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best 2 track 1/4" tape machine? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 25th March 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
best 2 track 1/4" tape machine?

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.
Old 25th March 2010
  #2
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la grange's Avatar
 

not sure I get it.
1/4" are usually not that great, at least compare to 1/2".
What is it for? FX? Do you have a 2" and want to bounce analog?
I used to have an otari Mx5050. It was OK but nothing to rave about. They are worth around $400,00

Oli
Old 25th March 2010
  #3
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
not sure I get it.
1/4" are usually not that great, at least compare to 1/2".


A lot of records mixed to 1/4" tape, likely more than any other format.
Old 25th March 2010
  #4
Old 25th March 2010
  #5
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Nagra Baby..

Nagra IV
Old 26th March 2010
  #6
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la grange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post


A lot of records mixed to 1/4" tape, likely more than any other format.
O god!
You might be right by saying a lot of records were done on quarters.
But I don't think the quality is better than a 1/2 inch machine.
I did ask what was the purpose of this machine as it might be a better option to get a RND 5042.
a magnetic tape is not a magic wand. At least not all of them.

Oli
Old 26th March 2010
  #7
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
You might be right by saying a lot of records were done on quarters.
But I don't think the quality is better than a 1/2 inch machine.
Yes, technically the 1/2" will spec out better, but every format (and machine) has its own sound.

Some people claim 1/4" sounds better for mixing down rock music than 1/2".
Old 26th March 2010
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
not sure I get it.
1/4" are usually not that great, at least compare to 1/2"
Yeah, right.

I've mixed styles as diverse as bluegrass and metal to 1/4" 2 track and they both benefited and sounded great.
Old 26th March 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Yes, technically the 1/2" will spec out better, but every format (and machine) has its own sound.

Some people claim 1/4" sounds better for mixing down rock music than 1/2".
Rock?
give me a MCI 2" 16 tracks to print and a Ampex ATR 102 to mix. Anytime.
Oh, and a revox to rest my feet on...

But seriously, you are right. Lots of machines have different sound. Even though I am not a tape machine guru, I know that some machines are better suited for some sounds than others. And that s why I want to make sure that Lobit isn't gonna spend $1000 on something that actually will bring very little to his recording final quality.

Peace as some famous guy would say.

Oli
Old 26th March 2010
  #10
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
Rock?
give me a MCI 2" 16 tracks to print and a Ampex ATR 102 to mix. Anytime.

Agreed. My only point was that your first post seemed to imply that 1/4" tape was an inferior mixdown format.
Old 26th March 2010
  #11
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Revox A77's are popular here, but i'm in no way a tape expert and won't be able if they are high end or what the price is they are going for. I'm a digital recording guy with almost no tape experience
Old 26th March 2010
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
give me a MCI 2" 16 tracks to print and a Ampex ATR 102 to mix. Oli
That's all well and good, but the guy asked for recommendations for a 1/4" tape machine between $800 and $1500, and neither of those does him any good.
Old 26th March 2010
  #13
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la grange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio Addict View Post
That's all well and good, but the guy asked for recommendations for a 1/4" tape machine between $800 and $1500, and neither of those does him any good.
read the progression of the debate and you'll find out how we ended up here. This is GS you're reading mate! you know what it's like!

So.. Lobit... tell us what you want to do with your machine!

Oli
Old 26th March 2010
  #14
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I think most A77s were 7 1/2 ips, I would try to go for at least 15 ips.
Old 26th March 2010
  #15
Gear Maniac
wow lots of responses,

I record disco sounding stuff. so would be to bounce a mix from my daw, or possibly subgroups individually, and re-assemble them. depending on how into it i'm feeling.
Old 26th March 2010
  #16
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Jeancab's Avatar
In good condition, a Studer A80 would be fine.
Smooth transport, good sound, reliable, and maintenance is not a nightmare.
Old 26th March 2010
  #17
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Technics RS-1500 decks are pretty decent. Hard to get parts for though, so they say. If you can live with 7 1/2, the Pioneer RT-707 can be really sweet. Or an Astrocom-Marlux.

best,

john
Old 26th March 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
nagra IV is so small, how could it possibly compete with something like an a80 sonically?
Old 26th March 2010
  #19
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Studer.
+1
Old 26th March 2010
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Scully 280 or Ampex 440
Old 26th March 2010
  #21
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Whether disco or not I am very happy with my £160 Studer B67 off ebay for such tasks exactly. Simple, stinks of 'tape' and gives you that thing you're reaching for that your computer won't.
Old 26th March 2010
  #22
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobit View Post
nagra IV is so small, how could it possibly compete with something like an a80 sonically?
read the history of the company. Seriously. Do some research and your question is answered.

The Nagra(and stellavox) sound much better than anything studer.

size has nothing to do with it.
Old 26th March 2010
  #23
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Telefunken M10, M15
Studer A80
Old 26th March 2010
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

I think the more modern and best 1/4 is the Revox C270, if we don´t speak heavy machines. All inside this Revox is of course Studer. I know a vintage seller in Europe who has several. I could give his email in private message in you want.

In the thread next to this thread that I openned called "414 for overheads?..." you can listen a song "clases de infinito" that has been mastered with that Revox C270.
Old 26th March 2010
  #25
Well!

The best spec'd overall all tube british machine might be a BTR 90 but I really love the tone from the old Vortexion CBL master recorder:

Far better than a soft headed old G36 kraut recorder:
Google Image Result for http://www.reeltoreel.de/worldwide/Images/C36-01.jpg
Old 26th March 2010
  #26
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Plush's Avatar
The best two channel tape recorder was the Nagra T-Audio. However, it is not usually available used in that price range. It was a double capstan machine with a special inter-capstan tape tension sensor that monitored the tape for best head contact.

It is clearly the best ever made.

p.s.--The only real difference between 1/4" and 1/2" is that 1/2" is 3dB quieter than the 1/4" format.
Old 26th March 2010
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by la grange View Post
O god!
You might be right by saying a lot of records were done on quarters.
But I don't think the quality is better than a 1/2 inch machine.
I did ask what was the purpose of this machine as it might be a better option to get a RND 5042.
a magnetic tape is not a magic wand. At least not all of them.

Oli
It's not so much a matter of how wide the tape is, but how wide the track being recorded on the tape is. A 1/4" machine recording two tracks has the same track width as a 1/2" 4-track or a 2" 16-track.
Old 26th March 2010
  #28
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTrax View Post
It's not so much a matter of how wide the tape is, but how wide the track being recorded on the tape is. A 1/4" machine recording two tracks has the same track width as a 1/2" 4-track or a 2" 16-track.
Not really, sorry, cause the tracks aren´t sitting on each other, there is space between.
Peace
Old 26th March 2010
  #29
Gear Addict
 
la grange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTrax View Post
It's not so much a matter of how wide the tape is, but how wide the track being recorded on the tape is. A 1/4" machine recording two tracks has the same track width as a 1/2" 4-track or a 2" 16-track.
point taken and known.
so do the math... 2 tracks 1/2" and 2 tracks 1/4".
There for... in principle...
But all of you guys are right saying some quarters are better than some half.
The 2 tracks machines being used mainly as masters, there was enough hiss as it was, so no need to add some more. And that is why, most of the studios would chose the best 1/2" possible. I learned this before I was an assistant, when I was only tea boy!


Got enough of this, going for a nap before work tonight... dreaming about baking tapes...



Oli
Old 26th March 2010
  #30
ktf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregdeerberg View Post
Scully 280 or Ampex 440
+1
I haven't heard the Scully but Ampex sounds fantastic.I just got a low hour ag440. No IC's in the machine, that not only means a discrete signal path but there are no hard to find or expensive tape control IC's. I was considering a Studer 810 and you have to have back up of all the PROM chips and make sure the internal battery doesn't go flat or it won't hold an alignment. Recapping is a big job, an electronic problem coud be a nightmare. The 440 has very few electrolytic in it. There is probably about 12 in the whole machine. It is super easy to maintain (everything is built for field service), and it easy to use. No bells and whistles though. If you need locates you will need an ATR or something. And it doesn't have tape sensing so if you press play while it's still coasting down from rewind you will be hating life.
It's a great time to be a buyer in the tape market. MCI's and Otari's are going for around five hundred buck all over Craigslist. There is a guy in Texas that want to sell his nice looking Studer 810 for about $1,100. Search Gearslutz for that.
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