The Beatles sound best on...reel to reel?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by head_unit, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Aw jeez... lighten up, Francis.
  2. Abbagold

    Abbagold Working class hero

    I’ve got quite a few of the Fabs reel to reels. The brown boxes suck, plain and simple. The Ampex reels sound much better. Compared to a U.K. minty vinyl, it always comes in second. As far as an alternative format, the blue boxes are the way to go. The Fab solo lps released on Ampex are pretty good. The ATMP version is at 3 3/4, not the nest sounding, but good considering the speed. It’s a fun break from vinyl but can be an expensive venture.
    McLover likes this.
  3. SoundDoctor

    SoundDoctor Forum Resident

    United States
    Especially one on SiriusXM. I know a freeform radio DJ who is smart and knows what he's talking about, though.
  4. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Abbey Road reel on Apple sounds good playing while you watch the open reel go around. And then the auto reverse slams it in the opposite direction and a "Here Come the Sun" begins.

    It's pretty magical!
    SinnerSaint, clhboa and forthlin like this.
  5. forthlin

    forthlin Forum Resident

    I have a few Beatles open reel tapes but I didn't acquire them until after the Beatles broke up. I'm a first gen fan though and I was always intrigued by the two-fers like:


    Especially the Capitol Rubber Soul tracks on the same tape as Second Album. WTH? In any case they are very cool as collectors items even if you just look at them while playing the vinyl or cd.
  6. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    san diego
    Those brown box tapes are old and crinkly. I also have a brown box 7.5 isp Revolver that has a sort of low output on one channel on side two of the reel.
    Unless you can get some good 7.5 isp blue box tapes cheap I would spend all that money on the 2014 Mono albums.
    Hard to find ($$) factory reels and aging decks are the down sides to reel to reel.
    Have to say however I never heard the piano on Money sound as great as it does on my duophonic reel to reel of Second Album.
    clhboa likes this.
  7. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Long Island, NY
    The UK monos, despite being slow speed... well they’re hit or miss in my experience, but when they’re good... they’re goooood.

    Dare I say the best mono white album I’ve heard? Vs original LP or 2009 CD. I’ve transferred it to digital and when A/b’d with the CD, there is surprisingly little difference. Which shows how close it comes to an adequately done transfer of the original master tape. Remember, these mixes didn’t have a ton of HF content to begin with.

    My copy of Pepper is similarly excellent.

    On the other hand, I do have a copy of Please Please Me, and it does in fact sound like something that was recorded with a toy, for use in a toy… is it possible that EMI just didn’t have their tape duplication figured out early on?
    SinnerSaint and The FRiNgE like this.
  8. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Actually, at one time all recordings were made on disk, until the invention of tape recording...
  9. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    I find this discussion most interesting. Some day, I would like to sample a few Brown box mono tapes, simply to listen for phase linearity vs CD copies. I do understand the remasters may be superior due to EQ fixes, and dropout repairs, etc.

    I do have a 15 ips tape of "She Loves You", self recorded on a Pioneer RT-1050 half track stereo deck (mono both channels) This was a project done on a rainy day, as every copy out there has multiple eq shifts/ changes/ edits which are very audible. (the orig Swan 45, and all mono digital copies) Using a parametric EQ, I compensated all changes on the fly, (quick snap on the bypass button at the precise moments) so the entire song sounds exactly like the first verse. My Ampex 456 tape probably has sticky shed. So, I'll have to bake it and do a digital transfer. The same could be more easily accomplished on a digital waveform... I took notes but packed the notebook in a box, in storage.

    BTW yes the mono tapes should be played on a half track mono PB deck. However a half track stereo deck should be the same track width, just mute the R channel. Also a 1/4 track would play the tape on the L channel only (mute the R channel) however because of the narrower track width on the head, the dynamic range and sound quality may be audibly not as good. (note: 1/2 track mono is incompatible with 1/4 track stereo as @McLover mentions. although the L channel track on the 1/4 track deck will play part of the mono track on the tape without crosstalk.)

    The noise level of 1/2 track mono at 3.75 ips isn't bad. The noise level of 1/2 track mono at 3.75 ips will be apprx the equivalent of the noise of 1/4 track at 7.5 ips. Even though the lower speed has inherently a higher noise level, the fatter mono 1/2 track has much lower noise vs 1/4 track.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    PhilBiker and Dinstun like this.
  10. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Transferred Sgt Pepper cd to Studer b62 ..15"ips speed. Best I heard it yet. Sounded fuller, fat bass.
  11. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!


    Not surprised at all! I recently recreated the Elvis RCA 30 ips copy tape they found in the vaults some years ago. All songs were sourced from Cd and copied to a TEAC 3440 at 15 ips. Sounds great now, a nice full analog sound.
    alexpop likes this.
  12. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I'd like to hear the album Dark Side of the Moon from the BluRay 4.0 quad mix recorded to 4-Track quad reel to reel at a nice fast speed.

    Or Wish You Were Here quad onto analogue reel to reel done right.

    Would sound silky and sweet.

  13. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Blank rtr tape at 15ips ..expensive.

    Wish they were more affordable.For sonics imo tape makes music sound best.
  14. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I'd think that there are bargains on used tape stock - brand name 1/4 inch reels - recorded on once. It not played back again. Maxell, BASF, Ampex, etc.

    Must be thousands or former users getting out of the game for good.

    15ips is going to blast through a reel fast, but so what.
  15. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Albums that would benefit recorded at 15” ips..
    Abbey Road
    Five Leaves Left
    Electric Ladyland

    Loads more..

  16. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Get Your Wings
    Darkness on the Edge of Town
    Rock and Roll Animal

    I think that Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life would sound really nice but only if they used the warm smooth Dutch yellow vinyl pressing which has none of the nasty harshness and surface issues of the US originals.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  17. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    It's really the DVD-As at 24/96kHz that would likely make great reel to reel playback. The "American Beauty" remix would be a thunderous delicacy.
  18. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    In an ideal world, the vinyl record would never have been invented. The needle-groove principle has been an anachronism since the 1950s. It was adequate in the shellac era when recording and listening was done through purely mechanical devices. But in the 1950s all studios were using electric microphones, electronic amplifiers, and laying it down to magnetic tape. Likewhise listening equipment in homes was all electronic. Why convert the electronic signal to a mechanical one and back, with all the imperfections and distortions that entails, when the detour could have been avoided by tape, which means it remains in the electronic domain all the time?

    The answer is that vinyl records are much cheaper and quicker to duplicate than tape. This is why someone thought it was a good idea to modernise the needle-groove principle in the form of 33s and 45s using vinyl, instead of abandoning it.

    But of course the few commercial tapes that were made at the time are bound to sound better than their vinyl equivalent, that's not a surprise at all.
    DRM likes this.
  19. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    They don't sound better than their vinyl equivalent. Vinyl can and often does sound better than commercial Reels. Ever opened up a vintage reel box and find the sound has faded and lost its high end to a degree? Ever found a vintage LP, like a stereo Columbia six-eye still in its sealed inner-liner, ripped or zipped it opened and placed that one on the modern TT with good needle and cart? Wow, and you picked your jaw up off of the floor.

    Vinyl was the best sound, quick and cheap to duplicate, attractive looking, and easier to play than tapes at the time.

    The real reason that they modernized it rather than eliminating it is that the CD had not been invented yet and tape cartridges never sounded as good as vinyl or the reel format, not everyone wanted convenience over quality in 1965-66 on.
    Hardcore and McLover like this.
  20. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Brisbane Australia
    Would love to hear it, but I am content with my :
    -87 CD's, 09 Stereo/Mono Set
    -2012 Stereo Vinyl Box Set
    -2014 Mono Box Set
  21. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Chicago, IL USA
    I was lucky to have grown up around reel-to-reel tape. I recorded on tape at ten years old and always wondered why LP was held in such high esteem when tape could sound so good, and didn't have the the same weaknesses I heard in vinyl, although to be fair, tape had some of its own. Sadly, I've heard few reel-to-reel commercial releases that sound special. I do admit a few I've heard that sound good, surprise me as I know they are high-speed duplicated. IMHO, there never was a good mass-duplication system developed.

    I assume The Beatles recorded to tape, not LP, because their perfectionism and multi-track tape capabilities, not necessarily sound superiority.

    Regarding someone's blanket comment about not trusting a DJ's opinion? Sly Stone, for one, was a DJ, who used what he heard to go on and make great records. Many DJs of the era were adept at sound production and no doubt heard lots of recording and format comparisons.
    SinnerSaint likes this.
  22. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Terrytown, La.
    I have almost all of the Beatles on tape at 7.5 ips the blue boxes in stereo by Capital most of them, the tapes sound pretty darn good in my opinion. My Blue Box albums are really hard to beat but I would give a slight edge to the tape, now for the absolute best the 15 ips tapes I have just crushes everything else out there...
    DRM and alexpop like this.
  23. TheBoogeyDown

    TheBoogeyDown Member

    I have their entire catalogue as purchasing options at 15 IPS, which would you suggest is the "must have?"
  24. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    What about transferring vinyl needle drops to RTR 15’ ips speed ?
  25. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Terrytown, La.
    That would really depend on what you like most are just awesome some a lil better than others!!!

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