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In the Forum: Didital Things
In the Thread: Reel-to-Reel Tape vs. Raw Better Digital
Post Subject: Reel-to-Reel Tape vs. Raw Better DigitalPosted by Romy the Cat on: 11/16/2007

I was pointed out to an endeavor of Type Project where the guy who trade Bottlehead kits is trying to promote contemporary 15ips master dubs and staff eBay machine with Bottlehead-level of electronics.

It is not bad idea itself and I was interested what those guys do. I did not have success. I show up at their forum and made two posts after witch I was booted.,250.0.html

I admit that the Bottlehead guy’s proposal to "do something" or "do not do something" in order to “get people to pay attention to own opinion” made me to laugh. Since that guy has his opinions and views ONLY as saleable commodities he truly does not know better. It truly surprised me that I was banned from that site as I usually never get banned. I usually feel the Moronity of communities very sensitively and then, since I loose interest, I provoke with my behavior to ban me. It was not the case with Tape Project and I truly did not have any sinister intentions or expectations. The Bottlehead guy (DocB) still decided that my presents might be "bad for business" (he is the guy who speep in bad with the AA dirt) and he made a point by prohibiting me to post at that forum. Well, it is not too difficult to “arouse” me and he will not have an opportunity to make a second first appearance. Therefore in all my sincerity I would wish to Bottlehead guy to go fuck himself and the only interest I would have to his project if he hang himself on his freaking tapes.

However, the frustration I had not from the fact that another industry whore  got scared that someone refuses to kiss his ass but the fact that the conversation was only about to turned into interesting direction. In there was a guy “High and Outside” to whose post I made a reply but did not manage to post it – I was banned. My reply was following:

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 High and Outside wrote:
   I am very familiar with the higher resolution digital files, since I have been doing all their mastering for the last couple of decades. We edit the material at the higher resolution--sometimes 88/24, sometimes 176/24--and use that as the source for the CD master.

Well, analog (would it be tape or LP) are wonderful media to preserve the initial quietly of… 24bit format. AD conversion to 15ips tape of raw files brings much better quality then DSP down-processing of raw files. I wonder if the Tape Project people consider this direction as I am sure today there are  much more available interesting recording and all of them are digital, some of them were recorded not by the typical Morons and actually are very usable (if they  are raw and never were “mastered”) I presume that properly recorded 24/88 file might be as good sourced for Tape Project  (in contexts) as analog Master Tapes.

 High and Outside wrote:
   Keep your ear to the ground, there may be developments soon that will allow the home listener to hear those recordings at their native resolution, but those developments won't come from The Tape Project. The Tape Project will not be using the digital files as a source for our tapes. We work only from original analog sources.

Well, it is your chose but I feel that it might be more a tribute to “kosherism” and irrational snobbism then exercising of an actual comment sense. The best examples of high 24-28bit machines (yes, there are true 24bit processors today) are capable to deliver tremendous quality. Even the originals 4-bit DSD (before Meitner killed it converting it in commercials CASD crap) was able to deliver phenomenal results. I think the Tape Project boys might be very much in position to deal with subject of objectionable digital using high speed tape as own assessment tool. I would like for instance to hear the Tape Project tapes on a reasonably good mashie drive a good 24-bit AD and then DA processors and see if any difference might be auditable. I perfectly understand the unhappy faces of reel-to-reel people who might read this but I am arrogantly proposing that I know most of reference points that many of the Tape Project users impose to Quietly of Sound I very much doubt then that would see any difference between properly made 24 bit 2X and 15ips. I do feel that tape still have advantages in “spacing of Sound” but how many playbacks out there are able to handles “space”, particularly those who use Bottlehead-level electronics and the typical Bottlehead-level yellow drivers? The question is not as rhetorical as some people might feel.

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Let me to expend a little on the subject. I like good Sound but I hate paranoia with irrelevant fetish. No one argue that high speed tape is phenomenal format… but  as many tape presentations I have heared during the last  few years none of them demonstrated Sound that I would consider interesting -I feel that I am able to get more noble result from 16bit CD, not to mention more advanced formats.  Surely it does not say anything negative about high-speed tape opportunities but it does portrays the things in perspective, particualsy if a person owns 5 crappy tapes with $300 for each…

What in this subject is very interesting for me is how very high quality 15ips or 30ips, properly recorded, related in it's absolute quality to raw 24/88 files? I have a good machine, properly tweaked and serviced by knowledge people. I made a number of experiments trying to assess the maximum possible quality I was able to get out of analog and run it into AD/DA, comparing the results. I have to admit that I have no tapes that would serve quality (aufio and musical) at THE demanded level. I do not use demo tapes and do not “compare the sounds”. However, when I take a good quality source and record in via my high-biased machine on BASF SM468, ½ track, 15ips, Bogen head…. I have a lot of “loosing in Sound”.

There is an urban myth that an average person can’t imagine the “quality of master tapes”. I did hear some of them and it was ... truly good and in some case it was.. not good.  However, I would add to the same “urban myth” the following comments:

1)     An average person can’t imagine the quality of properly sounding record inhalation.
2)     An average person can’t imagine the quality of properly setup phonographs playing good preserved 78s
3)     An average person can’t imagine the quality of properly sounding raw  and not edited 24/88 made at good AD/DA
4)     An average person can’t imagine the quality of properly broadcasting live FM played on good tuner/antenna

I would personally, if it were up to me, vote for the quality of live FM… it truly kills all other know to me formats…

So, if to drop the idiotic "tape fetish" then where the high-speed tape stay today in tirms of Audio quality in relation to other formats and particularly in relation to the "raw" 24/88?

Rgs, Romy the Cat

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