the Tape Project

"I had heard of The Tape Project, some crazy guys who were releasing classic albums on reel-to-reel, duplicated directly from the original studio masters, but I hadn't experienced it myself. I was happy to find that the reports of this being the best sounding medium in the world are not overstated."

Clark Robinson, Enjoy The Music

   

 We are now taking subscriptions for the upcoming Series Three, expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2011. Our licenses for Series One titles are limited. Waltz for Debby, Saxophone Colossus and Arnold Overtures are very nearly sold out. Contact Eileen at the shipping status link below to order. Price for individual albums is $500 each. Series Two is currently in production and will continue to ship over the next few months. This Series is selling briskly as well.

shipping status

Catalog

larger image

   

 Series Three  Catalog - new titles

   

 

Creedence                        Lee Morgan                               Otis Rush 

 

Tape Project and Bottlehead at RMAF 2011

Dr. Bottlehead and Dr. Knobs, enjoying an adult beverage and some sweet Series Three tracks with Tape Project subscribers in the VTL room at RMAF 2011. Photo courtesy subscriber Myles Astor

"If ’tables seemed to be in almost every room, there was also an abundance of tape machines. The VTL room included mastering engineer Piper Payne playing some of the Tape Project’s reels, which, more often than not, sounded dynamic and translucent via Luke Manley and Bea Lam’s imposing Siegfried II monoblocks, which are priced at $65,000 a pair, along with the $20,000 7.5 Series III preamplifier. Tape was also featured at Alon Wolf’s Magico Q1 demo. The Nagra tape machine fed the $25,000 Q1, which sounded smashing—exceedingly nimble and transparent. But the most memorable cut for me was listening to Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” at United Home Audio’s room on a $17,000 Phase9 Tascam machine, which boasts, among other things, capacitors with silk as the dielectric. It sounded amazing. The “Sidewinder” recording, which Morgan cut for Blue Note, was a surprise bestseller in 1964 and features some of his most sizzling playing."

Jacob Heilbrun, The Absolute Sound

"Here is my pick for "Best of Show"

TAD's driven by VTL, source: analog tape via 1/2" 15ips Bottlehead project deck.

Simply Marvelous!"

Masterlu, AudioAficianado.org

Tape Project and Bottlehead at CAS 2011

Tape Project engineer Piper "Super Duper" Payne playing 1/2" Tape Project albums on an Otari MTR-20 with Bottlehead Tube Repro electronics in the Bob Hodas Acoustical Analysis room at CAS 2011

"I had no idea that the very first room I’d enter would offer such exquisite sound and music. I was in Bob Hodas’s Acoustic Analysis room and The Tape Project was spinning the Bill Evans Trio, the Sonny Rollins Quartet, Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, and so much soul.

It was a packed room of bobbing heads and tapping toes, unable to resist the smooth, smooth flow. Here was a lively sound, a vibrant sound, a sweet, flowing, blooming, effortless sound, marked by so much body and heart and an absolutely wonderful sense of timing....

We did not listen to the smart-looking Zanden M2500 CD player ($25,000) because we were too busy listening to the ½” Otari tape machine with Bottlehead electronics.

I felt sad when Nat King Cole sang, “This is the end of a beautiful friendship…”

This music really transformed the modest hotel room into some sort of venue. Something real was happening here. The chatter that came from the attendees behind me felt like it was coming from an audience in a club.

“This is the end of a beautiful friendship,” he sang, “and the beginning of love.” And I felt much better."

Stephen Mejias, Stereophile

"Bob Hodas Acoustic Analysis | The Tape Project
Bob Hodas is an acoustician who designs listening rooms, mostly for studios (his client list reads like a who's who of the recording industry), but also for home theaters and audiophile's homes, so it was no surprise that his room sounded spectacular...

 The big news here, though, was the tapes via The Tape Project.
Dan Schmalle, Managing Director of The Tape Project, brought down a 1/2" Otari MTR-20 with Bottlehead Tube Repro (Schmalle is also President of Bottlehead. I had heard of The Tape Project, some crazy guys who were releasing classic albums on reel-to-reel, duplicated directly from the original studio masters, but I hadn't experienced it myself. I was happy to find that the reports of this being the best sounding medium in the world are not overstated.

We were listening to some choice selections from The Tape Project's releases: Nat Cole singing "Fly Me to the Moon", Oliver Nelson's "Message" from the obscure (but excellent) Afro American Sketches, Sonny Rollins doing "St. Thomas", and others. The sound of these on 1/2" tape is magical: like listening to the ghosts of the past playing live in the Crown Plaza hotel. The sound is liquid smooth, with perfect detail... you hear everything, but the sound isn't the slightest bit fatiguing or analytical. This blows away digital anything. This blows away vinyl.

Reel-to-reel isn't for everybody... the releases are $300 each (with a subscription), and the decks take some work to obtain (once you find one, on eBay, Craigslist or wherever, The Tape Project can help you modify it for "better than factory" sound). But for those that have the means, nothing sounds like tape."

Clark Robinson, Enjoy The Music

Tape Project and Bottlehead at RMAF 2010

RMAF 2010 - Robert Harley’s Best of Show
Best Sound–Cost-No-Object

"It’s always hard to pick a single “best sound” because the selection of source material can influence one’s judgment. But I will say that I had a startling experience with the Magico Q5s; I opened my eyes at the conclusion of (The Tape project's) Nojima Plays Liszt, played on a one-to-one open-reel copy of the original master (on the Bottlehead Nagra T/Tube Repro), and was momentarily startled to find myself in a small hotel room with a pair of speakers in front of me."

"Two rooms stood out: the first was the Magico Q5 room, where a (Bottlehead modified) Nagra T audio tape machine spun a staggering rendition of the justly famous Nojima performance of Liszt (TP-019). The transparency, dynamics, and low noise floor were spellbinding"

Jacob Heilbrunn, The Absolute Sound

Jonathan Valin in the sweet spot while the Bottlehead Nagra T rolls a Tape Project album on the Q5s

"Might as well spill the beans right here. The aluminum-boxed $60k Magico Q5 multiway floorstander (with beryllium tweeter) was, IMO, the best speaker at RMAF. Its sound was astoundingly beautiful and natural on a Tape Project tape of Nojima Plays Liszt (played back through Dan Schmalle’s smashingly good—and extremely rare—Nagra reel-to-reel tape deck). In fact, next to Robert Silverman playing Mozart on a real grand piano in the Marriott lobby, it was the most realistic grand piano I’ve heard at a trade show."

Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound

Jonathan Valin has this to say about the Tape Project in the September 2010 issue of The Absolute Sound:

"on the very best Tape Project titles, it is without question the most realistic source component I've tried...you will still get more dimensional imaging, finer low-level resolution, somewhat truer timbres, simply phenomenal dynamics, astonishingly wide and deep soundstaging, and greater overall realism on select 15 ips tapes, and on the best of them, such as the Arnold Overtures, you will ... get a sound that comes closer to the sound of a full orchestra in a real hall than any other recorded medium I've heard."

Impression from CES 2010

"I've just returned from the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. It was a very fun show with a plethora of high-end audio delights on tap. However, as objectively as I can say this, the BEST sound at the show was ALWAYS coming from Tape Project tapes! Even better, several suites were demonstrating them to great effect. I love the trend!

photo courtesy Steve Rochlin, Enjoy the Music


Sadly I didn't run into any other Forum members, though I know some were there, like MikeL. I did run into both DocB and Paul Stubblebine, though, and was able to thank them again personally for enabling us all to enjoy such wonderful sounding music. One of the most amazing experiences was listening to a 1/2-inch TP tape in the Magico loudspeaker suite. I'm sore afraid of this as a potential "upgrade" to our beloved format--I can't go there! Make it stop!  :-)  Nonetheless, the continued bliss of this format has made me decide to even buy a single tape from Series One (Waltz for Debbie)."

Tape Project Subscriber Kip Peterson, aka Kipdent

Thanks to Andrew Jones of TAD/Pioneer Home Audio, Alon Wolf of Magico, Greg Beron of United Home Audio, Phillip O'Hanlon of On a Higher Note and Dan Meinwald of EAR USA for playing Tape Project tapes at the show!

Paul Stubblebine presents the Tape Project to a full house at the first Baltimore Washington DC Metro Audio Society meeting, December 5, 2009

"Great wintery afternoon had by all.  The tapes sound incredible and United Home Audio put together a system that did them justice.  Paul was really informative and kinda did liner notes for the sample tape he brought with him.  It all went very well."

Tape Project Forum member cam3xl

Many thanks to Mike Allen and Greg Beron of United Home Audio for hosting and providing the great sounding UHA-HQ tape machine

The 6th Annual Positive Feedback Online's Writers' Choice Awards - for 2009

"It's hard to imagine there being any better sounding software than the super audiophile mastered 15-ips, 2-track, reel-to-reel tapes from The Tape Project...this years hands down winner in the software category is the master-tape like sound of The Tape Project's first series of ten, 15-ips, ¼-inch, 2-track reel-to-reel-tapes"

Myles Astor

Tape Project at RMAF 2009

"For several shows in a row now, the $65k, open-baffle, ribbon/cone hybrid Nola Baby Grand Reference has been making wonderfully lifelike music. This year, at RMAF, an improved version (with better ribbons) driven by ARC electronics and sourced by a tape machine playing back The Tape Project’s second-generation dubs of mastertapes was simply marvelous—so open, so sweet, so clean, so continuous."

"Best Source Component: The Tape Project tapes in the Nola room"

Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound

Thanks to Greg Beron of United Home Audio for playing Tape Project tapes on the UHA-HQ tape deck

HeadFi Norcal regional meet August 8, 2009

"I didn't listen to everything but the Bottlehead rigs were far and away the most impressive to me. That killer tape rig probably had a lot to do with it.

Here are my impressions from the Bottlehead forum:

Best sound of show (IMO). Big Nagra rig with Tape Project Tapes + Tube Repro Head amp.

K1000's driven by Paramounts. (AMAZING)
HD600(650?) by sex upgraded iron (Very engaging)
HD800's by Professional Headphone amp (Hard to peel me away from this)
Quickie's for sale and for listen with Sennheisers (no Sex amp but still great)

Best, and thank you so much for coming,

Chris"

Head-fi member chrismercurio

Doc with Tape Project recording artist Jacqui Naylor and his Nagra T Audio with Bottlehead Tube Repro preamp.

VSAC 2008

""I think the only room that I went nuts over was the Bottlehead room, which had a beautifully reconditioned Technics 1500 tape deck feeding Bottlehead amps and crossovers driving direct radiator speakers arranged in a line source...It was pretty wonderful.  Huge sound with a lot of nuance, air, inner detail, soundstage, and imaging. Bill (Van Winkle) and I were gaga over this system."

Pete Riggle, Pete Riggle Audio

CES 2008 comments

"Playing the Tape Project's open reel reissue of Reference Recordings Tutti, the TAD (Reference One) presented one of the most completely persuasive facsimiles of a symphony I've heard from a system. Voices and smaller groups were equally convincing, with unsurpassed tonal truth and beauty. For me this was the sonic Everest of the show, indeed, of many a show."

Paul Seydor - PS's Best of Show - The Absolute Sound, April/May 2008

"The TAD room was noteworthy not just for its excellent speakers, but also for the best sounding source of the show: The Tape Project's direct-from-master analog tape."

Alan Taffel - AT's Best of Show - The Absolute Sound, April/May 2008

"...excellent source material tipped the scales for me. I loved the massed strings and dynamic headroom via The Tape Project’s master tape (duplicate -ed.) on the TAD Reference One..."

Jim Hannon's Best of Show - AVGuide.com, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2008

"Also on the 34th floor was Andrew Jones’ beautiful, three-way, floorstanding TAD Reference One loudspeaker ($60k)–with its famous concentric beryllium midrange/tweeter and two ported 10-inch woven-Aramid-sandwich woofers–fed by Ayre electronics and one of The Tape Project 15ips, two-track tape players. The sound on the tapes was, needless to say, astonishing."

Jonathan Valin - AVGuide.com, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2008

"A demo using the big, full-range TADs demonstrated that open-reel analog tape still smokes even high-resolution (24-bit/192kHz) digital."

Michael Fremer - Stereophile, April 2008

Impressions of the Tape Project from Head-fi NorCal Regional Meet, August 25, 2007

"one word--WOW. This had to be the most musical and emotionally moving listening experience I've encountered. It's extremely rare I can listen to unfamiliar music and feel so moved and hang on every note, wishing it not end. The (Tape Project) tape had an utter breathtaking realism that everything else just melted away. It doesn't do it justice to use audiophile terms, which usually best describe an artificial attempt at replicating sound. Dare I say it, the closest to the real deal--like being in the studio on the musicians side of the glass. While listening I had goosebumps, walking away I had goosebumps, a bit later talking about it I got goosebumps or even thinking about it right now I am relishing the moment and sighing long and hard because I don't know when something so emotionally intense can happen again."

Head-fi member 909

"It has already been said, but ironbut's rig is truly extraordinary. The same Tape Project (demo) tape was at HE2007 and on a hugemongous speaker setup it had the same impact on me. Natural, fleshy sound that cannot be beaten by digital sources, and I don't think that I have heard a vinyl setup that can match that same kind of sound."

Head-fi member Voltron

"Ironbut's Technics reel to reel > Bottlehead tape pre > Zana Duex > Ed9s this was the best sound I have EVER heard. The mastering on that reel was crazy good this rig removed the last pane of glass that separates you from the music. Not only was it detailed but had a lifelike quality that sends a shiver down your spine."

Head-fi member jp11801

"tape project...just **** amazing way to hear music. I listened to the classical recording on the tape and everything was so completely 3 dimensional in terms of sound...texture, soundstage, incredible weight to the music."

Head-fi member foo_me

TAS comments on the The Tape Project in the MAGICO room at CES 2007

"Folks, I've heard some mighty fine stereo systems over the years...But fed by the Technics tape deck and those Japanese oddball electronics from BA Labo, the Magico Model 6s reached a level of realism from full orchestra to solo voice that I've simply never heard matched." -  Jonathan Valin, Best of Show CES 2007,The Absolute Sound, April/May 2007

"The best systems were Ray Kimber's...the Spectral system... and the MAGICO Model 6, fed from a 15ips analog tape machine." - Robert Harley, Best of Show CES 2007, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2007

"perhaps the most convincing recreation of a symphony orchestra I have ever heard" - Wayne Garcia, on hearing an excerpt from Arnold Overtures on the MAGICO/Tape Project combination, Best of Show CES 2007, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2007 

 Positive Feedback on Tape Project tapes in the E.A.R. U.S.A room at CES 2007

"the sound was no less than drop dead stunning. Dynamic, ultra-resolved, it makes digital high-res formats look pale, flat and sad in comparison." - Danny Kaey, 2007 CES, Positive Feedback Online Issue 29

   
The Tape Project has been organized for one purpose: 

to make available to the discerning audiophile an analog listening experience that comes as close as possible to the experience of hearing the original master tape. A small group of music lovers has started securing the rights to release a variety of extraordinary recordings on high quality reel to reel tape. We have also assembled the highest quality duplicating system that has ever been attempted. The result, for those with ears to hear, is the most involving and satisfying experience that has ever come from reproduced music. Our plan is to release ten titles per series. These tapes are recorded as 15 inches per second two-track, one of the formats most common for analog master tapes. Each album normally comprises two reels.

   

The Music

When we started designing our release schedule, we had only two requirements in mind:  

1)  that the master exist on analog, and,  

2)  that the music be great. That it be music that moves us. That it be music that can stand the test of time, and continue to bring satisfaction for years.

Of course that narrows it down to only a couple hundred thousand possible titles. And in practical terms, it isn’t always up to us whether we can get access to the titles we’d like. The holders of the rights may or may not make them available. (All our music is fully licensed)

With those considerations in mind, here’s what to expect as we announce the future releases. You can already see that we have broad tastes ourselves. Just in the initial series you see Classical, Jazz, Blues and Roots music. You will see more of those. For Series Two we've added a rock classic, a solo classical piano title and a multi-platinum title from one of the major pop stars. Considering how much all of us in the company love Blues, Roots and Americana you can count on seeing more of those.

We are not limiting ourselves to audiophile spectaculars. If the music is compelling, we’ll consider it. We are even offering a couple mono recordings.

We are interested in hearing what you’d like us to pursue. You must be patient about this—sometimes securing a title can be a very lengthy exercise. But we’d like to hear from you regardless. Subscribers can post their wish lists on the Tape Project Forum.

Paul Stubblebine

Impressions from Tape Project Subscribers

TP-018

"I just received my copy of TP-018.

Wow. Another home run, in my opinion. I love this music and musicianship--and the sound is just jaw-dropping! I just can't believe something that was laid down in August, 1953, can have the sonic purity and dynamics this tape has. Such a pleasure!

Thank you Tape Project!

Kip"

Tape Project Subscriber Kip Peterson, aka Kipdent

TP-017

"ok; i've just played the 45rpm 2-disc Lp set (i don't think there is a DTD of this recording); and then reel A, and i've just started reel B.

in my life of listening to recorded music, TP-017 is easily the most real recording i've yet heard. there is simply no evidance of what i am hearing being a recording. no, it's not real life in terms of degrees of things. but the sense of any sort of microphone, tape recorder or 'stuff' is missing. the background is dead dead quiet.....i mean quiet. the voice, the guitars, the harmonica, everything just exists in space like they would if those things were in the room. there is simply no character to identify the music as a product of something. in that way it sounds real. if i was forced to explain in what way it does not sound completely real i'd say there is a very very slight veil compared to if Little Hatch (was still alive) and playing in my room....and maybe the energy of the music is slightly less than fully real, but not much less.

i've not lived through the recording process and lived with work parts of studio recordings so maybe this is standard stuff. but evidently when it's live to 2-track of a completely acoustic, very simple recording with (i would guess) no EQ or limiting with the best gear, modern tape formulations and it's absolutely nailed then this is what you can get.

really spooky shit. what do you do for an encore? i suppose this might be the tape to try a 1/2". i cannot imagine what that might sound like. the Lp is very good, but fogetaboutit......it cannot touch this nohow noway.

Oh, and the music is wonderful. just don't drool all over the tape or your remotes.

Little Hatch is in fine form and there is simply great tunes, tuneful playing, and an emotional content which jumps out at you."

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

"I've got Reel B on right now - like Larry, I had never heard of Little Hatch before - but this is one helluva tape, both musically - great blues - and sonically. I don't know if this was considered by the gang as being a risky release, but sometimes risk taking brings great rewards, (a $500 tape of a relatively unknown artist? sounds risky to me)and I think this is one of those times. The music takes you back to Mississippi circa 1940, but in great sound."

Charter Subscriber Thomas Ream, aka TomR

TP-016

"i was a fan of 'The Band' back in the day and still am, but i was never that familiar with this album or had listened to it that much. i had a couple of pressings, a recent Capitol reissue and a very clean original pressing with 'RL' (Robert Ludwig) in the deadwax. listening to both recently, the Original is not surprisingly much better.....more clarity, better smoother top end, and more body and decay. before i listened to the tape today i again listened to the original pressing.

On the surface this album is an enjoyable listen, if a bit dark and brooding compared to most Rock.....or even the Band's earlier Lps. But after listening to it a few times recently i have come to really enjoy it and get into it. it is quite well recorded and muscianship is top notch. each cut has it's own vibe. it's not cookie-cutter rock'n roll.....more cerebral in a way....but more rewarding after savoring too.

the original pressing (on the Rockport with Lyra Olympos) is good; but in this case the tape is many levels better. in fact; it's really a whole different experience on tape. the Tape has maybe double the soundstage size, as well as dramatically more clearly rendering each instrument. dynamics and clarity are similarly better. i recall hearing a cut of this at RMAF and for whatever reason i did not have nearly this good an impression then.

this will be a demo tape for me for sure and will be played often. great job guys!"

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-015

"this is a tasty jazz session however you look at it. i'm no Jazz historian, but it seems that this is Coltrane at his most accessable, and Kenny Burrell is a perfect compliment to him. simply beautiful flowing melody with great energy and yet relaxing and smooth. Burrell's guitar is pitch perfect with a a big beautiful tone throughout.

"Why Was I Born", a brief duet at the start on reel 2, is just magnificent. maybe perfect music. ahhhhhhhhh.....like a perfect sip of scotch......only it's over too soon....you want it to go on and on.

this is one of those recordings that just flows and is over before you know it.

i have the redbook XRCD and the AP 45 rpm reissue  2 disc pressing; both of which i enjoy and have listened to quite a bit. this recording has such a big fat sound that it would likely sound pretty damn good on an i-pod. the XRCD is very nice, the 45 rpm is very, very good. i listened to that first tonight and thought, maybe it will be as good as the tape. the tape is quite a bit better. more vivid, much more microdynamic, it makes the Lp sound slightly veiled. listen to the Paul Chambers solo on 'Freight Trane'......compared to the tape Chambers bass sounds muffled on the 45. it's missing the growl that jumps off the tape.

great music, great recording, wonderful job on the tape guys, thanks."

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-014

"Got my copy yesterday. I've listened to it as well as the original vinyl releases of both albums. The Church Windows was originally released as a 45RPM vinyl taking up the whole record, while the Copland is 33RPM and one side of the record (the other side is a song cycle by Copland). Here are my first impressions. For both the sonics are typically great - like the two earlier RR releases (Arnold Overtures and Exotic Dances). The Church Windows has the most explosive and spectacular dynamics of all the TP releases so far. The Tam Tam at the end of the second movement is startling in its impact and the vibrations last a long, long time.  The fourth movement, particularly the bass drum whacks at the end also shake the room - with both dynamics and deep, deep bass. Having big full range speakers with a sub helps a lot. Steve W with his pair of Gotham subs will shake the neighborhood. The Copland is a real contrast - a small chamber group, where the music never gets very loud. There is great clarity of sound and hearing the whole piece as originally written gives a sense of the composition beyond the familiar "Simple Gifts" theme at the end.  In both cases, compared to the vinyl, the vinyl sounds more veiled and in the Respighi, less dynamic.  I am using very similar electronics for both tape and vinyl - the Bottlehead Prepro for the tape and the brand new (mine was the first) Bottlehead Phono Pre (with adjustable EQ - though the RR is RIAA). BTW, I was able to check the polarity of both tape and vinyl through my Pacific Microsonics Model Two and Merging Technologies Pyramix software and they are both positive. 

Happy listening - this is definitely not background music."

Charter Subscriber Larry Toy, aka astrotoy

TP-013

"Brilliant Corners is indeed brilliant!! Mine arrived about 1 hour ago, and it's spinning as I write this. Dead true to the LP, with so much more body and weight, especially in the drums. Another home run guys! Right away, I can tell this one is going to spend a lot of time mounted on the deck."

Charter Subscriber Joe Galbraith, aka JoeG

"As JoeG said on the 'ready to launch' thread; 'Brilliant Corners' is Brilliant.....and i agree with the rest of his comments too.

I'll add that in comparing TP-013 to the AP-45rpm Lp reissue (which i've always enjoyed) the tape is more vivid and immediate. I love the celeste that Monk plays on 'Pannonica' on the Lp; but the tape just adds that extra energy and vivid liveness. This is one of those moments where the line blurs between recording and reality.

I love that cut.

The horns and piano have more texture and more subtle action on the tape and those drums really rock as Joe mentions.

This recording does demand your attention; it's all over the place and there is just so much going on in so many interesting ways (i'm not so good at articulating my meaning here, sorry) that with every listen it seems you are going down a new path of understanding. Yet; it is easy to listen casually too.....but why would you want to?

This tape further blows away my previous reservations about mono recordings. This sounds real. Check out Desmond's bass toward the end of 'Bemsha Swing'....really really good on the Lp, magnificent on the tape.

I've listened to this two times all the way thru tonight already.....now it's 'turn down the lights' time......a wee bit of single malt Lagavulin.....and away we go again.

As Joe says, another home run!"

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-012

"I like the LP (played on the Rockport/Lyra Olympos/Allnic H3000). I am gaga over the tape. This is compelling music. Maybe 'funk' is not everyone's cup of tea....it's not my favorite genre. But this particular music and recording with 'The Tape Project's' magic added is unresistable. I've played the tape all the way thru twice. I want to play it again. the music propells you along and you just hang on.

This tape is alive! it literally bursts with energy. The bass lines are big, bold, and bloomy with seemingly unlimited dynamic range. Reminds me of some of Bob Marley's best reggae bass tracks. If you have a full range system (or headphones) you will thank the lord.

The LP is very good, and until you hear the tape it's hard to imagine it getting much better. But the tape takes things to another level in most every way. The bass is much more dynamically alive, quicker, more textured, and decays more fully. The vocals on the LP seem a slight bit veiled compared to the tape. It's much easier to hear each background singer individually on the tape, each voice is more distinctive. The Lp has a good sense of space. With the tape they are in my room playing and the tape energizes every molecule of air in the room.

This is an example where you have a perfectly good LP of really fun music; then the tape comes along and shows you what is possible in reproduced music.

I played 'Respect Yourself' and 'I'll Take You There' on the LP. Very nice; i've heard them a thousand times. Then the tape. Like normal TV (not HD) to Blue Ray. No easy way to explain it; ya gotta see it for yourself to appreciate the difference. (i played the start of 'I'll Take You There' 5 times it was sooo tasty!!!).

And play this loud.....the louder the better. This recording holds together at warp 9.

Congrats to the crew for this choice, and for such a wonderful job on this tape! You have set the bar very, very high for the rest of Series 2.

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-010

"This is great music and one of the true classics of Jazz.....i had not listened to Saxophone Collossus in quite awhile until tonight, and for the life of me i don't know why. This should and will be in my frequent rotation.

the interplay of the group is simply wonderful, the pace is perfect, and each cut delights. it's not so mellow, but never over the top either.....very listenable, tuneful and easy for a non jazz freak to get into.

Mono? who cares? this recording is alive and once the music starts you really don't even think about the fact it's not a stereo recording. (maybe the fact that it's mono has caused me to overlook this for so long.....if so my bad).

i love each cut; but my favorites are 'You don't know what loves is' and 'Blue 7'.....'Blue 7' might be as perfect a cut as i know of.....and it's 11 minutes 15 seconds long......WOW! a real musical journey.

with music this fine, it seems crass to speak about recording quality......but i know that is one part of our enjoyment. Sonny's tenor sax is wonderful on the tape; very immediate, very dynamic, smooth as butta one moment, ruff and gruff the next. the tape captures every nuance and shade without stress or strain. it's all there. the tape also captures the cymbles perfectly; which are prominent throughout the recording.....as perfect as i've ever heard them recorded. overall; the tape has great flow, is very dynamic and detailed.

TP-010 is a great sounding recording of wonderful music and i highly recommend it.....great job and congrats to Doc, Paul and Romo (and crew) for another winner! I feel very lucky to be able to own and play a fully licensed 1/4" 15ips 1.5 generation master dub of Saxophone Colossus.

I will be playing it often."
Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-009

"Oh Boy, that sounded nice! You just can't keep you feet from tapping all the way through that album. And even though the famous Van Gelder "hole in the middle" is in evidence  on the vocal cuts Mose's voice fill that void very nicely. Real intimate stuff for the most part and his voice sounds is spot on in the realism department. It kinda reminds me of one of those pictures that you have to look at just the right way to see the baby or the dinosaur but once you see it, you can't not see it. It's that same way with Mose Allison. Once you hear his vocal style, you hear his influence everywhere!
And when this trio swings, it cooks! Farmer and Free just drives this stuff. It must've been such a pleasure to watch Allison play since "fluid" comes to mind every time I hear him. I know he was a big Bud Powell fan and you can hear that on this album but Mose really took that thing to another level and made it his own.
I know I should be saying more about the fidelity of this tape but sometimes the music just doesn't allow that. At least not on the first listen.
BTW Anyone know where this one was recorded. It sure doesn't sound like an apartment in Jersey."

Charter Subscriber Steve Koto, aka ironbut

TP-008

"TP008 is an unqualified home run!!!

i'm guessing no one is surprised about that. a first class 15ips master dub of arguably the most popular live Jazz trio album of all time should be outstanding; and it is...

what struck me first was the level of realism from a 47 year old recording. from the very start i was there seated in a stage center table; with Evans piano just to my right up on the stage and LaFaro's bass to my left.....and Motian a bit back and left of center. every tiny nuance was there and the subtlety of everything was spooky. like Ironbut; i had the feeling that this was the complete picture of how it was. i have many Bill Evans recordings. i've never heard the nuance and subtlety of his playing like this. the fingering of the keys was magical. really; the same with LaFaro. it was so intimate feeling i was out of my listening comfort zone and i was trying to get my bearings. it seemed to cross over into really real territory. made the hair stand up and all that. looked over my shoulder a few times.

there was nothing between me and them. no mics or recording chain was evident.

the brush work from Motian had this delicate 3-dimentionality to it and such micro-dynamic life. the whole recording has such an alive level of dynamic realism.....unveiled and natural.

everything had such a natural place in space front to back, side to side, and top to bottom. nothing cookie cutter, just real life in real space. i'm assuming that as close to the original event as this is everything is in perfect phase. just music.

and oh, what music. perfect sound meets inspired playing; with historically great synergy and talent. three guys at their individual musical peaks.


i had intended to write mostly about how this compared to the AP 45rpm LP reissue.....which was my reference for 'Waltz for Debbie'. i have been eagerly anticipating doing the comparison to see how a 45rpm LP played on a top level tt compared to 'The Tape Project' 15ips 1/4" version played on a top level RTR deck. but after doing the comparison, it's easy to hear how the tape is better in every way and the 45rpm Lp (as good as it is) is not really close to this level of realism."

Charter Subscriber Mike Lavigne, aka mikel

TP-007

"I got home from work pretty worn out from the day. My mood quickly changed when I spied the UPS box waiting patiently for me beside the door. I have to confess that I didn't own this Reference Recording until now, but it was a favorite demo CD at a local audio salon (Music Lovers). For those not familiar with Exotic Dances from the Opera, it includes seven pieces from seven different composers. Now I'm not the type that goes for the audiophile extravaganzas and perhaps my prolonged absence from the local audio shops has helped but each one of these selections just knocked my socks off. Starting with the Rimsky-Korsakov, then one after the other stepped up to the plate to hit the ball deeper into the stands until ending with the Saint-Saens. I recall reading Doc's posting from CES (on the Bottlehead forum since this one didn't exist yet) where he premiered the tapes and he said that they were given a standing ovation. Well, I felt like doing the same thing by them time this tape ended.
So what's so great about this tape,.. drum hits like I've never heard outside of a concert hall. So realistic and full. You just have to hear it to know. The woodwind solos are so concrete that you could easily describe the players technique. No congestion on the gigantic swells (oh god, did I say that the dynamic swing is amazing) at all. This thing puts you there so solidly that when the music ended, my first thought was "Why isn't anyone clapping?". But it isn't all swagger either. There's a section where a cello comes to the fore and there's all that resin, as we'd expect, but there's such a woody tone from the box and a space that it occupies like I usually only hear from a baritone singer on a great recording. Just fantastic!
As I've said in a previous post, I've found the selections to be more than I could have asked for, but all for different reasons. TP 005 and 006 are classic performances that original LP's would set you back as much or more than the pristine tapes that are offered. But 007 (lord, I've gone this far without any Ian Fleming references and I'm not going to start now,..MoneyPenny) really gets the "showoff" in me excited. If ever there was a release that shows the impressive side of what our tapes and systems can do, this is it!
When you get this tape,.. your neighbors are going to know it!"

Charter Subscriber Steve Koto, aka ironbut

TP-006

"Got it about 2PM. I've already played about half of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy. Wonderful. Oistrakh can really play the fiddle. Another winner for TP. :-) I am comparing it to my vinyl copy, an original London (not Decca) (matrix 1E) pressing. The tape has an openness and depth and breadth of image that is lacking in the vinyl - though the latter is really very good...The Hindemith is even better than the Bruch. Very nice."  

Charter Subscriber Larry Toy, aka Astrotoy

"The thing I really love about this release is how natural sounding it is. I get so used to the overloaded, audiophile hyped sound that sometimes when I go to performances of the SF Symphony, I start out a little underwhelmed. But as the music and performance unfolds, and I resign myself to following the conductors hands and the composers intentions, the score reveals itself like a well lit road with an unknown destination. TP-006 allows this to happen. I've waited so long and searched so hard for a recording that I could say this about with no reservation. From the resiny edge of Oistrakl's bow, to the tremendous crashes of multiple percussive instruments, it falls on my ears as it should. No distractions,.. just you and the music.
Nice job guys!"

Charter Subscriber Steve Koto, aka ironbut

Comparing TP-005 to Vinyl

"I was in Paul and Michael's studio on Wed and Michael handed me TP-005. The Suite Española has been one of my favorite demo records. I have an early London (grooved label, 1G lacquer) and a Speaker's Corner reissue (which to me is inferior to the early London). The dynamic range, with many quick crescendos, lots of percussion - clicking castanets and attractive tunes, make this record a lot of fun. Before TP-005, I thought that the London was a great disc. But, after comparing the first cut - TP-005 is the clear winner. Two points - the depth and subtlety of the lower levels of the orchestra is amazing - you can hear into the orchestra so much more deeply - the bouncing bows of violins within the first minute of the piece is a good example. Second, the ease of the dynamic transitions, as in the other tapes - no strain. Another winner. I've got to go back and listen again. Having heard a couple of excerpts from the "Exotic Dances" album in demos - can't wait for the next one." 

Charter Subscriber Larry Toy, aka Astrotoy

TP-004

"Hi Dan, 

Am really enjoying the tapes tonight ;) Just got in the new cj GAT preamp (fully broken in) - what a combo and the tapes sound out of this world! Am also listening to a Siemens CCa gold pin in the Repro tonight. Sounds darn good. 

Also, wanted to say that one tape that doesn't get a lot of mention that I think really sounds spectacular is the Robert Cray. It sounds so real-esp. if you've heard this type of music live!!!

 Best, Myles" 

Subscriber Myles B. Astor, PhD

TP-003 - Oh my!

"Well, I finally got my homebrew preamp to a point where it's about listenable and hooked it up to my new Flux Magnetics head in my spare RS-1500 headblock.  TP-003 (Arnold Overtures) has been on hand for a while, but I didn't want to listen until I had the IEC eq working, and that meant getting the preamp up and running.  Wow.... I finally understand what everybody's talking about.  Everything about the recording is just so right.  There's just this orchestra out there in space, well not exactly in space, it's an orchestra in a complete acoustic environment and after a few moments I found myself listening with this big grin on my face, even giggling at parts of the goofy Christmas Overture.  Beautiful, full clearly articulated lows, sweet highs and everything else in between just in the right place.  I've never heard anything else like it in my house.  To docb, romo and Paul you've hit it out the park!  Thanks."

Subscriber Richard Lane, aka Scully 280

"Until last night I had only used my tape Seduction in NAB mode on 4 track tapes at 7.5 IPS on my RS-1506. The results haven't been ideal as the level seemed lower than other sources.

Last night I cleaned the tape path and loaded up reel one of the Arnold Overtures (TP-003). Wow! Signal level was perfect. I poured two fingers of Lagavulin single malt and enjoyed 30+ minutes of incredible sound.

Thanks to Doc and the Tape Project gang."

Subscriber AZ Gary

TP-002

"We opened a bottle of wine and threaded up TP-002 tonight. Another home run for the Tape Project. The sound of the guitar and Dave Alvin's voice reached out to us, not in a hyped up "audiophile" way, but in an emotional way, just as live music does. Can't wait for TP-003!"

Charter Subscriber Dan Robertson

I have not sat down with this tape since shortly after receiving it. It arrived shortly after my deck and pre. Now that we have a lot more time on the deck and the right cable synergy, all can say is: Wow! This is a really fine tape. It has a delta blues/California folk feel to it, despite the fact that the lyrics are kind of dark and sad. Excellent soundstage and instrument spread, and like TP009, the vocals are locked dead center. Now that we're 9 tapes into Series 1, perhaps more of you are like me: you haven't been listening to this one as much as in the early days when we only had a couple of tapes. do yourself a favor and mount these reels on your deck, turn the lights down low, and enjoy...

Charter Subscriber Joe Galbraith, a.k.a JoeG

TP-001

" Yesterday I finally was able to play my first Tape Project tape: TP-001 Jacqui Naylor, The Number White.

I'm using a Technics RS-1500 deck (without any of Doc mods -yet-) with its stock heads wired directly to a Seduction modified for tape playback, an extended Foreplay III and a pair of 45 amps (basically BHs excites) to a pair of edgarhorns.

I suscribed to the TP about a year ago, brought my tapes home after Christmas and finished my Seduction a few weeks ago but still needed some break-in time.

All I can say is Wow! This is the way it is supposed to be. The music and the singer's voice are as natural as they can be. You could listen to this stuff for hours and not get tired... Just fantastic.

My only problem is that I couldn't crank up the volume up because my kids were sleeping. I guess I need to start working on my home's S.E.X. amp with Ni iron and BH cable upgrade on two sets of HD-600s that I have ready for whenever I finish my home theater.

Believe me, if you're thinking about jumping into the TP now is the time, when Series One titles are still available: you won't regret it."

Charter Subscriber Xavier Cortes

"Mmm! Huh,.. did someone say something! Oh Yeah,.. I am listening to it right now. Talk about engaging! Nice job Romo. I think this is the mixing/mastering equivalent to the fear that TV stars had about close-ups when they caught wind of what HD TV was capable of. That's if you can stop tapping your foot long enough to listen into the mix. This sounds so good that it's hard not to be transported to the Camellia room. I was thinking that it might sound better than the demo tape but maybe it's more of a matter of getting the intent of the album and the mood of the players. The comments at the end of the cuts are wonderful. I don't know if they're on the CD but I'm a real sucker for this kind of thing.
The package came in perfect condition. The engraving looks mighty nice and I love the foil edge art. The pictures don't do justice to the package as a whole.
Michael's right though. I wouldn't put a $30 rib eye on the grill and figure that you'll listen to just one cut. You can forget about that! You won't want it to ever end!
Thanks guys,.. we're doin' the antler dance tonight!"

Charter Subscriber ironbut, about TP-001, Jacqui Naylor, The Number White

"Paul - package received, and I must say, very,very impressive. I am finishing up my MTR-10 alignment this weekend (just received my new heads from JRF), and hope to have TP-001 spinning for the holiday. My thanks to you and Doc and Michael for this wonderful initiative. Looking forward to all my selections in the coming weeks."

"I have received the TP-001 tape and I am extremely pleased with the results of the deck and the tape itself. Goose pimple good."

Subscriber Jack Fuller

"Mine arrived today..and I am pretty stoked. The packaging and presentation are outstanding.....the pictures don't do it justice. My hat is off to Doc B, Romo and Paul."

Charter Subscriber mikel

"I received TP 001 Wednesday evening.  You have done an excellent job with The Tape Project.  It is an absolute first class job in every detail.  It was a true sense of satisfaction to hear the music and made the wait and effort into putting my system together well worth it.  I wish you much success."

Subscriber Pete DeRosa

   

The Process

Your master duplicates will be made on the highest quality duplicating line ever assembled.

Master tapes are created by Paul Stubblebine in Michael Romanowski's Camellia mastering studio at the 1340 Mission studio complex in San Francisco. 

Here's some impressions of our mastering room from Stereophile's Stephen Mejias.

Paul Stubblebine's personal system using custom designed Magico loudspeakers and Dan Schmalle's Bottlehead tube electronics is used for evaulating the work

Dan Schmalle's all Bottlehead reference system in Bainbridge Island, WA is also used for evaluation.

Running masters are made directly from session or mix tapes, mastered on an ATR Services 1" two track ATR 100 with custom de Paravicini electronics, by Grammy Award winning mastering engineer Paul Stubblebine. 

These 1" running masters are played on a 1" Ampex MM1200 master tape machine conversion by ATR Services, using the legendary Ampex MR-70 tube reproduction electronics custom modified by Tim de Paravicini. 

Your master duplicate is recorded in real time at 15 ips in two track format on 1/4" tape, on one of four tightly matched Ampex ATR 100s. During the duplicating process the tapes are constantly being monitored by an engineer, assuring that every tape is a perfect copy of the master. Each album takes as long to make as it takes for you to listen to it, so we can only make a limited number of albums each day.

Each custom 10.5" reel is engraved with a catalog number indicating the A "side" and B "side" of the album, and a unique serial number. This custom engraving process takes nearly as long as making your album takes. It is then placed in a leather grained setup box with gold foil embellishment. Art quality pigmented ink on claycoat paper cover art is inserted between the two reel boxes. The printing process also takes nearly as long to do as duplicating your album from the running master. Each album has several hours labor in its making.

larger image

The two reels and cover art are packaged in a matching leather grained and gold foil embellished slipcover with a matching serial number. Read here to find out how to acquire a Charter subscription which guarantees you a full set of the series releases with matching serial numbers. 

larger image

   

Now live - The Tape Project Forum

   

Subscribe to our newsletter, Tape Head

Tape Head Archive

March 2007

August 2007

October 2007

   

For more info about subscriptions and playback equipment email us

 

Managing Directors

The Tape Project team shows off their studio tans - left to right

Paul "High and Outside" Stubblebine (Paul Stubblebine Mastering)

Dan "Doc B." Schmalle (Bottlehead)  

Michael "Romo" Romanowski (Michael Romanowski Mastering)

Unsubscribe from our newsletter

Copyright The Tape Project LLC, 2007

Catalog
Subscription
Machines
  Why Tape?
Forum Newsletter Brochure (8.5MB PDF)