Tape Head Output

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OldScott

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Tape Head Output
« on: 4 May 2021, 09:09 pm »
Early McIntosh and early Dynaco pre-amplifiers of 50 years or so ago had a tape head input for the handful of semi-pro tape decks that had separate tape head outputs. Today a handful of analog purists are rebuilding many of these old decks and want  pre-amplification for these outputs.. Unfortunately there are only 5 or 6 modern separate tape head pre-amplifiers on the market and their prices run from $4K up to over $20K. One would presume that after 50 years of evolution these would have a far better sound quality, but do they really??? And if so is it great enough to justify their price over that of buying a rebuilt vintage unit? Has anyone any insight into this?

WGH

Re: Tape Head Output
« Reply #1 on: 4 May 2021, 10:13 pm »
Van Alstine has a Super Pas Three vacuum tube preamp with Tape Out, Tape Amp, and Tape Head for $695 (used)

https://avahifi.com/collections/used-demo-and-quick-ship/products/great-ava-super-pas-three-vacuum-tube-preamplifier

AVA Super Pas Three vacuum tube preamplifier review: https://www.stereophile.com/tubepreamps/1088vana/index.html



Example photo - not the preamp for sale

Bob2

Re: Tape Head Output
« Reply #2 on: 4 May 2021, 11:12 pm »
Erhard Audio sells a tape preamp (fed from tape machine heads directly, modifications needed to bypass internal preamp for most consumer machines).
https://www.erhard-audio.com/Titan.html

If you want a tube preamp with  tape in and out switch and connectors.
https://www.erhard-audio.com/Aretha.html

Each are < than 2K. Both built to order.

The Aretha is a great preamp and works well with my R2R.
I record directly from phono preamp to the tape machine and playback through the Aretha. Excellent SQ.

Is it worth it? Many here would reply in the negative but for me it is.



OldScott

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Tape Head Output
« Reply #3 on: 5 May 2021, 04:52 am »
Thanks. Somewhere I saw a tape head preamp a couple of weeks ago called the Ninja that looked exactly like the Titan but it has gotten lost in my computer. Also I saw and became interested in the Aretha. Since it is reported to be custom built with several options available I emailed asking if a tape head input could be added. That was 10 days or so ago and I guess I got blowed off as I never got an answer. Guess they have all the business they need.

Does your R2R have separate tape head outputs or are you using the output from the regular tape deck internal preamp?   

Bob2

Re: Tape Head Output
« Reply #4 on: 5 May 2021, 01:20 pm »
I emailed asking if a tape head input could be added. That was 10 days or so ago and I guess I got blowed off as I never got an answer. Guess they have all the business they need.

Does your R2R have separate tape head outputs or are you using the output from the regular tape deck internal preamp?   

I can't speak as to why Holger hasn't responded to your email. I do know he has specific days and hours for contacting him. My experience has been very positive with him. Usually he will place some info on their website about being away for travel etc.. Try another email or call during the hours he has listed on their contact page.

My tape deck is not modified for an external preamp. Holger and I did message back and forth about modifying it but he stated that probably would not be worth it. Reasoning that changing a vintage machine would diminish it's value, I chose not to make the modifications. As it is, the SQ from my machine is very good.

I take it that you do not currently have a machine? Buying one now can be tricky. Ebay is full of people selling machines but a quick look shows that most are estate sale purchases that they know little or nothing about and operating condition is unknown. I picked mine up locally so I had a chance to see and hear it before making the purchase.

« Last Edit: 5 May 2021, 03:10 pm by Bob2 »