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aBe
25-02-2009, 03:38
Hi Folks..

Just sharing my experience with everyone.

In my quest of returning to analogue sound (which is done mostly via TT), I recently repaired my trusty 90's cassette deck - the Denon DRM 540 just for the sake of having another analogue source.

My..it baffles me that tapes could still sound this good. Despite the 'moulds' ,warts and what not of my 80's and 90's tapes collection.

The dynamic range might be a wee bit lacking compared to modern CD + DAC.
But it excels in musicality and exudes that much sought analogue warmth...I'd rather relax to Sade on the Denon deck than listening to MP3s on CD.

StanleyB
25-02-2009, 03:46
I'd rather relax to Sade on the Denon deck than listening to MP3s on CD.
AN easy conclusion to derive at and mistake to make, in the absence of something that can give you that analogue sound from a digital file. Time for you to check out my DAC;).

Beechwoods
25-02-2009, 06:31
:lol: Something I've certainly been meaning to do for a while :)

Cassette does have a certain something - recorded well on chrome or metal tape, without noise reduction it can sound more 'bouncy' than CD. Likely a result of subtle compression around the saturation point of the tape. Whatever the cause, it can sound great.

http://homepage.mac.com/beechwoods/AOS/denondrm540.jpg

I found that Dolby HX-PRO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_noise_reduction_system#Dolby_HX) did a really good in enhancing the record capabilities of the later consumer decks, especially with Ferric tape, closing the gap between Type I and Type II tape.

I have been consistently surprised at how good old recordings I have sound. It's surprising how upgrading your tape deck can reveal signal you never realised was there on earlier machines. I've copied tapes for friends who have been amazed at the sound that was always on their tape, but their equipment (even the machines that recorded it in the first place) couldn't reveal it :)

It's also damn good fun playing with tape decks. Good ones can be picked up pretty cheap (cheap enough to have as a muck around source) - late 80's Nak's, The venerable Tascam 122, and providing they're electronically sound the problems that often cause people to get rid of them - dirty tape transports, broken belts - are easily fixed without a degree in audio DIY :)

aBe
25-02-2009, 14:30
AN easy conclusion to derive at and mistake to make, in the absence of something that can give you that analogue sound from a digital file. Time for you to check out my DAC;).


Stan,

My name could have escaped you ;)

Right now, am listening to Candi Staton's Who's Hurting Now? album on MP3 via yours truly 7510 6/4 DAC. Smoky!
I'm saving up for the new 7520.

What I'm trying to point out is that, on its own - MP3s played on CD/DVD player (sans THE Dac) is at best..appaling. The old Denon would simply play better music.

BTW with good recording, tapes could still somehow convey that inexplicable kind of 'it sounds right' - despite the hiss, noise, flutter and whatchamacallit.

File this under Analogue Mystic...

-aBe-

Spectral Morn
25-02-2009, 16:49
AN easy conclusion to derive at and mistake to make, in the absence of something that can give you that analogue sound from a digital file. Time for you to check out my DAC;).


I don't want to disagree or say pick a fight ( I would never do that) and your DAC is very good (haven't heard the new one yet) but even the very best digital is not analogue. It does not sound the same and to my ears I prefer (ultimately) the way analogue presents things (I do listen to digital and have a lot of CDs).

I guess what I am trying to say is that the digital component that bests analogue ( Vinyl/reel to reel) IMHO/E ( in the areas where analogue is king) has either yet to be made or I have yet to hear it ( possibly more likely the later).;)

THere is nothing like a great tape deck and a Nakamichi is one of the best ways to do it. However good Naks like Dragons,CR7E/CR5E or Z9 are still quite dear S/H at about 500 upwards. You could get lucky though. I agree with Nick Chrome or Metal tapes are best but if you have a good NAK then great results can be got with Ferric tape.

Regards D S D L---Neil :)

DSJR
25-02-2009, 17:03
Oh for goodness sake fella's... ;)

Having sold most of the decent cassette decks out there I can say that unless you have a top line Nak or Teac equivalent (the Teac 8000 series was superb around the mid nineties) you can't even talk about cassette being good (and I currently have a DRM 34HX *in the loft!!!!!!!*)

Denon's wow, especially when they age and the head-block tension springs stretch a little. They have a response peak at 14KHz followed by a nosedive after 15KHz - and "you lot" complain that CD doesn't go over 22KHz or so. Gives crisp playback but dull recordings when played on other decks.. The tapes lose treble, especially low level stuff unless it's a metal formulation..........


Seriously, GOOD digital is actually more musical than much analogue IMO and you have all that extra clarity there too. My CD player can give a "walk-in" soundstage on the right recording and if I want a more "organic" portrayal, I do it with the speakers - oh sorry, I recently did.................

All I can say is, I've not used cassette at home since my son was a toddler eight to ten years ago and I haven't missed it one iota. I owned most of the big Naks at various times too, including a CR7, Dragon, 682ZX and both an original 700 and a later 700ZXE. Give me CDR any time :)

Spectral Morn
25-02-2009, 17:19
I didn't say tape was perfect (reel to reel is better) but a good tape deck(I own a Nak CR5E ) does a lot of things that I like a lot. Digital does some things well but not all. My comment above was more in relation to Reel to reel or Vinyl and not poor tape recordings or poor tape decks.

My Nakamichi CR5e

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/LondonSept07Hi-FiShowandHomehi-f-2.jpg

I would say that the Akai GX head tape decks were very good too (not AIWA reliability and QC up the left a lot of the time)

I too have retail experience selling tape decks during their hayday and years of use at home then and now. I have a collection of some of the best digital kit ever made and both of my TT's kick their collective butts. What you describe my cdp do in spades but the TT are just so much better in every area IMHO/E. Digital use for me was a no choice situation until recently go vinyl revival.....GO


Regards D S D L---Neil

Beechwoods
25-02-2009, 17:45
Lets not get into an argument about analogue vs digital, eh :) This is the 'Analogue Art' section afterall!

niklasthedolphin
25-02-2009, 18:59
Oh for goodness sake fella's... ;)

Having sold most of the decent cassette decks out there I can say that unless you have a top line Nak or Teac equivalent (the Teac 8000 series was superb around the mid nineties) you can't even talk about cassette being good (and I currently have a DRM 34HX *in the loft!!!!!!!*)

Denon's wow, especially when they age and the head-block tension springs stretch a little. They have a response peak at 14KHz followed by a nosedive after 15KHz - and "you lot" complain that CD doesn't go over 22KHz or so. Gives crisp playback but dull recordings when played on other decks.. The tapes lose treble, especially low level stuff unless it's a metal formulation..........


Seriously, GOOD digital is actually more musical than much analogue IMO and you have all that extra clarity there too. My CD player can give a "walk-in" soundstage on the right recording and if I want a more "organic" portrayal, I do it with the speakers - oh sorry, I recently did.................

All I can say is, I've not used cassette at home since my son was a toddler eight to ten years ago and I haven't missed it one iota. I owned most of the big Naks at various times too, including a CR7, Dragon, 682ZX and both an original 700 and a later 700ZXE. Give me CDR any time :)


If you have sold "most of the decent cassette decks out there", I wonder how you can mistake the best Teac, the Z-6000 (some lazy people would say Z-7000), with the much more consumer related V-8000.
And how could you forget to mention "The Dragon Killer", TCD 3014A and the pro edition TCD 910.

Sad to read that you didn't have the option to experience the superiority of analog media and sources compared to digital media and sources when best.

I will not comment on your Denon machine and the specs you refer to.
I can comment on that the best Cassette decks out there have better frequency response than CD Redbook format.

We should not forget that specifications say very little about the sonics, however.
There are so many parameters never defined and without units of measurements.
What gives the final sonics is the combination of all parameters................including all those not defined or measured.

I won't expect you to give the tapes another shot.

"dolph"

Beechwoods
25-02-2009, 19:41
We should not forget that specifications say very little about the sonics, however.
There are so many parameters never defined and without units of measurements.
What gives the final sonics is the combination of all parameters................including all those not defined or measured.


Absolutely, Dolph! While the best decks do tend to measure better, it's the sound they make that is important, not the numbers. For me there's something about tape that just sounds excellent - I know I'm lucky in that I've got a pretty decent deck - but like I said earlier, with good tape, even some of the cheaper consumer decks can make a great sound too :)

StanleyB
25-02-2009, 21:46
I don't want to disagree or say pick a fight ( I would never do that) and your DAC is very good (haven't heard the new one yet) but even the very best digital is not analogue. It does not sound the same and to my ears I prefer (ultimately) the way analogue presents things (I do listen to digital and have a lot of CDs).

In that case, I insist that you listen to a TC-7520. I am glad that you have a lot of CD. You are going to be left speechless after leaving their D to A decoding and line output playback to the TC-7520. You gonna have to drag yourself away from listening any more for the night so that you can catch some sleep. And I'll throw in a bottle of wine to keep yourself from going thirsty during the auditioning process. I got enough feedback from customers by now, so I can risk the bet in confidence of a win ;).

Stan

Spectral Morn
25-02-2009, 22:46
In that case, I insist that you listen to a TC-7520. I am glad that you have a lot of CD. You are going to be left speechless after leaving their D to A decoding and line output playback to the TC-7520. You gonna have to drag yourself away from listening any more for the night so that you can catch some sleep. And I'll throw in a bottle of wine to keep yourself from going thirsty during the auditioning process. I got enough feedback from customers by now, so I can risk the bet in confidence of a win ;).

Stan


Hi Stan

So would you like me to do one of my in-depth reviews for AOS on your new DAC (then see this previous one http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1919, before you agree). If so supply me with a fully run in ex demo unit and I will be happy to give it a good listen and report my findings here. You might want to include PSU options too.

As you can see from the masses of Digital kit I own I am not against digital at all. In fact I love multi-bit kit and have a collection of Marantz's best efforts. Its just bar the slight noise issue I feel that vinyl gives a more natural sound. However I have an open mind.

I should point out that being out of work currently I am not myself in the market for a new DAC but I would be more than happy to give your new DAC a fair and open minded review.

If you are interested PM me. I know a few forum members have expressed an interest in me doing a review and a comparison with the older dac ( I can borrow one of those from a friends son),as well as psu comparisons.

Regards D S D L---Neil :)

StanleyB
25-02-2009, 23:24
I should point out that being out of work currently I am not myself in the market for a new DAC but I would be more than happy to give your new DAC a fair and open minded review.
Who's talking about buying:scratch:? Have you got some headphones at hand as well so that you can check out the HP section? Just PM me your address.

Stan

Spectral Morn
25-02-2009, 23:51
Hi Stan

Hi Stan I try not to assume anything...I thought that was what you were offering but I like to be sure :)

Yes no problems I have a number of Headphones to try with the HP output. This should be very interesting.


Regards D S D L----Neil :)

aBe
26-02-2009, 02:02
Absolutely, Dolph! While the best decks do tend to measure better, it's the sound they make that is important, not the numbers. For me there's something about tape that just sounds excellent - I know I'm lucky in that I've got a pretty decent deck - but like I said earlier, with good tape, even some of the cheaper consumer decks can make a great sound too :)


I guess just like I mentioned before, it's not so much about absolute transparency and accuracy et al. It's about how 'right' it sounds (which is still relative anyway).

Otherwise, for 'critical' listening and during those attempts to impress visiting mates I still play the silver circle or digitised files...

niklasthedolphin
26-02-2009, 10:34
I guess just like I mentioned before, it's not so much about absolute transparency and accuracy et al. It's about how 'right' it sounds (which is still relative anyway).

Otherwise, for 'critical' listening and during those attempts to impress visiting mates I still play the silver circle or digitised files...

If I were your visitor, I wouldn't get impressed that way.

"dolph"

Beechwoods
26-02-2009, 11:06
:lolsign:

Alex Nikitin
26-02-2009, 22:58
I would like to say a couple of words about tape recording. In last half a year it happens to be my main hobby. I've found that a decent tape deck is a very convenient way to copy my vinyl for everyday casual listening. It keeps much more music than a CD ever could and much more convenient to use than hi-res digital (which is also has to be done on a very top level to keep the music of a good vinyl from 60-s and 70-s reasonably alive). Over these months I've acquired about 20 different good cassette decks and reel-to-reels, serviced most of these and restored most of my skills in tape recording . As a result I am almost completely stopped listening to CDs and beautiful music sounds in my house much more often :) .

Now I am planning to start making good quality test and alignment cassettes for all those people who still enjoy a good analogue sound, and to design some nice replay electronics - using circuit ideas from my phono stages. I am having some serious fun with all this stuff ;) . And I found a proper use for a digital sound on a computer - it is very good for checking and adjusting tape decks and phono stages!

Alex

Beechwoods
26-02-2009, 23:17
That sounds brilliant, Alex. Playing with reel to reel and tape really gets to be a bug once you start tinkering with this stuff. I really look forward to seeing what kind of stuff you come up with. Keep us posted, please!

Alex Nikitin
26-02-2009, 23:44
That sounds brilliant, Alex. Playing with reel to reel and tape really gets to be a bug once you start tinkering with this stuff. I really I look forward to seeing what kind of stuff you come up with. Keep us posted, please!

Thank you for your support :) . I did a lot of work on tape electronics in 80-s, including several complete cassette tape deck electronics designs. I did enjoy it then and I am enjoying it now. I am still surprised how well some of the decks can sound with a decent analogue source and a good quality tape. My favourite deck at the moment is somewhat modified Aiwa XK-S7000. It sounds better to my ears than Nak BX-300 and Aiwa XK-009. Other decks are further down in sound quality thought I plan to modify some of these. Here is the list of my working decks at the moment:

Aiwa XK-S7000
Aiwa XK-009
Aiwa XK-007
Akai GX-6
Akai GX-52
Hitachi D-909
Nakamichi BX-300E (two)
Sony TS-K555
Sony TS-K677
Technics RS-M85
Technics RS-M253
Trio KX-1060

I've managed to buy some original and unused BASF-EMTEC alignment tapes - these I will use as a primary reference for making my own test tapes.

Alex

DSJR
27-02-2009, 08:03
Sad to read that you didn't have the option to experience the superiority of analog media and sources compared to digital media and sources when best.


"dolph"

The "analogue media" I used and enjoyed for some years way back were copies of master tapes. They were GOOD!!!! :cool:

Sadly, much "domestic" analogue recording doesn't come close and although I admit that when the recordings are fresh, decent cassette has a wide frequency response out to the lower 20Kz region, a few years and a few plays will soon sort that out and shave off the quietest bits.

Perhaps I shouldn't have posted, I forget that I was doing this 35 years ago and have moved on, whereas some of you are discovering these things for the first time. I've been lucky enough to have heard good digital and it suits me fine. It's the antics of recording and mastering engineers that's the problem :lolsign:

P.S. I've just read the above and must apologise for my Aspergic "black and white" reply ("we" don't *all* like steam-trains you know.......:)). Vintage tape decks are great fun and if I still had my master copies (they went to the friend who bought my high speed IEC Revox B77 II) I'd probably be looking for another Revox or the good-n-blingy Technics 1500.

As for cassette, which was the original subject, I still feel the medium is too unstable and easily damaged, but there's no denying recordings off metal tape can be great and I still have a box full of cassettes somewhere.

niklasthedolphin
27-02-2009, 12:07
The "analogue media" I used and enjoyed for some years way back were copies of master tapes. They were GOOD!!!! :cool:

Sadly, much "domestic" analogue recording doesn't come close and although I admit that when the recordings are fresh, decent cassette has a wide frequency response out to the lower 20Kz region, a few years and a few plays will soon sort that out and shave off the quietest bits.

Perhaps I shouldn't have posted, I forget that I was doing this 35 years ago and have moved on, whereas some of you are discovering these things for the first time. I've been lucky enough to have heard good digital and it suits me fine. It's the antics of recording and mastering engineers that's the problem :lolsign:

P.S. I've just read the above and must apologise for my Aspergic "black and white" reply ("we" don't *all* like steam-trains you know.......:)). Vintage tape decks are great fun and if I still had my master copies (they went to the friend who bought my high speed IEC Revox B77 II) I'd probably be looking for another Revox or the good-n-blingy Technics 1500.

As for cassette, which was the original subject, I still feel the medium is too unstable and easily damaged, but there's no denying recordings off metal tape can be great and I still have a box full of cassettes somewhere.


I have yet to experience my Lyrec R2R (the Studer and Nagra killer) and my Tandberg TCD 910 (The Dragon-, and any Nakamichi killer) to be beaten by digital encodings.

I have been sound engineering and tape operating master tapes since the late 70's and have been backing up on 32/192 and 24/96 and still do that.
................well not been using digital as back up since the 70's. :lolsign:

Chose the digital as back up due to the superiority of my R2R.

There is very far between published music from great masterings.

"dolph"

DSJR
27-02-2009, 17:42
You'll have far more experience than me then.

I do remember the reviewer Martin Colloms lending us a Sony 1610 (yes, that long ago) to play with. We put it in the tape loop of our reference system (unity gain) and couldn't hear the difference (tape out to A-D, fed back to D-A and on to tape monitor). I suppose the system, or more possible, the preamp, could have got in the way (it was a Naim after all.............), but so many professional people have told me that a good A-D shouldn't get in the way. Perhaps their monitoring systems weren't good enough, I don't know any more.

I'm just about to play some more music and I'm not really bothered what format it's on...... :)

Spectral Morn
27-02-2009, 23:43
The "analogue media" I used and enjoyed for some years way back were copies of master tapes. They were GOOD!!!! :cool:

Sadly, much "domestic" analogue recording doesn't come close and although I admit that when the recordings are fresh, decent cassette has a wide frequency response out to the lower 20Kz region, a few years and a few plays will soon sort that out and shave off the quietest bits.

Perhaps I shouldn't have posted, I forget that I was doing this 35 years ago and have moved on, whereas some of you are discovering these things for the first time. I've been lucky enough to have heard good digital and it suits me fine. It's the antics of recording and mastering engineers that's the problem :lolsign:

P.S. I've just read the above and must apologise for my Aspergic "black and white" reply ("we" don't *all* like steam-trains you know.......:)). Vintage tape decks are great fun and if I still had my master copies (they went to the friend who bought my high speed IEC Revox B77 II) I'd probably be looking for another Revox or the good-n-blingy Technics 1500.

As for cassette, which was the original subject, I still feel the medium is too unstable and easily damaged, but there's no denying recordings off metal tape can be great and I still have a box full of cassettes somewhere.

HI Dave

Don't you dare question posting....its great to hear what guys like you have to say. Its very valuable in my opinion. As to the second part of the emboldened text...this is the threat that faces us more and more....If it becomes the total norm (which it is starting to do in rock/pop recordings)then Hi-fi is doomed for all put older recordings. That would be a pretty crap future.


Regards D S D L----Neil :)

DSJR
28-02-2009, 19:56
Thanks for kind sentiments Mr Dalek Supreme.


Seriously fella's, I don't care overmuch what the medium is any more, I just want to hear the music at the end of the day. I'll have to get the Denon and tapes down from the loft and hope the Denon still plays ok.