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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:06 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Everybody bitches about the price, but it appears to have always been an expensive hobby. I have a few 50's 7" pre-recorded reels back when they used to release 2-track @ 7 1/2 IPS tapes. The Patti Page "In the Land of Hi-Fi" has the price of $10.95 printed right on the label. 11 bucks in 1956 would also have been considered an insane amount of money for an album.

These 2-track tapes from the late 50's sound great by the way, even in mono (these tapes were mastered completely separate from LP mastering). The box lists every type of microphone and their exact placement within the recording studio during the taping session.

But I would really like to get 60's & 70's titles and by then everything was 4-track. I would really like to avoid 3 3/4 IPS though as I think at that point the vinyl might actually sound better.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:44 pm 
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
pollypocket wrote:
audioroom wrote:
ken1956 wrote:
Hello ; yes they are making a comeback. I recently brought my teac x20 r back to life with the help of Curt at reeltoreeltech.com . I will be taking him my Akai for service as well. He works out of Surrey BC and his phone is 604 514 1751 . He has about 35 years experience with sound equipment , extremely knowledgeable , has access to all sorts as well as restores reel to reels all the time . He was fair & his prices for his work were awesome. Go visit his website as he has about 800 + followers. Contact me if questions. Regards Ken

Thanks Ken. I have been in contact with Curt and he recommended an Akai GX635 which I am considering. He also has a Pioneer RT-909 which looks very nice. I need to do some research but both of them look like great players. Plus, he is only a ferry ride away from me.


Both the Akai and the Pioneer you mention are 1/4 track machines. If you are recording for yourself, they should work fine. If you plan to get into Tape Project level music, you will need a 1/2 track. Some decks (Technics, Otari) can play both 1/2 and 1/4 track tape. Here is an informative article called 'Buying a Tape Machine, An 11 Point Checklist' https://sonicscoop.com/2013/08/05/buying-a-tape-machine-an-11-point-checklist-from-midnight-bob-shuster/?fb_action_ids=10201458808009618&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B706271146066187%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.li

Further, here is a list of sources for 1/2 track tape https://www.audionirvana.org/forum/music/music-on-15-ips-reel-to-reel-tape-aa

Good luck with your search.

cheers,

Paul

Thanks for all of your help Paul. I have lots of reading to do. I see you have a preference for Revox Are there any models you would personally recommend? Are there any models from Akai or Teac that you like?


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:03 pm 
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I have been told that the two happiest days of owning a reel to reel is the day you buy it...and the day you sell it! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:00 am
Posts: 33
Location: kirkland, QC, CA
Re. Two Happiest days of owning a r2r
Agree with only half of this statement which I believe was originally meant for used boats
I never stopped using my r2r since early '70's and it is my preferred source of music.
So yes my happiest day was the day I bought it but will never part with it. That would be my saddest day.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:08 pm 
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Posts: 664
Location: SW, ON, CA
Hey Audioroom,

Apologies for the late response as I have been away.
My preference for Revox goes back to my first response...I have a great Revox tech that only works on Revox decks. As well, there are lots of these machines around so parts are fairly easy to come by. I think the quality of these units are very good and thus why they were selected for use in CBC studios across the country in their prime. The PR99 is a prosumer deck so build quality and engineering are quite good and it sounds excellent.
My recommendation for 1/2 deck if you are seriously diving down the rabbit hole is to save up for a Studer A810. This is a very desired machines and one of the best units you can find for home for a number of reasons.
My recommendation for a 1/4 track machine is a tougher recommendation. I have a Revox A77 and an Akai 630...The A77 is older and doesn't have some of the logic and features that the newer decks have. Sound-wise I have no complaints, but I've had a lot of folks I trust tell me that the Teac's, Otari's, and upper end Sony's are all excellent machines and sound great....I'm still exploring this question myself as I look for yet another open reel deck. Almost every tech I talk to recommends Teac and Otari for quality, parts and ease of repair/sound.

cheers,

Paul

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Posts: 71
Location: Brampton, ON, CA
libor wrote:
or you can have the switchable decks (2 and 4 track replay heads) like Technics and Teac 2000......


I'll agree on the Technics model having the 2 track playback (sometimes record), but the only TEAC decks that had any 1/4 track and 2 track playback are the X1000M and the X2000M... The more common Teac decks are the X1000R/X2000R which will only playback 1/4 track.

:mrgreen:

-- 15 Sep 2017 02:27 --

audioroom wrote:
Thanks Ken. I have been in contact with Curt and he recommended an Akai GX635 which I am considering. He also has a Pioneer RT-909 which looks very nice. I need to do some research but both of them look like great players. Plus, he is only a ferry ride away from me.


I know this will rub some of the Akai guys the wrong way, but I would personally avoid them. Parts and maintenance are a bit scarce on these machines. More of a "consumer" deck vs a pro-sumer deck...Some of them look gorgeous (747, I'm looking at you!) but for the money, you would be best to put it into a more reliable deck.

If you have the $$, go with the Technics RS1500 series decks. Well made, and still serviceable to this day. Well built, too. No belts to go (unless you count the squeeky counter belt)

If you are somewhat on a budget, the Teac decks are pretty decent too. I tend to like the X series of decks (X1000/X2000/X10/X20) as there are belts and parts out there. They made tons of these machines, so it won't be a problem to get one up and running.

IF you look long enough, you'll find a nice used Otari MX5050 MKII or higher for a good price. Arguably a much better sounding machine than the 2 above, and easily calibrated. Built in test tones, and has the 2 TK record and quarter track playback. Not as pretty as the 2 machines above, but much nicer sounding.

Good luck!

PS:And don't buy ANY used ampex 456 tape...or any older scotch tape from the 80s, no matter how cheap it is. A lot of the tape is sticky shed, and will destroy and wear out your equipment if your not aware of it. Get some maxell XL1 used, or some of the newer RMG/Pyral tape.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:58 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:58 pm
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Location: Handel, SK, CA
RTR are vinyl savers, because of them 500 of my audiofile records have only seen a stylus once or twice in 45 yrs :)


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:42 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I have a nice Pioneer RT-2022, and a small selection of tapes (around 30 or so). I love the sound I get from it - even the 7.5" 4-track pre-recorded tapes have a solidity to the sound that vinyl does not. I've compared the same recordings on both formats and the R2R always sounds better (and my vinyl setup is pretty decent, and far more expensive than the R2R setup)
Yes, to buy new reissues from Tape Project and the like is pretty steep, and even buying old commercial tapes is getting a little silly (especially with shipping from the US) but it's a worthwhile endeavor in any case :)
B

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:29 pm
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Location: SW, ON, CA
mantisory wrote:
I have a nice Pioneer RT-2022, and a small selection of tapes (around 30 or so). I love the sound I get from it - even the 7.5" 4-track pre-recorded tapes have a solidity to the sound that vinyl does not. I've compared the same recordings on both formats and the R2R always sounds better (and my vinyl setup is pretty decent, and far more expensive than the R2R setup)
Yes, to buy new reissues from Tape Project and the like is pretty steep, and even buying old commercial tapes is getting a little silly (especially with shipping from the US) but it's a worthwhile endeavor in any case :)
B


I like vintage tape because is it truly analogue. I have a recording of CSNY that was recorded in 1970. The 'air' on the strings, the voices, the whole sound is wonderful in large part because it is all analogue. The tape is old and 1/4 track, there is noise and deterioration, but the 'analogueness' makes it such a pure recording. It is very enjoyable. That being said, there is a lot of crappy, pre-recorded tapes out there. In the peak of tape, 1/4 track tapes were pumped out to meet demand. Many are at 3-3/4 ips which increases tape noise. A lot of main stream music on tape was 'high-speed dubbed' meaning that a bank of tape decks being fed by a master tape were recorded at high speed (both the master and the copy) and these recordings tended to be of lesser quality. A lot of classical recordings were recorded in a much better fashion and are higher quality. I know classical isn't everyone's 'bag', but if you have a 1/4 track machine pick up one or two classical recordings to give yourself a reference point of how good the sound can be.

cheers,

Paul

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:37 am 
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pollypocket wrote:
mantisory wrote:
I have a nice Pioneer RT-2022, and a small selection of tapes (around 30 or so). I love the sound I get from it - even the 7.5" 4-track pre-recorded tapes have a solidity to the sound that vinyl does not. I've compared the same recordings on both formats and the R2R always sounds better (and my vinyl setup is pretty decent, and far more expensive than the R2R setup)
Yes, to buy new reissues from Tape Project and the like is pretty steep, and even buying old commercial tapes is getting a little silly (especially with shipping from the US) but it's a worthwhile endeavor in any case :)
B


I like vintage tape because is it truly analogue. I have a recording of CSNY that was recorded in 1970. The 'air' on the strings, the voices, the whole sound is wonderful in large part because it is all analogue. The tape is old and 1/4 track, there is noise and deterioration, but the 'analogueness' makes it such a pure recording. It is very enjoyable. That being said, there is a lot of crappy, pre-recorded tapes out there. In the peak of tape, 1/4 track tapes were pumped out to meet demand. Many are at 3-3/4 ips which increases tape noise. A lot of main stream music on tape was 'high-speed dubbed' meaning that a bank of tape decks being fed by a master tape were recorded at high speed (both the master and the copy) and these recordings tended to be of lesser quality. A lot of classical recordings were recorded in a much better fashion and are higher quality. I know classical isn't everyone's 'bag', but if you have a 1/4 track machine pick up one or two classical recordings to give yourself a reference point of how good the sound can be.

cheers,

Paul


Never have heard any 3-3/4 tapes but it does appear to be a format to stay clear of...
b

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:58 pm
Posts: 279
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
pollypocket wrote:
Hey Audioroom,

Apologies for the late response as I have been away.
My preference for Revox goes back to my first response...I have a great Revox tech that only works on Revox decks. As well, there are lots of these machines around so parts are fairly easy to come by. I think the quality of these units are very good and thus why they were selected for use in CBC studios across the country in their prime. The PR99 is a prosumer deck so build quality and engineering are quite good and it sounds excellent.
My recommendation for 1/2 deck if you are seriously diving down the rabbit hole is to save up for a Studer A810. This is a very desired machines and one of the best units you can find for home for a number of reasons.
My recommendation for a 1/4 track machine is a tougher recommendation. I have a Revox A77 and an Akai 630...The A77 is older and doesn't have some of the logic and features that the newer decks have. Sound-wise I have no complaints, but I've had a lot of folks I trust tell me that the Teac's, Otari's, and upper end Sony's are all excellent machines and sound great....I'm still exploring this question myself as I look for yet another open reel deck. Almost every tech I talk to recommends Teac and Otari for quality, parts and ease of repair/sound.

cheers,

Paul


Thanks Paul.
That Studer A810 would be my dream R2R machine - beautiful piece. But at $4-$5K for a used one (from my quick google search), that will have to wait. I want to keep my budget to under $1500 as this is my first machine. If I decide that R2R is something I want to explore further the Studer looks like my first choice.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:00 am
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Location: Windsor, ON, CA
I've owned a few different decks in recent years and have settled on a pristine Pioneer RT-707. I use it regularly and love the sound. If you check my Youtube channel, you can see it in action. Edit: here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am9zbEqXfFA

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Last edited by Sizzle on Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:59 am 
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mantisory wrote:
Never have heard any 3-3/4 tapes but it does appear to be a format to stay clear of...
b


Well I have heard them. I have a number of 3 3/4 ips commercial reels. They are not as good as 7 1/2 ips tapes, but I wouldn't say "to stay clear of" them. Some are very good, while others are not. Avoid the ones that were distributed by the record clubs back in the day, but (as with LP and CD releases) titles should always be evaluated individually. A decent reel deck at 3 3/4 ips still has better specs than the RIAA has set aside for LPs, especially in the bass range ... and a lot better than commercial cassettes (that seem to be resurrected nowadays).

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:26 am 
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I agree with Quadzilla, I have some 3-3/4 tape that sound pretty decent...not comparable to 1/2 track, but music with decent levels where the tape noise is not noticeable, it works well.

Paul

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 Post subject: Re: Reel to Reel
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:47 pm 
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Sizzle wrote:
I've owned a few different decks in recent years and have settled on a pristine Pioneer RT-707. I use it regularly and love the sound. If you check my Youtube channel, you can see it in action. Edit: here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am9zbEqXfFA

That is a very nice looking and compact unit. It looks brand new!


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