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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since: 26/01/2011

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Well, I didn't think I'd ever have to think about this again. For sure the one thing I have learned in life is to "never say never".

I asked about this in the "Isn't She Beautiful" thread and got some great answers (thank you Alan) but wanted to explore this a bit more...

So in this era of modern tape formulations, what do you guys think would work best with this old Presto 3 track?

Bob Ohlson has told me in the past these old beasts really want Scotch 111, 201 or 206.  Try and hunt these down, you can... I just don't that I trust 40 to 50 year old tape. They want good money for this stuff as well.

In my old tape vault I found two reels of Scotch 3M 226 and 6 reels of 3M 996 half inch tape.  Not sure either of these formulations would work well with the old Presto 825.

Any of the guys I've talked to that own these old beasts have all hunted down old tape stock. 

So for any of you that still run tape... Thoughts?

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,803 Member Since:20/01/2011

#1 [url]

my feeling is that hunting for ancient tape is going to be a headache coming and going.

if you can get enough bias current to use modern tape, it's going to make your life a lot easier.

I work a lot on NOS 456, but I'm also happy enough with ATR

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,207 Member Since:04/02/2011

#2 [url]

One thing I seem to recall hearing somewhere is that old 206 doesn't really tend to develop sticky-shed syndrome, so acquiring some old stock just to try for comparison could be possible.

I'm probably the last person you should trust about this, but here are some datasheets:

First, Scotch 206: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwie_ffm3LXTAhUEQCYKHWZaCLsQFggyMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vintage-radio.net%2Fforum%2Fattachment.php%3Fattachmentid%3D120326%26d%3D1455919247&usg=AFQjCNFTuN108K_z869uPGVLWneyf2HY6w&sig2=FShY7vPy3GjPeaKGzEw80Q

RMGi 468: http://www.rmgi.eu/pdf/RMGI_SM_468.pdf
RMGi 911: http://www.rmgi-usa.com/resources/Analog-Media/RMGI_SM_911.pdf
RMGi 900: http://www.rmgi.eu/pdf/RMGI_SM_900.pdf
ATR: https://atrtape.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ATR-Master-Tape-Technical-Data-Sheet-Standard.pdf

AFAIK, that's what's available. Might be worth getting a reel of 468 and seeing what happens? That seems to be the closest in a basic quick comparison of the data (but not nearly "the same.")

brad allen williams

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

#3 [url]

soapfoot wrote:
One thing I seem to recall hearing somewhere is that old 206 doesn't really tend to develop sticky-shed syndrome, so acquiring some old stock just to try for comparison could be possible.

Might be worth getting a reel of 468 and seeing what happens? That seems to be the closest in a basic quick comparison of the data (but not nearly "the same.")
 


3M 206 is pre-"sticky shed," so that's one problem you won't have with it. Tape does wear out, though, and most of the 206 that you'll find from the usual sources will probably be used, maybe even spliced. Tape that comes from a broadcast studio is usually not heavily used, but is most likely to be spliced.

The original Agfa 468 was one of the worst sticky shed offenders, but the version that's being made today seems to not have that problem. One nice thing about 468 is that best high frequency response, lowest THD, and lowest modulation noise all occur at the same bias current. If your Presto can get it to optimum bias, that's probably a good choice. Given that it's a "standard output" tape, it'll probably bias OK. 

Does your Presto have 1/4" or 1/2" heads? You can buy 1/2" 468 new, so you might want to just get a reel and see how it works. They're pretty nice folks at http://www.recordingthemasters.com  and they might even give you a sample reel. If you have some 1/2" metal reels that you can take apart, you can save about $40 a reel by buying it as a pancake and putting on your own flanges.



For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

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The Presto 825 is pretty trick in that it can play half inch three track and it has guides that pop out that allow it to play quarter inch two track using the two lower heads on the three track head stack. I never knew it could do this until I read the manual. Super cool. I don't think anybody knows this really.

There is all this debate over some old Sinatra pictures in which you can clearly see a Frank loading up quarter inch on his Presto half inch three track at home. So now I can go on those old forums and put that controversy to bed. It does both.

BTW this thing handles tape like a friggin Studer. So smooth, I'm only working to by hand right now, not powering it up as I don't want any trouble with caps or the 72 tubes that are in this puppy. But I owned an MM1200, MCI JH110 and Otarti MTR90 II and none of them handled tape this smooth.

I was told by the other Presto three track owner that these Presto machines are like what Mac's were compared to Windows. Way over built. They went for 1200.00 more than the Ampex 300-3 back in the day. Consequently they didn't sell a lot of them before Bogen shut down the division. I bought this for exactly what it sold for back in 1960.

I'll probably try the SM468 first unless Ken tells me different.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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scullyfan

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,568 Member Since:27/07/2011

#6 [url]

The only thing I would be concerned about is to use the 1/4" methodology sparingly as to avoid uneven wear on the head stacks. If one were to use the 1/4" option a lot I'm afraid you would have issues when tracking the 1/2" tape. The 1/4" tape would eventually cut a 1/4" canal into the heads.

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

#7 [url]

scullyfan wrote:
The only thing I would be concerned about is to use the 1/4" methodology sparingly as to avoid uneven wear on the head stacks. If one were to use the 1/4" option a lot I'm afraid you would have issues when tracking the 1/2" tape. The 1/4" tape would eventually cut a 1/4" canal into the heads.

I would agree, that said there is a place to put another head stack in there, they give you that option as well.

I will only be using it as a three track myself.  Mixing off this back into the DAW or to a stereo DSD recorder.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

#8 [url]

weedywet wrote:
my feeling is that hunting for ancient tape is going to be a headache coming and going.

if you can get enough bias current to use modern tape, it's going to make your life a lot easier.

I work a lot on NOS 456, but I'm also happy enough with ATR

That's my concern William, old tape is just that... old.

When you say happy enough with ATR,  are you talking about their new formulations?  

I used 456 most of my life with my MM1200, along with the 3M 996 on my old 1" MCI.  For me, AGFA was the worse sticky shed tape I dealt with and I had a bad BASF batch once as well... after those two experiences  I stuck with a ATR and 3M products.

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

#9 [url]

soapfoot wrote:
One thing I seem to recall hearing somewhere is that old 206 doesn't really tend to develop sticky-shed syndrome, so acquiring some old stock just to try for comparison could be possible.

I'm probably the last person you should trust about this, but here are some datasheets:

First, Scotch 206: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwie_ffm3LXTAhUEQCYKHWZaCLsQFggyMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vintage-radio.net%2Fforum%2Fattachment.php%3Fattachmentid%3D120326%26d%3D1455919247&usg=AFQjCNFTuN108K_z869uPGVLWneyf2HY6w&sig2=FShY7vPy3GjPeaKGzEw80Q

RMGi 468: http://www.rmgi.eu/pdf/RMGI_SM_468.pdf
RMGi 911: http://www.rmgi-usa.com/resources/Analog-Media/RMGI_SM_911.pdf
RMGi 900: http://www.rmgi.eu/pdf/RMGI_SM_900.pdf
ATR: https://atrtape.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ATR-Master-Tape-Technical-Data-Sheet-Standard.pdf

AFAIK, that's what's available. Might be worth getting a reel of 468 and seeing what happens? That seems to be the closest in a basic quick comparison of the data (but not nearly "the same.")

Thanks for the info Brad.  Much appreciated. 

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,677 Member Since:26/01/2011

#10 [url]

mikerivers wrote:

soapfoot wrote:
One thing I seem to recall hearing somewhere is that old 206 doesn't really tend to develop sticky-shed syndrome, so acquiring some old stock just to try for comparison could be possible.

Might be worth getting a reel of 468 and seeing what happens? That seems to be the closest in a basic quick comparison of the data (but not nearly "the same.")

 


3M 206 is pre-"sticky shed," so that's one problem you won't have with it. Tape does wear out, though, and most of the 206 that you'll find from the usual sources will probably be used, maybe even spliced. Tape that comes from a broadcast studio is usually not heavily used, but is most likely to be spliced.

The original Agfa 468 was one of the worst sticky shed offenders, but the version that's being made today seems to not have that problem. One nice thing about 468 is that best high frequency response, lowest THD, and lowest modulation noise all occur at the same bias current. If your Presto can get it to optimum bias, that's probably a good choice. Given that it's a "standard output" tape, it'll probably bias OK. 

Does your Presto have 1/4" or 1/2" heads? You can buy 1/2" 468 new, so you might want to just get a reel and see how it works. They're pretty nice folks at http://www.recordingthemasters.com  and they might even give you a sample reel. If you have some 1/2" metal reels that you can take apart, you can save about $40 a reel by buying it as a pancake and putting on your own flanges.

Thanks Mike.  I experienced that AGFA sticky shed back in the day.  I guess no problems with the new formula.

I've seen some videos where they are playing/recording right off the pancake (Ampex 300-3), spooling it onto the flange as it records.  Looks like some of these machines can do that.  Maybe they all can but I never saw it done back in the day???

Silvertone Mastering, celebrating 28 years in business.

www.silvertonemastering.com

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

#11 [url]

silvertone wrote:
The Presto 825 is pretty trick in that it can play half inch three track and it has guides that pop out that allow it to play quarter inch two track using the two lower heads on the three track head stack. I never knew it could do this until I read the manual. Super cool. I don't think anybody knows this really.

 


There was a similar kit for the Ampex MM1100/1200 that allowed playing 8-track tape on half of the 16-track heads, but as Keith mentioned, this isn't something that you want to do often due to the risk of uneven wear on the heads. I borrowed the kit from another local studio once to mix an 8-track 1" tape. Three or four passes at the most - that was back when people knew how to record eight tracks right. ;)



For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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waltzingbear

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,231 Member Since:16/07/2012

#13 [url]

My current favorite magnetic formulation is whatever they use in the harddrive

:-)

Cheers
Alan

we actually DO now face the end of magnetic recording with the advent of SSDs!

Alan Garren
Waltzing Bear Audio

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,803 Member Since:20/01/2011

#14 [url]

I supposes one could ask whether long term storage on analogue tape remains a real issue, now that everything is bound to be digitally archived anyway...

I have to admit I haven't had to go back to play older projects done on ATR tape to observe Bob's problem with drop outs.
But once my records are mastered, I rarely have to go back to the multitracks.

I consider them DONE.

in some senses, I consider the inability of someone to remix my records in the future to be a feature, not a bug

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owlander

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,026 Member Since:27/01/2011

#15 [url]

A snippet from a Richard Dodd interview I was reading the other day:

"Roger Nichols recently brought to light the issue of engineers' rights. I agree with the principle that a work-for-hire ends when all commissioned versions are handed in and accepted by the record company. From that point in time, in perpetuity, the creative part of the existing mix should remain under the control of the original mixer. The record company has every right and facility to access the source of those mixes and to remix them. However, in my opinion, they do not, or should not, have the right to manipulate that existing mix and represent it as fresh product without consultation, input and further payment to the originator of that mix.

We should be realistic about the way to go about this. Let us not waste time in the courts or feed the legal system. We can quite easily turn in the masters the age-old way; i.e., all source materials, all final and requested versions. The session discs should be retained by the engineer and copied to one other responsible, honest broker or escrow-type storage facility. The immediate method to achieve this is to “omit” some of the “creative additions” from the session discs.

Perhaps the DAW software writers could give us a “Save Session As” option that locks out all visual information and prevents adjustments, only allowing transport functions. This means that the label can hit Play, listen to the agreed-upon turned-in mixes — Master, Vocal Up, Vocal Down, TV, etc. — transfer those mixes into their desired or future storage medium, and they won't have the ability to mess with the creative process that culminated in the mix that they accepted. As of now, the use of “analog outboard equipment” is the only “control” we have to prevent an unqualified misrepresentation of our efforts."

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chance

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,634 Member Since:30/01/2011

#16 [url]

That must have been from a while back. Roger checked out a few years ago
Didn't someone re-mix an AeroSmith song and Steve Tyler endorsed it?

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,531 Member Since:26/01/2011

#17 [url]

weedywet wrote:

in some senses, I consider the inability of someone to remix my records in the future to be a feature, not a bug
 

Well said!

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compasspnt

Diamond Forever

Posts: 21,163 Member Since:08/01/2011

#18 [url]

silvertone wrote:
I've seen some videos where they are playing/recording right off the pancake (Ampex 300-3), spooling it onto the flange as it records.  Looks like some of these machines can do that.  Maybe they all can but I never saw it done back in the day???


I often had only a bottom flange, otherwise just the tape pancake itself, on both supply and takeup sides.

But you couldn't (or at least shouldn't) FF or Rewind to one like that.


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owlander

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,026 Member Since:27/01/2011

#19 [url]

chance wrote:
That must have been from a while back. Roger checked out a few years ago
Didn't someone re-mix an AeroSmith song and Steve Tyler endorsed it?

Hey Chance

Yes, it is an old interview. There's a link to it on his website. A meaningful interview nonetheless.

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chance

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,634 Member Since:30/01/2011

#20 [url]

owlander wrote:

chance wrote:
That must have been from a while back. Roger checked out a few years ago
Didn't someone re-mix an AeroSmith song and Steve Tyler endorsed it?

Hey Chance

Yes, it is an old interview. There's a link to it on his website. A meaningful interview nonetheless.

Thanks. I'll have to check it out

Chance Pataki The Musicians Workshop www.the-musicians-workshop.com musicians.workshop@gte.net

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