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Author Topic: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?  (Read 1316 times)

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Offline sunjan

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Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« on: February 12, 2021, 09:39:03 AM »
I just picked up a stock DR-680 (mkI) that I intended to use for analog tape transfers with my Nak DR-1.

I noticed that some users add a preamp and an external ADC to the chain, like this one:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/VintageCassetteDecks/permalink/3643613395714160
Tape Deck > Audible Illusions M3A > Grace Design Lunatec V3 Oade advanced concert mod > Tascam DR680
(IIUC, user @raymonda here on TS)

The reason for this would be that the ADC in the DR680 is not good enough.

Unfortunately, a Grace Lunatec V3 is out of my range.
I have a UA5 wmod that i could throw in the chain instead. Would that be an improvement compared to Nak DR1>680?
Or is this "polishing a turd" considering that I'm just transfering plain old analog tapes?!

Since this rig is not for mobile use, it doesn't have to be a portable ADC either. Would any old rack mount ADC be an improvement?!

And what about a separate pre, like Audible Illusions M3A?
Is that necessary at all if the tape deck is outputting line level?!

Mics: A-51s LE, CK 930, Line Audo CM3, AT853Rx (hc,c,sc),  ECM 121, ECM 909A
Pres: Tinybox, CA-9100, UA5 wmod
Recorders: M10, H116 (CF mod), H340, NJB3
Gearbag: High Sierra Corkscrew
MD transfers: MZ-RH1. Tape transfers: Nak DR-1
Photo rig: Nikon D70, 18-70mm/3.5-4.5, SB-800

Offline twatts (pants are so over-rated...)

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Re: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2021, 12:10:33 PM »
When I had a Warm Mod UA5, I used it as as ADC for transferring tapes.  At the time, I was transferring to a Nomad 3 and the analog inputs on that were crap...

It worked just fine.

Terry
***Do you have PHISH, VIDA BLUE, JAZZ MANDOLIN PROJECT or any other Phish related DATs/Tapes/MDs that need to be transferred???  I can do them for you!!!***

I will return your DATs/Tapes/MDs.  I'll also provide Master FLAC files via DropBox.  PM me for details.

Sony PCM R500 > SPDIF > Tascam HD-P2
Nakamichi DR-3 > (Oade Advanced Concert Mod) Tascam HD-P2
Sony MDS-JE510 > Hosa ODL-276 > Tascam HD-P2

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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 05:21:02 PM »
probably diminishing returns depending on the cassette source. i can loan you my AD2K if you pay shipping both ways. As good as any modern ADC out there.
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Online Scooter123

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Re: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2021, 04:43:33 PM »
I use a broken DR680 (two dead channels) for all my DAT and R2R transfers, and it is good enough for me.  The DAT source, even on studio quality DATs, is only 12 or 16 bits, and when I do an A-B comparison between the original DAT and the digital transfer, my ears can hear no difference.  R2Rs do have an ambient quality that makes any digital transcription difficult.  Well, not difficult, I should say hard to capture that ambient quality. 

I have done over 2,000 DAT transfers in the last two years for a radio station, all 16-24 track masters of name groups, and the DR680 works for me.  Sony 7030 > Hosa AES Interface> DR680 > SD Card.  Then download the SD Card to the computer. 

Let your ears be your guide ............
Regards,
Scooter123

mk41 > N Box  > Sony M-10
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Offline sunjan

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Re: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 05:53:56 AM »
probably diminishing returns depending on the cassette source. i can loan you my AD2K if you pay shipping both ways.
Really kind of you, but I'm on the other side of the pond. Like you suggested, the cassette sources were not recorded with pro gear, so spending $$$ on ADC would give diminishing returns anyway.
I'll throw in the UA5 in the lineage, do some A-B listening and let my ears be the judge.
Mics: A-51s LE, CK 930, Line Audo CM3, AT853Rx (hc,c,sc),  ECM 121, ECM 909A
Pres: Tinybox, CA-9100, UA5 wmod
Recorders: M10, H116 (CF mod), H340, NJB3
Gearbag: High Sierra Corkscrew
MD transfers: MZ-RH1. Tape transfers: Nak DR-1
Photo rig: Nikon D70, 18-70mm/3.5-4.5, SB-800

Offline DSatz

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Re: Nak tape deck > DR680, would a preamp/ADC be any improvement?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2021, 12:43:30 AM »
The past six or eight months I've been transferring hundreds of my old analog recordings to digital. They range from mono, non-Dolby cassettes to 15 ips Dolby "A" or telcom c4 1/4" tapes made on a well set-up Nagra IV-S recorder with wide-track heads.

Lately I've been measuring the noise floor relative to peak signal levels and keeping a list of what I measure, to get a clearer idea of the maximum dynamic range for each tape medium. The very quietest of the 15 ips c4-noise-reduced tapes have had a dynamic range of around 88 dB (ratio of peak signals to bias noise with the record levels turned all the way down). For Dolby "A" it's closer to 80 dB. Just to make sure, I transfer those recordings with 20-bit resolution so that I have room to adjust levels if need be. Then I dither down to 16 bits for archiving. Given the noise floor of the recordings, by the time final levels have been set, 16-bit dither is well below the noise floor of the actual recording. That way, nothing potentially audible can be lost in the process. But it's worth being careful with really quiet source material like that.

Just for reference, though, the best Dolby "B" cassettes get somewhere into the 10 to 11-bit range on a good day. So you're paying them more than full respect with 16-bit transfers, as long as your converter isn't too bad and your peak levels are within a country mile of where they should be.

--best regards

« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 12:45:43 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

 

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