The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Best Tape Machine and why? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 25th August 2007
  #31
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

i have an A827 - i am about to buy a second A827
i recorded one of the best sounding things i have ever worked on
this past week to 2" 16 track - live string section for six days -
amazing players - nothing beats recording live players to tape
thankfully, these tracks will never be converted before my ears
i will help this get mixed to 1/2" 2 track and then to rti for mastering to vinyl
the client will master it for cd at a reputable mastering house

the studer A827 will be the most practical
easiest machine to keep going as they were
manufactured up til 2000 and the last ones
were sold in 2007 - studer still makes parts
this alone means so much
they are the best made machines
easier to mod the electronics of the A827 than to
machine the parvex motor into anything else....



be well
you are in for a good journey
tape is far more than color.......



- jack
Old 25th August 2007
  #32
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
it is a good idea to have 2 ) even if they are synced together you can still pull a card if needed from the slave



Old 25th August 2007
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Rob G's Avatar
 

My Vote:

Studer A827 Gold Edition running Quantegy GP9 tape with 24 channels of Dolby-SR in XP rack form as the first input, & final output stage.

Rob G..
Old 25th August 2007
  #34
Lives for gear
 
soupking's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by w2w View Post
Its the music you create & put on the machine.

If the music has no "balls",the tape machine (or any other gear) is not going to give it any.

Any well maintained tape machine(Otari,MCI,Studer etc) will do just fine.

You would have to have pretty special ears to be able to close your eyes & tell what brand of tape machine a song was recorded on.

A good Idea would be to visit a few studios with tape machines & listen to them & see what you are getting yourself into to see if it is right for you,take notes on what you like & dont like about them.Your going to get a ton of different opinions from a message board.Decide what YOU like after spending some time hands on with them,its the only way to know.


Totally, take the song you love and tell me what tape machines they were recorded on.

But, I use a TASCAM 48 1/2 8-track so what do I know. As far as I care it's like a third the size of a real 2" but same rez. Maybe not "the best" but I'm making progress, learning a bunch, and getting sounds here and there that blow me away.

Just make sure it's got functionality. RTZ, SRC, scrubbing and calibration ease if possible. One major downside of my "crummy" TASCAM. Balanced cables in/outs are key as well.

Oh and that you like it. That's important as well.

In a perfect world, I'd get a Studer 827 because the calibrate themselves. Way cool.
Old 25th August 2007
  #35
MsM
Gear Nut
 

As to Studer parts, what worries me is the information in sonicdom's posts in this thread:

The end of Lexicon Reverb

Nice company, this Harman.... wonder why Allen & Heath didn't want to remain part of that Family...

Does anybody know the current situation for spare parts, in the US and Europe?
Old 25th August 2007
  #36
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Quote:
Does anybody know the current situation for spare parts, in the US and Europe?
your always better off if you have your own spares

call Frank at Harmon in LA and ask him about parts availability for your machine





.
Old 27th August 2007
  #37
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The two best machines I ever heard were a Stephens and a Studer A-800 that had the power supplies on each card modded for more current capability. Just below that comes a JH-24 in good condition with all of the factory updates.

The best 1/4" machines I've heard were the Studer C-37s we had at Motown, my own highly modified 15 ips. ReVox A-77 and Studers with power supply mods.

Studer made by far the best heads and transports. Their electronics could be wimpy but were easily modified to be as ballsy as an Ampex.
Old 27th August 2007
  #38
Gear Maniac
 
music friend's Avatar
 

THE BEST

2" =Studer 827
1/2" =Ampex ATR 102/4

Call me old fashioned, but I'm big on reliability
Old 27th August 2007
  #39
Lives for gear
 
yrplace's Avatar
 

Here's my personal rundown of favorites:

The best sounding deck is probably the Ampex ATR 124 but its the last one you'd ever want to own. Big... no make that huge and really tough to get and keep working properly.

Studer 800- another big great sounding machine that's a pain to keep working. Most studios never turn them off even tho they don't see much use because they tend to fail on power up.

MCI- poorly made copy of the Ampex 1200. Not bad sounding but somewhat unreliable.

Sony- forget it soundwise

Otari MTR-90- reliable , reliable, reliable. Kind of shy in the low end at 30 ips, but cheap and easy to find. I recently saw one at a used video dealer that was left outside to rot .

3M- Noooooo. Actually good sounding and cheap, but the double pinch roller in the tape path tends to destroy tape.

Soundcraft- nope

Ampex 1200 and 1100 - Great sounding decks, but they can be tough to maintain unless they've been restored

Studer A-80- good especially since they're cheap, but also BIG. Early ones have spaced heads that make punching in really tough. 15 ips 24 track is rather noisy. Alignment on all those seperate electronics is kind of a pain especially on the 24 track

I agree that the Studer 820 or 827 is the best choice if the relative high price isn't an issue. I personally prefer the 820, and if you can find one with 16 track heads you're golden, but it will likely cost more than a 24 track. BTW an 820 - 24 track with dolby SR is a great sounding combo, or go 15 ips CCIR non-dolby.

Mark
Old 27th August 2007
  #40
Lives for gear
 
yrplace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
<- You forgot to mention the Scully 100. heh
Ahh yes. I worked on one of those around 1973. Some are apparantly still in use but I don't consider it a practical machine for someone needing a good relaible deck.
Old 27th August 2007
  #41
Gear Nut
 

A few years ago on a full tracking session we compared an MTR-100 mk.II, A800 mk.III, and an 827. It seemed everyone thought the low end got better as we went up the line (100 to 800 to 827), but most people liked the sound of the 800 best, more of the Analog Artifacts. I was most impressed with the 827, but I'm going to lean towards the cleanest sounding path every time.
I'm also partial to adding the Analog ingredients at mixdown, a good 1/2" machine always does the trick.
Old 27th August 2007
  #42
Lives for gear
 
soundbarnfool's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by w2w View Post


Any well maintained tape machine(Otari,MCI,Studer etc) will do just fine.

You would have to have pretty special ears to be able to close your eyes & tell what brand of tape machine a song was recorded on.


yeah you right... tape formulas are important too!
Old 27th August 2007
  #43
Gear Head
 

I own 3 tape-machines. A fostex model-80, Fostex R8 and a Tascam syncaset 238.
That last one was broke when I bought it (always wondered why the
seller demonstrated the damn thing without sound... pwnt. - Now I know..)
Old 28th August 2007
  #44
Here for the gear
 

How about you Scotch tape up your fingers so you can't write anymore fruity posts?!
Old 28th August 2007
  #45
Gear Head
 

Talking about clean natural sound and "The best tapedeck ever"...
Nakamichi used to "filter" sound comming in before putting it on tape.
This way it gained dynamic power you could put on tape...
And it filtered out unnesc. things you otherwise dont like to or cannot hear. Like MP3 does.

Nice fact huh..?

But then again I was told this little fact....
Old 28th August 2007
  #46
hrn
Lives for gear
 
hrn's Avatar
 

Are the Telefunken's totally forgotten today.... Oh Yeah, that old battle against the Studers.....
Old 28th August 2007
  #47
High Fidelity
Guest
Another vote for Otari MTR-90 mkII. Always running, maintenance limited to cleaning, should you need repair all cards are easily accessible. Possibility for IC upgrade of audio cards. Critical service parts (roller rubbers, tension arms) can be found. Nice 3 positions (presets) tape alignment to select your tape flavor ... though choise is more limited nowadays. In 15 IPS solid low frequency response close to the Studer standards. Organic analog sound and 24 built-in non linear limiters (musical tape saturation).

OK some discrete electronics based 2" tape recorder can be another step (after complete overhall).

Until you hear something better ...

Old 30th August 2007
  #48
Gear Nut
 
Goreski's Avatar
 

Take this test - on what is the best sounding tape machine

Take this test on what is the BEST Sounding tape machine ever made...

See if you can name which machine sounds the best over all the others !!!

AnalogRules / BASE which Tape Recorder sounds the best?

Goreski
Old 31st August 2007
  #49
Lives for gear
 
beingmf's Avatar
 

Funny that no one mentioned a Lyrec (I'd really like to know how it compares to a Studer/MCI, cause from time to time I see one popping up in ebay or other FS lists).
So, anyone has worked with a Lyrec?
Old 31st August 2007
  #50
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
I've worked on both a Lyrec and a Saturn... both were quite unpleasant experiences. Believe it or not, Tascam made a 24 deck for about an hour... it was actually quite an impressive machine.

I think they actually delivered about 8 of them.

Peace.
Old 31st August 2007
  #51
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by music friend View Post
THE BEST

2" =Studer 827
1/2" =Ampex ATR 102/4

Call me old fashioned, but I'm big on reliability
thumbsup
Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom View Post

the studer A827 will be the most practical
easiest machine to keep going as they were
manufactured up til 2000 and the last ones
were sold in 2007 - studer still makes parts
this alone means so much
they are the best made machines
easier to mod the electronics of the A827 than tomachine the parvex motor into anything else....

- jack
thumbsup
Old 31st August 2007
  #52
Gear Nut
 
wirerecording's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by yrplace View Post
Here's my personal rundown of favorites:

The best sounding deck is probably the Ampex ATR 124 but its the last one you'd ever want to own. Big... no make that huge and really tough to get and keep working properly.

Studer 800- another big great sounding machine that's a pain to keep working. Most studios never turn them off even tho they don't see much use because they tend to fail on power up.

MCI- poorly made copy of the Ampex 1200. Not bad sounding but somewhat unreliable.

Sony- forget it soundwise

Otari MTR-90- reliable , reliable, reliable. Kind of shy in the low end at 30 ips, but cheap and easy to find. I recently saw one at a used video dealer that was left outside to rot .

3M- Noooooo. Actually good sounding and cheap, but the double pinch roller in the tape path tends to destroy tape.

Soundcraft- nope

Ampex 1200 and 1100 - Great sounding decks, but they can be tough to maintain unless they've been restored

Studer A-80- good especially since they're cheap, but also BIG. Early ones have spaced heads that make punching in really tough. 15 ips 24 track is rather noisy. Alignment on all those seperate electronics is kind of a pain especially on the 24 track

I agree that the Studer 820 or 827 is the best choice if the relative high price isn't an issue. I personally prefer the 820, and if you can find one with 16 track heads you're golden, but it will likely cost more than a 24 track. BTW an 820 - 24 track with dolby SR is a great sounding combo, or go 15 ips CCIR non-dolby.

Mark

I agree with Mark except...if you can keep a 3M M-79 running, they sound fantastic, for me every bit a s nice as an Ampex 1200

Yes the Ampex 124 are hugh, difficult to maintain (even when they were current) and my favorite sounding machine. (Never heard a Stevens or Scully)

The older MCI's can be made to work well with effort and the knowledge (and parts)and sound pretty much like Ampex 1200

The Studers 800 MK3/ 827/ A-80/ 820 (in personal choice order) are all great machines with solid transports, but tend to be pricey.

The Sony/MCI's don't have the discreet tonal character, but I like em because i have one in great shape with 16 and 24 heads and can't afford to change out.

Otari MTR 90's are ok (similar to Sony)

Tascam made a decent 2' 24 track. On the cheap side, but sounded ok.

If I were buying and had enough money i would buy 2 MM1200's just to have lots of spare part (but I have a good tech) or I would buy a studer 800 or 827. or if you want to go cheap with reliability, the Sony/MCI (make sure it DOES NOT have red chip sockets on the channel cards..if it does, replace them or lose your mind)

And yes the specific tape makes a hugh difference (456 great obvious compression sound,classic Vari-mu style/ 499-stiff and clear sounding...more limiting than gradual compression/TMGI 468-fairly clear, but with a smoothly colored compression, surprisingly good) But it is getting harder to get anything but the TMGI. Also what speed (15/30) makes a hugh difference in low end and headroom.

The machine and the tape both make a lot of difference, but having any machine in excellent shape meticulously aligned with give you a lot of the "zero attack time compression" that most people are after

stuart
Old 31st August 2007
  #53
Gear Addict
 
Gravity's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
In my experience the best "recording" deck is the MCI JH-24 ['82 & '83 models were really excellent... '86, '87 and '88 models the most reliable... and I'd avoid anything from '84 & '85 as those were "Sony" transition years].
.
Loved the JH-24's I worked on (except the one in one room that the studio never maintained and it was always biased differently every time i was in there... And never right... ;-)) They're great sounding machines when they worked right, and I always dug the remote... Kinda Deco looking...

I've also been a big fan of the Otari MTR90 mkIIs, though I always felt they had a bit less character then the MCI... CLeaner almost
Old 1st September 2007
  #54
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Don't ignore the importance of format. A set of 2" 16track heads at 15ips will make any of these machines sound better!
Old 1st September 2007
  #55
Lives for gear
 
jude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Han View Post
I've been working with an Otari MX80 for nearly ten years now. I want a second one.

Talking about reliable? This machine is as reliable as a Toyota Corolla.

dont know much bout tape machines, but i can tell you that my 1978 ke35 corolla is still hauling arse!

if these tape machines anre 1/100th reliable as my olfd beast i'll take 2!!!
Old 1st September 2007
  #56
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

I've owned a MCI JH-24 for years and although it isn't as 'hifi' as the Studers, it was a real workhorse. Thing was built like a tank.
Old 19th September 2007
  #57
Gear Maniac
 
Gzmo's Avatar
 

My Mci Jh-24 is really good if i want to just send to tape.
If im on a project to hit the sound im going to Studer.
The mci is a real workhorse i fully agree never went wrong anything in it.my studer needed a lot of patience and adjusments all the time...
Since my heads changed they are both quite awesome machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
I've owned a MCI JH-24 for years and although it isn't as 'hifi' as the Studers, it was a real workhorse. Thing was built like a tank.
Old 20th September 2007
  #58
Lives for gear
So....


I´ve werked with almost all of the above 2" machines (except 3M and Stephens)
IMO, MCI JH24 2" 16trk @ 15 ips sounds GREAT!!!!I use it everyday...
BUT, when I had my Ampex 1100 2" 16 trk "up and running" (for about 2 dayz) it sounded AMAZING!!!!
Also, l like Studer A80 MK1 or 2 alot as well...
If I had choice between getting a A827 and a RADAR, I´d get the RADAR....
Oh, and a 1/4" 2 trk @ 15 IPS for mixdown!Either a nice Scully 280 or Studer B67...
Never did like 1/2" 2 trk...zzzzzz---- Boooooring...
Also, I luv the sound of the Scully 280 1" 8trk....if you can handle it....heh

Peace,
T.
Old 20th September 2007
  #59
Lives for gear
Oh...

Does anyone have any good info on getting an Ampex 1100 "up and Running"?!?!?!
Seems to blow the trannies in the back every time it gets going...

Peace,
T.
Old 30th January 2009
  #60
Here for the gear
 

Analog Tape Machines

Hands down, Studer A800, then A827, then A820. However, availability wise and perhaps price these days, the 827s are incredible. They also are easy to align compared to the 800's (what a pain but worth the sound, just don't try to put up two or three songs a day-believe me).
We had them all when I worked at mirror image studios, (Tommy Uzzo, Troy Hightower, and many more amazing engineers) and I was fortunate to learn so much from them and Teks like Dave Buchter. It took me a while to hear the true subtleties of the A800's but they are sweet !
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
lanervoza / So much gear, so little time
6
nalin / So much gear, so little time
0
Circular Light / Low End Theory
21
blumediaprojekt / So much gear, so little time
2
FMNYC / So much gear, so little time
4

Forum Jump
Forum Jump