Good two track reel to reel machines for mixdown


Hidden Driveways

'Now one thing I am considering doing is buying a good 1/2" two-track for mixdowns to take to the mastering house. Anyone have any opinions on this? The idea is that I would do all my tracking at 24/96 and mix down to the two-track analog deck.'
-Posted by Consul in another thread

I'm also wondering about this. What machines are the best? What formats do mastering houses usually feature, 1/2"? How much should you spend to get something that'll outshine mixing to disk?

Bo Hansén

Apr 25, 2003
Hi Hidden,

The best sounding 2 track master machines 1/4" or 1/2" are Studer A-800 series (A-80 series) and Ampex ATR-100 series.
In US I thing it´s ok with 1/2" tape and 30" speed format for mostly of mastering houses.



Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2003
To my ears, the ATR-102 is an order of magnitude better sounding than any other machine, including the A80, which is a distant second.


Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2001
Silicon Valley
Never got play with a ATR-102, but got much use out of an A80. For the cheap side you can pick up a Tascam 22-2 for about $200 and it does 7-1/2ips & 15ips. I still the got the one I bought for doing mixdowns from my Tascam 244 Portastudio many years ago that still gets used now and then.


An Ampex, I find, has a bit more 'color' than a Studer so depending on what type of program you'll be sending to tape you might want to think about that. A 1/2" Ampex does sound better than a 1/2" Studer in my opinion. I've had the chance to use both Ampex and Studer machines both 1/4" & 1/2" formats often. We have an A80 1/4" in the studio as well as an Ampex. I almost always like what the Ampex does more than the Studer. It seems to smooth everything over in a special way that the Studer doesn't do.