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Revox PR99 mk3 Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 1st September 2011
  #1
Fezzle
Guest
Revox PR99 mk3

Hi people, anybody used one of these for mixing to from theyre DAW..? Im interested in getting one, can anyone shed light on whether theyre noisier than other higher end machines like Studer A80's, 810's etc... and also if you think the high and/or low end on my recordings could benefit a little from this, And whether the machine can do subtle saturation well compared to a pro 2" machine.. I dont have any experience in working with tape so please be gentle Im genuinly in need of help here coz I dont have a clue! Much appreciated

Dave
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I’m assuming you’d be using it to mix down to, no? Different than tracking to a multitrack. I’ve never heard that deck though, but I do have a revox A77 around that is after a long list of stuff being fixed, its supposed to be very good. My problem with hifi (i.e. revox) or consumer/prosumer (tascam/teac/otari mx5050) is that they are much harder to service than a pro deck like a Suder/Ampex/MCI etc., since they are compact and not modular. That said, that revox deck probably sounds pretty good
Old 2nd September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
shortstory's Avatar
I own 2 PR99s. One is high speed (7.5&15ips) and the other is low speed (3.75&7.5). I also have an A810 which I mix down to. The PR99 sounds great but honestly I use it as an effect and use the 810 for mix down. They're easy to calibrate so I think you'll like how it sounds- but it's not really a master deck. I don't know what you do and even release your music. But I would recommend getting the high speed model.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #4
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audiogeek's Avatar
 

Yup I have the PR99, can't remember right now if it's a MKII or MKIII model but it's the high speed variety capable of 15ips.

Whether or not it's good for your material really depends on what your material is... I've bounced DAW mixes of acoustic alt-rock off it and they sound mint.

If the electronics are in good working order (and that's a very important "IF" regardless of which machine we're talking about) you will be happy. Pretty straightforward to calibrate, great sounding machine. Mine's a little "hissy" but I probably just have it set up wrong.

If you're looking for saturation, I suggest a lower nw/m tape, like RMGI 468.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
andreaeffe's Avatar
To the OP -

the Revox PR 99 is, in my opinion & experience, a fantastic machine.

Used to mix to one of these in 2 studios in the late 80s and early 90s, and I have nothing but fond memories of it.
It was far better than any of the similarly priced Tascam and even the lower Otari decks, let alone the consumer/hifi Pioneer, Akai, Philips, etc.
In fact, the "PR" in the name, if I remember correctly, has also something to do with its' being targeted to "pro" use - many FM radio stations in Europe had these as their main, and only machines.
Excellent and reliable digital counter & locator/return to zero (some even had a nifty small wired remote), solid motors & tape tension mechanisms, very good VU metering, top notch heads.

So, provided that it is a well mantained/not overly head worn/not mechanically damaged 15 ips machine U're buying, and if U don't do the obvious mistake of just slapping some (any) tape on but finding the correct calibration tape for the tape formulation U're going to use and calibrating your machine correctly, it will give U plenty of the soinc benefits that I get the feeling U're after.
Tape saturation included - but that is more a matter of tape flux calibration as somebody here already mentioned, levels U're feeding it, tape type/brand choice etc.

Wishing U luck with this one - U might be getting yourself a hell of a mixdown deck, sound wise (mechanical, exterior & build aspects are another thing) not much to envy to its' Studer bigger brothers!


A
F
Old 2nd September 2011
  #6
Fezzle
Guest
Hey thanks alot! Well Ive been told its in excellent condition and can do 15ips.. and its at an attractive price.. yes mixing down do, Im pretty pleased with my sound from the computer, however theyres something about the high end in all of my internal mixes that dont quite 'cut' through the speaker if you know what I mean, even when theres enough of it. I had a feeling that maybe a good eq before good tape deck could help this part of my work a little.. so fingers crossed!
Old 15th November 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
Have had a PR99 mkiii for about 2 years. I also have am otari mx-70, which has the same track width. They both sound similar, though you can push the otari harder and use +9 tape. I have +9 for the revox but have not aligned it for that yet. I use 456 and like it. There are many parts available for these machines, so maintenance and repair is not an issue. They are not difficult to take apart, and each card is easily accessible.

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. You might have to buy a board on ebay to find the right components. I have not modded mine and it sounds fine, but I do want to some time in the future.

Also the trimpots are kind of flimsy. I replaced a few after they broke just from normal calibration, but it was very easy. Will probably replace all of the sometime. And you can get a wireless adapter that will allow any universal remote to control the transport. Look up pr99 remote on ebay, pretty cool. And finally, you need to get the anodized aluminum Revox reels, I have blue and black, but they make red as well, makes it look so much cooler:
Old 10th July 2012
  #8
Gear Head
 

hi guys....
I am a newbie and wanted you to ask 2 questions about the pr99 mkiii.
I am interested in live recordings at home.Is this model ok for this?
I know that it doesn't have mic inputs on the front side because it was designed to play with a mixer.Right?
I know also that it doesn't have sync playback?Is this an issue?What does sync playback really do?
thank you
Old 10th July 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
hi guys....
I am a newbie and wanted you to ask 2 questions about the pr99 mkiii.
I am interested in live recordings at home.Is this model ok for this?
I know that it doesn't have mic inputs on the front side because it was designed to play with a mixer.Right?
I know also that it doesn't have sync playback?Is this an issue?What does sync playback really do?
thank you
Sync is only used if you want to record two mono tracks at different times. I use mine as a mixdown deck, so sync isn't an issue. Line inputs only. You need Mic preamps or a mixer. For live stuff it will work fine.
Old 12th July 2012
  #10
Gear Head
 

..that means that this can be done to a 2-track pr99 even without with the sync playback?
I didn't know that....
A 4 TRACK recorder can record 2 stereo tracks at different times or even 4 mono tracks at 4 different times?(i am a newbie)
thank you unfiltered420
Old 12th July 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
..that means that this can be done to a 2-track pr99 even without with the sync playback?
I didn't know that....
A 4 TRACK recorder can record 2 stereo tracks at different times or even 4 mono tracks at 4 different times?(i am a newbie)
thank you unfiltered420
It depends on the machine. If its a consumer deck, it will most likely be able to record 2 stereo tracks at the same time, but a 4 track multitrack deck, like an otari 1/2" 4track will be able to use the sync head to record up 4 mono tracks at the same time. Though if recording 4 tracks, or the basic tracks, you wouldn't need sync.
A little advice: skip the tape for now and get a digital recorder. Maybe just a simple interface if you have a computer. Much better quality and easier for a beginner than a tape deck.
Old 12th July 2012
  #12
Gear Nut
 
audioexmachina's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
..that means that this can be done to a 2-track pr99 even without with the sync playback?
I didn't know that....
A 4 TRACK recorder can record 2 stereo tracks at different times or even 4 mono tracks at 4 different times?(i am a newbie)
thank you unfiltered420
Hello, the MKIII is fine for recording two tracks at once. It's not suited for overdubs (record while playing). It's fine for mastering or "tape processing" as its tracks are large twice than on a normal 4-track deck (the two tracks cover the whole tape surface, this is called an HALF-TRACK machine).
Old 16th July 2012
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioexmachina View Post
Hello, the MKIII is fine for recording two tracks at once. It's not suited for overdubs (record while playing). It's fine for mastering or "tape processing" as its tracks are large twice than on a normal 4-track deck (the two tracks cover the whole tape surface, this is called an HALF-TRACK machine).
thank you audioexmachina
Old 18th July 2012
  #14
Gear Nut
 
audioexmachina's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sikkis View Post
thank you audioexmachina
No prob, if you have questions I have a PR99 MKIII here.
Old 16th September 2012
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Andreas Leonhard's Avatar
 

Mixing to PR 99 MK III

Hi guys,
crazy how long this thread is running.....but it seems there are still
a lot of guys round the world who are interested in these great analogue
issue.
First of all I do think that the analogue technique will last for a long time.
It´s interesting that all the big companys are still trying to achieve this
great analogue sound (like UAD and others). Do they do this because
digital sounds better? NO!!! Analogue sounds better because it´s
much closer to the human listening. So what´s happening on the market
is kind of schizophrenic. They like to sell their digital stuff that´s SHOULD sound like analog! Crazy isn´t it?
Regrading the PR 99: Is use a very nice one for mixdown in my studio (look at the picture on mixing&mastering) combined with a also well aligned
Telecom C 4 noice reduction system. There were so much to say about all the details but I stop it for now.
If there bis anyone who is interested to know please PM me.
The sound of the PR 99 MK III is great for mixing if you aligned it the way it should be, using the right level and tape. The differences in comparison to other Studer tape machines like the A 810 etc. are very small when it comes
to mixing. The bigger differences are their inner structure. They are easy to repair when you have access to all the parts you need, but that´s not the case because they are rare and expensive.
So I would agree to say: The PR 99 is great for mixdown.
P.S.
Sorry, but here in this thread I read a lot of nonsense regarding problems
with this machine (outputs, balance , unbalanced etc.). If you use this
machine you should either know what you are doing or you should know
a specialist for this technique. Otherwise you should continue using ONLY your DAW because you are only making the music worse because you don´t greally know what you are doing anyway.

Last edited by Andreas Leonhard; 16th September 2012 at 11:47 AM.. Reason: Writing mistake
Old 18th September 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Leonhard View Post
Hi guys,
crazy how long this thread is running.....but it seems there are still
a lot of guys round the world who are interested in these great analogue
issue.
First of all I do think that the analogue technique will last for a long time.
It´s interesting that all the big companys are still trying to achieve this
great analogue sound (like UAD and others). Do they do this because
digital sounds better? NO!!! Analogue sounds better because it´s
much closer to the human listening. So what´s happening on the market
is kind of schizophrenic. They like to sell their digital stuff that´s SHOULD sound like analog! Crazy isn´t it?
Regrading the PR 99: Is use a very nice one for mixdown in my studio (look at the picture on mixing&mastering) combined with a also well aligned
Telecom C 4 noice reduction system. There were so much to say about all the details but I stop it for now.
If there bis anyone who is interested to know please PM me.
The sound of the PR 99 MK III is great for mixing if you aligned it the way it should be, using the right level and tape. The differences in comparison to other Studer tape machines like the A 810 etc. are very small when it comes
to mixing. The bigger differences are their inner structure. They are easy to repair when you have access to all the parts you need, but that´s not the case because they are rare and expensive.
So I would agree to say: The PR 99 is great for mixdown.
P.S.
Sorry, but here in this thread I read a lot of nonsense regarding problems
with this machine (outputs, balance , unbalanced etc.). If you use this
machine you should either know what you are doing or you should know
a specialist for this technique. Otherwise you should continue using ONLY your DAW because you are only making the music worse because you don´t greally know what you are doing anyway.
The only practical way to use tape is when tracking. Mixing completely analog multitrack to digital 2 track is far superior to vice versa. Even tracking to tape and dumping each track works okay, but these guys mixing from pro tools to 1/4" is kinda silly, unless they are using lots of analog outboard/summing before hitting tape.

My philosophy is to use the fewest converters as possible as late as possible in the process from tracking to mastering. And it really depends on the type of music. High speed tape, especially of the revox and otari and modern decks isn't much of a effect, it is more in=out, but if you are doing total analog like myself, a good 2 track is nice, but if you are going to CD anyway, unless its a colored deck, has little use for the price and upkeep of the machine.

To these guys trying to warm up their mixes with 2 tracks: I reccommend getting some kind of tape plug in and spending cash on an analog colring box, like a distortion box or something.
Old 18th September 2012
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Andreas Leonhard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
The only practical way to use tape is when tracking. Mixing completely analog multitrack to digital 2 track is far superior to vice versa. Even tracking to tape and dumping each track works okay, but these guys mixing from pro tools to 1/4" is kinda silly, unless they are using lots of analog outboard/summing before hitting tape.

My philosophy is to use the fewest converters as possible as late as possible in the process from tracking to mastering. And it really depends on the type of music. High speed tape, especially of the revox and otari and modern decks isn't much of a effect, it is more in=out, but if you are doing total analog like myself, a good 2 track is nice, but if you are going to CD anyway, unless its a colored deck, has little use for the price and upkeep of the machine.

To these guys trying to warm up their mixes with 2 tracks: I reccommend getting some kind of tape plug in and spending cash on an analog colring box, like a distortion box or something.
Hey,
if you think these guys are silly I´m not sure if you really know what you are talking about. `These guys`are for instance - also - top mastering engineers. Whatever.
But by the way: Do you know the differences between a plug in and a real recording to tape ? The answer is that no plug is able to simulate all the existing effects. And warmth is only ONE of those effects. More important are other effects.....but I´m sure you know all these effects...... All the best.
Andreas
Old 26th September 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Leonhard View Post
Hey,
if you think these guys are silly I´m not sure if you really know what you are talking about. `These guys`are for instance - also - top mastering engineers. Whatever.
But by the way: Do you know the differences between a plug in and a real recording to tape ? The answer is that no plug is able to simulate all the existing effects. And warmth is only ONE of those effects. More important are other effects.....but I´m sure you know all these effects...... All the best.
Andreas
I agree somewhat, but I also have lots of experience with using tape in every way possible. What I have found is that the tracking stage and keeping everything analog until the mix is by far the most substantial effect tape can have. If you are setting up a machine and buying tape and MRL, calibrating the deck, etc, than the effect should ber audible at least. It isd very difficult to get audible effects from tape unless the machine is low quality or you hit it very hard, which in my opinion changes the sound of the mix you worked hard to get, which is not desireable to me.

Now hitting the multitrack deck hard on each track (especially for drums and bass), then getting the perfect mix and going to 1/4" or 1/2" tape preserves the sound you have already. Getting a computer mix and then going to tape is silly. However getting a summing mixer and running the mix out to outboard gear from the computer and to tape is another story. These mastering engineers you speak of, they are the same people who spend thousands on cables and use 1" 2 track tape, which is proven to be overkill (over 1/2") by guys like Goreski at analogrules.

Not to say running a ITB mix to tape isn't beneficial, but the trouble and price of keeping a machine for that purpose is sill when you can get other analog outboard and plug ins that will affect the sound in a much more controllable and drastic way. I love tape, but am a practical engineer, I don't spend time and money on things that are too subtle to audible. If I am going to use a piece of gear, it better do something magical and beautiful to the sound.
Old 1st July 2014
  #19
Here for the gear
 
shaygan's Avatar
 

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!
Old 6th July 2014
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Andreas Leonhard's Avatar
 

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!

Hey shaygan and others,

if you are interested in a PR 99 I have to first answer: Where are you located ?
Because if you are looking for a real great sounding machine and you like to use it on a professional level you have to buy a completely checked and aligned machine from a professional. In Germany:
For example Startseite - Revox Center Köln GbR
They did a great job on my machine last year.
Ask me if you have further questions....
Old 6th July 2014
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Andreas Leonhard's Avatar
 

If you are looking for a Studer machine the one and only worldwide expert for
machines in perfect quality is Mr. Andreas Kuhn. I know him:

analog - audio
Old 6th July 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
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!
I have the MKIII and it saturates nicely. The machine is transformer balanced and sounds nice even if you listen to the input - without going to the tape.
Old 6th July 2014
  #23
Here for the gear
 
shaygan's Avatar
 

Hey Andreas I'm located in Paris. To be honest I don't intend to use it professionally to print out masters for example. I would pass the signal through it and straight down to my daw, of course you're right it needs to be in very good condition but I'm willing to use it more as a creative tool. But maybe you have some advice in a good place in France
Thanks Jetam. Would you by any chance be able to post some audio example of the MKIII being driven by let's say an 808 kick or anything with bass for example. That would help me a lot on all the videos on youtube I couldn't find one with this kind of tape machine being driven.
Old 6th July 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaygan View Post
Hey Andreas I'm located in Paris. To be honest I don't intend to use it professionally to print out masters for example. I would pass the signal through it and straight down to my daw, of course you're right it needs to be in very good condition but I'm willing to use it more as a creative tool. But maybe you have some advice in a good place in France
Thanks Jetam. Would you by any chance be able to post some audio example of the MKIII being driven by let's say an 808 kick or anything with bass for example. That would help me a lot on all the videos on youtube I couldn't find one with this kind of tape machine being driven.
No problem, send me a link to a wave file and I'll run it through.
Old 6th July 2014
  #25
Here for the gear
 
shaygan's Avatar
 

Wow nice thanks a lot! Here is basic almost clean 808/909 loops I just did for this test download https://soundcloud.com/le_dom/test-drums/s-fEdcQ you can run it pretty hot through the tape ; )
Old 7th July 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaygan View Post
Wow nice thanks a lot! Here is basic almost clean 808/909 loops I just did for this test download https://soundcloud.com/le_dom/test-drums/s-fEdcQ you can run it pretty hot through the tape ; )
I didn't have any empty master tape, so I had to use a reel of LGR50 which is broadcast tape and quite a bit noisier.

input - WAV Download, Play, Listen Songs - 4shared - Matej
repro 15ips - WAV Download, Play, Listen Songs - 4shared - Matej

DA>Revox>AD
I could probably drive it a bit more if I went through the console, but I'm not sure if that would be "fair".
I've tried to match the max RMS levels.
Old 8th July 2014
  #27
Here for the gear
 
shaygan's Avatar
 

Thank you for doing this! I find the effect to be subtle despite some bass harmonic enhancement (talking about the 15 ips). I know that's supposed to be a quality criteria for a tape machine but from what I heard it doesn't really make sense to get one as a creative tool. Was the signal going through pushed hard enough to "make input meters almost always go beyond or near 0" (just to have an idea)?
Old 10th July 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaygan View Post
Thank you for doing this! I find the effect to be subtle despite some bass harmonic enhancement (talking about the 15 ips). I know that's supposed to be a quality criteria for a tape machine but from what I heard it doesn't really make sense to get one as a creative tool. Was the signal going through pushed hard enough to "make input meters almost always go beyond or near 0" (just to have an idea)?
It was quite well driven, but could probably push it a bit harder. I think that with some other sounds, the saturation would be a bit more noticeable at that level. I'll try to drive it a bit harder, if you want. I don't use the machine at 7.5 ips, and it is only calibrated for 15 ips, but I could also try to do another pass at 7.5 which should be more lo-fi.

But anyway... it might just not be what you're looking for. Something like the Thermionic Culture Vulture, might be closer to what you want. If you want lo-fi, try a casette deck.
Old 11th July 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
audiogeek's Avatar
 

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!
As an aside, I think the tape formula has a bigger, or at least more immediate impact on the saturation quality, rather than "Revox" vs "Studer" vs "Otari" etc etc... All machines can be set up relatively clean.
Old 12th July 2014
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Andreas Leonhard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek View Post
As an aside, I think the tape formula has a bigger, or at least more immediate impact on the saturation quality, rather than "Revox" vs "Studer" vs "Otari" etc etc... All machines can be set up relatively clean.
I agree!
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