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non hernia analog 2 track for classical?/my DSD experien



Hi everyone,

So does anyone have any suggestions about a non-hernia, bad ass, two track reel-to-reel for less (hopefully way less) than $14k? I was wondering what people used to use back in the day for stereo Classical recording in the field (in the days before dat)... I already have two channels of dolby SR lying around the house...

I do a lot of on-location, direct to stereo, classical and jazz recordings using vintage AKG and Neumann tube mics. I am currently using Mytek AD converters and I want better resolution and frequency response.

I heard the Miles Davis Kinda Blue SACD at the audiophile store down the street. It was life-changing! It was like there was a whole extra octave of highs compared to CD, and the speakers just seemed to melt away! It was easy on the ears... Quadrupling the sample rate makes a huge difference! Localization on the drums was very nice too... digital brightness was gone; it sounded like a console feed from the live performance; it was a lot like listening to a new, virgin vinyl LP with no surface scratches.... Even the tape hiss sounded different! When I played CDs on the same system, the highs seemed constricted; the usual "digital brightness" was apparent and it sounded like the recordings were being played back through speakers again. When I played my own orchestral recordings (made with C12s thru Mytek converters) the limited bandwidth of the CD medium was apparent in comparison to the SACD examples.

Don't get me wrong; my16-bit stuff was still better recorded and thus more fun to listen to than the SACD orchestral examples I heard that day (not witstanding the Myles stuff that is), but I could clearly hear the benefits of the new medium and I really wanted to switch to DSD. I realized then I'd been listening to the analog output of 16 bit 44.1 digital machines for too long. I wanted out of the box I'd been in for 10 years.... Even if the client still has to listen to the final in 16 bit 44.1, I didn't want to keep listening to 16bit 44.1 for 8 hrs a day while I make the transfers and add reverb... and I want to archive to something with better resolution for the future...

I considered switching from DAT to DSD for in the field recording, but the DCS converters were $14k. I was heartbroken... I'd finally found digital I like, but I will NOT be able to switch to DSD for the time being, even though it sounds freaking incredible... If I had a spare $14k to drop, I'd use it for a downpayment for a building or something... So I'm stuck waiting for DSD to become more affordable (or at least cost less than a building... )

So I guess that leaves analog SR to get better resolution...(for hopefully less than $14k that is)...

So does anyone have any suggestions about a non-hernia, bad ass, two track reel-to-reel for less (hopefully way less) than $14k? I was wondering what people used to use back in the day for stereo Classical recording in the field (in the days before dat)...

I currently have an atr 102 (that was way less than $14k) with 2 channels of SR at the studio that I will NOT be schlepping on location with me... The atr sounds great, but was there something more portable that people used to use? Did they use cassette or reel-to-reel? I saw a Marantz model on their website that records at double speed onto metal tape, but even then I believe it's still only 3.75ips (suck?) and the head gap is pretty puny... and the frequency response is probably not what one would want... My PMD 430 cassette (that only does single speed) sounds better than my 3700, but does anyone know of a reel to reel or something else that would do the deed better? Using Dolby SR with a cassette (even one with balanced IO) seems kinda silly....

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Sal Vito
The Man of Sound


Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2000
Would a Nagra iv-S be more your speed?
They also have a r2r digital deck that does 96k, but I don't know how heavy or expensive it is.

Here's a forum I found that might be able to help you more: [="http://www.justcollectors.com/forums/tapedeck/"]Tape Decks[/]

Bear's Gone Fission

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2001
I don't think I know what DSD spec is. Is that better resolution than 24/96? If it is 24/96, maybe just get a Masterlink and use outboard converters.

For analog decks, the Studer B67 and Revox PR-99 are fairly compact and sound nice. I believe neither will do 30 ips, if that matters to you. These aren't really ideal for travel though, for that you'd probably be sinking dough into a Nagra.

da Bear



first of all, totally agreed on differences between dsd and 16/44.1!

don't give away your mytek a/d, as far as i know, they're working on an dsd-upgrade (a 24/96 version is already avaible!)

why not record in dsd?
if you only need 2 (dsd) channels, take a look at the genex gx850 (not cheap, but below your limit)

nagra indeed has a digital 4-track, but it's not dsd-capable (and imo never will!)
but they've also a very interesting tiny analog 2-track (don't know how good it sounds-but i guess better than normal dat anyway!)

or just wait until a pc-card will be avaible for laptops which is dsd-capable (could last a while, because despite it's undisputed superiority in soundquality, i'm not sure if the studios are willingly to change again to another standard after having already upgraded to 24/96)

if you would be satiesfied with 24/96, consider the new rme pc-card and a powerfull laptop:
Link removed

last, but not least:
if you nevertheless want to go analog, take a look at a used revox b77 (also huge "schlepper", but maybe lighter than the stuff you got), or, seriously, try a nakamichi dragon (best cc-deck ever built, with a metaltape very good results!)



despite it may sound strange, if you want more resolution, try a kimber agdl:

any good hifidealer will give it to you for a free trial!

just try and see what a simple cable can make a difference :D


Thanks for the info so far guys! You guys are great!

I will hold onto the mytek...thanks!

Yes, DSD is way better than 24/96 and 24/192.

I guess the problem is even with the HHB recorder (for $6k) you still need the $14k converters to go into it! The converters by themselves will bit split onto the DA88s I have currently..

Maybe a Revox or a Nagra is the thing with SR for the time being...

Anyone got any better ideas?



Well there are two people you would want to talk to. If you want the balls to the wall 2 trk call Tim Depavernichi at EAR (esoteric Audio research) He makes a great 1" 2 trk that a lot of the purist guys love. Guys like Kavi Alexander etc use. If you want to hear a great example of this machine listen to the CD "A Meeting by the River" with Ry Cooder and Vishwa Bhatt. Or if that is not your fancy call Mike Spitz AT ATR services and get him to mod you an ATR 102 out with some custom electronis out. But the guy who mods those electronics out bitchin would be a Tech I know very well he does a superb job. I can get to a totally rodded out ATR for 8,000.00 to your door. I just know where one is at that has been just done by ATR services and has new heads it just need the electronicws mods done to it. Personally I think The 1" 2 trk is overkill and is a hard format to find a mastering lab to accept but a 1/2 inch at 30 ips rocks. - Mark undefined