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Revox PR99 mk3 Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 14th July 2014
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaygan View Post
Hey bumping that thread here because I'm currently interested in buying a Revox PR99. Unfortunately I've never seen a real one and it's not the kind of thing you can go and try at your local store, so if there are some experts I'd love to have a few infos.
Basically I want to use it as an effect and to eventually bounce my final mixes (back to my daw). The thing is I'd love to use it as a saturation effect for some stuff like kicks (doing electronic music), but I don't really know if this kind of machine "reacts well" when pushed hard. I'm looking for nice saturation, not crazy distortion, still something you can hear, not THAT subtle. This subtle tape effect would be used for my mixes, but as an effect I'd like to push it hard so am I looking at the right device? Thanks!
Hello, thanks for forwarding your question via pm. I just came back here to read the thread and I see others have replied and provided samples.

If the effect is too subtle for your purpose then probably the PR99 isn't the right tool for you. I find it quite transparent, also it's an half track machine (it has more space on tape for each channel) and this makes it even more transparent.

Regarding saturation, as remarked by others, it's largely due to interaction with tape (usually you don't want to saturate the electronics which usually are solid-state), so if you want to maximize it you'll want to:

1 - use the lowest speed available: this increases distortion and lowers the max saturation level (unfortunately for you (?) the lower speed provides better basses: one of the advantage of bouncing from DAW a multitrack project is that you can use different speeds for bass guitars/ bass drums and the rest of the tracks).
2 - use tape formulas with lower output: this avoids the need to push the gain too much and risk to have the electronics clip, intead of the tape.

Regarding (1) see these pdf documents (Data-sheets for RGMi 900,911,468,LPR35 Tapes. | audioexmachina) and compare the graphs at 15ips vs 7.5 ips: higher distortion, lower saturation level at 7.5. (NOTE: those are high-output tapes not recommended in your case, what is relevant is the high/low speed difference).

Regarding (2) see this brief explanation in another post of mine (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7530047-post8.html).

The other poster that kindly provided a sample for you used a mid-output tape (LGR-50) so, other than making another try at 7.5 ips I don't think you should expect the effect will be much more noticeable than what you already heard.

One last thing. The same amount of "tape sound" may be perceived as huge or very subtle depending on the kind of musical material being processed: what goes unnoticed in an electronic piece might be very audible in an acoustic jazz trio recording.
Old 14th July 2014
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaygan View Post
Was the signal going through pushed hard enough to "make input meters almost always go beyond or near 0" (just to have an idea)?
The concept of "0" is quite debatable regarding the PR99. See in the pic below all the trimpots you have available to play with to redefine your preferred "0" in case you decide to get one of these machines (the PR99 is the one on top).

(just kidding and trying to keep you interested in the device despite the previous answer fo mine :-) )

Old 14th July 2014
  #33
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Thanks guys and thanks Audioexmachina, I see things more clearly now especially about the tape output aspect and so the fact that choosing tape might be a more important choice than the machine. It's a thing to read it as a fact but now I can understand why ; ) So in that perspective may I ask what kind of machine / tape combination would be a good association to "get tape (and not electronics) saturation easily"? As Jetam suggested I'm also gonna take look at cassette deck. I'm not really fond of the vulture culture effect.
Old 15th April 2015
  #34
Gear Head
An older thread but I have found a PR99 locally which is a godsend. I bought a Tascam 32 with rack and Dbx and the cost to ship it to me was about the cost of the machine. Having read through this extensively it seems the best way is for tracking from a console like a Soundcraft I have on order to the machine, even if it is one track at a time at 7.5 ips.

Soundcraft rep says you can really hit the buss hard and then Master out into the PR99 and finally back into DAW for editing and then back to the console which has a USB return on all channels and when hitting the tape hard maybe at 15 ips.

Right now I am doing jazz, soul, funk retro so i may even want to try recording at 3.75 to see if it can get that vintage sound I really want.

Here is an example done al ITB I want to make more vintage

https://soundcloud.com/thesoulbrothe...e-vodoo-lounge
Old 8th July 2017
  #35
I.P
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PRs still alive!

about this ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
A couple things: the XLR outputs are not optimal. The electronic balancing circuit is crappy, and the B77 actually sounds better than the pr99's XLRs. However, that does not matter, because you can tap the unbalanced monitor outputs and calibrate them to your desired level. You need a 5 pin connector, like a midi cable but solder type, and find the pinout. WIth these outputs, the machine is superior to the B77. :
@unfiltered420 how you had the machine connected, remember?
you had 100% legit balanced connections between the device or used various adapters / factory xlr-rca cables?

best regards!!

Last edited by I.P; 11th July 2017 at 01:36 PM..
Old 21st July 2018
  #36
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MrArtrock's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
...A couple things: the XLR outputs are not optimal. The electronic balancing circuit is crappy, and the B77 actually sounds better than the pr99's XLRs. However, that does not matter, because you can tap the unbalanced monitor outputs and calibrate them to your desired level. You need a 5 pin connector, like a midi cable but solder type, and find the pinout. WIth these outputs, the machine is superior to the B77. Also there are a couple mods you can do to improve the sound, look up tape project pr99 mods...
:
Hi unfiltered, I just want to ask you about this xlr-issue, how do you tap it more exactly and how can unbalanced become better than an electronically circuit only via level-calibration? Only ask because I'm about to buy a PR99 mkIII and don't want to mess w. things that might not need messing up unless I see a well-proved reason for it ;-)

Cheers from Sweden!!!

Last edited by MrArtrock; 21st July 2018 at 05:50 AM.. Reason: spell...
Old 21st July 2018
  #37
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrArtrock View Post
Hi unfiltered, I just want to ask you about this xlr-issue, how do you tap it more exactly and how can unbalanced become better than an electronically circuit only via level-calibration? Only ask because I'm about to buy a PR99 mkIII and don't want to mess w. things that might not need messing up unless I see a well-proved reason for it ;-)

Cheers from Sweden!!!
There is no issue. The PR99 mkIII sounds pretty darn good. It doesn't have electronically balanced outputs, they are transformer balanced. There is a monitor output on a DIN connector (the 4th connector on the rear panel) that is sourced before the output stages - less electronics, no transformer, should in theory give you less distortion.
You can see a block diagram on the page 87:
ftp://ftp.studer.ch/Public/Products/...MkIII_Serv.pdf

IMO if you care about distortion that much, you should use a digital recorder.
Old 22nd July 2018
  #38
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrArtrock View Post
Hi unfiltered, I just want to ask you about this xlr-issue, how do you tap it more exactly and how can unbalanced become better than an electronically circuit only via level-calibration? Only ask because I'm about to buy a PR99 mkIII and don't want to mess w. things that might not need messing up unless I see a well-proved reason for it ;-)

Cheers from Sweden!!!
Yeah, it's not necessary, but I notice enough of a difference to use the unbalanced monitor outs. It's not the calibration that makes it better, it's the signal path, and I was just saying you can calibrate the monitor outs. I wouldn't worry about it too much, use the XLR's and try to evaluate the sound. I like a cleaner signal because I am doing all tape, no conversion, but for DAW to tape, perhaps it doesn't matter as much, or might be better to use the xlr's.
love the machine, though, almost a decade with no problems.

Cheers from the great beyond
Old 22nd July 2018
  #39
Gear Head
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
There is no issue. The PR99 mkIII sounds pretty darn good. It doesn't have electronically balanced outputs, they are transformer balanced. There is a monitor output on a DIN connector (the 4th connector on the rear panel) that is sourced before the output stages - less electronics, no transformer, should in theory give you less distortion.
You can see a block diagram on the page 87:
ftp://ftp.studer.ch/Public/Products/...MkIII_Serv.pdf

IMO if you care about distortion that much, you should use a digital recorder.
No no no digital recorder here plz, other than tracking into my DAW of course, thanks for the info on this, I'll see and try first and then tweak the outputs if i find it necessary :-)
Old 19th September 2018
  #40
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I've been wondering if there is not an error in the Revox PR99 MKIII manual, or at least the version I own.

On the face of the machine, in the center below the tape heads, are the two 'Level' potentiometers, with 'Input Ch1' and 'Input Ch2' printed either side of the 'Uncal' button. In the manual, these are listed as parts # 38.

On the base of the machine, below the removable panel that reveals all the calibration pots, you find the two screws to adjust the input level, named 'Input level CH1 & CH2', at the center of the panel

In the very first section of the calibration procedure, we read:
1. Remove the cover protecting the calibration controls (4 screws on the bottom) See picture below. (-> a picture of the calibration controls is printed underneath on this page)
2. Connect AF millivoltmeter etc etc
3. With AF generator, apply signal etc etc
4. Switch on machine
5. Release UNCAL button
6. Set OUTPUT switch to INPUT
7. Adjust monitor output to 0.775v with the corresponding INPUT LEVEL CONTROL (38)

However, a few pages before, we read about the UNCAL switch that 'when this button is released, the line input is switched to the calibrated line level. When pressed down (position UNCAL), the input sensitivity can be adjusted with the INPUT LEVEL control (38).

So which is it? if you follow this procedure as it's described, there's no way you can adjust the input level to read the correct voltage from the monitor using the #38 controls, since they are inactive with the UNCAL button released.
I'm fairly new to all of this, so I'm asking this with humility... but shouldn't the controls you need to adjust during this initial calibration sequence be the INPUT LEVEL CH1 & CH2 at the base of the machine?
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