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Studer A827 or A80 mark III
Old 7th June 2002
  #1
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Studer A827 or A80 mark III

Hi guys .... some comments would be welcome on this.

I'm not an analog guy at all but Marc, my companion in the studio has been pushing to install a 16 or 24 track 2inch analog tape recorder in the studio .... IF we can find a good deal.

We are currently looking at a Studer A80 Mark III and a Studer 827. Both look like fairly good deals. kinda high on the hours but one of my best friends is a wizzard in doing maintenance and repairs on those things.

Haven't worked with either one of them. Have been asking around and most people seem to favour the A80 .... one of them even claimed that Studer "saved" on the components when putting the A827 on the market.
Old 7th June 2002
  #2
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Hi there!

So u are brave/lucky/stupid man to go down the analogue path...

I love 2" more than my own mother! well she is an ampex ATR124!!, but in todays climate you will need to factor in that many people dont want to pay for tape.. becuase you cant edit/autotune it on the fly!lolololol.. or they are bad players or just plain tight arses!

Also the maintenaince thing can be a hassle becuase there are fewer and fewer people around who actually know how they work and all thier little idosyncracies.... and believe me some tape decks are like spoilt rotten little kids... just when u give them an expensive service they play up again! ...... but u seem to have this sorted on the tech side so it wil not be so much of an issue for you. Also being Europe you should have plentifull acces to studer spares.... much more so than we do here in Australia.

Sonically both machines are fantastic and relaible workhorses. Studer will last forever if you can supply them with enough parts and heads. Be sure to get a competant tech to dothe 'once over on them'

The 827 is more of na audiophile type machine whereby it has a pretty damn flat frequnecy response across th espectrum so dependant on what you are cording this is the safest bet. But if you are an old salty rock pig like me... then go for th eA80 becuase they are the sound of ROCK from the ages.. theya re also tranformer coupled which can add a nice warm and fuzzy distroion to your sound which sounds just plain nice. THe tape transport is better in the 827 but like gee.... its a studer on both cases so it snot like its transport is steam driven lime on my AMPEX MM1200 which IMHO is one of thhe best and fattest machines around..

But check them out an dgive them a go... they are both quality machines na dneed a loving and doting parent to makesure that they dont play up or get out of control.. be prepared to speak in kind tongues to your 2" never abuse it, or call it stupid morinic names, remember its birthday, day of manufacture or at lest when u bought it cos they like to feel loved just like humans.. dang it i even rekon mine is part human sometime with the emnotional inteprlay i have had with it on some days (mainly when it erased main vocals one day by sheer voodop even when the tracks were in safe?.... its like love gone wrong!!!!

pls let us know becuase for the few remaining tapelsutz like my self and maybe Jon (i think u r one from what i gather), we are a dying old breed that is still libing on borrowed memeories coated in magnetic oxide!!!

PEACE
Wiggy
Wiggy
Old 7th June 2002
  #3
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Hi Wiggy .... hate to disapoint you but if one thing I'm definately not ... it is a tape slut ... LOL ... on the contrary .... kinda hate / love relationship realy .... love the things it can do to your sound but hate working with them. ProTools is my thing and I'm sticking to it.

Marc my companionhas worked more with tape then I have.

I only agree with him on one point .... in some cases ... tracking drums for example ... it would be nice to use the tape machine just to let the sound pass through there.

Maybe it is a silly idea but somehow I have this in my mind .... have the sound go through the tape machine but still record direct to ProTools.

from what you say about the A80 it sounds like this is more what we are looking for.

I know maintenance with those things can be a major issue and quite frankly it is what scares me ....


anyone else ???
Old 7th June 2002
  #4
Old 7th June 2002
  #5
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Yeah i hear everyone on all accounts...

Tape is truly a love hate relationship.. but when its works it like magic and when it fucks up u are screwed!!! unitlt he tech can fix things...

Even an old anlogue rock pig like myself forsees the end of tape in very soon. Sure tape will be made for another decade or so for those that truly love the ionizing effect of magnetic particles, and will aloows others from a 'bygone era' to reminsice? about the beutiful slamming takes we managed to capture on our 2" 16 tracks but for all intents and purposes to my analogues ears...

192kHZ Protools HD is nearly there!... so by he time i have piped it through a neve and tubes and go knows what else i can find its nearly there and i can even have the convenience to say fuck off when the talent askes me to tune their vocals or even worse a bass guitar that was not set up properly setup.

YES i am starting to use HD... although there are very few systems around here in Melbourne right now i am convinced that this is the way to go... save RADAR as much as it appeals to me really have not got their shit together in order to accomadate som form of true backwards compatibility into their sytems.. and unfortunately ppl dont want radar they want alishad.

I plan to start a project or so in the next month that will be totally HD recorded and mixed from HD?... not sure on bit depth yet but even @ 2448 it sounds so much rounder and real than shitty 24 48 from MIX+ etc etc through those abominable 888(more like 666) convertors or bit grinders!

So the message is if u can handle all the hassles and the magic that anlogue can bring you go for it!.. also you will need space to put one of these beast becuase they are ratehr alrge and most control room these days are not built with a 2" in mind... rather a PC or whatever....

pls keep us informed!

as i love to know people are still romantic as much as i am about 2".

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 8th June 2002
  #6
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

An A-80 is NOT an A-800. I'd get the 827.

You might also investigate power supply modifications because all stock Studers can sound a bit lean when feeding some gear.
Old 8th June 2002
  #7
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I've only done session on an A80 multitrack. They don't punch that fast. Actually it's annoyingly slow. The A827 is much quicker and hipper, has the autoalign and all that fun stuff. Which one sounds better? I don't know. Personal prefrence comes into play there. If your dead set on getting a Studer I'd look into the A827 or an A800. That said, I'm really happy with my A80MkII 1/4" deck. But, I don't have to punch on it.

Since I bought my JH-24 last year I haven't put a dime into it (knock on wood). But, it was recapped and had been gone over by Randy Blevins when I bought it. I've had a few minor problems but they were all fixed in about 5 minutes and related to Molex connectors. Usually it takes more time to pull the panel off then it does to reseat the connector.

If you want to track to 2" and then go to PT that's great. You'll have to cut all your basics to tape though. If you want to get the sound off tape you need to pull it from the repro head which is will be out of synch with whatever the musos are playing. Once you have the take down you can transfer over to PT. If the signal passes through on the way to PT you won't be getting tape, just the machines electronics.
Old 9th June 2002
  #8
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Chris,

Get the A827. You'll work faster, more efficiently and have far less problems. Read this article by Jack Endino (and check out the graphs on the A80 and the A827...FWIW our A820 graphs out very similarly to his):

http://www.endino.com/graphs/index.html
Old 9th June 2002
  #9
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Hi Bob,

Would you elaborate on the power supply mods...and what kind of gear you are referring to the Studer feeding?

Thanks,

Jon
Old 9th June 2002
  #10
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Studers benefit from beefing up the power supplies for the output stages with changes to the regulator circuits. Stock they sound thin, say compared to an Ampex, when driving 10k. and lower loads.
Old 9th June 2002
  #11
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

thanks guys ..... very helpfull link there Jon.

One thing I heard about the A827 is that it has 1 power supply where as an A80 would have several ???

Bob .... a friend analog guru over here said the same thing about modifying the power supply
Old 13th June 2012
  #12
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I think I'd go for the 827.
Old 13th June 2012
  #13
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Mike O's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
I think I'd go for the 827.
Surely a record; responding to a 10 year old post?

It could happen to anyone....your kid is 10 when the thread "ends" and has graduated from college by the time it is resurrected. A LOT has happened in the mean time, but most would probably stick with their advice.
Old 13th June 2012
  #14
Time flies.....

R.
Old 13th June 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
Whatever you do, stay away from 24 track (unless you are using it just as a processor/effect). 1" 8 or 2" 16 is twice as loud/twice the S/N ratio. Not that specs really matter, but I use 1" 8 track, at 15 IPS and everything sounds HUGE. 15 IPS is the best tracking speed IMO.

From my experience, the best use of tape is during tracking, and mixing from multitrack. After you get a mix out of the board, this is when using tape or digital doesn't really matter too much (but keeping it analog and mastering to tape is an improvement, just not as much as analog tracking). It's all about slamming the tape during tracking, and not using conversion until mixing or mastering. But the best sounding records (as far as production) are the total analog ones.

I am not into Jack White very much, but when I hear Blunderbuss (even on Mp3), that's what I want my albums to sound like (not musically, but "sonically" if you will). So much better than most ITB crap put out today.
Old 14th June 2012
  #16
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iangomes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut View Post

Even an old anlogue rock pig like myself forsees the end of tape in very soon. Sure tape will be made for another decade or so for those that truly love the ionizing effect of magnetic particles, and will aloows others from a 'bygone era' to reminsice? about the beutiful slamming takes we managed to capture on our 2" 16 tracks but for all intents and purposes to my analogues ears...

192kHZ Protools HD is nearly there!... so by he time i have piped it through a neve and tubes and go knows what else i can find its nearly there and i can even have the convenience to say **** off when the talent askes me to tune their vocals or even worse a bass guitar that was not set up properly setup.

YES i am starting to use HD... although there are very few systems around here in Melbourne right now i am convinced that this is the way to go... save RADAR as much as it appeals to me really have not got their shit together in order to accomadate som form of true backwards compatibility into their sytems.. and unfortunately ppl dont want radar they want alishad.

I plan to start a project or so in the next month that will be totally HD recorded and mixed from HD?... not sure on bit depth yet but even @ 2448 it sounds so much rounder and real than shitty 24 48 from MIX+ etc etc through those abominable 888(more like 666) convertors or bit grinders!

So the message is if u can handle all the hassles and the magic that anlogue can bring you go for it!.. also you will need space to put one of these beast becuase they are ratehr alrge and most control room these days are not built with a 2" in mind... rather a PC or whatever....

pls keep us informed!

as i love to know people are still romantic as much as i am about 2".

PEACE
Wiggy
Interesting post looking back. I feel like, from what I see lately, tape is GAINING popularity.
Old 14th June 2012
  #17
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
15 IPS is the best tracking speed IMO.
Seeing as you're not moving the tape anywhere... with a couple of modifications here and there you can probably get the machine to run at 20ips... that speed requires less EQ, gives you 80% of the low frequency benefits of 15ips and 80% of the noise benefits of 30ips.

20ips is actually the "best" speed... and it was the speed adopted by MCI for their 3" 32 track machine... which unfortunately never caught one [gee, wonder why?] which is why 20ips benefits remain widely unknown.

If you ever land on a 220 vac / 50Hz machine with AC motors [like a Studer C-37]... running that at 220 vac / 60Hz will net you very similar response results [IIRC they run at like 22.5ips or something like that... too lazy to do the math at the moment].

Peace
Old 14th June 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Seeing as you're not moving the tape anywhere... with a couple of modifications here and there you can probably get the machine to run at 20ips... that speed requires less EQ, gives you 80% of the low frequency benefits of 15ips and 80% of the noise benefits of 30ips.

20ips is actually the "best" speed... and it was the speed adopted by MCI for their 3" 32 track machine... which unfortunately never caught one [gee, wonder why?] which is why 20ips benefits remain widely unknown.

If you ever land on a 220 vac / 50Hz machine with AC motors [like a Studer C-37]... running that at 220 vac / 60Hz will net you very similar response results [IIRC they run at like 22.5ips or something like that... too lazy to do the math at the moment].

Peace

Using varipspeed on my otari, I have found that around 10-12 IPS (estimating) actually sounds better on drums. 30 IPS has never been an improvement in sound on any instrument for me, so I don't even bother aligning the 30 ips pots. It seems 15 IPS is not necessarily the perfect speed (pretty arbitrary anyway, right?) but what machines are optimized for. But all in all 15 works best for tracking as far as standard speeds. As far as noise, print through, high freq loss, flutter, crosstalk, or any other tape related problems, I have never had a problem with any of them in the least on my 1" 8.
As far as frequency response, I don't really see that as an issue either. Some instruments the head bump helps others it hurts, but:

1. it sounds great on the instruments it does help like kick and bass and

2. a flat response isn't necessarily ideal, as I have found any instrument can benefit from EQ and rarely do I hear instruments that are perfect as is.
Old 24th June 2012
  #19
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iangomes View Post
Interesting post looking back. I feel like, from what I see lately, tape is GAINING popularity.
It sure is!
A while ago, I was so lucky to by a Studer A800 MKIII 24 track with trannies AND the 24 track Dolby A.
Nice to get that 70's sound again

Grtz from Belgium,
Exo.
Old 24th June 2012
  #20
If I were you I'd get the 827, parts are probably easier to get, you can store alignments, which I don't think you can with the A80, overall it will be less of a hassle which I think you would prefer. 827's sound fine btw
Old 1st January 2013
  #21
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Interesting to read the old thread. On the first of January 2013, I would stand by my opinions from 2002 with eleven years of conviction added to them. In 2012, the interesting records made here were 2" 8 track. I love tape more than ever. I love my A827. In the 11-12 years I have owned it, it has performed flawlessly. It is an incredibly well built machine. I continue to see analog as the best recording medium. It inspires and excites people all of the time. Great players playing great songs on tape always works. I think this paradigm will grow. No one remembers records that were convenient to record. Music is emotional and spiritual.


Be well


- Jack
Old 1st January 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom View Post
Interesting to read the old thread. On the first of January 2013, I would stand by my opinions from 2002 with eleven years of conviction added to them. In 2012, the interesting records made here were 2" 8 track. I love tape more than ever. I love my A827. In the 11-12 years I have owned it, it has performed flawlessly. It is an incredibly well built machine. I continue to see analog as the best recording medium. It inspires and excites people all of the time. Great players playing great songs on tape always works. I think this paradigm will grow. No one remembers records that were convenient to record. Music is emotional and spiritual.


Be well


- Jack
Not just that, but none of our senses are independent of each other, and vision is a way stronger and more influential sense (for most people). And when staring at a computer screen, we start to make music based more on what it looks like on the screen rather than the sound. When using tape, it doesn't sound edited and too perfect, just musical and has that "controlled randomness" that a DAW just doesn't. Tape allows people to focus on sound rather than visual cues.

Even when using a large visual stimulus like a console, the music itself is still invisible, and can only be heard.
Old 3rd January 2013
  #23
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My feelings as well. I had ATR build a set of 16 tk heads for my 827 - I love the format. My deck has had zero issues in the 5 years we brought it to our studio.
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