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best 2 track 1/4" tape machine? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 21st May 2010
  #91
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There's a few Studer A80's for sale in Finland right now, but neither has the meter bridge. Are they worth it without the bridge? Can I monitor what the recording sounds like in real time or do I have to stop and rewind?
Old 21st May 2010
  #92
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
heh


I am with you this one... I was schooled to buy this from Stephen Haselton. One of the best techs in the business.

I am loving mine! What a cure to the digi-itice virus.thumbsup My little brother made fun of me as I brought this to my studio. He calls it the pac man machine and thinks it only worth a few hundred dollars.

My brother has no clue about pro audio gear. He makes me chuckle for what he does not know. But I could not resist to tell him most of the records he loved to listen to from the 80s to 90s were recorded on this machine.
More like the 70-80s for a 440.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barfunkel View Post
There's a few Studer A80's for sale in Finland right now, but neither has the meter bridge. Are they worth it without the bridge? Can I monitor what the recording sounds like in real time or do I have to stop and rewind?
My left meter on my A80 is out right now, and it's fine. I use the console meters most of the time anyway. It's easier to align with the VUs right on the deck though.

You can listen to the repro head as it records. but there will be a slight delay, so if you're not doing an automated mix all of your fader moves will be at the wrong time. IF you're mixing 'by hand' you'd want the machine in input, then wind the tape back and listen in repro.
Old 22nd May 2010
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
More like the 70-80s for a 440.

Yes, if you are referring to the Ampex 440A or B.

Mine is an Ampex 440C that was built in 1981. And its the model with the DC servo motor.

440C is the best 440 series. Or at least what some of the best tape techs have told me.
Old 22nd May 2010
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
Yes, if you are referring to the Ampex 440A or B.

Mine is an Ampex 440C that was built in 1981. And its the model with the DC servo motor.

440C is the best 440 series. Or at least what some of the best tape techs have told me.
I'll bet that is a sweet sounding machine.
Old 23rd May 2010
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I'll bet that is a sweet sounding machine.

Yea bro, I am very happy with it. 15 and 30ips. The new Spitz mastering grade 1/2" heads are just superb for the music I work with..

Plus using ATR magnetics tape is another plus. They really make some good tape.

Very happy to have it. I want another tape machine! heh Like to get a hold of a vintage ampex 351 tube machine next.
Old 23rd May 2010
  #96
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Check out the Tandberg TD-20A, freaking AMAZING! Right in your price range also.
Old 23rd May 2010
  #97
Gear Head
 

Ampex Rules!!!

Hey Don nice score on that 440C...

OK people, check this video, notice the mastering deck, this was '69, this was a great sounding record:

YouTube - Jeff Beck Group (Rod Stewart) - Plynth-water down the drain
Old 23rd May 2010
  #98
Studer A812! thumbsup
Old 24th May 2010
  #99
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
Yea bro, I am very happy with it. 15 and 30ips. The new Spitz extended low end 1/2" heads are just superb for the music I work with..

Plus using ATR magnetics tape is another plus. They really make some good tape.

Very happy to have it. I want another tape machine! heh Like to get a hold of a vintage ampex 351 tube machine next.
The ATR tape does sound really nice. I haven't used the 2" yet, but everything I've mixed to it on 1/4" sounds great.
Old 24th May 2010
  #100
Gear Head
 

ATR Tape

Has anybody found a comparison of ATR tape and let's say, 456? Or something good for RoCk?
Old 24th May 2010
  #101
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8inthemorning's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lobit View Post
If you had to get a 1/4" in two track tape machine what would you look at, lets say between $800-$1500? floor standing would be okay. sound quality and reliability/lower maintanance would both be desirable features.
ATR102!!
Old 26th May 2010
  #102
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOSPEEDRACER View Post
Has anybody found a comparison of ATR tape and let's say, 456? Or something good for RoCk?

ATR is more open, slightly stiffer, and has way lower noise. 456 squishes more, which makes it cool for tracks but a bit too soft for mixes.

456 also has a less silky top, it's got a grain. A cool grain, but a grain nonetheless. It's the world's coolest vocal and electric guitar compressor.

ATR sounds expensive, amazing balance of color and clarity, glue and transient fidelity.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 26th May 2010
  #103
Gear Head
 

CoOl Deal UBK,,,

maybe a great combo is tracking to 456 for say, RoCk, and mixing 2 track to ATR? Especially given today's studio environments going hybrid. Thanx for the heads up
Old 26th May 2010
  #104
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8inthemorning View Post
ATR102!!
Regarded as "king of the hill" by many "in the know".
Old 26th May 2010
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Regarded as "king of the hill" by many "in the know".


Yea I would love to add this one to line up. Mike Spitz charges 10Gs for his and its totally up to spec by him. VK. $7500. I want to wait to find something a little cheaper. But the Ampex 351 tubed machine sounds really interesting. A nice color to have in the studio. I think the 351 is harder to find than the 102 or is it the other way around?
Old 27th May 2010
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
Yea I would love to add this one to line up. Mike Spitz charges 10Gs for his and its totally up to spec by him. VK. $7500. I want to wait to find something a little cheaper. But the Ampex 351 tubed machine sounds really interesting. A nice color to have in the studio. I think the 351 is harder to find than the 102 or is it the other way around?
A lot of 350 and 351 have been cannibalized for mic pres. The transport is a really old design and, from what I've been told, not the most gentle. And I'm not sure if there's enough bias current for high output tape, but it might.
Old 27th May 2010
  #107
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I'm using a Studer A807 in my studio with ATR tape at 15ips. In its stock form the machine ran well, but honestly its sound was not worlds different than the Otari MX55 I had been using. Then I modded it--LME49720 op amps, Panasonic FM electrolytics, and Wima FKP film caps. I also removed the output transformer which really did amazing things to the transient response and overall clarity. At this point I'm having a really really hard time telling the difference between a digital source and the playback of that source after it has been recorded to the deck. At loud monitoring levels the hiss is the only thing that gives it away. In a sense I've created something that can be as pristine and uncolored as digital, but unlike digital can be pushed to change the relationship between transient and RMS program material. Oh...and most importantly all sense of space and depth is accurately maintained.

From where I'm sitting I don't see the point in printing a mix to the computer ever again.

Brad
Old 6th June 2010
  #108
Nrt
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Many top mastering engineers who use ATR102 swear that the sound of the tapes recorded with Ampex 351 is always absolutely gorgeous. Although ATR102 is the best for the mastering studios, 351 could be the best choice for the recording studios, especially if you are looking for the "tape" sound. The sound of the 351 recording amp is very clean and warm, and the playback amp sound "vintage".

Maintenance is very easy for 351, OK for 102.

I wouldn't buy Studer for 2 track. Studer sound boring to me, especially 1/4. I'd rather choose Otari over Studer 1/4...
Old 7th June 2010
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrt View Post
Many top mastering engineers who use ATR102 swear that the sound of the tapes recorded with Ampex 351 is always absolutely gorgeous. Although ATR102 is the best for the mastering studios, 351 could be the best choice for the recording studios, especially if you are looking for the "tape" sound. The sound of the 351 recording amp is very clean and warm, and the playback amp sound "vintage".

Maintenance is very easy for 351, OK for 102.

I wouldn't buy Studer for 2 track. Studer sound boring to me, especially 1/4. I'd rather choose Otari over Studer 1/4...
Yea, I can imagine that. Ampex's 440, 351s, 350s, have color. A character. I like character. Clean is boring..

A few of my Tape Tech guys who have tons of experience in the business dealing with tape machines told me not to buy a Studer for a mix down deck. I guess a sterile studer would be good for a mastering engineer though. The only studer mentioned to be worthy was the A820. Both told me to buy an Ampex and I listened with no regret.
Old 7th June 2010
  #110
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dodgeaspen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobit View Post
If you had to get a 1/4" in two track tape machine what would you look at, lets say between $800-$1500? floor standing would be okay. sound quality and reliability/lower maintanance would both be desirable features.
I had to jump in. So far I have used a Tascam 32 and Otari MTR-10 they are both 1/4' and I really like the MTR better so far. I'm thinking about converting to 1/2' heads on the MTR for what I hope to be even better results.
Old 7th June 2010
  #111
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I am very, very surprised to see that Nagra and Stellavox are not mentioned here more...

Those are the epitome of Swiss Engineering Perfection....


Stellavox Sp-8, Nagra T-Audio...Discerning users across the universe "in the know" use these.... (Plush being one of them) Kavi Alexander being another


http://www.audioprojpg.com/master.html

Stellavox in Action

http://www.reel2reel.tv/ADC/___quelletpreview.wmv (all music recorded with the Stellavox)

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...stellavox.html
Old 3rd July 2010
  #112
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You guys are getting me interested in a 1/4 inch machine. but...you still have to get it to digital in the end...what about running through a portico 5042, etc? surely the tape machine is more expensive to operate...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
I'm using a Studer A807 in my studio with ATR tape at 15ips. In its stock form the machine ran well, but honestly its sound was not worlds different than the Otari MX55 I had been using. Then I modded it--LME49720 op amps, Panasonic FM electrolytics, and Wima FKP film caps. I also removed the output transformer which really did amazing things to the transient response and overall clarity. At this point I'm having a really really hard time telling the difference between a digital source and the playback of that source after it has been recorded to the deck. At loud monitoring levels the hiss is the only thing that gives it away. In a sense I've created something that can be as pristine and uncolored as digital, but unlike digital can be pushed to change the relationship between transient and RMS program material. Oh...and most importantly all sense of space and depth is accurately maintained.

From where I'm sitting I don't see the point in printing a mix to the computer ever again.

Brad
Old 3rd July 2010
  #113
Gear Addict
 
Deuce 225's Avatar
 

Best 2 Track...

We will be mixing a record next week from our JH110A 8 track (RMGI 911 1inch tape) to our JH110B 1/4 in two track next week (ATR Tape for mixdown). I am also nearing completion of the restoration of 4 MCI JH110 decks I purchased in April, two 4 tracks and two 2 tracks. I'm trying to keep up with Chris Mara....but it can't be done. heh
Best,
Tim Cochran
Old 4th July 2010
  #114
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by once a roadie View Post
You guys are getting me interested in a 1/4 inch machine. but...you still have to get it to digital in the end...what about running through a portico 5042, etc? surely the tape machine is more expensive to operate...
Send the 1/4" tape to a mastering house with a good analog signal path, and high quality D/A to get it to digital and the very last moment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce 225 View Post
We will be mixing a record next week from our JH110A 8 track (RMGI 911 1inch tape) to our JH110B 1/4 in two track next week (ATR Tape for mixdown). I am also nearing completion of the restoration of 4 MCI JH110 decks I purchased in April, two 4 tracks and two 2 tracks. I'm trying to keep up with Chris Mara....but it can't be done. heh
Best,
Tim Cochran
Chris is becoming the tape whisperer.
Old 16th July 2012
  #115
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman View Post
Telefunken M10, M15
Studer A80
Is M10 close sonically to Telefunken M15 ?
Which one do you prefer from those 3 recorders?
thanks
Old 16th July 2012
  #116
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recky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
Is M10 close sonically to Telefunken M15 ?
Which one do you prefer from those 3 recorders?
thanks
I have never heard them side by side, but they should be almost identical. It's ease of maintenance that made me go for the M15a. Since both machines were used by the national German broadcast companies and basically produced to their requirements, each reflects the state-of-the-art of their respective eras, yet sonically they will be very similar, and by that I mean excellent.
I have a Studer A80 multitrack next to my M15a, but that would be comparing apples and oranges. They're both great sounding machines. It really doesn't matter which one to get.
Cheers
Recky
Old 16th July 2012
  #117
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by recky View Post
I have never heard them side by side, but they should be almost identical. It's ease of maintenance that made me go for the M15a. Since both machines were used by the national German broadcast companies and basically produced to their requirements, each reflects the state-of-the-art of their respective eras, yet sonically they will be very similar, and by that I mean excellent.
I have a Studer A80 multitrack next to my M15a, but that would be comparing apples and oranges. They're both great sounding machines. It really doesn't matter which one to get.
Cheers
Recky
hi Recky.....thanks for the reply.....
...and if someone would ask you to pick only one of those 2, the one which sounds more phat and open, less clean and crispy?
Old 16th July 2012
  #118
Lives for gear
 

I mix to an Ampex ag440c 2 track 1/4 inch. Bought it from the CLEO awards for $100, barely used and in excellent condition..needed some recapping work because it had sat for years in what, the guy who rebuilt it thought, were warm conditions.

He got it up to spec and this thing just kills. 1/4 inch 2 track is just fine as long as the machine is working properly.

I recently picked up two 440c parts machines for $100 each that are a bit more worn, cosmetically, than mine, but, I got em home and they freakin work pretty damn well..transports, excellent, most likely some card issues but they're rectifiable..Sorta difficult for me to tear them down for parts, probably going to slowly refurb them,,one's a 4 track 1/2 inch and the others 2 track 1/4 inch..people give these things away and you can find good machines if you're patient.
Old 16th July 2012
  #119
Gear Addict
 
recky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
hi Recky.....thanks for the reply.....
...and if someone would ask you to pick only one of those 2, the one which sounds more phat and open, less clean and crispy?
I honestly couldn't tell you. My guess is that the Tele is a bit beefier, the Studer perhaps a little crisper/lighter, but then a lot depends on calibration, tape formula, etc.
Old 17th July 2012
  #120
Lives for gear
 

Be careful: yes the Studers are all great, but parts can be a killer. Yes, there are half-track and high-speed Revox A77s but I don't think they are in the same league.

Working (somewhat) Otari MX5050B-II decks go for for $100-$1500 and up. I got lucky with a $150 unit which, re-capped, sounds OK, has head-life left on it, and a transport that works well. But add the Bottlehead $800 repro amp kit and you can have something special. Nice thing about the Otaris are parts availability and reasonable cost. Also, there are so many of these decks that come on the market for almost nothing (beat-to-s**t decks from radio stations) it's actually practical to buy a "parts deck" or two, if you've got the space for them. BTW, build quality on the Otaris is outatanding - they are tanks, and access to its innards is pretty good. And put these in your budget: re-lapping or replacing heads, blank tape, alignment tape, take-up reel(s), parts like pinch rollers, an oscilloscope is invaluable... the list goes on and on and on, and every item costs.

But when it all comes together, it can be pretty great.

WW
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