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Otari MX-5050 Review (Reel to Reel Tape Deck)

Rottmannash

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The problem with open reel, from both a consumer and pro standpoint, is that it's expensive, requires an inordinate amount of time, energy, and knowledge to work with, you can't get the formulations you used to be able to get (I'm not sure about that exactly, but I would presume it to be the case), and it is generally inflexible, and not suited to field work. On an absolute technical level, analog tape machines will never match digits.

The upside and benefit of open reel, at least from a consumer standpoint, is that there is really nothing that looks cooler in you hi-fi rack than an open reel deck. Maybe a '59 Les Paul hanging on your wall might look cooler.
or both... Merry Christmas to everyone. 20180316_165245.jpg2014-02-23 18.32.20.jpg
 

MakeMineVinyl

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This is not correct.

Modern Recording the Masters tapes are descents of the AGFA and BASF line of formulations, and they have modern versions that are marketed as replacements / equivalents for old formulas.

AGFA 468 = RTM SM 468 (+3)

BASF 900 & 911 = STM SM 900 (+9), SM 911 (+6)


These formulas all use standard calibration levels (e.g. 320 nWbm) compatible with standard calibration tapes that are still available.
I deliberately just lumped them into "European" For all intents and purposes they are basically the older formulations as far as biasing, output levels etc. I've compared an original reel of AGFA 468 to SM468 and they are essentially the same. ATR biases up the same as Ampex 456 (at least the reels of 456 I have which haven't gone sticky shed).
 

Tom C

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As far as availability of the old tape formulations, that is not true. All of them are still available and the quality is as good as or better than the original. Also, sticky shed syndrome no longer exists. You are correct though about expense - they cost a lot.

ATR Tape - Same as old Ampex 456
Recording The Masters - Same as the older European formulations.
Capture Recording Tape - A good tape aimed at consumers.

And yes, nothing looks as cool as reel to reel tape machines. :cool:

View attachment 174554
Is that your own personal? Jaw dropping.
 

anmpr1

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This is not correct.
Yeah, they're pricey. but nobody gets into open reel recording to save money.
Thanks for pointing out current availability. I didn't know that. For $78.00 one can order a reel of ATR MDS-36 40907, 1/4" x 3600', on 10.5" NAB metal reel in a special plastic box.

I don't suppose that many pro's use 1/4 x 3600, but that is what I used to buy, and what I know about. In the early to mid 80s my guitar store sold Maxell UDXL on a metal reel. I think I was paying about $18.00, which is supposed to be 45 USD in today's inflato dollars. Of course ATR ships with a hard plastic shell, something you didn't get with Maxell.

The most inexpensive were the 7" reels, and mail order houses sold them by the carton, for not much money.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why anyone would get into open reel at this late stage of the game, but then again I have three turntables, and still listen to records. :cool:

 

Frank Dernie

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Master tapes (and early generation tapes) played on the Studer were claimed to be better than records.
This would be expected. The LP was not only a second or more generation copy the process that the production of the LP master and pressing a disc is lossy so however good or bad the master tape is it will always be better than any LP could be.
 

watchnerd

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This would be expected. The LP was not only a second or more generation copy the process that the production of the LP master and pressing a disc is lossy so however good or bad the master tape is it will always be better than any LP could be.

It's so expected as to be a bit surprising to think anyone would anticipate it to be otherwise. Any derivative work can, at best, be only as good (digital copy) as the original master. An analog derivative can't be better.

Not to mention LPs have things like tracking error, groove noise, off-center records, etc.

LPs do win in durability, though.
 

anmpr1

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It's so expected as to be a bit surprising to think anyone would anticipate it to be otherwise. Any derivative work can, at best, be only as good (digital copy) as the original master. An analog derivative can't be better.

Not to mention LPs have things like tracking error, groove noise, off-center records, etc.

LPs do win in durability, though.
And tape shedding, print through, pre-echo, and all the troubles 'old' formulations were prone to, from a physical standpoint.

For their part, '70s era LPs used horrible plastic. I read it was due to the 'energy' crisis', with oil prices through the roof. You always expected a few pops and clicks, some skips and a scratch or two, but some of those era LPs were really unplayable, having so much surface grundge on them.

Here in the US, domestic pressings typically featured garbage QC. CBS (classical) was known as 'Cost Before Sound'. The 'imports' were said to the be the way to go, but not just a few DGG records that came over were just as bad as the domestic releases.

Direct to Disc records were generally much better sonically, but often the program material was second rate. I have a two record set on the Umbrella label (distributed by Audio Technica)--big band tunes, which are a sonic knock-out, but are nowhere as musically involving as many of the old mono recordings, say Gerry Mulligan's arrangements with Gene Krupa and Elliot Lawrence.

Mobile Fidelity did the 'half speed masters', supposedly using what was called 'JVC Supervinyl'. Those were done well, although the program material was often more trendy, and pop oriented.

Of the big labels, to me, Phillips was probably the best. During the transition to digital recording (and before CDs), it was easy to identify sonic differences between analog based LPs and digital. For my ears, the analogs were usually best, with digital LPs sounding rather 'thin', but with pronounced mids and highs.

I'm trying to remember, didn't the record companies charge a premium for their 'digital' LPs? I know when the change-over from mono to stereo happened, stereo discs were always a dollar more.

Open reel was never big in the pre-recorded market. The Barclay Crocker organization was probably the best known.


Consumer open reel was mostly used for recording FM broadcasts, or dubbing LPs, so you wouldn't 'harm' your records by playing them over and over. But it was always a richer man's game. If you had a Marantz 10, or McIntosh MR-78, you could afford a ReVox or Crown in order to tape classical concerts over the Boston airwaves, one way at half track! By the late '70s, most plebes were using cassettes, which they could carry over to their cars. And were affordable.

What we put up with, back in the day. Youth will never know what it was like to walk several miles to school, in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways. No wonder it's all digits and streaming, today! :)
 
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sergeauckland

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What we put up with, back in the day. Youth will never know what it was like to walk several miles to school, in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways. No wonder it's all digits and streaming, today! :)
Sheer Looxury! We lived int'middle of road, and fed coal which we had to dig oot t'ground ourselves.
Young people wouldn't believe you if you told 'em.

S.
With apologies to Monty Python
 

anmpr1

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...and the thing where you had to wind up your Victrola, after each side had finshed, so you could listen to Side 2.
 

Tiburd

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Someone recently posted an A/B comparison of music on YouTube between this tape deck versus a Tascam DA-3000 in DSD 5.6 mode, and I was surprised that I agree with your subjective assessment - which also conforms to the comments of the person who posted the video. Amazing.
 

Moulin

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Someone recently posted an A/B comparison of music on YouTube between this tape deck versus a Tascam DA-3000 in DSD 5.6 mode, and I was surprised that I agree with your subjective assessment - which also conforms to the comments of the person who posted the video. Amazing.
??
 

watchnerd

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Someone recently posted an A/B comparison of music on YouTube between this tape deck versus a Tascam DA-3000 in DSD 5.6 mode, and I was surprised that I agree with your subjective assessment - which also conforms to the comments of the person who posted the video. Amazing.

I don't get what you're saying.
 
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