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Jim

Is Reel to Reel really that good?

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I opened a still sealed  Columbia 7.5 ips Kind of Blue at @LarryC house for a Klipsch get together.  He played it on his Revox B77 which I don't think he had played in quite awhile.

 

Several said it was by far the best version they had ever heard.

 

Lots and lots of info and writeups on those 3 track master tapes.  Fred Plaut was quite a man.

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4 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

I opened a still sealed  Columbia 7.5 ips Kind of Blue at @LarryC house for a Klipsch get together.  He played it on his Revolution B77 which I don't think he had played in quite awhile.

 

Several said it was by far the best version they had ever heard.

I have a 2 track 15 ips version of Kind of Blue and while its warm and wonderful the recently remastered digitial downloads are clearly better. IMO

I wish all the great jazz recordings would get that kind of attention and get lovingly remasterd instead of the typical quickie transcriptions that often turn out worse than the tapes I have been able to aquire.

Brad

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1 hour ago, bracurrie said:

I have a 2 track 15 ips version of Kind of Blue and while its warm and wonderful the recently remastered digitial downloads are clearly better. IMO

I wish all the great jazz recordings would get that kind of attention and get lovingly remasterd instead of the typical quickie transcriptions that often turn out worse than the tapes I have been able to aquire.

Brad

Yeah that's always the big problem, what's the source and who did it, so it's going to depend where the tape came from.

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6 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

I opened a still sealed  Columbia 7.5 ips Kind of Blue at @LarryC house for a Klipsch get together.  He played it on his Revox B77 which I don't think he had played in quite awhile.

 

Several said it was by far the best version they had ever heard.

 

Lots and lots of info and writeups on those 3 track master tapes.  Fred Plaut was quite a man.

Hi Travis, 

It was (and still is) an A77, FWIW.  If you ever get a chance to duplicate it onto a 7.5 tape, I'd be glad to repay you.  That deck probably should be refurbished!

 

Brad's pesky auto-correct went into overdrive.

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48 minutes ago, LarryC said:

Hi Travis, 

It was (and still is) an A77, FWIW.  If you ever get a chance to duplicate it onto a 7.5 tape, I'd be glad to repay you.  That deck probably should be refurbished!

 

Brad's pesky auto-correct went into overdrive.

Yes that's right, it was an A77 that's right.  I will make you a copy.

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23 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

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

OOPS!! Far RIGHT. LOL

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14 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

Yes that's right, it was an A77 that's right.  I will make you a copy.

THANKS!  You'll need my new address, in Silver Spring, MD.  Let me know when to send it,

 

 - Larry

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On 10/14/2015 at 6:29 AM, wvu80 said:

C'mon RTR guys, fess up.  Tape is a magnetic media and after about 20 years the tape loses its charge.  There is no way a RTR tape from BITD sounds as good today as it did then. 

 

And even if a quality recording is made today, I have two words for you; tape hiss.  :P

They are prone to wear and tear. I talked (conned) my dad into upgrading his Pioneer R2R to a new Revox. What a beautiful machine. Unfortunately his older tapes, about 10 to 12 years old, started shedding their magnetic residue/particles and depositing them on the tape heads like glue. Almost impossible to clean off. We lived in the tropics at the time, Australia and Curacao in the Caribbean. Climate was probably a factor. this was in the 70s and 80s.

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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Uh, I mean the lack of jitter in tape playback.:)

 

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Certain brands and formulations went through some bad times for sure. They could probably come up with better tape with todays technolgy. Just like they could likely come up with a better 'plastic' for LPs (and I don't mean - it's a CD).

 

Bruce

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2 hours ago, Marvel said:

Certain brands and formulations went through some bad times for sure. They could probably come up with better tape with todays technolgy. Just like they could likely come up with a better 'plastic' for LPs (and I don't mean - it's a CD).

 

Bruce

I agree. 

  • I had two meticulously kept up Crown reel to reels.  With one tape formulation that will remain nameless (new in 1973) I didn't have to wait 20 years to have the coating peel off!  I complained to the dealer, who refunded the cost of the tape and re-biased and EQd the Crowns for good old reliable Scotch 206/207, at no charge.  Both the dealer and I contacted the tape dealer in Japan; after my call, the company called my dealer back and asked, "Why did you allow your customer to complain to us?"
  • OTOH, I had some tapes that were more than 20 years old that maintained their quality.  My old stereo recording teacher had some tapes from the late 40's (from his radio days) that were still good in the '70s.

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By today's standards, consumer reel to reels aren't great. The ones used by the music industry in the past were amazing. Nothing can compare today's digital recorders.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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There have been some "lists" compiled for Sticky Shed Syndrome (SSS) as it is referred to. My only personal experience is with Ampex Grandmaster 3600. Upon opening a box (purchased from the Evil Bay), it was full of bits and pieces of the backing. It literally was "shedding" off the tape. Tossed the tape and kept the reel and reloaded with ATR MDS-36 (My current favorite formulation).

 

All of my Maxell and TDK that I purchased in the 80's is still intact and in rotation on my decks.

 

From wiki:

 

Many tapes affected by sticky-shed are those that were made by Ampex/Quantegy such as 406/407, 456/457, 499, and consumer/audiophile grade back coated tapes such as Grand Master and 20-20+.

Tapes made by Scotch/3M are also affected and the most common offenders here are the "pro" tapes such as 206/207, 226/227, 808, and 986 as well as audiophile tapes such as "Classic" and "Master-XS".

Though less common, many Sony branded tapes such as PR-150, SLH, ULH, and FeCr have also been reported to suffer from sticky-shed.

Blank cassettes from the 70's-90's are unaffected because the hygroscopic binder was not used in cassette formulations. However, some cassette tape formulations do suffer from a similar problem caused by fatty acids working to the surface of the tape that can cause sticking to heads and guides and severe modulation of signals through the playback head until it is cleaned.

As of 2012, no documented or proven examples of sticky-shed from Maxell or TDK exist[citation needed]. There have been a few reports of some tape from the current manufacturers ATR and RMGI exhibiting symptoms of sticky-shed. But these may be isolated incidents relating to prototype or single bad batches and not necessarily indicative of the overall product line integrity.

BASF tape production did not use the unstable formulation, and their tape production rarely shows this type of coating instability, although BASF LH Super SM cassettes manufactured in the mid-70s are prone to the problem.

As of 2015 some 35mm magnetic fullcoat tapes produced by Kodak, such as those used for the audio portion of older IMAX films, are also reported to be exhibiting sticky-shed.[4] As tapes remain in storage for a longer time, it is possible that other binder formulations may develop problems.

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A nice very true tape story. In 1969 I had a cheapo Ampex 1/4" machine with pre-amps built in and two Shure multi directional microphones (50HZ to 15KHZ) placed three feet in front of each K-horn at tweeter level. I recorded a Christmas party (also on 16mm film) without much thought of anything. On play back the position and level of all the voices was absolutely uncanny down to inches in accuracy no matter where you were standing in the room. The phone rang and two of us got up to answer it and there was no one on the line and we remembered that the phone rang during the recording. The room was "L" shaped with all kinds of openings to the kitchen and hallway. That's when I realized how important that phasing was in a recording. I always think that if you can simulate the exact size of the recording studio phasing the results would be astounding. Now the mics and deck are gone but the K-horns and Cornwall are still here.

JJK

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The amount of misinformation here about R2R is astounding.  As I go back to MagnaCorders and acetate tape and continue to work in that medium archiving PWK's personal tape collection for the Klipsch Heritage Museum Association, I feel like I have at least a little experience in that area.

 

I have transferred stereo tapes made in 1954 that are superior in sound quality to 95% of the recordings made in recent years in all regards, with the possible exception of signal to noise which is still so low as to be irrelevant compared to the presence, detail, and imaging of these masterpieces.  It has only been in the past decade that the Smithsonian began to set standards for the use of digital media for archiving because they were totally satisfied with magnetic tape as being the most reliable long-term medium available.  PWK's tapes were not "babied" in controlled conditions for a large part of their life.  My own tapes spent decades in Texas attics and still show no signs of deterioration.  Granted, the acetates from PWK and my collection as well have become VERY brittle and curled...but handled carefully on a top of the line deck the sound as good as new. 

 

There are still engineers (I believe Mapleshade is a major proponent) who master on nothing but magnetic tape.  I do not have a bias (as it were) towards any medium and judge only by the results. 

 

Dave

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13 hours ago, R1100R said:

By today's standards, consumer reel to reels aren't great. The ones used by the music industry in the past were amazing. Nothing can compare today's digital recorders.

That is YOUR opinion...not mine.  Digital has its own faults, the worst of which is that in any particular point in time, if there is MORE than ONE thing (be it voice or musical instrument) which is producing a sound in the same exact frequency as the other(s) is(are) doing, then it is ONLY the strongest of that particular frequency at that particular point in time that is getting digitally recorded... that in itself keeps the digital recording from ever being able to contain everything that is happening at the same point in time on a particular track.  That is where analog beats the hell out of digital.  You can have more than one "bit" of information in that finite point in time...using analog recording...plain and simple!  You simply lose some of the information in digital recordings, or at least have the POTENTIAL to lose some of it.  It is what it is...because it is digital.  Each time something is digitally compressed information is also lost...it is the nature of being digital to begin with....bits and bytes, ya know?

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Regarding older tapes... I recently purchased a collection of 96 7" reels. All Scotch from the 70's. I believe the person who made the tapes used a Teac deck form that era. More often than not, these old collections were done out of convenience of having some LONG playing music with little regard for fidelity but NOT in this case. While they are all recorded at 3 1/2 ips, the sound quality is great and the tapes are all in excellent condition. I payed approximately .50 cents a reel and I now have 450+ albums at my disposal ranging from easy listening, folk and country to rock. The collection even came with a little booklet of hand typed play lists and a library system he used for labeling the boxes. 

 

I love stuff like this!

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2 hours ago, HDBRbuilder said:

That is YOUR opinion...not mine.  Digital has its own faults, the worst of which is that in any particular point in time, if there is MORE than ONE thing (be it voice or musical instrument) which is producing a sound in the same exact frequency as the other(s) is(are) doing, then it is ONLY the strongest of that particular frequency at that particular point in time that is getting digitally recorded... that in itself keeps the digital recording from ever being able to contain everything that is happening at the same point in time on a particular track.  That is where analog beats the hell out of digital.  You can have more than one "bit" of information in that finite point in time...using analog recording...plain and simple!  You simply lose some of the information in digital recordings, or at least have the POTENTIAL to lose some of it.  It is what it is...because it is digital.  Each time something is digitally compressed information is also lost...it is the nature of being digital to begin with....bits and bytes, ya know?

 

Now I understand what is happening when I listen to FM-HD with the curious very  rough results I get when there are multiple voices with cymbal hits in the background while the other passages of the recording are pristinely clear. I get the same results on my car radio also.

JJK

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