Behold, the biggest, baddest analogue tape unit I have beheld...

OMFG this thing is the BOMB...the tape stock is thicker than a belt from the 1970's. John has configured this to 16 heads (16 tracks across 2 inch tape? The SPACE! The Bandwidth!) and the sound?

John played us some stuff he had mastered for Chasing the Train and the warmth..the depth...the atmos...Chasing the train are fantastic, but boy oh boy, it was literally like being there.

I was going to play a little Spacejunk to John but after hearing these guys I felt a little outclassed...Their singer hit some stuff that would have made Paul Rodgers proud.

Of course, I took a little footage (just for you DDJ, figured you'd drool!)
 
Now this isnt just all about 'ooh ahh analogue is better blah blah'; having a unit this big, this specialised, with this much Chutzpah is worthy of a mention.

This would have been the pinnacle of reel to reel recording. ok, maybe there's bigger, but I havent seen it yet (personal record was 1 inch 24 track at TAFE), so expect an equally gee whiz post when I do. But, considering our recent forays into the analogue world, this thing is like the Death Star (THATS NOT A MOON LUKE!!!!)

Ok, so whats the big deal about this and why is a 2 inch tape so impressive to me? Strap yourselves in kids, this is a brief technical parallel to explain.

Right now, you (dear reader) are using a web connection and you have a set amount of 'bandwidth' - thats the amount of info you can get down at any one time.

If, like me, you have been around for a little tech while, you may have started off with Ye Olde Dial Up Modem and then transitioned to 'broadband' (cable/DSL etc) and when you did, you went 'ooh, ahh' how much better faster etc etc.

Now think about the 'digital' recording process as a 'bandwidth' question - when making a digital recording, how much information (in this case, sound) can you put down at once.

That's the equivalent of bandwidth - a crappy sample rate is like having a dial up modem, a better digital system is more like a broadband conneciton, more data, faster.

If you use the same concept with the analogue gear, having a bigger tape actually allows you to record more info - quite literally, more bandwidth.

Now thats slightly misleading because these devices are not used to record 1 single source - they are divided up into 24 (in this case 16) but the nutshell is, this is seriously big bandwidth for sound. Get Out Of Town big.

What IMAX does for film, this does for sound. yes, I know I am mixing my methaphors, but IMAX is relevant in that its an analogue format that is literally a bigger picture (more info) than its smaller cousin (standard 35mm) film. 

In the analogue world, the larger the space available, the more info you can fit - its a combo of bandwidth and storage capacity.

For the audiophiles, there is the argument of 'so what,  it records more, big deal - the human ear can only hear so much anyway' and they have a point. The analogue freaks will say 'yes, but its those subtle differences that give it that special sound quality'

I can't settle that argument within my own head, let alone anyone elses, but to John, keeper and user of a true, outrageous artefact of sound, we bow. This is not a museum piece, this is a working device still doing what it was built to do and turning out some amazing sounds.



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