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Question about Studer heads

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  • Question about Studer heads

    A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me his Studer A807 and some tapes so I could experience tape in my own system. This is a machine he bought as his entry into tape but within a month decided that he was ready for something better and bought a much more expensive Studer (I forget the model). The tape stage is a King Cello and generally the sound is great.

    However, my friend commented that the highs were rolled off somewhat compared to what he's used to in his own system where he uses the other Studer, which uses Nordost cables and the 807 he lent me uses something less exotic (Mogami maybe?). In trying to understand why the highs aren't very vibrant, I can come up with three possible reasons:

    1) The cabling from the deck to tape stage
    2) The heads are different between the two machines
    3) My system is dull sounding

    I'm wondering about #2. If I understand correctly tape heads are like phono cartridges and can alter tonal balance. Is this correct?
    Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

  • #2
    Well my two cents, the King Cello is SS based and if you are use to hearing tubes that might be the difference.
    Last edited by jcmusic; 05-12-2017, 09:27 PM.


    • Madfloyd
      Madfloyd commented
      Editing a comment
      All my sources are SS. Plus it doesn't explain why the same King Cello is brighter with one Studer than with the other.

  • #3
    In most cases, "dull" sound due to lower HF response is caused by dirty repro head or bad head alignment. The other case is when the repro head is worn, it's the HF that goes first. Any of above guesses are just guesses until you run a cal tape such as MRL tape with correct EQ curve and monitor for head azimuth and HF response at various speeds.


    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment

      Also suggestion #1. Mogami is no Nordost..

    • mep
      mep commented
      Editing a comment
      Blaming the Mogami is barking up the wrong tree in my opinion. Mogami is excellent cable and has been a studio standard for years and is not known to have rolled off highs. Nordost might be brighter, but that doesn't make it better or have better highs.

  • #4
    All my sources are SS. Plus it doesn't explain why the same King Cello is brighter with one Studer than with the other.

    Well you will need a base line as a reference first before you can go comparing anything... Then you can begin to sort out what the difference may be.
    My time with the King Cello left me wanting more that's why I didn't buy one..


    • #5
      Suggest it could be 2). Do you have any way the check the HF response? It may be off depending on when and with what machine it was last "calibrated". Simple way to check - email [email protected]



      • #6
        Ki Choi is right. First thing is to get hold of a test tape and check your levels and alignment using some reliable metering e.g. PPM. You will need to check azimuth too, either with a scope or mono/sum PPM meters. Also consider demagnetising the heads, if you haven't done that for a while.



        • #7
          Absolutely first step is damag the heads with a Han-D-Mag. That will eliminate that possibility and prevent erasure of highs off the tape you are playing--if the heads are magnetized. Always demag a machine after moving it more than a few feet before doing anything else. Movement of a machine subjects it to magnetic fields. Also unless your heads are very worn, it is unlikely that the loss of highs is due to heads. Calibration and azimuth alignment are the first suspects. Ki Choi and others can correct me if I'm wrong.
          Last edited by jonathanhorwich; 05-14-2017, 02:35 PM. Reason: Added data.