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Quantegy 499 or GP9 on old Studer A80R?
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Dr Funk
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#1
30th November 2006
Old 30th November 2006
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Quantegy 499 or GP9 on old Studer A80R?

I have a pretty old (early/mid 1970's) A80R 1/4" machine, recently rescued from a garage but running surprisingly well. It's set up for 456 but I'd like to try 499 or maybe GP9.

Can such an old machine handle a modern high level formulation? Apart from lower noise, what difference in sound can I expect?

Problem is I have to commit to something and my dealer has to order a minimum quantity of 10 from Quantegy. He has 1/2" and 2" in stock but I'm his first 1/4" tape customer for quite some time! So I don't have the option to try them all first.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Frank
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30th November 2006
Old 30th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Funk View Post
I have a pretty old (early/mid 1970's) A80R 1/4" machine, recently rescued from a garage but running surprisingly well. It's set up for 456 but I'd like to try 499 or maybe GP9.

Can such an old machine handle a modern high level formulation? Apart from lower noise, what difference in sound can I expect?

Problem is I have to commit to something and my dealer has to order a minimum quantity of 10 from Quantegy. He has 1/2" and 2" in stock but I'm his first 1/4" tape customer for quite some time! So I don't have the option to try them all first.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Frank
RMGI SM900!!! Rocks!

Yes you can use all the tapes you mentioned with the A80
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30th November 2006
Old 30th November 2006
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A friend of mine owns an A80 and uses 499 and GP9 all of time with no issues.
Dr Funk
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1st December 2006
Old 1st December 2006
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Great news! Thanks guys. I've been searching past threads for info, and GP9 seems to come well recommended, although thanks Riccardo for mentioning the SM900.

Anyone care to take a stab at describing the sonic differences between 456 (which I'm currently experimenting with), 499 and GP9?

Cheers

Frank
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1st December 2006
Old 1st December 2006
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Hi,

I find the GP9 to be more hi-fi sounding but also harder sounding, I prefer the 499 for a noticeable effect on drums and bass, it's fluffier.
the 499 seems to have more holes in it, wich can be quite good.

I'd use the GP9 on acustic jazz and the 499 on a rock or hip-hop track. generalizing of course.

does anyone know what I'm talking about?



cheers
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1st December 2006
Old 1st December 2006
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OK, here goes.... You will find that 499 will allow you to push more level onto it. However you will also find that 499 sound more metalic, less musical. GP9 is supposed to be the old 3M 996 formula. However, it sound nothing like 996. It does sound more musical than 499. I have both 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch and after weeks of testing with different bias settings and flux levels, I must say that of the 3 Quantegy choices, I opt to stick with the 456. It compresses nicely and is very musical. Of all the flux levels, I found that 456 @ 30ips, @+4 over 185 sounded best. I tried the same test @+6 and @ zero and I must say that the elements all came together better @ +4. I tried SM900 and 911. The Emtec stuff is different, but of the two I'd pick the 911. The 900, though better sounding than the GP9, was still sounding very compressed but cleaner than the GP9. If I cannot have 996 or scotch 250, then It will be 456 hands down. I had a long discussion with John French about it and we bounced ideas off each other but yet the 456 won every time. The tests were perfomed as follows: Same 8 bars of music (heavy bass, drums and guitars etc.). Bias settings to the letter. ( 4dB over @ 15IPS/10K) Test #1: 499 @ 15 IPS +6, same test @30 IPS. Printed results to an Alesis Masterlink @ 96K. Test #2: GP9 Bias to the letter. Left levels @+6 Did both speeds. Printed results to the masterlink. Test#3: 456 Bias to the letter (3dB over @ 15IPS / 10K) Both speeds. Printed results to the master link. Kept the bias setting the same. Reduced the flux level by 2 dB (+4 over 185) Same two speeds. Preinted results. to the Masterlink. I did this for both the 1/4/ inch and 1/2 inch. AfterI copiled and took note on what was what, I did some careful listenning. These were my results. 499 @ 30 IPS was more detailed and was the better overall chice between both speeds / both formats using 499... GP9 sounded best @ 15 IPS on the 1/2 inch machine with lots of bottom and musicality. On the 1/4 inch machine GP9 sounded best @30IPS. 15 IPS on the 1/4 inch machine The GP9 souned very good @ 15 IPS with some noise (expected @ 15IPS). 456 Sounded extremely musical and at 15 IPS / 1/2 inch had fantastic low and high end with minimal noise. 456 @ 30 ips 1/2 inch had an extremely open sound and had almost the same low end of 15 IPS. I was amazed!!! I would still pick 15IPS over 30 with this format. On the 1/4 machine, 15 IPS sound very good and full with the exception of a minimal amount of noise. I would go with 30 IPS on the 1/4 inch machine. Of all the tests perfomed, the 456 became more musical and warm when I ran it @+4 over 185 instead of +6.

A few things to consider: EQ @ 15IPS was CCIR for all tests and of course AES for the 30 IPS. Azimuth was adjusted prior to perfoming all tests.
One interesting thing to share: Just for kicks, I performed some tests using DBX Type 1 NR. I happen to like DBX over Dolby-A. I know of the artifacts with using DBX especially on decending pianos, etc. The DBX unit was the 150X, all balanced going to the machines. Grounds lifted at the DBX side (just to keep the noise floor in check). I experienced an unbleivable amount of musical coloration (if you're into this kind of stuff as I am) using the DBX @30IPS!!! Something wonderful happened to the sound of rock and roll!! The DBX @ 15 did not exibit the coloration although it did keep the noise to a near digital level @ 15IPS!!

All in all, my choice is 456 hands down.
I did not get too invloved with the Emtec tape, although I did get to experiment with it and got really good results. Maybe soon I will perform the same Quantegy tests with Emtec.

On another similar note, I tried the same tests using my Otari 2 inch MTR-90, Q lot MkII and I still cannot get a better sounding result than 3m 996. @+9 30IPS... 456 comes close. Go figure.
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1st December 2006
Old 1st December 2006
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Thanks Stratech - very detailed info there!! It's interesting that you settled on 456 in the end, because I got an email from Quantegy earlier recommending that I also stick with 456 on the old Studer. They said especially given that the machine has no VU meters or record level controls, that it would be too much a case of shooting in the dark to try to set it up for a newer formulation.

So, looks like I stick with 456 here.

Thanks again for all the info - it really helped!

Frank
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1st December 2006
Old 1st December 2006
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One thing to consider as well is that older machines may or may not have enough bias current available to drive the high bias tapes like 499 and GP9. I had a very nice Scully 280 from the early 70's which I could not bias using GP9. John french did not recommend the GP9 on the scully especially with the custom 1/2 inch 2 track stack he built for me. While 456 is not perfect by any means, it certainly won the battle hands down.
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