Author Topic: The Forgotten Medium  (Read 232 times)

Offline Agaton Sax

The Forgotten Medium
« on: May 14, 2022, 07:46:27 AM »
No, It is not cassette, I am sorry. There is a new resurgence in cassettes. People pine for the 70s when they made mixtapes, walkmans and parties, Big Hair and fluffy jackets but the sound? Not bad actually. Better than I remembered. My wife threw away our cassettes with their suitcases some time ago. In a busted Technics deck, I found a single TDK that I had recorded a million years ago on an Aiwa. I have an a TOTL Tascam that I had restored. It has 3 of everything and on my sole tape, it sounds, well like a cassette. Much better than I thought, not bad at all, actually, really quite enjoyable but NO.

No, it's Reel. In the 90s and early 2000s, Reel was worse than Syphilis and Herpes combined. Pros could not wait to get rid of the sh!t. Reel machines were everywhere," Take the bloody things and while you are at it, take this bunch of master tapes too!" So I collected and collected, and hired storage and more storage. They were big, they were abused and they were broken and very expensive to fix. No Tech wanted to touch them. So, worldwide, a bunch of us got together, exchanged ideas, withered the abuse of the "Pros" and spent money and money and money. 8 of these monsters actually made it into my house. And they sounded, well really good but vinyl got better and better, digital got better and better and eventually, Reel just got, big, cumbersome, expensive and frankly, not worth it.

The money people got hold of it and suddenly reels were in fashion. On the "la di dah" fora nobody preached like the newly converted, mediocre "Audiophile Artists" suddenly released their uninspiring stuff on Reel and the "pros" who would have nothing to do with Reel , suddenly came forth and in typical fashion derided those of us who learned the hard way, sat at the feet of the masters, hoping fervently they won't die of old age or disease before restoring our prized whatever,

But in the end, it was  70s and earlier Tech. At its best your Studer sounded steely and grainy,  your Ampex warm and woolly and your Otari, Tascam etc just, well just. So the masters came with outboard audio. Mostly they did not understand the tech so the modern audio add-ons sounded like add-ons.

However, in the 70s and 80s were a couple of machines: I have one of the handful: A Mark Levinson ML 5. Basically a Studer A 80 RC with audio electronics by you-know-who. Studer A80Rs, South Africa had thousands off. The electronics came from a grumpy American and to marry the 2 there was my Tech. The ML 5 clearly outperformed all my other machines by a huge margin but with time was used less and less. It always had a bit of wild bass. Even turning bass at its lowest, it was 2db above the rest of the level. Out of the blue, I was contacted by Ki Choi and Charlie King, the Studer experts. I was not using the sonic destroying, meter bridge so they recommended a change of pot value to the meter output. Off to my Tech, the cards went for a simple change. But, I started getting worrying phone calls " You don't use the record cards on this machine do you?" or "what exactly do you listen to?". A few weeks later I got a hot rod back. It was playback only, could only do one speed and one eq. I had to try it.

And it blew my mind!  The first tape was Bill Evans at the Vanguard and I knew this was wow!, Then master after master of the Floyd and Neil Young and, and. And they all blew me away. It was so far off high res digital, it was not funny and analogue was, much as it advanced, still a consumer commodity.

The Comeback kid: In danger of destruction by neglect and then even more by snobbish money, it stays The King.

Offline Agaton Sax

Re: The Forgotten Medium
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2022, 08:21:54 AM »
"Take this sh!t,won't you?"

« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 01:33:58 AM by FranZAR »

Offline Schalk

Re: The Forgotten Medium
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2022, 08:53:55 AM »

Offline HH NS1000

Re: The Forgotten Medium
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2022, 08:45:03 AM »
If you don't understand your own perceptions you cannot really make any sensible judgements.....or should I say you would not really fathom the conclusions you come to.