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Author Topic: Curious about R2R  (Read 2665 times)

Offline roswelltim

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Curious about R2R
« on: May 04, 2010, 09:09:10 AM »
Hello all. I'm curious about obtaining a R2R deck. I have what would be considered a high end hifi system, Theta, Esoteric, Aerial gear. With much curiousness, I'm interested in obtain a r2r most likely via AudioGon, Ebay, maybe Craigslist. In the 70's had a Crown, Tandberg 20AE, Revox A77, so somewhat familiar with the brands of the day.

I've been watching Ebay & Audiogon over the past couple of months & see all flavors of R2R on the block. In terms of finding a machine, that ultimately would be upgradeable to tape project standards, electronics etc. Is there any specific machine I should be looking out for if given a preference? Since all are old, no longer produced, parts/service/cosmetics are a concern. I'm in no reel hurry to jump in but just waiting for the right machine that appears to be a good choice. Which is the problem, which decks to keep an eye out for and what ones to avoid.

As a guest I've been reading the various posts here to get an idea of decks & issues involved. But never really seen a listing of the preferable decks assuming the all meet the basic qualifications for a TapeProject deck.

So I'm hoping some experienced members might give me a ranking of what machines would be a good candidate to try and acquire??? For example I see Revox's on Ebay, but also see a ton of spares for them which is appealing.

Offline eugen_syd

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Re: Curious about R2R
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2010, 03:37:52 AM »
If I had nothing and about to buy one I would buy with no regrets an Revox B77. if you can find one with DOLBY system you have a rare machine in your hands. For some reasons I prefer 1/4 track machine so I can play my tapes boths sides. I had lot and lot of AKAI machines and I loved the GX747 or GX77 as being very nice and cute looking machines. It is all about what you what to use it for! HUH a PIONEER RT-909 what a nice looking machine.
What turns your wheels is the best think to get.
Good luck and welcome to the FAULTY people area..hahahha

Eugen from down under

Offline ironbut

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Re: Curious about R2R
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2010, 12:10:40 PM »
Hi Curious (BTW we use our real names here on this forum),
If you plan to use this deck for the playback of Tape Project tapes, be aware that you'll need a machine that's capable of playing 1/2 track, 15ips tapes. There are of course some Revox high speed models that are configured this way but they are few. You can have one converted but that's very expensive.
I think this is one of the reasons you'll find the Otari 5050 and Technics RS series is that they're very versatile. They can play just about any 1/4" tape you'll find.
The Otari's are outstanding bargains too.
steve koto
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Offline steveidosound

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Re: Curious about R2R
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 02:00:59 AM »
There is a sticky at the top of this reel to reel tape machines section that lists machines compatible with Tape Project tapes.
http://www.tapeproject.com/smf/index.php/topic,20.0.html
It is a question of how much quality you want vs. how much you want to do to the machine. There are machines out there that will play the Tape Project tapes "properly" with no modifications presuming they are in proper operating condition. The requirements are professional 15 inch per second speed, 10.5" reel size, 2 track stereo (one direction) on 1/4" tape head configuration and the hardest to find - IEC / CCIR playback equalization as opposed to the more standard NAB eq. At least Studer / Revox, Teac / Tascam, Technics, Pioneer, Ampex, Otari and perhaps others made some machines that fit these exact requirements. Others can be modified to play back with the correct EQ or the heads can be brought out to an external head preamp from Bottlehead (or others). See the Machines section of this site for turnkey modified custom machines available through The Tape Project / Bottlehead. Their electronics on a refurbished modified studio machine would probably be the ultimate quality. Various threads here talk about the merits of one machine and electronics over another.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 02:08:01 AM by steveidosound »
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Offline microstrip

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Re: Curious about R2R
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 05:29:21 AM »
IMHO you can not make an ordered list of "preferred machines" as there are too many variables to consider when choosing a tape machine. I already went through more than half a dozen before settling (I hope ...) in the Studer A80.
The main issue is application - do you want to record your tapes or just to listen to some pre-recorded tapes? I am a Tapeproject subscriber and bought a Bottlehead Eros so audio electronics was not important for me. 
As these machines are old and have mechanical parts service is also an issue - do not buy something you can not get parts or people to service. 
For people located in Europe buying USA manufactured machines can be a nightmare due to shipping and customs costs. A good thing for the A80 is that it uses about 30 ball bearings - you buy a working cheap noisy machine with lots of use and can replace the noisy ones  - an easy job if you have some experience and patience - but then everything moves so smoothly... Also, the quality of the freely available Studer service manuals is very good. Are you doing maintenance of the machine or do you have to ask someone to do it?
If you are buying from eBay or similar sources remember that for most sellers excellent condition machine means something that turns the reels and moves the VU needles - just that -and mint heads means they have carefully cleaned them!
You refer Revox's  - one the nice thing about them is that many people are disassembling old machines and selling them for parts at eBay at cheap prices - it is very easy to get spares.
Oh - I almost forget, the A80 weights about 70 kg ...
Francisco