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Jim

Is Reel to Reel really that good?

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The proof is in the pudding. I rarely run across pre-recorded music that sounds very good. I guess a lot of folks weren't concerned with the fidelity aspect back in the day so much as the ability to play music for long periods of time.

 

The majority of my recordings are the first or second play of a record and recorded at the highest speed possible. The goal is to be indistinguishable from the source. I can preserve my vinyl collection and play that tape for years.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, BamaMike said:

...The majority of my recordings are the first or second play of a record and recorded at the highest speed possible. The goal is to be indistinguishable from the source. I can preserve my vinyl collection and play that tape for years.

 

 

I accomplished that with a Nakamichi Dragon.  That amazing thing is in a league of its own!

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40 minutes ago, muel said:

I accomplished that with a Nakamichi Dragon.  That amazing thing is in a league of its own!

You got that right!

 

Do you still own it?

 

My brother is a huge Nakamichi fan. Owns 7 decks but has yet to work his way up to a Dragon. I bought a lot of gear when I was in Japan in the early 80's (Air Force) and all the cool guys had a Dragon and Bose 901's. lol  

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Yep!  It's pretty much mint.  I even had a custom dust cover made with the Nakamichi logo. I got it here on the forum from someone who was helping a friend sell a few things from their estate.  Perry Esposito restored it a couple of years ago and he said it looked like it only had 40 hours of use!  I don't use it enough and it really should be used often enough to keep everything working good.  I'd like to finish digitizing my "one of a kind" recordings and pass it on at some point.  I have a lot of projects like that though... might take a while.  I'd suggest selling a few decks and find a Dragon!

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52 minutes ago, muel said:

Yep!  It's pretty much mint.  I even had a custom dust cover made with the Nakamichi logo. I got it here on the forum from someone who was helping a friend sell a few things from their estate.  Perry Esposito restored it a couple of years ago and he said it looked like it only had 40 hours of use!  I don't use it enough and it really should be used often enough to keep everything working good.  I'd like to finish digitizing my "one of a kind" recordings and pass it on at some point.  I have a lot of projects like that though... might take a while.  I'd suggest selling a few decks and find a Dragon!

 

Big money! Every now and then you run across a deal. My little Teac R777x will have to suffice for cassette use until I get lucky.

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3 hours ago, minermark said:

Iv been dealing with this kind BS attitude toward the public at large my whole life in Calif.

Stick up their azz describes it also.

Berkley/Frisco freaks are the worst. 

I basically agree, but, IMO, there was a reasonably priced, very qualified service tech, first at Berkeley Custom Electronics in the '60s, later in Oakland, at Pro Audio until about 1990. When Pro Audio changed hands (and went elitist, IMO), he moved over to Resistance Repair.  People followed him from location to location.  His name was Don Helmholtz.  He was selected as "The Best in the Bay Area" by the Bay Guardian.  While he had some wealthy and famous people he did work for (like Robert Crumb, who drew a charactercher of Don lighting his pipe with a blowtorch, and the very early Grateful Dead), he remained affordable and willing to spend extra time with people who had special requests, without inflating the price.  He build me a mixer that was inexpensive, quiet, and of very low distortion.  He, and Joe Minor at Berkeley Custom, introduced me to Klipschorns.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, garyrc said:

I basically agree, but, IMO, there was a reasonably priced, very qualified service tech, first at Berkeley Custom Electronics in the '60s, later in Oakland, at Pro Audio until about 1990. When Pro Audio changed hands (and went elitist, IMO), he moved over to Resistance Repair.  People followed him from location to location.  His name was Don Helmholtz.  He was selected as "The Best in the Bay Area" by the Bay Guardian.  While he had some wealthy and famous people he did work for (like Robert Crumb, who drew a charactercher of Don lighting his pipe with a blowtorch, and the very early Grateful Dead), he remained affordable and willing to spend extra time with people who had special requests, without inflating the price.  He build me a mixer that was inexpensive, quiet, and of very low distortion.  He, and Joe Minor at Berkeley Custom, introduced me to Klipschorns.

 

 

 

60s/70s early 80s, it seems was the HeyDay.

Things were reasonable to replace and or repair.

Those days are gone forever, "throw away" is this generation.

Speakers? if the kid's cannot place them in their ear's, they have NO interest.

Kit's will keep us old guy's entertained untill we are gone.

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^^^^^

I'm hoping to fabricate a harness that fits over someone's head which allows attachment to one of the smaller Heritage models like the Heresy 3. And for those big headed folks possibly the Cornwall 3 or LaScalla.  Just need to trademark a good name for marketing - Corn-Bud? Earesy? EarLaLa? Probably won't sell anyway -----

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3 hours ago, minermark said:

60s/70s early 80s, it seems was the HeyDay.

Things were reasonable to replace and or repair.

Those days are gone forever, "throw away" is this generation.

Speakers? if the kid's cannot place them in their ear's, they have NO interest.

Kit's will keep us old guy's entertained untill we are gone.

Starting in the '80s, there was another change.  An anti-scientific wave of halo effect (or, conversely, pitchfork effect), placebo effect, and superstition (magic cables, etc), swept over the haunts of the "golden ears," the new, elitist, high priced audio stores.  The repair guys working in those stores towed the party line.  They would tell customers, "Your unit isn't worth repairing, you would be better off buying a high end amplifier."  Ironically, given a report in an earlier post, a McIntosh component was dismissed in just that way, because McIntosh "Sounds stringy."   Or, back when I had a Luxman, a friend asked a sales person in one of those stores something like, "What about Luxman?  I know someone who likes them."  The store guy just laughed.   Sometime in the '90s (I think), a writer for a high end magazine visited the home of a musician who had Klipschorns, and asked, "Why don't you have audiophile speakers?"  That was about a decade before a reviewer for the same magazine gave La Scalas an A level rating.  Maybe the worm is turning, but I doubt it.

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On 2/15/2017 at 8:45 AM, bracurrie said:

I know this is an old topic but I thought I would share some thoughts on this.
I have been acquiring 2 track 15 ips tapes of 50s, 60s and 70s jazz recordings, most of which are available digitally, that have more life, fun and unfortunately noise than their digital counterparts. I also have several recent LP pressings of the same tapes. IMHO the tape is better than the LP but in most cases. The digital is better than both with respect to noise and fidelity, but not as good dynamically. In some cases the separation and sound image is strikingly better on the tapes. 
Just yesterday I pulled the trigger to acquire a Studer A810 from an older audio engineer who lovingly cared for his equipment and insisted that his Studer tech completely service it before I took delivery. I am looking forward to learning how to adjust the deck to optimize the playback for each of the tapes.

Thanks to everyone for a terrific thread.

Brad

Looking forward to hearing how this is going.

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On 2/16/2017 at 9:52 AM, BamaMike said:

Got all my reel to reels together for a group photo...

20161227_100628.jpg

So it looks like we have, L to R Akai 747, RT 909, and Akai 4000 DS

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On 11/28/2016 at 2:53 PM, BamaMike said:

Akai GX-747 with NOS (just out of the wrapper!) Maxell XL I.

20161127_145503.jpeg

I really did guess at the model before I saw this, honest

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On 2/16/2017 at 1:13 PM, muel said:

I accomplished that with a Nakamichi Dragon.  That amazing thing is in a league of its own!

Well it is an awesome deck, but the Tandberg 3401is very much in that same league. 

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On 2/16/2017 at 10:30 AM, BamaMike said:

 

I've been considering these guys for some work. Distance/shipping has me concerned. I may go for it but it would be nice to find someone within driving distance which means .... Alabama (HA HA... never happen!), Georgia or Tennessee. I've heard of a couple. One in Nashville and one near Atlanta. Neither sounds as promising as the Reel Pro Sound Guys though.

There are several in Nashville for pro decks, consumer decks harder to find, but Tapeheads forum will get you there.

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15 minutes ago, dwilawyer said:

Looking forward to hearing how this is going.

The deck was delivered to an old time Studer tech in Franklin TN that still services pro tape decks in the Middle Tennessee area. The seller is replacing the pinch roller but I wonder about the capacitors and battery as well. Seems that these need attention as they are 30 years old.
BTW I am getting the original binder with QC sheet and all documentation that came when the deck was purchased by the seller in 1987. Now I have to go to schoold to learn how to get the most out of the deck.

Brad 

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On 2/16/2017 at 0:12 PM, BamaMike said:

The proof is in the pudding. I rarely run across pre-recorded music that sounds very good. I guess a lot of folks weren't concerned with the fidelity aspect back in the day so much as the ability to play music for long periods of time.

Out of the dozen or so pre-recorded 7 1/2 ips 4 track tapes I have purchased I have maybe two that were better than vinyl. They are quiet, better separation and more dynamic. But the two track 15 ips tapes (that come from who really know where) 90% have been better than vinyl and better than CD in every way except sometimes noise. The two track tapes are stored tails out so you have to rewind them first to listen. My digitizing of these seem to preserve the magic so I have not played any of the tapes more than a couple of times. Been researching ways to improve playback by using outboard preamps, but they are pricey and I am not sold they would be that much better so ignorance is bliss.

Brad

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1 hour ago, bracurrie said:

The deck was delivered to an old time Studer tech in Franklin TN that still services pro tape decks in the Middle Tennessee area. The seller is replacing the pinch roller but I wonder about the capacitors and battery as well. Seems that these need attention as they are 30 years old.
BTW I am getting the original binder with QC sheet and all documentation that came when the deck was purchased by the seller in 1987. Now I have to go to schoold to learn how to get the most out of the deck.

Brad 

They are all on cards, and for 810 there are OEM cards still is supply.  Maybe he will do a sweep for you and give you the print out to see how flat it is.

 

Another question will be will he align it, and for what tape do you want it aligned for, which would probably be Scotch 206 as that's what a lot of the 2 track prerecorded tapes were, or equivalent. 

 

Here are specs for 810

 

STUDER A810 Specifications

Tape speeds

30 - 15 - 7.5 - 3.75 ips

(76.2 - 38.1 - 19.05 - 9.525 cm/s)

Equalization

NAB

CCIR

Variable speed

+/- 7 semitones from nominal

Tape speed deviation

+/- 0.2% max

Tape slip

0.1% max

Tape reels

NAB

CINE (EIA)

DIN

11.1-inch max reel diam

Tape width

1/4-inch (6.35 mm)

Wow and flutter

30 ips - 0.04% max

15 ips - 0.05% max

7.5 ips - 0.07% max

3.75 ips - 0.12% max

Start time

15 ips - 0.5 sec (1000m on DIN hub, 2500 ft on NAB hub)

Winding time

150 sec for 1000 m tape

120 sec for 2500 ft tape

Stopping time

max 3 sec

Tape tension (measured at left reel)1/4-inch Repro/Record

0.75 N (0.6 - 0.9 N range)

1/4-inch Winding

0.75 N (0.4 - 1.0 N range)

Peak Tension - Start / Stop / Reverse

6N (3.0 - 6.0N range)

Inputs (transformer)

Impedance > 10 kOhm (30 - 20,000 Hz)

Outputs (transformer)

Impedance < 50 Ohm (30 - 20,000 Hz), Load > 200 Ohm

Equalization

NAB or CCIR

Switch selectable

Frequency Response (+/- 2 dB)

30 ips - 40 - 22,000 Hz

15 ips - 20 - 20,000 Hz

7.5 ips - 20 - 16,000 Hz

3.75 ips - 20 - 10,000 Hz

Frequency Response (+/- 1 dB)

30 ips - 40 - 20,000 Hz

15 ips - 40 - 18,000 Hz

7.5 ips - 30 - 12,000 Hz

3.75 ips - 30 - 8,000 Hz

Signal-to-Noise NAB (1/4-inch two-track 2.0 mm track, RMS, A-weighted)

30 ips - 74 dB

15 ips - 70 dB

7.5 ips - 72 dB

3.75 ips - 61 dB

Cross-Talk (at 1 kHz)

Stereo > 55 dB

Two-track > 65 dB

Power Consumption

Stop (no load) - 80 W

Record on 2 channels - 160 W

Spooling - 190 W

Max - 240 W

Disturbed Operation

100 msec transient line voltage failure

Ambient Temperature

10 - 40C (50 - 104F)

Relative Humidity

20 - 90%, non-condensing

Weight (Portable Version)

31 kg (68.2 lb) net

Dimensions (Console Version)

Depth - 642 mm

Width - 600 mm

Height - 1152 mm (with castors)

Dimensions (Portable Version)

Depth - 237 mm

Width - 483 mm

Height - 500 mm (without reels)

 

 

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20 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

So it looks like we have, L to R Akai 747, RT 909, and Akai 4000 DS

 2 out of 3! LOL The Akai on the left is GX630D.

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59 minutes ago, BamaMike said:

 2 out of 3! LOL The Akai on the left is GX630D.

Left or right? LOL, yeah that one on the far right threw me.

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On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 8:28 PM, garyrc said:

Both my live recordings and dubs from an Ortofon/SME/Thorens phono system on Crown 1/2 track 15 ips were often better than CDs, SACDs, and DVD-As, and the equal of Blu-ray DTS HD Master (except in the bass in the sub 30 Hz area).

True of the dub I made using DBX encoding in 1976 from my freshly opened "Dark Side of the Moon."  Never heard a better one yet and it's still good even digitized! 

On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 9:09 PM, LarryC said:

We'll have to do that again some time!

Would LOVE to have a 24/88.2 or better digitized copy of that.  Kind of Blue even in less than stellar CDs remains one of the finest recording I've ever heard.  Magic music by magic musicians recorded by magical engineers in a magic place.  BETTER than the technology allowed as absurd as that might sound. 

 

Dave

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