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Messages - mikel

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Tape Project Albums - general / Re: What's shipping next?
« on: May 03, 2010, 10:07:41 PM »
TP-016 is packed and we are just awaiting final approval of the artwork, which I will probably have today or tomorrow. So it should begin shipping in the next day or two. There was some delay in getting this one out because we have been doing a "catch up run", making and shipping a very large number of albums from previous releases that have been ordered over the past several weeks. Nearly as many previously released albums have been put together and shipped in the past six weeks as we ship in a first run of a new album.


thanks Doc, great to hear. i'll be waiting anxiously.


Tape Project Albums - general / Re: What's shipping next?
« on: May 03, 2010, 02:55:42 PM »
any news about new titles shipping? i need to scratch my 'new tape' itch.

it's been over 2 months since the last one.


Prerecorded Tapes / Re: One Rare Miles Davis Tape?--sold for $821!!
« on: April 09, 2010, 01:42:40 PM »
it went for $821.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!

holy guacamole!!!

General Discussion / Re: Fer reel????
« on: March 23, 2010, 11:32:51 AM »
MikeL- I think you are confusing cartridge overhang with cartridge zenith.  Incorrect zenith can affect phase, and in the case of linear tracking arms, if zenith is off, it is off for the entire record and it will affect phase.  As I think you know, I own a linear tracking arm and I started the blog on Audiogon as to why I thought linear tracking arms are superior to pivoted arms.  I have since gone on a new direction that I am getting close to reporting on the results so far.


in a pivoted arm, the problem is that correct overhang results in the minimum average deviation. at every point other than two, this deviation will result in a small mis-alignment of the signal for left and right. phase deviation happens in degrees. a perfectly aligned cartridge in a pivoted arm will have minimal phase mis-alignment....but it will still have some.

phase is invoved in every difference from one channel to another; in whatever plane you choose. either the timing is perfectly in phase or it's not.

the cutter head is cutting a groove at one alignment, the pivoted arm is reading the groove at another (except 2 points). just because the cartridge is aligned in side to side (azimuth) and in rotation (zenith) it's still not aligned perfectly front to back.

yes; zenith and azimuth need to be correct to minimzie this deviation; but a pivoted arm cannot possibly eliminate it.

a linear tracker still needs to be properly aligned or as you say, it's wrong everywhere.

General Discussion / Re: Fer reel????
« on: March 23, 2010, 09:57:00 AM »
MikeL-Pivoted arms only have perfect geometry at the two null points.  But, how does that fact relate to phase?  With the tiny error that 10" and longer arms have across the record, you are saying that they are not in phase except for the two null points?  I have never heard that before and I have been to 3 county fairs and 2 goat breedings.  Do you really mean phase?


the stylus is either perfectly aligned to the groove or it's not. phase is simply the relationship of one sound in time to another. when the stylus is aligned perfectly then the phase can be absolutely spot on. when it's not in alignment there will be a degree of mis-alignment. a pivoted arm only has the potential for spot on alignment at two points.

our ears are extremely sensitive to tiny changes in phase, much more than tiny changes in gain. that's because phase determines where things are in space. close your eyes and you can easily track the direction of sounds....and how far away they might seem. how real they sound. it's why digital seems flat. correct phase gets thrown out with all the math. DSD/SACD does space better than PCM because there is much less math involved.

there is a reason that linear trackers do space better than pivoted arms. it's because of perfect (potentially) time alignment.

at RMAF Fremer did a workshop on cartridge setup. he discussed a computer program developed by Fiekert which allows for phase alignment while adjusting azimith. he showed us how getting phase as close as possible was more important than balancing channel output. it's the phase alignment that 'snaps in' when everything is right. i'll caution that Fremer did not connect the dots here, i did.

i have three tt's; one with a linear tracker and 2 with pivoted arms. it's easy to hear what i'm talking about.

can a pivoted arm sound great? sure. can it do phase very very well? sure. can it do it as good as a linear tracker? no.

General Discussion / Re: Fer reel????
« on: March 22, 2010, 05:56:29 PM »

Hi Mike!

No aspersions meant towards the SP10 :) Just the price! Then add in the Dobbin's mod and you're talking 25k.

none taken; i was just 'splaining why the high value.

actually; when you add the Dobbins Mods even to $9k (i paid a good amount less 2 years ago) the total would be less than $15k....IF... you could find an SP-10 Mk3. it is important to note that there is a large difference between the market value of a good Mk2 ($800--$2000) and a Mk3 ($7000++++).

But I heard the Dobbins at CES and was really struck (NPI) by the 'tables sound. Sure it sounds amazing in your system -- in fact better than the Rockport based on my memory of the Rockport table when I set it up and maintained it for a friend.

Funny thing is that I can't remember a time in recent audio history where there's been a greater supply of great sounding tables/arm/cartridge than nowadays!

in truth; the Rockport smokes it in musical nuance, low noise and ease of presentation. in fact; when i play my best RTR master dubs it really shows just how much closer the Rockport is to a master tape than any other source. i think a linear tracker gets phase correct in a recording as only master tape can. any pivoting tonearm will only have phase correct at two momentary positions on the record. and PCM digital never has phase correct as it's lost in the decimation process.

this Rockport you mantained for your friend; was it the Sirius III? there is a huge difference between the Sirius III and the other Rockports (i owned a Sirius II which listed for over $35k less than the Sirius III). btw, was your friend who owned the Rockport an artist living in Manhattan by any chance?

General Discussion / Re: Fer reel????
« on: March 21, 2010, 07:33:40 PM »

For instance, a Technics SP10 table going for 9k :(


yes, but at $9k the SP-10 Mk3 is better (subjectively, of course) than any other tt you can purchase for $9k. i've added a Steve Dobbins plinth to mine and removed the case. it is pretty damn awesome. the market place is not $9k because it's vintage; it's because it offers a direct drive system which cannot be touched anywhere near that other words it's $9k due to the value of it's performance. i dare say that a $100k Technics RS-1500 does not offer performance value at that price.


General Discussion / Re: Studer Site
« on: March 15, 2010, 03:15:36 PM »
I just can't start a new Ampex collection. ;-)


sure you can. all Ampex owners will be the better for it. my ATR-102 votes yes.


Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane / Re: shipment begins
« on: February 26, 2010, 11:52:15 AM »
Jay, if you would prefer I can edit that song from your copy before we ship it - that's one more advantage of tape over vinyl.


i listened to reel one last night twice, including the cut 'Lyresto' which has the 'dropouts'. to my ears on the Studer it's more like a slight 'warbleing' off and on for 10 seconds or so (i'm at work and that is what i remember from last night) and not a complete dropout. i would not presume to tell someone how to feel about it; but my perspective is that it's like a badge of authenticity on an historical document. the cut is wonderful in any case and the dropout did not cause me to lose touch with the musical flow, but i did, of course, notice it.

there are other favorite tracks i play all the time with things like that which are in the master tape; such as the dropout at the beginning of 'Stardust' on Ben Webster's 'Live at the Reinnasance'...or the dropout at the beginning 'Taste of Honey' on Patricia Barber's 'Cafe Blue'. neither of those have ever caused me hesitation to repeated listening to those cuts. i have 4 or 5 different digital and analog examples of both of those cuts....the dropouts are on each one.

i actually have a master dub of one of those two examples and the dropout is there too.

understand i'm not trying to make light of this issue.


Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane / 1st impressions of TP-015
« on: February 25, 2010, 10:52:33 PM »
this is a tasty jazz session however you look at it. i'm no Jazz historian, but it seems that this is Coltrane at his most accessable, and Kenny Burrell is a perfect compliment to him. simply beautiful flowing melody with great energy and yet relaxing and smooth. Burrell's guitar is pitch perfect with a a big beautiful tone throughout.

"Why Was I Born", a brief duet at the start on reel 2, is just magnificent. maybe perfect music. a perfect sip of scotch......only it's over too want it to go on and on.

this is one of those recordings that just flows and is over before you know it.

i have the redbook XRCD and the AP 45 rpm reissue  2 disc pressing; both of which i enjoy and have listened to quite a bit. this recording has such a big fat sound that it would likely sound pretty damn good on an i-pod. the XRCD is very nice, the 45 rpm is very, very good. i listened to that first tonight and thought, maybe it will be as good as the tape. the tape is quite a bit better. more vivid, much more microdynamic, it makes the Lp sound slightly veiled. listen to the Paul Chambers solo on 'Freight Trane'......compared to the tape Chambers bass sounds muffled on the 45. it's missing the growl that jumps off the tape.

great music, great recording, wonderful job on the tape guys, thanks.

Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane / Re: shipment begins
« on: February 25, 2010, 09:25:04 PM »
what a nice surprise, TP-015 was waiting for me tonight when i got home.

it will be spinning here in the next half hour or so......


General Discussion / Re: CES Report for R2R Enthusiasts :)
« on: February 09, 2010, 08:19:23 AM »
Paul and I listened a bit to the Dartzeels and the Evolutions at The Show. I thought it was the only room we listened to at The Show that really had a groove on. Most everything else we heard over there (not all the rooms) was "where's the bass?" On the contrary there was plenty of bass at the Venetian, in fact there were some bass wars going on between rooms at the V.


if you liked that sound, imagine it in my much bigger room with RTR as a source. Paul was here a few years ago; and frankly my room had been considerably overdamped. it also had a structural imbalance which caused a low frequency suckout on one side. in the last 30 days i've removed the very large front bass traps and used a specialized product to solidify and equalize my low frequency room boundaries. it's made a huge having a new room.

"where's the bass?"......right the hell here!!!

anyway i hope that this year you can visit my room for a listen when you find the time.

General Discussion / Re: CES Report for R2R Enthusiasts :)
« on: February 09, 2010, 08:06:58 AM »
  This replaced your Rockport, or is it just in for demo?


i've had three tt's for a few years. some visitors prefer the Steve Dobbins' plinth'd Garrard 301 to the Rockport. the Garrard has an added energy and pulse that is addictive.

it's fun having three tt's and great to always have references on hand when tweaking.

General Discussion / Re: CES Report for R2R Enthusiasts :)
« on: February 08, 2010, 09:27:50 PM »
Another great article Myles.
The picture of that Garrard 301 sure looked nice. I've seen a lot of them where the plinth design has absolutely no design similarities to the table itself and it always looks kinda wacky to me. It's one thing if you put it together yourself, but if you have to pay the "real" bucks to have someone else do it, there should be some aesthetic appeal. I'm pretty sure MikeL has one of those.

ya mean like this...

nice write-up Miles. btw, those same 'super-size' ($135k the pair) darTZeel monoblock NHB-458's are now (temporarily) in my room. they are the real deal and i would challenge any tube lover to not be persuaded by these beauties. they transcend categorizing. i listened to TP-011 thru these.......not to be missed!

Heart Like a Wheel / First Impressions "Heart Like A Wheel" TP-011
« on: January 26, 2010, 11:13:11 PM »
this is fun music. simple and honest. Linda Ronstadt is really in great voice. 1974 was a great year. i was 23 when this came out and it's the year i was married.

there is not a filler cut on this album, at least listening to the tape. it's fiinely crafted and recorded power pop.

as far as an Lp of 'Heart Like A Wheel', my only Lp of it is the recent Cisco reissue. i just listened to it all the way thru. it's a nice Lp and i'm a Linda Ronstadt fan. great voice, no; wonderful magical voice. the music has a nice warmth and flow. fairly dynamic. but it gets a bit congested here and there. there is a closed in feeling to the vocals. on the Lp you listen at a meduim volume level.

i'm not familiar with other pressings of this Lp so i cannot generalize; but considering this Lp you have not really heard this album until you hear this tape.

on the Tape Linda's voice is clear and strong, the various musical threads are much more clearly delineated. the bass is more distinct and articulate. you turn it up, and then turn it more up. it hangs together. you hear into that voice and it soars on many cuts.

i enjoyed the tape, and will be in frequent rotation here for awhile. it's a privilidge to have a master dub of an album like this. great job guys, i'm glad this tape did happen!

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