• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

The Truth About Tape Recorders

JaccoW

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
256
Likes
359
Location
The Netherlands
I love my R2R deck. It used to belong to my grandfather and finally had it serviced to restore its recording capability last year. It's fun to play with from time to time.



 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
She's beautiful!

I absolutely love your system.

Marantz, Sony, classic Akai GX cassette and RTR, a modern Focusrite, Technics TT and where's the amplification? Not that Topping thing? *shock horror*

If you were closer, I'd give you a proper matching vintage amplifier. :)
 

JaccoW

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
256
Likes
359
Location
The Netherlands
She's beautiful!

I absolutely love your system.

Marantz, Sony, classic Akai GX cassette and RTR, a modern Focusrite, Technics TT and where's the amplification? Not that Topping thing? *shock horror*

If you were closer, I'd give you a proper matching vintage amplifier. :)
Worse, active speakers with an MM phono stage. :p Not ideal but it sounds great, especially for the €400 I paid for the speakers.
I'm trying to get my hands on the silver version of the Marantz SACD-player to make it a bit more future-proof.

A proper setup is being planned but will have to wait until next year. Life is expensive enough as it is right now.
But a Technics su-g700 (mk2) with a pair of nice second-hand speakers would be on my wishlist. ;)

EDIT: Or perhaps an Audiolab 6000a would be a good solution in the meantime. Still trying to figure out if it has enough connections for that it work correctly.
 
Last edited:

sarumbear

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
5,931
Likes
5,348
It was not CD that killed cassette, it was CD players in the car, that killed cassette. Once the ubiquitous radio/cassette head unit was replaced with a radio/CD unit, that was the end. Combined with computer based recording of CDRs and people had all the convenience of making their own recordings, but having a somewhat better sounding and resilient format in the car.
Philips and Sony argued about the diameter of the CD. Philips’ idea of a 115mm CD had to be shelved because Sony insisted that the long performance should fit on to the disc. Beethoven’s entire 9th Symphony was 74 minutes, and the size of the CD was increased to 120mm, but not larger so that the players can eventually fit in a DIN width.

Note: What I said above is hearsay.
 
Last edited:

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Philips and Sony argued about the diameter of the CD. Philips’ idea of a 115mm CD had to be shelved because Sony insisted that the long performance should fit on to the disc. Beethoven’s entire 9th Symphony was 74 minutes, and the size of the CD was increased to 120mm, but not larger so that the players can eventually fit in a DIN width.

Another urban myth, unfortunately.

The Philips plan was to have a disc the same diameter as a cassette's diagonal length. That is 115mm. So,14 bit, CLV 1.5m/s, 1hr only playing time and a sampling rate of 44.39kHz.

Sony had already demonstrated and produced a 12", 16bit, CAV, 2.5hr, 44.056kHz disc system using CIRC. Sony had advocated for a 100mm diameter disc.

It was the development of EFM (eight to fourteen modulation which, when combined with Sony's CIRC, enabled either the reduction in disc diameter or the increase in playing time as there was a 30% saving in data density. They chose (deliberately) a combination of the two to allow for redundant data for error correction to come in at 120mm.

Beethoven's 9th symphony had nothing to do with with the 120mm diameter. In fact, the longest 9th was an old 1951 mono recording at 74 minutes 33seconds and that would have easily fit on even a 100mm disc diameter with EFM and CIRC with 16 bit content.
 

Michou

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Messages
63
Likes
71
I love my R2R deck. It used to belong to my grandfather and finally had it serviced to restore its recording capability last year. It's fun to play with from time to time.



Beautiful setup. Which speakers are these?
 

sarumbear

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
5,931
Likes
5,348
Another urban myth, unfortunately.

The Philips plan was to have a disc the same diameter as a cassette's diagonal length. That is 115mm. So,14 bit, CLV 1.5m/s, 1hr only playing time and a sampling rate of 44.39kHz.

Sony had already demonstrated and produced a 12", 16bit, CAV, 2.5hr, 44.056kHz disc system using CIRC. Sony had advocated for a 100mm diameter disc.

It was the development of EFM (eight to fourteen modulation which, when combined with Sony's CIRC, enabled either the reduction in disc diameter or the increase in playing time as there was a 30% saving in data density. They chose (deliberately) a combination of the two to allow for redundant data for error correction to come in at 120mm.

Beethoven's 9th symphony had nothing to do with with the 120mm diameter. In fact, the longest 9th was an old 1951 mono recording at 74 minutes 33seconds and that would have easily fit on even a 100mm disc diameter with EFM and CIRC with 16 bit content.
Thank you. I learned something.
 

JoachimStrobel

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
472
Likes
262
Location
Germany
It might be worth mentioning, that tapedecks allowed consumer to listen to music in their own order, the first Playlists. That was a real big thing. CDs did not fill that need, hence the cassette survived for a long time Until the real playlist came along.
 

oddsnsodds

New Member
Joined
May 19, 2022
Messages
2
Likes
4
Another urban myth, unfortunately.

The Philips plan was to have a disc the same diameter as a cassette's diagonal length. That is 115mm. So,14 bit, CLV 1.5m/s, 1hr only playing time and a sampling rate of 44.39kHz.

Sony had already demonstrated and produced a 12", 16bit, CAV, 2.5hr, 44.056kHz disc system using CIRC. Sony had advocated for a 100mm diameter disc.

It was the development of EFM (eight to fourteen modulation which, when combined with Sony's CIRC, enabled either the reduction in disc diameter or the increase in playing time as there was a 30% saving in data density. They chose (deliberately) a combination of the two to allow for redundant data for error correction to come in at 120mm.

Beethoven's 9th symphony had nothing to do with with the 120mm diameter. In fact, the longest 9th was an old 1951 mono recording at 74 minutes 33seconds and that would have easily fit on even a 100mm disc diameter with EFM and CIRC with 16 bit content.
I almost wish Sony's 12" CAV format had taken off, just so we could keep the LP album art.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I almost wish Sony's 12" CAV format had taken off, just so we could keep the LP album art.

I think it would have been horrible in real terms, rather like a laser disc, easy to drop and damage.

And CAV at 450rpm on a 12" disc would have made for some vibration, ruled out portable and car systems.

Sony going from 100mm diameter to 120mm diameter was primarily done due to relax the precision requirements on the already low yield laser/tracking mechanisms as it allowed a greater track to track pitch. It was hard enough for the systems to stay on track as it was. Whatever compromises and fights they had, the resultant format was worth it IMO. And it allowed for up to 16-24bit, more time and even 4 channels which never saw the light of day.

Here's a picture of Sony's "System No 9" player prototype:

IMG_0716.jpg
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Here's a bit more on the disc diameter/beethoven thing:

By Kees Immink, the inventor of EFM while a Philips and their lead when working with Sony on the CD format.
1665618683685.png


1665618732194.png


1665618777625.png


1665618863309.png
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,726
Likes
6,775
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Weird footnote, the Nagra D reel to Reel digital tape deck. You could get 4 channels of 20 bit recording. On the session where I was assistant engineer the engineer/Producer Jack Vad used the two additional tracks running at -10 db compared to the main 2 channels for safety's sake while recording comparatively at "hot" levels and with very dynamic music. I'd say this was the reel-to-reel tape recorder's last gasp:


701f7535366e1a7688866c37b4b80150.jpg


 
Last edited:

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Weird footnote, the Nagra D reel to Reel digital tape deck. You could get 4 channels of a 24 bit recording. On the session where I was assistant engineer the engineer/Producer Jack Vad used the two additional tracks running at -10 db compared to the main 2 channels for safety's sake while recording comparatively at "hot" levels and with very dynamic music. I'd say this was the reel-to-reel tape recorder's last gasp:


View attachment 236837


Wow, that's an absolutely beautiful deck!

Helical scan 4 head in a RTR style. Is that about 180 degree wrap? Must have been going pretty fast.
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,726
Likes
6,775
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Wow, that's an absolutely beautiful deck!

Helical scan 4 head in a RTR style. Is that about 180 degree wrap? Must have been going pretty fast.
The reels moved real slow, as I recall. I do believe that was something like 180-degree wrap around the heads.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The reels moved real slow, as I recall. I do believe that was something like 180-degree wrap around the heads.

Just looked at the review, yeah, 3750rpm on the head drum, so it would have been creeping along...

I wonder where that deck you used is now?
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,726
Likes
6,775
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Just looked at the review, yeah, 3750rpm on the head drum, so it would have been creeping along...

I wonder where that deck you used is now?
It was Jack Vad's but I suspect it moved on down the line when recorders using solid-state storage appeared. It blows my mind that my cheap Tascam handheld has nearly as many features as the Nagra D.
 

Daverz

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
1,155
Likes
1,252
It might be worth mentioning, that tapedecks allowed consumer to listen to music in their own order, the first Playlists. That was a real big thing. CDs did not fill that need, hence the cassette survived for a long time Until the real playlist came along.

Oh, you mean mix tapes. Once CD burners became affordable in the 90s those became mix CDRs
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
10,392
Likes
29,990
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
It blows my mind that my cheap Tascam handheld has nearly as many features as the Nagra D.

I know, it's kinda criminal huh? All that research and development, huge outlays and enormous purchase costs, only to go the way of the Dodo.
 

thorn

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
9
Likes
18
Reminds me of the good old days. ;)

My late dad was an electrical engineer and I have his wire recorder he made in the late 50s. He recorded Sputnik on it. I remember him playing it when I was younger.

I also have my late parents Ampex RTR and about 50 reels from the 60s. I have the manual and sales brochure. I’m not sure what’s on all the reels. I know they recorded Christmas music when FM stations would just play it all day on Christmas. I need to hook it up and listen to see what’s on them. We had moved to Germany when I got out of high school and they brought it with us. My dad had to buy a special, not sure what you call it, an adapter to use it in Germany. It was needed since in Europe it is 50Hz vs 60Hz AC. It’s still on it and just recently found the US one. A few years ago I was able to play a smaller tape of a letter my grandmother recorded in the 60s on it.

I still have my Technics 3 head cassette recorder/player and it still works.
 
Top Bottom