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Author Topic: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue  (Read 6966 times)

Offline astrotoy

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TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« on: August 10, 2010, 01:44:23 AM »
I Just got my September 2010 Issue of The Absolute Sound (TAS) today. On pages 104 and 107 is a review of the TP and the United Home Audio Tascam Deck by Jonathan Valin, who usually does the super high end reviews for TAS. Although he says that every TP tape is not "across-the-board sonically superior to the Walker Black Diamond Mk II record player" (which sells for $57K !! installed) "it is certainly spectacularly lifelike on the better titles, and on the very best Tape Project titles, it is without question the most realistic source component I've tried." He goes on to say "you will still get more dimensional imaging, finer low-level resolution, somewhat truer timbres, simply phenomenal dynamics, astonishingly wide and deep soundstaging, and greater overall realism on select 15 ips tapes, and on the best of them, such as the Arnold Overtures, you will ... get a sound that comes closer to the sound of a full orchestra in a real hall than any other recorded medium I've heard."

Wow! Congrats Fellows. 

 
Larry Toy CharterMember-BHReproTechnics1506/Akai747dbx/OtariMX5050B3-ClassicalVinylFreak-15Krecs-VPIHRXRimDrv-LyraSkala-HelikonMono-HerronVTSP3A/BHPhonoPre-PacificMicrosonics Model2 - Pyramix&MykerinosCard-OppoNE-Proceed AVP2+6/CVP2-CJ MET1-Cary 2A3SE-AvantgardeDuos-3Solos-VelodyneDD18Sub

Offline MylesAstor

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 07:16:11 PM »
Oh so he had the LP of eery TP tape for direct comparison? Nice trick if he did.

Oh and where's that $57K check for the table-not to mention the table is what, 4x the price of the tape deck (assume it was the top level UHA Tascam)?
Myles B. Astor
Magico S5 Mk. 2/cj ART>cj GAT Series 2 preamp>Doshi 3.0 phono>VPI Vanquish/3D arm/Atlas SL/Ortofon A95 cartridges/SRA Ohio Class XL+2 base>Technics 1506/low ind. FM heads/balanced out/Doshi V3.0 tape stage>Kubala-Sosna Emotion/ Transparent Audio Gen. 5; Viero speaker cables

Offline kipdent

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 10:06:47 PM »
Oh and where's that $57K check for the table-not to mention the table is what, 4x the price of the tape deck (assume it was the top level UHA Tascam)?

Exactly my thoughts, Myles--my joyous sonic experiences with tape makes me think these super 'tables are obscenely overpriced. Something is just wrong!

Kip
Kip Peterson
Vintage-centric system with Apogee Acoustics Scintilla ribbon loudspeakers, Micro Seiki RX-5000 turntable and other odd bits of tube and solid state gear. Now a proud owner of a Studer A80 RC Mk II tape machine!

Offline mikel

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 06:03:27 AM »
Oh and where's that $57K check for the table-not to mention the table is what, 4x the price of the tape deck (assume it was the top level UHA Tascam)?

Exactly my thoughts, Myles--my joyous sonic experiences with tape makes me think these super 'tables are obscenely overpriced. Something is just wrong!

Kip

hummmmm. there is the factor of the amount of software one has when considering expensive tt's. not that one needs to spend $57k to get a great tt. but putting together a state of the art tt set-up is not cheap in any case. and while Valin's cred is not what it once was, i would agree that the best vinyl can somewhat approach tape. i also think the UHA Tascam can be bettered by many decks with the better repro output electronics. that change for me certainly widened the gap from the best vinyl to tape.

in any case the review was a big positive for the Tape Project.
Mike Lavigne

Offline MylesAstor

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2010, 06:17:34 AM »
Quote

hummmmm. there is the factor of the amount of software one has when considering expensive tt's. not that one needs to spend $57k to get a great tt. but putting together a state of the art tt set-up is not cheap in any case. and while Valin's cred is not what it once was, i would agree that the best vinyl can somewhat approach tape. i also think the UHA Tascam can be bettered by many decks with the better repro output electronics. that change for me certainly widened the gap from the best vinyl to tape.

in any case the review was a big positive for the Tape Project.

Here's the thing Mike. I'd be shocked if the LP and the TP tape sounded similar. So much processing went on in the post-production mastering of many LPs that they rarely sound like the original tape, esp. say for rock LPs. Even some "safeties/production copies" I've heard say of the original Mercury classical recordings are clearly produced with the limitations of LP mastering at the time in mind eg. bass rolloff, etc.

The only two that were close, where I had both the LP and tape were the Deccas and Bill Evans. The TP Stage Fright tape simply blew away the original LP. Any resemblance between the tape and the LP were purely coincidental. The same goes for the Arnold. I was no fan of the LP; but the tape creates a totally different experience and one can appreciate far more what KOJ was doing on the recording.

Then there's always the question of tape generations vs. the LP production.
Myles B. Astor
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Offline xcortes

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2010, 08:49:26 AM »
I have not read the article but from Larry's post I can infer it was a very positive review of the TP tapes.

The reviewer's comparisons to vinyl can be debatable but if his conclusions make the tapes comparable to his multithousand dollar vinyl rigs more people will turn their heads and look at the TP and more generally to the medium. I think there's lots of hardware possibilities for tape playing. What we we need is more software. That will only happen when there's a larger critical mass of users. And an article like this can only move such critical mass in the right direction.
Xavier Cortes

Offline joeljoel1947

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 02:41:59 PM »
I read the article and was wondering about one of the comments JV made.  He states, "Although some of The Tape Project Tapes are distinctly better then their LP counerparts, a few of them aren't (not because of any weakness in the UHA tape player but because of the deterioration of a few of the mastertapes from which the tape project dubs were made)."

I don't recall ever reading about confirmed "deteriorated tapes" that the TP decided to make dubs of in this forum.  Perhaps besides the Linda R. tape, but that was for a different reason.  Does JV know something we don't; or is he just guessing as to a reason why a few of his lp's sound better then the tp tape counterpart?  If he does know something we don't, which of the master tapes that were "deteriorated" did the TP go ahead and dub?  Maybe I missed something...
Regards,
Joel Kozlowski

Offline ironbut

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2010, 06:46:32 PM »
Hey Joel,
He may be referring to the "Coltrane/Burrell" tape which has those drops on it. I think other than that, he's just making a WAG.
Also, I read the statement as saying that some tapes aren't better than the original lp not that the lp was better.

Back on my soapbox;
All master tapes aren't created equal in the first place and just like Myles suggested, there are certainly differences in sound between the masters and the stampers that produced the original lp. It's my WAG that with some recordings a very good lp is capable of capturing a higher percentage to what is there on the master than other lps. So, for instance, if the transients are somewhat blunt on the original recording the lp can capture those as easily as the tape which usually has the edge in that area. I attribute most of these "deficiencies" to the recording venue. I have a real love/hate relationship with those recording that were made in this or that historic hall. I'm sure it's fantastic when you're there and hearing that acoustic on a recording is great if you've been there, but sometimes it just doesn't translate into fabulous sonics. These recordings are a special event for the players though and many times result in phenomenal performances. In those cases I'm very happy to have the tape since a mint, original pressing is all but impossible to find or buy at any price.
I do have a few amazing sounding lps that I doubt that there would be a huge improvement in sonics with a tape release (although, I'd be more than happy to find out!). Unfortunately, one of them was going for $700 the last time I checked.

I really think that this review is written for folks who've never heard (and may never hear) these tapes,.. which is cool.
It lets them know what reel tape is capable of and where to buy it. It has the usual "keep everybody happy" tone and doesn't step on the toes of the folks who've paid the big bucks for the vinyl systems he's recommended in the past.
Bear in mind that AFAIK, Valin's a relative newcomer when it comes to reel to reel tape. He probably hasn't heard what a difference one transport or repro amp over another can make (or the smaller stuff like adjustments, tubes, cables etc.).
So for Joel and the rest of us who've been at it for a while, he should be listening to what we have to say!
steve koto
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Offline joeljoel1947

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Re: TAS Review of TP - September 2010 Issue
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 07:37:31 PM »
Hi Steve,
Thanks for the post.  I will add some here too as I'm allowed to be less PC then you.  ;)

Yes, after waiting I think 3 years plus for the "promised review" (promised by TAS) of reel to reel vs. other formats, that is what we got???  IMHO it was a two page ad for the UHA deck. Record your precious vinyl to open reel to save your stylus and your LP's???  SERIOUSLY??!!?? That was something important to mention?  That was taken right off the UHA web-site!

The UHA deck was underwhelming sounding when I heard it at the AK fest a few months back.  That said, I even own a Tascam 32. Love the Tascam; even more then my Technics 1506, but not quite as much as the Otari B2's or 3's I have.   The Tascam is a nice 2-track machine @ 7.5 and 15 ips. It sounds better to me stock then what I heard in the UHA demo!  So, yes, I think more then just one deck needed to be used for the "review" especially considering JV has NO experience with r2r; at least in this decade. 

 Really sad that JV missed many things and glossed over others.  The way it reads there are only 20 tapes in the world to play, period.  And of the 20, only a few of them have not "deteriorated" or are better then the vinyl version (which BTW there are only a few vinyl versions of the TP tapes in total so comparisons are not easily done).  Why no mention of all the quality pre-recorded 7.5 ips 2 and 4 track tapes that RUN CIRCLES AROUND the original LP pressings?  No mention of KOB, Time Out, Duke meets Count, Sketches of Spain, Miles Smiles, any Beatles, 2-track MLP's, Living Stereo's, Barclay Crockers, etc etc etc.  No mention of the fact that r2r will still today yield you the best possible fidelity for recordings if you want to get adventurous and make your own "master tapes".

Nope, I think your basic card-carrying audiophile is gonna read that article and walk away saying, "who cares?" about r2r.  It's Arnold's Overtures or bust....Very sad.

JV needs to get over the dropouts.  When I compared the Waltz Debbi tape project tape to the Japanese SACD, the same exact dropouts were in the SACD in the same spots.  It is what it is.  But the TP blew away the SACD, and the vinyl, and thats what mattered to me!  Could care less about the dropouts.  Thats what JV should be listening for---the sound---not the dropouts.

Why would he say tapes with dropouts were "deteriorated"?  Did he pull that out of thin air??????  That just doesn't read well!  And on top of that, there are are millions of tapes that have NOT deteriorated.  It all depends on how things are stored and cared for.  To read what he wrote again makes the average audiophool to believe that ALL "old tapes" are going to be destroyed with time. 

Anyhow, I was disappointed with the whole thing. It didn't keep ME happy. ;)

 Yes, at least SOME visibility was given to r2r which is a good thing.  But they coulda hit that one out of the park had more care and attention to detail been given to the piece.....
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 07:44:15 AM by joeljoel1947 »
Regards,
Joel Kozlowski