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Reel-to-Reel fun - Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?

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  • Reel-to-Reel fun - Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?

    Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?

    If so, in your opinion:

    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?

    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?

    - Which one you own handles tape best?

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?

    Dre
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day to play analog.
    - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
    - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day for live music.
    **************************************************

  • #2
    I have two, both Ampex ATR-102's. One I use to play and the other to record (dub tapes). Both have 1/4" and 1/2" head blocks. The play machine is normally set to bypass the playback electronics of the Ampex and go through my Doshi 3.0. Both are identical looking, pretty industrial. My Akai GX747-dbx (not a 15ip 2 track) is much cooler looking.

    The play machine was worked on by the great Soren Wittrup and has a replacement fan, so is almost dead quiet on playback. The record machine is an ATR Services refurbished by the late, great Mike Spitz (sold to a recording studio where I bought it from years after they bought it from ATR Services).

    My playback machine can play all four speeds (30,15,7.5, and 3.75ips), although I don't play any superslow tapes on it. I have been playing a bunch of 30ips tapes I have on loan from a former Ampex engineer. First time I have ever played 30ips 1/2" tapes, including several masters he did for Ampex back in the late '70's. Quite an experience. The Doshi has settings for IEC, NAB and the 30ips standard AES EQ.

    The Doshi is a significant step up from the quite good stock Ampex electronics.

    The two Ampexes replaced a Bottlehead Technics 1506 with Bottlehead tape prepro (play only) and an Otari MX5050B3. Both were fine prosumer machines, not at the level of the 102s. However, the Technics 1500's are about the coolest looking R2R machines out there. Both Technucs and Otari machines take up a lot less real estate than the 102s.

    Larry
    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0 BottleheadPhonoPre,Herron VTPH-2A
    Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
    Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
    Electronics-Herron 360Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
    Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
    Other-512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, ArtKelmGround1, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
    Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for contributing, Larry. I think I pulled most of the answers from your reply.

  • #3
    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?

    1.Studer A810
    2.MCI 110


    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?

    Most.Ampex 440C
    Least. Telefunken M5

    - Which one you own handles tape best?

    Studer A80

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?

    Replay

    1.Mark Levinson ML5
    2. Studer B62
    3. Studer A80R
    4.MCI JH 110
    5. Studer. B 67 Mk2
    6. Ampex 440C
    7. Studer A810
    8. Studer A 67/ Bottlehead Eros
    9. Revox G36
    10. Revox B77 MkII
    11. Revox PR99
    12.Revox A77

    Recording:

    Studer A810

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks JDZA. Nice selection of machines.

  • #4
    Originally posted by Dre_J View Post
    Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?
    Yes:

    3 - RS-1500s
    1 - Studer A810
    1 - Studer A812
    3 - Tascam BR-20s
    1 - Revox PR-99 MKII
    1 - Otari MX-5050 MKII


    If so, in your opinion:

    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?
    Tascam BR-20s


    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?
    Studer A812 (because it is in a cart).

    - Which one you own handles tape best?
    Technics RS-1500

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?
    The ones wired out to my Doshi tape pre. On its own I would say the Studer A810.

    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio V3 Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS; Durand Telos and SME 3012R Tonearms, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Zero, Benz Micro LPS; Reel to Reel: Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810; Studer A812; Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks David. Nice selection of machines.

      Which of your decks are wired out for external repro?

    • dminches
      dminches commented
      Editing a comment
      The RS-1500s and the Studer A810.

    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks.

  • #5
    Originally posted by Dre_J View Post
    Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?
    FUN! Yeah...let’s see...

    Studer A807
    Studer A810
    Revox B77 Mk II
    Technics RS-1700
    Tascam BR-20 (2)

    If so, in your opinion:

    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?
    My favorite to use is the A807 (but that’s a combination of everything)

    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?
    Also the A807

    - Which one you own handles tape best?
    That would actually be the BR-20, I have to say.

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?
    Thats a toss up between the A807 and the A810. They’re very close - the 807 maybe gets just a slight nod.

    TAPE: Studer A807, A810; Revox B77 MkII; Tascam BR-20; Technics RS-1700; Pioneer RT-707, RT-909
    VINYL: Pioneer PL-50LII/Benz LP-S MR/ModWright PH 9.0; Denon DP59-L/Dynavector 20xH
    DIGITAL: Bryston SP-3, MacMini > Oppo Sonica/Pioneer N-50
    SPEAKERS: B&W Nautilus 800, Pioneer DSS-9
    AMPS: Cary SLP-05/Sunfire Signature 600, Pioneer SX-1980

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Rob. Nice selection of machines.
      Your A-807 seems to be the one.

    • Skylab
      Skylab commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, and you’re right on - if I could keep only one, the 807 would be the one 😁

    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Makes sense. I think my keep only one deck selection (under current conditions) would shock many. I'll post my thoughts on my decks later.

  • #6
    Originally posted by Dre_J View Post
    Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?
    'had'

    1-pristene stock Technics RS-1500
    1-Technics RS1700 modified by dPv (Tim Paravicini)
    1-Nagra IV-S
    1-Nagra T
    1-Amplex 351 2-case portable.
    1-Ampex ATR-102

    all capable of 15ips.

    'have'

    3-Studer A-820's

    If so, in your opinion:

    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?
    the 3 Studer A-820's.

    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?
    tossup between the Nagra IV-S, Nagra T, and Ampex 351 2 case portable. depends on the mood.

    if you asked me which looks the most elegant it would be the Studer's.

    if you asked me which looks most awesome with the top covers off, the Studer's would win and scare the others away. nothing like it in the audio world.

    - Which one you own handles tape best?
    game, set, match to the Studer A-820

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?
    Studer A-820 with trafoless output card sounds best in my particular system. of course that is with 1/2 tape. I prefer the King Cello output to the stock output.

    you have seen pics of my 3 Studer's. here are some other pics of those now gone.


    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Mike. Regarding the King Cello, I was specifically referring to the two different Studer A-820 decks you have wired for the King Cello and use it with. I wasn't thinking about the other decks since I never saw them wired for the K/C when there.

      I was asking if you recalibrate it when (or each time) you switch to your other Studer?

    • Mike Lavigne
      Mike Lavigne commented
      Editing a comment
      i would have to difer to Ki on that issue as it's been a long time (2010) since i acquired the 1/2" A-820 and had Ki install the head switch. my memory tells me that Ki felt that the 1/4" and 1/2" heads (both stock Studer heads with low hours) were essentially the same and equally compatible with the King Cello. i sure love how it sounds with both decks. i play both with the stock output too and never have noticed any obvious non linearity going on.

      my third Studer A-820 i use only for dubbing, and it has both 1/4" heads, guides and reel hubs and 1/2" heads, guides and reel hubs. but no head
      switch on that deck.

      btw; the King Cello has no obvious way to be calibrated by me. maybe there are some sort of adjustments inside. i know Charlie King does offer an upgrade that allows some sort of calibration.

    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks again, Mike.

      Based on your response, it looks like your answer is no, you don't recalibrate the repro when switching Studers/heads. This is followed with possible reasons why it is so. I think I understand what you've said. If it isn't correct, please let me know.

  • #7
    If "had" could also mean "lived with, worked with, responsible for maintenance", as well as "owned", then I have a list:

    All 15-IPS capable:
    Magnecord PT-6
    Magnecord P63
    Crown 700
    Scully 280 SP14
    Scully 280B
    Scully 280B 4 track
    Scully 280B full track
    Studer A80 VU (butterfly)
    Studer A80 RC (butterfly)
    Studer B67 (butterfly)
    Studer PR99
    Studer A810
    Revox B77
    Nagra IV-S w/ QGB and Future Film Dolby A unit (butterfly)
    MCI JH110
    Ampex AG-440
    Ampex ATR102
    Ampex ATR 700
    Otari MX5050 B
    Otari MTR-10
    Sony TC-756

    Favorite to operate:
    Studer A80 RC and VU (especially for editing)
    Studer A810
    Least favorite to operate:
    Magnecord PT-6
    Nagra IV-S
    Crown 700

    Looks the "coolest":
    Crown 700
    Studer A80 VU
    Studer A80 RC

    Handles tape the best:
    Studer A80
    Studer A810
    Just throwing in: handles tape the Worst:
    Crown 700 (you want a birdsnest in 100ms? )
    Magnecord PT-6 (forgivable, it was a pioneer)

    runners up:
    Studer B67
    Ampex ATR102

    Sounds the best (including full record-play, not just play only):
    Tie (sort of): Studer B67, Studer A80 RC, Studer A810, Ampex ATR-102
    Runners up: Sony TC-756, Nagra IV-S, Otari MTR-10
    I'd add a Crown 700 if you could get one to run on-speed

    Which would I still own today if I had space and money:
    Studer A80 (RC or VU)
    Studer B67
    Nagra IV-S w/ QGB
    Crown 800 (looks even better than the 700, but I've never had hands-on)
    Magnecord P63 (just to look at)
    Sony TC-756 (or 755)
    Otari 5050 B III (as a daily driver)

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for contributing, Tech7738. That's a nice list of machines.

      - Based on your extended qualifier for "had", can I take it you are involved with industry in some way? If so, you willing to give use an "elevator speech", due to this being a comment section, of who you are and/or what you do? (that request is only if you are not shy about your current/former affiliation and identity, otherwise continued anonymity is ok)

      -Of the decks you have mentioned, are you currently in possession of any at this time? I can infer based on the last section of the post but I'd prefer to be correct rather than make an assumption.

    • Tech7738
      Tech7738 commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, the "tape-centric" version is: I am an audio professional, 50 year career in broadcast, recording, film, theater design (home and pro), studio design (radio and recording), custom equipment design, broadcast and transmission systems, etc.... One company I worked for had about a dozen A80s, a dozen or so B67s, a few PR99s, a pair of Nagra IV-S, and an in-house designed real-time duplicator system using 30 Revox B77s used for broadcast syndication. Yeah, tape everywhere I looked. I calibrated them all, some many times. That's where my love of the A80 came from.

      Man I hate doing this, it's like I'm horn-blowing. Not at all, just lived a long time. Some guys collect cars, other collect chain saws. Same disease, different rash.

      The decks I have in hand change periodically. I've been scaling down, divesting a lot of the collection to make room, so nothing impressive at the moment, and I'm not using tape regularly at present. I have a little "thing" for VU meters, so that collection is still growing. Not sure why.

      I have a Revox A700 in the cue for rehab (if I ever get time), and several consumer decks not worth mentioning, perhaps the RT707 people seem to like. I have plans to acquire one or more of the "wish I own" list, but that will depend on the source and condition. I missed a chance for several A80s being divested from a former employer in the mid 1990s. They got dumped for $1K apiece. Woulda if I coulda.

      In the last few years I've had several Crowns, an Ampex, several Scullys and even a cute little Teac from the late 1960s. Sold them all.

      You can't have everything. Where would you put it? Don't know, but I still have feelers out, and would acquire anything that's decent if the opportunity arose.

  • #8
    deleted
    Last edited by chrisfromri; 06-24-2019, 12:58 PM.

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Chris, thanks for posting.

      Can you share answers to the questions in the original post that serve as the reason for this thread?

  • #9
    deleted
    Last edited by chrisfromri; 06-24-2019, 12:58 PM.

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks

  • #10
    Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?
    Yes, a Stellavox, and a few studio master recorders (Otari MTR, Studer)

    If so, in your opinion:

    - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?

    The Otari MTR-10 with CB-109

    - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?
    Stellavox Sp7 with ABR followed by the Studer A820 and A80 VU MKII

    - Which one you own handles tape best?
    Gentlest on tape is the Stellavox Sp7; It has very light tensioning. This means I would need to move the tape to one of my other decks to wind it for packing and storage.
    Overall tape handling would be the A820 followed by the other studio master recorders.
    IMO, All of the studio master recorders handle and pack tape very well (MTR-10, A820, and A80).

    - Which one you own sounds best to you?
    At this time, the Otari MTR-10 with 'Flux' repro head and choice of solid-state output stage (or custom tube output stage that bypasses the final solid-state output stage) still sounds preferable to this listener.
    Next would be the A820 followed by the the A80 VU MKII and Stellavox

    Dre
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day to play analog.
    - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
    - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day for live music.
    **************************************************

    Comment


    • #11
      Yes, I started with (what had to be) one of the few single-motor/mechanical transport consumer machines ever made to have had 15: an early '70s Panasonic RS 736, when my father passed it down to me in the '80s (he'd bought it in 1972 for $249). It, surprisingly, had dedicated 15 EQ as well as a built-in magnetic cartridge phono preamp.

      The only 15-capable deck I have at the moment is: an Akai 365. No dedicated EQ for 15, though, and it can't be readjusted manually (without getting into rethinking the entire speed-selector board; by changing resistors around and converting the 3 3/4 position to 7 1/2 NAB and the 1 7/8 position to 3 3/4 NAB). 7 1/2 EQ at 15 results in the treble sounding pinched a bit, but the awkward bass bump phenomenon still happens.

      Now, on my Dokorder 1120: I can convert it into 15 and 7 1/2 (instead of the stock 7 1/2 and 3 3/4) because I have a spare, identical motor with a larger bearing on it from an 1122 model (which came standard with 15, 7 1/2 in addition to having a two-track headstack). The EQ can be adjusted, accordingly, on this unit -no matter how much people mock Dokorder...it was certainly a more "pro" feature to allow for than Akai ever included!- through internal pots.

      Most of my collecting focuses on pre-recorded consumer reels anyway; so (personally) the tradeoff of not having 15 doesn't mean much (if the software is all 7" and I'm more than satisfied with the results of vintage BASF and Maxell stock at 7 1/2). Dubbing inferior formats to a fast running reel isn't going to improve the limitations the source is plagued with in the first place (doesn't get rid of: the "gurgling" artifact of a sub-320 mp3; doesn't make a badly compressed cd sound "more analog"; doesn't make a transfer from a cassette any less hissy; and: it doesn't mask the hollow/phasey feel of a record's lower frequencies sound closer to a tape).

      Comment


      • #12
        [QUOTE=Dre_J;n115763]Do you have (or have had) multiple 15ips capable tape decks?

        Currently I have:
        1 Otari MX 5050 B II-2
        1 Tascam BR 20 T
        1Otari MTR 10 II-C
        1 Studer A 810

        If so, in your opinion:

        - Which one you own is your favorite to operate?

        Either the Otari MTR 10 or Tascam BR 20.

        - Which one you own looks the 'coolest' to you?

        I think they all look cool but, the Studer A 810 and Otari MTR 10 look the coolest.

        - Which one you own handles tape best?

        The Otari MTR 10 Studer A 810 Tascam BR 20 all are pretty close.

        - Which one you own sounds best to you?

        Well the jury is still out on this, all are stock except the Otari MX 5050 BII, it has a Flux Magnetics repro head and is wired for direct out. Which has brought up the level of sound quality. The Studer A 810 is practically brand new Soren has completely gone through it so it may still need some play time to fully break in the caps and other new electronics he installed. I really need to spend more time with the more recent acquisitions to determine which sounds the best...

        Jc

        Comment

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