Dr. AIX

Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

14 thoughts on “$4999 for Reel-To-Reel Analog Tape

  • July 13, 2015 at 6:00 pm
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    I think this blog entry today is off base with all respect for you.

    We are talking a collector item and very much logic is simply not part of it. I don’t imagine many collectors are even thinking they will be getting a ‘better’ sounding recording. It is simply collectible. The vendor description doesn’t mention sound quality.

    “This is not about music anymore. This is about rarity and collectibles.”

    Yes the only good part of today’s blog. You have it exactly right. So I don’t really see the point of anything else you wrote today. Is a restored valuable collector car from the 1930’s a crazy obsession because it lacks performance and safety equal to modern cars? No, that isn’t even the point whatsoever. Same with collecting reel tape like this.

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    • July 14, 2015 at 9:53 am
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      You’re absolutely right, this is a collectible plain and simple. However, I spent the additional paragraphs explaining how bad old consumer reel-to-reel tapes are and to make sure everyone knows the difference between a 4-track tape and a quarter track stereo tape.

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  • July 13, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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    Have you been to either The Tape Project(tapeproject.com) or The Analogy Records(analogyrecords.org) websites and priced their products? It’s a niche within a niche.

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    • July 14, 2015 at 9:56 am
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      I know the principals at The Tape Project and have corresponded with David Pogue about the reel-to-reel Yahoo Group that he moderates. It is a niche…but I’m convinced that a first generation transfer of a 96 kHz/24-bit file would have higher fidelity than a third generation copy from TTP.

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  • July 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm
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    I am fine with people liking what they like, but it drives me crazy when you can scientifically show the limits of their favored technology and they just go blah blah blah, mine is better. Just admit you like the filtered/distorted/nostalgic sound and admit it is less accurate, but enjoyable to your ears. But it is terrible that merchants try to take advantage of people who are into archaic/arcane technology.

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  • July 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm
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    Humm, Back in the day I belonged to a “tape of the month” club, Columbia I think it was. I had a carton or two of them left over for the 30+ years it’s been since then till I retired and moved to FL. They were all of the most popular titles of the day, Pink Floyd, etc. At the time I moved, about 5 years ago, I didn’t see any value at them so I just threw them in the trash. 🙁

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  • July 14, 2015 at 6:23 am
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    I well remember our old friend print-through, the phenomenon that arises when the magnetic image on one winding of the tape copies itself to, and is audible at low level on, the next winding.

    In broadcasting circles, the traditional way to reduce this was to fast-spool the tape from beginning to end and then back again, before cueing it up for replay. As this would tend to shorten the tape’s life and encourage more oxide to shed, I wonder if anyone has dared to fast-spool the “precious” tapes recently.

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    • July 14, 2015 at 9:57 am
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      Classic analog masters are treated very carefully. My QGB and other transports allow slow winding…it’s not worth the risk. Splices can break etc.

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  • July 14, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    Once again, various elements balance out. No question, no matter how carefully analog tape is stored, it will deteriorate over time, even worse if the recorded signal level is high. At the same time, I am reading about super-careful, state of the art care, tech and methods being used to optimize transfer of great but aged analog tapes. many of the best-sounding discs are ADD, including one of my faves, your Almeida/Byrd DVD-A. It’s a combination of sonic elements that hopefully rings the bell, not one particular piece or technique.

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  • July 15, 2015 at 9:06 pm
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    Yes, reel-to-reel is obsolete, but one reason people love it is that those who play reels work hard to get everything else right. At Newport 2015, the nicest sounding room, to more than one person, was 1405: Kaiser speakers, Berning (?) amps, and a reel-to-reel. I could have sat in it all day.

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    • July 16, 2015 at 11:12 am
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      I’ve been in the same reel-to-reel rooms with United Home Audio and MBL speakers etc. It didn’t do anything for me…dull, compressed and flat sounding. Why anyone would demonstrate a high-end sound system with 50 year old consumer reel-to-reel decks baffles me.

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  • July 16, 2015 at 3:20 am
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    Mark, Have you ever thought of dedicating a part of a site or creating a new one as a “want ad” site for the “hi rez” (whatever that means) crowd? It should be limited to individuals, not businesses, and feature only used stuff. I doubt that you would have the time to manage it but perhaps among your loyal followers… Might even charge a few bucks knowing the serious nature of the readers.

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    • July 16, 2015 at 11:12 am
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      This is an idea worth thinking about…thanks.

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  • October 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm
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    I bought Meddle for $1300

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