TP-028, Nat Adderley's Work Song is now available

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Messages - kipdent

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Brilliant Corners / Re: Brilliant Corners is a gem!
« on: February 03, 2010, 09:36:01 AM »
I first heard the title track on a radio broadcast from Radio Bruxelles. I was 15 at the time and it stunned me.
Playing TP-013 and I am stunned again.
I'll say nothing about the sonics but just observe that I am experiencing very powerful emotions.
My G-d, the outlay is worth it!
15 again...


I completely concur! This tape is a stunning rendering of this performance.

General Discussion / The Tape Project at CES
« on: January 10, 2010, 05:17:40 PM »
Hello everyone--

I've just returned from the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. It was a very fun show with a plethora of high-end audio delights on tap. However, as objectively as I can say this, the BEST sound at the show was ALWAYS coming from Tape Project tapes! Even better, several suites were demonstrating them to great effect. I love the trend!

Sadly I didn't run into any other Forum members, though I know some were there, like MikeL. I did run into both DocB and Paul Stubblebine, though, and was able to thank them again personally for enabling us all to enjoy such wonderful sounding music. One of the most amazing experiences was listening to a 1/2-inch TP tape in the Magico loudspeaker suite. I'm sore afraid of this as a potential "upgrade" to our beloved format--I can't go there! Make it stop!  :-)  Nonetheless, the continued bliss of this format has made me decide to even buy a single tape from Series One (Waltz for Debbie).

I wrote a little review of my experiences over on the Apogee Speaker Forum where I'm a member. In that post there is a link to some pictures I took, too. Enjoy!


Prerecorded Tapes / Belafonte at Carnegie Hall
« on: January 05, 2010, 04:21:02 PM »
My newly acquired Studer A80 RC MK II is bringing more smiles today--I'm playing the RCA Victor Belafonte At Carnegie Hall I scored in anticipation of getting my machine. Of course, my copy, FTO-6000, is a quarter-track version, so I had to transfer it to my 2-track A80 via a ReVox deck a friend owns. As a result, I was not expecting much.

Holy cow! Even this transfer has the sonic hallmarks of tape that I'm already addicted to: frightening dynamics, beautiful timbre, amazing resolution and most of all, SPACE! I have never attended a concert in Carnegie Hall so I can't place what row it feels I'm sitting in (as many reviewers do), but it is astonishingly real. The clapping from the audience is also staggeringly realistic. Finally, the amount of tape hiss I thought might be present by transferring the tape is quite unobjectionable and barely noticeable. I'm starting to wonder why I continue to invest in expensive 45 RPM vinyl releases!

This tape is far from the sonics of my Thelonius Monk Tape Project tape, but boy is this fun!


General Discussion / Re: The Joy of the Tape Project
« on: January 01, 2010, 10:29:06 PM »
Wow!  that's one purdy tape machine ya got ther!  No goin back now your ruined for life!  ;-)

So Kip did you ever get your desired hybrid eq worked out?  -> NAB @ 7 1/2 ips and CCIR/IEC @ 15 ips

CDW--yes! John French at JRF Magnetics modified the EQ daughter cards on the record and repro cards in the A80 so that when it is set to 7 1/2 ips, the EQ is NAB; when set to 15 ips, the EQ is CCIR/IEC! This is a dream come true as this allows me to seamlessly go between Tape Project playback and prerecorded tape playback with no switches or thinking--just what I need!

General Discussion / Re: The Joy of the Tape Project
« on: January 01, 2010, 08:15:47 PM »
Wow, that's just plain gorgeous Kip! Those are some fantastic pictures too.

On a more personal note;
That flight case looks first class! How much padding surrounds the machine? That looks like something that the gorillas at the airport would have a tough time destroying.

Thanks, Steve! Coming from you, your comments mean a lot.

The flight case was pretty impressive. The gentleman I purchased the A80 from has a contact for the guy that makes them and I'l try to get that info for everyone. I'd say there was probably 2 inches of high density foam around the periphery and top of the machine, and probably a foot of foam underneath the machine! This was because originally the cart and meter bridge were planned to be included, but they would not fit and had to be shipped separately, so there was plenty of room for the tape machine.

Take care--

General Discussion / The Joy of the Tape Project
« on: January 01, 2010, 07:11:41 PM »
A very Happy New Year to everyone! 2010 stands to be a wonderful year for tape enthusiasts.

As a relatively new Forum member and recent selective subscriber to series 2, my level of excitement is almost unrestrained. The Thelonius Monk "Brilliant Corners" tape, the first one I've received, is by far the best sounding music I have ever heard on my system, and I can't thank Dan, Paul and Romo enough for enabling people to experience near-Master tape sound in their own homes. It is transformative! As a result, I wanted to share a little more about my journey into the Tape Project and the tape machine I acquired and had refurbished.

First I want to say that Steve Koto (ironbut) and Ki Choi have been amazingly patient and helpful throughout this journey--thank you both very much. There have been several other Forum members who have helped me, too, making this one of the most entertaining, educational, and helpful audio resources on the Internet. Dan--kudos to you for helping it stay civil and instructive. And thanks to all the people I met at Dan and Eileen's home this past September. It is the event that "made" the decision for me to pursue tape, and everyone there was very helpful. Now on to the story...

I know this is preaching to the choir (and I've posted this on another audio forum, too), but I have always been an unabashed fan of analog music reproduction, and have been known to get a little irascible towards those who either find digital good enough or even preferable to analog. Like many here, I suspect, the "best" analog reproduction meant vinyl phonographs. In my case, vinyl is played from a Micro Seiki RX-5000 turntable (coupled, of course, to other equipment I enjoy), and enters my listening space through a pair of personally-restored Apogee Acoustics Scintilla all-ribbon speakers. But then the event at Dan Schmalle's home happened, and my notions of what really good analog sounded like changed forever. As I said, when I left that day, I was certain I would become a subscriber to the Tape Project, and almost immediately I began my search for an appropriate tape machine.

After many weeks of detailed research, I finally chose a Studer A80 RC Mk II tape machine (though I can hear BrianC moan!). The man I purchased it from had recently acquired an Ampex ATR-102 and decided to part with the Studer, but before shipping it to me, he brought it to John French of JRF Magnetics in New Jersey. I'm sure many of you know John, and he was a joy to work with to refurbish the machine. He performed a number of restorative procedures for it, including relapping the heads, as well as replacing every capacitor in the audio chain, power supply and transport electronics with modern equivalents. Additionally, I had some esthetic items replaced with brand-new parts from Audiohouse in Switzerland. These included new transport control buttons and a cover for the LED tape counter. The results are a machine that looks quite new, as you'll see in my link below. Though the restoration process and anticipation of its arrival was fun, its playback performance is at the core of my excitement and, therefore, I can heartily endorse the A80 RC Mk II as a TP playback machine as well as John French's outstanding handiwork.

In December it all came together. "Brilliant Corners" arrived just two days before the machine did. After checking everything out, I set up the machine in my listening environment and loaded the album. I also spontaneously invited a few friends over to share in this first listening experience with the A80.

O M G?

I believe there are few things in life that truly stagger one's perceptions, especially ones closely tied to preconceptions like reproduced music. The music that flowed into the room from this tape had a "liveness" to it that was unprecedented in my experience, or to any of my friends who had joined me. As MikeL has said here and in other forums, really good 45 RPM vinyl pressings seem often hard to beat. But with TP 013 on the A80, never have I felt such a reaction to reproduced music--it was completely akin to a live concert, or sitting in a control room in a studio (which I have been able to do twice in my life). Rather than quickly exchanging adjectives about the sound with my friends (a pastime we're all familiar with), we all sat motionless and speechless. Finally, one of my friends extended his hand out to me to shake--implicitly signaling a hearty "congratulations" on what we were all hearing, without having to say a word. As the evening progressed, some attempts were made to describe this aural elation, including "amazing timbre," "transparency" and most frequently, references to a "spatial AMBIENCE" that was many times greater than anything we'd ever heard before, but words still fall short.

This complete transformation in what can be expected from a sound reproduction system is almost overwhelming to me. I had no idea that changing only the SOURCE could make such a difference--an order of magnitude difference. No amplifier, no preamplifier, no cable, not even a speaker change has EVER hit me like this change. And contrary to another intuition (or edict, depending on who you are), that a simplified signal chain must be the path to the holy grail, tape machines are not very simple devices--and few are tube-based. So something else is clearly happening. When I play a tape on the A80, I am fully transported into the musical experience before me. It's almost a foreign feeling since it is happening in a living room, but it's not entirely foreign since many of us experientially know what live, unamplified music can sound like.

I'm really quite surprised that this discovery--shared by many others around the world and especially on this Forum--has not not been yelled about from the mountaintops more frequently! It's not just an incremental improvement in sound, it is a monumental, awe-inspiring improvement!

Here is a link to a website that shows several pictures of the Studer A80 C Mk II machine I acquired. During my research, I was frustrated with the lack of images that showed how the machine was laid out, or how the tape shield worked, or how tape was loaded into the path, so I made an effort to be as revealing as possible with these images. I hope you enjoy perusing them. And I now get to include a tape machine as part of my signature line!

Happy New Year to all--

Kip Peterson

Images (clicking on thumbnails will enlarge the images):

Studer A80 RC Mk II

Apogee Acoustics Scintilla restoration

Micro Seiki RX-5000

Suggestion Box / Re: Suggestion for Series 3
« on: December 23, 2009, 10:29:12 PM »
\...or maybe Donald Fegan and Walter Becker of Steely Dan could be convinced to offer one of their gems.....maybe worth a try.

I so agree Mike! I've been joyfully immersing myself in Brilliant Corners since it arrived, and in my sleep it occurred to me a Tape Project release of Gaucho (my favorite--the Larry Carlton guitar solo on "Third World man" will live forever) or Aja would just simply be a sonic home run.

Doc and company--what do you think? Might we dream?


Brilliant Corners / Re: Brilliant Corners ready to launch
« on: November 05, 2009, 06:04:50 PM »
This is so exiting--and it will be my first Tape Project issue as a new subscriber!

Thanks Doc, this is more fun than ice cream and birthdays. I can't wait--


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: New Deck or Upgrade
« on: October 29, 2009, 10:53:07 AM »

I have the schematics but am not too techy; however, I'm sure Ki can chime in later. In any event, I believe at least the A80 is a bit different and has no cascaded ICs. It is regarded as one of the nicer sounding Studers and there are many well-known albums that were mastered on one. Anyone else know more about this?

General Discussion / 10 plastic reels on eBay
« on: October 25, 2009, 05:07:34 PM »
For those interested, I stumbled on this today:


Suggestion Box / Re: More on Mahler 1
« on: October 23, 2009, 08:59:35 PM »
Fair enough, Tom--and I understand the reasons for the choice of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 for the Tape Project format. Thanks for not coming down too hard on me!  :-)

Scene 3 of Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet is achingly beautiful, I agree; however, beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder and the chord resolution at the end Mahler's Adagietto is to me (and maybe just me) the single most beautiful, gut-wrenching musical transition ever composed. And this from someone who is more of a fan of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods! In any event, such discussions are quite fun, so thank you for starting this one.


Suggestion Box / Re: More on Mahler 1
« on: October 23, 2009, 06:34:23 PM »
I may be vilified for saying this, but isn't the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 5, the Adagietto, the single most beautiful piece of classical music ever written?  :-)  So, if it's to be a Mahler, No. 5 would (perhaps unfortunately) would be my vote.


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: NAB hub adapter question
« on: October 23, 2009, 09:55:38 AM »
Get ready to laugh out loud in astonishment! Since the pictures I referenced above of the Studer NAB hubs show the original part number, I wrote Audiohouse in Switzerland to inquire if they had them in stock and if so, what would be their cost. Here you go:

1,030.00 CHF (that's $1,000 USD) for EACH hub, not a pair!

I'm guessing there must be nearly an ounce of gold in each one somewhere.  ;-)  Anyway, I guess $800 for the pair on ebay is a bargain!


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: NAB hub adapter question
« on: October 22, 2009, 05:10:56 PM »
Out of my price league, but if anyone wants to see (and save) good pictures of the original all-metal Studer NAB hubs, here's your chance:



Reel to Reel Tape Machines / NAB hub adapter question
« on: October 20, 2009, 09:34:33 PM »
As Ki knows from private conversations, I've wrestled with whether I should invest in sexy-looking metal aluminum NAB hubs when I finally get my R2R machine. Well, after flipping back and forth, I've decided to go for them, as silly and useless as they are. However, I have a question for the group:

There seem to be a vast spread in the cost of these things, with Darklab hubs costing up to $250 EACH all the way down to the "ebay" variety of about $125 a PAIR. Does anyone have experience with these different types of adapters or can anyone comment on whether the lower-priced variety are too good to be true, or do they work fine? Also, I've read here that some people have had issues with tape scraping their reels with some adapters, and "wobbly" reels with some adapters. Any recommendations on what to buy?



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