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  #1  
Old 09-21-2017, 03:52 PM
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tube reel to reel tape head preamp

Our latest release, model Nina tube tape head preamp.
This is a damn fine sounding preamp and will work with just about ANY reel to reel deck out there.
Two versions are available, 19" rack mount chassis or custom handcrafted wood chassis.
For all our custom handcrafted tube audio gear, click on the Erhard Audio link in our signature.









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  #2  
Old 09-22-2017, 05:03 AM
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Tube Preamp

Very interesting! Is this tube preamp to avoid the need to use any other preamp for R2R and Cassette Machines? Does this preamp have that little boost of gain needed for R2R? Could it be made to switch between four or five R2R machines and or Cassette Machines?
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2017, 06:33 AM
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I have not seen many if any discussions on tape pre amps and their use, necessity or improvements in sonic quality. Maybe this is a good thread to start one. I have seen pre amps associated with old Ampex decks, but never considered I could possibly use one with my Teac 3300sx. Are there internal pre amps on the tape outputs of my amp? I assume I would have to lower my input signal quite dramatically if I had a dedicated pre amp boosting the signal prior to entering the deck. ...lots of questions.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:08 AM
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model Nina is designed as an alternate to the built-in preamp of a reel to reel deck.
It, therefore, needs to be connected directly to the playback head, and not connected to the tape decks output.
Some high-end prosumer decks and most pro decks have a playback head/headblock direct out, which can be selected via a switch. If a deck does not have that, it will need to be modified, so that Nina can be connected directly to the playback head.
The gain of Nina is about 50dB, comparable to a typical MC cartridge phono preamp.

I am assuming that a cassette deck heads impedance is very similar to that of a reel to reel deck, if that is the case, then yes, Nina can be used as an alternate to the cassette decks built-in preamp.
Since I am a reel to reel deck guy, Nina was designed with these in mind, and the EQ circuit was designed for either NAB or IEC, 7.5 and 15IPS, selectable via the switch on the front panel. I am not familiar with cassette deck EQ standards or speeds, again, if they are comparable to reel to reel decks, I see no issues.

Nina can handle pretty much any reel to reel tape playback head impedance.
However, if a user prefers to closely match his/her playback head impedance, we can accommodate that in most cases.

Nina has one input and one output, input is RCA unbalanced, and output is RCA unbalanced or XLR balanced.
If more than one deck is planned to be used with Nina, there are two options. Buy one Nina for each deck, or use our model Hexagon source selector, details of Hexagon are here.

Nina is a 100% tube preamp, it does use solid state CCS (Constant Current Source). The power supply is regulated solid state for both the high voltage B+ and tube filament supply. Each channel has its very own B+ and filament power supplies.

Why bother with a preamp like Nina? Well, to most people, tubes have that particular sound that just cannot be emulated or produced by solid state circuitry. That is the main appeal with tube gear, and of course, aesthetics/looks. There is just something about tube audio gear that is extremely pleasing to the human ear, this is the main reason why it has made such a big comeback in recent years.
And tube gear LOOKS COOL man!!
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Last edited by tubenirvana; 09-22-2017 at 09:14 AM.
  #5  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:13 AM
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A cassette version would need some sort of level control to set the play level for a dolby or dbxII decoder.
  #6  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nakdoc View Post
A cassette version would need some sort of level control to set the play level for a dolby or dbxII decoder.
It should not be a big issue to add an attenuator control to the preamp, but that is something that would need closer attention and proper design.
I personally have not seen a cassette deck tube tape head preamp, since I guess by the time the cassette was 'invented', most consumer gear was already solid state.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2017, 11:27 AM
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"model Nina is designed as an alternate to the built-in preamp of a reel to reel deck.
It, therefore, needs to be connected directly to the playback head, and not connected to the tape decks output.
Some high-end prosumer decks and most pro decks have a playback head/headblock direct out, which can be selected via a switch. If a deck does not have that, it will need to be modified, so that Nina can be connected directly to the playback head.
The gain of Nina is about 50dB, comparable to a typical MC cartridge phono preamp."


Thanks for the quick reply! So if I modified my deck to take the preamp, am I correct in assuming the deck's line input level control would be out of the circuit and input level will be controlled by the pre?
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2017, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggrey View Post
"model Nina is designed as an alternate to the built-in preamp of a reel to reel deck.
It, therefore, needs to be connected directly to the playback head, and not connected to the tape decks output.
Some high-end prosumer decks and most pro decks have a playback head/headblock direct out, which can be selected via a switch. If a deck does not have that, it will need to be modified, so that Nina can be connected directly to the playback head.
The gain of Nina is about 50dB, comparable to a typical MC cartridge phono preamp."


Thanks for the quick reply! So if I modified my deck to take the preamp, am I correct in assuming the deck's line input level control would be out of the circuit and input level will be controlled by the pre?
The input/recording circuit of the deck is untouched!
Only the output circuit, that is, the circuit to which the playback head is currently connected to as well as all associated controls, will be 'out of circuit' whilst Nina is used/connected.
I would mod the deck in such a way in that you make this switchable. That is, run a set of audio grade screened wires from the playback head to a DPDT (double pole double throw) switch, they will need to be connected to the 'wipers' of that switch. Then, run one set of audio grade screened wires from one set of contacts of that switch to the OEM/built-in deck preamp. Run another set of audio grade screened wires from the remaining set of contacts on that switch to a pair of RCA female connectors, these will be the direct out from your playback head and would get connected to Nina.
So, with the DPDT switch in one position, the OEM/built-in preamp of the deck is used, then flip that switch, and the RCA connectors you added would now be in use, to which Nina is connected.
The output of Nina would then need to be connected to your 'Tape In' or 'AUX' input in your preamp or power amp.
You would need to be careful to keep all those added audio screened wires to that DPDT switch and to the new set of RCA sockets as short as possible, as well as away from any AC and/or electromagnetic relays etc..
Hope this makes sense. If not, 'pm' me and I will send you a sketch.
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2017, 07:20 AM
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Thanks again...makes sense now that I have my input/output confusion straightened out. I was mistakenly thinking in the wrong direction, that of microphone > mic preamp > tape deck configuration (boosting the signal before recording). Thanks for setting me right.
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2017, 07:58 PM
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our model Nina tube tape head preamp has had some updates.
The circuit has been improved to lower the background noise even more. Although the first version was performing fine, I felt it could be improved upon. To that end, the circuit is now a hybrid tube preamp, using a JFET & MOSFET cascode input section, followed by a CCS-loaded gain stage terminated with a direct-coupled cathode follower, using the 6922/6DJ8 or equivalent tubes. Gain at 1Khz is 50dB.
This has made this preamp a super low noise unit! White noise/tube hiss is just about inaudible unless you crank up the volume on the preamp to which Nina is connected to, to near max, and the preamp is 100% hum free.
The toroid power transformers have also been upgraded. For the high voltage B+, a Triad Magnetics medical equipment grade unit is used with an internal shield, for the DC filament, the toroid is now housed in an aluminum enclosure on the outside of the rear panel.
The chassis is a standard 19" rack mount unit and only 8" deep. The chassis also comes with rubber feet, so if one does not have a rack to mount the chassis into, then just remove each side rack-mount bracket.
Nina can be supplied for 120VAC 60Hz or 220/240VAC 50Hz operation.
We can also build a version without the balanced XLR outputs at a lower price, see link below for more information.
We have dropped the wood chassis version, as we get the best all around shielding with the all-aluminum rack chassis.
For more information and pricing, go to http://www.erhard-audio.com/Nina.html





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  #11  
Old 01-03-2018, 03:38 PM
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another update on our model Nina tube tape head preamp.
It is now available in a custom silver anodized aluminum rack mount chassis, made by Front Panel Express based in Washington State.
This is a really nice looking chassis and will suit those who prefer this to the somewhat 'industrial' looking standard black rack mount chassis.
We can leave those rack mounting holes out at either side of the chassis, in that case, the front panel will be the same width as the rear panel.
For more details, please go to http://www.erhard-audio.com/Nina_Custom_Rack.html





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Revox A77, B77, PR99, A700 & B225 upgrade kits, parts & customizations
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