TP-027, Jerry Garcia / David Grisman wins a Writer's Choice Award from Myles Astor of Positive Feedback Online

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Willy and the Poor Boys / Missing the Album Insert for Willy
« on: April 29, 2017, 06:33:23 PM »
I was checking my tape and discovered I was missing the album insert.  Not sure whether I ever got one.  Did one come with the album?   Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / Using Pancakes to store recorded tapes
« on: March 18, 2017, 08:31:43 PM »
Is anyone using pancakes on an NAB hub to actually store their recorded music?  Right now the price of a pancake is about the same as a metal reel. So if you just use the pancake, it will cost about half as much as a regular reel.  I've seen some videos where a pancake is being used to playback music, so I am surmising that they are not using a reel, but just using the pancake.  I've bought pancakes before, when I was able to buy a bunch of used metal reels on the cheap, or when I bought plastic reels, and transferred the pancake to the reel.  Obviously, people need to have a horizontal deck to play a pancake.   

I noticed that there was one tape seller (in Europe) that offered their tapes either on metal reels or on pancakes (at a savings).

Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / Revox Hubs on Otari MX-5050 BIII
« on: February 11, 2017, 12:38:58 AM »
Hi Folks, I sold my Otari MX5050BIII.  It has a pair of Tascam hubs on it for NAB reels.  The buyer asked me whether Revox NAB hubs would fit on it. I said I thought so, but I never tried that, since the Tascam hubs always worked fine.  Did I say the right thing?   Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / 7" reel on an ATR-102
« on: December 25, 2016, 10:21:29 PM »
I am downsizing to only two R2R machines, my two ATR-102's. To accommodate my large collection of 7" prerecorded 4 track stereo tapes I had Greg Orton (Flux Magnetics) install a 4 track stereo playback head in my 1/4" head stack along with a switch - so I can play both 4 track stereo and 2 track tapes (and record 2 track tapes.  However, the 102 doesn't like playing from or to a 7" reel. I have been able to play my 4 track stereo tapes by winding them on 10.5" reels, which I do on my extra Otari MX5050BIII, hopefully soon gone.  Any suggestions on how to play 7" reels with the 102?  I'd rather not keep the Otari for the sole purpose of transfering tape back and forth between 7"  and 10.5" reels.

Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / Baggie or No Baggie?
« on: December 25, 2016, 10:14:33 PM »
What do you do?  Do you use the baggie that the tape comes in, or do you discard it?  Any reason for or against the baggie?  Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / Setting Bias 1/4" vs 1/2" Tape
« on: November 24, 2016, 02:25:25 PM »
I have learned to set the bias and trim the recording levels on my new Ampex ATR-102, thanks to instructions from Paul Stubblebine. Fortunately I have 3 sets of audio cards for the 102 where the bias and level settings are made.  All my recordings are being done at 15ips 2 track.  I am currently using three different types of tape to record: ATR Mastering, SM468, and SM911.  The ATR tape is all half inch, the SM911 is all quarter inch. So I have used one set of cards for the ATR and another set of cards for SM911 and just switch cards, rather than having to rebias every time I switch tapes.  However, I have both half inch and quarter inch SM468 tapes.  I have set the bias and levels for the half inch with my third set of cards.  I was wondering if those settings would work for the 1/4" SM468 tape also.  It would save me from having to rebias and change level settings when I switch between those two.  The problem with the Ampex cards is that I don't see any easy way to restore an old set of settings on the cards.

Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / Flat Copy?
« on: November 05, 2016, 01:26:31 AM »
What is a flat copy?  I have a master copy which says "Flat Copy".    Thanks, Larry

Prerecorded Tapes / Chad Enters the R2R Business
« on: October 18, 2016, 12:01:37 PM »
Since Dan, Paul and Romo began TP 10 years ago, creating the high end R2R tape business, there has been many (about 20) new companies following the leader. One thing they had in common was they were small - usually one person operations, with a limited catalogue, mostly self recorded and produced. Most of them are excellent/superb, but limited in their repertoire.  Now, for the first time, we have a major player joining in.  Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds has announced his entrance into the 15ips 2 track 1/4" tape world, with 12 albums, including 2 which have just been released.

The albums copy the TP format, with superb packaging of 2 reel albums, copying the master tapes onto 1/2" 30ips running masters (instead of 1" that the TP does), and then onto 1/4" 15ips 2 track tapes.  Everything is done using Ampex ATR machines (TP also uses Amper ATR's) with Fllux magnetic heads. Price is the same as TP - $450 per 2 reel album. As a classical music fan, I am especially happy that 8 of the first 12 releases are classical, including 5 of the most famous RCA Living Stereo albums (mostly Reiner and the Chicago Symphony) and 2 of Dave Wilson's albums.  The first two albums released are Janis Ian's Breaking Silence and Ben Webster's Gentle Ben.  I received my copies on Saturday and they are spectacular - I feel much the same way I felt when I first listened to my TP tapes! 

Acoustic Sounds is offering a subscription where if you buy the entire set, the 12th tape is free.

Chad's access to a broad and deep catalogue of analog master tapes is a very exciting prospect.



Tape Tech / Signal Generators
« on: September 29, 2016, 09:57:51 AM »
Does anyone have an extra signal generator?  I need one to set the bias for recording on my new ATR-102.  My tech also said I could use a test CD - I think I have an old Stereophile Test CD with test tones.  Could I use the Tape Project allignment tape and connect the output of my Technics/Bottlehead to the input of the ATR-102?

Thanks, Larry

Tape Tech / 1 mil 1/2" Tape Question
« on: July 22, 2016, 01:31:40 PM »
Anyone with experience with 1 mil 1/2" tape. I recently bought a collection which has quite a few 1/2" tapes.  A fair number have 1 mil tape, or tape that is definitely thinner than the standard 1.5mil.  I haven't seen any 1 mil 1/2" tape for sale, new or used.  One tape has 69 minutes of music (at 15ips measured with the counter on my new ATR-102). The reel is quite full, but still with a little room.  According to my calculations, it has about 5200' of tape on the 10.5" reel. That doesn't seem possible.  For comparison it would be like having 3460' of standard 1.5mil tape on a 10.5" reel (or 46 minutes worth at 15ips).  Maybe the tape is even thinner. 

On the box there is a notation that says SM Uher while regular tapes say SM 911.

Playing it back, the sonics are great - no audible print through.

Thanks, Larry   

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / My New 102
« on: July 18, 2016, 11:56:01 PM »
After a four month wait, my new (used) Ampex ATR-102 has arrived. I was able to get it with a used Doshi tape prepro, and had the 102 set up to play both 1/2" and 1/4" tapes at 15ips and 7.5ips.  The only thing I didn't get was a 1/2" take up reel - but that is coming this week.  I separately was able to buy a large collection of prerecorded 15ips 2 track tapes, including 50 1/2" tapes.  In the collection were 8 of the first ten TP tapes, all in 1/2". So now I have both 1/2" and 1/4" versions to compare.  Anxiously waiting for the take up reel!


I found this from Izotope, a well respected company making professional audio editing software. This is about Ozone 7. I have been using their RX series (currently using RX3 Advanced) in my record and tape ripping project over the past five+ years.  Larry

Analog tape’s most desirable qualities at your fingertips for digital music production.

The Vintage Tape module in Ozone 7 Advanced is modeled to emulate the clean and flat Studer A810 tape machine — known for its excellent frequency response — that was commonly used in classic mastering studios. Take advantage of that analog tone for masters that sound more musical with added dimension, fatness, and depth.
The controls in Vintage Tape let you access the qualities of tape that are most relevant for mastering and adjust them to get the right results for your track.
•   Input Drive: A lower Input Drive setting offers less saturation and a higher setting will incorporate more of the gentle distortion that magnetic tape is treasured for.
•   Bias and Speed Controls: A negative bias value will push more energy at the higher frequencies, while a positive bias value will attenuate higher frequencies.
•   Odd and Even Harmonics: Mix the authentic odd harmonic saturation of a calibrated mastering machine with even harmonics to taste.
•   Emphasis Controls: Add a gentle peak in the rich areas, get a high-end shimmer, or dial in a gentle roll-off.
Learn how to get started with the Vintage Tape module.
Haven’t tried Ozone 7 Advanced yet? Download the free 10-day trial.

Work Song / TP-28 Work Song Nat Adderley Arrived Today
« on: October 17, 2015, 12:24:07 AM »
Got a surprise on my door step today - TP-28. I have already listened to Tape A.  Not being a jazz fan, but having heard Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra last month, I have a better appreciation for this album. Adderley (I had heard of his big brother Cannonball, but not Nat, before) plays a cornet, not unlike Marsalis's trumpet. I especially liked having Wes Montgomery featured so prominently.  As usual, great sound for a 55 year old album. Many of the instruments were quite centered in my system, although there was a large stereo spread for several of the instruments. I especially liked the old standards, by Gershwin and other familiar names and tunes.


Prerecorded Tapes / Possible New Classical Tape
« on: February 07, 2015, 09:17:44 PM »
I recently bought an LP from MA Recordings of the Bach Goldberg Variations played by Ito Ema, recorded in 1994 using a Studer A820 at 30ips half inch tape on 3M 996. The LP is great and I asked Todd Garfinkle whether he would consider doing a 15ips 2 track release. The record is about 45 minutes long so it would be 2 reels, much like the TP releases. He said he had been thinking about it, but wanted a sense of how many he would be making and selling. He would make a copy (I believe 30ips 1/2 inch) and then run the copies to sell from the copy, since the original has splices that he would not like to run through multiple times. I suggest that a price around 300-400 would be competitive with most of the tapes that are being sold by TP and others. You can go to the MA Recordings website to learn more.

If you are interested, you can PM me. We classical music fans don't get too many opportunities for 15 ips 2 track these days.

Thanks, Larry

As many of you know, about 18 months ago Winston Ma of First Impression Music asked me to write a book about Decca Records and the golden age of stereo (1958-1980).  The book and accompanying 4 CD's is finally out, debuting this week at the Hong Kong Audio Show.  Gary Koh of Genesis Speakers will also have the book and playing the CD's at the California Audio Show next week. Both Elusive Disc and Acoustic Sounds are selling the book at a discounted prepublication price. It should be available in the US sometime later this month.

I had a lot of fun writing the book and the (extensive) liner notes to the CD's. As a point of information, our own Paul Stubblebine did the mastering of the original Decca analogue tapes that FIM first issued about a decade ago.  The 4 CD's contain lengthy excerpts from 17 of the greatest Decca albums, mostly classical, but with a little Mantovani, Edmundo Ros and Stanley Black. No Rolling Stones or Moody Blues.


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