Well, now, looky here what Jonny's got!
Yup. The very item I (and a lot of other folks) called the best source component at RMAF (and would've named the best source component at CES, if we'd given an award for best source component at CES)--United Home Audio's cherry-red UHA-HQ Tascam 15 ips, two-track, analog tape deck--is now sitting right next to the best source component I've (yet) heard in my system, the Walker Proscenium Black Diamond Mk II record player.
It's been a long, long, long time since TAS reviewed a reel-to-reel tape deck, and I'm not sure we've ever reviewed 15 ips, two-track, first-generation dubs of gen-u-ine mastertapes. But thanks to Greg Beron of United Home Audio, Carl Marchisotta of Nola Speakers, and Paul Stubblebine of The Tape Project that is about to change.
You can read about UHA's fabulous tape machines at www.unitedhomeproducts.com/reel_to_reel_hq_tape_decks.htm. (The one I've got is a "Level 5" deck, I think.) And you can read all about The Tape Project's fabulous catalog of 15 ips. two-track, reel-to-reel first-generation dubs of mastertapes--which includes little numbers like Bill Evans' Waltz for Debby, Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus, Thelonius Monk's Brilliant Corners, Linda Rondstadt's Heart Like a Wheel, The Band's Stage Fright, David Oistrakh (with Horenstein and the LSO) performing the Hindemith Violin Concerto, and Reference Recordings' Nojima Plays Lizst, among other heavyweights--at www.tapeproject.com/catalog/catalog.htm.
It's almost too much for a poor boy to handle!
Greg will be arriving this Friday to give me a refresher course on tape recorders and tape recordings. Several of The Tape Project tapes should arrive on Thursday, with more slated for the coming months. As soon as I can I will post a picture of the Tascam lit up and in action. And as soon as I am able I'll begin to blog in detail about the Tascam, how to use it, and how it sounds. Until then, I'll just be sitting in front of it, drooling.
We all like talking about the sound of mastertapes--and guessing about how closer our systems take us via records and CDs and SACDs to their sound. Now, finally, after forty years of guessing, I will be in a position to actually tell you (and tell myself) if Turntable A or CD Player B is, indeed, coming closer to the sound of the mastertape! What an extraordinary treat!