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About astrotoy

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  1. As probably the only (or one of a very few) astronomers in the group, I found the OP story very interesting. One thing I have learned since starting my studies in astronomy almost sixfty years ago is that it can be very humbling. For example, I would modify the OP story just a bit, setting it in 1860. The astronomer, physicist, and engineer would be explaining why the crystalline sphere is nonsense, and that instead the space between the stars was filled with an invisible aether which was the only way light waves could travel to us. When I completed school we were pretty confident we understood the contents of the universe, studying stars, planets, galaxies, the interstellar medium, the intergalactic medium, and one of the few questions not resolved was how much the universe's expansion was slowing down, and whether the expansion would go on forever, or would stop and come back on itself. Today, we observe that the universe is speeding up its expansion, not slowing down, and all the things that we studied in the universe appear to be about 5% of the actual universe, with major unknown components we call dark matter about a quarter and dark energy the rest. Dark because we cannot detect them except indirectly and because we have no idea what they are. So we have come from having a very complete understanding of almost everything in the universe (what we call the visible universe) to only understanding about 5%, this in a few short years. Larry
  2. I have never been a big jazz fan, much more into classical music. However, back in 2013-14 when the late Winston Ma of First Impression Music asked me to write a book for him on Decca Records (their classical division) he also introduced me to his catalogue of great CD reissues. Among them were several TBM albums which he remastered and released on his FIM and Golden Strings labels. One album, 'The TBM Sounds!' released in 2011, is a sampler of several of the TBM albums that he had remastered. For me, it was an excellent way to learn about TBM. However, since WInston's death a few years ago, FIM has closed. There is still some stock of their CD's at Acoustic Sounds - where I saw the TBM 'Misty' album on hybrid SACD/CD. There are also albums for sale on Discogs, though some of the prices are sky high. Winston's CD releases are considered by many at or near the pinnacle of CD's. Worthwhile doing some searching. They were never cheap when they were first released and were often the subject of counterfeiters, particularly in Asia. My second encounter with TBM was in 2016 when I bought a very large collection of safety master tapes (15ips 2 track, mostly 1/4" but also 1/2"). Most of the collection was jazz, including many of the greatest albums from the golden age of analogue audio recording. However there are four TBM albums included in the collection. They are 'The Big Four' George Kawaguchi, 'Remember' Martha Miyake, 'North Plain' Eiji Nakayama, and 'Ako's Dream' Isao Suzuki. Not sure whether any of these is included in Chris' big TBM CD collection. Too bad, TBM isn't offering their albums on high quality tape. Larry
  3. Thanks for the article. Explains things very well. I didn't know that rewinding before playing (necessary when the tapes are stored tails out) dissipates much of the print through, even though it is buried in the music. I just started playing my 1/2" safety master of Kind of Blue. No pre echo that i could hear. Larry
  4. One side of a tape is coated with iron oxide. That means that side is going to record whatever signal is fed to it. The other side normally has a protective coating that won't record the signal above it. There can be some leakage through the coating. However, the key to pre-echo - what Chris is hearing, is that this is at the beginning of the tape where there is no signal in the tape for the first several winds of the tape. So there is no signal above this blank tape to record. However, there is a signal starting at some point below the blank tape. In the case of a 15ips 2 track tape on a 10.5 inch reel (the vast majority of master tapes used for these recordings) it is about 2 seconds before the music starts (one layer of tape) which can record the pre-echo. This is most easily heard if the tape has been stored heads out after doing a fast rewind and stored that way for a long time. This gives the time for the tape below with the signal to print through to the layer above - particularly when the beginning of the music in the tape is loud. There may be a pre-echo in tapes with very quiet beginnings, but that is so quiet, it cannot easily be heard. Larry
  5. Print through occurs primarily (overwhelmingly) on one side of the tape. Tape has two sides. One side is coated with iron oxide - that is the side which faces the inside of the reel and faces the heads of the tape recorder and can record music by lining up the iron oxide particles with the record head of the tape recorder. The other side is usually coated with a protective non magnetic coating (so called coated tapes which have been the norm for professional tapes for decades). When tape is tightly wound and stored the inside oxide side of the tape can pick up the magnetic field of the tape that lies below it. Since there is no oxide on the other side of the tape, the coated side, that side acts as a protective buffer against picking up the magnetic field from the tape that lies above it and there is little or no effect. That is why if you play the wrong side of the tape, the signal is very weak. When the head side (where the tape starts) is at the outside of the reel, the tape has no signal recorded on it, that is, it is quiet for the first few seconds of the tape playback. If the tape has been tightly wound and stored so that the tape layers are in very close contact, the tape may have picked up the signal of the music lying in the layer below it, so that when played back there is a "pre-echo" a faint playing of the music a couple of seconds before the music actually starts. A professional reel is about 10 inches in diameter (circumference is about 30 inches - 3.14 x 10). The speed of the tape is 15ips - so the layer above comes across the tapehead about 2 seconds before the layer below - hence the pre-echo occuring about 2 seconds before the music starts. Since the print through signal is at a much lower level than the music, one can only hear it when there is otherwise silence. In an album with several songs and a few second gap before each song, the pre-echo can be heard in the silence - with a slightly shorter delay the further into the reel one goes. If the tape is properly left tails out after playing and not wound tightly, then there is both less print through since the layers are not so tightly packed and the echo is a post-echo, buried in the music, with the same delay, but with a much lower volume. It is possible that you might hear a post echo at the very end of the tape, but then the music is usually fading out and the signal is getting weaker and any post echo is difficult to hear. So in the case of Chris' files, my presumption is that the tapes used to make the files had some pre-echo from improper storage. The pre-echo was captured by the digital transfer and not edited out, resulting in the sounds Chris hears. BTW, if you have four track stereo tapes, sometimes one can hear a faint signal of the sound of the adjacent tracks (for example tracks 2 and 4 when you are playing tracks 1 and 3). They are much fainter and running backwards to the tracks you are playing. They typically are noticeable when the passage you are playing is very quiet and the opposing tracks are very loud (much like hearing your neighbor's children practicing the drums or trumpet in the adjoining apartment.) Any professionals or other knowledgeable folks please correct anything in my post. Larry
  6. Kal and Speedskater are correct. This is normally called pre-echo and results in having the tape tightly wound in the heads out position, that is ready to play. Normally one stores tapes in the tails out position after playing - not tightly wound. If you fast wind the tape to the heads out position and store it that way so it is ready to play out of the box, then you can get pre-echo. If you store the proper way, tails out, after playback, if there is any transfer of signal from one layer to the next it is buried within the sound of the music, not before it. Larry
  7. I have both the great Reiner Pictures at an Exhibition (not the performance on the tape) and PF Meddle in my safety master tape collection - both on 1/2" tape - 2 track. Great sounding. Let's see whether the Meddle (on 7.5ips 4 track) sells at all and for how much. Larry
  8. If you haven't read last year's best selling book "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou, it is definitely worth the read. It is about Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, who executed the biggest phony product scam in recent history. Definitely has similarities to the LH Labs story, except on a much grander scale, with the Theranos machine. We know one of the people involved who has probably the best quote in the book. "….the pitfalls of using blood pricked from a finger. Unlike venous blood drawn from the arm, capillary blood was polluted by fluids from tissues and cells that interfered with tests and made measurements less accurate. “I’d be less surprised if they told us they were time travelers who came back from the twenty-seventh century than if they told us they cracked that nut,” he added. However, one of the big mysteries was when Holmes realized that her dream machine would never work (or did she?) and it became a multibillion dollar scam. Also how did she fool such noted people as George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, James Mathis, Rupert Murdoch, etc. Larry
  9. Thanks. Always interested in new R2R offerings. In the US, we have Jonathan Horwich in Chicago (IPI) who specializes in recording and releasing on 15ips 2 track jazz groups - really super tapes. Ed Pong (UltraAnalogue Tapes) in Toronto does classical chamber recordings on R2R 15ips 2 track (again great tapes), and Bob Attiyeh in LA (Yarlung Records) does a more eclectic set of albums, also outstanding. I buy most all of their releases. If you are interested in marketing your tapes, there are better forums than AS for that purpose. This one is great for digital files. You can PM me for those others. Larry
  10. Thanks for the information. Will it be available commercially on tape also? Some of us already have a R2R tape version of the Goldberg Variations played by Japanese pianist Ito Ema, released by Todd Garfinkel of MA Recordings (a two reeler), so there probably would be more interest in a recording that doesn't duplicate existing repertoire. However, for 15ips 2 track tape, that is pretty easy. Larry
  11. Have you transferred the files to your new hard drive? If not, that is the first order of business. If you have, you can just go to your old hard drive and highlight the music files and delete them. They will be gone (unless you use sophisticated software to retrieve deleted files and you haven't overwritten them). No access to them anymore. My understanding is that Roon, etc. doesn't make a copy of the files, but accesses them on the hard drive. Tidal and Qobuz have their own copies of files, but they are not the same as the ones you have from CD rips,etc. You could use one of the backups as the source for your files until you transfer the files to your new hard drive. BTW, copying 1.6TB of files does take time, depending on the speed of your transfer. Not familiar with A+3. Someone else more knowledgeable may have a better answer. Larry
  12. John, thanks for your posts. One other option is a copy of the master tape, either a safety master or a dub of a safety master. 15ips 2 track is pretty standard, although I have access to some 30ips 2 track 1/2" tapes, including some master tapes and copies of masters that were done by a former Ampex engineer. At least one prominent member of AS has heard some of my tapes. Not the cheapest way to go, but for me very satisfying musically. Larry
  13. I'm not a big rock/pop fan, so I never heard CS&N when it first came out - I think Marrakesh Express was on the radio in those days.   Later I got the Crosby album "If I Could Only Remember my Name" when it made the TAS Super Disc List (HP's list of top vinyl recordings).   However, when I started trading tapes a couple of years ago, I acquired a copy of "Crosby, Stills and Nash" on a 15ips 2 track tape on 1/4".  Not sure of the provenance, but typically the people I trade with (no money changes hands and all involved have pro level machines for dubbing), have safety masters or maybe one generation down from that.  Sounds quite good.   



    1. JoshM


      Very cool. Thank you for the post!

  14. Having not participated in this thread, when it hit 16000 posts, I thought it would be a good time. I turned around, and the post count was 17000. First, a disclaimer. I have never heard an MQA file, nor do I think I have anything that will play one (although I do use Roon but don't subscribe to anything with it). It appears that there is a goal to this thread for the great majority posting on it. That is to end MQA. However, it appears to me that this thread is an extremely ineffective way to accomplish it. First, there appears to be no one from any of the customers of MQA (I mean the companies that pay MQA for licensing their processes) that participate in the thread or pay any obvious attention to it. Second, it doesn't appear that MQA itself participates or pays attention to it. Third, that for these parties hi-fi is a business and they want to make money in that business, and see MQA as a way to do that. So, to end MQA one should be thinking about ways to directly affect the business decisions that these companies are making. The easiest way is to wait for the market to make the decision. It requires no work, not even a thread (so you can go about with more useful activity). However, it very well could be very slow and may not be successful. Take Bose, for example (as our fearless leader did a couple of weeks ago) or Dolby (if we follow Mr. Dyson's comments about Dolby A whose lack of quality did not lead to the demise of Dolby). Another way is to put economic pressure on the companies, such as a massive boycott of their products. Takes much more effort, but has been effective in some cases. For the many customers of MQA it would take a large number of such boycotts, not so easy to do. There may be a critical customer whose loss would so affect the business of MQA that they would go bankrupt. If so, going after that company might make sense. Another is to initiate a class action lawsuit (most effective if targeted directly at MQA, since class action suits against the many different companies which license MQA would take much more effort.) You would need to either have an attorney (perhaps a member of this thread) who would be willing to take on the suit pro bono, or have wealthy members of the thread finance the law suit. There may not be reasonable grounds to file the suit, but that has not stopped entities from pursuing such actions, especially if they are tenacious and have the financial backing to wear the company down. A third way is the way that was successful in the last US Presidential Election. Do a version of 'Catch and Kill'. This would be best directed at MQA, not at its customers. Make an offer to buy them out. If successful, then shut down the company. Happens all the time with a competitor buying out a rival. Quick and efficient example of capitalism at work. I am sure MQA has a price. If as reported by some posters on this thread that MQA is losing money, then the offer would be lower than if they were profitable. Given their reported annual sales (taken from earlier posts on this thread) that they have annual sales in the 7 digit range (updates and corrections are appreciated, but the exact number is not important for the argument), then an offer which I would guess might be in the $1M (USD or GBP) to $100M range could get you the company (I am guessing that the real number is in the lower part of the range). There may be members of the thread or people who have friends who may be willing to put up the necessary funds. If there is not an individual willing to do it, then perhaps a go fund me campaign would be an easy test to see whether there is sufficient interest. Larry (who is not interested in having the last word on this or any other thread)
  15. Good points. An experienced collector can spend 5 minutes going through a collection and ask the key question - "has anyone looked through this collection before?" If the answer is "a very nice man looked through them, he only took a few records" then all the value of the collection is gone. Larry
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