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General Discussion / The SACD vs Tape Challenge
« on: February 17, 2009, 12:08:59 AM »
Well the good folks at the QuadraphonicQuuad reminded that Paul S. is one of the top SACD mixing engineers.  Hence I believe we finally can solve the "analog vs digital" once and for all.

Mix stereo SACD from a master tape -- directly to DSD -- and compare to a Tape Project tape.  Do it in a double-blind panel setup.  The equipment has to be the same -- it's not fully possible, but for just stereo output can hopefully be approximated with the same amp.

Alexy Khrabrov

General Discussion / Tapeflix?
« on: February 09, 2009, 08:53:32 PM »
Being a graduate student and a technogeek, I can only regret liking tape recorders -- it seems an expensive way for well-off retirees to have fun outbidding each other on ebay. :)  Clearly the $200/300/a tape setup is not in my range at this point.

It got me thinking on setting up a rental service a la Netflix.  How about you TP guys make some extra copies, and rent them out by mail, with a deposit?  I can see tapeflix in the making!

NB.  Consider this a copyrighted idea, I've staked the domain just in case -- but would trade for a few tapes!  :)


General Discussion / Boston area/NH members?
« on: February 09, 2009, 07:43:08 PM »
Greetings -- I'm in Hanover, NH, and wonder if there're members in Boston or even closer who can share experiences/help with restoring machines, etc.?


I have old family reels, recorded on the first Soviet consumer high-quality machine, Astra-2.  (The qualifiers are from its manual.)  It's a half-track mono machine, two tracks, you turn the reel over to listen to the other side, as usual.  Being a quadrophonic fan, I got an Akai GX630D-SS, and discovered that listening to my family tapes is a stochastic experience.  The quadro mode helps very much to get all contents, but not very reliably.  Usually, I get the original forward side from quadro track 2, or backward from track 3.  In both cases I feed the RCA outputs to Edirol UA-1EX and record on a Mac with Audacity at 96 KHz, and the backward one can be time-reversed and listened to with the same quality.

What I notice is, I pick up different amount of cross talk each time I play the tape -- as if the quarter-track heads wobble between and around the half-track recording's actual tracks.  The original voice recordings had many usual real-life pauses and shifts in the recording level, so I'm not sure whether the gaps and sudden level drops are original or caused by the 2/4 tracks mismatch.

In any case, when researching the issue, and googling for something like "reading mono tapes on a stereo reel to reel tape machine," I've stumbled upon this amazing project.  Kudos to all!  If I get a Technics 1500, will it read properly the mono tracks I have?  Remember I get the signal from track 2, so apparently it's the upper half of the tape being the forward side -- does it match the Technics layout?

Also, with all due respect, quadrophonic surround beats any type of stereo quality; being a long-term SACD fan, I can hardly imagine a stereo tape beating the immersive experience.  I noticed the nuance such as the sound of fingers plucking strings first thing listening to jazz.  In order to achieve a true quality comparison, I suggest the guys in charge issue SACDs accompanying the tapes, so that we can really compare sound, not nostalgic biases/hindsighted justifications of expense.  SACDs are not copyable still, so adding them to a license wouldn't be too hard, IMHO.  Why not produce the original masters in multitrack on quadrophonic tape?  I'd be really curious to compare the quality obtainable from a Technics to that of a quadrophonic Akai.


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