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Why does tape exist?


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Following on from the "Why does vinyl exist" thread, would the romance of tape (not cassette) but reel to reel make a comeback? Due to lack of demand, many reel to reel decks were discontinued quite a number of years ago, however their use is still active and you can still purchase refurbished machines online.

 

Tape was the first choice in making your own music in any order you pleased, but that was recording in real time and queuing record tracks to do so, so as not to include the next track, those were the days :) Oh and try that from the radio!

 

Perhaps with newer materials, improved transport mechanisms using modern calculations of say tension control and DSP work, the problems of tape in the past can be overcome for a new machine built from the ground up.

 

Horch House are making some serious inroads into reel to reel tapes plus a machine to run them. Planned for Q1 2017 for full release is either a play only machine (EUR4000) or a recorder option. Will it have a digital out...? or a digital in... would there be an increase in demand of ADCs? The point would be, if you had transparent digital system, why bother with tape, since there's a playlist on the computer already.

 

The catch is, the commercial releases are USD400, tyvm, are 'direct' copies of the master tapes. Would their cost be worth the investment? Some LPs and SACD sell for that much for rare items and the duping process is labour intensive. The right title at the right price, there's Gershwin, and RCA Fritz Reiner lures, Swingin' Safari from Bert Kaempfert, a clever approach to title offerings could make this work.

 

R2R.jpeg I don't think the stand comes with the machine.

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I wonder if Cookie Marenco has thought of making available direct reel to reel copies of the tapes from which her DSD recordings are made ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

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Following on from the "Why does vinyl exist" thread, would the romance of tape (not cassette) but reel to reel make a comeback?

 

Have you looked at the cost of blank tape today? OUCH

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

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> Why does tape exist?

> "Why does vinyl exist"

 

It have nice look, because have rotary mechanical parts.

Let to see on the picture in first post of this thread.

 

And may nice distort sound to make it cosy :)

 

It is not matter of audio fidelity, but aestetical matter.

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> Why does tape exist?

> "Why does vinyl exist"

 

It have nice look, because have rotary mechanical parts.

Let to see on the picture in first post of this thread.

 

And may nice distort sound to make it cosy :)

 

It is not matter of audio fidelity, but aestetical matter.

 

LOL, how very true!

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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> Why does tape exist?

> "Why does vinyl exist"

 

It have nice look, because have rotary mechanical parts.

Let to see on the picture in first post of this thread.

 

And may nice distort sound to make it cosy :)

 

It is not matter of audio fidelity, but aestetical matter.

 

audiventory

You are missing the point here. Tape has been the source of the original recordings for many of the HD offerings from HD Tracks and others.

Blue Coast Records (Cookie Marenco) uses tape for creating her highly regarded DSD records, therefore it is obviously capable of s very high performance given the right reel to reel recorders and tape speeds.

 

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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audiventory

You are missing the point here. Tape has been the source of the original recordings for many of the HD offerings from HD Tracks and others.

Blue Coast Records (Cookie Marenco) uses tape for creating her highly regarded DSD records, therefore it is obviously capable of s very high performance given the right reel to reel recorders and tape speeds.

 

Regards

Alex

 

Cookie does prefer tape, but the upkeep and maintenance on the machine is not cheap. There are fewer techs around these days to support it. Given the machines were built many years ago, a fresh approach with modern materials and design techniques would give this medium a boost.

Now if the newer machines were compatible with the transports of the real master tapes left in people's garages from when the recording studios dumped the tapes wholesale, now that would be worth its weight in gold.

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audiventory

You are missing the point here. Tape has been the source of the original recordings for many of the HD offerings from HD Tracks and others.

Blue Coast Records (Cookie Marenco) uses tape for creating her highly regarded DSD records, therefore it is obviously capable of s very high performance given the right reel to reel recorders and tape speeds.

 

Hi Alex,

 

I define "sound quality" for myself as "distortions value" (it is not only standard THD). Less distiortions - higher quality.

 

Using tape in music production is subject of art, I suppose.

 

Even in pure digital production workflow used amp/tape/vynil emulators. Because they have "better sound". Quotes it is not irony, it is term only that describe real listener's perception.

 

Well known "soft tape compression" that from physical point of view is soft saturation. Saturation is non-linear distortions.

 

But non-linear distortion have several kinds of spectral content. And different kinds of non-linear distortions may be as "bad sounding" as "nice sounding".

 

I like tapes, vinyl players, tube amps and digital.

 

But I separate these things:

 

- subject of art ("better sound"),

 

- beautiful audio-electrical-mechanical engineering object and

 

- value of distortions.

 

As example, I will not to buy cheap acoustic cables for expensive speakers because beautiful speakers must be connected beautiful cables. But it don't refer to sound quality.

 

Best regards,

Yuri

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ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

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Cookie records to analog tape so she can do editing, something not possible with DSD. Considering her position that DSD is so superior sounding than PCM she couldn't very well record to that.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

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Cookie records to analog tape so she can do editing, something not possible with DSD. Considering her position that DSD is so superior sounding than PCM she couldn't very well record to that.

Hi Sal

 

Your understanding of the post production is inaccurate. DSD can be edited without conversion to PCM on several Digital Audio Workstations (DAW's), including both the Pyramix and Sonoma Cookie uses. What's not easily implementable at this time is sweetening (EQ, Level changes, mixing, compression and effects) unless either converted to PCM, or back to analog. It's my understanding Cookie prefers the latter, even to the extent of recording to tape and post processing in analog before archiving the result to DSD..

 

As Yuri so well states, tape has a potentially desirable euphoric sound quality that many producers find pleasing. Since most audio recording/producing is an art form, as opposed to a rigorous duplication of an acoustical event, tape has a well entrenched place in many recording styles and processes.

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Cookie records to analog tape so she can do editing, something not possible with DSD.

 

Hi Sal

Your understanding of the post production is inaccurate. DSD can be edited

What's not easily implementable at this time is sweetening (EQ, Level changes, mixing, compression and effects) unless either converted to PCM, or back to analog.

As Yuri so well states, tape has a potentially desirable euphoric sound quality that many producers find pleasing.

 

LOL OK I stand corrected, DSD can be edited, just not in the ways that matters to a producer.

 

Personally I'd prefer a more accurate approach to the recording using a true HD format such as 24/96 PCM or better. If you want euphony you can later then dial that in using the available "sweetening (EQ, Level changes, mixing, compression and effects)".

 

Cookie's work sounds very good indeed, but I find the 24/96 recordings from Mario Martinez of PlayClassics or Mark Waldreps AIX to be superior. Cookies approach is about marketing and being popular in the DSD fad world IMHO.

 

In this 2016 world with the high technology HDA formats we have available, I find it ludicrous to be recording on a obsolete media just to obtain a "euphoric sound quality". Same with vinyl playback, it's all about nostalgia rather than aiming for High Fidelity reproduction. The numbers tell the story and we can do so much better with what we have developed in the last 30+ years.

JMHO

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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In this 2016 world with the high technology HDA formats we have available, I find it ludicrous to be recording on a obsolete media just to obtain a "euphoric sound quality". Same with vinyl playback, it's all about nostalgia rather than aiming for High Fidelity reproduction. The numbers tell the story and we can do so much better with what we have developed in the last 30+ years.

JMHO

 

IMHO also.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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The reason tape still exists is really quite simple. A good reel to reel deck is capable of the most analog sound possible, easily trumping a good turntable and vinyl. The downside, now, is that tape has become an extremely expensive game. United Home Audio, and one or two other companies are now offering completely rebuilt reel to reel decks that start around $10,000.00 and go up to double or more. The "master" tapes they offer for optimum sound and performance are $300.00 each. Now, having heard this equipment and these tapes at a number of audio shows, including Axpona, I can honestly say they represent the best source sound that I have ever hears. I believe The Absolute Sound and others are of that same opinion. But honestly, who can afford this stuff?

 

The other option is buying high quality reel to reel decks off ebay. If they have never been serviced, be prepared to drop a grand on top of what you've already paid for that. And given their age, they must really be completely serviced. I greatly regret selling my Tascam reel to reel, and a lot of tape, about 20 years ago. But again, what are you going to play on these decks. New tapes at $300.00 per are far beyond my means, and not the music I really would want. Old, original tapes are of such age that even if they do play well a time or two, that fragile ancient tape can go at any time.

 

JC

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The reason tape still exists is really quite simple. A good reel to reel deck is capable of the most analog sound possible, easily trumping a good turntable and vinyl. The downside, now, is that tape has become an extremely expensive game. United Home Audio, and one or two other companies are now offering completely rebuilt reel to reel decks that start around $10,000.00 and go up to double or more. The "master" tapes they offer for optimum sound and performance are $300.00 each. Now, having heard this equipment and these tapes at a number of audio shows, including Axpona, I can honestly say they represent the best source sound that I have ever hears. I believe The Absolute Sound and others are of that same opinion. But honestly, who can afford this stuff?

 

The other option is buying high quality reel to reel decks off ebay. If they have never been serviced, be prepared to drop a grand on top of what you've already paid for that. And given their age, they must really be completely serviced. I greatly regret selling my Tascam reel to reel, and a lot of tape, about 20 years ago. But again, what are you going to play on these decks. New tapes at $300.00 per are far beyond my means, and not the music I really would want. Old, original tapes are of such age that even if they do play well a time or two, that fragile ancient tape can go at any time.

 

JC

 

+1

 

Not so long ago I had a nice Studer Revox, fully up to spec and hundreds of tapes. Potentially great sound, but at $300 (some are $400) a pop, it isn't a great medium. And well done digital can be done inexpensively and provide good fidelity. Seems to me the RTR game currently is just being played as a status symbol. Even 1st gen copies are obviously a highly limited supply.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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