Horch House PROJECT R2R consumer tape machine

Jul 18, 2010
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0
16
#1
http://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/01/horch-house-project-r2r-consumer-tape.html
WORLD EXCLUSIVE: HORCH HOUSE INITIATE “PROJECT R2R”

Could this be the most surprising development in hi-fi since Neil Young’s Pono Player? Except with one small difference: we’re talking analogue. Very analogue.

“you just can’t top analogue”

As audiophiles and music lovers around the world continue to debate whether hi-res digital actually makes any real difference, one thing remains clear: the analogue resurgence keeps going from strength to strength. Vinyl sales have been growing faster than any other format as the mass market rediscovers what audiophiles never forgot: you just can’t top analogue sound quality.

Audiophiles, meanwhile, are going one better, knowing (as they do) that when it comes to analogue, tape sounds even better than vinyl. Period. No debate. Obviously we’re not talking about the cassette tapes of the eighties Walkman era, nor of those old 8-track bricks from the days of flares and swirly carpets!

The real audio grail is, of course, reel-to-reel tape.

“there is no company in the world that manufactures reel-to-reel decks…”

In 2013, The Absolute Sound shocked readers by concluding that a reel-to-reel deck absolutely crushed the highest-rated turntable-based system ever reviewed by the magazine. At this point in time, there is no company in the world that manufactures reel-to-reel decks, whether consumer or studio machines. Meanwhile, the resale market of vintage machines is booming. Why? Quite simply because the sound quality is as good as it gets.

…or is there??

Okay, enough suspense. Here’s the deal: we’re doing it. The team here at Horch House is very excited indeed to announce the initiation of “PROJECT R2R”: the development of a brand new consumer reel-to-reel machine!

As with all Horch House projects, we will be working very closely with some of the world’s foremost experts in order to create the most accomplished product possible.

Bookmark this page to follow the development of PROJECT R2R over the coming months – we’ll be posting regular updates.

Project Leader: Volker Lange
Mechanical Development: Philipp Puxbaum
Head of Production: Stefan Fahnenstich
Product Design: Manfred Mainzer
Electronic Control Development: Pali Banas

www.analogarts.net
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#2
I am going to hunt these guys down at the Munich show and get an update on their tape deck project.
 
Aug 7, 2015
549
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Australia
#5
I would give a few of my kidneys away to have one of these new recorders and a library of Horch tapes. Just imagine - every listening session would be an incredible event with the same anticipation and excitement as a live performance! I'd save the sessions for Saturday nights just to maintain that special, exclusive flavour!

If anyone in the Sydney area were to ever get one of these I would love to come and hear it playing a classical Horch release (and I promise I won't touch anything).
 
#6
Update from Munich, I spoke with Volker Lang at length about his new R2R; the Euro 5,000 is a tentative price for the deck. The price does NOT include the optional stand. He has not figured out distribution etc. Though he is talking about taking early bird orders in Q3 2016.

He did mention that his successful automotive welding operation is able to bank roll this project as it is extremely profitable. He showed us many different images of the industrial design. They look fantastic.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,380
163
63
Beverly Hills, CA
#7
At Munich High-End I spoke at length with Volker Lange of Lutz Precision, Horch House is a division of Lutz Precision. Volker is the founder of Horch House.

The new Horch House reel-to-reel machine is being designed by Manfred Meinzer. From the mid-1960s on Manfred was responsible for the physical design and appearance of all Studer and ReVox tape decks.

Horch House expects to sell the reproducer-only version of the tape deck for €4,000, and the recorder/reproducer version for €5,000. There is a €1,000 upgrade for a studio model which replaces the RCA connectors with XLR connectors,

I asked Volker how he could possibly expect to design and manufacture a high-quality open reel tape deck for only €4,000. I asked him what is his business model.

Volker said: "Our business model is the ink-jet printer business model. We want to sell the tape deck at this [low] price to get people to buy our tapes."

He said a working machine will be demonstrated at the Denver show in October 2016.

This is clearly a real product which is going to see the light of day.

http://www.monoandstereo.com/2016/05/horch-house-reel-to-reel-tape-deck.html
 
Aug 7, 2015
549
0
0
Australia
#8
I asked Volker how he could possibly expect to design and manufacture a high-quality open reel tape deck for only €4,000. I asked him what is his business model.

Volker said: "Our business model is the ink-jet printer business model. We want to sell the tape deck at this [low] price to get people to buy our tapes."
Great information there Ron. I am sure that some people will simply buy the machine for use with existing collections or for tapes they acquire via other means. So I hope that when they refer to the ink-jet model, they are still going to make a modest profit or at worse break even. Personally I would never be able to afford (on an ongoing basis) new tape releases, so I would not fit into the model as such. However the playback RCA machine is definitely within my grasp. It would not surprise me if there were many people in my situation. The last open reel deck I bought was around 1992 - it was the base model Tascam - around $2,200 AUD back then I seem to recall. If you were to extrapolate that price 25 years down the track it would require I feel a similar budget today to acquire the new Revox (though the Tascam could obviously record which is what I used it for).

And as Michael Fremer said, the entire deck is priced around the same as a high mid-range to mid high-end MC cartridge. Or to put it another way, many vinyl listeners wouldn't think much of spending around $4-$5K on a cartridge yet it would not surprise me if this particular upcoming deck would blow most if not all vinyl setups away or at worst equal them when the vinyl setups were playing those "2 x 45 RPM" or even some "2 x 33 1/3 RPM" style full length audiophile releases.

Still, there is no doubt. For me this is a resurgence of the golden age of audio. For people in my age group who grew up in the late 60s and 70s when vinyl was at it's peak and open reel was always there but no longer ubiquitous and even dominant like it was in the 50s to very early 60s, it is almost like a time machine, but we benefit from the enormous strides made in electronics over the last 5 decades. And for people buying both the machine and the new tape releases, I am not the slightest bit ashamed to declare my envy and respect. I just hope they share their stories here on the forum!
 
May 30, 2010
14,302
135
63
Portugal
#9
(...) Volker said: "Our business model is the ink-jet printer business model. We want to sell the tape deck at this [low] price to get people to buy our tapes." (...)
I hope he was just using the qualitative model - nowadays in some cases a set of ink jet cartridges costs about half the price of the the printer! Can you imagine a tape costing half of the price of the tape machine?

Sorry, but I do not consider euro 4000 a low price - unless I am shown that this new deck is really a top performer. ;)
 
Aug 7, 2015
549
0
0
Australia
#10
Sorry, but I do not consider euro 4000 a low price - unless I am shown that this new deck is really a top performer. ;)
Really? I think it is almost a give-away. Infact I'm struggling to even imagine a machine such as this being produced for any profit at all for this price in 2017. And in my book, 4000 euro does not really buy much these days in terms of really high quality hifi. It certainly gets you extremely capable upper-echelon individual components that can produce very rewarding results (whereby the outright results generally reflect minor sins of omission compared exotic high end stuff) but certainly not the esoteric stuff.

You'd be buying maybe ten tapes to equal the price of the playback machine here. If you bought a turntable / tonearm / cartridge / phono-amp combo for ten times the price of a typical modern audiophile vinyl release you'd get a piece of absolute mass-market junk!
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#11
Really? I think it is almost a give-away. Infact I'm struggling to even imagine a machine such as this being produced for any profit at all for this price in 2017. And in my book, 4000 euro does not really buy much these days in terms of really high quality hifi. It certainly gets you extremely capable upper-echelon individual components that can produce very rewarding results (whereby the outright results generally reflect minor sins of omission compared exotic high end stuff) but certainly not the esoteric stuff.
+1... I'd have to agree. Something like this could give the nudge to those sitting on the fence that want to get into tape.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
3,424
0
36
Reno, NV
#13
I hope he was just using the qualitative model - nowadays in some cases a set of ink jet cartridges costs about half the price of the the printer! Can you imagine a tape costing half of the price of the tape machine?

Sorry, but I do not consider euro 4000 a low price - unless I am shown that this new deck is really a top performer. ;)
A "remanufactured" Technics 1506 or 1500 will run a bit more than that (about $6k - $7k) and the least expensive UHA Tascam about a thousand more than that; I would be surprised if this Revox/HH deck was not the equal of those machines, or at least closer than the price would indicate. It could well end up being better even at a significantly lower price.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,608
18
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#14
Hi Bruce

wasn't there a time when you used butterfly heads on your Studer
I do have butterfly heads available and have used them in the past when clients would ask for them, but 99% of my work has been done with NAB heads.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,536
91
48
UK
#16
I would bet that it won't be long before some boutique businesses setup making "upgrades" for the new machine and we have a technics sl1200 trend on our hands.
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
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#17
Hi

I can get my "hands" on a Technics RS-1500... I may acquire it just because .. I am not too found these days on spending the severe amount of dollars the software requires but .. you never know.. There could be people trying to release tape at a price than I consider sane, perhaps in the $50~$100 vicinity. perhaps a pipe dream
This said. Do tape decks sound as different as TT do? On TTs i can understand the mechanical aspect, isolation, speed stability and the fact that we can convince ourselves on about anything. Tape decks fitted with the same heads, do they sound really different? Many here use custom heads and preamp for their deck, doesn't such preamp bypass the deck electronics? In that case the sonic contribution would seem to me to come from the heads and associated electronics, the tape deck itself may not be such a strong factor.
Waiting for those who know more to enlighten and educate me.
completely OT: There was a fellow here that used Ampex Deck and electronics and swore by these . I believe it was RobertD or RogerD, have't heard him for a while. Where is he?
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,536
91
48
UK
#18
Hi

I can get my "hands" on a Technics RS-1500... I may acquire it just because .. I am not too found these days on spending the severe amount of dollars the software requires but .. you never know.. There could be people trying to release tape at a price than I consider sane, perhaps in the $50~$100 vicinity. perhaps a pipe dream
This said. Do tape decks sound as different as TT do? On TTs i can understand the mechanical aspect, isolation, speed stability and the fact that we can convince ourselves on about anything. Tape decks fitted with the same heads, do they sound really different? Many here use custom heads and preamp for their deck, doesn't such preamp bypass the deck electronics? In that case the sonic contribution would seem to me to come from the heads and associated electronics, the tape deck itself may not be such a strong factor.
Waiting for those who know more to enlighten and educate me.
completely OT: There was a fellow here that used Ampex Deck and electronics and swore by these . I believe it was RobertD or RogerD, have't heard him for a while. Where is he?
We could do with Greg Beron to provide a view - is he a member on here?
 
#19
Hi

I can get my "hands" on a Technics RS-1500... I may acquire it just because .. I am not too found these days on spending the severe amount of dollars the software requires but .. you never know.. There could be people trying to release tape at a price than I consider sane, perhaps in the $50~$100 vicinity. perhaps a pipe dream
This said. Do tape decks sound as different as TT do? On TTs i can understand the mechanical aspect, isolation, speed stability and the fact that we can convince ourselves on about anything. Tape decks fitted with the same heads, do they sound really different? Many here use custom heads and preamp for their deck, doesn't such preamp bypass the deck electronics? In that case the sonic contribution would seem to me to come from the heads and associated electronics, the tape deck itself may not be such a strong factor.
Waiting for those who know more to enlighten and educate me.
completely OT: There was a fellow here that used Ampex Deck and electronics and swore by these . I believe it was RobertD or RogerD, have't heard him for a while. Where is he?

Yes different R2R sound different, as does a stock RS-1500 versus a Tim DaPavaracini modified unit versus a Bottlehead tube pre. I had a Pavaracini modified RS-1500, Studer A-810, ReVox / SonoruS PR-99 at one stage, while for CES etc, I have borrowed a Studer A-80 with a Bottlehead tube preamp from The Tape Project; playing Sonny Rollin's "Saxaphone Colossus" was an AMAZING musical moment for me. Felt as if time stood still while listening to the drum solo on St. Thomas; you could hear exactly how tight the skins on the drums were, that lovely taut thud ! The SonoruS ATR10 is another superb contender, with all new electronics, I think it retails for approx $17k, though I am not sure if Arian Jansen is going to manufacture any more.. His ATR-12 is used by Yarlung for their analogue recordings.

A stock RS-1500 is approx. 40 years old, so there will be a lot of capacitors, electrolytics that are dry & need replacing. So it will be quite labor intensive to update. Unlike a reVox PR-99 which is modular and boards can be easily swapped out. With the RS-1500 its a rats next inside, and best given to a competent technician to update.

The most common mod on a RS-1500 is to take the output from the heads and run them to an outboard tube preamp, such as Bottlehead or Doshi.

=======================

As regards an album on tape for $50-100; sorry its not going to happen. Each blank reel of modern 2500' tape on a 1/4" metal reel is approx. $50 each and you need two for an album. Add to this the fact that Horch House or Tape Project need to pay for a license fee and the fact that the tapes are transferred in real time. All of the tape machines need to be serviced regularly and Studer service is not cheap. So Euro 400 from Horch for example is quite reasonable (especially with current exchange rates). Groove Note charge $600 for an album, which is a labor of love not a profit center for them, because Bernie Grundman charges approx. $500 for real time duplication. Horch House have lowered their duplication costs by making fifteen tapes simultaneously.

I hope this is of help,
Philip
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
0
0
#20
Yes different R2R sound different, as does a stock RS-1500 versus a Tim DaPavaracini modified unit versus a Bottlehead tube pre. I had a Pavaracini modified RS-1500, Studer A-810, ReVox / SonoruS PR-99 at one stage, while for CES etc, I have borrowed a Studer A-80 with a Bottlehead tube preamp from The Tape Project; playing Sonny Rollin's "Saxaphone Colossus" was an AMAZING musical moment for me. Felt as if time stood still while listening to the drum solo on St. Thomas; you could hear exactly how tight the skins on the drums were, that lovely taut thud ! The SonoruS ATR10 is another superb contender, with all new electronics, I think it retails for approx $17k, though I am not sure if Arian Jansen is going to manufacture any more.. His ATR-12 is used by Yarlung for their analogue recordings.

A stock RS-1500 is approx. 40 years old, so there will be a lot of capacitors, electrolytics that are dry & need replacing. So it will be quite labor intensive to update. Unlike a reVox PR-99 which is modular and boards can be easily swapped out. With the RS-1500 its a rats next inside, and best given to a competent technician to update.

The most common mod on a RS-1500 is to take the output from the heads and run them to an outboard tube preamp, such as Bottlehead or Doshi.

=======================

As regards an album on tape for $50-100; sorry its not going to happen. Each blank reel of modern 2500' tape on a 1/4" metal reel is approx. $50 each and you need two for an album. Add to this the fact that Horch House or Tape Project need to pay for a license fee and the fact that the tapes are transferred in real time. All of the tape machines need to be serviced regularly and Studer service is not cheap. So Euro 400 from Horch for example is quite reasonable (especially with current exchange rates). Groove Note charge $600 for an album, which is a labor of love not a profit center for them, because Bernie Grundman charges approx. $500 for real time duplication. Horch House have lowered their duplication costs by making fifteen tapes simultaneously.

I hope this is of help,
Philip
Philip

Thanks for the reply. I can understand the different sound when electronics are involced. A modified RS-1500 will sound different from an unmodified one and with special pre-amp I can understand the variation in sound. No! I am asking a different question or perhaps re-phrasing my earlier question:
Tap A is a Studer A 820 with Kayamichi Heads (a fictitious head) and a Bottlehead Pre
Tape B is a Technics RS-1500 with the same Kayamichi Heads and Bottlehead Pre
Tape C is a Revox B77 with the same Kayamichi Heads and Bottlehead Pre

Will these sound different?

As for paying $600 for an album (and having to wait an eternity for it to arrive) , I respect those who do and understand their search. Not for me. I am most certainly out of the tap game.
 

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