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Reel To Reel All discussions pertaining to reel to reel decks. These include general usage, recording, playback, and service questions. For subjects related to tape itself, see the Open Reel subforum under this one. Obscure service subjects that don't quite fit go in the Help and Do It Yourself subforum.

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  #1  
Old 12-04-2017, 08:10 PM
macguy macguy is offline
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Is tape speed a big plus?

I am currently evaluating revox reels. Some models have 7.5 and 15ips speeds and others have the 3 and 7.5 IPS. Is one better than the other? Please tell me your thoughts, opinions and thanks
  #2  
Old 12-04-2017, 08:49 PM
Bob Boyer Bob Boyer is offline
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I have a mint condition quarter track B77 with 3.75/7.5 ips tape speeds at home and a nice - but more used - half track PR99 (pro version of the B77) with 7.5 and 15 ips tape speeds at work. Unless you are recording live and need the extra help with headroom that comes from 15 ips and half track heads, 7.5 ips is more than enough with a well tuned Revox.

I used to think otherwise and did notice some minor improvement using 15 ips with my Pioneer RT-1050, Tascam 32, and Ampex A700 decks, but this B77 has convinced me otherwise, especially using it with ATR MDS-36 tape, for which it is calibrated. Understand, though, it is a museum-quality piece that has been recapped and properly set up.

If you come upon an excellent example of a Revox deck - or completely restore one as a project, my personal recommendation is to use mostly 7.5 ips with either head configuration. It will save tape costs and wear and tear on the heads.

As to 3.75 ips, I don't think I've ever used that speed for any recording, even back in the 70s when I was in radio. I needed 7.5 ips at a minimum to allow for accurate tape editing and I just kind of followed that practice at home with my first deck, a Pioneer RT-1011 and subsequent Revox A77.

Happy hunting!
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2017, 10:29 PM
john from seattle john from seattle is online now
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As Bob Boyer said, 15ips may be overkill (so to speak), but 7.5 is a nice compromise as it sounds great, provides good W&F performance, and produces very little tape hiss with GOOD tape, such as MDS-36, LPR-35 or either of the Capture tapes, provided your deck was calibrated to any of them and all that.

That is what I use as 3.75ips tends to produce more W&F and be hissy and have less frequency response than 7.5ips will give you.

So that is my take and I run a TEAC A4300 that only does 3.75/7.5ips on 7" reels (4 track/2 channel stereo with 2 tracks for each direction) and it sounds great despite not being fully recapped etc, but does run great as is until I get it worked over.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2017, 05:18 AM
macguy macguy is offline
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tape speed

Thanks for all of the input guys
  #5  
Old 12-05-2017, 05:22 AM
dmw3009 dmw3009 is offline
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From a conceptual point of view the benefits of a faster tape speed (15 ips over 7.5 ips) are:

1) At higher speeds, the frequencies of the musical signal are stretched out longer on the tape. Therefore the the spatial frequencies on the tape are lower at faster speeds. That's sort of similar to the concept of half speed mastering of audiophile LPs. The spatial frequency will be 1/2 at 15ips compared to 7.5 ips.

2) At 15 ips the tape area that a waveform peak is recorded on is doubled compared to 7.5 ips, thereby increasing the recording level that can be achieved without saturation. Going from 1/4 track to 1/2 track doubles the area again.

So the benefits boil down to better frequency response, lower noise, and better dynamic range before saturation.

The drawbacks are usually higher machine cost, faster head wear, double or quadruple the tape usage depending on track width.

As pointed out, it depends on what you will be using the recorder for. Copying LP's and CD's which already limited frequency range and in most cases have had dynamic range compressed will not stress a quality deck that is well calibrated running 1/4 track at 7.5 ips. But for live recording or recording of MQA or other high high sampling/high bit rate digital sources you will probably hear a difference at 15 ips depending on the rest of your repro system.

I guess the optimal flexibility would be a 7.5 - 15 ips machine that would record both 1/4 and 1/2 track. These are hard to find unless you have two head blocks. Even then I would think you have to re-calibrate levels and equalization when changing format. The Otari 5050 BII and the ATR-700 run 7.5/15 and record/play 1/2 track but play only 1/4 track unless you fit 1/4 track heads on a second head block.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2017, 05:42 AM
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Silkysam Silkysam is offline
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My recommendation would be to get the slower speed machine. 71/2ipscwill give you good recording capability and 33/4ips will allow you to play prerecorded tapes as most rock is recorded at that speed. Itís really difficult to have just one R2R that does everything. After getting the Revox I recommend picking up an Otari MX5050 BII HD. You will then have all bases covered
  #7  
Old 12-05-2017, 07:43 AM
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Anybody who as heard a Elcaset at 3.75ips will know what that speed is capable of, beats most RTRs running at 7.5 ips .
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2017, 03:50 PM
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390FE 390FE is online now
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If your deck is "Optimized" for the slower speeds like the Teac X series you will get quite good performance out of it. In fact better than a big machine that is "Optimized" for the faster speeds set to & running at the slower speeds of a smaller deck like the X series. This is because the 3 3/4 to 7.5ips machine's heads & electronics were designed for max performance at the slower speeds where the faster bigger decks have their heads & electronics designed for the faster speeds & they won't perform as good at slow speeds as the smaller decks will. There will be some very few exceptions.

That said I have a Realistic TR-3000 a 1/4" 3 3/4 to 7.5ips 7" machine (similar to the Teac X-3) and it does a real good job at both speeds. Yes the 7.5 speed is better but you don't loose much at the slower 3 3/4 speed & you double your recording/playback time. Thus saving you a bunch on tape costs & also reducing how often you have to either flip the tape over (IF you don't have an Auto Reverse deck. NOTE: most Reversing decks ONLY Record in the Forward Direction) or change reels IE longer listening pleasure before a change of side or tape is needed.

When looking for a deck look for makes & models that have long term durability, easy to work on AND the BIG one STILL can easily get parts & service for. Teac is one make that still has parts still available for a bunch of their models. Skywavebe and a few others can tell you which Teac models to look at getting based on what you want to do.
  #9  
Old 12-05-2017, 05:10 PM
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When I put albums on tape I use 7.5. I have many 3.75 record company recorded tapes that sound better than the album and cd. R2R is a superior medium. No riaa eq needed either. No d2a converter either.
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2017, 05:36 PM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is online now
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Very recently I was considering the generally excellent sound quality of my RTR's. I had to stop and consider what more could be expected from them. Of my 2 RTRs my older Teac is the better so I'll only discuss it in this this thread.

Consider what more should be expected or demanded when a deck can deliver wow and flutter that is imperceptible and a nearly identical live monitor sound to the recorded to tape sound. All of this I get from a 1/4 track deck at 7.5ips. During the 1960's virtually all consumer RTR's were 7" 1/4 track affairs and 2 track 10" 15 ips machines were typically found only in professional settings. I never encountered a 10" deck until the early mid 70's.

There is no denying that a demand grew for decks that mimicked the pro decks and 2 track 10" 15ips decks began to appear. But did they appear out of a demand for those specific features for sonic reasons or did they appear because RTR was being rapidly squeezed out of the consumer market and it's only recourse was to appeal to the audiophile/prosumer market. As a consumer shopping for a RTR track count meant more than tape speed and real size. That is to say musicians building home studios needed multi tracking much more than they needed tape speed and tape length. But large 10" 15ips 2 track machines were eventually common and RTR's last market gasp was largely 10" 15ips. But before that better commercial tapes were commonly 7.5ips and virtually all of them were double sided indicating that the industry standard was the 1/4 track deck topping out at 7.5ips. The well done tapes sound great even today. So what are we to make of the audiophile 2 track 10" high speed recorder? Nice of course but even for the users of those decks you'll frequently find them running them at slower speeds in order to conserve tape. So with rare exception outside of the professional setting these machines are not in fact used to the best advantage and are in fact run in ways that parallel the humble 1/4 track 7.5ips machines.

I can subscribe to the faster 2 track machines having a better potential but how much better is up for debate. Does a 2 track deck running at 15ips sound 4 times better than a 1/4 track deck running at 7.5ips. The bigger faster deck will consume 4 times as much tape as the smaller slower deck. A while back I ran a 2 track mixed master tape that I am quite familiar with and I was able to run it on a 1/4 track deck at 7.5 ips. I recorded it onto a another deck running at 3.75 ips and when done the 3.75 ips deck was returned to 7.5ips. The tape sounded for all intents and purposes the same as the dubs I had done at the studio all done at normal speeds.

So what does it all mean? It means that when the engineers were defining the reel to reel tape format they came up with the specs that were the mainstay of the medium for decades. The engineers did a good job of it and that formula does not give very much away to the professional/prosumer/audiophile market that evolved from it.
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Last edited by Lance Lawson; 12-05-2017 at 05:40 PM.
  #11  
Old 12-05-2017, 10:01 PM
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spectreman spectreman is online now
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With my Pioneer RT-1050 running at 15IPS, the sound is wonderful, providing of course a good quality tape is used.
I also really like the fact that with this deck I can playback 2 track master (or more likely dub-master) tapes at 15IPS.
I have 3 of these such tapes, and they are very unique and wonderful sounding. These are ex-studio tapes, not Tape Project or other such tapes.
Just got to find more of these such tapes, at a good price !
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2017, 11:31 AM
Audiomayvin Audiomayvin is offline
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Hi!
"No riaa eq needed either"
Ah, yes.
All the best,
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2017, 12:19 PM
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jan_stevns jan_stevns is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
......snip.....The tape sounded for all intents and purposes the same as the dubs I had done at the studio all done at normal speeds.

So what does it all mean?
Probably that i have absolutely no idea of how to translate "all intents and purposes"

Did you actually mean You took a halftrack 15IPS tape, played it on a quartertrack deck, at half speed, while copying it to another deck, then played *that* recording at twice the speed, and can't hear no difference ?

Did i take a wrong turn somewhere ?
  #14  
Old 12-06-2017, 01:21 PM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw3009 View Post
From a conceptual point of view the benefits of a faster tape speed (15 ips over 7.5 ips) are:

1) At higher speeds, the frequencies of the musical signal are stretched out longer on the tape. Therefore the the spatial frequencies on the tape are lower at faster speeds. That's sort of similar to the concept of half speed mastering of audiophile LPs. The spatial frequency will be 1/2 at 15ips compared to 7.5 ips.

2) At 15 ips the tape area that a waveform peak is recorded on is doubled compared to 7.5 ips, thereby increasing the recording level that can be achieved without saturation. Going from 1/4 track to 1/2 track doubles the area again.

So the benefits boil down to better frequency response, lower noise, and better dynamic range before saturation.

The drawbacks are usually higher machine cost, faster head wear, double or quadruple the tape usage depending on track width.
at the same time, that 'double' wavelength stretches also lateraly - the result being crosstalking, and the cure is to reduce the tracks number, in other words, it is not recommended to have 4trk with higher speeds, only 2trk.
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2017, 01:35 PM
Bob Boyer Bob Boyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
at the same time, that 'double' wavelength stretches also lateraly - the result being crosstalking, and the cure is to reduce the tracks number, in other words, it is not recommended to have 4trk with higher speeds, only 2trk.
If your underlying assumption is that tape width doesn't increase with track count, I agree.

4 tracks on 1/2" tape, 8 tracks on 1" tape, and 16 tracks on 2" tape however, can be every bit the equal of two tracks on 1/4" tape, as the track width and distance between tracks remain the same.

And within the realm of reason, the Teac 3340 and 3440 and Tascam 34, 44, and 54 all did a credible job of keeping "crosstalk creep" from having much negative effect on recordings made at 15 ips on those decks. Still, it helps to know the limitations of those semi-pro decks when you're using them and the increased potential for crosstalk at 15 ips is something to keep in mind when deciding what to record on which track.
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2017, 01:34 AM
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vladtm vladtm is offline
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My main reason for going 2 track (15 or 7.5) is CROSS-TALK.

On My AKAI machines, i had very little issue, but on the ReVox B77, bass crosstalk was a dealbreaker for me.

Looks like ReVox heads use a wider track.
Had around 4 B77 mk2 during the time, all of them had the bass crosstalk.
I have a "test" machine i use to transfer tapes with wacky azimuth and alignments to digital.Tried to adjust the heads on that one for hours and hours, still the crosstalk would not go away.

With new tapes, the noise floor is so low even on 7,5 - 4 track, that the "womp womp womp" from the crosstalk is audible in a very disgusting way.

Maybe someone here can help me understand, how did ReVox got this 4 track machines out of the factory ? did no one actually noticed the bass crosstalk on them ?

Edit : I also converted a B77 to HS 4 track for some weeks, i had a client tape that was recorded that way, had to transfer it to digital. The crosstalk at 15ips in this configuration is not only bass, it's up to 1-2khz haha.

Last edited by vladtm; 12-07-2017 at 01:37 AM.
  #17  
Old 12-07-2017, 02:28 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladtm View Post
The crosstalk at 15ips in this configuration is not only bass, it's up to 1-2khz haha.
As I said above, the wavelength in the tape material increases with the speed (elementary, dear Watson) so at the guard track of a certain width, the frequencies that reach the other track (cresstalk) can be greater and greater.

Reversely - That's why it is possible to have the two channels in cassette so close to each other and still have less crosstalk than in R2R.
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2017, 05:31 AM
dmw3009 dmw3009 is offline
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Quote:
My main reason for going 2 track (15 or 7.5) is CROSS-TALK.
Do you mean cross-talk between L and R channels going reverse directions on 1/4 track? If that is so, and 7.5 ips 1/4 track otherwise met quality requirements, then couldn't you just run 1/4 only one direction. Same amount of tape as 1/2 track, but less expensive machine and still compatible with 1/4 decks?

Dave
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2017, 12:21 PM
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Another big advantage of 2 track vs 1/4 track is noise floor.
A wider track has more random fields at the head gap that cancel each-other out, hence a better s/n (lower noise floor)
There is no reason to waste a tape at 15ips with 1/4 layout and only use one direction.
Majority of 15ips machines (and 30ips) are 2 trackers.

2 track also allows for that sweet 514 nWb/m adjustment where there is virtually zero floor noise.
  #20  
Old 12-07-2017, 03:05 PM
Bob Boyer Bob Boyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw3009 View Post
...couldn't you just run 1/4 only one direction. Same amount of tape as 1/2 track, but less expensive machine and still compatible with 1/4 decks?

Dave
That is exactly what I do. It works very well on my B77.
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