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Author Topic: My new tape setup !  (Read 4566 times)

Offline newrant

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My new tape setup !
« on: June 11, 2014, 06:17:37 AM »
Hi guys, this is the first time I open a thread on this forum, becuse I like to share my happyness for the new arrived!
Iím a passionate user of analog technology (mainly turntables), but since some years Iíve re-discovered the tapes...
I was considering to evolve to a better tape machine since long time. My Technics RS1500 is a good recorder, fine mechanics, especially if we consider it is a consumer unit, but it lacks some important characteristics in sound and tends to distort/miss the passages with higher dynamics.

Therefore I started searching the ďperfectĒ tape machine for me, Ampex ATR100, Stellavox TD9 and Nagra T being the contenders.

I had the chance to hear the ATR100 and the TD9 in different occasions and I liked both of them, especially the TD9 for its incredibile aesthetics.
Then I met the Nagra T at a friendís home and it was immediately LOVE :)

So the fighting to get a good used unit started...
It was hard and difficult to find the ďrightĒ one because a lot of fake ads appeared on ebay and on the worldwide used gear marketplaces. So I preferred to get it from a local owner. And I found it just here in Italy! The unit has been completely refurbished and heads were replaced in 2007 when the Italian owner decided to have it renewed. Now the unit seems almost unused and I think it is still in excellent conditions. At least my ears say that!
Yes I do extremely like its voice, absolutely neutral, rich of detail, extension to low and hi ends and with plenty of sense of rythm. I also love its aesthetics, so technological and essential at the same time!

Tape handling seems to be at its best, everything is on moving rollers and the tape never touches heads or any fixed guide during spooling. So nice...

Curiosity: who knows how many of these units were ever manufactured?

What do I do with it? Mainly I use it as a player (unfortunately I donít have many titles for now, but the collection is growing) with my tape consisting in some Tape Project titles and three titles produced by a new label here in Italy, Hemiolia Records. I do like a lot the TP material (the titles I have are historical and everyone knows what we are talking about) and also the Italian product because they make fresh recordings with full analog equipment and the results are awesome. They only have three titles available now but the two jazz titles are simply a masterpiece. The music is amazing and the recording out of its age... I recommend to check their website and to listen to the samples available for each title.

At the moment Iím pretty happy with the sound of the recorder and donít intend to use any external preamp. If I do ever change my mind in the future, which one is the best to couple with this piece of art?

May be that in the future I will also use it as a recorder (I really hope !), if some friends who record calssical music give me the program out of their mixing desk...

And now some pictures of my new toy in my listening room:

Thanks for watching! 

Offline docb

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Re: My new tape setup !
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 08:53:55 AM »
Lovely! Welcome to Club Nagra T.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline Wimdo

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Re: My new tape setup !
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 07:01:30 AM »
I'm very happy to say that I own now a Nagra T too (Nagra NTA 3TCR).  I bought the machine a month ago but I waited to use it till I had an appointment with Nagra France (I live in Belgium about 4 hours driving from Paris).  Yesterday I was in Paris with my recorder where a lovely person who worked already 30 years for Nagra's technical recording department gave the machine a maintenance and a calibration for the TP tapes : CCIR 38cm/s for RMG SM468 (with the TP alignment/calibration tape).  Nagra could tell me when the machine was bought and if it had a service before.  The latter wasn't the case and Nagra could show me where someone other than them did a service. Happy I was when they confirmed after the maintenance (I took the opportunity to visit the palace of Versailles whist the maintenance was carried out because the palace is less than 10 miles away from their offices) that they fixed and adjusted almost everything and that the machine had been used very little.  I post this because I'm extremely happy with Nagra's hospitality and service but also because I have a question :  Nagra said that my machine has heads with a 2mm tracks width which is more for video sound mastering whilst Nagra T's can also be equipped with heads with 2.75mm track width which are better for the purist who does only hifi sound recording and playback, providing our ears can hear the difference.  The 2mm track width has a little loss in dynamics compared to the 2.75mm track width but in their opinion the difference is so small that most people won't hear the difference.

What is the track width on your machine and is it worthwhile to spent the money for new heads (maybe just to have it full option for the audio) ?

Offline High and Outside

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Re: My new tape setup !
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 11:56:14 PM »
The 2mm track width, often called the NAB standard, allows a wider guard band between the two recorded channels, for lower crosstalk. The 2.75 mm track, called the DIN standard, width gives slightly higher output, which also implies better signal to noise ratio. Pick your trade-off.

On machines that squeezed a narrow time code track into the central guard band, including the Nagra T, this was always done on a head with 2mm tracks. On heads with the 2.75mm tracks the central guard band doesn't have room for the time code track. This is probably what the tech was referring to when he said the NAB heads were used for video work.

Almost all machines made in the US and Japan used the NAB heads. In Europe some machines were equipped with the DIN heads, but only if they were intended strictly for stereo use. If you attempted to use one of these machines for a half track mono recorder the crosstalk would be objectionable.

If you aren't worried about the crosstalk you can achieve that slightly better signal to noise with DIN head...but only if you use DIN heads for both record and playback. If the tapes were  recorded on NAB heads but you play them back on DIN heads there is no advantage.

Tape Project tapes are recorded with NAB heads.
Paul Stubblebine
Managing Director, The TapeProject

Offline Wimdo

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Re: My new tape setup !
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 01:46:38 AM »
Many thanks Paul for the explanation which saves me a lot of money (which I can spent now on new TP tapes) because I will stay with the 2mm heads.
Thanks for the TP Forum and the love for good music.
PS. I somebody needs a instruction or service manual of the Nagra T (in PDF) they can get if for free from me for personal use.
Kind regards from Belgium.

Offline c1ferrari

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Re: My new tape setup !
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 08:49:08 AM »
Newrant and Wim -- congratulations!  Enjoy analog tape on your fine machines :-)

Paul -- thanks for you clarifying comments.
Sam Lucero