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Topics - TomR

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Tape Project Albums - general / Hey I actually received a UPS notification!
« on: September 25, 2009, 06:41:49 PM »
I assume for Tape 012....this is the FIRST time (and I have all of the other tapes, too). May I congratulate the team on their never-ending quest for better customer service. Seriously, thanks guys.

Suggestion Box / Suggestion for Series 3
« on: September 18, 2009, 05:06:39 PM »
So now that we have official word (Steve, you are official, right?) that the suggestion box is open for Series 3, I want to start.

Last night I heard the San Francisco Symphony play Mahler's Symphony 1 with MTT, of course. An overwhelming performance, by the way, and when I was not being either overwhelmed emotionally (the first time that Mahler 1 has ever had that effect on me) or noting details I have never heard before (I had never picked up on the connection between the first movement of Mahler 1 and the Forest Murmurs scene in Wagner's Siegfried before, nor the similiarities in the construction of the 4th movement of Mahler 1 and Beethoven's 9th), I was thinking to myself how inadequate home playback is to convey the impact of a work such as this.

Perhaps the solution is....drum roll.....a release of Mahler 1 by the Tape Project (I could also go for a Mahler 4, by the way, but the sounds of Mahler 1 are still in my head).

As we talked about at the gathering at Larry Toy's, there is a real issue with what performance is chosen when it comes to classical. of course, I think a lot depends on what is available. My first choices, performance wise, might be Kubelik on DG or Horenstein on Unicorn - both, of course, were once available on RTR tape - the Horenstein from Barclay Crocker (I have it), but I would be happy with something that was from Decca (the Solti) for example.

Suggestion Box / So when do we open the Suggestion Box for Series 3?
« on: September 16, 2009, 06:57:41 PM »
Only kidding a bit. There were loads of worthy ideas for Series 2 but it feels to me that only a few suggestions ended up in the final cut. I would bet some of this goes to the art of the possible - we could pine all year long for a Dave Brubeck tape, for example, but if the masters are unavailable from Sony they are unavailable. So it would be great if we could see a list of what labels are willing to play ball and then focus some suggestions on that.

Since Capitol is one, based on Heart Like a Wheel - I would love to see a Frank Sinatra tape. IMHO, Frank's best stuff was done for Capitol. There are also some famous Stokowski recordings on Capitol - the Planets, Shostakovich's Sym 11, etc. I'm sure that everyone has a few favorites, just to mention Capitol.

General Discussion / Next Bay Area Get Together?
« on: September 14, 2009, 04:22:58 PM »
There was talk after the first get together at Larry Toy's of a follow up -anything in the works (or, did I miss it?)?

Tape Project Albums - general / Reupped for Series 2 today
« on: September 10, 2009, 04:05:03 PM »
Nothing like leaving it until the last minute! Thank you, Eileen, for all of your help! I truly wanted to do this, but the economics of the past year have been, let's call it, a teachable moment. I was also waffling a bit on the Series 2 selections, although they all look interesting, but what put me over was "Heart Like a Wheel" - going back through the suggestion box, it looks like I was the first to suggest that one, so I may be in for whatever blame (or praise) is deserving....or not.

So when does the suggestion box for Series 3 open up? I wanna vote with Larry on a few things!

I will be opening a bottle of champagne tomorrow night for a special occasion, and one toast I will make will be for continued success of this enterprise.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Technics RS15XX vs. Otari MX5050 BXXX
« on: May 28, 2009, 03:18:55 PM »
As some of you know, I own an RS1520 which I purchased because it could play Tape Project tapes without modifications- yep, I know how poor the electronics are supposed to be, but I wanted to start this way.

The build quality is excellent, but I would say that the tape path is complicated and my fingers have some difficulties getting the tape threaded the first time (or even the second or third time). Since Tape Project tapes are stored tails out and run one sided, this means quite a lot of fussing with a tricky tape path in order to play a single album.  I have never seen an Otari in the flesh, but the pictures seem to show that the tape path looks just like my ReVox A77 - simple and easy to thread.

Questions - do others besides me have difficulties with the tape path of the Technics? Do the benefits of the Technics tape path outweigh the negatives? Is the Otari tape path as easy to use as it looks?

One day I want to modify a machine to optimize Tape Project playback - and I wonder if I am better starting with an Otari than my Technics.

Arnold Overtures / Arnold Overture Notes
« on: March 20, 2009, 08:32:44 PM »
It really bothered me that there are no notes on the music in this release, so I have created some using publically available sources (trust me I am no expert on the music of Malcolm Arnold!). I have learned a lot about these pieces by doing so, and I would be happy to email them to anyone who wants them. There is a bio of Arnold, something written by him on music and his approach to it, and short descriptions of each piece.

I was disappointed that there wasn't a lot of info on Arnold's official site, but it didn't take too long to find some other sources.

General Discussion / LAST Tape Preservative - First Try
« on: March 20, 2009, 10:00:41 AM »
I have way too many  prerecorded tapes that I bought in the 70's that squeal when I play them (or try to play them - the squealing is unbearable). These include some that I consider to be real gems - the San Francisco Opera Gala (an operatic greatest hits, sung by Decca's greatest stars of the 50's and 60"s), the Barber of Seville with Varviso conducting, Mahler's 2nd with Solti, and most likely others - I have been too nervous to try to play some of my tapes. All of these are Ampex sourced tapes made in the 70's, although I also had a BC tape squeal slightly (the Stokowski led Rach 3).

Based on a discussion that we had last Saturday at Astrotoy's, I purchased a small bottle of LAST tape preservative and last night tried it on my first tape, which was the Solti Mahler 2. BTW, while I understand that one can buy LAST products from various sources, I bought mine factory direct - ordered it on Monday, had it in my hands on Wednesday. Great email follow up and great service.

LAST tape preservative is easy to apply, and a lot less wet than I figuredd it would be. I treated the reel both on fast forward and rewind - the instructions indicate you only need to do it once.

So - I was definitely encouraged when the tape did not squeal at all on side 1. However, halfway through side 2, it started to squeal again, which was very disappointing.

I am planning to re-treat the reel and try again, and I will also try it on a few other tapes - nothing to lose, correct?

Question for those of you that have tried this - do you also use the LAST head treatment in conjunction with the tape preservative?

Suggestion Box / More ideas
« on: March 17, 2009, 11:38:54 AM »
After listening to Paul at last Saturday's event, clearly the issue of what will be in the remainder of Series 2 looms large, due to the difficulties of obtaining master tapes, the changes in personnel at Decca, etc. (as an aside, I am sure I was not the only one horrified to hear that Decca considers its archive, which has been done at 24/96, to be good enough for all future reissues).  A lot of what we would like to hear might just be pie in the sky, and it is fantastic that the quality has been so high thus far.

At any rate, I was playing Creek Bank for my significant other last night, and she loved it. We then moved on to Tony Bennett and Count Basie on LP - I would give up something significant for a Tony Bennett tape - maybe not going as far as Ironbut's offer to give up his left one for Kind of Blue or Take 5, but pretty far. After that, we played the LP of Satchmo Plays King Oliver, and a Louis Armstrong tape would be another fantastic thing to have. My own favorite is "Satch Plays Fats", which I just like a lot better than the slightly more famous W.C. Handy LP, but I would take either. Of course, these are all owned by Sony at this stage, I believe.

Back to Decca and the Classics -Astrotoy was very convincing in his plea for the Argenta Espana. He is also advocating the Decca performance of Peer Gynt (Fjeldstad, I believe) and the Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream, conducted by Maag. I would add the Balakirev/Liadov conducted by Ansermet to this list. This was recently listed by Fanfare as one of Ansermet's 10 most important recordings, has never (to my knowledge, anyway) been reissued on an audiophile pressing, and will not have the issue of performer preference the way that a Mahler recording is going to have, for example.

I still think a recording of Firebird would be fantastic! How many gin and tonics are needed to make these decisions?

Suggestion Box / Back on the topic of orchestral blockbusters
« on: March 12, 2009, 06:13:16 PM »
Listening to the Arnold overtures makes me yearn for a few classics - first, one of Stravinsky's works - it seems that Firebird would be a fantastic choice. Next, there's been some campaining for Mahler - personally, I would favor the Mahler 4th over the 1st, as a better work, and one that would showcase the ability to handle vocals as well as orchestral music. Even a work like "The Planets" would be fabulous.

And as long as we are doing the classic works of film composers, there's always Korngold......

Arnold Overtures / Arnold Overtures
« on: March 12, 2009, 06:02:02 PM »
Listening to this right now, and yes, this is one of the finest depictions of orchestral music I have heard. Now that I have solved my Tape Scrape problem on my RS1520, I am working through my backlog of Tape Project tapes.  This is obviously a high quality production - lots of headroom (turn it up, it sounds better), transparency of orchestral sound is very high - the "chill" factor is enormous. Not great music, but fun.

No notes, though - are these available anywhere?

Suggestion Box / Suggestions
« on: January 15, 2009, 12:50:27 AM »
I haven't done a count, but there were lots and lots of suggestions for Series 2, and a cursory scan that I did show that two seemed to have made it - a suggestion for Monk, and one for Church Windows.

Have done licensing deals myself, I can appreciate the difficulty of "t" ing this material up, and the more I look at the start of Series 2 the more interesting it becomes; however, there are still 4 titles to go, so there is still opportunity to fill out the series.

So far the jazz releases have been consisently most interesting for being "core" recordings. There isn't really a rock release yet, and the classical works chosen are not close to the core of the classical literature. Well, OK, the Liszt piano sonata qualifies, but only that one and maybe the Bruch. Everything else is peripheral - interesting, though.

My suggestions are likely naive as I don't know what actually is available to license, so with that caveat:

Classics - I would like to see one of the core symphonic works added as a release. (BTW, now that I have heard the Ansermet Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique on LP I withdraw it as a candidate - while the performance is fabulous, the recording is one of the most egregious examples of bad multimiking I have heard - there is absolutely no way to form a coherent picture of an orchestra as instruments move spatially depending on their role - one minute an instrument is located properly in the orchestra, then it moves to center stage, and then retreats. Yucch.)

So, the first suggestions assume access to the "Columbia" catalog - over the past year I have heard early pressings of many of Bruno Walter's late 50"s recordings, which I understand were recorded with all-tube analog equipment. I have also heard the 200 gram reissue of his Eroica, and I think there is merit in considering one of these as the recordings are really live and the performances of many of the works are excellent. Two for major consideration would be his Beethoven Pastorale, considered to be a classic reading of the work, and his Brahms 3rd - not my favorite Brahms symphony, but a magnificent reading. Or maybe the Mahler First - he was Mahler's key assistant, of course.

If you are doing solo piano, the Moravec Chopin recordings are wonderful.

(And if you do have access to the Columbia recordings, there is always Brubeck and Miles Davis to think about).

For rock, again, I don't know if you can license these, but one of our greatest all time voices is Linda Ronstadt - Carly Simon once said she has the best white pipes out there. Heck, if you did Heart Like a Wheel, you could kill two birds with one stone - you'd have a rock release and a country release all in one.

I'd like to see some solo acoustic guitar music - could be classical (I could go for Segovia, Julian Bream or Christopher Parkening and have no issues with any of them)or could be something else. How about Eric Tingstad's early 80's recording "On the Links" - wonderful set of original guitar works, and I believe it is an analog recording. As far as I know this never made it to CD, even though Tingstad has had a reasonable career.

Well, it is late and I am rambling more than I wanted to. I go could on.....Dexter Gordon.....Duke Ellington Live at Newport....Frank Sinatra (I am actually more of a Tony Bennett fan but more of his most interesting stuff has been done in the digital era, unfortunately). Mozart.....Satch Plays Fats......

The Number White / Discussion of The Number White
« on: January 12, 2009, 11:11:01 PM »
Hey guys, I don't see where anyone has actually discussed the music on this tape or the sound quality. Everything else seems to be about ship dates. Anyway, this is my own first exposure to Jacqui Naylor, and I just finished listening to it for the first time. She is an impressive singer, and actually, it is a little hard to believe that one is listening to a single singer the first time through - she voices each song differently, and sometimes changes her voice mid song. There is lots to listen to and keep one interested.

The sound quality is interesting - it is not at first as impressive as Waltz for Debby, possibly because I already knew that recording, but it really grows on you, and is non fatiguing in the extreme.

I thought that this might be the tape I listen to the least - but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Prerecorded Tapes / Would a modern day Barclay-Crocker succeed?
« on: January 05, 2009, 04:39:42 PM »
I'm listening to the B-C release of the Schumann symphonies, led by Masur, as I write. I have roughly 25 B-C tapes, mostly acquired directly from B-C quite a few years ago, augmented by a few other sources over the years. In fact, most of my prerecorded tapes were purchased from B-C, starting when they were a distributor for others. The quality of the B-C releases is, by and large, simply higher than most of the other tapes I own, and none have been afflicted with sticky shed syndrome.

So The Tape Project has kicked off new interest in RTR tapes, but it is not for everyone (well, for that matter, neither is RTR). The tapes are high end, meaning expensive, and require for most the acquisition of a new deck. Furthermore, while I have no insight, I can't imagine the release schedule is going to support more than a few a year, and probably not of things like opera.

Does anyone think there would be interest in high quality 4 track 7.5 ips prerecorded tapes (with NAB equalization), which just about every owner of RTR decks can play? If so, would noise reduction be required? To me, the latter is problematic. My first deck, a Tandberg, had an on board Dolby circuit, but those are pretty rare, and I wasn't able to replace it when it died. I have owned two off board Dolby units, and have not gotten either to work. I would prefer to pay more for closer to real time replication, if that would help the noise issue, as that is a more universal solution, and I believe Dolby and other noise reduction products may be adding distortions to the sound as well.

OK, I am not taking anything away from The Tape fact, increased availability of other software is going to help The Tape Project. But I am just curious to hear from others.

Tape Project Albums - general / What is the drumroll date again?
« on: December 15, 2008, 06:22:38 PM »
That is, for the announcement of the contents of the next series......and shouldn't we charter members get that info IN ADVANCE - I promise to keep the info to myself........really, I promise.

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