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A BIG thank you


I just read the thread on the RS-1500 rework mods and doings. I have followed The Tape Project's progress since late last year, and I am very impressed by the dedication your team has shown to analog recording and playback. I know this venture is not cheap or easy to come by, but I sincerely wanted to say thanks all the same. I always knew, and have always known in my own heart, that analog is the way to go for recording music. This is why all my current recordings are done this way. I know 50 years from now they will play back, too. There is no digital system, now or ever made, that can lay that claim as well. I may not be able to afford any of your gear or tapes, but I wish you the very best. Hopefully, your team will all be at the Stereophile show so I can meet and shake hands and say thanks in person. Craig

The evolution of this project was pretty interesting. I guess it really goes way back to when I first heard Paul's 1" ATR in the newly completed mastering studio several years ago. He put on a master tape of the Persuasions singing acapella, and I was gut hooked. When Vacuum State of the Art Conference 2003 rolled around I had a mission. I spent so much time on administration of the previous 3 VSACs that my own exhibit room was always sub-standard. This time I was going to show off what I knew we could do soundwise. I started to plan out a serious system setup with PJ, and asked Paul if he would make me some masters to use for demo. He said sure, and then said, "heck we could even do lacquer if my lathe was set up". Then, after a pause he said, "well, you know, the best format of all is tape." How about some demos on tape?"

My old bud Dave Dintenfass burned the midnight oil making us a custom Ampex 350 that ran at 30 ips, and Paul made up three or four reels of material with a broad range of music styles. We spent a full day just setting up, with PJ shooting the room and tuning the system to it. The result was we actually had a hard time getting people to leave and head down the hall to see the rest of the show, and we were declared best sound of show by a couple of reviewers.

At that point I knew I was going to demo with tape in the future. I happened across an ATR 104 parts queen and bought it with the intention of getting it up and running for my listening room. After a couple of years Eileen said "get that dusty POS out of the living room!" It sat in the corner of the home theater until we decided to do the project, and now it has been completely rebuilt and given a higher purpose in the duping line...

The next adventure with tape demos was RMAF 2004. I was frankly burned out on shows, but Ron Welborne had a been a great help with VSAC and I wanted to show my support for the new RMAF. So I planned out a way to show with a minimum of gear hauling - two tape recorders (a Nagra from Dave and an ancient Ampex I customized with Bottlehead electronics), two headphone amps, and two pairs of cans. Paul made some demo reels, and we were awarded best sound of show again by a reviewer - with headphones.

At this point we had to say OK, there is something to this tape thing. Several discussions over steak and G&T later we decided to take a whack at this project, and slowly worked out the details of what would really be required to revive a dead consumer format. Luckily I had seen our efforts with another defunct equipment technology - single ended tube amps - pay off. I was naive enough to think this tape thing was possible if we could supply good machines as well as tapes, and I began to figure out how to do that.

Fast forward to today - at this point I'm scrambling to get equipment built for NY and it's taking all my time and money at the moment. Don't know if I will be able to make it out there, but Paul will be at the show. The good news is that I should have our first machine - one of the units sent to demo at NY, with tube repro amp, remote control, custom walnut rack cabinet - available for sale after the show. I don't have the exact price quite worked out (somewhere in the $5K range I think), but if anyone is interested give me a call and I can discuss what's included, when it could be available, cost, deposit, etc.


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