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To tape or not to tape... Otari on the horizon Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 5th February 2019
  #61
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crosscutred's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes it's a hell of a cable-loom, all those ins and outs...but that will likely come with the recorder, if he's lucky.

It's all part of the character-building buy-in to the format...no way around it.

Digital is gonna look so uncomplicated and pristine by comparison...analog 1" or 2" is like parking a Mack truck in your studio

Oh....and you think those 2 washing machine motors are going to run silently while you record and mix ?....think again !

If you've ever been unnerved by the sound of computer fans or hard drives...this mechanical noise is on a whole other level.
For sure, I actually enjoy all the wiring and head scratching, it's extremely satisfying when you get it all up and running.

I'm not so keen on all the noise, but it's not too bad once you teach your brain to filter it out.
Having said that I am including a machine room in the studio I'm building right now.... what a luxury!
Old 5th February 2019
  #62
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
you can buy brand new 2 inch tape off Reverb.

Quantegy 480.

its 1.5mm thick tape, and works well at 250 NWB.

my last 2 reels were something like $180/ each. plus freight.

the sellers name is RECORDING STORE.

just to help out anyone thats looking.

Buddha
Old 6th February 2019
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Man, I don’t know what kind of so called techs worked on these machines but I’ve owned tape machines all my life. Other than the usual maintenance, which is easy I never needed any major work on my machines.

Indeed my 60 year old Presto runs like its brand new. A well built, well maintained machine will outlast everyone on this forum... now a beat to hell piece of crap, that’s another story.

Don’t buy a Wurlitzer unless you’re prepared to maintain it. Don’t buy a guitar as you have to adjust it a couple times a year, don’t buy a drum kit as you have to tune it or sometimes replace a head.

Come on, this is Audio... learn Audio, and yes some of that involves tech work. Big deal.
You sound like you think what is being discussed is someone who won't take the time to learn to calibrate the machine or swap a card here or there or clean the heads. I can assure you that's not the case. I probably spent $7k or more on paying techs to refurbish and fix my 3 machines over the 5 years that I had them and they still stayed down more than I got to use them. This is not analogous to refusing to buy a drum kit because you have to change the heads. It's got a lot more in common with buying a 70s Jaguar, which is one of the greatest cars ever made—during the 10% of the time it's not in the shop, that is.

One thing to point out from your post and one thing from the OP's.

Yours—o.k., you've worked with tape machines "all your life." That means your learning curve for them flattened out a long time ago.

His—I believe he's stated that his studio is a personal project studio, not a commercial one.

Does it really make sense for someone in a hobby studio to start fooling with tape at this point in his recording journey? That's his decision, of course, but imagine for a moment that you just bought your first tape machine, and imagine that it doesn't run like it's brand new. Also imagine that all you plan to use it for it to track and dump to digital. Also, as someone else already pointed out, there's a reason that machine is so cheap. It's either because it's a money pit or it's because there is no market for tape machines where he lives (which undermines the, "Buy it and you can flip it and not lose any money," advice) or both.

So is, "YEAH, go for it!" really good advice for this person?

I'm not sure it is.
Old 6th February 2019
  #64
Lives for gear
i'll break with the crowd and say that i think the Otaris are very underrated ... they are just the victim of a kind of branding elitism. but that being said - if i were to go to the trouble and expense of 2" i would probably go 16 track - though you can fairly easily do that with the Otari electronics and a 16 track headstack ... esp. with a bit of tweaking it will perform comparably to a studer or anything else.
Old 6th February 2019
  #65
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I probably spent $7k or more on paying techs to refurbish and fix my 3 machines over the 5 years that I had them and they still stayed down more than I got to use them.
wow, thats a very bad run ???? sad to hear that, but i think your experience might not be typical, at least from my experience.

i have found good analog tape machines to be very reliable.

i have been on 2 inch since the 80s, and total repairs would be less than $2000.

i ran a Studer A800mk3 around 12 hours a day, 350 days a year, (xmas and new years day off) for at least 8 years straight, and had Zero Tech cost for repairs. the only tech costs were routine tape allignments 456/499 etc.

That Studer never broke down, and it got thrashed every day.

i had an Ampex 1200 for 8 years or so, and that was not as good as the studer. it did break down, and needed repairs, but nothing like $7000. maybe $1000 to $1500.

Now i have another Studer A800mk-1 (transformer version)

i have spent about $350 on techs for that machine. a power supply repair.

i guess some machines are better than others.

Buddha
Old 6th February 2019
  #66
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Silvertone's Avatar
Obviously you did not read my posts as no where did I or would I ever say “yeah, go for it”.

I simply stated the obvious... and my observations... and suggested a two track if he wants to learn.

When I got my Wurlitzer it was beat to crap half the keys didn’t work, it was out of tune. Keys were laying down flat.

So what did I do? Cry like a little baby??? No, I dove in, learned as much as I could, tore the whole thing apart, rebuilt it all within the first week of owning it. Now I know everything I need to know about owning, maintaining and repairing a Wurlitzer.

So yeah I know about equipment that doesn’t work right away. Didn’t stop me from learning. Know why? I wanted a Wurlitzer.

The OP should do whatever HE wants, it’s his life. Heaven forbid he should learn something that interests him. Right???

Enjoy audio the way you want to drpeacock.




Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
You sound like you think what is being discussed is someone who won't take the time to learn to calibrate the machine or swap a card here or there or clean the heads. I can assure you that's not the case. I probably spent $7k or more on paying techs to refurbish and fix my 3 machines over the 5 years that I had them and they still stayed down more than I got to use them. This is not analogous to refusing to buy a drum kit because you have to change the heads. It's got a lot more in common with buying a 70s Jaguar, which is one of the greatest cars ever made—during the 10% of the time it's not in the shop, that is.

One thing to point out from your post and one thing from the OP's.

Yours—o.k., you've worked with tape machines "all your life." That means your learning curve for them flattened out a long time ago.

His—I believe he's stated that his studio is a personal project studio, not a commercial one.

Does it really make sense for someone in a hobby studio to start fooling with tape at this point in his recording journey? That's his decision, of course, but imagine for a moment that you just bought your first tape machine, and imagine that it doesn't run like it's brand new. Also imagine that all you plan to use it for it to track and dump to digital. Also, as someone else already pointed out, there's a reason that machine is so cheap. It's either because it's a money pit or it's because there is no market for tape machines where he lives (which undermines the, "Buy it and you can flip it and not lose any money," advice) or both.

So is, "YEAH, go for it!" really good advice for this person?

I'm not sure it is.
Old 6th February 2019
  #67
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
Obviously you did not read my posts as no where did I or would I ever say “yeah, go for it”.

I simply stated the obvious... and my observations... and suggested a two track if he wants to learn.

When I got my Wurlitzer it was beat to crap half the keys didn’t work, it was out of tune. Keys were laying down flat.

So what did I do? Cry like a little baby??? No, I dove in, learned as much as I could, tore the whole thing apart, rebuilt it all within the first week of owning it. Now I know everything I need to know about owning, maintaining and repairing a Wurlitzer.

So yeah I know about equipment that doesn’t work right away. Didn’t stop me from learning. Know why? I wanted a Wurlitzer.

The OP should do whatever HE wants, it’s his life. Heaven forbid he should learn something that interests him. Right???

Enjoy audio the way you want to drpeacock.
I wasn't literally quoting you, genius. I was actually attempting to be kind.

If I were being literal I would have said you proceeded to equate being proficient in antique audio machine repair to manliness (which you did again in this post) and then bragged about your proficiency and willingness to tough it out through the wilderness of such.

As in, the more you can use decades old equipment that professional techs can't even make run right, the bigger man you are. Or rather, the more you can't, the bigger crybaby you are...same thing, just the converse.

Albeit by implication, of course, but the implication is unmistakable, as you did it again in this post.

Either way it just equates to equal parts humble brag and a dare akin to, "You don't want to be a wimp, do you?"

As for this, "The OP should do whatever HE wants, it’s his life," I would say that it's most likely that you didn't read my post, as I clearly said that before you did.
Old 6th February 2019
  #68
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
wow, thats a very bad run ???? sad to hear that, but i think your experience might not be typical, at least from my experience.

i have found good analog tape machines to be very reliable.

i have been on 2 inch since the 80s, and total repairs would be less than $2000.

i ran a Studer A800mk3 around 12 hours a day, 350 days a year, (xmas and new years day off) for at least 8 years straight, and had Zero Tech cost for repairs. the only tech costs were routine tape allignments 456/499 etc.

That Studer never broke down, and it got thrashed every day.

i had an Ampex 1200 for 8 years or so, and that was not as good as the studer. it did break down, and needed repairs, but nothing like $7000. maybe $1000 to $1500.

Now i have another Studer A800mk-1 (transformer version)

i have spent about $350 on techs for that machine. a power supply repair.

i guess some machines are better than others.

Buddha
I agree, and that's the thing. If you buy blind you don't really know what you're getting. The more time goes by and the more these machines change hands and sit in storage units unused for decades, the more likely you are going to be to end up with a money pit.

Best case scenario is to either buy one from Mara that has been rebuilt from the ground up or buy one from someone local that you know has been in use regularly.

For all the money I spent I should have bought one from Mara.
Old 6th February 2019
  #69
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Silvertone's Avatar
What’s your problem?

You are far from kind. You are attempting to make yourself look important. That’s all Mr. know it all.

I won’t offer any more advice cause only what you say counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I wasn't literally quoting you, genius. I was actually attempting to be kind.

If I were being literal I would have said you proceeded to equate being proficient in antique audio machine repair to manliness (which you did again in this post) and then bragged about your proficiency and willingness to tough it out through the wilderness of such.

As in, the more you can use decades old equipment that professional techs can't even make run right, the bigger man you are. Or rather, the more you can't, the bigger crybaby you are...same thing, just the converse.

Albeit by implication, of course, but the implication is unmistakable, as you did it again in this post.

Either way it just equates to equal parts humble brag and a dare akin to, "You don't want to be a wimp, do you?"

As for this, "The OP should do whatever HE wants, it’s his life," I would say that it's most likely that you didn't read my post, as I clearly said that before you did.
Old 6th February 2019
  #70
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
What’s your problem?

You are far from kind. You are attempting to make yourself look important. That’s all Mr. know it all.

I won’t offer any more advice cause only what you say counts.
Textbook psychological projection.

There's someone in this conversation with a need to make themselves look important all right (hint—it's the guy calling other people crybabies and other names and bragging about repairing the skeletons of old gear), but it's not me.

I have no problem and I said I was trying to be kind. Your second post made that effort impossible, at least for me.
Old 6th February 2019
  #71
Lives for gear
 

You basically have to determine will the same money spent elsewhere net you more results (this includes your room). Next if going with tape, how many tracks will you be recording at the same time? For project studio dump (like clasp), 8 tracks but wider tape width may make more sense.
Old 6th February 2019
  #72
Gear Addict
Andrew, that's a crazy price! If it is in working order no reason not to buy.
Hell, if you don't like it I can take it off your hands if you just want to make your money back :-)
Old 30th March 2019
  #73
Lives for gear
 
Salty James's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes it's a hell of a cable-loom, all those ins and outs...but that will likely come with the recorder, if he's lucky.

It's all part of the character-building buy-in to the format...no way around it.

Digital is gonna look so uncomplicated and pristine by comparison...analog 1" or 2" is like parking a Mack truck in your studio

Oh....and you think those 2 washing machine motors are going to run silently while you record and mix ?....think again !

If you've ever been unnerved by the sound of computer fans or hard drives...this mechanical noise is on a whole other level.

I have worked with a bazillion tape machines and I have never once heard a loud tape machine.
Yes, yo will hear it when someone hits the remote button etc, but the tape path and motor operation are near silent. Even on a cheap deck!!

"...people talking, but they just don't know" - Jimi
Old 30th March 2019
  #74
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EvilRoy's Avatar
I've read the MTR 90 is like a Maytag, dependable and does the job. I've read that it's not much different from a Studer 820/827. I've read that there's an 820 in Ottawa for $6,500 on Reverb which is a 2 hour drive from Montreal, just sayin'.

May I ask how many tracks you usually record at once? I rarely record more than 8 at a time. Picked up an old Otari 8tk on 1". I need to recap, but once it's running, I'll be tracking to tape (and digital at the same time) and pulling it off the 3rd head in real time into the DAW, offset and lined up with DAW tracks. I can build analog recorded tracks, 8 at a time and it's less work to maintain/run a smaller machine. I also have an MCI 4 tk. If necessary, I could start both machines and pull 12 tracks into DAW.
Old 30th March 2019
  #75
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
wow, thats a very bad run ???? sad to hear that, but i think your experience might not be typical, at least from my experience.
Ehhhh...that was pretty much my experience as well.

I loved the way it sounded (MCI and Ampex machines were sonically far superior for that "tape" sound IMO) but my 2" (JH24) was a massive money and time soak. Talk about sessions screeching to a halt...... I could add the downtime from 25 years of DAW breakdowns and they wouldn't equal one month of downtime on the MCI.

Add to that the fact that parts and a tech who were familiar with MCI's (critical that it was not just ANY tech cause normal tech's would just wander around on it for hours trying to figure stuff out) were in short supply 15 years ago, and keeping a 2" machine running was a freaking nightmare. One that I am occasionally nostalgic for, but would in no way ever attempt again.

And the thought of reusing tape and tape shed and sticky syndrome....ugh. Been there, done that, would never record over a project on tape a second time, much less use it over and over. And I had to have an baking oven set up permanently by the end of my tape tenure.

If you understand the issues, embrace the tech surprises, have plenty of $$$ to keep things going and like the adventure - then go for it.

Or for most....don't.
Old 30th March 2019
  #76
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Best case scenario is to either buy one from Mara that has been rebuilt from the ground up or buy one from someone local that you know has been in use regularly.

For all the money I spent I should have bought one from Mara.
This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

IF - you are actually thinking about really running the machine for any amount of time, or keeping it into the future.

For every dollar you save buying an unknown project, you're going to have to add a zero to the end of that number it to keep it going. Buy a Mara and be done with it. At least you'll have a fighting chance and some support instead of a "great deal from a friend" that will cost you $$$$$$$ in the long run.

A rebuilt machine by a reputable and knowledgeable person is the ONLY freaking way I would ever consider tape.
Old 30th March 2019
  #77
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
I have worked with a bazillion tape machines and I have never once heard a loud tape machine.
Well....for context - my experience is quite different. As someone who mixed for a decade + with the 2" machine in front of the console, it was like a revelation when the machine was gone. I couldn't believe how quiet the CRM was.....

YMMV.
Old 30th March 2019
  #78
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
tape is tape.
you will get all the sound and character of tape.
Buddha
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolcott View Post
Not once you transfer to digital
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikelevitt View Post
That is absolutely not true.
I don't see why transfering tape signal to digital should 'kill' the tape effect. Digital is transparent and the mojo you get through tape will be printed to digital as well. The only additional process is the AD/DA conversion. Just get good converters.

Speaking for myself I know when I tracked to tape, I know what I got there. And I have some regrets when listening to some recordings I did and didn't have time to track to tape. And I know which recordings I did with SM900 as I'm using SM911 now. Sure my recorder is a special tube machine which provides a huge mojo. Yes alignment is long and painful. Yes it takes time to use it. But it's part of listening pleasure.

I think the main point about tape is relevant to the transients. That's why we get a more 'civilized' and 'ear comfortable' sound with tape for a part.

About the MTR90, I recorded a lot (as musician, not engineer) on this machine in the early 80's. And a Sony MCI then before going to the 3324 when they were released. I remember the Otari as a good, friendly and reliable machine, we could hit the tape strongly.

As for the tape, I've been using RTM (former RMG) since 8 years problem free. The only point was the SM900 didn't sound right on my machine, even @+6. I guess it's relevant to the machine's age. SM911 has been a reveal then. Everyone has to find the shoe which fits ;-)
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