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Can someone fill me in on how Mara machines compare to Studer and all of the rest.

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  • Can someone fill me in on how Mara machines compare to Studer and all of the rest.

    I have been an audiophile for over 45 years and had many tape machines but have to admit that the Mara or MCI name has never been hear by my ears. The first time I heard that name was listening to the AXPONA tape seminar. It looks like a studio machine but is it in the Studer 820, A80 class or ATR class or full studio. How do they sound?

  • #2
    I remember MCI from the '70s- they had a huge studio market b/c they made consoles and multitrack recorders that were cost-effective. You could look on some of the gear boards for pro/mixing/studio guys, my sense is that they aren't in the league of Studer, which was costly, but the MCI stuff was readily available, had support in the States and worked. One of the first studios I spent time in had MCI gear in the early '70s.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
      I remember MCI from the '70s- they had a huge studio market b/c they made consoles and multitrack recorders that were cost-effective. You could look on some of the gear boards for pro/mixing/studio guys, my sense is that they aren't in the league of Studer, which was costly, but the MCI stuff was readily available, had support in the States and worked. One of the first studios I spent time in had MCI gear in the early '70s.
      Hopefully Charlie, Nick or Ki will chime in but from what I know, MCI machines are highly respected. IIRC correctly, they used Bogen heads (?) that many feel ranks among the best sounding heads out there. Like the other decks, MCIs are workhorses and Doug Sax used one. In fact, Chad obtained Doug's machine when he bought Sheffield Labs and was intended to use the MCI deck to run the master feeding ATR102 slave decks for his upcoming tape releases.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I did have two JH-110's and used one of them as a transport only for quite a few years. When operating correctly (mine were pretty old and had lots of use) they were FINE as a transport - all I could ask for. In fact I believe their constant tension system may be BETTER than the Studers; the Studers maintain constant tension between the two idlers on each side of the headblock, whereas the MCI's (through the use of tachometers connected directly to the shafts of the supply and takeup motors), attempt to maintain constant tension over the WHOLE tape path. They do use the Bogen PB (around 60mh) and Record heads (and Wolke erase - which JRF feels are the best erase heads ever made).

        Right from the beginning I used my own electronics and therefore can't comment on the sound of the "stock deck". Did have both the 1/4 and 1/2 headblock / idler wheels and changeover between tape widths couldn't be easier; or faster.

        Did talk with the gentleman from Mara Machines after the Axpona seminar and he indicated he was considering "upgrading" the electronics, but had no specifics at that time.

        Charles

        ####Wanted to add that the JH (and most of their other series machines) were conceived BEFORE the microprocessor era; all the capstan and tape handling circuitry has nary a "computer chip in sight"; nor signals "having to" move from the analog to digital world and back again - as in all subsequent designs. Nice work; from my perspective!###
        Last edited by stellavox; 07-26-2016, 07:41 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stellavox View Post
          Yes, I did have two JH-110's and used one of them as a transport only for quite a few years. When operating correctly (mine were pretty old and had lots of use) they were FINE as a transport - all I could ask for. In fact I believe their constant tension system may be BETTER than the Studers; the Studers maintain constant tension between the two idlers on each side of the headblock, whereas the MCI's (through the use of tachometers connected directly to the shafts of the supply and takeup motors), attempt to maintain constant tension over the WHOLE tape path. They do use the Bogen PB (around 60mh) and Record heads (and Wolke erase - which JRF feels are the best erase heads ever made).

          Right from the beginning I used my own electronics and therefore can't comment on the sound of the "stock deck". Did have both the 1/4 and 1/2 headblock / idler wheels and changeover between tape widths couldn't be easier or faster.

          Did talk with the gentleman from Mara Machines after the Axpona seminar and he indicated he was considering "upgrading" the electronics, but had no specifics at that time.

          Charles
          Yes, Chris mentioned that he was coming out with an "audiophile" version of the MCI deck this fall.

          Are there a lot of MCI machines floating around?
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
          -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            These machines look interesting. They seem to have some "A" class customers. They also run a clinic every year on machine maintenance.

            Comment


            • #7
              There are a LOT of the JH-110's (1/4 and 1/2 inch) out there. There were A / B / C versions during their long production run. However, like the Studers, they should be "fully checked out" (especially the electronics which is the service Mara Machines offers

              C

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Asamel View Post
                These machines look interesting. They seem to have some "A" class customers. They also run a clinic every year on machine maintenance.
                Yes and as part of the machine's warranty, you get skype service.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chris Mara asked me to post this note!


                  MCI was a top manufacturer of tape machines and recording consoles throughout the 70s and 80s, being involved in over 60% of the Billboard top 100 hits throughout the 1980s. (According to the website www.mcirecording.com )

                  The sound is often described as more of a ‘sonic imprint’ than the Studer decks- the Swiss pride themselves on being neutral. I have clients that have both MCI and ATR machines, they report that the sound is very similar and it really “depends on the day” regarding which machine they use.

                  We are launching Mara Machines into the HiFi market with an MCI JH110 in a smaller cabinet more suited for home use. You can see photos here:

                  http://www.maramachines.com/Machines...2_2_Track.html
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment

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