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Please read in print or online, as you prefer:

[http://robbreport.com/paid-issue/home-entertainment-modern-sound-midcentury-vibe]

I was staggered at how good those JBLs sounded playing tape; so fast, immediate, dynamic - hats off to Greg Timbers.

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Prerecorded Tapes / Groove Note Records Announces 1'st R2R Titles
« on: March 04, 2013, 10:40:12 PM »
here is a copy of an email I received from Groove Note:

Groove Note Records is proud to announce its first series of audiophile true studio
master quality reel to reel releases.  The first three titles will be launched during the
forthcoming June 2013 THE Show at Newport Beach.
 
The titles are:
1.  Jacintha - Here's To Ben (GRV1001)
2.  Roy Gaines - I Got The T-Bone Walker Blues  (GRV1002)
3.  Anthony Wilson - Jack of Hearts (GRV1046)
 
All the Groove Note releases will be true 2nd generation masters and will sound as
close to original master reference quality as possible.  The original analogue masters
(1/4 or 1/2 inch 30 ips) will be replayed off the highly modified and rebuilt Studer A80
in the Bernie Grundman mastering room via the Grundman EQ board direct to ATR102
reproduction machines (rebuilt and customised onboard electronics) running in slave at
1/4 inch 15 ips.
 
The mastering and EQ of all the reel to reel titles will be done by Bernie Grundman.  All
tapes will include reproductions of the original cover art and a 1K alignment tone.
 
The SRP of each set of tapes is $600.
-------------------------------------

I have a dupe of the "Best of Jacintha" made by Bernie Grundman with Groove Note's permission which I have played at many shows over the years & I can safely tell you that the Jacintha  titles are some of the finest sounding music you can find.

Drop by the San Clemente suite during the Newport Show & we'll play some of the Groove Note tapes for you...

Philip O'Hanlon
On A Higher Note

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Reel to Reel Tape Machines / SonoruS modified reVox PR99 /B77
« on: May 15, 2009, 11:50:52 AM »
As some of you are aware, On A Higher Note imports Luxman electronics & Vivivd Audio loudspeakers, so we are continually travelling around the country playing music & demonstrating the gear we represent. My own personal passion is music & I am continually on the hunt for interesting new music.  Since I arrived in the USA in 1991, I have bought on average 500 pieces of music every year.

I met Paul Stubbelbine a few years ago at CES & we hit it off; Paul is a wonderful person. He mentioned his Tape Project & I immediately offered to help in any way that I could. The concept of having access to master tapes in my own home was v. appealing. It would also allow me to use the tapes as a goal post to determine how turntables & digital players should sound.

I started off by buying a Technics RS1520 from J-Corder and shortly afterwards shipped it to the UK to Tim de Pavarachini for his full modifications. While I was waiting & waiting for this machine to return I came across Arian Jansen who mentioned that he had modified a reVox PR99 and would I like to have a listen. The reVox is much nicer functionally than the Technics, the PR99 mk II and III both have a real time digital display that shows hours, minutes, seconds that can be read even across the room. The Z function allows the machine to be set in repeat mode for a portion of music, a whole song or a whole tape. For demonstration purposes its v handy to be able to locate tacks, just by rewinding to a predetermined point.

As for sonics, once Arian demonstrated the diferences between his modified Studer A810 and his modifed PR99 mk I; we pressed ahead and bought a MK II and a mk III and had SonoruS modify the mk II for Playback & Record and the mk III for Playback only. Our experience of the SonoruS mods is that the modified player has better defined & more atriculate bass, it is also more extended. The midrange & high frequencies benefit from much greater transparency.




American Revox  B77 /PR 99 are not ready for The Tape Project Tapes; as a normal American market machine's EQ is set up for NAB. The Tape Project are using the European IEC or CCIR EQ.
 
Here is a brief over-view of what was done to my reVox PR99 mk II and mk III by SonoruS:
 
1.    Service the basic machine; lubricate the pots, replace light bulbs, switches - bring back to original spec.
2.    Modify the playback board; change NAB to IEC EQ, the audio / record(optional) PCBs are completely revised - 150+ new parts are added.
3.    Modify the Power Supply so that the Audio electronics are buffered from any noise on the AC.
4.    Remove the muting circuit, while the tape is fast forwarding / rewinding. Arian feels that the muting circuit veils playback somewhat so he has removed it entirely.
5.    Rewire the monitor circuit so that the playback is now direct from the heads, leave all the existing inputs /outputs alone, add a new pair of RCA outputs. OFC Copper in Teflon dielectric cabling used.
 
The major change between the MK I and the later MK II and III is that the earlier machine had a much simpler circuit for the playback PCB, so the sound travels through less components. So in the case of the Sonorus PR99 mkII or III, it uses a heavily modified mk I Playback PCB.
 
The power supply is buffered so that the ground signal no longer passes through the audio circuit. On a stock machine, noise in the AC line could corrupt the audio signal.
 
A modified Sonorus PR99 is more articulate sounding than a stock Studer A810. However, as the latter is  a better machine, later on I intend to ask Sonorus to modify a Studer A810 for me. Arian at SonoruS can best be reached at [email protected]

Scott Johnson supplied the RC receiver, its mounted on top, its the black box between the reels, with the red LED. Scott supplies a basic Sony RC that controls, STOP, PLAY, FF & REVERSE. Its enough - a pity that it does not control the Z functions. Scott can be reached at
[email protected]  However Arian needed to modify power supply line on the RC connector to get the Receiver to work properly.
 
Hope this is of help.

Philip O'Hanlon
http://www.onahighernote.com/music/

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General Discussion / Headfi Intl Meet (CanJam 09) LAX 29/31 May
« on: May 14, 2009, 06:27:14 PM »
We will be lending our SonoruS modified PR99 mk III to Todd The Vinyl Junkie, as well as a nice clutch of TP & other tapes for demonstration at the LAX Hilton between Friday 29 May - Sunday 31 May. Todd will be demonstrating this through the new class A Luxman P200 headphone amp. Hopefully he will have a bunch of the new Sennheiser HD-800 headphones as well. Todd can be reached at 866-444-3910 for more detials.
thanks
Philip

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General Discussion / Listen to TP tapes in Chicago
« on: May 14, 2009, 06:12:29 PM »
Musical Artisans 2nd show of 2009 featuring Luxman electronics, and the Vivid Audio loudspeakers was a remarkable success.  I flew in to co-host the show, and helped put together an ensemble of super-fidelity audio components as well as two track analogue master tape to showcase the edge of the art sound.

The Luxman MQ-88 / CL-88 with a DU-80 driving the Vivid B-1 sounded absolutely spectacular. It didn't hurt that we had the SonoruS modified Revox PR99 mk III playing master tapes which left people in awe. Music lovers shook their heads in disbelief at Hugh Masakela's Stimela - The Coal Train To Namibia with its whooping &  wailing; even the little Vivids handled the 20dB dynamics with aplomb !  The crescendos were like a train rushing through the room. Everyone has heard this track countless times I am sure on CD & LP, but hearing a dupe from the master tape is truly like sitting in the concert. The funniest reaction to this system was the number of people who went looking in the kitchen for a hidden pair of large subwoofers - all they managed to find was the trash can !

The Tape Project kindly lent us some compilation tapes from Series II - I particularly like the Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane. I am dying to hear the upcoming RR titles.  We also have the Best of Jacintha on tape - breath taking. (our thanks to Groove Note).

SonoruS  were kind enough to put together a virtual surround sound tape that is played back through two speakers - a wonderful test to see / hear if your speakers are in phase. Source - DVD-Audio & SACD multi-channel played back on a SonoruS modified Luxman DU-80 into a SonoruS preamp that takes the 5.1 information in the analogue domain and converts it into a two channel output, which was fed to a Studer A810 for recording duties onto two track 15 ips tape.  The end result is that on certain music you can hear musicians play off to the wings, while others play in front of you, like a normal stereo reproduction. The Big Phat Band is absolutely spectacular, while Kraftwerk manage to put audience cheering & sound effects behind your head.  To get the full effect you do to sit equi-distant between the two speakers.

By popular demand Musical Artisans 2nd show of 2009 has been extended for another week. Don't take my word for it; if you live in Chicago, drop by either on  Friday the 15'th between 4 -8:00pm or on Saturday, the 16'th between 1 -6:00pm - call Ricardo Reyes for details at 847-877-2791.

Hope I wasn't too long winded, thanks for your forebearance,
Philip


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General Discussion / The Tape Project & RMAF 2008
« on: October 02, 2008, 01:14:55 PM »
We will demonstrate the best of analogue in different formats using Luxman electronics and a pair of Vivid Audio B-1 loudspeakers.  Cabling & Room Tuning duties will be handled by Synergistic Research.

We will have a Tim De Pavaracini custom modified Technics RS-1520 reel to reel as well as a Sonorus custom modified reVox PR99 mk III reel to reel on hand to playour two track master tapes @ 15 ips.We will be playing selections from the recent Tape Project tapes (Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, possibly even the Mose Ailson...) as well as Quinton's catalogue, such as the Sabina Hank.

Groove Note's 'Best of Jacintha" is simply outstanding. All of her albums were all recorded by Mike Ross in Hollywood, mastered by Bernie Grundman and produced by Joe Harley. The albums were recorded simultaneously in DSD and Analogue. 

We will also have Analogue Productions' Thorens 125 'th Anniversary on tape, kindly duped by Kevin Gray at RTI; thanks Chad !  The Hugh Masakela "Coal Train to Namibia" has to be heard to be believed - unbelievably dynamic. The Rickie Lee Jones cuts are also superb.

We will also demonstrate a Luxman PD-444 (1977 vintage) magnetic bearing, direct drive turntable. This turntable has been given a new lease on high end audio life thanks to Zu Audio, who not only provided the cartridges, but also built custom copper armboards from 4" billet. Equipped with a SME 3012R tonearm (Zu Denon 102 mono cartridge) as well as a Triplanar VII tonearm   (Zu Denon 103 stereo cartridge) both tonearms fed into a Luxman E-1 phono stage.  The mono LPs played with a mono cartridge are a lot of fun and will be a delight to many music lovers as they are fuller sounding, throw a wonderful soundstage as well as benefit from better mixes in many cases than their stereo ping-pong counterparts.

  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."- Arthur C. Clark
If ever this maxim applied to a High End Audio component, it applies to Synergistic Research's new patent pending Acoustic ART room treatment system. Each Acoustic ART component strategically cancels target frequency components in any listening room so you hear the music, not the room. Perhaps most surprising, the Acoustic ART BassStation controls low-frequency sound by reducing low frequency nodes in a room for a significant improvement of low bass control, without large bass traps. Be among the first to hear Synergistic Research's Acoustic ART system make its world debut at RMAF.
 

We will be located in the same room as previous years: Long's Peak on the Mezzanine level of the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Cheers !


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Waltz for Debby / Waltz for Debby @ Music Lovers, Berkeley
« on: September 28, 2008, 01:10:23 PM »
Mike Ramonosky kindly dropped off my copy of Waltz for Debby at Music Lovers on Friday afternoon, so that we could play it while we were demonstrating Analogue Tape on a really nice system; Luxman electronics  (two M-800A, Class A amplifiers, each in bridged mode) C-800f pre and a Sonorus modified DU-80 universal player driving Wilson Alexandrias, the new X2 series II. Tape duties were handled by a Sonorus modified ReVox PR-99 mk III.

The 'Waltz For Debby' tape sounds absolutely fantastic; so mechanically quiet, people questioned me if  Dolby was used in the system. What noise is there is that of the 'Village Vanguard' club; chattering, laughing diners, tinkling glasses and cutlery, etc in the background.. Gives the recording a great "you are there" in the club type atmosphere. Nicely recorded piano, bass & drums.

'Waltz For Debby' is one of those albums that creates not only a wonderful background atmosphere, but also rewards close listening.
The close rapport and the empathy which the trio achieved are very strong, and both La Faro and Motian play with remarkable subtlety and insight.  This empathy is apparent from the beginning of the first track "My Foolish Heart" where Evans evokes the melody slowly, in almost lethargic phrases that are heavily punctuated by bass notes underpinned by Paul Motian's roiling snare. The level of freedom in their playing is quite astonishing.

The Wilson's threw a very convincing soundstage and certainly had no trouble reproducing the scale of the Paul La Faro's double bass, the height is true to scale. Analogue bass is not well replayed in a digital system. Comparing the tape to the CD is pointless as so much of the low frequency subtleties  & harmonic texture seem to have been discarded. If you can't afford the TP tape, you are probably better off with the AP LP. Highly recommended.

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