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In Reply to: RE: Couple of points. posted by John Elison on June 07, 2017 at 13:09:07
I know all about about the Revox rep, which is why I had such high hopes for mine and spent so much time and money trying to make its reality match that rep. But finally had to admit it was a lemon. And its various built-in downsides -- RCA jacks on top of each other, ridiculous pinch roller location, pygmy meters, etc. -- didn't exactly endear it to me in the process. POS may be overkill, but compared to my Otari MX5050s it's a toy.
Studers are real tape machines. I'd love to have one. But spare me the Revox A77. AND the business about knowing my capabilities after a couple meetings at Ribfest (all honor to the memory of Mike and Barb).
"compared to my Otari MX5050s it's a toy."
Hahahaha! That's funny.
The Revox A77 has some annoying tape transport quirks, but it's audio capabilities and build quality are second to almost none, certainly not Otari. I worked with a pro Otari multi-track on a project many years ago. Can y'all say "gap scatter"?
I do NOT like the handle on the A77. I even took it apart and put epoxy glue on each end, but I still don't trust it.
Meters? Have you been to an eye doctor lately?
The thing I like about the consumer Otari 5050 is that it's cool-looking and has a lot of features. It beats the shit out of Pioneer or Technics. Not sure about Tascam - mine is still "down".
Having said all that, it'd be fun to have an Otari 5050, or another Studer/Revox machine. I love foolin' with controls. But, I can pin the meters on my A77, and it still sounds fine. My good friend, who's done high-end mods on the Studer A80, recently bought an A77. Huh. He assured me that it'll be mine when he's done f-ing with it. (Have I got that right?)
The one thing no one here has mentioned is sound quality. I used to think my Teac X1000R was a good sounding machine and was very surprised to hear it soundly (sorry) beaten by a stock Otari MX5050 BII. It told me I had never come close to the real capabilities of tape. The good stuff: 15 ips, 2-track.
Intrigued, I had it modded to enable direct tapehead output to a deHavilland 222 tubed tapehead preamp. Now we're really talking. And investigating the potential of master tapes via so-called "safety masters" was further evidence that I was on the right track.
But this left me with 50-60 Dolby tapes -- Barclay-Crocker mostly -- and the only thing to play them was my really old Teac A2300D (built in Dolby). So I was excited to see an ad for the final Mk IV version of the Revox A77 DOLBY. Aha, I could ditch the Teac because the Revox HAD to be superior to it, Right?
I found its "annoying quirks" less than endearing but this was all about sound, so I gave the Teac to my tape tech and looked forward to the sonic wonders the Revox was sure to exhibit (after I had the tech replace its bad caps and fix what had caused it to catch on fire).
Lo and behold, it didn't sound all that great. I didn't expect it to equal -- again, sonically -- the Otari but I sure thought it would whip the Teac which I sadly asked my tech to return for comparison. We both discovered that in my rather elaborate system (I don't call it "wretched excess" for nothing), the Teac sounded clearly better. So I kept the Teac and gave him the Revox. Yep, didn't get a cent for it.
Now all this is only my experience against lots of others who love their Revoxes.
I still think it's a toy :-)
Three other audiobuddies now have Otari decks (one has 4 of them but he's nuts) after hearing mine. They all record 2-track, play 2- AND 4 -track tapes, have switchable IEC and NAB eq, and quick-change headstacks. Try THAT with your Revox.
It would be nice to have an IEC EQ'd Revox, since I have several tapes which I recorded in Switzerland.
Anyway, it sounds like you need to find a new Revox tech. Have you looked in Nashville?
Piece of cake to take your IEC-eq tapes (2-or 4-track) and make you an NAB dub* of them, if that would resolve your issue. Be glad to do it. For the record, I try to dub everything in the other direction -- NAB to IEC -- 'cause it sounds better to me that way. PM me with what you need if you're interested.
My never-fail tech, who deals with Revox decks routinely, definitely said "uncle" on this one. I's long gone, so Nashville isn't an option.
Dolby? Seriously? Are you asking why anyone would encode (Dolbyize) a tape in the first place? I would agree. Or are you saying that I should be able to play my (unfortunately) Dolbyized tapes on a non-Dolby deck and find the results satisfactory? No way. I've tried it more than once.
* The dubbing setup comprises identical Otari decks.
> For the record, I try to dub everything in the other direction -- NAB to IEC
That's about the most intelligent thing I've ever heard! Even if IEC EQ provides "perfect sound forever" it will still sound just like a NAB tape but with a 3-dB increase in the noise floor. Good thinking!
On the other hand, if the IEC dub truly sounds better to you, it just goes to show how much audible distortion your analog tape deck produces.
Isn't analog tape wonderful? ;-)
Thanks, I appreciate the offer. But I'm good to go.
A little adjustment on the ol' tone controls, and it's fine. What the heck - it's going through a stereo system anyway.
The thing about IEC EQ is that it doesn't mess with the signal as much, and lets you get a little cleaner signal on the original recording.
Besides, these are Ampex 406/407 and 456 tapes, so, I have to bake 'em just to play 'em. That's why I built a tape baking oven.
Re: Dolby. I use Dolby B to record/play cassettes because they need it. On the other hand, half-track RTR at 15 ips with my Revox with good tape?, no!
Anyway, it don't matter. I'm set, except for finding a good 1/4" 3-3/4 and 7-1/2 ips deck that I can play my old home tapes on.
Not to sound like a total Otari fanboy, but I forgot to mention they also play 3 3/4 ips in addition to 7 1/2 and 15. 'Course you have to take the BACK off to get to the little switch enabling the slow speed, but some of us simply leave it off to simplify things.
Glad I didn't switch from Maxell when all those Ampex tapes were so popular.
Yeah, Maxell was my fave tape, followed by TDK. I only used Ampex in Montreux 'cause we had cases of it. I bought a few reels of 406/407 and 456 when I returned to Green Bay. Who'da thunk that, 20 years later, they'd be unplayable? But, as I say, I remedied that with my custom DIY tape baking oven, powered by two 100 watt bulbs on a dimmer.
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