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Messages - ironbut

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General Discussion / Re: R2R links
« on: September 10, 2015, 11:08:27 AM »
Hey Charlie,

Nice stuff!
I haven't read the whole thing yet but it seems like it covers all the basics.

Events / Re: Upcoming recording session
« on: August 31, 2015, 11:58:15 AM »
That console looks cool (love that Altec green).
From a quick google, looks like 10 In?
Guessing there are a few transformer mic inputs among those?

Events / Re: California Audio Show 2015, San Francisco
« on: August 15, 2015, 10:54:33 PM »
You Bay Area Tape Project guys really missed an awesome evening.
First off, just getting to spend a little time with Dan, Eileen and Paul is enough of a treat.
But getting some of the inside story on the creation of TP001 from Jacqui, Dan and Paul made took it to another level.

Luckily, they the crew sans Jacqui will be there on Sunday.

Prerecorded Tapes / Re: New Christian Jacob Reel To Reel Project
« on: August 12, 2015, 12:00:12 PM »
Sounds like a wonderful recording.
I saw Christian with Tierney a couple of years ago at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Great stuff!
Good luck with your release!

General Discussion / Software Dolby/DBX decoder
« on: August 07, 2015, 10:19:05 PM »
Just got word that someone has finally modeled some pristine encoder/decoders and released it as part of a tape emulation plug-in.
Sure, this may be something that analog mavens will put their nose up at, but if it's as good as some folks are saying, it could leave empty rack spaces in studios that do tape transfers for a living.

The plug-in is from u-he and it's called Satin. Here's the link;

There's a free demo (which I'll jump on as soon as I get time) and give you my thoughts on it.
There's beginning to be plenty of discussion on the archivist's forums and I first took notice when Richard Hess (who I greatly respect) posted about what a great job Satin did in his early tests.

"So, what have I tested?

My best test so far was done using my own recording of "A Concert in Memory of Benjamin Britten" recorded live at St. Thomas Church December 4, 1977. It is something I own the rights to, though a re-release would still require mechanicals to Boosey and Hawkes. I still have the original master tape, as well as an "up-in-the-air"--no Dolby decode/encode--safety copy which is fortunate for the first bar of the first cut on side 3 which had 3M leader pull out the mag coat on the first turn of the master.

For this recording, I have compared three different versions:

An August 2015 playback on an A80RC with both
(1) The U-He Satin decoder AND
(2) The Dolby M-frame with Cat-22 cards
(3) A 2005 playback on an APR-5000 with two 361 frames with two different Cat-22 cards.

There is Dolby tone on the tape and everything was carefully calibrated.

(2) and (3) sound similar with (3) sounding slightly more open

(1) sounds a lot better.

The private correspondent asks "is it accurate?"

Tom asks "properly working" regarding the Cat-22s.

These are hard to answer. My son (one year away from his BMus degree), my friend Don Ososke (who, among other things worked for Wally Heider and Ampex), and I all agree that the U-He is the most euphonic transfer of the Britten tape which Don has thought is one of the "crown jewels" of my recording career. Leaving St. Thomas and Dr. Gerre Hancock was the most difficult part of my 1981 departure from NYC.

The one thing that the U-He does properly is track level changes. With BOTH pairs of Cat-22 cards, certain sounds which are at different levels appear "darker" and "less open" at lower levels than with the U-He Satin. The U-He allows the tonality of the music to remain constant as it gets quieter, rather than turning muddier.

Lest you say that the recording Cat-22s were mis-adjusted, I did another test--that started this, actually, using a client tape that could have sounded better no matter how we decoded the noise reduction. In fact, it was Don's insistence that we use better source material to evaluate this which brought me to re-doing the three reels of St. Thomas masters that I own (the third being Organs of NY Vol I) which is coming through stunningly as I type.

Calibrating Dolby cards is not an easy matter. The tester only tests static levels. There are dynamics which are set by capacitors which might be aging. The fact that the 2005 transfer sounded a bit better than the 2015 one--with the Dolby decode--is a hint in that direction. The master tape does not appear to have lost much as the sounds of these three reels still impress (at least me) after 38 years. (OMG, it's been THAT long? I just turned 26 when I made this recording. Wow, how time flies!)

Just checking via a loud piece--there is no change in tonality between the U-He and the M-rack/Cat-22. All the difference occurs on the quiet parts, but I hear no pumping on either path.

This is all so very, very weird.

The first choir recording that started this digging-into-it quest, I just found out, was recorded in two different sessions: orchestra and choir with only the conductor wearing headphones listening to the orchestra. Joy! We listened to an LP and it was darker sounding than the M-Rack decode. The conductor liked the U-He version.

I'm open to thoughts/discussion.

Once I finish the choir tapes (I've got six and have done three) I'll move on to the dbx err uhx I decoder!



So, if you have the need of a decoder for digital transfer, give it a try.

Jerry Garcia / David Grisman / Re: Surprise!
« on: August 02, 2015, 11:06:30 AM »
What a fantastic surprise!
And timely too (with the Chicago Dead shows just in the news).
I know some folks that are going to be beating down my door to hear this one!

Events / Re: California Audio Show 2015, San Francisco
« on: August 02, 2015, 10:59:55 AM »
Is it August already!
This summer is flying by.

I'll be there for a listen and a visit.
Can't wait to hear the Grisman!
Didn't you master some of the Acoustic Disc releases?

Tape Project Machines / Re: A visit to Flux Magnetics
« on: July 29, 2015, 11:35:23 AM »
That is awesome.
Thanks for sharing the pic's Doc.
Now I have a face to to think of when I'm cleaning my Flux 2 track repro head.

Hooker 'n' Heat / Re: Hooker 'n' Heat First Impressions
« on: July 02, 2015, 11:30:32 AM »
I spent the weekend with some of my headphone buddies and set up my rig there.
I took an assortment of tapes and among them was the Hooker'n'Heat.
Can't recall hearing more hoots of joy as folks sampled the "you are there" quality of this release!
As I've said before,..
Great choice guys!

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Otari M5050-BII doesn't Rewind/ FF
« on: June 14, 2015, 12:50:29 PM »
Hi Juan,

Even though the tape doesn't seem sticky (to the touch?) I'd say the evidence speaks for itself.
The problem that makes the tapes sticky increases with heat. The faster you draw the tape across any fixed (not rotating) elements in the tape path such as guides and heads, the stickier the tape becomes.
Once a tape starts getting sticky, it just gets worse. You can bake a sticky tape and it will be okay long enough to transfer important audio but it's difficult to know how long the tape will be playable.

This is one of the primary reasons I never buy old tape. If the tape is "virgin", there's no way that the seller can know if it's got issues like this. The other is to support the guys who still produce tape today.
Their efforts are pretty heroic in this day and age!

General Discussion / Re: New Tape Project Review
« on: June 08, 2015, 12:02:46 PM »
Fantastic review Myles!
You sure pack a lot of info into a small space.
I guess that's why you get the big bucks!

General Discussion / End of Otari 5050
« on: June 07, 2015, 05:24:40 PM »
Here's a copy of an email from AheadTek who is the US distributor for Otari.
So, if you want a brand spankin new 5050, this is probably your last chance.

"Production of the MX5050 has stopped with the last units received at AheadTeK earlier this year.   AheadTeK has stock of 6 pcs here in San Jose.   At this point, the availability of future units will require at a minimum the re-layout of boards to changeover from thru-hole components to surface mount.  Unfortunately, it appears that Otari will NOT undertake this task.  The units in our stock are configured as 2-Channel, 2-Track record and play capable along with the "-P" option, a 2-Channel, 4-Track play head.  We took this approach as most of our customers have large libraries containing both 2-Track & 4-Track recordings and they are most interested in play back only for the purpose of transferring content from analog to digital.  The unit price is USD $8300.00 each and includes freight within North America.  The product warranty is for a period of one-year. Spares will be available for some time to come."

Tape Project Machines / Re: new member
« on: May 15, 2015, 01:04:50 PM »
Hi Gene,

Welcome to the forum!
I think I have spares of those IC's I found from an online parts dealer in China.
I can't really recall the situation, but I fixed a machine by replacing one of those a long time ago.
As a result, I tracked some down and stockpiled a few.
Any member here that needs one just needs to ask.

Afro/American Sketches / First Impressions
« on: May 08, 2015, 01:08:17 PM »
I got the time to give the Oliver Nelson tape a listen last night and absolutely love it.

I've really come to appreciate the jazz orchestra and the compositions written for in the last few years. I guess hearing a lot of this kind of music live at the jazz festivals I attend is responsible for that.
Another thing that I've really come to appreciate is the way that great analog helps make listening into a more engaging experience. I just can't help but get lost in what the musicians and composer are communicating to me.
This tape really exemplifies that.
It's so easy to get inside of Oliver Nelson's head and share his feelings and thoughts that it just seems like it should be the natural thing to do when listening to music (if only that was true!).
After listening I thought about how different the overall sound of great recordings from the 60's are from more recent ones. There's a real "vibe" happening throughout this recording that makes others seem sterile and "produced" in comparison.
Fantastic choice guys!

Afro/American Sketches / Re: TP-026 getting ready to ship!
« on: May 06, 2015, 02:38:59 PM »
Mine too!
I should have time to really sit down and do some serious listening in the next few days.

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