Tape Project Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: mep on December 18, 2008, 02:13:32 PM

Title: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on December 18, 2008, 02:13:32 PM
Curious as to whether anyone has experimented with making 15 ips 2 track copies of LPs for their own enjoyment.  If so, what do you think of the results compared to listening to the LP?  My brother has drawn his own conclusions based on tapes I have made for him, but I don't want to spill the beans until I hear some other reactions first.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Ben on December 18, 2008, 02:31:38 PM
Umm read twice now.  Do what you want with the beans, just don't
touch my tobbaco now ...  Um why bother unless the LP has never been
played before?  Now a shoot out with 7.5" pre-recorded tapes and average LP's would be interesting. Did any of the audio mags in the 50's and 60's
even speak the word Reel to reel?

Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on December 18, 2008, 03:01:32 PM
We (my brother and I) will be doing a shoot out with BRAND NEW (NOS) prerecorded 7 1/2 ips tapes and the exact same BRAND NEW (NOS) LPs very soon.  It should be interesting.  I will record the brand new LP on its first play to a brand new 10 1/2" tape and then compare the two tapes.

I will say that my system is really LP based and my brother's system is tape based.  I have half a dozen 4 track recorders and two Ampex ATR-700 decks, but I am probably going to sell them all.  My brother has given me his Otari MX-55 2 track mastering deck in order to make tapes for him.  My brother has some interesting tape repro units in his system.  He is using multiple stages of gain to boost his tape signal.  He is going straight from a tape head to a pair of Crown tube repro amps into a pair of Ampex 350 repro amps and then into a Counterpoint SA-5.1.  I have to say it sounds very good (can you say "punch"?).
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: VPI on December 18, 2008, 03:53:14 PM
I recorded a two track tape at 15 ips straight from Vinyl to try out two RTRs I picked up last week.  While I am not proficient enough yet to ensure the decks are set up perfectly I thought they ended up sounding pretty good. I took one tape to an Audio meet and everyone that listened were pretty impressed with the sound quality.

I don't think it sounds as good as the Vinyl as the soundstage collapses a bit and the bass is a bit boomy but it still sounded pretty good.  I would imagine someone with a properly set up recorder might be able to make some decent "mix tapes" straight from vinyl.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: joeljoel1947 on December 18, 2008, 03:54:30 PM
I have compared my LP's to 2-track 15ips dupes I've made of them.  Played back against each other they sound the same (and sometimes the tapes actually sound slightly better to me as do SACD's when I record them to tape even though many state this is not "possible") as long as your at 2-track, 15 ips or greater and your machine is calibrated properly.  

I use my open reel decks all the time to record from vinyl so that when I make a change to the turntable I can hear "before and after" the change.  For example, I make a recording from LP to reel with cartridge "a" on the turntable and then switch to cartridge "b" on the table and compare that back against the open reel recording I made of cartridge "a" in real time, levels matched to hear the differences between the 2 carts.

Comes in handy!!

As for comparing pre-recorded 7.5 ips tapes to their vinyl counterparts, well thats another story.  Usually, the LP will "win" because IMHO of the crappy Ampex tape they used way back then---little better then voice grade?  Still, there are pre-recorded 7.5 ips gems that beat the snot out of their LP counterparts.  Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" and Dave Brubecks "Time Out" are two famous examples that come to mind off the top of my head.  There are several others....

Joel
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on December 18, 2008, 05:01:20 PM
Hi Jeff, welcome to the forum. I'm glad to see another Headfi guy here! It looked like you were using RMGI 911? If so, you probably want to set the recording bias to medium. It's on the back panel. There are other settings back there and if you don't have a manual for your Otari, here's a place you can download one for free. You may have to find and load a RAR archive application (for the real big files there) but if you google RAR files, there's lot of free ones available. The manual will help you make all the correct settings on your machine. The bass probably shouldn't be boomy since the built in electronics are solid state and usually problems with your heads result in treble loss so it's likely that you have something set wrong.
Are you using balanced cables? It probably shouldn't matter but it could be that the pin assignments of your XLR's are reversed. The manual goes into that stuff too.
Well, I hope this helps.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on December 18, 2008, 05:13:43 PM
Joe-Good idea using the reel to reel to capture changes in your LP front end!  I will remember that.  I wish I could have done that when I was experimenting using step-up transformers in place of my Counterpoint SA-2.  The transformers are long gone, but the mightly SA-2 is rolling on.  I am not surprised that you think in some cases a 15 ips 2 track tape of your LP sounds better than the LP.  Even though we are told this can't be so, it just may be so for a number or reasons. 

For the here and now, my brother is putting his money where his mouth is and buying 10 1/2" new reels of tape to give me to make recordings for him.  If anyone was watching the auctions on Ebay that just ended where two cases of 10 1/2" NOS Maxell tapes just sold, my brother bought both of them.  My brother keeps busting my onions and telling me that he is hearing my LPs via tape better than I am hearing my LPs at my house.  I will be there for Christmas (he lives 100 miles away) and hear for myself.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: sound signal on December 19, 2008, 10:12:28 AM
Yes, I've made 15ips, 2-track, IEC eq copies of LP's.

If, while making the copies, the monitoring is done on headphones and not loudspeakers, the turntable is not affected by acoustic or mechanical feedback.  This gives the tape copy a definite advantage to the turntable when playing back over loudspeakers.

Of course, the only LP's worth such lavish treatment are extremely rare, fine-sounding ones.  I heard, some years ago, the BIS double LP La Spagna - Siglos XV-XVI-XVII by Gregorio Paniagua and Atrium Musicae De Madrid at a friend's house and begged him to lend it to me.  That's one of only two such LP copy tapes I have made, and I treasure it.  It was only later that I found out on the Web how much of a desirable piece of property that LP is, and that good used samples go for hundreds of dollars - so it was definitely worth the almost three 10 1/2" reels of 468 the recording took up.

It was while making that copy that I noticed the extent of the effect I describe above.  Monitoring over headphones while making the copy, as is my habit, I noted the usual slight difference when switching from source to tape, slightly in favour of the source - no surprises there.  Then I played the tape over the speakers and it seemed to me to sound better than I remembered the LP sounded.  I played the LP and, sure enough, it didn't sound as good as the tape.  That made me think.  Going back to headphones, the difference was again in favour of the turntable.  That was when the penny dropped - when listening over speakers, the acoustic feedback affected the turntable, but not the tape recorder.   The tape copy was providing the ultimate isolation between turntable and loudspeakers.  No turntable and arm can achieve that in the real world, unless you put it in a separate, sound-proofed room.

The other such tape copy I made purely for demonstration purposes.  It's a copy of my Buena Vista Social Club LP.  I also have the CD, so with that record, I can give people demonstrations of the CD, the LP and the tape copy of the LP.  No prizes on guessing which sounds best.

For the record, the turntable was the Garrard 301 on my own design of plinth (http://the.sound-signal.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=1), with SME 3012 arm and Shure V15VxMR cartridge.  It is as good a record player as I've ever had in my system, the only one to give the EMT 930 which we're currently using as a reference record player (http://the.sound-signal.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=3) a run for its money (though with an Ortofon SPU in the 3012 now, instead of the Shure).

With best regards,
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 14, 2009, 05:35:43 PM
OK.  I promised a follow-on to this thread I started after I returned from my brother's house at Christmas.  After hearing the tapes I made for him, my brother has decided to sell all of his 4 track tapes so we didn't bother making comparisons to LPs vice 7 1/2 ips tapes.  For those of you that own 15 ips 2 track decks capable of making recordings and you own TUBE repro electronics, you should try a little experiment.  This experiment assumes that you have a high quality LP rig and preferably a tube phono section and tube line stage that will send the signal from your LPs to your tape deck.  Spool up a high quality blank tape, set your speed to 15 ips, set your record levels, and record a song from LP that you know very well.  Now rewind the tape, cue up the LP again, start both the LP and tape and switch back and forth (matching levels of course) and tell me which one sounds better.

This experiment works best if you have a friend that will switch between the LP and tape without telling you which is which while you listen from your favorite chair.  If your LP rig is good and you have really good tube repro electronics, the differences will not be subtle.  This experiment assumes that you choose an LP that was made from the analog master tape and was well recorded in the first place.  Based on my my limited experience at my house and my brother's house, there is something magical about reverting the analog LP back to tape at 15 ips 2 tracks.  Of course, the quality of your LP rig will determine how good of a tape you can make.  In all cases, the tape should sound at least as good as the LP. Now if you have SS repro electronics, all bets are off.  If your LP rig is playing through tubes in the phono and line stages, the LP will most probably sound better than the tape if you are playing the tape back through SS repro electronics.

At this time, I don't know what the minimum quality of tube repro electronics you need in order to make the magic happen.  Just as Doc B has warned everyone that if you are playing back TP tapes through machines like the Technics or Otari using their SS repro electronics that you are not hearing what the tape really sounds like, the same holds true here.  Sorry, but it is true.  My brother and I are both using Ampex 350 preamps although my brother is also using a pair of Crown repro units feeding the line input of the Ampex 350 for a total of gain stages before it goes to the preamp.

If you have the right gear, try it and let me know what you find out.  I know there are people on this forum that have the gear to pull this off.  If you are a SS person and try this anyway, I doubt you will have any of the MOJO that actually exists and that will leave you scratching your head in wonder.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Ben on January 14, 2009, 05:51:27 PM
I am always looking for more 4 track tapes, so contact me off-forum if your
Brother has any tapes for sale. Oh a good ebay sale:
10 Dr Evil-head Polka's with mind control

Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: niklasthedolphin on January 15, 2009, 04:46:51 PM
I made many 15 ips 2-track recordings from TT.

Indistinguishable from source.

No wonder when I think about live recordings I made are classes over any other source.

"dolph"
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: xcortes on January 15, 2009, 07:12:24 PM
I posted this a year ago at the Bottlehead forum:

"I took me about 8 months since Eileen shipped me my Seduction but this weekend I finally put it together. Leaving aside a screw up when modifying the equalization curve that made me drill two more holes than needed to place the NAB/IEC switches and some desoldering and soldering back of two pair of resistors it all went smoothly. I used Auricaps for the coupling positions and C4S right from the start.

Yesterday I hooked the Seduction up to the heads of my Technics RS-1500 and played a tape of Pink Floyd TDSOM that I recorded on this deck from the lp. I don't recall the lp sounding this good! Actually I don't recall my system ever sounding so good.

I will let it break down a few hours but I'm ready to start playing my Tape Project tapes soon! "

I don't know what qualifies as a "good lp rig" but I like mine which you can see here:

http://www.theanalogdept.com/xavier_cortes.htm (http://www.theanalogdept.com/xavier_cortes.htm)

Both tape and turntable use BH Seduction amps.




Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mikel on January 15, 2009, 11:59:25 PM
Yes, I've made 15ips, 2-track, IEC eq copies of LP's.

If, while making the copies, the monitoring is done on headphones and not loudspeakers, the turntable is not affected by acoustic or mechanical feedback.  This gives the tape copy a definite advantage to the turntable when playing back over loudspeakers.

It was while making that copy that I noticed the extent of the effect I describe above.  Monitoring over headphones while making the copy, as is my habit, I noted the usual slight difference when switching from source to tape, slightly in favour of the source - no surprises there.  Then I played the tape over the speakers and it seemed to me to sound better than I remembered the LP sounded.  I played the LP and, sure enough, it didn't sound as good as the tape.  That made me think.  Going back to headphones, the difference was again in favour of the turntable.  That was when the penny dropped - when listening over speakers, the acoustic feedback affected the turntable, but not the tape recorder.   The tape copy was providing the ultimate isolation between turntable and loudspeakers.  No turntable and arm can achieve that in the real world, unless you put it in a separate, sound-proofed room.

The other such tape copy I made purely for demonstration purposes.  It's a copy of my Buena Vista Social Club LP.  I also have the CD, so with that record, I can give people demonstrations of the CD, the LP and the tape copy of the LP.  No prizes on guessing which sounds best.

For the record, the turntable was the Garrard 301 on my own design of plinth (http://the.sound-signal.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=1), with SME 3012 arm and Shure V15VxMR cartridge.  It is as good a record player as I've ever had in my system, the only one to give the EMT 930 which we're currently using as a reference record player (http://the.sound-signal.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=3) a run for its money (though with an Ortofon SPU in the 3012 now, instead of the Shure).

With best regards,

interesting; but the acoustic feedback problem George mentioned does not effect my Rockport Sirius III turntable. it is a limitation of some tt's, not a format flaw.

i have had 2 occasions where this issue has been tested.

2 years ago a fellow audioasylum member and i had a wager which resulted in a 'shootout' in my room. he claimed that his digital copies of an Lp were indistinguishable from the Lp playback. i disagreed and claimed i could easily tell the difference blindfolded. in the course of his recordings off my Rockport he tested recording with the speakers active and using only headphones. he could not hear a difference between the two recordings. he also sent these recordings to other people (including me) and no one could hear a difference. i choose 5 out of 6 in the shootout blindfolded (with an audience of 25 people)......digital copies of Lps are distiguishable from the Lp playback. digital is not transparent to the source.

when Winston Ma recorded the 'Fukamachi Steinway' DD Lp onto hirez off my Rockport we did a few test tracks with headphones only (at 386/24 resolution) and could not hear a difference from those tracks and the ones with the speakers on.

could 15ips 1/4" reveal a difference between headphones and speakers? in theory, maybe.......but not likely.

btw George; i also have a Garrard 301 in a custom plinth (http://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/mikel/Garrard__PSU_301.jpg); i am not surprised that it is somewhat affected by acoustic and floor sourced feedback. i love the Garrard none-the-less, it makes great music.

anyway; my personal perspective is why worry about making a copy; you cannot improve the original Lp by copying it, you can only make it less or different.

that is just my perspective.http://
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 16, 2009, 10:49:08 AM
MikeL, I am trying to understand how your post relates to the experiment I suggested.  You talked about making hi rez copies from LPs to digital, but that is not what I am talking about.  I am specifically talking about making a copy from LP straight to tape at 15 ips 2 tracks preferably through tube electronics.  I know you have the capability to make a 15 ips 2 track tape as I have seen pics of your system, but I believe your system is all SS.  I know your system is worth somewhere in the high six figures, so maybe the mojo I am talking about would still come through-maybe not.  The magic seems to be in the use of tube repro electronics as I have not heard it with SS repro electronics yet.

As for the Seduction being modified for tape playback, although this unit is reported to sound good, as Doc B has said, it does not deliver the performance of his $4K unit.  For one thing, the bottom end is rolled off.  But look at the price difference between the cost of the Seduction and the cost of the $4K unit.  You can't expect to pay less than $300 and get the performance of a $4K rig. The Seduction is another gift from Doc B to help people out who can't afford to shell out $4k for the big rig.

I am just curious as to whether or not someone with the "right" system can record an LP to tape as I have previously described and hear what I hear.  For one, I know Astrotoy has this capability.  If any of you own a properly working pair of Ampex 350 repros, I highly recommend you try the experiment.  I know they have the mojo.  We can argue that it can't be real,  but I don't think we can argue that is sure sounds real.  If my soundstage gets bigger (taller, wider, deeper) and all of the instruments are much more firmly rooted with a defined space and everything seems to sound more real and natural and the bass seems to take on another octave of extension (with much more definition), who am to complain?  And that is what I am hearing.

MikeL, I would love to hear a tape made from your Rockport to see what that sounds like on my system.  I would gladly send you a brand new 10 1/2" tape and pay for shipping back to my place.  It would be really cool to hear the difference between your super high-end Rockport (and I know that you have a killer collection of cartridges) and my VPI TNT/ET-2 combo as well as the differences between your SS preamp.  It should be an ear opener if you are up for it.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on January 16, 2009, 11:29:28 AM
Unfortunately, I don't have a Tape recorder that can make 2 track 15 ips tapes. I wish I did. My Bottlehead Technics is playback only and my Akai 747 is only 4 tr 7.5 ips.  I haven't tried to make copies of LP's to my Akai, but it would not be in the same league as a 2 tr 15 ips machine.  A friend has a few B-C tapes (all dolby B encoded) that he would not sell to me. He let me borrow them and I made dubs playing them back on my Technics (in 4 tr 7.5ips mode) and copying them with my Akai. I did it with close level match and no dolby B on either playback or record. I then played back the dubs on my Technics with the dolby B decoder and compared to the original. There is a noticable difference, but the sound of the dubs is very fine. I prefer the originals, but if I didn't have them for comparison, I don't know that I would think these were dubs. There is a coloration to the B-C tapes from the dolby B decoding, but it is not unpleasant and maintains the musicality to my ears. Certainly better than much of the digititis distortions of CD's.   Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 16, 2009, 11:43:18 AM
Sorry Astrotoy, I forgot your technics was modified for playback only.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 16, 2009, 11:47:12 AM
Hi mep, (BTW we all use our real names here by putting it in out signature in the control panel) I'm a little confused by your description of your brothers set up. Is he using the Crown and the Ampex electronics as two stages of gain? I've heard that the old Crown record and playback amps were very good and of course the 350/351 head units are highly sought after (mostly as mic pre's, but that would say a lot as far as how quiet they are).
I'm sure you guys must've done some comparisons of the two as standalone units. How do you think they compared?
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 16, 2009, 12:06:38 PM
I will fix the signature line.  My name is Mark Pearson.  Yes, you read it right that he using both the Crown and Ampexs' for two stages of gain.  The reason is that the head from his Teac does not have enough gain to drive either the Ampex 350 or the Crown directly.  In order to boost the gain enough for the Counterpoint SA-5.1 preamp, he needs both stages of gain.  Therefore, we have not been able to perform a shoot-out between the two.  There is something magical about the two working in tandem though and I am dumbfounded at how low the noise floor is.  There may be something to using two stages of gain after the tape head and before the preamp that is special.  Technically, I am using two stages of gain after the tape head on my Otari MX-55, but one of those stages is the SS repro amp built into the Otari.  I am coming from the tape out of the MX-55 into the line input stage of a pair of Ampex 350 preamps.  My brother's system sounds better yet, but this is still REAL good.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Kenkirk on January 16, 2009, 12:53:33 PM
I have made lp dupes with my Otari MX 5050BIII at 15 ips on Quantergy 456. No difference can be detected. I have also made dupes from the Sony SACD player. No difference noted. I have also used the Otari to mix to two track from home studio recordings made with my Tascam TSR 8, which runs at 15 ips on 1/2 inch tape. Now this pushes the Otari with dynamics and again, it makes just about perfect copies. I personally do not think the lp format pushes the Otari to its limits like live music or mixdown from the Tascam. So I use my Nak dragon to record lps. Much cheaper tape and it also makes recordings from lp that are just about perfect copies. But the Nak dragon cannot make a perfect recording from the Tascam TSR 8. It compresses the dynamics. I used my Alesis Masterlink set at 26/96 to mix down from the Tascam until I got the Otari. I also used my Teac x2000r 4 track at 7.5 ips to mix down from the Tascam. Again, some compression of the dynamics. But better than the Nak. So the Masterlink at 24/96 was the best until I got the Otari. I need a Studer..... no I want a Studer... :-)

Ken
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: steveidosound on January 16, 2009, 01:02:25 PM
Well, I have an Ampex 351 and a 354 with the stereo electronics as well as a 2tr. Crown with tube electronics. Unfortunately all of the above need some recapping and rework to be actually functional. And I have, 20 years ago, made a few 2 track 15ips copies of Lps. At that time it was probably a Teac A-3300-SX-2T set up for 3M 250 tape. I will see if I still have any of those tapes. But not being an audiophile in the sense of most of the people on this group,  I have no real idea what the table/preamp setup was. It might have been (in that era) a HK Citation 1 with a Signet moving coil and an Ortophon step up transformer in a fairly high end Pioneer linear tracker, or a Grace F9-L in a Dual 1229 or a Shure V15 type IV in that Dual - or maybe another preamp like a first generation Hafler 101, a Dynaco PAS-2 or even the first Carver C 4000 - I traded around mid fi gear a lot back then because I worked at a store.

It is problematic when you start saying better than the original. I hear what you are saying about soundstage and instrument tonality and all but, from a classical perspective, difference = distortion and since you can't really subtract distortion I respectfully submit that although pleasing, we are fooling ourselves with very elaborate expensive subtle "sound coloring" devices. :)
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 16, 2009, 02:10:42 PM
Ken, you obviously have a great system.  Since you are recording to an Otari 5050 and playing back the LPs that you recorded with the 5050, I am surprised that they sound identical.  I would think the LP would sound better played straight through your system based on your CAT preamp getting a signal straight from the LP vice playing back a SS signal from the 5050.

Steve, you say that difference=distortion, but in this case I am not so sure.  When one thinks of distortion in a high fidelity system, that should be a negative and not a positive.  The sound should become worse and lose fidelity to the master.  If you upgrade your preamp, or cartridge, or amp, etc., and you hear a difference compared to what you used to hear and you think your system has made a big improvement because of your new investment, is that distortion?  I know that what I am proposing is somewhat different in that we are making a copy of something onto tape and playing it back over the "same" system, except in this case when I listen to an LP straight-up, the Ampex 350s are not in that play back chain.

 JV from TAS once made an analogy that compared a snapshot of music to paint-by-numbers painting.  I liked his analogy.  He was using the analogy to compare SS gear to tubes.  His analogy was that SS put enough colors on enough numbers that you could make out what the painting was and that tubes filled in all of the blank numbers with paint so that the painting was completely fleshed out.  I think that what I am hearing is close to JV's analogy in that when the LP is converted to tape and played back through the Ampex 350s, there is now much more information presented.  There are way more numbers that now have paint on them and the painting is much easier to understand than before when you didn't realize that you weren't seeing the complete picture.  One could also argue that maybe the Ampex 350s are coloring outside of the lines so to speak which would bolster your argument.  I don't think so, but maybe I will change my mind with time.

In the meantime, I wish someone else with the appropriate gear could perform this experiment and tell us what they think.  The key to this experiment is playing back the tape through tube repros into your preamp.  I have already heard the SS comparison and it doesn't work.  My brother is a musician with a set of very sharp ears (he does not consider himself an audiophile) and he is grinning from ear-to-ear when he listens to the tapes I made him. He for one is convinced that that tapes he is hearing sound superior to the LPs they came from (and he was present when I made some of these tapes for him) and of course being my brother, I never hear the end of that.  If you told him that the difference he was hearing was due to distortion, I know he would laugh and question your ability to hear what music really sounds like.

Another experiment that I would like to perform is to make the Ampex 350s part of my LP playback chain and see if the same magic is there.  Unfortunately, the output from my cartridge is .23mv and I just don't know how I could incorporate the 350s with my SA-2 and SA-5.1.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Kenkirk on January 16, 2009, 02:57:15 PM
Ken, you obviously have a great system.  Since you are recording to an Otari 5050 and playing back the LPs that you recorded with the 5050, I am surprised that they sound identical.  I would think the LP would sound better played straight through your system based on your CAT preamp getting a signal straight from the LP vice playing back a SS signal from the 5050.



Well in theory it certainly should sound better. But the reality is that it is very hard to tell "is it live or is it Quantergy"  :-)   The first thing I do is adjust the levels and bias for the tape I am going to use. Then when recording from the lp, I plug my Sennheiser HD 600's into the Otari and switch between source and tape. I just don't hear hardly any difference with most lps. With 45's or direct to disk, some plumping of the bass is noted on the tape. Sounds nice really, but it is a tape artifact. But with most lp's, it just sounds so much the same that without knowing which is which, you would not be able to guess. Same with the Dragon on lp's. An even better test is to switch between the just recorded tape to the lp direct through the Cat. Not only does this eliminate a bunch of Otari electronics in the loop, but the cables too. I have not nor have my audiophile friends been able to correctly identify which is the live lp or the just recorded tape. Both the Dragon and the Otari can do this. The Dragon will fail the test with dynamic SACD's. But the Otari at 15ips can pass the test. Now I do not use my studio monitors for casual listening. I use my Sonus Faber Amati's with the REL Stentors for the last bottom octave. My Mackie Monitors might expose some differences, but it is really not something I care about since I hate to use my monitors for anything but mixing music. But like I said, in theory the lp direct should be better. In reality, the difference is slight at best. I will put it another way. If my buddy has a minty, expensive lp. I do not care to find my own copy of the lp. I make a tape on the Dragon and it more than satisfies. Now, duping a Tape Project tape, no way am I going to get a copy that sounds as good as the original. Hell I have not even heard how good those tapes are yet on my stock Otari! I know there is more music on those tapes than my Otari can resolve.

Ken
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 16, 2009, 03:29:00 PM
Really interesting thread guys.
I always dreamed of having an isolation booth to put my turntable in but until the advent of standalone phono stages that wasn't really practical. Now I could see that have a phono stage with balanced outputs could get the table far enough away so that any mechanical feedback would be eliminated.
On the subject of recordings of the lp's sounding better than the lp (aside from any influence that the feedback would have) I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that perhaps somewhere in the cutting process, there's a point where the eq that's applied (reverse RIAA) that the formula for eq is perhaps biased a tiny bit to help minimize tape hiss or maybe some other artifact that occurs during the cutting. And maybe (a lot of maybe's here) the tape hiss or something in the biasing is filling in that gap. Kind of like an analog dither. I'm sure you know that it's common for folks to run their recordings (mostly digital) through tape to smooth the sound. Most of them attribute the improvements to natural tape compression but could there be other factors involved?
Well, just another one of my half baked theories. I'm sure Paul could slap this one down with no effort.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Kenkirk on January 16, 2009, 04:29:00 PM
Well no doubt tape has a sound. But in my limited experience, it is hard to really hear what tape does to the signal unless you monitor a live mic feed. Then it is kind of obvious with my gear anyway. And I must admit, it is a sound I like. I think over the years they perfected tape to sound very good with the mics and associated gear. Then when digital came out, with its own distortions and advantages, it has taken 20 something years to get it to sound good with the associated gear. Digital can sound very good now. But getting that sound to the masses has been a challenge. But there is just something special about pure analog, especially with tubes. My opinion. Others don't think so. But my ears tell me otherwise.

Ken
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 16, 2009, 04:40:58 PM
I'm with you 100% on that one Ken. I'm so glad that there are at least a few of us that think that way. I started out being totally against digital but in the last 7 years or so, I've softened my stance. And there's just no getting around it, when it comes to the lazy side of me, digital's the bomb!
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Kenkirk on January 16, 2009, 04:56:16 PM
Yea, I trashed digital for years. But when I first hooked up my Alesis Masterlink and mixed down from my Tascam at 24/96, I was shocked. It sounded dam good. But I give credit to mastering engineer Stan Ricker who told me the Masterlink was good stuff. So I softened up a bit. And now I have 2 terabits of Apple lossless music on a server here at the house and I send it around using those Airport Expresses. I even hooked up one of them to my Wadia via toslink. Talk about the bomb! I just sit here on my Macbook and pick music and it plays everywhere! And I can even use my Iphone as a remote control to adjust the volume or change songs. Try that with vinyl or tape!! :-) And those new Blue ray disks with their DTS Master and Dolby True HD sound spectacular also.

But when I want to listen closely, and focus, it is all analog for me. Right now my old trusty Teac X2000r is playing music I recorded from SACD and lp's. I used Quantery 407 which is 3600 feet and at 7.5 ips and 4 track, auto reverse, I can sit here on my ass and type away for a few hours of uninterrupted bliss. 

Ken
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: steveidosound on January 16, 2009, 11:43:58 PM
I realize that the topic is wandering a bit, but I have my own story about the Alesis Masterlink. What finally convinced me that CD was just not good enough was the folowing experiment.
I had been asked to dub some really good pristine early 60s jazz Lps to CD for a person who no longer owned a turntable. He did keep the records afterwards BTW. I recorded them to the hard drive of the Masterlink at 24/88.2 Great, playback sounded exactly like the vinyl.
I then rendered the CD image to write to a standard CD within the machine. I listened to that before burning the actual CD. Well, the air was gone and the soundstage had somewhat collapsed ! This is between 2 digital files on the same machine from the same drive through the same internal electronics playing back through it's own analog outputs! I have repeated it with other vinyl since with the same results. The higher bitrate file sounds great like the vinyl, the  16/44.1 CD image, sounds like the finished CD, OK, but not spectacular any more.
I did keep discs burned at 24/88.2 of all the titles I did for this fellow...
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Kenkirk on January 17, 2009, 09:07:10 AM
Hi Steve,

I have the exact same experience as you burning red book cd's from the Masterlink. I use the 24/88.2 sample rate if I know the final is to be a cd.  I am going to record a high school percussion concert next month. I will use the Alesis in tandem with my Otari. I will burn the cd's for distribution to the family and friends from the Alesis. The Otari will record my copy... :-)  If anyone really wants to hear how bad 16/44.1 sucks the life out of music, hearing the loss from 24/88.2 to 16/44.1 tells an ugly story in our musical history. So much music lost for the future....


Ken
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: sound signal on January 17, 2009, 09:35:40 AM
Hi Mike,


[...] the acoustic feedback problem George mentioned does not effect my Rockport Sirius III turntable. it is a limitation of some tt's, not a format flaw.

[...]

btw George; i also have a Garrard 301 in a custom plinth (http://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/mikel/Garrard__PSU_301.jpg); i am not surprised that it is somewhat affected by acoustic and floor sourced feedback. i love the Garrard none-the-less, it makes great music.

anyway; my personal perspective is why worry about making a copy; you cannot improve the original Lp by copying it, you can only make it less or different.


Great looking Garrard 301 and plinth!  Who made it for you?  I had mine made up by a local carpenter to my own design.  It's in two parts, the top part on which the turntable and arm are mounted is isolated by three squash balls that do a pretty good job in killing off structure-borne vibration.

If you have a tape machine that can record and play back at 15ips, why not try an experiment with your Rockport turntable?  Record an LP onto open reel at 15ips while monitoring on headphones.  Then play back the recording on your speakers and compare to the LP playback from your turntable, again on the speakers.  I think you will find the results interesting.

It does seem to me that the complete isolation from the loudspeakers afforded by the copying process can't be matched by any amount of turntable design or engineering.  Even if complete mechanical isolation is achieved, the arm and cartridge will always be affected by the airborne sound waves, unless the turntable is placed in a separate, soundproof room.  Of course, with a really high-end turntable like your Rockport, the difference might be so small as to make the degradation from making the tape copy more significant.  Thinking about this another way, it's a different way of assessing how good a turntable setup is...  Try it and let us all know.

I do concede that copying to 15ips tape is an expensive and inconvenient method of listening to LP's, though, even if it does give a copy that is much more durable than the original.  In my case, it's only really worth it in the case of the mega-rare and expensive La Spagna LP that I had the good luck to borrow and copy.

With best regards,
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 17, 2009, 11:32:48 AM
Hi Steve,

I have the exact same experience as you burning red book cd's from the Masterlink. I use the 24/88.2 sample rate if I know the final is to be a cd.  I am going to record a high school percussion concert next month. I will use the Alesis in tandem with my Otari. I will burn the cd's for distribution to the family and friends from the Alesis. The Otari will record my copy... :-)  If anyone really wants to hear how bad 16/44.1 sucks the life out of music, hearing the loss from 24/88.2 to 16/44.1 tells an ugly story in our musical history. So much music lost for the future....


Ken

Take heart Ken. A study that was released last year to set minimum standards and best practices for the archiving of sound and visual media (which runs the gamut from wire recording, 78's, lacquer disks, magnetic tape etc) to "preserve our recorded heritage". Part of the study was to decide how best to store these digital transfers. The transfer of musical sounds was decided to be at 96/24 and stored that way as BWF files (Broadcast Wave Files). The study was done at Indiana University and Harvard. If you'd like to know more about this (much of it involves long term storage , metadata etc) it is called " Sound Directions Best Practices for Audio Preservation" and googling it will produce a downloadable pdf.
Soap Box Time:
Many one of a kind recording are currently at risk of deteriorating beyond the point of being played and transfered as we speak. The most at risk are field recordings on magnetic media (think Alan Lomax) and lacquer disks. There are millions of hours of transfers that need to be done from fragile media and the Library of Congress has recently opened a center for media preservation at Culpepper Va that was designed to do just that. Unfortunately, there aren't nearly enough trained hands and ears to do this time consuming work. If this sounds like something you might be interested in pursuing, PM me and I'll try and hook you up. Here's a link to Eric Jacob's web site that gives you a great idea of what media archiving and restoration is all about.
http://www.theaudioarchive.com/
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: niklasthedolphin on January 18, 2009, 07:58:56 AM
Really interesting thread guys.
I always dreamed of having an isolation booth to put my turntable in but until the advent of standalone phono stages that wasn't really practical. Now I could see that have a phono stage with balanced outputs could get the table far enough away so that any mechanical feedback would be eliminated.
On the subject of recordings of the lp's sounding better than the lp (aside from any influence that the feedback would have) I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that perhaps somewhere in the cutting process, there's a point where the eq that's applied (reverse RIAA) that the formula for eq is perhaps biased a tiny bit to help minimize tape hiss or maybe some other artifact that occurs during the cutting. And maybe (a lot of maybe's here) the tape hiss or something in the biasing is filling in that gap. Kind of like an analog dither. I'm sure you know that it's common for folks to run their recordings (mostly digital) through tape to smooth the sound. Most of them attribute the improvements to natural tape compression but could there be other factors involved?
Well, just another one of my half baked theories. I'm sure Paul could slap this one down with no effort.

I will question if true balanced output from a phono stage is at all possible.
Where is the steady reference that the two counterphased (sorry my bad english) signals are supposed to curve/float around?

Recordings sounding better than the original tells me something about who likes a certain character of sound and who prefers the sound to be as close to the Analog Reference as possible.

The certain sound character some people tend to like makes them go for tape decks adding this character in the Recordings or the PlayBack.

"dolph"
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 18, 2009, 10:24:32 AM
Good point dolph. I was just thinking of the extra shielding and noise rejection that balanced cables afford to long runs of cable. I'm not really sure if phono amps such as the E.A.R 324 is +4 dB out but it is killer sounding (even to a die hard tube fan like me).
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: sound signal on January 19, 2009, 04:13:56 AM
Hi Steve,

Really interesting thread guys.
I always dreamed of having an isolation booth to put my turntable in but until the advent of standalone phono stages that wasn't really practical. Now I could see that have a phono stage with balanced outputs could get the table far enough away so that any mechanical feedback would be eliminated.

Myself, I sit as far away from the speakers as possible.  I have the turntable and preamp close to me, and the power amp or amps close to the speakers.  In my experience, the long interconnect between the preamp and power amp does not degrade quality, but having the turntable and preamp as far away from the speakers as possible on one hand, and having as short a speaker cable as possible on the other, makes for a significant improvement.

At line level, and at the kind of cable length we're talking about here - enough to get across a room - unbalanced inputs and outputs are OK.  Balanced interfaces do offer advantages, but having unbalanced interfaces wouldn't stop me from running long interconnects in my room - in fact that's what I do, I have seven metres between my preamp and power amp and everything is unbalanced.

You do need to watch the output impedance, though.  Anything below 1k is OK to drive up to twenty metres (sixty feet) of cable of 100pF/m capacitance (30pF/foot) and get a -3dB bandwidth of 80kHz.  An increase of cable length, or of output impedance, or of cable capacitance per unit length, decreases the bandwidth proportionally.

If you want the advantages of balanced interfaces, I hold that you can get most of them by driving a balanced input from a single-ended output if they are interfaced properly.  The other way around - balanced output into single-ended input - does also get you some of the advantages, but not nearly as many as when driving a balanced input from a properly interfaced single-ended output.  Of course, driving a balanced input from a balanced source is the optimum in terms of interfacing, but the balancing at the source end of things is the icing on the cake, and not the cake itself, especially at line level, in my humble opinion.

So it's not actually necessary to upgrade all your sources to balanced outputs to reap most of the advantages.  I consider that the most bang for the buck when going for balanced interfaces is a preamp with balanced inputs - that will give most of the advantages of balanced interfaces with all your sources, single-ended or balanced.  Also a power amp with balanced inputs will get you most of the advantages of balanced interfaces when driven by any preamp.  I consider balanced outputs from the sources to be the last priority.

So I suggest that, if you're interested in balanced interfaces, having balanced outputs from your phono stage is lower in priority than having balanced inputs on your preamp or whatever else the phono stage will be feeding.

Best regards,
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mikel on January 19, 2009, 08:57:46 AM
Hi Mike,

Great looking Garrard 301 and plinth!  Who made it for you?  I had mine made up by a local carpenter to my own design.  It's in two parts, the top part on which the turntable and arm are mounted is isolated by three squash balls that do a pretty good job in killing off structure-borne vibration.

If you have a tape machine that can record and play back at 15ips, why not try an experiment with your Rockport turntable?  Record an LP onto open reel at 15ips while monitoring on headphones.  Then play back the recording on your speakers and compare to the LP playback from your turntable, again on the speakers.  I think you will find the results interesting.

It does seem to me that the complete isolation from the loudspeakers afforded by the copying process can't be matched by any amount of turntable design or engineering.  Even if complete mechanical isolation is achieved, the arm and cartridge will always be affected by the airborne sound waves, unless the turntable is placed in a separate, soundproof room.  Of course, with a really high-end turntable like your Rockport, the difference might be so small as to make the degradation from making the tape copy more significant.  Thinking about this another way, it's a different way of assessing how good a turntable setup is...  Try it and let us all know.

I do concede that copying to 15ips tape is an expensive and inconvenient method of listening to LP's, though, even if it does give a copy that is much more durable than the original.  In my case, it's only really worth it in the case of the mega-rare and expensive La Spagna LP that I had the good luck to borrow and copy.

With best regards,

hi George,

the 301 plinth was made by Steve Dobbins [email protected] it's a constrained layer design with hardwood, duraluminum, man-made slate, and other 'stuff'......engineered to be lively and neutral sounding. it uses Stillpoints as footers, and weighs about 80 pounds without the 301. it accomodates 2 arms with separate arm boards. Steve also tweaked the 301 for me and installed a new bearing. i'm currently auditioniong a new platter for the 301 of Steve's design (which is quieter than the stock one). Steve is also building me a plinth for my Technics SP-10 Mk3.

at some point i suppose i will experiment with recording 15ips off the Rockport as it presents an interesting opportunity for discovery as MEP mentions above. my audio/music culture has never included any recording as i believe recording from one media to another cannot 'improve' anything. my motivation for getting into RTR was to be able to hear master tape performance in my room and not to move music from one format to another.

while i agree that the concept of 'complete isolation' of a tt in the same room as the music is played is theoretically unlikely; practically speaking the Sirius III does seem to achieve that trick. that is exactly the idea behind the design. what the Rockport does in terms of noise elimination is remarkable. it weighs 600 pounds, the 250 pound plinth floats on an active air suspension, then an air bearing, 55 pound platter, and vaccuum hold down. as far as air borne sound waves and their effect; without some sort of testing i am just guessing; but the profile of the Rockport plinth, the mass and stoutness of the arm design, the barrel of the air bearing arm, the the tiny profile of the actual linear tracking arm all may minimize the effects. that's what ya get for your $80k (if you can find one to buy).

in any case as my previous post mentioned; even at 382/24 resolution myself and 3 pro audio guys could not hear any difference between a test recording made with the speakers on or off. when i do get around to recording 15ips off the Rockport onto either the Studer or Ampex we will see if that can reveal some difference. i have a 1/2" head stack for the Ampex; maybe that might reveal it. i am very skeptical of hearing any difference but i've been wrong before.

i will need to learn how to record onto tape properly.

regarding the issue of long interconnects; i also have my preamp, tt's and other sources near my listening chair and the amps away between the speakers. therefore i've always used a long pair of interconencts between the pre and amps. i use to use an 8 meter set of XLR Nordost Valhalla. now; my preamp and amp are made by darTZeel so i use an 8 meter set of darTZeel 'zeel' connectors. they are designed to use a 'zeel' 50 ohm BNC cable; with 'perfect' impedence matching of preamp and amp. it is not recommended to use them any longer than 10 kilometers (seriously). if anyone is interested you can go to this darTZeel PDF (http://www.dartzeel.com/PDF_Files/AudioManuEN.pdf) and read page 17 and 18 about this. my digital player; the Playback Designs MPS-5, also has this 50 ohm BNC interface built in to great advantage. i own and have owned obscenely priced interconnects. these 'cheap' 'zeel' interconnects are almost free in comparison and better the higher priced products when used on gear designed for them. you can also read a November 2001 Stereophile paper written by Herve Delatraz (Mr. darTZeel) about the significance of impedance matching with interconnects which was written prior to his 'zeel' cable design.

warmest regards,

mikel

Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 19, 2009, 11:41:13 AM
I use single ended interconnects everywhere in my main listening rig. I also have the long runs between my preamp and amp. Actually, those aren't even shielded, just carefully routed. I have a "project studio"/diy bench/computer room in the next room which can be connected through a "rabbit hole"  when I want to hear what's on the studio's sources on the main system. Some of the gear in the studio is balanced but outside of that, I've never had any balanced inputs or outputs on my main system. Thanks for the advice George. That makes a lot of sense and will save me the expense of going through those experiments myself if or when the occasion arises.
It's great to see a number of Garrard 301/idler drive turntables among the members here. I guess it goes hand and hand with the appreciation of using the best source media and transducers we can get our hands on. I really enjoyed Georges page on his website regarding his plinth design and Mike's description of his (use of dissimilar materials has always made a lot of sense to me but as we all know, common sense and good engineering doesn't always yield good sound). To think that Mike's 301 could be mentioned in the same breath with a turntable with the pedigree of the Rockport says a lot and I'd love to hear more from 301 owners on their experiences with it.
I don't think that you can listen to the TP tapes (or any master recordings) and not have your listening skills improve. It really adds to the credibility of subjective opinions. I don't know about other members here but I have much less difficulty chasing down fidelity issues than I used to. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to take anything away from the enjoyment of great music on a lousy system or media. For this I'm thankful.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on January 19, 2009, 02:23:08 PM
I am going to try this again.  Here is a picture of my brother's system that shows the Crown repros and the Amepx 350s.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: TommyTunes on January 19, 2009, 02:55:27 PM
I dub many of my 45 rpm albums (such as the Analog Productions Fantasy Jazz or Note Note Series) onto 2 track 15ips tape.  They come out exceptional with no loss of quality.   I go straight out of my phono stage to the inputs of the deck (equipment used VPI Aries 3 maxed out with SDS, Ring, Heavy Clamp, HRX feet), Lyra Skala and Modwright Phonostage all wired with Kimber KCAG's.  However based on the cost of new tape stock (appx $50 a reel), I've now been transfering them to DSD digital discs.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 19, 2009, 03:04:41 PM
Hey Thomas. What kind of authoring software are you using to make DSD disks? I haven't kept up with it for a while but that last time I checked, the software was still super expensive. I was thinking about getting one of the Korg portable recorders and one of the issues was being able to author portable media without converting it to high sample rate PCM.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on January 25, 2009, 01:09:17 AM
You folks have gotten me interested in looking at a 2 track 15ips machine. I see one on ebay - Teac TASCAM 32 2-Track Mastering Reel To Reel Recorder - which has been reconditioned by a dealer in Appleton WI that apparently does a lot of work on R2R's. The price is $899 including shipping. If a recorder like this records well, and I can play back the tapes on my Bottlehead 1506, it looks like a good deal to me. At this point I have the Bottlehead 1506 which is only playback, and my old but functioning well Akai GX-747-dbx which records and plays at 7.5 and 3.75 only four track, 2 channel.  For less than $1K I would be able to record 15ips 2 track. Thanks, Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on January 27, 2009, 01:30:46 PM
I want to thank this forum. Because of my last posting, one of the forum members has just kindly sold me one of his Ampex ATR-700's, for a very reasonable price (much lower that what I was looking at at the ebay store from WI). I've emailed US Recording Media and Kurt has advised me to use the RMGI LPR35 for copying LP's - since the 3600' length will fit the typical LP. For shorter LP's he is recommending the ATR Studio Master tapes which he recommends over the SM911.  He said they are out of stock of the pancakes of SM468's and probably would not reorder them in the pancakes. Not sure why. Any thoughts on the tape recommendations from Kurt?  I will be recording at 15ips, 2 track.  Over the past years I have bought most of the classical 45 reissues from Classic Recordings (mostly the RCA reissues and a few Mercuries) as well as a few jazz/pop titles (like those on the TAS Super Disc list - KOB, Ah Um, Casino Royale). I pulled them all out yesterday and it turns out I have 62 titles - many more than I thought I had! I'll be starting with some of those to test out the setup once everything arrives.  Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on January 27, 2009, 02:44:18 PM
Hi Larry, I'm not familiar with the ATR700 but you might want to check and see if it can be biased to take advantage of the higher output of the ATR Magnetics tape. Some prosumer machines can't and that would pretty much decide things right there. I'm not sure that recording the 45 rpm lps would benefit from this higher output either and to get this higher output, more oxide is generally used and can be slightly more abrasive to the tape path. I'd give the LPR35 a try first. It should have a similar bias to Ampex 456 and your "new" machine will almost certainly have a setting for that already. The disadvantages of this thinner tape are almost totally nullified by that fact that you can always rerecord the albums in the future. The main problems with 1 mil or thinner tape is increased print through, possible stretching (if the machine is particularly hard on tape) and lower wear tolerances. The pro's are, twice as long, easier to erase and lower cost per foot.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: dwilawyer on February 04, 2009, 12:54:49 PM
Hi Larry, I'm not familiar with the ATR700 but you might want to check and see if it can be biased to take advantage of the higher output of the ATR Magnetics tape. Some prosumer machines can't and that would pretty much decide things right there.

That ATR 700 is a great professional deck, designed by Ampex and made to their specifications by Teac/Tascam in Japan.  Not quite up to the ATR 100 series, but it should serve you well, and for a long time.  It can be biased to any professional tape equiv. including 456, GP9/996.  The ATR in ATR Magnetics comes from the ATR in Ampex so you shouldn't have any trouble biasing it  to any tape they make.

Interested to hear how it  sounds.

Travis
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on February 04, 2009, 08:11:03 PM
Thanks for the info on the ATR-700. I am awaiting its arrival, hopefully by the beginning of next week. I'll let you all know how it goes.  Larry


Hi Larry, I'm not familiar with the ATR700 but you might want to check and see if it can be biased to take advantage of the higher output of the ATR Magnetics tape. Some prosumer machines can't and that would pretty much decide things right there.

That ATR 700 is a great professional deck, designed by Ampex and made to their specifications by Teac/Tascam in Japan.  Not quite up to the ATR 100 series, but it should serve you well, and for a long time.  It can be biased to any professional tape equiv. including 456, GP9/996.  The ATR in ATR Magnetics comes from the ATR in Ampex so you shouldn't have any trouble biasing it  to any tape they make.

Interested to hear how it  sounds.

Travis
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on February 09, 2009, 11:30:47 PM
My new (old) Ampex ATR-700 arrived today from its cross most of the country journey, safe and sound. It came in its original travel case (trunk) which looks like it has had a few miles on it. Thanks to Mark for his kindness. The machine works great - I did my first test recording, using a CD. The machine is 15/7.5 ips, 2 track only, with two sets of inputs which can each be switched from mic to line and the 700 can mix the two sets of inputs. Unfortunately the line inputs don't seem to work, but the mic inputs work fine - there is a -20db setting to lower the input level. I was very pleased with the quality of the recording (using SM468 from US Recording Media) at 15 ips 2 track. Switching between my CD input and the tape head output, I don't think I could hear any difference. I used NAB EQ. The 700 also has IEC EQ. I haven't played a TP tape on it yet. That will be next. My next recording experiment will get back to the topic of this thread - recording LP's at 15 ips 2 track. I guess I'll try both IEC and NAB EQ settings. Anyone have any suggestions here?  One thing, I have to be careful because my current set up - the Bottlehead Technics 1506 is only playback. Since the 700 also records I don't want to accidentally push the record button on one of my TP tapes.  Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on February 11, 2009, 04:54:23 PM
My new (old) Ampex ATR-700 arrived today from its cross most of the country journey, safe and sound. It came in its original travel case (trunk) which looks like it has had a few miles on it. Thanks to Mark for his kindness. The machine works great - I did my first test recording, using a CD. The machine is 15/7.5 ips, 2 track only, with two sets of inputs which can each be switched from mic to line and the 700 can mix the two sets of inputs. Unfortunately the line inputs don't seem to work, but the mic inputs work fine - there is a -20db setting to lower the input level. I was very pleased with the quality of the recording (using SM468 from US Recording Media) at 15 ips 2 track. Switching between my CD input and the tape head output, I don't think I could hear any difference. I used NAB EQ. The 700 also has IEC EQ. I haven't played a TP tape on it yet. That will be next. My next recording experiment will get back to the topic of this thread - recording LP's at 15 ips 2 track. I guess I'll try both IEC and NAB EQ settings. Anyone have any suggestions here?  One thing, I have to be careful because my current set up - the Bottlehead Technics 1506 is only playback. Since the 700 also records I don't want to accidentally push the record button on one of my TP tapes.  Larry

Thanks to Steve W. I traced down the problem on the line input of the Ampex.  It was that pin 3 of the XLR is hot, not pin 2. I pulled out my seldom used soldering iron and switched pins and it is working like a charm.  I looked on the web and found out that since 1982 pin 2 hot has been the standard for XLR three pin plugs. However, it also said that much American equipment uses pin 3 hot. It has been mentioned that Otari uses pin 3 hot as I remember. Since the Ampex ATR-700 comes from Tascam/Teac, the Japanese may also use pin 3 hot.   The line input works like a charm!! Thanks, Steve.

Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on February 11, 2009, 05:14:00 PM
I was just reading an old post on the Ampex list and even here , they used pin 3 hot. I guess in some studios, the techs would switch the in/out to pin 2 hot sometimes so when folks source used record/playback electronics some will be one way, while others will be the other. The poor guy had an 8 channel 440 and two channels just wouldn't send an signal. All kinds of suggestions were given and after a few days, somebody figured it out. Talk about confusing!
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: steveidosound on February 11, 2009, 09:26:27 PM
I saw some of that on the Ampex list too.
"The poor guy had an 8 channel 440 and two channels just wouldn't send an signal. All kinds of suggestions were given and after a few days, somebody figured it out. Talk about confusing!"

Then I feel good about helping Larry to figure out his issue with the line inputs. Turns out they are on common switchable XLR connectors with the microphone inputs but unbalanced.  He was running the inputs via RCA to XLR cables to these connectors that were wired pin 2 hot.
Larry's situation seemed as if it might be related to this but we did the diagnosis via email rather than on the forum.
I have been dealing most of my life with interfacing issues like this dealing with both home and pro equipment.
BTW, anyone got any work out there for a "quasi-retired" underemployed audio tech? :)
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: Ben on February 11, 2009, 10:20:05 PM
for the BTW.
Well I guess you could offer your free time in making more TP duplications.
I hear they want Saturday off. :)
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on February 18, 2009, 02:50:42 AM
I made three copies of records over the weekend, before I left for London on Monday. They were all from Classic Record 45rpm reissues of well known recordings. I have the original LPs of all of them also. They are RCA LSC-1806 Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathusthra by Reiner (the first stereo release by RCA on vinyl - recorded in 1954), RCA LSC-1817 Offenbach Gaite Parisienne by Fiedler (the second stereo vinyl release - recorded in 1956) - BTW both were not issued on stereo vinyl until 1958, as I remember. Finally, the last was the Columbia JC35305 Stardust by Willie Nelson. All of them are on Harry Pearson's Super Disc List. I really like all of the albums also. I did a very easy A/B comparison while recording, by listening to the tape playback of the Ampex and switching the preamp tape monitor (remotely) between the record input and the tape setting. I matched volume levels carefully and absolutely could not tell the difference between the vinyl and the tape. I used the RMGI SM468 tape that I got from Romo (what Doc wrote about) and I used the IEC EQ setting on the Ampex. Playing the 45's is a real pain - getting up every 10 minutes or less to change a side. THere is another issue that the tape ameliorates, but not solves completely. That is on many of the classical albums which have long movements or one continuous piece, the end of an LP side is faded out - so there is not a smooth transition between sides. This is particularly true in the Also Sprach. Having the tape, there is still the fade out (I cannot edit that well) but there is not the minute or so pause while I flip the sides of the LP. Of course with pop and jazz albums andsome classical - the tracks are separate enough that this is not a problem. Romo also put enough tape on the pancakes (much more than 2500' - that I had no problem fitting the entire albums (34' 36' and 38' respectively) on one reel without tape spilling over.   

On a separate issue, by chance I did score a couple of cases of the original ENTEC SM911 which was mentioned briefly in the Audio Asylum. The fellow lives in England and he is sending the cases to my hotel in London. The price was certainly right, especially with the fall in the pound - I'll let you know how they sound when I get back home.

Larry   
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: mep on February 18, 2009, 10:38:45 AM
Larry-I am glad you are enjoying the Ampex ATR-700 you received from me and that it is making great recordings.  I hope when you get home that you will play the tapes you made on your other deck which has the TP repro electronics to see if you hear any differences for the better over the SS Ampex repro electronics.

I continue to be amazed at the differences between straight up LP playback and the sound of the LP as played back through the Otari MX-55 into my pair of Ampex 350s.  I firmly believe the Ampex 350s are very special pieces.
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on February 18, 2009, 11:44:35 AM
Mark, thanks for both starting this thread - which got me started thinking about copying some of my LP's, and then providing the means by which I am copying them!! The Ampex ATR-700 has worked out to be a great machine. I will be playing some of the TP tapes through it to compare its playback electronics to the Bottlehead Technics Repro when I get back.  Larry
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: X-Factor on February 22, 2009, 03:30:37 AM
Staying with the original subject topic, yes.
The purpose was to use the Technics 1500 reel deck as an analytical tool in comparisons involving various "factors" recorded on two track 15 IPS for the best audio quality in the pursuit of obtaining better sound quality using LPs and 12" singles as source material. The factors varied from software; for example, the recording of original LPs vs remastered or imported pressings, and going as far as different LP stampers A1, A2 etc; and hardware components in the recording chain. Hardware being amplification components and transducers (phono cartridge), cables and tweaks. Cartridge and tone arm adjustments were checked through recording to tape and playback as well as being done in real (no pun intended) time.
It seemed wiser to record to two track to examine the recordings since over a longer term through repeated listening. If the same disc or LP track was used, it was recorded only once within a twenty hour period to help minimize groove wear on the discs and still benefit from maximum fidelity.
My first tries at two track recording @1983 (I first started this process with a quarter track Technics 1700 in 1979) involved a solid state pre-amp which had variable capacitance on one of it's two phono inputs. The testing of varying capacitance with various cartridges was an eye (and ear) opener!
The sources and components varied over the years of course. Going from solid state to tube electronics and vastly improved the audio quality of the recordings though the reel electronics were still solid state.
One thing I learned over time and a growing vinyl collection was that it was redundant to make archival tape copies of my own vinyl recordings. If your turntable, meaning your cartridge/ tone arm as well are properly set up there should be little concern to wear due repeated playing. (So spend your money on TP tapes!) It was tedious to re-record vinyl to tape after every upgrade.
A suggestion; Make a compilation tape of the tracks you play the most often. Saves time, $, and resources.

Leslie
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: ironbut on February 22, 2009, 01:23:12 PM
Hi Leslie, welcome to the forum. For the most part, I gave up on transferring my lp's to reel to reel pretty early on but that was with stock playback electronics.
On the other hand, it was pretty common during the 80's for folks to make compilation cassette tapes (usually with some sort of theme) and give them to friends. I knew a couple of guys that went to the trouble to do custom artwork that they'd use a copy machine (pre printer stuff here) to make duplicates of. I think I still have a few running around here someplace and when I listen to them, it reminds me of the maker and the times it was made in. I thought it was an excellent idea then, and I wonder if anyone goes to the same effort with cdr's today.
I guess it's a little like what a DJ does (either live or on the air). Even though the pieces are made up of other artists work, a good DJ reacts to the feedback that he feels coming from the audience and creates a document of that slice of time and place. Of course the key to that document is some link to that slice. But just like any other musical composition, it communicates with our emotions in a way that only art can.
How's that for a tangent?
Title: Re: ANYONE MADE 15 ips 2 TRACK COPIES OF LPs?
Post by: astrotoy on March 31, 2009, 05:35:38 PM
I'm currently about 25% through my major project of taping all of my 45RPM Reissues (almost all Classic Records - almost all classical except for a few jazz/pop greats - KOB, Ah Um, Sketches, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall). I restarted the taping this weekend after getting my Ampex ATR-700 worked on and biased correctly for the two types of tape I am using (RMGI SM468 and Emtech SM911). I have been sampling both types of tapes and comparing to the vinyl. They are very close. The best test is not switching between the tape playback and the source - A/B - which I did earlier and which tends to disguise the differences, but to play one cut on the vinyl and then play the same cut on the tape. I am using my Technics/Repro to play back, which is better than the playback on the Ampex. By doing this a few times on one cut, one can hear the nuances much better. The tape copy is very very nice. It also eliminates the changing sides every 8 to 12 minutes on the 45 and the maddening edits on some of the Classic reissues - take the Heifetz Beethoven Violin Con for example. My edits are not perfect, but they are so much better than the vinyl. One great new 45 album is the 20th anniversary Famous Blue Raincoat. My project will cover about 65-70 titles when I am finished - about 100 tapes in all. That of course is a small fraction of my records - I will not be copying my vinyl in general - I agree with Leslie - with a good TT setup you don't need to. 

BTW, the "reel" test of the copy was dubbing a cut from a TP tape - which I did this afternoon. I reported on it on another post. THere is definitely more of a difference than with the vinyl. But the copy is still very nice.  BTW, everything is copied 15 ips/2 track, IEC Eq. 

Larry

Larry