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Discussion Starter #1
I confess to a love of reel-to-reel tapes. I've always loved the format since I was

a very small kid. Probably because it's how music was usually played in my house

when I was a kid. My father had these machines and just seeing a reel-to-reel

tape deck (particularly an Akai M8 or later Akai X-360D) puts me deep into the Nostalgia Zone.


I have two X-360D's of my own, actually. One's for parts to keep the other running!

I also have a Pioneer RT-909, Pioneer's top of the line reel-to-reel deck ever and

still rather valuable.


A few days ago I ran into a deal I couldn't pass up : A Classic Pioneer RT-707 reel

to reel tape deck with about fifty good Maxell tapes, all for a hundred bucks. It

works fine. I'm listening to the tape collection now. This unit brings between 200

and 400 bucks on ebay so I won't get hurt. I may keep the tapes for my own

collection.


But...I don't get this. The guy who had this deck and the tape collection was very

meticulous. Every tape is numbered and indexed, minute by minute, song by

song, counter reading by counter reading, on neatly typed double spaced pages

in a 3-ring binder. Clearly the guy cared about his collection.


But...listening to these tapes, most of them absolutely SUCK as far as recording

quality is concerned. It's not the deck, the deck is fine. (I made a test recording

off a CD and the playback was pristine.)


What I wonder about is, how could someone be so into his music collection and

yet have such low quality recordings? High noise levels, obvious distortion,

level problems, some obvious second or even third generation recordings,

and so on. And lots of tape bounce at the start of some recordings. (Pause

button...use it!)


I'm half tempted to re-record some of these tapes from the relevant CDs, they're

so NOT great.


I guess I'm not just an audiophile, but a bit of a vintage tech audiophile as well.

How else can I explain or justify having three good working tape decks and

a parts mine? :rolleyes:


Next...I'll become a vintage videophile. Anyone got a 1" reel-to-reel studio VTR

they want to donate to me? :D



Actually, I used to have one...and it was the very early omega loop system.

I got it running, put belts in it, loaded a tape, got it running....and the head drum

servo took a dive and revved the head up to obscene RPMS and smoked the

whole servo board to a crispy critter. So I toted the unit to the street for the

trash to pick up and never looked back. Why bother with zero parts availability?


What can I say... I love cool gadgets!



CJ
 

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Great find. Enjoy it. Are reel to reel tapes in the size that fits your machine being made at present?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, Quantegy (Formerly Ampex) is producing new tapes of all standard sizes in several grades now. I just got my first blank reel of GP9 Grand Master tape for me to try out on my 909. That's beyond

question the best type of tape on arguably the best deck made. I look forward to seeing

how good it turns out.


Plus, there's no trouble in finding very good, lightly used tapes that really are as good as

new once they've been properly bulk erased.


There's something about good tape that's like vinyl...it adds some hard to describe warmth

and magic to the music. I find that I relax more and get more into the music if it's coming

from a tape than from the CD it was recorded from. I don't know exactly why, but there it is. Why fight it?


CJ
 

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I've owned all but the Akai M8. Now I'm down to a Teac 1011L. I've got lots of tapes that I recorded & collected over the years and some boxes that I have to go through.


Anyway's some guys used pioneers dynamic range expander (can't remember the model number, I have one put away in the garage) and if you play the tapes without it they sound horrible. Its more 909 & 1250 vintage but may have been used while recording on the 707.


Just a thought as I seriously doubt if a guy is that meticulous about his recordings that he did not use some type of noise reduction or dynamic range expander.
 

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My dad was into reel2reel... yes, it's a huge nostalgia thing for some of us. I don't remember anything about the sound quality, as I didn't care back when I was a kid. What was the deal back then... could you buy tapes of concerts...? back in the day, were reel2reel recordings considered higher quality than vinyl typically?
 

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Yes, you could buy concerts, movie soundtracks the whole nine. They had some interesting recordings with 4 track long before surround sound as we know it came on the scene.


One of the biggest advantages was the recording time. If you had a 10" reversing deck like the 909 you could play a lot of non stop music. R2R's did not have the dynamic range that LP's have which is why noise reduction & dynamic range expanders were used. Recordings can sound flat without an expander and hiss without NR. If recorded correctly on say a 909 with 7-1/2 ips and an expander/NR, you can get sound as clean as a CD but with the warmth of analog. Much better than a cassette deck. There were a lot of dogs out there too so not all R2R's are the same quality. Thousands of different models were made since around the 30's


If you buy a used one look at the heads, check for grooves in them. On some of the older units the lubricant became like glue over the years. A good cleaning and lube job would get them right back in action. Stay with the newer stuff if at all possible. Much better quality. Oh, nothing sounds as good as vinyl ;)


When Hi-Fi VHS machines came out I used them to record hours of music from DVD's.
 

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dynamic range expanders... I remember that was the trickest setup back in the college days, early 80's. All I wanted to get out of my EE degree at the time was to learn how to make one those.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmjohnson
I'm half tempted to re-record some of these tapes from the relevant CDs, they're so NOT great.
I understand the pleasure of reel to reel as well as the outstanding sound quality that can be available on tapes that were originally recorded in the format, but I won't even try to figure out why you would want to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not sure myself.


Those Pioneer dynamic range expanders are easy enough to come by.


The tuner in my system is a Pioneer unit from the same series. It's a good tuner. Not that I use it much....


CJ
 

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I have 20-30 R2R's, ranging from Technics isoloops to an Akai GX 630 that I dropped $1K on when I was in grade 10. I sold it once for $750 and bought it back for $200 when the guy ran out of money..:)


I ahve 100's of 3" to 10 1/2" tapes from all over. Lots of direct to FM radio broadcasts from one of the rock stations in town when they moved and turfed all of their live concert tapes. One day I'll dump them onto CD. All broadcast quality, no commercials. Lot of 3-7 part broadcasts, such as Bon Jovi live, a Doors 7 part history with narration, etc.


Plus all of the stuff I recorded from Grade 10 onwards, the top 99 hits from 1981 is a classic. There's a commercial for Bryan Adams playing locally in a 200 seat nighclub....:)


Oh those were the days. I really need to fire up my machines. It's been 5 years or so..
 

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lol, that reminds me I think I still have an old Concertone tube R2R. Not sure if it survived the last move, the wife may have tossed it when I wasn't looking, hmmm. :)
 
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