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Topics - ironbut

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Tape Project Albums - general / Bay Area Tape Project Demo
« on: April 20, 2007, 09:07:06 PM »
I'll be running a demo tape( many thanks to Paul and Doc ) with some selections from Jacqui Naylor, Dave Alvin, and the Arnold tapes at the Head-fi International Meet being held this weekend in San Jose, Ca.. I am registered to have a spot to play the tape on my rs1500 > Seduction headphone system. I'm sorry to post this at such a late date but all the pieces didn't come together until just a few hours ago. The meet is being held at the Radisson Hotel San Jose Airport. The address is 1471 N 4th St.. The admission for both Saturday and Sunday is $20 at the door. It begins at 10am and lasts until 6pm (although these things can go all night if the staff is willing). I'll be among quite a few members who will be showing their diy projects, mega buck headphone systems ( mega in headphone $$$ at least) . I'll be there all day on Saturday for sure, and if there's enough interest, part of Sunday. If you can only make it on Sunday PM me and I'll let you know. There will be about 30 venders and some panel discussions. Steve Hoffman will be among the lecturers. Heres a link with a map and other info. I hope to see some other Tape Project tee shirts other than

Raw Tape / RMGI SM911 vs Quantagy 456
« on: April 15, 2007, 02:52:20 PM »
I recently got my RS1500 back from servicing and biasing for RMGI 911. You can see the report on the results of the servicing in the Service Resources forum. A little back ground on how I evaluated the tapes.
As a source, I used my Apple powerbook with some home brewed recording I made which are uncompressed and which I've very familiar. Also, I used the cut "Yesterdays" from Patricia Barber's Night Club. These were sent through an M audio Audiophile 24/96 usb and were played in Apple lossless codec. The playback was through my modded Seduction with Amperex green label 7308's with a Silver Audio Silver Breeze tonearm cable and a Tom Evans Groove Tube ic. The amp used was an Eddie Current tube headphone amp and assorted headphones were used for listening.
First off, both tapes were recorded 1/2 track @ 15ips.
Both the 911 and 456 lost a bit of "air" over the source. This was pretty subtle, but if you listen for it, it is there. I could barely hear this on most of my headphones except for my Beyer dt880's. These are ruthlessly revealing of anything in the upper mid>highs as they have a tipped up treble.
Quantagy; There were 2 problems with this tape that alone, makes the 911 a no brainer. The main problem is in QC. I bought a few reels of 456 before the time before last, tape production stop. There was plenty of 456 left from many venders and I got this from my local Guitar Center. The problem is several low level drop outs. I doubt that you'd really notice these unless you were listening with headphones but I double checked a couple of the reels which had never been opened and they were all affected to one degree or another. During this evaluation, I switched tapes back and forth over 20 times and cleaned the heads twice.
The other problem that I had with the 456 could have been bias related and again, it is pretty subtle. On Yesterdays, the middle section has an extended instrumental section that features a lot of nice drums and bass. And when things got pretty intense, the 456 had a tendency to get a little fuzzy sounding with the instrument separation blurred. This is a wort that I have a real problem with. It's one of the reasons that I like tape for large classical pieces over my vinyl rig that is Oh so nice for smaller groups.
Another advantage that the 911 has over the 456 is headroom. I recorded the same Patricia Barber selection 4 times on each tape. Each time I increased the recording level (by half a number) for a real world analysis of the dynamic range of each tape. I was able to record a half number higher with the 911 for the same amount of overloading.
I also gave each a test of re-recording on the same bit of tape. Both did very well with 1 loud selection, then one soft, and repeat. So after recording the same section of tape 4 times, I didn't notice any obvious differences on the last play.
I listened with a pair of Audio Technica AD2000 headphones which have a nice extended bottom end. I think that the 911 had the edge on this as well. Both tapes were equal in extension, but the 911 had more texture and detail. When the electric bass hits just the right note and the bass cabinet creaks, you can hear it on both tapes but you can tell exactly what it is with the 911.
The last thing I tried was on the 911 only. I made this test with the idea of seeing if the 911 was a good replacement for 456 and if it was worth re-biasing and using as a real world everyday tape. So,.. I thought I'd give it a torture test and rewound and ff'ed a section I'd recorded over and over again. Stopping>starting, everything I could do to stretch the tape, till I got bored doing it. When I replayed the section, I couldn't hear any speed related artifacts.
Well, I think the 911 is a no brainer as Doc would say. Maybe if we can get enough of us to order some, we might be able to get a group buy discount.

Service Resources / Liberman Sound , SF bay area
« on: April 12, 2007, 11:12:30 PM »
I took my RS1500 to Adam Liberman for regular servicing, alignment, and to have the record bias set for RMGI SM911 tape. This was a few weeks before Doc announced that he'd be doing servicing and mods to optimize the Technics machines. Adam works on tape and film machines and has a very impressive list of regular clients listed on his web site. He does a lot of "on location servicing" of film gear and has a small but very well equipped shop in El Cerrito Ca.( just a couple of miles north of Berkeley ). He's pretty busy so unless you specify when you will need your deck back, it could take a while.
When I took my 1500 in, I thought it was working great ( I've had it about 1.5 years) and was interested to get a baseline of performance. As far as I can figure, I think it sounds at least 10-15% better! I guess it did need alignment! Adam provided a detailed description of the work performed along with a graph of freq. responce of 15 ips 2T playback,7.5 ips 2T playback,7.5 ips 4T playback, record@15ips (which I asked for the bias to set for) and record @7.5 ips. I've been listening to a stack of tapes that I've gotten while it was in the  shop and it seems like sounds like triangles, drum hits and pianos are more real sounding. I think that the work done to the tape handling areas may be the reason for this improvement. I can't wait to have Doc reduce flutter even more!
To conclude, Liberman was recommended by Richard Links over on Tape Trail and I'd like to pass it along. I like the little "pro" touches , like a sticker that gives what the bias is set for, when it was done, the work order #, and the position of the switches for that bias.
Like I said though, he's busy, so in the future, I'll give him a date that I want the machine back.
BTW there were a couple of surface scratches on the headblock. One of the few cosmetic flaws on my beloved 1500. Well, they aren't there no more! I tried to rub them out once with no luck. And he didn't even mention it! Now that my decks off his bench, he's starting on a Studer

General Discussion / Audiophile Heaven!
« on: April 02, 2007, 11:27:45 PM »
Just before CES, Doc attempted to have a preview of gear and tapes at Paul Stubblebine Mastering. As things often go, with all the stuff that had to happen to make it to CES, the preview never happened. I was understanding but made sure that he knew that I was very interested in checking out the studio. Last week Dan sent me an email saying that he would be here getting the "dup" system ready to roll and invited me to come and hang out. Excited? You bet!
When I got there, I was greeted by Dan, Paul and Michael who were all genuinely nice guys. Dan gave me a tour which included the historic Coast Studios. We all certainly have records with that acoustic on them. Next, Michael's room. It has a Meyer Sound 5.1 monitoring system and it sounded fantastic. Michael was very cool and played some cool tunes and even did a little reconfiguring so we could watch a Pink Floyd DVD. Meanwhile Paul was wiring something up ( I think it must have been and analog fader ).
Everywhere, and I mean, every nook and cranny of the place is filled with top notch gear that would make any regular at swoon.
Then we went in Pauls mastering room. I'd almost forgotten about the Magicos. But there they were. WAY bigger than they look in the pictures. Paul said they're about 800 lbs each! And the amps that Dan built to drive them, pp 300b's. Quad amped no less. Custom everything! Very Impressive. But then, Paul started rolling the 2" tape. Now, I wouldn't say that I'm the worlds most jaded audiophile ( I know him )but I'm not that far behind. I go to the Stereophile show every couple of years, CES less often, and listen to some very high dollar rigs pretty regularly. But this was a shock! It took a little while to really sink into my tiny brain but after a few minutes, I knew that this wasn't the sound of a live performance,.. this was significantly better! It was the Jacqui Naylor tape and Paul was trying to figure out the best sounding spot to patch in the fader. When hearing this genre in a live venue, your also hearing the board, the amps and the PA. At least that's what I'm guessing. I could go on and on about what I think I was hearing and why it sounded so damn great but, no way could I get it across in words.
As I was leaving and letting them know how great I thought it sounded, I'm not positive, but I get a feeling that my hosts were getting some sort of evil enjoyment over having blown my mind!
For you guys that are in the least bit worried about the sound quality of these tape,.. these guys have some seriously educated ears. And they know how to use them too!

General Discussion / Got my Tape Project t-shirts today!
« on: March 17, 2007, 05:13:10 PM »
I ordered a plain white and black t-shirt a 8 days ago I think. When I got home from lunch and some errands , I found my t-shirts, the April Stereophile, and the PG&E bill. Well, I tried on the first, glanced at the second, put the last in a box full of rabbits feet.
Regarding the printing of the logo, the white one looks a bit washed out. Maybe it is prewashed after silkscreening. It's a nice comfy Hanes label-less shirt so it should wear very well. I was a little worried that it might be too small from the info on cafepress's site but it's just the same as any other lg t-shirt in my drawer.
The good news is that the logo on the black one is worlds better. Much more contrast in the colors and more vibrant colors ( yes, the field is a darker red and there are black accents where the other is the same red). The copy "the tape project" is also white on the black t-shirt and really stands out.
One thing to keep in mind with these two screenings is that the black-t's is that heavier thicker rubbery kind of ink ( you know, it kind of sits on the fabric rather than in it) which some folks don't like. It's not as thick as I've seen but I wouldn't wear it inside out ( even if you Do see that other tape project guy you Don't want to talk to!).
So, you have your choice. The super comfy white one when your just kicking back reading the new Stereophile or pulling the tranny out of a Buick Roadmaster. Or the black one that's sure to impress that special someone or putting the Hex on the power bill.

Suggestion Box / Stravinsky Pulcinella/Apollon-Argo
« on: March 17, 2007, 10:10:07 AM »
Aside from the Mercury/Dorati Firebird complete recording which has been reissued a number of times, sound quality wise, this recording is to die for. It is a real workout for a fine analog system. I've owned a vinyl copy of this since the '70's and it still makes me happy that I've gone the audiophile route every time I play it. The details captured by Decca border on being too forward with the clacking of woodwind valves, musicians shifting etc. The sound of the brass (particularly the french horns and trombones) is as good as I've heard recorded. The dynamic range has got to be right on the bleeding edge of what was posable with the cutting heads of the the time (and now for that matter). Neville Marriner and The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields do a fine job interpreting the neo-classic Stravinsky. When I think about Pulcinella I "hear" the blatt of the trombones, the warm burnishing of the french horns, and the "swing" of the double reeds and flute. These memories come from this album. If I never heard it again, I'd still enjoy it!  Argo ZRG 575

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / r2r article in March Electronic Musician
« on: March 03, 2007, 09:18:36 PM »
I just pick this up. The article is called "Joining the Reel World" written by Eddie Ciletti. Subtitled "What to expect when buying a used analog tape recorder". A very well written piece aimed at the studio that wants to get that " analog " sound by way of running digitally processed audio through a r2r. It echos a great deal of what has been said here and over on Tape trail about what to look for in a used machine, maintenance, some nice illustrations, and a good primer on alignment/bias. Like I said, not a whole lot more than has been talked about in the last year or so, but all in one place with plenty of good warnings and practical advice. It's a pretty good mag' anyway.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / DIY wireless remotes?
« on: February 28, 2007, 08:22:13 PM »
I was thinking about bidding on the Technics wired remote on ebay the other day when I remembered something I was researching a while ago. Why would anybody in the 21st century spend a hundred bucks on a wired remote for something that just opens and closes a circuit? All of the RS series machines have a 12 pin socket on the back for plugging one of these remotes and the service manual even shows which pin is what. The only thing in the circuit that isn't a switch is a diode in the "stop" mode. I done a little surfing and searching but I haven't found an remote with a programable receiver (doesn't even need to be programable). Any ideas?

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Some R2R resources for first time owners
« on: January 23, 2007, 10:36:32 PM »

These are pretty elementary but were good for finding some parts, manuals, and just general info.
Most of the machines aren't suitable for the Tape Project . But we all gotta start somewhere.
Shoot! I was hoping to show an image in the above"?" but I always have trouble doing that. Well here's something for everybody. Just go to this site and scroll on down till you see the 24 rs1500' under Behind the Scenes.

Tape Tech / Spec's for RS1500 heads (so far)
« on: January 20, 2007, 04:25:56 AM »
For whom it may concern,..playback only;
The heads in this post are the stock Technics heads;
The Flux Magnetics heads in Doc's upgraded RS1500;
Heads installed @ JFR on Mike Paschetto's ( of Progressive-Engineering ) RS1500 as more tube friendly heads than stock (I believe they are Tascam and Panasonic but I don't know which is which)
Flux Mag.      1/2 track   200 Mhy    45 ohm DCR
Stock            1/2 track   200 Mhy   185 ohm DCR
JFR               1/2 track   370 Mhy   500 ohm DCR
Stock            1/4 track   400 Mhy   350 ohm DCR
JFR               1/4 track   560 Mhy   400 ohm DCR
I case anyone else was wondering, the rs1500 that Tim deParavincini modded and was also a CES 07 uses stock heads according to a poster @AA.

Tape Tech / Hey Paul, any plans on another bias clinic
« on: January 18, 2007, 07:35:33 PM »
I noticed a page on ATR's site that they held a workshop on adjusting r2r's at your studio (last year?). Are there any plans on having another one. ? It could well be over my head (he-he), but , if you could let us know if you do have another one there, I'd be interested if I can afford it of course. Could you tell us a bit about what they did?

Suggestion Box / I'm a big acoustic guitar fan
« on: January 17, 2007, 12:36:33 AM »
Some of my favorites that have great sonics and music are ( all numbers refer to vinyl releases )
Leo Kottke "Greenhouse" Capital sn-16065
John Fahey "After the Ball" Reprise ms 2145
pretty much anything by Ry Cooder but a great recent release 2 lp
Ry Cooder  Manuel Galban "Mambo Sinuendo" Nonesuch 79691-1
Steve Koto

Prerecorded Tapes / Barclay-Crocker tape catalog?
« on: January 16, 2007, 11:24:32 AM »
Does anyone out there know where I can download a copy of a relatively complete listing of the tapes they released. I've got about 80 now and I'm still seeing more that I don't have than have. Also a listing of the Mercury releases would be cool.
Thanks in advance
Steve Koto

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