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Author Topic: Where do I start?  (Read 3180 times)

Offline jdcolombo

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Where do I start?
« on: August 27, 2007, 10:45:02 AM »
Hi everyone.

I am very interested in The Tape Project.  I have been a music lover all my life (played clarinet through high school; fooled around on piano), and I have a decent stereo system (Magneplanar 1.6QR's driven by a Musical Fidelity A5 integrated amp).  For many years (at least the last 20), my music listening has been exclusively via CD and now some SACD.  The idea of having some reference-quality tapes to go along with my large CD/SACD collection is intriguing and the release lineup I see on the web site is right up my jazz/classical alley.

So, where do I start?  I'm not ready to plunk down $5-6K for the complete Bottlehead RS1500, but If I'm serious about this, I need to acquire a tape deck, and I want something of high quality that one can still find parts and service for.  When I was in college, I briefly owned a Revox A77, but that was a 4-track machine running at the standard 3.75 and 7.5 ips.  I see that there are a couple of Studer 810's for sale on e-bay that seem to meet the requirements (half-track; 15ips; IEC equalization selection), along with a couple of Technics RS1500's and 1506's, but I'm a little wary of buying a "vintage" tape machine off e-bay unless I'm getting it from someone that offers some kind of return/warranty policy.  Are there folks out there whom you trust that sell refurbed or good-condition used machines at reasonable prices (e.g., under $1500)?

Any thoughts from the group on this would be appreciated.

Thanks!

John Colombo

EDIT: After poking around the forums some, I see that my question essentially has been asked and answered before (mea culpa!  Should have looked first).  So . . . I'll leave things at "Hi" and post my specific machine questions in the Tape Machine forum.

I'll add, though, that I'm getting a bit excited about re-entering the analog world . . .

John C.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 02:46:08 PM by jdcolombo »
John Colombo
Savoy, IL

Offline ironbut

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 08:35:45 PM »
Welcome to the Tape Project John. I'm sure you've seen my posts and have guessed that I love my RS1500. An important thing to keep in mind when choosing the machine, is that the odds of your needing to get some service done to get any machine working perfectly is very close to 100%. That is perfectly though. I've had mine for years now and listen to it daily. I does Not work perfectly. It needs a new set of tape counter belts (a pain to get at), the 1/4 track playback head should be replaced, the tape lifters aren't lifting the tape all the way off the playback heads in rewind/ff. But, my collection of tapes sound wonderful on it and it's not harming them either. Luckily, the 1/2 track playback head is in good condition and the tape speed is as good as new. Except for the wear on the 1/4 track head, the problems ( and more) with my rs1500 could probably be found in a "new in box" rs1500 or Studer 810. One of the good news/bad news things between these two machines is that a used Studer will have almost surely been used in a professional environment. This means heavy usage by multiple users. The good news is, they are built for this kind of abuse. Unfortunately, some users did abuse them so things like motors ( expensive) may need replacing. The Technics were also used sometimes in pro environments but, the amount of abuse is usually pretty obvious just from looking at it. The thing that a prosumer machine like an rs1500 has going for it is that some have hardly been used. There are tons of people that bought top notch r2r machines that loved the way they looked but had no idea what to do with it after the first time they recorded their church chorus or copied a bunch of lp's on slow speed for a party tape. So, if your patient ( and that is the key to getting any deck in nice condition) and know what to look for, getting one to operate well enough to get the most out of the Projects tapes should be well within your budget. There have been sellers there and elsewhere that will warrant refurbished decks, but they are as much as Doc is charging with less audiophile emphasis.
Actually, someone should do a check-list of things to look for on a used rs1500's.  That person should have extensive experience with buying used machines off Ebay. He would of course, need to have enough technical  knowlege to understand what is involved in carrying out any repairs needed and the cost of them. It would help if he was a member here and understood what the priorities would be to  play the Tape Project tapes properly. Do you know anyone like that Dan Schmalle?
steve koto
 Sony scd 777es(R. Kern mods)> Vpi Aires>Dynavector XX-2mkll>Bent mu>CAT ultimate>CJ premeir 140>Magnepan 1.6qr(Jensen xover)Headphone Eddie Current Zana Deux>AT ad2000,HD800 ,Metric Halo ULN-2 (battery powered),
 HE Audio Jades

Offline rbwtapeinterlink-Bob

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2007, 04:33:59 PM »
Hello John,
I am a long time music lover as well. My favorite music is jazz and classical music, large and small scale choral works in particular. I love the human voice. I recently purchased a 2 track, 7.5 and 15ips tape deck from "www.audioproz.com" (617-926-8020).

There is a very fine gentleman there by the name of Vince, who was most helpful to me. He spent about 1/2 hour on the phone explaining various tape decks, problems, repair complexities, etc.  My machine will ship this Friday. I purchased the Tascam 32-2B recorder with adjustable bias so that I can choose a tape formulation later.

Audioproz show a listing of the various tape decks they have for sale. Vince is the owner and makes certain the deck you select  is checked and pristine before the machine leaves their facility. I saw at least two series 1500 Technic Tape Decks for sale since I started looking. Call Vince and ask, because he has decks for sal he has not listed. As a matter of fact  I called about another Tascam 32-2B that was sold. However, Vince had another one that was 9 out of a possible 10 regarding condition. So, I got that one for a few dollars more, plus it comes with tape adaptors.

I don't mean to be so long winded but just wanted to share my experience while trying to purchase the most 2 track/15ips tape deck I could get for the money. Welcome aboard my friend.

Bob Williams
Bob W. (African American) VPI, Ref Standard Grado, Denon 103r, Threshold, DecWare tube pre and Classe pre amp, Jolida tube phono pre amp, (Peter Gunn) modified Magnapan 1.6, Tascam 32-2B & 42B tape decks, Parasound belt drive CD transport, Pacific Valve tube DAC, VPI  TT, various upscale cables.

Offline ironbut

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2007, 06:17:13 PM »
Wow,.. excellent link Bob. I just shot off an email to Vince about modifying some other stuff. Thanks!
steve koto
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 HE Audio Jades

Offline rbwtapeinterlink-Bob

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2007, 05:56:57 PM »
Hello John,
Tell me sir, what tape deck did you end up getting. I know you mentioned the Tascam 32-2B. I also believe that you mentioned an Otari MX 5050 ll did you not? Look forward to hearing your reply.

Bob Williams
Bob W. (African American) VPI, Ref Standard Grado, Denon 103r, Threshold, DecWare tube pre and Classe pre amp, Jolida tube phono pre amp, (Peter Gunn) modified Magnapan 1.6, Tascam 32-2B & 42B tape decks, Parasound belt drive CD transport, Pacific Valve tube DAC, VPI  TT, various upscale cables.

Offline jdcolombo

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2007, 06:05:11 AM »
Hello John,
Tell me sir, what tape deck did you end up getting. I know you mentioned the Tascam 32-2B. I also believe that you mentioned an Otari MX 5050 ll did you not? Look forward to hearing your reply.

Bob Williams

Hi Bob.

I ended up with a Studer-Revox PR99, which is the "pro" version of their B77 deck.  I bought it locally, which was a help because I could look at it before buying and didn't have to worry about having it shipped.  It was exceptionally clean, and head wear looks to be minimal, though they could probably use a relapping.  Alignment tapes are arriving today, which should give me a better idea of what, if anything, needs to be done to it.

John C.
John Colombo
Savoy, IL

Offline rbwtapeinterlink-Bob

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Re: Where do I start?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2007, 07:31:43 AM »
John, please forgive me as I did not see this post before replying to your great response to my cable problem. You were indeed fortunate to be able to eyeball the deck before purchase. What plans do you have for that new deck now? Keep me posted sir. And thanks again.

Bob
Bob W. (African American) VPI, Ref Standard Grado, Denon 103r, Threshold, DecWare tube pre and Classe pre amp, Jolida tube phono pre amp, (Peter Gunn) modified Magnapan 1.6, Tascam 32-2B & 42B tape decks, Parasound belt drive CD transport, Pacific Valve tube DAC, VPI  TT, various upscale cables.