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  1. #1

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    Default Kens reel to reel setup pics?

    Did anyone take pics of Ken Swaugers reel to reel setup? If so please post them when you get time.
    Thanks!
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  2. #2
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    Hello Madmax,
    Here's a photo from a friend of mine who has the same setup, he's got the lock down knobs upside down, but that's minor.
    Ken

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    here you go buddy.
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    PolkFest 2012, who's going>?
    Vancouver, Canada Sept 30th, 2012 - Madonna concert

  4. #4
    Stronzo
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    Ken,

    Reel to Reel rocks. Way to school em'...

    Hope you gave them a few drum demo's...

  5. #5
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    Hey Zero,
    We had a good time, listened to some Jerry Mulligan some Ben Webster and Aaron Copeland's "Billy the Kid" on shaded dog RCA. There were some amazing kettle drum and snare drum on the Copeland. I had an Anita O'Day, but for some reason it wasn't sounding very good.
    Take care, Ken

  6. #6

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    Here's the pictures I had taken, again great sounding.

    Thanks Ken for bringing it :)








    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy
    here you go buddy.
    So _that's_ Ken! He was my tour guide and I didn't even realise it. Ken! You didn't wear a nametag!
    Ludicrous gibs!

  8. #8

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    Ken is the MAN.

    bodges? He don't need no stinking bodges!

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  9. #9

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    Well, then no one can blame me for not knowing who he was! Can't help it if I've never met or talked to the guy before :)
    Ludicrous gibs!

  10. #10
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    Hello,
    Sorry about the lack of ID. I was called into duty that morning, we had to improvise folks to provide tours. That was the first time I had ever shown guests around the company. I hope I covered everything important for everyone. I wanted to make sure I introduced as many Polk employees as possible. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed meeting Club Polk members, it's great knowing who enjoys your products.
    Take care, Ken

  11. #11

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    Default Very Cool

    Nice set-up Ken. When I was a wee lad I remember seeing/hearing reel-to-reel set-ups, but never owned one myself. By the time I was old enough to have my own system cassette tape and the dreaded 8-track were the norm. Nostalgia is a good thing :)

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  12. #12

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    In the late '80's I had the Teac X2000RBL, and loved it. I didn't love the maintenance and cost of blank reels.

    Cool setup Ken.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  13. #13

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    I dabbled with an Akai reel-to-reel back in the mid 70s. At the time I thought is was easier to use than vinyl and sounded better. Got to the point where most of my audio was in the car so 8-tracks and cassettes ruled for a while. I remember I had some YES, Kansas, David Bowie and the Beatles on reels. Format was cool but, maintenece and hassle factor was high. Yes it WAS EXPENSIVE for a college student. Sold the player and reels for next to nothing when I picked up my first cassette player/recorder.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

    "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." - Stuart Chase

    "Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." - Bernard Berenson

  14. #14
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    Hey guys,
    The best sounding pre-recorded tapes tend to be the earliest two track tapes. This is where stereo was first available, before LPs became stereo. In the late 50's early 60's the multi-channel format was two track pre-recorded tapes that were very carefully duplicated. The tape companies knew that they had to make the audiophiles (called "HiFi nuts") spend their hard earned money on something that sounded great. This was the same time as the "golden age" of classical orchestras and conductors. The "shaded dog" RCA, Mercury "Living Presence" and Everest recordings were being sold. So, if you have these super well done recordings, with incredible music on two track tapes and play them on tape machines that have today's thinking on circuitry design and today's speakers, the results can be amazing. That's why these particular tapes can sell for around $80.00 to $150.00 each.
    The second interesting thing is that there are people who have been in the recording industry and have kept original "safety copies" of master tapes. These might have been the backup tapes used at a tape duplicating company or copies of various stages in the recording process. Then other people make very careful one-to-one copies on tweaked recording decks and sell them. These will usually be recorded at 15 IPS (inches per second) and can cost well over $100.00 a tape.
    Then, after the early 60's tapes began being made in four track to double the available playing time. Performance was less but they could offer more music for less money (sound familiar?) and the duplicating process became less interested in sound quality and more interested in cost of manufacture. Classical recordings were still made at 7.5 IPS but didn't sound as good as the previous, carefully duplicated two track versions. Some didn't sound bad, but not like the earlier versions. Popular music was released at 3 3/4 IPS and sounded more compressed than classical. But, here again, there can be exceptions.
    So, step one is to figure out which tape "era" you want to collect, then find a machine that can play that format. Then see if there are ways to make the deck sound even better than it did when new. It's probably the most esoteric branch of the hobby. Unlike record collecting, which has dozens of companies who made superb turntables/cartridges this branch is totally amateur.
    Have fun, Ken

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    Hi Ken,
    I talked to you about this at Marks house and you gave me a few models which would be reasonable to look at. I knew I should have been writing them down but I didn't. Could you mention them again. We were talking about fairly available models to get started with.

    Also, can you discuss the 2 track vs 4 track? I'm guessing the 2 track uses the full tape width and specific heads whereas 4 track uses half the tape then you turn the tape over? I'm just all mixed up on this issue.

    Thanks!
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  16. #16
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    Hey Max,
    The best way to think of the tape/track business is to imagine a plastic ribbon 1/4" wide. A two track tape would have two independent audio channels side-by-side going right down the center of the tape. Sort of like a two lane highway. The tape is played from the left side of the deck to the right side and isn't "flipped over". In some tapes the recording is stored "tails out" meaning you place the supply reel on the right hand "platter" of the deck and re-wind it to begin playing it. This is done to lessen the effects of print through causing "ghosts" on the tape. All master tapes are stored this way. The second tape type is called "four track" there's usually a "4" printed on the spine of the box. this is like a four lane highway, two lanes moving in one direction and two lanes moving in the other direction. You can flip the tape over and play the other side. But, since the tape width is still the same, the audio tracks are not as wide. This means less magnetic flux shows up in the playback head gap and the signal is 3dB less than a two track tape. Also, playback alignment is more critical for a four track tape than a two track and the signal-to-noise ratio is worse.
    One tape deck to consider is the venerable Revox A77, a very fine deck. There were over 400,000 of them made and a sizable percentage are still being used. There are multiple versions (Mk I, Mk II etc) as well as "high speed" (7.5 and 15 IPS) and versions with Dolby noise reduction. The parts are fairly available and there are people who service them. There's even a "care and feeding" book written for this model. If you decided you wanted to collect two track tapes you would search for a two track version. If you wanted to get into the "master tape" area you would want a high speed two track version. Most of the famous Proprius recordings were done with a high speed A77.
    If you are a vacuum tube aficionado there is the predecessor of the A77 called the G36. This is an extremely well respected tape deck that many people place in the top performing category. There is also the Tandberg 62 (two track) and 64 (four track) that is very well respected. I just completed restoration of a 64 and it is a very nice deck they are more mechanical than the A77, operating with a single motor for all tape functions. Most of the time the main drive belt will have to be replaced, there are companies that can re-build the pinch roller and drive puck.
    In the more "modern" era of tape decks the Pioneer RT707 is very well respected, I've not owned one, but they come highly recommended. I have found the Sony TC666D to be a very nice sounding deck. The Sony TC880 is highly sought after and is well respected. I've owned the Teac 4010 and 6010, in the past, and they are very well made. Also the Crown CX824 (four track) and CX822 (two track) decks are very well made. Not the tops in sound quality, but well made. A Sony TC850 can be very good sounding, but needs some work, replacing the coupling caps.
    Probably if I had to recommend one deck it would be the Revox A77, it's like a Thorens TD125 turntable. B+ level sound and reliable
    transport and good source of parts/service. Also the Revox PR99, is the pro version. I have two of the A77 and one of the PR99 and they are beautifully made decks.
    There are some interesting decks that appear on ebay that don't get too outrageous are the Ampex AG440 and the Studer A807. These are true professional quality tape decks that can be used for many years with no problem. Then the crazy nuts go for the all-tube Ampex 350 and 351(my next project) and the never seen Ampex MR70, only 80 ever made. I don't mean to leave out Akai/Roberts, I just don't have any experience with them. They have very loyal followers.
    Ken

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    I have a Pioneer RT-707, not that I am a huge R2R afficiando, but I do like the way it sounds. They also seem to be plentifull on the bay and every once in a while you can get one for a steal. I got mine for $75, all it needed was a little cleaning. The only drawback to the 707 is that it will not run at 15ips.

    I mainly use mine to make mix tapes from records.
    Setup:
    Adcom GFA-545 amp
    Nad 1600 pre
    Dual 704 TT
    Pioneer 707 R2R
    Pioneer DV-578A Multi-format
    Polk SDA-2 Mains

  18. #18

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    Thanks Ken. Sounds like a 2 track version with the two higher speeds would be best for super quality. I looked at quite a few on ebay. The PR99 looks really cool! The one on there presently is around $1K. Thanks for the descriptions, it is really helpful. Feel free to throw in as much as you feel like typing! This is a real learning experience for me.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  19. #19
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    Hey Spawn,
    The RT707 and bigger brother RT909 are two of the nicest looking decks made. The good looking front panel layout and clean lines are beautiful. They do use some proprietary Pioneer control ICs, especially for the transport functions. So, you want to make sure they transport woks correctly before buying. There are a few very reliable open reel sources, on ebay, repair shops who stand behind what they sell.
    There's something to be said about actually watching the mechanical actions that produce the sound. If you play a CD or DVD, once the magic disc goes into the machine you lose sight of what's making the music. You hear the music and see the movie but there's no link as to the functioning of the device itself. But, with playing a record or a tape, there's no doubt what's making the sound. The record spins around and the tape revolves showing you the mechanical link from source to result.
    Ken

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    Hello Max,
    You're really getting into this, aren't you? The PR99 will be a two track high speed deck. It will, in all likelihood, not have any kind of cabinet, it was intended to be rack mounted. The one I have, the owner made a nice looking cabinet for it. There are three versions of the basic deck, most differences have to do with the tape counter system. The later decks have digital tape counters that make editing much easier. The input and output connections are balanced, meaning you'll need a connecting cable that converts an XLR type connector to a single ended RCA cable.
    All of the interstage coupling capacitors are tantalum. Most audio enthusiasts find these types of caps to not sound as good as some of the high end Black Gate electrolytic capacitors. All of the circuit boards are easily removable and can be modified to your heart's content. There is an extremely well done service book that covers all aspects of the design, mechanical and electrical. It's a great way to learn about what goes on inside, having a thorough manual.
    Ken

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    Hello Max,
    I can recommend these folks for finding two channel open reel tapes and some master tape copies:
    http://www.irvmusic.com/
    Ken

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    Hello Max,
    Here's a site to help evaluate potential two track, mostly classical tapes:
    http://www.dantiques.com/openreeltapes/
    The way to do it is to go on ebay, under music, under "other sources" then select open reel tapes. As a search try "2 trk" or "2 track" or "2T" or famous classical "golden age" conductors, such as Munch, Reiner or performer such as Heifitz, Cliburn, etc. Then note down the tape's number and plug it into the search data base for a review from Charlie King. Or, you can choose RCA, two track, classical in the data base search and go down the list until you find the tape on ebay.
    Have fun!

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    Ken, thanks for the audio history lesson, very interesting stuff.

    H9

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9
    Ken, thanks for the audio history lesson, very interesting stuff.

    H9

    Hey, this ain't history. It's a pursuit of the best available sound today.


    I'll check those out Ken. Yea, I'll be into it soon. I was thinking that while I gain some knowledge I'll go ahead and try to get an old 4 trk one up and going. I bought it awhile back and lost interest. I had no clue any sound potential existed. Once I do that I'll jump on a 2 trk.

    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  25. #25
    Stronzo
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    I love it - thanks for the wealth of info Ken! Now - if only I had this thing called money.. !

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    oooh, it's a Stellavox! Best of the lot, IME...
    all the best,
    mrh

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    Hello Max,
    That's a good plan, before you know it you'll be up to your knees in tapes and decks. It's kind of contageous.
    Yes, that's a Stellavox SP7, the best sounding deck I've heard, so far. There are examples of people giving it a tubed input and output stage:
    http://gon8.audiogon.com/i/c/f/1126152299.jpg
    and:
    http://gon8.audiogon.com/i/c/f/1126155230.jpg
    Ken

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    Yah, I've seen that. There are a few Stellas floating around up here in New England. I have heard some master and 1st gen. tapes on them, and they're breathtaking.
    all the best,
    mrh

  29. #29
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    Hello,
    I believe Charlie King is responsible for quite a few great sounding SP7 and SP8 decks in the New England area. He's also the person who has done all of the evaluations of the two track tapes on the site I mentioned. I got my deck from him and he's given me suggestions on modifying/repairing it. He's also written articles on the Revox G36 for Audio Amateur mag. Definitely knows what he's talking about!
    Ken

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    Yeah the one I've heard is Charles', at Gary Kaufman's a couple of years ago.
    http://www.the-planet.org/nnetg.html

    Charles is quite the tuner guru, too.

    Doesn't look like any photos of the Stellavox on Gary's page. I'll upload a shot or two to Photobucket 'n' post.

    Dang (DANG!) nice tape deck.
    all the best,
    mrh

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