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JSBach
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Reel to Reel Tape

I've inherited a Revox B77 reel to reel deck in excellent condition. If I'm going to add it to my collection of audio toys I'll need a supply of blank tapes. Can anyone recommend a supplier, if there are any left? Thanks.

ncdrawl
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

Yes!

RMGI is still in production. I get several cases from them a year. Excellent product. You will want the SM900 formula.

http://www.rmgi.com.au/

http://www.rmgi.com.au/RMGI_SM900.htm

ncdrawl
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape
JSBach
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape


Quote:
you will also need to align it. http://audio.utac.net/pg/tape/align.html

http://recordist.com/ampex/docs/align/aligndek.txt

and make sure you get an MRL test tape.

http://home.comcast.net/~mrltapes/

and a demagnetizer is a must.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Tape-Deck-Head-De...#ht_1141wt_1139


Thanks for the information Teddy, you're a gold mine. I have a demagnetizer and a close friend is a very skilled technician. He even knows his way around inside my Nakamichi 'Dragon' when most techs faint as soon as the take the case off and spot the nightmare insides.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

Be careful with the demagnetizer, I'm sure you know this from the Nakamichi but the Revox heads are Permalloy which will scratch quite easily and there's no protective shield on the Revox heads. Due to their material construction I would first give the heads a good visual examination, Permalloy wears quite quickly and, if the heads are worn, the Revox might become just another unit to use for parts.

Take the source provided by ncdrawl for tapes but also try local sources. Not much is done with open reel tapes today but try a small, independent recording studio or a shop which physically turns the masters into viable CD or LP's. Most larger cities have several such shops who cater to very small independent artists and recordists, they might have a lead on where they buy their tapes from a local source.

Sorry to say, the Revox has become not much more than a relic of the ages. If your machine doesn't include Dobly B processing, even at 7.5ips on the Revox you'll have better quality sound from the Dragon. At 7.5ips you'll be blasting through tapes at a rather ferocious rate with each 7" side being approximately no longer than a single album side - the equivalent of a 45 minute cassette except at 2-3 times the price. Unlike the Nakamichi you'll have to physically change the tape direction to play the other side. At lower speeds and longer play times most other contemporary sources will sound better than the Revox IMO. Finding 10.5" reels really only increases your cost IMO.

Open reels are more of a curiousity piece than a useful source in most consumer systems nowdays. They look very cool but can be outdone in sound quality by virtually any other source even given their "analog" attributes. Twenty years ago we used to compare open reels to HiFi VCR's and suggest the real use of either was for extended playing time rather than ultimate sound quality - particularly considering most people were only going to record their LP's and CD's onto to the tapes.

My Revox has sat in the back of the closet for about twenty years. I got tired of dusting it. Good luck with yours and maybe I'll be mistaken about your impressions of open reel.

ncdrawl
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape


Quote:
Be careful with the demagnetizer, I'm sure you know this from the Nakamichi but the Revox heads are Permalloy which will scratch quite easily and there's no protective shield on the Revox heads. Due to their material construction I would first give the heads a good visual examination, Permalloy wears quite quickly and, if the heads are worn, the Revox might become just another unit to use for parts.

Take the source provided by ncdrawl for tapes but also try local sources. Not much is done with open reel tapes today but try a small, independent recording studio or a shop which physically turns the masters into viable CD or LP's. Most larger cities have several such shops who cater to very small independent artists and recordists, they might have a lead on where they buy their tapes from a local source.

Sorry to say, the Revox has become not much more than a relic of the ages. If your machine doesn't include Dobly B processing, even at 7.5ips on the Revox you'll have better quality sound from the Dragon. At 7.5ips you'll be blasting through tapes at a rather ferocious rate with each 7" side being approximately no longer than a single album side - the equivalent of a 45 minute cassette except at 2-3 times the price. Unlike the Nakamichi you'll have to physically change the tape direction to play the other side. At lower speeds and longer play times most other contemporary sources will sound better than the Revox IMO. Finding 10.5" reels really only increases your cost IMO.

Open reels are more of a curiousity piece than a useful source in most consumer systems nowdays. They look very cool but can be outdone in sound quality by virtually any other source even given their "analog" attributes. Twenty years ago we used to compare open reels to HiFi VCR's and suggest the real use of either was for extended playing time rather than ultimate sound quality - particularly considering most people were only going to record their LP's and CD's onto to the tapes.

My Revox has sat in the back of the closet for about twenty years. I got tired of dusting it. Good luck with yours and maybe I'll be mistaken about your impressions of open reel.

I don't agree at all. Even the best Dragon decks do not compare with playing analog tape on a well set up open reel machine. There is currently a huge resurgence of magnetic tape recording, and it is a very healthy industry at present.

As witness to this, look at this..this is a new product, designed solely to integrate Pro Tools with a RTR.

http://www.endlessanalog.com/

and these

http://www.anamodaudio.com/

If set up well, Analog Tape can sound very , very good, and gives a depth/width that surpasses any other format.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

No need to copy my entire post, ncdrawl, it's right above your own.

What is it about this forum that makes people just make up BS about what someone else said? Crimeney, guy! you just put my entire post in yours in case someone needed to go check what I actually said.

I never said a Revox in peak condition can't sound good. Go read what I said - or better yet, here's what I said ...


Quote:
If your machine doesn't include Dobly B processing, even at 7.5ips on the Revox you'll have better quality sound from the Dragon.

Without noise reduction the Revox suffers from noticeable tape noise. Program material can influence how intrusive this is to the listener but who listens to Guns and Roses constantly or only the loud parts of Mahler? Sooner or later song breaks occur or quite passages are played. Tape noise will be at least -20dB lower on the Dragon. If we were talking about the Revox vs a Pioneer cassette deck, that would be somewhat different but the Dragon (and the three head, single direction machines from the last generation of Nak - I have a BX300) was one hell of a tape machine.


Quote:
At lower speeds and longer play times most other contemporary sources will sound better than the Revox IMO.

Who records anything but background music at 3.75ips?


Quote:
They look very cool but can be outdone in sound quality by virtually any other source even given their "analog" attributes.

Analog is waaaay better than most digital when it comes to providing "analog" sound. But what's the source material going to be for most Revox B77's in a consumer system? LP's and CD's, right? So how's a deck with a poor signal to noise ratio going to improve upon the source? I hate to sound like Ethan but to do so will only amount to adding noise and distortion to the original signal to achieve what some might call "analog" sound.

If the deck is used as a field recorder, then that's a different story to some extent though we have no indication that is the intent of DM. Still, whether 1/4" analog tape is the best choice for uncontrolled or for most live recordings is highly debatable.


Quote:
Twenty years ago we used to compare open reels to HiFi VCR's and suggest the real use of either was for extended playing time rather than ultimate sound quality - particularly considering most people were only going to record their LP's and CD's onto to the tapes.

10.5" reels at 3.75ips and an auto reverse is coooool in a "Man From U.N.C.L.E." sort of way. Otherwise, a CD changer is more convenient. I never could fit those 10.5" reels in my car stereo.

JSBach
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

Thanks for all the hints boys but I have previously owned a B77 as well as a Sony A400 (tube) deck. I lost both to burglars many decades ago.
The B77 I've inherited belonged to a very eccentric music ( live & recorded) reviewer who only used it to record himself playing the harpsichord. As as far as I can tell the heads are near to brand new and the pinch rollers etc all appear to be in great condition too. A brief experiment with the one tape I have indicates that tape hiss won't really worry me as it would some.
Speed stability appears to be spot on as well.
I'd forgotten how 'sexy' the feel of the controls are and how good these things look. I never much liked Revox's stand alone amplifiers though finding them very dry and unmusical.
I'll hand the B77 over to my tech for a check up but I suspect very little will need to be done to it. It comes with a spare set of replay and record heads so if those are worn by some chance I've got a fall back option.
Essentially, for me, this is just going to be a wander down memory lane to the days when I first got stoned and spent hours immersed in music while hypnotized by those reels revolving round and round. Rather like watching an open fire in some strange way. Call me nuts if you want'

Poor Audiophile
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

Considering that the original post was asking for sources of tape, why all the negative stuff? A "don't forget to get this also(demagentizer or whatever)" is one thing, but What the ...?
I have never owned an open reel machine, but if that's your thing, great!!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

What "negative stuff" are you referring to?

absolutepitch
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

I have a Teac machine on which I recorded live events. When played back decades later, the sound is very "live" sounding compared to typical LPs or CDs. This is an impression with no analysis or science behind it; it jus sounds so. Hope you enjoy the R-R deck, especially with good microphones for recording.

Jan's right about the heads, being soft and easily damaged. Do be careful when cleaning. I still work on my Teac when needed.

JSBach
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape


Quote:
I have a Teac machine on which I recorded live events. When played back decades later, the sound is very "live" sounding compared to typical LPs or CDs. This is an impression with no analysis or science behind it; it just sounds so. Hope you enjoy the R-R deck, especially with good microphones for recording.


Would anyone care to recommend a pair? At this stage I plan to use only two with no mixer between them and the deck.
You're right about the 'live' sound. I'm now in possession of several tapes made by the original owner on that machine. Undemanding in a way as they're all unaccompanied harpsichord but on my system in my room the realism is astonishing and I have to put my ears near the tweeter to actually hear any tape hiss.

ncdrawl
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

This is my area of expertise, DM.

Let me know your budget and material youll be recording and ill steer you right.

I think youll have to have a mixer of some sort as the deck does not supply phantom power....Dynamic mics will work but they are not appropriate..Ribbons will work but gain wont be high enough. you just need a high bandwidth transparent preamp to provide phantom.

I am glad to help, just let me know!

JSBach
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape


Quote:
This is my area of expertise, DM.

Let me know your budget and material youll be recording and ill steer you right.

I think youll have to have a mixer of some sort as the deck does not supply phantom power....Dynamic mics will work but they are not appropriate..Ribbons will work but gain wont be high enough. you just need a high bandwidth transparent preamp to provide phantom.

I am glad to help, just let me know!


I'm about to fly interstate for a few days and will get back to you with more detail as soon as I return. Briefly though I'll only be recording acoustic music, most of it classical and the most demanding of that will pipe organ and small choirs backed by a chamber orchestra.
The budget is flexible but I don't want to carry around large amounts of heavy gear.

ncdrawl
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

DM, I emailed you.!

absolutepitch
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Re: Reel to Reel Tape

I got the machine a long time ago. I tried the dynamic cardioid mikes and it was OK. But the recordings with a pair of electret condenser mikes really was what I was describing. The dynamics captured are really there. That must be a big part of 'live', not having the experience you have in recording.

lawdog
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e-bay!
JSBach wrote:

I've inherited a Revox B77 reel to reel deck in excellent condition. If I'm going to add it to my collection of audio toys I'll need a supply of blank tapes. Can anyone recommend a supplier, if there are any left? Thanks.

Try ebay. I have a couple of Revox B-77s, one half track and the other quarter track, high speed and low speed and have had great luck finding blank tapes on ebay in the past. Haven't checked ebay recently for them as i found 200 large reels of Maxell high quality open reels which had been recorded on just once at my local FM radio station that was switching over to "completely digital" broadcasting for about a buck a reel. You might look for a deal like that on Craig's list.

absolutepitch
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mics for R to R deck

Sorry to take so long to respond, been too busy.

Others here can recommend pro or better mikes, if that's what you want. I have used the Sony electret condenser mikes which have higher output than the EV dynamic mikes.

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noise reduction

Quote:
If your machine doesn't include Dobly B processing, even at 7.5ips on the Revox you'll have better quality sound from the Dragon

I used to use a DBX outboard noise reduction unit back in the day. If I remember correctly it gave about 40db of noise reduction to my open-reel deck. I don't know if you can still get something like that nowadays...maybe a pro audio dealer or eBay,,,

Pinback
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noise reduction 2

I think a newer outboard NR system that may still be available is Dolby S or Dolby SR. I think they give about 30db NR. SR is the more professional (studio) version, and is more likely to be available.

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