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  • Telefunken vs. Studer Decks

    Thought this question got buried in another thread.
    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.

  • #2
    I am a greenhorn as regards (high quality) tape decks and although somewhat off topic may I ask the 'tape experts' the following: I found an AEG(Telefunken made) Magnetophon 15A tape deck in splendid condition. Is this a high quality tape deck that can compete with top Studer machines and is this machine worth acquiring?

    Comment


    • #3
      Haven't played with the Telefunken deck but it is certainly well respected. All of the Opus 3 analog recordings were made with this deck if that means anything. I think with any of these old decks, the question is always service and parts availability.
      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
        Thanks Myles. There (still) are a few experts in Germany that have all spare parts for the AEG/Telefunken M15A tape decks available.

        Mine was being used by the WDR (West German Rundfunk (radio/tv studio)), built in 1989 (one of the last ones) with very low hours.

        Apparently some claim that the Telefunken machines sound somewhat 'warmer' than the Studers. That said the sound of all these decks can be 'tuned' of course.

        Furthermore the German expert claims that the AEG/Telefunken M15A (but not the M20 models) are more reliable than the various Studer tape decks. The built is quite solid and the AEG/Telefunken is quite heavy.

        Am I right with my impression that the Studer machines are more common in the USA than AEG/Telefunken tape decks?

        Comment


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          As far as I know. I know many people with Studers. I think I can count the number of people with Telefunkens on one hand.

      • #5
        I can't tell a lie - I have two M15As that came over on FedEx International Express delivery from Germany few years back. As for reliability, I would put M15A into the A80 catagory based on my experience.

        My M15As were also used by WDR and both are in oxide-out head configuration.

        Most M15As from Germany comes with AEG adapters and would need to be replaced with three prong CINE spindles to use NAB hubs.

        Both M15As were checked out for operation but hadn't been rebuilt. I tried to source new top plate to convert headblock to oxide-in setup from the seller in Germany who still has used M15As for sale but failed. So if you need spare machine to source parts to keep your M15A going, get with me.

        maintenance repair production and sale AEG / Telefunken professional tape recorder, sale second hand equipment, service professional audio equipment

        Comment


        • #6
          Thanks Ki Choi. Are you happy with the sound quality of your two M15a tape decks? Were you ever able to compare the Telefunken machines to Studer tape decks such as the a820?

          I hope to find out relatively soon how my AEG/Telefunken m15a will perform in my Tidal/Kondo set up.

          Comment


          • #7
            Myles, were you ever able to listen under more or less controlled circumstances to a Telefunken tape deck? As mentioned before I am new in the 'reel to reel' world and therefore need to find my way. One of the reasons I did not make the 'reel to reel jump' earlier is the high costs of as well as - relatively speaking - limited availability of high quality tapes.

            Comment


            • #8
              Others can chime in but I have found the Studer sound cold, gray, clinical. That is, on playback not record. My Studer 810 is magnificent mechanically. And records quite well as far as sound goes. But playback sound is mediocre at best. the A80 may be the best sounding Studer. But any of them with a headamp would be wonderful. I've heard the M15A is quite good and better sounding than a Studer but never heard one myself. Had I the money I'd get a Studer A810 or A80 and use a very very good head amp with it. Trouble is there aren't that many good head amps made. Bruce Brown might be able to comment on his A80s which are probably the best machine Studer made. My opinion.
              JLH

              Comment


              • #9
                Interesting views JLH. A friend of mine living in Paris with a top notch audio set sup (inter alia Kondo G-1000 preamp, Kagura power amps and Rockport sirius turntable) quite recently bought a Studer a80 mk ii. Had it completely restored and he is really bowled over by its performance.

                Will visit him in about two weeks time; curious to find out how good his Studer tape deck sounds.

                An intriguing fact (at least for me as a 'reel to reel greenhorn') is that he is very, very impressed with some mono Westminster tapes.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by Ki Choi View Post
                  I can't tell a lie - I have two M15As that came over on FedEx International Express delivery from Germany few years back. As for reliability, I would put M15A into the A80 catagory based on my experience.

                  My M15As were also used by WDR and both are in oxide-out head configuration.

                  Most M15As from Germany comes with AEG adapters and would need to be replaced with three prong CINE spindles to use NAB hubs.

                  Both M15As were checked out for operation but hadn't been rebuilt. I tried to source new top plate to convert headblock to oxide-in setup from the seller in Germany who still has used M15As for sale but failed. So if you need spare machine to source parts to keep your M15A going, get with me.
                  Ki, does that mean the heads are on the opposite side of the head block and you have to wind all the tapes inside out? Looks like the ones on the Hilbert website are all conventionally placed. Thanks, Larry
                  Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,Lyra Skala+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Otari MX5050B2,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                  Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                  Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                  Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                  Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                  Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Audiocrack View Post
                    Interesting views JLH. A friend of mine living in Paris with a top notch audio set sup (inter alia Kondo G-1000 preamp, Kagura power amps and Rockport sirius turntable) quite recently bought a Studer a80 mk ii. Had it completely restored and he is really bowled over by its performance.

                    Will visit him in about two weeks time; curious to find out how good his Studer tape deck sounds.

                    An intriguing fact (at least for me as a 'reel to reel greenhorn') is that he is very, very impressed with some mono Westminster tapes.
                    Certainly an analogy can be made between tape decks and turntables

                    Turntable drive = tape deck drive

                    Tape machine heads/block = tonearm cartridge

                    Tapestage = Phonostage

                    All these factors need to be addressed when considering a tape deck and I think many make short shrift of tape heads. I really think one can get really excellent sound from a good Technics machine retrofitted with a JRF modded headblock with Flux Magnetic heads and save the money to invest in a good tapestage. Even have the headblock wired balanced out. Hmmm...maybe that's the subject for a good thread.
                    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


                    • #12
                      Very curious to hear what the 'tape experts' consider as major decision critria.

                      As a tape deck rookie - and leaving aside the price - the following aspects were important for my decision to opt for the AEG/Telefunken m15a:

                      A. sound quality
                      B. reputation of the brand
                      C. reliability/robustness
                      D. availability of spare parts
                      E. availability of experts who can help/repair if something goes wrong

                      Living next to Germany makes D and E as regards European tape decks (much) easier for me than for example audiophiles living in the USA. I have not been able to compare the sound quality of the AEG/Telefunken machine to some top Studer decks, but several experienced tape deck users informed me that the former is one heck of a machine able to create beautiful sound. And the European specialists that I spoke to also assured me that the M15a is indeed a real (robust) workhorse.

                      If my 'reel to reel adventure' turns out well, I suppose the next move is a dedicated tapestage to bypasss some internal electronics. And that triggers the question: how to find one (or find an (tube) expert to built one) that will make a good combination with my Kondo preamp.
                      Last edited by Audiocrack; 02-08-2017, 02:20 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I think you are in for a REEL treat!
                        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


                        • #14
                          Definately hope so, Myles 😀. This step requires again a serious investment 😢; good tapes are far from cheap but let's see how it turns out.

                          Another question on my part: I suppose your comparison to vinyl playback implies that a very good powercord and high quality interconnects will add significantly to the sound quality of a tape deck?

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Audiocrack View Post
                            Definately hope so, Myles 😀. This step requires again a serious investment 😢; good tapes are far from cheap but let's see how it turns out.

                            Another question on my part: I suppose your comparison to vinyl playback implies that a very good powercord and high quality interconnects will add significantly to the sound quality of a tape deck?
                            Absolutely. Especially the IC!
                            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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