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Burt Wants an analog 2trk machine! Help a brotha out Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 28th January 2011
  #1
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Burt Wants an analog 2trk machine! Help a brotha out

I have decided I'd like to get a 2trk deck to mix to...also to bounce the occasional trk to and fro....

I want color and vibe...I dont want clean sounding, I want a deck with some mojo.

What's a good deck for me?

thanks Slutz
Old 28th January 2011
  #2
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Maybe an a80 2 track...
Old 28th January 2011
  #3
An old Ampex 350 if you can find one. Great tube/transformer mojo. thumbsup

.
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Burt Wants an analog 2trk machine! Help a brotha out-ampex350.jpg  
Old 28th January 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flymax View Post
Maybe an a80 2 track...
That's what I was thinking too. Mine is an A80R and its class a and sounds wonderful.
Old 29th January 2011
  #5
Ampex 350, or an AG440 series 1/4".
Or, if heavier equated to better, an all-valve Studer C37.
Old 29th January 2011
  #6
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Hey guys thanks a bunch... I'm absorbing the info heh thumbsup
Old 30th January 2011
  #7
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Im after a ampex atr102..... got one here locally im checking into
Old 30th January 2011
  #8
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I believe the 102 is the exact opposite of what you're looking for as described in your first post......
Old 30th January 2011
  #9
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HOW SO??

Quote:
Originally Posted by beats workin' View Post
I believe the 102 is the exact opposite of what you're looking for as described in your first post......
Old 30th January 2011
  #10
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That looks amazing thumbsup heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
An old Ampex 350 if you can find one. Great tube/transformer mojo. thumbsup

.
Old 30th January 2011
  #11
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102 is hifi
Old 30th January 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
I have decided I'd like to get a 2trk deck to mix to...also to bounce the occasional trk to and fro....

I want color and vibe...I dont want clean sounding, I want a deck with some mojo.
I'm no longer sure I have any idea what these words mean in relation to sound. I do know that mixing to 3M M-79 and now M-23 2-tracks generally makes me smile. They have really good electronics and high-spec transports. Kinda rare these days and odd, of course, so you have to get used to maintaining a different transport.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 30th January 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by beats workin' View Post
I believe the 102 is the exact opposite of what you're looking for as described in your first post......
Agreed. ATR 102 is a clean, mastering quality machine. If you want color and vibe, you will get more from something like the 350 I already mentioned, or maybe an Ampex 440 would be easier to find and more affordable.

.
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Burt Wants an analog 2trk machine! Help a brotha out-ag440c.jpg  
Old 30th January 2011
  #14
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Words from a tech friend

his words exactly....

"the short story is let it go...

the only way to make it pay is to have intimate knowledge of the operation of the machine to fix it when applicable"



DO you slutz agree?
Old 31st January 2011
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
his words exactly....

"the short story is let it go...

the only way to make it pay is to have intimate knowledge of the operation of the machine to fix it when applicable"



DO you slutz agree?
I think you will find that many non-tape-using slutz will agree, and most tape-using slutz will disagree with that advice.

There is a learning curve and there are maintenance issues with tape machines, but those of us who own them tend to love them enough to deal with all of that.

You don't have to do your own repairs, I don't. But you need to know how to operate, maintain and calibrate it properly.

Or you can just buy an emulation plug-in that will take you part-way there...

.
Old 31st January 2011
  #16
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Thanks Justin, Yea I am with you man. I am not a fan of emulators at all. I am going in a analog direction... I am collecting all kinds of vintage pieces...tape seems like the obvious next step. I mean i was trained on it 17 yrs. ago.. heh I have just never owned a deck nor have I used one much at all. BUT I am not a total idiot and I know what I want sonically and I "think" the tape deck is part of that equation.

I am still on the quest thumbsup
Old 31st January 2011
  #17
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I've had tape machines for 30 years... breakdowns have been very few.

Just pick one up with the same eye you'd use to buy a used car. Make sure it's fully working before you buy it. If you can find a low mileage example and leave some money aside for a trip to the repair guy in case there are parts or a recap needed, you'll be fine.

The consumer decks are not as fun to use in the studio IMO... I'd stick with an Ampex ATR, Otari MTR, Studer A-80, 807, 810, 820. They are cheap enough now. And an Ampex ATR 102 can have plenty of vibe, just put some 3M 250 or 456 tape on it and enjoy lots of tape saturation mojo.
Old 31st January 2011
  #18
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There are a lot of Ampex 350 and 351 (octal and 9-pin tubes, respectively) out there. Given that you're in LA, finding one shouldn't be too hard, and getting it fixed not too hard either. Your best bet is as advised, get a working machine, which will be the hardest part. Better to get one that's mechanically good with electronic problems than vice versa.

These machines sound really good; when properly set up and used, they sound better than that. They were the industry standard machines for close to fifteen years, and the idea was accurate reproduction, so "instant mojo" - if that means distortion - won't be there.

If you're looking for lo-fi, a smaller reel-to-reel consumer recorder might be the way to go. They're even harder to find in working condition, though.

The Ampex list is still going strong; it's a great resource that includes many of the original Ampex engineers. If you want to find a machine, it would be a good place to include in your search. I wouldn't use the "m word", though.

Ampex Virtual Museum and Ampex Mailing List
Old 31st January 2011
  #19
I have a 2" 16 MM1200 (the biggest tone monster around) and an ATR 800 1/4" (which sounds massive BTW and is a highly underrated and unknown machine it seems, it's actually a little cleaner than the MM1200) both @ 15ips....my personal advice is to get the tracking unit if you want more of an overall difference. Both are completely recapped from head to toe.

Just mixing to tape does make things wider/deeper though, just not as much as tracking to it. Tracking and mixing to it is amazing. If you track 16 tracks of fundamentals to the tape (and are well rehearsed with the tracks, in other words use digital as a scratch pad for writing)`just dump everything in at once after all 16 are filled. To my ears drums, electric guitars and synths get the most benefit. Bass guitar and vocals not as much, but still cool. I've been using 499 which is quiet and (for tape) quite clear and open in the top and bottom. 456 sounds a little more 'vintage' (less clear than 499, softer mids) to my ears for lack of a better word.
Old 31st January 2011
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by myles View Post
"instant mojo" - if that means distortion - won't be there.

....

The Ampex list is still going strong; it's a great resource that includes many of the original Ampex engineers. If you want to find a machine, it would be a good place to include in your search. I wouldn't use the "m word", though.

Ampex Virtual Museum and Ampex Mailing List
Well, they're full of tubes and wonderful big old transformers which have sweet coloration ("mojo?"), though I too wouldn't call it distortion. Definitely a different sound than an ATR or most newer machines IMO. Not that I don't LOVE my ATR 102! The OP seems to be looking for a colored machine, so...

Hey, thanks for that link!!!

.
Old 31st January 2011
  #21
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Thanks or the reply Nathan.. at this point I am putting together my mixing room... the places I track out of already have tape machines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
I have a 2" 16 MM1200 (the biggest tone monster around) and an ATR 800 1/4" (which sounds massive BTW and is a highly underrated and unknown machine it seems, it's actually a little cleaner than the MM1200) both @ 15ips....my personal advice is to get the tracking unit if you want more of an overall difference. Both are completely recapped from head to toe.

Just mixing to tape does make things wider/deeper though, just not as much as tracking to it. Tracking and mixing to it is amazing. If you track 16 tracks of fundamentals to the tape (and are well rehearsed with the tracks, in other words use digital as a scratch pad for writing)`just dump everything in at once after all 16 are filled. To my ears drums, electric guitars and synths get the most benefit. Bass guitar and vocals not as much, but still cool. I've been using 499 which is quiet and (for tape) quite clear and open in the top and bottom. 456 sounds a little more 'vintage' (less clear than 499, softer mids) to my ears for lack of a better word.
Old 31st January 2011
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Dempsey View Post
Ampex 350, or an AG440 series 1/4".

Burt, these are what I was seriously considering when I was shopping around back in 2002. Although, I've heard there is a bit more wow and flutter than in more modern machines which may or may not make a difference. If I win the lotto I'm probably going to get one of these in 'museum' condition.
Old 31st January 2011
  #23
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looks like an atr102 is gonna be mine at the end of the week
Old 31st January 2011
  #24
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congratulations on the purchase Burt, enjoy!


I'm wondering where you guys feel the MCI 110 sits amongst all these?
Old 31st January 2011
  #25
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haven't actually made the purchase as of yet...but it's a comin! heh
Old 1st February 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
haven't actually made the purchase as of yet...but it's a comin! heh
Good to hear Burt ! Welcome to the club!

As far as the guy who asked about MCI great machines but it all comes down to condition .
Old 1st February 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
his words exactly....

"the short story is let it go...

the only way to make it pay is to have intimate knowledge of the operation of the machine to fix it when applicable"



DO you slutz agree?
That's total BS. **** breaks, yes. So do consoles, so do cars, so do dishwashers, are you not gonna have them either? Of course not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
I have a 2" 16 MM1200 (the biggest tone monster around) and an ATR 800 1/4" (which sounds massive BTW and is a highly underrated and unknown machine it seems, it's actually a little cleaner than the MM1200) both @ 15ips....my personal advice is to get the tracking unit if you want more of an overall difference. Both are completely recapped from head to toe.

Just mixing to tape does make things wider/deeper though, just not as much as tracking to it. Tracking and mixing to it is amazing. If you track 16 tracks of fundamentals to the tape (and are well rehearsed with the tracks, in other words use digital as a scratch pad for writing)`just dump everything in at once after all 16 are filled. To my ears drums, electric guitars and synths get the most benefit. Bass guitar and vocals not as much, but still cool. I've been using 499 which is quiet and (for tape) quite clear and open in the top and bottom. 456 sounds a little more 'vintage' (less clear than 499, softer mids) to my ears for lack of a better word.
Really good and spot on post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by superburtm View Post
looks like an atr102 is gonna be mine at the end of the week
Nice!
Old 1st February 2011
  #28
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Thanks Drum sound... yea that tech kinda pissed off.

Now somebody please buy my Lachapell 583s ad neumann km184 so I can buy my Tape machine!
Old 1st February 2011
  #29
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Burt Wants an analog 2trk machine! Help a brotha out

Definitely not a tape machine expert, but what about something like the studer a807 mk1? Thats a two track, 1/4 machine, right? Studer's last production, probably super reliable?
Old 1st February 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff D. View Post
And an Ampex ATR 102 can have plenty of vibe, just put some 3M 250 or 456 tape on it and enjoy lots of tape saturation mojo.
Yep. I think you'll be happy with the ATR. A 440 or a 350 would be a cool deck too but day in day out this one is going to end up getting picked vs. the digital I bet. Lotsa cool / vibe / mojo rock records mixed to ATR102 no doubt.
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