Print from Airliners.net discussion forum
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/non_aviation/read.main/1475686/

Topic: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Matt D
Posted 2006-12-29 04:32:59 and read 7335 times.

My favorite deck ever made. And of course, lots of different reel styles available. Mix-n-match to your taste or stay with matching sets. Either way, a great deck, great sounds, and a reel (har!) neat looking piece of décor for your room as well.

Klaus:

I dedicate this thread to you.

Enjoy!
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Deck1.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Deck2.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Deck3.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Deck10.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Deck11.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc1.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc10.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc2.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc3.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc4.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc5.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc7.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/Showpc8.JPG










http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/X2000R4.JPG
http://x-2000r.angelcities.com/images/tapestuff/DesLabReel.JPG

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: TedTAce
Posted 2006-12-29 04:40:04 and read 7328 times.

This shit again???




Where's my Dr. Kevorkian suicide kit?!??!

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Vaporlock
Posted 2006-12-29 04:46:19 and read 7324 times.

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 1):
Where's my Dr. Kevorkian suicide kit?!??!

Teddy,  rotfl  dam your funny!!!

Matt, wowie you sure have quite the collection of tapes!!! I know Mr. Fly and yourself have a lot in common!!!

Phyllis  bouncy 

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Theredbaron
Posted 2006-12-29 06:53:37 and read 7318 times.

I used to have a TEAC 3440 I sold it and bought a Pioneer Rt707 just for my bach and mozart transfer from vinyl to tape.....awesome technology . even my CD era Kid tells me it sounds better than cds....

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: AsstChiefMark
Posted 2006-12-29 06:59:17 and read 7315 times.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2006-12-29 09:59:12 and read 7307 times.

Quoting Theredbaron (Reply 3):
I used to have a TEAC 3440 I sold it and bought a Pioneer Rt707

Both are great units!
I almost bought a TEAC 3440 years ago.




Same for Matt D's Teac X-2000R unit.


AsstChiefMark:
Dude, you have a tiny unit.  Sad

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: BHMNONREV
Posted 2006-12-29 10:25:59 and read 7303 times.

Quoting Vaporlock (Reply 2):
Matt, wowie you sure have quite the collection of tapes!!! I know Mr. Fly and yourself have a lot in common!!!

In addition to having waaaay too much time on their hands...  duck 

Nice deck Matt, makes me yearn for the old days..

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2006-12-29 13:22:43 and read 7295 times.

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Klaus:
I dedicate this thread to you.
Enjoy!

Thank you very much. I'm touched! Big grin

I think, however, that you're suffering from a misunderstanding.

I've never ever said that I had anything against reel-to-reel technology. The only point of contention is in your claims about digital technology which are somewhat off.

I actually enjoy the classic mechanical design of those heavy-duty machines. The one above does indeed look very nice - proper dual capstan autoreverse with a fully symmetric discrete head array and apparently proper dynamic reel servo control for tension stability, digital drive control and a real-time counter... If I had had the kind of money way, way back when I bought my last RTR deck (and if it had already existed), this would have been my dream machine, no doubt!  Smile

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Matt D
Posted 2006-12-29 17:02:16 and read 7281 times.

Klaus: I still think you had some kind of bad experience with tape that really soured your outlook on it. I'd be curious to know what it was. You never really went into much detail.

And likewise, I believe you have misunderstood my stance on digital.

I believe that digital does have its place: Portable MP3 players and Ipods, convenience of listening on a PC while surfing the Web, as a FIRST GENERATION backup. I will concede that for CONVENIENCE (as well as piracy and theft), digital wins hands down. Likewise, the lack of any mechanical parts on those players gives a certain advantage. However, the fact that they were built cheaply and for the masses means that the life expectancy, or rather, the lack of it, of those devices (assuming away the requisite software updates) means that a precision built analong machine complete with motors, belts, chassis, bearings, and drive shafts will probably still outlive them. A Teac X-2000R as shown above, was meant to provide decades of service. Most Ipod and MP3 players had a service life of mere MONTHS in mind when they were made.

However, I still maintain that for *HIGH FIDELITY* listening AND recording, analog is still much better. Analog has so much more depth and richness to the sound that digital just can't capture. Ever listen to an overloaded and distorted digital signal? It makes the "monolith screech on the moon" scene in "2001" sound like elevator music.

And both mediums have their drawbacks: digital files must be "updated" and "backed up" and are susceptible to hard drive crashes and viral corruptions. Analogs primary weakness is of course multi-generational copying....you know...the copy of a copy of a copy. And of course, tapes must be properly stored and handled.

[Edited 2006-12-29 17:10:35]

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: IFEMaster
Posted 2006-12-29 17:02:29 and read 7281 times.

I'm so glad there is now an official thread, as opposed to the numerous unofficial threads regarding reel-to-reel decks.

Now, where did I put that copy of Pro Tools... Big grin

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Bagpiper
Posted 2006-12-29 17:09:07 and read 7276 times.

hey, those decks look better than the ones in the other post... I guess we're out of the Gemini Program era  Silly



But yeah, reel-to-reel is pretty sweet!

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Theredbaron
Posted 2006-12-30 00:14:29 and read 7255 times.

At 15 per second the fidelity of tape is simply stunning, I have a lot of classical music and yes those things are built like tanks

here is a pic of my 707

http://www.auto-mania.com.mx/airliners/guitars.jpg

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: AAFLT1871
Posted 2006-12-30 01:03:48 and read 7251 times.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-02 01:53:10 and read 7225 times.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
I still think you had some kind of bad experience with tape that really soured your outlook on it. I'd be curious to know what it was. You never really went into much detail.

I've never made a secret of my experiences - which stretch way back into the 1970s, including intimate acquaintance with the actual electronics and conceptual principles involved, from ancient analog electron tube reel-to-reel decks and record players up to highly integrated digital audio components and signal processing software.

My outlook on tape is not really "soured" - my open-reel tapes have simply disintegrated for the most part. And even before that the degradation of the material was noticeable.

When the CD format began to become available, I examined the pros and cons of digital audio quite thoroughly, including some rather detailed research about CD technology on every level. Digital audio was a revelation - and it only got better from its sometimes troubled beginnings. Today it's simply no contest between the two fundamental reproduction principles.

At about that time I switched to cassette tapes for multiple reasons; Portable and mobile use simply required the change and with more modern equipment the quality was actually quite good (portable or car CD players came only later).

The advent of computer-based audio meant a quantum leap in accessibility of my CD collection and the iPod again added to that.

I think I do have quite a bit of experience with and knowledge about both the analog and the digital side of things; And I can only say that I'm glad the analog era is mostly over.

But as I've said: I do appreciate the museal efforts of enthusiasts to preserve historical equipment for posterity. Somebody does have to do that!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
And likewise, I believe you have misunderstood my stance on digital.

No, we've discussed about this repeatedly, and I have understood your position quite well, you just never really substantiated it.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
I believe that digital does have its place: Portable MP3 players and Ipods, convenience of listening on a PC while surfing the Web, as a FIRST GENERATION backup.

One of the points of the digital format is that you can make as many serial copies as you like and every single one of them will be exactly identical to the original!

The number of generations is completely irrelevant in the digital domain!

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
I will concede that for CONVENIENCE (as well as piracy and theft), digital wins hands down.

Sure. It couldn't be more obvious.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
Likewise, the lack of any mechanical parts on those players gives a certain advantage.

Incorrect. Harddisk-based players and computer harddisks do have mechanical moving parts which are also susceptible to mechanical damage. You just won't hear any difference until the damage exceeds the error-correction capabilities of the system. In the analog domain almost every mechanical and electronic mis-adjustment will compromise the signal quality right away.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
However, the fact that they were built cheaply and for the masses means that the life expectancy, or rather, the lack of it, of those devices (assuming away the requisite software updates) means that a precision built analong machine complete with motors, belts, chassis, bearings, and drive shafts will probably still outlive them. A Teac X-2000R as shown above, was meant to provide decades of service. Most Ipod and MP3 players had a service life of mere MONTHS in mind when they were made.

You're confusing the conceptual difference between analog and digital audio reproduction with specific and extremely disparate incarnations of either concept.

Comparing an expensive heavy-duty reel-to-reel deck with the cheapest iPod ripoff is as nonsensical as comparing a high-end stationary digital harddisk player with a bargain-bin walkman copy!  crazy 

When we're talking about portable players I do have a good comparison between a high-end walkman from the heyday of cassette tape and my current iPod nano.

Rechargeable batteries have always aged and died eventually - it is a fact of life. But apart from that, the digital player is completely in a league of its own by comparison; The walkman can't remotely touch it in any respect, especially not regarding audio quality but also regarding mechanical build quality.


With stationary devices the differences aren't always quite as pronounced, but the direction is still the same: The digital format provides the quality reference.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
However, I still maintain that for *HIGH FIDELITY* listening AND recording, analog is still much better. Analog has so much more depth and richness to the sound that digital just can't capture.

Hogwash - sorry. Blind tests keep demonstrating that analog reproduction can at best hope to match but never exceed the digital one.

If you compare an iPod with its crappy standard headphones against an analog high-end setup including high-end speakers you don't need to wonder that the latter will sound better; But that's due to the entirely analog part of the chain in both cases.

The ultimate reference is the original signal. And there is simply no contest that digital reproduction will stay extremely precisely and constantly true to the original master while the analog recording will already deviate from it in the beginning and get only worse over time on top of that.

You may subjectively find this deviation pleasant to listen to which is you right, but please realize the difference between "nice" reproduction and "high fidelity" reproduction.

When I'm listening to a losslessly-compressed title on my iPod (with proper headphones, of course!), I'm actually getting an exact reproduction of the original master recording - no analog reproduction could ever come closer than that!

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
Ever listen to an overloaded and distorted digital signal? It makes the "monolith screech on the moon" scene in "2001" sound like elevator music.

Clipped signals are always distorted - which is why any halfway decent recording engineer will simply avoid saturation/clipping.

Analog tape recording additionally requires very precise bias calibration in order to compensate for the magnetic threshold of the specific material. Any calibration error (which is inevitable and can only be reduced to a certain point) will introduce an additional distortion at the other end of the dynamic envelope - it especially degrades the most critical very soft segments of a recording. And variation in the material and any de-calibration will inevitably increase the distortion.

Modern digital A/D and D/A converters need a lot less calibration and provide a much greater level of stability and dynamic range by comparison. Completely eliminating the need for calibration is one of the constant goals of technological development, especially where reliability and quality are of greatest concern.

This was and is one of the main reasons why digital audio (and by now video) reproduction have won out over their analog predecessors.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
And both mediums have their drawbacks: digital files must be "updated" and "backed up" and are susceptible to hard drive crashes and viral corruptions.

Nonsense. Digital recordings can be backed up identically, contrary to analog ones. But none of what you describe applies to CD recordings which are the reference here. "Even" computer-based recordings are quite safe when backed up properly.

Your Windows woes are tainting your perspective, but you're wrong on the fundamentals.


You should specify what exactly your experiences are and what the basis for your conclusions about the relative merits of the two fundamental reproduction principles is.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 16:56:26 and read 7210 times.

There goes Klaus again.  Smile

Just out of curiosity, what kind of music do you listen to? What albums/CDs do you use as a good barometer to test audio equipment?

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-02 17:54:12 and read 7195 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 14):
There goes Klaus again.

Try to spread misinformation at your own peril...!  cool 

Quoting Superfly (Reply 14):
Just out of curiosity, what kind of music do you listen to? What albums/CDs do you use as a good barometer to test audio equipment?

It's been quite a while since I really had the need... But I bought this CD way back in the 1980s which has served me very well in this regard:

Amazon.com: Digital Domain: A Demonstration: Music: Various Artists

It has helped me to relentlessly expose the weaknesses in amplifiers, tape decks and especially speakers which I was interested in.

Track #1 already kicked out all the bass-reflex speakers since none of them managed to cope with the ultra-brutal bass without ugly resonances and distortions, especially not at higher volume. The ones I ultimately selected were only marginally surpassed in treble clarity by another pair but those other ones had been far out of my price range so the Revox ones were an excellent compromise. And they are still working very well to this day.

The test signal section came in handy for tape bias calibration and other special purposes.

In addition to this or a similar disk, I'd use good classical recordings for checking out overall tonal balance and clarity.

A very good CD player and excellent headphones would be the reference against which to compare all other components.

Tape decks with separate recording/playback heads allowed for quick and easy comparison (CD direct / tape source / tape playback).

Many amplifiers back then were incapable of reproducing the dynamic range of a CD (especially of the one above) so this was one of several criteria there. By now it should not be as problematic as it had been back then.

I listen to all kinds of (Current and historical) Pop/Rock/Jazz/Soundtracks/Classical/World Music normally, and my systems will have to cope with all of them without audible deficiencies. And due to careful selection, they do.

Most of my components are quite a few years old by now, but as long as the quality is still there I don't see a need to replace them (although occasional repairs are a fact of life).

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 19:28:39 and read 7182 times.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 15):
Many amplifiers back then were incapable of reproducing the dynamic range of a CD (especially of the one above) so this was one of several criteria there. By now it should not be as problematic as it had been back then.

Hmmm, I've heard plenty of older tube and early solid state particularly Marantz power amps that reproduce the dynamic range of a CD and the more superior LP and reel to reel formats very well.
One of my favorites is the Marantz 510.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 19:57:56 and read 7176 times.

Actually I meant the Marantz 500, however the 510 is amazing too.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Check out this site, lots of cool audio equipment here:
http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/mindex.html



RMS Power Per Channel 250 @ 8 ohms, 500 @ 4 ohms
Damping Factor @ Load Impedance >400
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 0.1%
Power Bandwidth 20Hz to 20 KHz
Frequency Response 2 Hz to 100KHz at +/- 1.5 dB
Hum and Noise >106 dB below 250 watts
Signal to Noise Ratio 110 dB
Intermodulation Distortion (IM) 0.1%
Input Sensitivity for Full Output 2.25 volts
Gain Control(s) Yes
Output Meter(s) 2, precision moving coil, jeweled bearings
Cooling Fan(s) Yes

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-02 20:27:25 and read 7173 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 16):
Hmmm, I've heard plenty of older tube and early solid state particularly Marantz power amps that reproduce the dynamic range of a CD and the more superior LP and reel to reel formats very well.
One of my favorites is the Marantz 510.

Well, although I've never put a Marantz amplifier through the tests, I'd guess from reputation that at least most of them were quite good.

You're unfortunatelys mistaken about the relative dynamic ranges of CD, LP and analog tape, I'm afraid.

The 96dB of the CD format are not attainable by any commercially available analog medium (if by any analog medium at all). Both LP and magnetic tape come with a noise floor which is already significantly higher than -96dB.

It doesn't matter all that much if you're mainly listening to relatively compressed signals, but especially classical recordings do reveal the difference. And it was no accident that classical recordings were prominently represented in the early CD lineups. Herbert von Karajan was an avid promoter of the then-new digital audio medium since it removed the previously inescapable noise floor which had limited the possible dynamic range he could use in a recording.

Both pianissimi and fortissimi in the same piece are much more important in classical music than they are in pop or other styles, hence the much bigger emphasis on dynamic range.

I've come across a nice and compact introduction to digital audio, by the way:

A Digital Audio Primer

Maybe it can dispel a few of the myths which are still going around...

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Matt D
Posted 2007-01-02 21:05:56 and read 7167 times.

I prefer reel to reel.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-02 21:13:51 and read 7161 times.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 19):
I prefer reel to reel.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Smile

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 22:01:26 and read 7148 times.

Klaus:
What is your assement of vaccum tube amplifiers?
Even audiophiles that prefer CDs still like tubes over solid state.


You mentioned that you had reel to reel tape that stick together over time. The raises some serious question as to how serious of an audiophile you were. I haven't had that problem and I am sure when/if am to visit Matt D 30 years from now, none the tapes he has today will be sticking togther like a jackmag.
I have some old pre-recorded industry released reel tape of jazz, James Bond soundtracks, lounge/exotica from the early 1960s on reel tape and they don't stick. Some are somewhat brittle (these are always the cheapest tape quality) and none have the 'sticky' quality you mentioned. These were owned by audiophiles that have passed away and there belongings sold off at estate sales, record stores. etc.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2007-01-02 22:11:33 and read 7147 times.

Nice old machine but
My amp goes to eleven!

Actually I had a TEAC 2050 "tape transport" a 4010 "deck" a Dual 1019 turntable a decent Pioneer amp, missed out on the Wharfdale speakers but had something decent. Traded it all for a bad check.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 22:25:48 and read 7142 times.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 22):
a Dual 1019 turntable

Hey is that a 4 speed changer with magnetic ground?  Wow!
If so, I must get one!  yes 


Quoting SlamClick (Reply 22):
Traded it all for a bad check.

That's horrible!
I say we go out and find the bastard!  mad 

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: SlamClick
Posted 2007-01-02 22:33:04 and read 7137 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 23):
I say we go out and find the bastard!

It was 1974 and he went to prison. I remember his name and would recognize him through the window of an opposite direction Concorde. Perhaps it is better that I don't meet him again. Imagine his surprise!

It was a great turntable but mine had a bar code, of sorts around the perimeter of the turntable. Under incandescent lights powered by 60Hz electrics the bars would "stand still" at precisely the correct RPM.

I mostly used it to get my own LPs and borrowed ones onto R2R tapes.

Very elclectic tastes, from Chet Atkins to Sergio Mendes to Edith Piaf to Eric Clapton to vintage Belafonte to a semi-pro but very good Carolinas bluegrass band you never heard of. My wife just inadvertently tossed a bunch of it. Most sad about that.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-02 22:40:55 and read 7133 times.

It's a good thing he went off to prison.
Sounds like this had a strobe light. Was this a direct-drive or belt drive?
I prefer direct-drive.
Sounds like you had some really cool stuff. I am a huge fan of Sergio Mendes. I have a lot of his reel to reel releases from the 1960s.
Listening to his albums 'Stillness' and 'Crystal Illusions' on reel to reel is a slice of heaven.  yes 

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 24):
My wife just inadvertently tossed a bunch of it. Most sad about that.

..then made you buy a Sienna?!?!
Man it just keeps getting worse!  Wow!

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-02 23:59:33 and read 7124 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 21):
What is your assement of vaccum tube amplifiers?
Even audiophiles that prefer CDs still like tubes over solid state.

Some of them do.

Tube amplifiers have their own specific characteristics, and if they fit your personal preferences (and, almost more importantly, your speakers!), you can be well served with one of them.

I'm not much into the details right now, but I'd expect that you would have to try to keep them in relatively low-load operation in order to avoid distortions.

For an amplifier with precision and still with a powerful punch but without a gigantic waste of energy, I don't think there's presently much of an alternative to one of the better transistor-driven units, however.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 21):
You mentioned that you had reel to reel tape that stick together over time.

No. My tapes (bought in the late 1970s to early 1980s) began to disintegrate sometime in the 1990s (don't remember when it started exactly). The binder began to fail, so that the magnetic layer was simply falling off.

Had I known that back then, I would most certainly have bitten the bullet and invested in more expensive tapes, but back then money was an issue so I only bought a few of the pricier ones. No room for audiophile fantasies when you're on a limited budget.

Nowadays it's a moot point since I have all the material on CD anyway.

You would find, by the way, that your older tapes have in fact degraded over time as well, if not as drastically as mine (mine didn't live long enough mechanically to experience a lot of magnetic deterioration, although it was already audible on some).

It's simply physics: Every magnetic recording surface will gradually revert to the unordered state, it is just a matter of time. The noise floor will rise and the recorded signal will decay, starting with the higher frequencies.

Digital media can be fully and exactly regenerated by simply copying to another medium, but analog media will simply decay and deteriorate irretrievably.

That is the reason why many studios are frantically trying to rescue as much of their historical master tapes as possible before they are lost for good. And the rescuing technology is - no surprise there - digital. There is simply no way around it.


Not that this would have to make you change your own listening habits or preferences. LPs and magnetic tapes can survive through several decades. Human hearing will degrade with age anyway, so subjectively the change may not be that noticeable if you care well for your recordings...!

In the end the main purpose of music is to make you feel good. If this purpose is served well by the equipment you've chosen for yourself, then it's all good!   

[Edited 2007-01-03 00:06:42]

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Matt D
Posted 2007-01-03 02:01:44 and read 7112 times.

No. My tapes (bought in the late 1970s to early 1980s) began to disintegrate sometime in the 1990s (don't remember when it started exactly). The binder began to fail, so that the magnetic layer was simply falling off.

This is/was known as the so-called "Sticky Shed Syndrone" (SSS). It is an issue that dates back to the early 1970's, when the use of whale oil was banned. Frantic, many of the tape companies developed a number of synthetic binders. Many of these tapes were rushed to the market. Plus, there was no real way to determine the long term stability of these binders at the time; the problem was not really even known until the early 1990's. Some of the synthetics lasted (and still hold up to this day) while others have failed.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Klaus, as you painfully experienced first hand, the so-called SSS problem. What it is, explained as simply as I can, is that some of the binders had a very low hydroscopic tolerance. In other words, they absorbed moisture (humidity) from the air. This trapped water reacted with the binders and over time suffered a gradual phase separating from the backing. This results in the characteristic squealing, screeching, gummy residue, and eventual total tape failure you describe.

It isn't an "overnight" problem. It takes many years of exposure to humidity to reach the point of failure. And even then, you can see it coming. It starts out with some slight stickiness: as the tape unravels to be played or fast wound, you can see the tape hesitating to come off the pack (a good self-test to perform to see if your tape has early SSS would be to fast forward or fast rewind it. Under normal circumstances, the "whooshing" sound of the airflow caused by the high speed tape transfer will be constant and uniform. If SSS is present, the sound will be more of a "shh-fff-shh-ff-ssh-ff"). Next, you'll start to hear intermittent "squealing" or "screeching" as the tape moves across the heads and guides (stationary guides cause more havoc than rollers). Next you will see more and more of that dark olive green, almost black residue building up on your tape path. And eventually, the tape pack will sieze up completely.

Obviously you didn't discover the problem until it was too late. Up until all but the final stages of SSS, the tapes can still usually be rescued for dubbing. But again, time is of the essence here: Like treating cancer: the earlier you detect it, the better your odds of saving what's on the tape.

There are two ways to make a tape suffering from [early to moderate. Tapes that have advanced so far to where they stick or disintegrate simply by threading it onto the machine are usually past the point of no return and are all but assured to be unsalvageable and therefore lost] SSS playable long enough to make a safety copy. It should be noted that both methods are only temporary fixes and should in no way be considered permanent: The first and simplest way would be to take the problem tape and seal it up in an airtight Ziploc bag with some dessicant (Silica Gel) packets inside. Let it sit undisturbed for about 2 weeks. By then, the Silica Gel should have absorbed enough moisture out of the tape to get a copy off.

The second method is a lot quicker, but also runs the risk of prematurely ruining the tape. And that is to BAKE it. Yes...BAKE it.

Take the tape (make sure it's NOT on a PLASTIC reel. Use a metal reel, or ideally, have the tape in "pancake" form), and place it in an ELECTRIC oven (gas ovens use gas......which emits water vapor when it's burned....exactly what you are trying to get rid of), and let the tape "cook" at about 150º for about 5 or 6 hours. After that, let the tape cool to room temperature (!!!!!!!!) before using it. Immediately dub it.

Like I said, these two methods are only temporary fixes. Even though the tapes have been "saved", upon exposure to the air, they immediately begin absorbing water vapor again. And unlike when the binders were true before, now the binder has been compromised and instead of taking years to gum up the tape, they will begin to stick and shed again within a few weeks.

And last but not least:

NEVER EVER BAKE AN *ACETATE* TAPE.

If you are reading this post, I'm sure the burning question on your mind is:

What tapes have stood the test of time and which ones have not?

Well sadly (as you alluded to), most of the tapes suffering from SSS were the "High Performance" Back coated tapes made by Scotch/3M and Ampex-

-EXACTLY what most recording studios over the years used.

The verified tapes I know of that are prime candidates for SSS are:

Ampex: 2020/373, 406, 407, 456, 457, and 499
Scotch: 206/207, 226/227, 986, 987, Master XS, Classic LP/DP/EP
Sony: SLH, ULH, FeCr

Whereas most of the "consumer" grade tapes-such as Maxell and TDK-

I have yet to find a SINGLE Maxell or TDK, no matter how old-
suffer from SSS. The same could be said of lower grade Ampex and Scotch tapes such as Scotch #150 and Ampex #641. Both are voice-grade [non back-coated] tapes and from all reports I've seen, these tapes and others like it still perform flawlessly today.

Indeed, one tape in my collection....passed down from my father...is a Maxell "LNE-10", which he believes dates from 1972....

still plays and sounds flawlessly today.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-03 02:30:32 and read 7100 times.

Yeah, the symptoms you've described above match my experiences pretty closely.

But at that point reel-to-reel tape had become rather impractical for me anyway and by now I have everything I still care about in digital form, so it's simply a thing of the past for me.

Since I've switched to digital audio almost completely in the meantime (FM radio is the final analog remnant, and its days are numbered as well), there is neither a practical way nor a need to go backwards again.

Personal preferences always apply, but with regard to actual signal fidelity the issue is long decided. Even the remaining analog equipment is calibrated using digital audio as a reference. The math and physics behind music reproduction don't leave much doubt about the way technology will develop in the future, and one thing is certain: Reproduction quality will continue to improve.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-03 03:17:01 and read 7092 times.

The only encounters I've had with SSS was with a used Audia blank tape.
It was only 25 cents at a thrift shop and I bought because it was a mix tape from 1983 and I liked every single song on that tape.

As far as pre-recorded reel to reel tape from the record companies, anything that is 7 & 1/2 speed is perfect.
The most recent 7 & 1/2 speed tape I have that is a retail release is Rod Stewart - 'Atlantic Crossing' (1976).
I've done a comparison with the compact disc and the reel to reel blows the CD away, even with the high frequencies. The digital CD remaster sounds very tinny and sterile. With the reel to reel tape, I can identify what type of guitar, amplifier and gauge of string the guitar player is using. The piano parts sound like a real piano but the CD version, the piano almost sounds like a cheap casio.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-03 03:32:48 and read 7088 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 29):
I've done a comparison with the compact disc and the reel to reel blows the CD away, even with the high frequencies. The digital CD remaster sounds very tinny and sterile. With the reel to reel tape, I can identify what type of guitar, amplifier and gauge of string the guitar player is using. The piano parts sound like a real piano but the CD version, the piano almost sounds like a cheap casio.

You either have a severely substandard CD player or the mixes are extremely different (provided your tape deck is at least halfway decent).

Differences like the ones you're speaking of have nothing to do with the fundamental principles of analog vs. digital audio.

The fundamental differences lie elsewhere and they are more subtle than that.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Superfly
Posted 2007-01-03 03:47:49 and read 7086 times.

Klaus:
Well the TEAC A3340 and A2340 are superb decks. I'll admit that my CD players aren't of the same quality but everything is ran through my Marantz 4400 reciever. For some reason, playing regular audio CDs through my DVD player sounds better than my CD player.
The CD player is a Sony CDP-305(nothing special) and the DVD/VHS combo is just a Go Video (RCA) unit but the VHS part is S-VHS.

The difference between a high-end CD player and a low-fi CD player isn't significant enough to justify me spending hundreds of dollars more for.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 30):
Differences like the ones you're speaking of have nothing to do with the fundamental principles of analog vs. digital audio.

Perhaps we are on to something.
Of all the music I listen to (1960s-early 1990s) recordings of all genres, I prefer the LP and/or CD. Now if I need to subject myself to current garbage like Creed, Jay-Z or Toby Keith to hear digital superiority, I rather go deaf!

It's the good music that sounds better than analog so I guess thats all that really matter.  

[Edited 2007-01-03 03:55:44]

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-04 23:38:06 and read 7056 times.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 31):
For some reason, playing regular audio CDs through my DVD player sounds better than my CD player.

Quite possible - the digital and analog signal processing stages can vary in quality.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 31):
The difference between a high-end CD player and a low-fi CD player isn't significant enough to justify me spending hundreds of dollars more for.

But it's a bit difficult making fundamental judgments based on that, isn't it?

Quoting Superfly (Reply 31):
It's the good music that sounds better than analog so I guess thats all that really matter.

I guess you meant that the other way around, didn't you? Big grin

It's quite possible (and above all legitimate!) to subjectively prefer one version over the other.

It is also quite possible that an older analog cut sounds more like the musicians and mixers originally intended it to sound since they were aware of the limitations of the format and the remastered version - though technically with higher fidelity to the master tape - doesn't reproduce those limitations which had been an inevitable part of the analog cut.

Which of the two versions has the greater emotional impact on you is a personal question, not a technical one. That's why I don't question your preferences in the matter, even though my own may (or may not) be different regarding specific albums.

But when it's not about music from the 1970s or even farther back but about new music or new original recordings, the picture changes quite a bit.

This is especially true for recordings of classical music which has been conceived for live performances and thus never considered the limitations of recording media. Complex orchestral soundscapes and a high dynamic range simply overwhelmed the earlier analog formats. There were still some spectacular performaces of high musical value, despite the regrettable limitations of their recordings; But only the digital era allowed for the first time to remove most of the earlier limitations and to record the music as it was originally meant to be. Or at least closer to that than ever before.

The newly expanded possibilities have of course been taken up by all other musical styles as well.

We probably agree about the relative merits of quite a bit of past and contemporary music; And there can be no doubt about the validity of personal preferences. But when it's about the principal relation of actual audio fidelity regarding analog and digital reproduction, I still do not see a valid reason to follow some of the claims that have been made above and in prior threads.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: WildcatYXU
Posted 2007-01-05 01:11:44 and read 7044 times.

Klaus, while your devotion to digital signal sources is commendable, you're partially wrong. While the low-end digital appliances are way better than their analogue counterparts, in mid-priced category there is little difference, while in high-end category analogs are better hands-down, at least when comparing analogue record to CD's. Why is it? It's the imperfection of the CD format. The 44.1 kHz sampling frequency with 16 bit resolution is way too low. That will cause a huge distortion at lower signal levels. The distortion is growing with decreasing signal level. It's somewhere around 10 % at -48 dB level (I'm too lazy to do the math to get the accurate level). You can't go over the 0 dB level while preparing the recording and you can find larger than 48 dB peaks in many music genres. That's a bad situation, because you have an unmeasurable distortion for 2 % of your signal and a huge distortion for 98 % of your signal. So what you do - you compress the dynamic range, therefore degrading the signal quality. Some low end (quality and music wise) CD's are compressed to 5 dB dynamic range! People call these "compressed to fuck".
Analogue recording doesn't have this problem. Therefore, for many people with well developed hearing analog may sound much better.

That will ultimately change when new high-bitrate systems become more common. That will spell the end of analogue music recording.

Topic: RE: The Official Teac X-2000R Reel To Reel Deck Thread
Username: Klaus
Posted 2007-01-05 01:42:09 and read 7043 times.

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 33):
while in high-end category analogs are better hands-down, at least when comparing analogue record to CD's. Why is it? It's the imperfection of the CD format. The 44.1 kHz sampling frequency with 16 bit resolution is way too low. That will cause a huge distortion at lower signal levels. The distortion is growing with decreasing signal level.

With an analog medium you have a much higher noise floor which adds distortion to lower signals as well, just at much higher intensity - there is no free lunch there either.

With proper noise shaping on both ends the digital recording of the same signal should still have lower distortions overall.

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 33):
Analogue recording doesn't have this problem.

Of course it does - you have distortion either way. The only question is how it's handled in either case. An analog mastering system may happen to have a softer clipping characteristic than an unmodified digital one so the distortion may produce less aggressive harmonics; But that characteristic can be realized on the digital side as well if you want it.

There is no absolute need for wholesale compression - it's just an unfortunate choice many producers make (and have made for decades). Sloppy analog productions just have different characteristics (and defects) than sloppy digital ones.


The messages in this discussion express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of Airliners.net or any entity associated with Airliners.net.

Copyright © Lundgren Aerospace. All rights reserved.
http://www.airliners.net/