal blue. The whole tape shines blue viewed from the side when it's spooled on the reel. I've never seen anything else like it and couldn't find much of any info on anything similar online.


    It wasn't until I saw an advertisement in a 1954 issue of "Tape Recording Magazine" that I finally learned what this was. Turns out this stuff was manufactured by Audio Devices / "Audiotape" brand , and they offered tapes in a variety of colored reels and colored based, to aid in organization/color coding. I'm guessing the company who put out this recording happened to buy blue in bulk. Supposedly they also offered tapes with a green or red colored backing - I'd love to see some examples of those!
     
  18. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    And here, thanks to google images, is the reel this blue tape came on

    [​IMG]

    You can even see the blue color of the tape in this photo, at least where the tail is exposed.

    "Pentape" was a company issuing pre-recorded reels in the mid 50's, in mono, staggered stereo, and in-line stereo varieties. And unlike many of the other companies doing tape who were veritably putting out great sounding, but boring grandma music, this stuff was actually GOOD. They put out quite a few jazz tapes. All varieties. Even some free jazz stuff. But it seems they completely disappeared from the market by the end of the 50's and stopped issuing any of this stuff.

    I'm glad I've had the fortune of finding a few. Not all are on this magic blue tape, but all are uniformly pretty stunning soundwise. Now these are only 7 1/2 ips dubs made 60+ years ago, with all the technical limitations that would would imply. So it's definitely not quite on the level of the state of the art analog releases we have today, with 15ips studio grade tape formulations and audiophile-tier electronics throughout the entire chain... but still, good stuff.


    This particular one is a session Ellington did for Pentape, it might be my favorite of the ones I've heard. I ordered an 80's CD with the same material, put out on Columbia's "Signature" label… man is it bad. Sounds like a 20th gen cassette dub. They literally could have mastered from one of these commercial pre-recorded reels and it would have sounded a million times better than whatever source they've got on their hands.

    No idea who owns the Pentape masters today but I think they'd be extremely ripe for a proper reissue - both vinyl and digital. Maybe use them for running tape dupes again too, like we've come full circle! I'd buy a 15ips version of this title for sure, if one were to miraculously come out. But anyway, these 1950's Pentape titles get high praise from me.
     
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  19. Jasonb

    Jasonb Forum Resident

    [​IMG]
    Here's the TEAC A3300SR. Pretty much turned out to be free as all the tapes that came with it I sold on eBay to cover the cost. I don't find this hobby expensive. $10 will get you a decent Maxell UD35-90 which you can put a couple of albums on. Yes if something goes wrong it could be an expensive repair but I've had good luck and hours of fun. And yes it sounds great.
     
  20. MrRom92 likes this.
  21. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    News to me, but good news nonetheless!

    These are done by Chris Mara, of Welcome To 1979 fame (all analog recording/mastering studio)

    Seems like he's taken a beast of a studio machine and somehow crammed it into a cabinet making more suitable for the home. They've all been gone over and I'm sure he has his own tweaks and tricks up his sleeve to bring these machines to a new level. Overall, pretty cool stuff. Most people can't say they have a 30ips machine and this may be the smallest way to get something like that into your house!
     
    Pinknik likes this.
  22. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    R2R's are generally more robust than cassette decks and availability of parts also should not be a problem. I have three thirty-plus year old open-reel decks that are fully operational ...
     
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  23. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    The cheapest model still costs $10K and it does not record. You will be much better off buying a used one in good condition ...
     
  24. I wondered if that was connected to Welcome to 1979. I saw a YouTube video clip about them and the fact that they also restore MCI multi-track machines.
     
  25. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    Insane deal breaker. Why on earth would someone buy a rtr that does not record? Do people not know that they originally designed to record? Sheesh. Separating boutique trender spenders from wads of cash ... I need to start brainstorming.

    For $10,000 I bet you could have yourself a serviced, used older but still fantastic studio quality rtr. For $2,000 or less you could have yourself a refurbished beaut of a Revox or something, while your Teac's, Pioneer's, Sony's, etc., will be less than that.
     
    Rick Bartlett likes this.

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