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Spectral Morn
21-07-2009, 22:26
Tape control/switching centres and The SONY SD500


Hi Guys




It became very obvious to me a few weeks ago that a single in and out on my BAT VK31se pre for tape use would not suffice for an assault/experiment with analogue tape. I needed a tape input expander switcher. After no answers to an add here on AOS I stared a quest to find one. A company in the USA was selling some via Amazon would you believe, but I could not get it, no supply to Europe....sorry, at $130 it was a wee bit rich anyway for what it looked like, a cheap plastic box.

A nose about E-Bay brought a Realistic (Tandy) switcher into my sights but at 20 and climbing it didn't look to be up to much....it finally sold for over 30. However a day before bidding on that one ended I found another one for 10 +postage as a BIN....I jumped on it. When it arrived, well frankly it would not have been worth 30 + postage IMHO. Plastic light weight poor but it was the only game in town and as a three tape deck unit it would be ideal....two tape decks in and outs and as a third tape deck unit would not be used it would also provide an output to my Audio Valve RKV mk2 headphone amplifier.

REALISTIC TAPE CONTROL CENTER

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/BVNS2og2kKGrHgoOKjEjlLmZDmvBKRTpVce.jpghttp://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/BVNTKJw2kKGrHgoOKjEjlLmWqpBKRTqpScm.jpg

However another trawl on E-Bay (I am in trouble now help...:doh:) turned up a substantially more high end device from Sony, the SB500 Tapecorder switcher, a three tape deck unit like the Realistic, but there the difference ends. Brushed aluminum front panel, nice switches and knobs a higher end unit and vastly better than the Realistic.

I had to have this and I don't mind saying it was a very close cut thing, but the Dalek Supreme won. The Sony arrived early today, only dispatched on Monday(bidding ended on Sunday)....a truly excellent service from the seller.

This unit will serve a vital role in Tape deck vs Reel to Reel write up I have planned for the near future. I will comment on sound quality then, maybe compare the Realistic to the Sony as part of the review.

I took some photos today and feel the Sony deserves to have its own feature, so here it is in all its glory. With the lid off you can see the very high quality pcb board and type of thick contacts used. The sockets are not gold platted which is a pity but whats there is solid enough, but it the switches and knobs that are wonderful. The function of these is beautiful, with nice weight and action in use. The seller thinks its about the best tape expander ever made(he himself uses one), I can't comment on that as my knowledge of such units is limited, I though QED was about the height of quality and choice with tape input expanding devices.

THE SONY DB500

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/SonySB500Tapeswitcher001.jpg

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/SonySB500Tapeswitcher002.jpg

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/SonySB500Tapeswitcher003.jpg

http://i549.photobucket.com/albums/ii364/davros124/SonySB500Tapeswitcher004.jpg

At this point I would just like to say how great an experience I had with this E-Bay seller, I could not have served myself any better. Plenty of communication, including a photo of the postage receipt, exact time item was sent, very well packed, plus lots of additional exchanges of thoughts on the Sony and hi-fi in general. The listing was as good as it gets in terms of info and photos, a real model for how it should be on E-Bay and elsewhere. My experience with manorcom (Keith Belcher) who is also involved in ReelAudio...suppliers of some spares and repairers of reel to reel machines link http://www.reelaudio.co.uk/link.asp?url=/lib/34/HowtoOrder.htm) was excellent and I would be happy to deal with him again....hes an audio enthusiast as well.



Regards D S D L

Beechwoods
21-07-2009, 22:47
That is a nice unit Neil. I'm very jealous ;) I'd come across Sony's earlier 3-way tape switcher but not the more modern unit you mention. It looks brilliant!

The Grand Wazoo
21-07-2009, 22:54
Neil, It looks like a nice bit of gear. And will make your review comparisons easier to do.
What I'd like to know, though, is why the Realistic unit needed a grille in the top of it's casing? - Perhaps you should've bought it after all- it may have been a Class 'A' valve powered switching unit!!!!!!!

Designers amaze me sometimes...............

Cheers, hope you're happy with it!

Spectral Morn
21-07-2009, 22:57
That is a nice unit Neil. I'm very jealous ;) I'd come across Sony's earlier 3-way tape switcher but not the more modern unit you mention. It looks brilliant!

According to Keith it dates from the early 80's and in its day was very expensive, (he recalls looking at one and opting for a QED one because of price) but he can't remember how much. This little gem was tucked away in the cassette decks section on E-Bay and the bidding was heated (Keith had it listed on USA E-Bay as well(there was another unit on as well from America at the same time)....I had to have it....its vital to the analogue campaign. Its not an accessory but a necessary.


Regards D S D L

Spectral Morn
21-07-2009, 23:01
Neil, It looks like a nice bit of gear. And will make your review comparisons easier to do.
What I'd like to know, though, is why the Realistic unit needed a grille in the top of it's casing? - Perhaps you should've bought it after all- it may have been a Class 'A' valve powered switching unit!!!!!!!

Designers amaze me sometimes...............

Cheers, hope you're happy with it!

Hi Chris

Its a bit of plastic detailing on the top, and I did buy one, but not that one mine was made in China and possibly a bit more recent than the one pictured which is made in Korea. Perhaps that is why the Korean one made 30...frankly I doubt if there is any difference between them. Both units are passive...no power.


Regards D S D L

Spectral Morn
21-07-2009, 23:15
I have just E-Mailed Keith a link to the thread, and asked if he would want to join the forum. He is also involved in a company that does work on cassette decks and reel to reel machines. Hes an audio enthusiast with a very good hi-fi and a lot of valuable knowledge.

We shall see if he wants to join or not....



Regards D S D L

The Grand Wazoo
21-07-2009, 23:26
Hi Chris

Its a bit of plastic detailing on the top............... Both units are passive...no power.



I know mate, but what thoughts were going through the designer's head when he decided that the efforts of the tool-makers should be directed at that detailing?

Designer: "Hi-fi gear looks impressive if it's got a grille on it".

Financial director: "But what about the cost of the toolmaking?

Designer: "Well, I expect more people will buy it 'cos it looks like 'proper grown-up hi-fi' with a grille on it - that way you'll more than make your investment back"

Spectral Morn
22-07-2009, 08:38
I see that Keith (manorcom), has joined AOS. Welcome Keith.



Regards D S D L