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Vinyl is back and staying for a long time. I can't but ask my self what would impead a resurgence of high quality tape and real to real to back up your analog recordings. I'm sure big brands are thinking about it.
What do you all think?
Pre-recorded cassette tapes never equalled a recording from vinyl made on a good machine, or even a marginal machine for that matter. The labels are notorious cheapskates and the grade of magnetic tape they used was low ... equivalent to a Maxell UD or TDK AD, not a Maxell XLII or TDK SA. No noise reduction was used (eg Dolby II).
Only non-audiophiles ever listened to pre-recorded cassettes at home. I would guess that 90% of pre-recorded tapes ever sold never left the car.
So the purpose of a home system with the cassette machine for most users was to make a home recording of music they had on vinyl to take in the car or the beach. The good blank cassette media isn't available anymore.
Open Reel pre-recorded music is high quality, but now we are talking expensive, large machines and collector-priced media. A modern reel to reel machine would list for who knows how much money ... they were amongst the most expensive components you could buy at the time. in 2017 dollars the ones that were available in the 70's are more than $10,000 a copy. Still interested?
Does 28 companies now releasing music on reel-to-reel count?
Myles B. Astor
I think the main impediment is cost. Blank tape prices have soared, reel prices have soared. Supplies and supply makers have dwindled. I attempted about 10 years ago to get back into tape, but lost interest rather quickly. I've been selling off most of my cassette gear, 8track gear, and reel gear. Just isn't worth the the hassle to me anymore. These days I backup my favorite LPs with used CDs I can usually find them for a few bucks or less. Much easier to store and deal with than tape. And they don't self destruct like tapes can.
Besides the deck, and the cost, there's the storage requirements.
Vinyl requires cool and dry. If you give it that, the only thing that really degrades is the jackets. If you left the shrink wrap on the jackets, that slowed, too.
Tape of all varieties is sensitive to so many things that degrade it. Stray EMP, humidity, changes in temperature, vibration, light, and perhaps things I don't know to mention. Master tapes are stored in a steel vault, with temperature and humidity control. Handling is strictly limited.
There's another factor. An LP and its jacket are about 12-1/2" x 12-1/2" x 3/16", so a two foot shelf can hold over a hundred LPs. How many big reel tapes can a two foot shelf hold? That was a BIG seller for CD. More music in less space.
Never was a reel to reel user. I have about 65 lbs of cassettes of blues and classical. Cassette was never terribly high quality, but it was so cool to be able to listen to blues on a long drive.
This was all started by the Tape Project folks, of course, but now there are more than a handful of folks who are producing high quality 15 ips 2 track reel to reel recordings, and several companies manufacturing new RTR tape decks. The focus today is on 15 ips 2 track, which are high quality but not the most accessible experience, and the cost is very high, but to some listeners this is the best sounding playback medium available.
All us po' folk can do is hope they become popular enough that the price comes down. Down right scary right now. The best never comes cheap though I guess.
Unlike vinyl, where releases can be pressed in the thousands, tape is going to be a much lower volume, and much higher touch medium, so I don't think price declines can be really anticipated.
Almost all the commercial RTR tapes -- mostly jazz --I used to buy on Ebay for under 10 bucks are now in the $50-60 range, and up. Same goes for the good (Maxell) used tape. And more and more "safety master" dubs are selling for three figures. (Confession: I've bought a couple that were actually worth it). Same thing goes for the new-production stuff, and with raw tape from the few still-active producers going for increasingly serious money, the bars to newbie entry are pretty steep.
('Course you can still find bargains if you're patient and lucky)
EDIT: Unfortunate about junfortunately, but you can't edit a subject line :-)
Because I cannot, if my life depended on it, sell tapes and reels that are up to 50% lower (though more like 25% lower) priced over Ebay and new retail. And in some cases, could not literally even give it away.
Yet the astronomically priced stuff continues to sell and the belly aching continues. An example: a roll of new ATR Master Tape or PYRAL SM-911 on a metal reels sells for what? Sixty five bucks or so when freight is factored in? New, empty reels on Ebay typically sell for around forty bucks and up. NOS Quantegy 456 (late model, non Ampex/non SSS) also usually goes for about thity bucks a pancake, seventy five on a metal reel.
I cannot sell recent 456....unused.....in a new metal reel...for $45-50. Yet people continue to pay the aforementioned HIGHER prices and then complain about it while my lower priced ones sit unsold.
WTH is wrong with this picture?
Anyone knowledgeable about the subject wouldn't pay you or anyone else $45-50 for a reel of 456 no matter what its supposed provenance. As the long-time poster child for sticky shed -- I've even seen the Quantegy variety fingered for this -- 456 is firmly in the no-buy-at-any-price category for some of us.
I'm aware of that. But it's really beside the point. Just like some people will not buy Maxell, or used, or whatever the case may be. There's always something out there that someone will never touch. But you missed my bigger point. There are plenty of people who will, as evidenced by the fact that I continually see some folks spending MORE for the same tapes. That's the issue I want to focus on, not whether or not you personally have an aversion to brand X tape.
I've seen what you're talking about and chalk it up to sheer happenstance. Ebay is not known for its logic. Never has been. I've seen a 2-track Kind of Blue, which has just 3 of the original 5 tracks, go for $2100. On the other hand, I just bought an Otari MX5050 transport, the most recent version, for $175 and it turned out to be brand new. That's the breaks of the game. No point complaining about it or trying to figure it out.
As has been mentioned, volume is the key - but enough to bring down prices significantly will never come.
Consider that new 10 1/2" tape ON PANCAKES costs in the $40 range, Then put it on a metal flange for another $40. Now pay for the rights to use (if you care). Maybe even try to amortize the cost of your dubbing equipment. And pay for your dubbing time and MAKE A PROFIT??? Believe Yarlung makes every copy to your order in real time!
Chad Chassem (sp?) of Acoustic Sounds indicated that they will begin releasing material on RTR tape - and he has a HUGE catalog to choose from. At an Axpona seminar he mentioned another problem - that the record company's exec's have no experience with tape and don't have a clue of its "worth" or what to charge for rights - especially considering the potential "volume" - maybe reaching into all the way into the hundreds! Whoopie
But the results can be absolutely STUNNING!
I don't listen to my tapes as often as I should - lots of rewinding for what is essentially an LP side of music - but Friday night I put on TP-27, which is the Garcia/Grisman collaboration, and wow! Everyone was tapping their toes, included my 13 year step daughter. Great music is fabulous sound. But......$450 per copy on the Tape Project web site.
"Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to" Mark Twain
Why not? Take a look at the price for good recordings. The cheap stuff claiming to be copies of master tapes (note that the ads are often for goods in Russia......) that you will see on ebay, etc. are poor....vinyl can sound much better.
The great stuff, well, be prepared to spend $400-$600.
Be prepared to get a big, high quality deck to realize the potential.
Be prepared to maintain said deck.
And what a pain, locating songs from the beginning, unless you wish to just play a whole tape at a time.
I'm a guy with two of the big studio decks, and one of the big turntables to compare to it. Tape makes folks say "Ooooooohhhhhhhh and ahhhhhhhhhh" before it is even turned on. I don't care about that stuff. For me, if I want really very high quality sound I'll play a great record. "Ah, the choices of great sonics on a record are limited in titles" you may say. And I"d say "Many many times less limited than the titles on tapes".
Now, if you are talking about the old 7.5 and lower commercial tapes of the 60's, forget it. Quality is not very high.
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