Air Force 1 Premium - New Flagship

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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Peter, you have to watch out for all those tape people. They're all crazy!
But they're crazy for a reason! When you hear tape done right, it's really like nothing else. There's a reason master tapes have been a reference for decades. Not the least of which is that LPs are made from master tapes (except for direct to disc LPs of course). I'm not a tape head because at this point in my life, I'm not enthusiastic about paying $400 and up for a good tape and then collect only a limited number that I would likely play with limited frequency. But when it's done right, it really has the potential to deliver music reproduction unlike anything else. I've been fortunate to first hear that magic years ago at Mike Kay's Lyric Hi-Fi with a master tape of Itzhak Perlman on some Infinity IRS speakers that left me drooling. This was followed by similarly wonderful tape sessions at Mike's, Steve's and Myles Astor's homes. When the stars line up for great tape playback, you know it immediately and comparisons to the best vinyl, as tempting as they are to make, are rendered moot.

Thank you Marty. I keep hearing and reading this exact thing which is why I remain very open minded. I did hear tape at Myles' house. It was excellent, but so was his vinyl. In all other cases, the tape must not have been "done right". I even visited some homes where the host never even offered to play his R2R for visitors. In the few cases where I did hear both vinyl and tape, I preferred the vinyl, and at Myles' place, I liked both.

I remember one instance where the owner had Altec VOTT, Kondo electronics, a couple of nice turntables, a top tubed DAC, and his tape. He played all three. He told my friend and me that the tape would blow us away. It just didn't happen. We both preferred his vinyl. In another case, I heard tape vs. the AF1. About the same. The next time I visited, we compared his AF1 to his new AS2000. The AS2000 was the best sound I heard from his system, regardless of arm/cartridge combination.

I guess my expectation, based on what people have been saying for years, is that the tape would blow me away. That has not been the case so far, but I have yet to hear a lot of tape installations. I also think I did read somewhere that some people may prefer direct to disk vinyl to tape in some instances. MikeL may have written that, but I can't remember. If he did, he would certainly have tape "done right".

My only point is that people hold up tape as clearly the best format for sonics. Digital folks seem to prefer digital to vinyl, and vinyl folks seem to prefer vinyl to digital, usually consistently. But tape folks espouse the superiority of tape to everything. The handful of times I've heard tape, I was not convinced. That's all. I hope to someday hear such a superior demonstration to understand what people are talking about.
 

microstrip

VIP/Donor
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
(...) My only point is that people hold up tape as clearly the best format for sonics. Digital folks seem to prefer digital to vinyl, and vinyl folks seem to prefer vinyl to digital, usually consistently. But tape folks espouse the superiority of tape to everything. The handful of times I've heard tape, I was not convinced. That's all. I hope to someday hear such a superior demonstration to understand what people are talking about.

I can't say categorically I prefer tape to digital or digital to tape as a media - unfortunately I own a limited number of master tape copies and I do not have the equivalent of my best favorite digital recordings in master tape format. The situation becomes particularly hard to debate as today sound engineers using top current digital can make recording that are impossible to carry in analog format.

I am not interested in preference statistics. My point is mostly hierarchical - if master tapes are one position up in the production of analog music they should be superior, excepting the cases where vinyl mastering is carried to improve sound. And I want my vinyl to sound as close to tape as possible.

BTW I am not a "tape folk" - I use tape mainly as an audiophile reference. I could get a few Studer A80's at nice prices and had a great time studying and refurbishing some of them. According to experts I trust they represent the some of the best we can have as a tape reading mechanism, both objective and subjective, and the Studer heads are excellent - IMHO these are the most important points of tape that gives the media its fundamental characteristics. Surely I enjoy listening to tapes from time to time, but would never consider an Studer A820 or an ATAE machine!

Considering my limited experience and having read a few enthusiastic descriptions of listening sessions with tape I feel that probably it is not the type of sound you are pursuing currently - even fabulous recordings easily put us inside the music. As usual, IMHO, YMMV.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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I guess my expectation, based on what people have been saying for years, is that the tape would blow me away. That has not been the case so far, but I have yet to hear a lot of tape installations. I also think I did read somewhere that some people may prefer direct to disk vinyl to tape in some instances. MikeL may have written that, but I can't remember. If he did, he would certainly have tape "done right".

at the tip top of tape......it's the best. i have a few 1/2" low gen dubs that are astonishing. i have a brief (10 minute) 30ips/1/2" work part of a piano solo that will break through the threshold of suspension of disbelief beyond any vinyl. i have a few 1/4" 15ips 'live to 2 track' jazz tapes that simply exceed what vinyl can do. and a few others that clearly exceed my best vinyl. even direct to disc.

we could play three hours of tape cuts that would leave you breathless.

but that would only be samples from 10-15% of my collection. the other 80-85% of my tapes are 'variable'. sometimes the tape is much better than any vinyl, but the recording is just not outstanding. so we point the finger at the tape. "blow you away" requires a great recording + low gen dub + plus great playback chain. i value tape as the best i will ever hear many recordings that i'm emotionally attached to. whether they are great recordings or not. so there are many reasons to own tape.

i consider it the ultimate reference. i have a number of 12-13 year old tapes that have been trusty references over the years.

and if someone has tip top vinyl and less than stellar RTR machines, merely good tape output electronics, or just 'good' level tapes........then it's more just a little better than vinyl.

my personal opinion is that right now, 1/2", 30 ips, or 1", 30ips tape can make the absolute best recording possible. nothing can touch it.

how common is top level tape? i don't know. so many variables. i can only speak from my narrow personal experience.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
2,068
1,638
435
the Upper Midwest
Is “blackness “ even a accepted word in the American vocabulary these day ? It’s so hard to keep up from abroad ! :rolleyes:

Blackness? Nominalism is so déclassé.

But the notion is still alive if the ever wokeful Fremer is any gauge. He ascribes "seriously blacker backgrounds" to the SAT XD1 CF1-09Ti combination in his Stereophile 12/2020 review - which, by the way, did not thump or beat his Calliburn, but 'whipped it in every sonic way.'

Seriously.

Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is

 

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