The Great Tidal to Tape Experiment

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
This experiment grew out of the confluence of two odd audio views I have.

1) I love tape - Cassette, Reel to Reel, Elcasette. You name it. I've always enjoyed it.
2) The Internet is banned from my stereo - As the internet has taken over near enough every other aspect of my life, I have decided to ban it from my stereo. Physical media only for me, thank you!

I've been long considering the idea of taking the most ephemeral of audio formats, streaming, and in this case namely Tidal, and copying it onto physical media. As Tidal now has the lovely sounding MQA albums available, and my little dad does do MQA, why not record those albums I love, or maybe don't love quite enough to buy, and put them onto cassette?

Why not indeed! So tonight, I took my first crack at it. I recording the Master recording of Getz/Gilberto onto my favourite vintage cassette, the Maxell XL-IIS 90, in it's mid 90's format, with that incredibly heavy and dense shell.

So how did it work? Wonderfully. It sounds lovely. Slightly more analog then straight from Tidal, but that's hardly noticeable.

One down. Hundreds to go! This will be fun!
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
For side 2, we have Sinatra " In The Wee Small Hours". Seemed a decent match.

Three head decks are the bees knees. So great to hear what is going into your tape, as it's going into your tape.
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
This should be a very interesting experiment.

How are you getting the signal from the computer to the recorder?
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
This should be a very interesting experiment.

How are you getting the signal from the computer to the recorder?

Just plug the DAC into the computer, and straight into the deck from there. Deck is connected to my stereo, so I can monitor from there.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Seems test number 2 was a success too. Just did a low level test this morning, and it seemed fine. I'll give it a more serious listen this evening.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Interesting. Nice to hear that it is working out so well .:)

Looks like I will have to re-record Wee Small Hours tonight. I didn't realize I'd pushed the levels quite so high. Still sounded decent, but I was definitely overloading the peaks. But hey, this is probably the first serious taping I've done in decades. :)
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
I like this idea!
You should go wade into one of those "MQA" slugfests elsewhere, now.

;)

Am I just selectively blind or did you not mention what tape deck you were using, Mr. PM? I even looked in your signature...
sorry!
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I like this idea!
You should go wade into one of those "MQA" slugfests elsewhere, now.

;)

Am I just selectively blind or did you not mention what tape deck you were using, Mr. PM? I even looked in your signature...
sorry!
I did mention it somewhere....

It's a Denon DRM-800. Their totl late 80's deck. 3 heads, 3 motors, dual capstan drive, and useful meters. Dead quiet operation. Only thing it wants for from the useful feature perspective, and it's a wonderfully useful feature at that, is auto biasing. You do get a knob so you can tweak it however sounds the best for you, but it isn't quite the same thing.

MQA slugfest? Nah, I'll pass and just listen to the lovely music.

And the signature is definitely WAY out of date.

 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
Nice deck. I remember one or two (much lower-end) Denons drifted through here, and (even) they were nice in terms of appearance, operating smoothness, and sound.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Nice deck. I remember one or two (much lower-end) Denons drifted through here, and (even) they were nice in terms of appearance, operating smoothness, and sound.

This deck seems to get slagged a bit by the tape cognoscenti. I'm not really sure why. My system is pretty damn revealing, and it's just another good source for me. Plus, it's nice to operate and as you said, delightfully smooth!
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
So today I've taken Ella in hand for the MQA to tape treatment. Right now it's the Johnny Mercer Songbook. I wanted to do the Cole Porter one, but that bugger is long! Many tapes required for that. I believe it's just over two hours. 2 x 60 minutes might just cover it. They usually gave a bit of wiggle room.

Hmmmmm
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Hah!
118 minutes, 27 seconds!

There are two Virginal TDK SA-X 60's, still wrapped in plastic, that have been waiting 30 years for the opportunity to be blessed with some wonderful music. I can't imagine a better reward then Ella at her finest!
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Ella sings Johnny Mercer? It's splitting hairs to try to name a better collaboration of giants.

Well done, sir.

Playing the recording right now. It's wonderful! Both from a performance and a sound quality perspective.

Delightful!
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Hmm. Turns out that the Cole Porter Songbook on Tidal is not in MQA, and while the list provided the other day indicates that the Rodgers and Hart Songbook is in MQA, I can find no sign of it anywhere. Hmmmm.

With apologies to Elaine Benes, is the standard HiFi Tidal version actually tape worthy?
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Sounds like a fine ol' time to me. I wandered into a strictly used (vintage) audio shop today (across the street from the guy who does my massage work) and he has a whole passel of olde timey cassette machines in at the moment including a Denon the same as yours. I was drooling over a couple of Naks, a 700 and a 1000. Whoohoo! gorgeous - wood cases and the whole nine yards.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
The 700 and 1000 were very serious tape decks, too -- idiosyncratic (if not downright cranky), but excellent.
They sure looked idiosyncratic all right, but very cool. I've actually been pondering picking up a second deck at some point as I the Teac C3-RX seems to have taken up permanent residence in the living room system and my main system lacks one entirely now. I did have a second machine years ago, but it died in some manner that simply could not be repaired. Would a 1000 be worth picking up or is it too ancient?
 
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