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Messages - High and Outside

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This is a truly amazing recording of some absolutely wonderful music. We're glad to have it back on the shelf.

Yes, it hasn't been well publicized, but we do offer all our albums on half inch by special order.

Once again, we have stock on the shelves.

Events / Reel Tape Workshop in Berkely, CA April 25
« on: March 20, 2019, 09:57:55 PM »
We are going to be taking part in a Reel Tape Workshop on April 25th. This consists primarily of a training that ATR Service Corp. has been presenting a couple of times per year at their York, PA headquarters. They have held it in other locations, but for several years it has not been presented on the West Coast. We can thank Tim Marutani and Nick Doshi for sponsoring the event and getting them out west again.

It's a day-long workshop that covers the basics on the technology of tape machines, and a thorough explanation of alignment, with practical demonstrations that all participants may take part in. We will also have a visit from Greg Orton, owner of Flux Magnetics, and possibly other surprise treats.

ATR Service Corp. is one of the key technical resources we rely on to keep all our machines running properly. They have been involved on the pro side for over three decades. Now they are providing support for the high end playback market as well. They work on Ampex ATR's, as their name implies, but they work on all brands of studio machines. The information presented in the workshop will apply to any brand of machine.

Tape Project co-founder Michael Romanowski is providing the venue: his mastering lab located within the Fantasy Studios complex in Berkeley, CA. After the workshop there will be time for some music listening in Michael's main room.

The cost to attend is $500. For more information, or to sign up, you may contact Tim Marutani at (510) 652-1911 or Nick Doshi at   

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: A80 bearings and where to buy them?
« on: March 12, 2019, 01:57:40 AM »
Unfortunately most of the specs that get published about bearings don't say anything about what really matters for our purposes. This is the reason that Studer tested and carefully selected the types that they used.

In our application the bearing is sometimes used at high rotational speed--when fast winding--but the only area where performance really matters is at low speed: playing and recording. And the highest value should be placed on low vibration at low speed--similar to low noise but really it's vibration that will put flutter into the tape travel and change the audible character in the recording. 

Going for the highest ABEC rating unfortunately is no guarantee of low vibration performance. Neither is the material: steel, stainless steel, chrome steel or ceramic. You probably want ABEC 5 or better, just to make sure the bearing's dimensional tolerances are well controlled.

There are two aspects that are important, without a doubt. One is the lubrication: the right lube, in the right amount. A good bearing vendor will be able to give you a choice of lubes, or sell you unlubed bearings if you want to experiment on your own. The other is making sure the bearing is loaded properly. Part of that is choosing a bearing that is correct for the place it's used in the machine--whether that use provides lateral or radial loading. Then you must make sure that the way the bearing is installed properly provides the designed loading. If you are replacing bearings in your A80, pay attention to the washers as you take the old bearing out. They are there for a purpose. Assuming that your replacement bearing is dimensionally an exact match for the one you took out, then replacing the same washers should provide the same loading. If its even a thousandth or two thicker or thinner, then you might have to adjust on the washer(s).

Don't just throw a "good" bearing in there and hope. Check how the new bearing works, using your hearing and your tactile sense, and don't call the job done until you're satisfied that he new one is running smoother than the one you replaced. There's an old mechanic's trick that is very helpful here: get a length of flexible tubing, about a half meter or so, with an inside diameter somewhere around 13 mm. Hold one end of the tube near one of your ears, put an ear plug in the other ear, and bring the free end of the tube near the various parts of your deck as it pulls tape. You'll be amazed how much this magnifies the sound. Put another way, you'll be amazed at how noisy all the mechanics of your deck are. The closer you are to the heads, the more important it is to reduces those noises. (You might also be surprised just how much noise comes from the tape itself scraping over the heads.)

Forum Rules / Signing Up For The Forum
« on: February 13, 2019, 11:15:49 AM »
In an effort to control spammers we have had to lock down the process of joining the forum. The best way to begin the process at this point is just to email info at tapeproject dot com with a request and a few words about your interest in tape playback in the home.

Tape Project Albums - general / TP-002 Dave Alvin
« on: December 03, 2018, 10:50:54 PM »
On the shelves

Tape Project Albums - general / TP-009 Mose Allison back in stock
« on: November 27, 2018, 09:09:38 PM »
Mose Allison--Creek Bank

Glad to have this one back.

Tape Project Albums - general / Re: TP-014 Church Windows back in stock
« on: November 27, 2018, 09:07:52 PM »
Aaaand once again...

We've got 'em on the shelves.

Tape Project Albums - general / TP-008 Bill Evans Waltz For Debby in stock
« on: September 25, 2018, 10:15:48 AM »
Yes, it's back in stock.

This was out of stock momentarily but it's back on the shelves.

Tape Project Albums - general / Re: TP-030 now in stock
« on: July 08, 2018, 10:00:18 PM »
It was out of stock for about a day, but it's back in stock now.

Willy and the Poor Boys / New music video for "Fortunate Son"
« on: June 28, 2018, 12:53:01 PM »
Concord, the label that owns the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums, is doing some promotions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the first CCR album. This includes a music video of the song "Fortunate Son." Even though that particular song didn't appear on the first CCR album, it's a worthy song and someone made an excellent video, which you can see here:

Of course if you want to hear the song at its absolute best, we refer you to TP-027, Willy and the Poor Boys, on 15 IPS reel to reel tape.

General Discussion / Re: Full track playback with two track heads
« on: May 26, 2018, 12:32:28 PM »
Another question about this general subject: is there a reasonable way to determine if a tape labeled "mono" was recorded as full track or two track mono? The tapes I have so far are labeled so it's clear but it seems likely I'll face this issue in the future.

The only way I can think of is to use one of those magnetic viewers--

I should have mentioned the more obvious way: play the tape on a 2-track head and see what comes out of the right channel. If the original recording is full track mono you'll hear the same program on the right channel as the left.  If it's half track mono with nothing recorded on the other half, that's what you'll hear on the right channel: nothing. Or practically nothing. If it's half track mono with another program recorded after flipping the tape over then you'll hear that program backwards on the right channel.

General Discussion / Re: Full track playback with two track heads
« on: April 23, 2018, 11:36:58 PM »
Another question about this general subject: is there a reasonable way to determine if a tape labeled "mono" was recorded as full track or two track mono? The tapes I have so far are labeled so it's clear but it seems likely I'll face this issue in the future.

The only way I can think of is to use one of those magnetic viewers--that's a thing you place over the tape and gradually an image appears of the magnetic information.

I don't know of any currently being made, and I rarely see them for sale though. I was lucky to pick one up several years ago when Fred Thal had a few for sale. Anybody else have a lead on one?

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