Comparing Reissued LPs to Analogue Productions Tapes

Ron Resnick

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#1
We often enjoy comparing and contrasting the sound qualities of original LPs to reissued LPs, and one reissue label's product to another reissue label's product (e.g., Classic Records versus Analogue Productions; DCC Compact Classics versus Mobile Fidelity), and different versions of the same title reissued by the same reissue label (e.g. Classic Records 33rpm versus 45rpm; double-sided 45rpm versus single-sided 45rpm; different vinyl formulations).

What about comparing LPs and tapes of the same titles?

Who has compared an Analogue Productions LP (or another reissue label's vinyl) to an Analogue Productions tape of the same title?

PS: I cannot wait to compare the Analogue Productions tape of Leibowitz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Mussorgsky: The Power of the Orchestra to the Chesky vinyl reissue of the same performance I carry around with me!
 
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#2
I have all the AP classical ultratapes also on LP (original versions as well as the Chesky reissues and Classics Records and AP reissues). So far (I have the first 12 tapes, not the newest ones) all the classical tapes are significantly superior to the LP versions. (Scheherazade, Lt.Kije, Power of Orch, Rach Sym Dances, Rhapsodies, Pines/Fountains of Rome, the two Wilson tapes). I don't have any of the LP versions of the four non-classical tapes.

Obviously, for the original RCA Livings Stereo LP's, it is extremely difficult (impossible?) to get mint condition LP's from records that were issued 60 years ago. My Turnabout Rach Dances and the two Wilson albums were bought new, as well as all the Chesky and later reissues.

Many of you know that the classical tapes were from the TAS Superdisc list that HP chose starting back 40+ years ago. So that made/makes finding original issues more difficult and more expensive. Several of the tapes (Pines of Rome in 1S stamper, Daphnis et Chloe for two) are more expensive as nice condition used original record issues than they are as tapes.

I have safety masters or other tape dubs of many of the second set, so I will probably buy just a few of the second set. Interested most in the SS Organ Symphony and Ravel Daphnis et Chloe.

Larry
 

Ron Resnick

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#3
. . .

So far (I have the first 12 tapes, not the newest ones) all the classical tapes are significantly superior to the LP versions. (Scheherazade, Lt.Kije, Power of Orch, Rach Sym Dances, Rhapsodies, Pines/Fountains of Rome, the two Wilson tapes). . . .

Larry
Wow! Thank you for posting your experience with the tapes.

I have a lot to look forward to!
 
Aug 29, 2016
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#4
One of my favorite past time is comparing 2 track prerecorded (7.5”- 15”) reel to reel tapes to vinyl LPs and I have found 90 percent of the time the tape sounds better than the LP be it original or reissue, but this brings to mind the one exception of a reissued 45 rpm LP record I have, and when I seen that The Tape Project had a copy of this album, I had to get one, but this turned out to be a real disappointment because the 45 LP sounded much better than the tape in fact I did a blind A/B test with some friends and they all agreed the LP sounded better than the tape, the tape sounded thin and tinny also the LP had a back ground noise that was also hared on The Tape Project tape, so maybe the original master tape may not of been so great, now I’m sure the LP did have some EQ done to it, also I have a few old late 1950’s 7.5” prerecorded 2 track tapes where the reissue LP sounded better, but most don’t.
 
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#5
PS: I cannot wait to compare the Analogue Productions tape of Leibowitz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Mussorgsky: The Power of the Orchestra to the Chesky vinyl reissue of the same performance I carry around with me!
Ron: Please post the results of your comparison after you are done.
 
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Tango

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#6
Found this thread this morning made me revisited the Scheherazade tapes by Analog Production and the 45 vinyls from Sterling Sound. The tape machine I used is Ampex ATR 102 while the tt and cartridges were AS2000, Opus1, Master Sig both on 3012R. I would say I like vinyl better. Not because I am a crazy vinyl person or because I have a lot of "sunk" costs in vinyl fronts. I find the vinyl sound of this particular comparison much more exciting with so much drive and "live" presence that pull me more into the music. It is the kind of sensation that makes me stand up in cheer do that rigorous body hands head gesture as if I was a frekin conductor. I even laughed at myself. The sound from both cartridges had more drive than tape. Tape has that lowest noise floor, most refined clean sound, super fast transient, more effervescent highs and exceptional specificity. But it just didnt pull me in, race my heart beat and made me do the dance like vinyl of same title. And this comes from a system that bass modules were taken out. I guess it really depends on how you want to listen to music. And how you set up your system. I have put a lot of efforts into building sound from vinyls. Not much efforts into tape so maybe my tape fronts suck and not up to the level of other people. In my system tape is only a different flavour when it comes to listening. I have a few jazz tapes from IPI that beat all my jazz vinyls though but that is not the subject of this thread.

Kind regards,
Tang

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Ron Resnick

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#8
. . . The tape machine I used in Ampex ATR 102 . . .
Dear Tang,

Did you get an Ampex (in addition to your A820 with Doshi tape preamp)?
 

Tango

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#9
Dear Tang,

Did you get an Ampex (in addition to your A820 with Doshi tape preamp)?
No. The market is very slow now. So my dealer sent me this ATR102 to listen in hope I will itch. Actually he wants me to try his Ballfinger too but I have no interest in buying so the comparison Studer vs ATR vs Ballfinger never took palce...hehehe.

Tang
 

Ron Resnick

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#10
A friend performed for me the exact same comparison you are describing here and, in this particular case, we both preferred the 45 rpm LP.

As I texted Kedar today:

“I have been very clear that not all tapes sound better than all vinyl. You really have to go tape copy by tape copy versus vinyl original versus 45rpm vinyl reissue.”

“This is why for some of my favorite titles I have gotten three or four or even five different tapes from different sources.”

“All I’ve ever said is that WHEN (if and only if) all the underlying variables line up in favor of the tape (great performance, great recording, proper EQ, low generation copy from a master tape in good condition, repro machine heads properly aligned, etc.) the tape beats the vinyl and is almost unbelievably good.”
 
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bonzo75

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#11
A friend performed for me the exact same comparison you are describing here and, in this particular case, we both preferred the rpm LP.

As I texted Kedar today:

“I have been very clear that not all tapes sound better than all vinyl. You really have to go tape copy by tape copy versus vinyl original versus 45rpm vinyl reissue.”

“This is why for some of my favorite titles I have gotten three or four or even five different tapes from different sources.”

“All I’ve ever said is that WHEN (if and only if) all the underlying variables line up in favor of the tape (great performance, great recording, proper EQ, low generation copy from a master tape in good condition, repro machine heads properly aligned, etc.) the tape beats the vinyl and is almost unbelievably good.”
The key catch here is the word originals. Originals just cannot be compared unless someone is like the General. And this is why. It is very easy to buy one copy of an original RCA LP, the reissue, and the tape, and conclude that the original is the least good sounding. The RCA originals in the market, like Larry mentioned, are in bad condition.

But now consider this scenario. Let's say you have Analog Production tapes of violin concertos from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Bruch. Now, it is not right to compare them all to the RCA LPs unless you want to do an academic tape format vs LP format exercise. The first question to ask is, which are the best performances with great sonics of all those pieces? Maybe one is on RCA, one is on Decca (find a tape that beats Campoli's Mendelssohn on Decca SXL 2026), one is on Telefunken, etc. Then, once you identify these, you will have to buy 10 - 30 LPs from the market over years, and find the best (or find the best performance while doing this exercise). Then you will have to do the compares to the tapes and the reissues, assuming your tape and LP playbacks are up to level.

How many people can do that? I really doubt there are quality well done tapes available to buy from each of those labels. What people end up doing is they buy the tapes that are out there...in some cases the Classic records/AP tapes, sometimes the Yarlung tapes, sometimes some Decca copies made by someone in US or Italy (who probably has no knowledge compared to the real cutting engineers of the originals regarding how to make copies from the master) - instead of identifying which is the performance they should be buying and finding a great tape for that. I even find the Classic records catalog restrictive for my musical tastes. There is so much more classical music.
 
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Tango

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#12
“All I’ve ever said is that WHEN (if and only if) all the underlying variables line up in favor of the tape (great performance, great recording, proper EQ, low generation copy from a master tape in good condition, repro machine heads properly aligned, etc.) the tape beats the vinyl and is almost unbelievably good.”
That is a very tall order to follow through. I think you can probably hear best tape sound with those parameters at Mike's. And to be fair you must hear the best vinyl pressings too and probably can do that at the General's. Not at one place.
The key catch here is the word originals. Originals just cannot be compared unless someone is like the General. And this is why. It is very easy to buy one copy of an original RCA LP, the reissue, and the tape, and conclude that the original is the least good sounding. The RCA originals in the market, like Larry mentioned, are in bad condition.

But now consider this scenario. Let's say you have Analog Production tapes of violin concertos from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Bruch. Now, it is not right to compare them all to the RCA LPs unless you want to do an academic tape format vs LP format exercise. The first question to ask is, which are the best performances with great sonics of all those pieces? Maybe one is on RCA, one is on Decca (find a tape that beats Campoli's Mendelssohn on Decca SXL 2026), one is on Telefunken, etc. Then, once you identify these, you will have to buy 10 - 30 LPs from the market over years, and find the best (or find the best performance while doing this exercise). Then you will have to do the compares to the tapes and the reissues, assuming your tape and LP playbacks are up to level.

How many people can do that? I really doubt there are quality well done tapes available to buy from each of those labels. What people end up doing is they buy the tapes that are out there...in some cases the Classic records/AP tapes, sometimes the Yarlung tapes, sometimes some Decca copies made by someone in US or Italy (who probably has no knowledge compared to the real cutting engineers of the originals regarding how to make copies from the master) - instead of identifying which is the performance they should be buying and finding a great tape for that. I even find the Classic records catalog restrictive for my musical tastes. There is so much more classical music.
Dude. You lost me from second paragraph. Are you texting from Underground.

Tang :rolleyes:
 

Ron Resnick

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#13
I don’t have to do that, Kedar. I have bought every tape, literally every tape, I can find of the 15 or classical titles, regardless of conductor or performance or recording, that are very important to me.

When you visit you can listen to every tape version of each title and give me your opinion as to which is the best one. :p

If I agree I will sell the other tapes and keep only the mutually agreed winners. This is my very simple system.
 
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bonzo75

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#14
I don’t have to do that, Kedar. I have bought every tape, literally every tape, I can find of the 15 or classical titles, regardless of conductor or performance or recording, that are very important to me.

When you visit you can listen to every tape version of each title and give me your opinion as to which is the best one. :p

If I agree I will sell the other tapes and keep only the mutually agreed winners. This is my very simple system.
Ok, so if you send the General the list of pieces, he can send you his recommended LP for each - it might not be RCA, some might be RCA, some might be something else. So if his LP is better, you keep it, else you send it back. For each LP you keep, you gift me one copy.
 
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bonzo75

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#15
Dude. You lost me from second paragraph. Are you texting from Underground.

Tang :rolleyes:
I am saying, let's say you buy AP tapes of 4 different concertos, all from safety masters. Now, they might be superior to the RCA LPs. But they might not be superior to what the appropriate LP is for each of those concertos - for one it might be Decca, for one RCA, for Telefunken, etc. So you really need to compare those tapes that Ron has, not to LPs of the same label, but to the best LPs for those pieces - which might not necessarily have been on the same label. Then, you have to buy many copies of each LP to take out the ones in the market that are badly beaten up due to use, and to filter out the sonically Mint ones. Then do the compare.
 

Ron Resnick

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#16
I think I have done that already with three of the 15 titles. :D
 
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bonzo75

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#17

Ron Resnick

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#18
I don’t think that was part of the original deal for the first three! :)
 

Mike Lavigne

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#19
I am saying, let's say you buy AP tapes of 4 different concertos, all from safety masters. Now, they might be superior to the RCA LPs. But they might not be superior to what the appropriate LP is for each of those concertos - for one it might be Decca, for one RCA, for Telefunken, etc. So you really need to compare those tapes that Ron has, not to LPs of the same label, but to the best LPs for those pieces - which might not necessarily have been on the same label. Then, you have to buy many copies of each LP to take out the ones in the market that are badly beaten up due to use, and to filter out the sonically Mint ones. Then do the compare.
the point being when judging 'spendy' tape versions of popular classical titles, you have to find the best vinyl versions, as in this particular case the AP vinyl is likely only as good or bad as the AP tape in terms of source and mastering. there may very well be other vinyl masterings (possibly earlier when the tape was better, or possibly simply better mastered ) that are out there.

when you are speaking about a $500 tape album, it's worth the trouble to investigate.

i've done lots of tape <-> vinyl comparisons over the years, there are no givens. each case is separate.

to be clear, i applaud the effort it takes to offer great tape titles. but it's still a considerable investment. just because it's a tape does not insure superior performance.
 
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bonzo75

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#20
the point being when judging 'spendy' tape versions of popular classical titles, you have to find the best vinyl versions, as in this particular case the AP vinyl is likely only as good or bad as the AP tape in terms of source and mastering. there may very well be other masterings (possibly earlier when the tape was better, or possibly simply better mastered ) that are out there.

when you are speaking about a $500 tape album, it's worth the trouble to investigate.

i've done lots of tape <-> vinyl comparisons, there are no givens. each case is separate.
Yes, but the other thing is I feel more comfortable taking LP advice over tape advice. Easier to investigate too. The reason is that tape knowledge is restricted by the available software, while the LP knowledge base is huge. So I can ask the general what to buy, and buy it, cost aside, while after listening to the tape titles and some samples from usual sources I have zero interest in tape.
 

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