Can you believe it? Tape Project is ten years old! Thanks to everyone who has supported us in introducing studio quality tape reproduction to the audiophile community!

Author Topic: Machine Description and Availability on TP Website  (Read 6385 times)

Offline astrotoy

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
    • View Profile
Machine Description and Availability on TP Website
« on: February 10, 2009, 11:41:49 AM »
I recently took a look at the "Machine" area of the TP Website. I decided to look at it from the perspective of a person who has heard about the TP and is interested in joining, but does not have a lot of experience with R2R. I also looked at this section of the Forum, since the person could well look here for help. What I see generally is that in order to participate, the person typically has to find the proper used machine and make sure that it works or get it fixed. The person could then ship the machine to Bottlehead to get it modified appropriately. It takes some digging (not mentioned in the "Machine" area of the website) to figure out that an Otari 5050 is the only? machine one can buy new that will play TP tapes without modification, unless one goes to the super professional machines, which I am not sure can be purchased new.  What I would recommend is that the TP website clearly distinguish between new and used machines that out of the box can play TP tapes, and then do what Doc has done with the Technics 1500's - telling them how Bottlehead can modify their machines (and Otari as that capability comes on line). Approximate street prices and recommended dealers/sources might be mentioned for both new and used machines.

Here is the issue that I see. All of us would benefit from a some reasonable critical mass of people who have the proper equipment to play the TP tapes. The world is divided into two major groups of hifi R2R enthusiasts. The group that most of the TP Forum members belong to have some or a lot of mechanical abilities to repair and keep their machines running. They typically have more skill than money. The second group are made of people who can afford to buy really good stuff and want to hear the best (R2R!!). They generally have more money than mechanical skill and the idea of finding a used Technics or Otari or Ampex or Studer... is daunting. They would much rather plunk down the money and get a machine that works. I think there are quite a few of the latter - they now spend upwards of $5-10K or more on turntables, SACD players, preamps, speakers, even cables and interconnects. They don't mind going to the used market - but R2R machines are much more challenging (and typically much older and beaten up) than a used SACD player, or even a used turntable. It would be like buying a used phono cartrige which needs a new stylus or retipping and trying to find a local person to do the work - or shipping it out to someone and the stylu weighs 60 lbs and can be easily damaged in shipping. 

I was in the latter category - though with a long history in consumer (4 track prerecorded) R2R. I may not have gotten into the TP if Doc did not offer a completely overhauled and modified Bottlehead Technics machine for sale at the time of my joining. I wouild have been terrified at the prospect of trying to find my own used 1500 machine and then sending it up to Doc to modify. Also I wanted to be able to have one person or company responsible for my machine.

Right now, it is a chicken and egg question. With a critical mass of TP compatible machines we sustain the TP and encourage others to enter the field. There is no real economy of scale in the production of R2R, either machine or tape. But this is about as close to audio nirvana that any of us will hear - especially with so much available archival material from the golden ages of classical, jazz, pop and rock.

Larry Toy CharterMember-BHReproTechnics1506/Akai747dbx/OtariMX5050B3-ClassicalVinylFreak-15Krecs-VPIHRXRimDrv-LyraSkala-HelikonMono-HerronVTSP3A/BHPhonoPre-PacificMicrosonics Model2 - Pyramix&MykerinosCard-OppoNE-Proceed AVP2+6/CVP2-CJ MET1-Cary 2A3SE-AvantgardeDuos-3Solos-VelodyneDD18Sub

Offline Ben

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 304
  • Bring on the music
    • View Profile
Re: Machine Description and Availability on TP Website
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 12:53:01 PM »
I fall in the third group - penny pinching newbie with little recorded music.
For me finding the music is more important than the machine, upgrades can come
later. I picked tape over LP's because you have the $99 cheap turntables
and $1.00 flee market records now days. Even if I got a real turntable & pre-amp
I have no records. Then I have to deal with scratches on the records. I find the problems with tape could have been solved years ago if they wanted too
rather than trying to cut corners too much.

I even can't buy used tapes now since e-bay is pay-pal only.
It is sad to see the quality of recorded music go down, with every digital format change.

PS. Keep doc busy and buy his Otari rubber spacers. I have the Otari hub lockdowns
and find the spacers work well with the 7" plastic reels, if placed on the outside between the reel and the lockdown, just to keep stop any squeeking made if the lockdown loosens a bit.
Set 45,Open baffle speakers,Otari 5050,,Pioneer DV-79AVi DVD/CD/SCAD player