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  • Early Tape Duping

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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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  • #2
    Wow...they had to make them 10 at a time...it’s amazing that they could ever make ANY money on commercial reels.
    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

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    • #3
      Learned something new everyday.

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      • #4
        Another great story. What struck me is that means that the master playback machines are playing 15KHz signals at 8 times normal speed or 120KHz and the slave recorders are recording at 120KHz. Those must have been very special heads and electronics. Does anyone know about those heads and also their wear characteristics at that speed.

        I know they also recorded all four tracks simultaneously, so the recording took place on all four tracks with two tracks forward and two tracks backward at the same time. This made the recordings 16 times as fast as the recordings made today which are done in one direction at normal speed. With 10 slave machines working on each line, that means each line is capable of making 160 times as many tapes in a day than the typical one to one copying of most of the companies today. With Acoustic Sounds and Tape Project having about 4 slave machines going, that would still make the Ampex production about 40 times as much as the current "big boys" for just one of their lines, and they had five lines. They also said they "spot checked" their final production, resulting in the variable quality control that I notice in my tapes from that era.

        Based on my collection of prerecorded 7.5ips 4 track stereo prerecorded tapes from that era (into the early '80's) the vast majority were produced by Ampex, with a few from other companies. If I remember correctly, the prerecorded tapes (7.5ips 4 track stereo) were two to three times more expensive than the comparable records of the same issue. Of course, stereo tapes predated stereo records by a few years and R.D. Darrell (sp?) had a column in High Fidelity (IIRC) reviewing stereo tape releases before stereo records came out.

        I think it was the high cost of the raw tape that drove the manufacturers to doing four track stereo and also 3.75ips tapes. 15ips 2 track tapes would have been unthinkable in those days. Even 7.5ips 2 track tapes didn't last for very long in the commercial market. Myles has a decent collection of those, and there are others on AN who do also. I just have a handful of them.

        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

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        • #5
          The average price for a 7 1/2, quarter-track prerecord was $8.95 (vs. most stereo vinyl in the '60s being $3.98...except for gatefold-cover albums which, usually, were $5.98 at the time).

          However, there was already a sub-set of cost factors built into the equation:

          Up until 1967, 3 3/4ips prerecords were duplicated on budget ACETATE (while the 7 1/2 tapes had been duped on POLYESTER-base since 1963) and sold for $6.95.

          The release of an album on reel to reel was NOT an automatic given, relative-to the corresponding record coming out. The album had to prove to be a good seller and be mainstream-enough to market to an "upscale" crowd with disposable income to possess a $300 tape deck (vs. a $129 phono setup of-the-day).

          Most expensive title ever sold then: a 1966, three-reel, Ampex commemorative boxed set of Winston Churchill speeches (honoring his death) on the London label and with a history book; $100.

          Best-selling artist on the rtr format: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

          Fastest-selling tape in Ampex history: "Aretha (Franklin) Now" April 1968, Atlantic 3 3/4; 250,000 copies.


          Among (in general) the most collectable tapes (1956-1976)

          2tr. Miles KIND OF BLUE (1960)
          2tr. MEET THE BEATLES (3 3/4; one of the last remaining 2trks. from 1964)
          2tr. CSO KIJE (1958)
          2tr. BSO FANTASTIQUE (1956)
          2tr. MUSIC MAN original cast (1958)
          2tr. NYP ROMEO & JULIET (1959)


          4tr. Toshiba Japan Beatles' REVOLVER (the ONLY 7 1/2 reel in the world having the U.K. track listing in stereo; 1969)
          4tr. Toshiba Japan Beatles 1967-1970 (only place issued on reel and at 7 1/2; 1973)
          4tr. Toshiba Japan Beatles 1962-1966 (only place issued on reel and at 7 1/2; 1973)
          4tr. Ampex re-release of Beatles' Capitol SGT. PEPPER at 7 1/2 (1970)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 LED ZEP III (1970)
          4tr. Magtec 7 1/2 Fleetwood Mac RUMOURS (1976)
          4tr. Magtec 7 1/2 Stones' EXILE (1972)
          4tr. Magtec 7 1/2 Bowie SPACE ODDITY (1971)
          4tr. Magtec 7 1/2 Lou Reed TRANSFORMER (1972)
          4tr. Columbia 7 1/2 Dylan BLONDE ON BLONDE (1966)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 Allman Bros. LIVE FILLMORE EAST (1971)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 THE DOORS (1967)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 Love FOREVER CHANGES (1968)
          4tr. Capitol 7 1/2 first-issue of the Beach Boys' PET SOUNDS (all fake stereo; 1966)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 double-reel, edited re-release of the Beatles' WHITE ALBUM (1970)
          4tr. Magtec 7 1/2 Led Zep HOUSES OF THE HOLY (1973)
          4tr. Bell&Howell 7 1/2 Dead ANTHEM OF THE SUN
          QUAD Magtec 7 1/2 BEST OF THE GUESS WHO (1971)
          4tr. Capitol 7 1/2 first-issue of the Beatles' REVOLVER with the "ZW" and NOT "YT" prefix (1966)
          4tr. Magtec 3 3/4 ZAPPA 200 MOTELS (1971)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 McCartney RAM (1971)
          4tr. Ampex 7 1/2 re-release of Capitol Beatles' RUBBER SOUL (1970)
          4tr. Decca 7 1/2 Who LIVE AT LEEDS (1970)

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for all the info. For a young college student in the mid '60's, I found that prerecorded tapes were prohibitively expensive, at $8.95, more than double the cost of the equivalent LP.

            I had a classmate who was pretty well off, and he had a big Sony machine which had built-in speakers that would separate from the main machine. I would buy Shamrock or some equally bad white box tape and make tapes from my classical records. Then on Thursday afternoons, borrowing his big Sony (which was as heavy as a suitcase), I would go down from Boston to the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (in the Massachusetts Prison system) where I volunteered, teaching a course on music appreciation to about 35 patient (inmates). I taught in the chapel, always with an armed guard present. Fortunately I never had any problems with my students. Always very good attendance (a captive audience). I taught them about sonata form and other arcane parts of classical music. And they were introduced to the great masters. I actually don't think anything I said was absorbed, just some great music and break from the routine of life there. There were several of us whom went down at the same time each week. One of my classmates had the privilege of teaching the most famous resident at the time, a fellow named Albert DeSalvo, better known as the Boston Strangler. You can read more about DeSalvo and also Bridgewater State Hospital in wiki.

            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

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