Go n3rdling! Nice to have someone represent SoCal!
I have to admit ever since I heard your Stax Omega Sr Headphones and Blue Hawaii mod with my Great Northern Sound Wadia 860 I have been thinking about getting a home rig.
IMHO it fits the bill of High Fidelity sound... you know.... sound that makes you believe you are actually there Most of the time.....not just for a few seconds here and there.
Also cooooooooooooool to see reel to reel. Back in the 1970's and 1980's we did not argue over whether Vinyl was better than digital... we ALL KNEW that Reel to Reel Master tapes slayed everything. It wasn't even debatable.... we all knew vinyl and everything else could not hold a candle to good Analog Master tape.
So because I could not attend the NorCal event- I'll offer this though for the younger people in attendance- so in some way I can feel like I might contribute something - even post event.
Why do Analog Master tapes sound so real? (Assuming mic placement is good etc.. etc.. and even taking into account additional headroom, lower noise floor, better transients, faster rise times etc.)
Perhaps there is a reason for this... and maybe it is in the taping..itself.
When a recording engineer compares the actual event live with the recording using high speed (high speed is good when recording as it passes more tape per second past the record heads with less chance for saturation) wide master tapes... he listens and compares in real time with the third tape head- trying to replicate the input with his output- often not thinking about exactly how the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation vinyl pressings are going to sound or how high speed dubbed (High speed dubbing is bad- as the tapes are dubbed at high speed but played back at SLOW speed- ie less resolution) cassettes are going to sound... (remarkably though- through excellent cassette playback machines like the Tandberg 3014...they can sound amazing...and everyone doubts this until they hear it for themselves).
But today so much is done in Digital- for example Pro tools and logic from the start- with inevitable recording losses from the start. That IMHO a lot of ....for a lack of a better analogy "Make Up" has to be applied to create a recording that sounds "beautiful" ...though not completely accurate- but still a bit closer to the original. Sometimes that "make up" is Analog....so funny IMHO.
Of course with true high resolution... like a magnifying make up mirror- we can see through this type of production, but none the less in all but the MOST RESOLVING systems it passes for beauty. But not true beauty- down to the core of the recording..to the actual event.
Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings had a unique modded tape machine he used.... his best recordings certainly lose less of the actual event than many other "high end recordings".
But for the younger generations, who don't listen to classical or acoustic instruments as their reference...the tendency is to just say (when comparing two electronic music tracks with heavy post production) .... "it sounds different" ... because in many ways they don't have a reference.
But there are differences, it just helps to have some true reference even when listening to electronica or heavy post production music..even hip hop. You can see if the mastering technician made the proper (right or wrong) choices.
Here's a fun clip- for that younger generation:
Keep in mind that he is mastering for playback systems that have no true sub bass and no true extreme highs as this is sound reinforcement for clubs. So we aren't expecting 10hz-35khz just not to ruin the midrange (which IMHO can get polluted from other frequency bands) and midrange often needs the most help in clubs.
Moderators feel free to move this post if you like.