Reel to Reel Tape Deck BEAUTIFUL must see!

default -- Wed, 08/19/2009 - 13:41

  I found this on the web, is it beautiful or what?
  The web site is
  If it sounds like it looks I want one! 
  I want to record all my LP's and save my cartridge and wear and tear on my LP's!

SundayNiagara -- Wed, 08/19/2009 - 18:21

The Ampex all tube decks are the one's you want!

reelguy -- Thu, 08/20/2009 - 22:05

Bad advice, "SundayNiagarara".  A 50+ year old tube tape deck (your Ampex all tube), unless completely restored (new heads, rubber, tubes, caps, resistors) and  properly aligned, will be a complete piece of junk.  I repair reel to reels for a living, so I know this as fact.  On the other hand, a modern,  properly-designed RTR can out-perform high-res digital.  Big difference.

Simon C (not verified) -- Fri, 08/21/2009 - 12:57

That is so so true. A well maintained modern day solid state RTR will ace any hi-res digital format out there. I lament the fact that many studios are stupidly retiring their (analogue) RTR machines in favour of HDD recorders. As you've mentioned, big audible difference between the two formats. I used to work with those big Otari and Studer units in the studio, even vinyl is nowhere close to it.

SundayNiagara -- Fri, 08/21/2009 - 20:37

Hey, I didn't say it was easy!

reelguy -- Sat, 08/22/2009 - 13:46

Perhaps a resurgence is going on for the RTR format similar to the vinyl come-back.  There is a company (The Tape Project)  that sells half-track,15 ips dubs of master tapes.  I recently heard one of these tapes at a local high-end dealer. The sound quality was unbelievable.  Another strange thing I heard at the dealer..... recordings of vinyl and CDs made on their RTR actually sounded better than the originals.  In theory, this is impossible......right?   I wonder what would create that effect?

bherlihy -- Fri, 08/28/2009 - 09:16

what do you reccomend for first time RTR - used to playing on a high end system (about 60% vinyl and 40% digital)

reelguy -- Sat, 08/29/2009 - 00:50

I recommend the deck I recently heard at my local dealer.  It's a highly modified Tascam BR-20 they sell (the same deck pictured above in this thread).   They refurbish the mechanics to like-new condition. Electronics are also extensively modified and upgraded.  I believe the dealer offers different price levels of upgrades.   Click on their link for more info.  

Robert Harley -- Tue, 09/01/2009 - 11:38

I'd like to add that those considering an open-reel machine should look for a half-track machine rather than a quarter-track machine. In a half-track, each channel takes up half the tape width. In a quarter-track, each channel takes up a quarter of the tape width. This is so that a tape can be turned over and recorded in the opposite direction, doubling the recording time. A half-track machine has lower noise and greater headroom, all other factors being equal.

reelguy -- Tue, 09/01/2009 - 13:57

That's true: half-track is the best way to go.  Also get a high-speed deck (15 and 7.5 ips) and one that has the ability to play/record with IEC EQ .  Using  IEC EQ will give you a better S/N ratio (signal to noise). 

If you ever get into playing Tape Project  tapes, you will need a deck like this (half-track, 15 ips, IEC EQ).   For recording, this is the prefered set-up as well.
The Tascam BR-20 I mentioned will do this, and in my opinion, the best choice of decks out there.

Nancy (not verified) -- Fri, 03/26/2010 - 15:30

Robert - your post seems you might have suggestions for me - I have 1967 tapes from my old reel to reel tapes of my old high school boyfriend who I later married. He died at age 49 and I dearly would like to get these tapes converted to a convention sound playing format. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks nancy in Ohio

Greg Beron (not verified) -- Mon, 09/07/2009 - 13:27

One of my customers sent me an email that my United Home Audio HQ deck was on so I thought I should weigh in on this.
The unveiling of the UHA HQ decks to the public will be on September 26, 2009 at United Home Audio from 12 noon till 4pm. Our Phase1 decks start at only $3998 with the black gloss paint you see in the picture above plus includes numerous modifications to optimize the sound, at this price this deck is a screaming value! If you are in the Washington DC / Baltimore area you must attend this event, you will hear the sound of the ultimate source component. The Tape Project 1.5 generation Master Tapes played on our Phase1 deck at only $3998, and on the Phase4 deck $10,000 will be quite an eye opening experience for you!
It has been a two year effort to construct this deck, from the physical transformation to all of the electronic re-design work it has been a huge task. We wanted to offer a superior deck that will give you simple off the shelf easy playback of “The Tape Project” Master Tapes. But also a deck you can record your vinyl on and save wear and tear on your expensive phono cartridge and albums.
Like everyone we watched digital sound reproduction run it’s unfortunate course and we have all found it has it’s limits. We thought SACD, or DVD Audio, or maybe even Blu-ray, would be the holy grail but no, instead people are moving back to vinyl! A fact that cannot be disputed is that vinyl was produced from reel to reel tape, and it sounds better than vinyl simply because it is closer to the original source. So I do not feel that a true audiophile can any longer dismiss the merits of reel to reel tape. With the advent of “The Tape Project” we actually have a great way to get as close to the sound of the original master tape as possible. I applaud the guys Paul Stubblebine, Dan Schmalle, and Michael Romanowski for getting the ball rolling.  
To minimize any confusion about what is required for playback of “The Tape Project” master tapes here it is. Also it is important to add that a deck of this type of is going to give you the best sound for recording your vinyl (in a ¼ machine).
1.)   ¼” tape playback capability
2.)   2 track or sometimes called “half track”
3.)   15 inches per second tape speed
4.)   IEC equalization playback  
5.)   10.5” NAB reel size capability
United Home Audio is using a professional Tascam deck that has all the requirements listed above plus some great tape path features like the servo arm tension control, a great feature usually found on studio decks only. As far as upgrading the sound of these decks most upgrades on reel decks simply involve upgrading the electronic components in a preamp. We wanted to take this several steps further, we have re-design the circuits by thinking outside the box and have attained a great result. We of course did our research, we have listened to outboard tube preamps, too many modified decks to recall, and they all had their positive and negative points.  It requires lots listening and evaluation and not just by one person, it takes a team of talented artisans, you know who you are and I thank you all. Of course every change in our UHA HQ decks took time to evaluate, all was not perfect every time, that's why it took two years of work to get the sound so compelling. In the end we have barely the shell and the tape handling mechanism of the stock unit left on our Phase3 and top of this line Phase4 units, all the rest is new. New handmade German tape heads designed specifically for this machine had to be custom fit into the existing tape head on the Phase4 deck. This required a complete modification of the head block to make the oversized head fit, and it did fit perfectly. In fact there are over 98 new cost no object electronic components in the record and playback preamps on the Phase4 deck! That requires quite a bit of work by a very talented technician to get one of these decks done, not to mention the Porsche black paint job or custom designed black and silver faceplate. The custom designed Celtic Knot side panels have been engraved in three dimension relief into aluminum then the background hand painted black to frame the sides of the deck. Even real turquoise stone is inlaid on the knobs and the tape head cover as an option.

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