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Sure not on CD-ROM.
On HDD's AND in the cloud.. maybe...
Technics 1200 - direct drive. No wow and flutter with that motor. Good arm for MC's and non compliant MM's. Did you have to twist the cartridge for best alignment?
I was a belt drive guy - Ariston RD11S, Oracle Delphi, VPI Mk IV, VPI TNT Jr, Had a FR 64 arm on the Ariston, and a 64 and the 66 on the Delphi (bye dust cover), then the Clearaudio TQ-1 on the VPI's.
But Doug Sax's ability to handle digital and those that were influenced along with great DAC's finally hooked me. Plus to evaluate equipment I might play a passage over 6 times, don't want to do that with a prime Sheffield Disk....
Magnetic tape degrades with time, both physically and through migration of the magnetic information. However it is nearly impossible to say how long or when this might happen. There are stories of tapes shedding material and falling apart after only a few months, and there are stories of some of the first Ampex tapes from 1947 still sounding great in 2018. Like anything related to physical storage media, it's a crap shoot.
And the winner is... A good friend of mine, while helping me pack to move, left my collection out for Goodwill to pick-up...I was already committed to digital files-based music so they were lost to me forever. Now, with digital downloads available, and Tb drives selling for a fraction of the cost, even last year, I cannot envision a circumstance when I would return to vinyl. I would rather invest in better electronics to reveal all the Music in those files.
But, it is not a zero-sum game. We don't HAVE to choose one over the other. And the choice is always based on personal preference of the listener.
Welcome to the thread. I agree that a bad recording--whether vinyl or digital--doesn't sound good. I have found very poorly ripped vinyl to sound worse than a CD, and a lousy CD that is just bad sounding, so part of the fun in our Hobby is deciding which is which.
My experience has been with DAT (Digital Audio Tapes), that due to poor storage over the decades have been exposed to humidity, which can cause the tape pack to stick, and in extreme cases results in spots of mold that make the tape pack stick, and weaken it, usually resulting in a break. So in this case the medium itself goes bad.
Part of my ritual involves visually inspecting the tape for mold, as well as manually advancing the tape to see if it rolls without sticking.
If all of that goes well, the transfer to digital goes in real time. Then there is the worry of tracking errors that result in digital hash noise, and dropouts. [Remember VHS? same helical scan with all the same problems, only smaller]. If there are dropouts, I may do multiple takes. Since the rest should be bit-perfect digital transfers, its is possible to clone from one take into another, assuming you can get a take without a dropout. Often, the problem is on the tape itself, so the same region results in errors on all reads, although sometimes you get luckily and it;s in a slightly different spot. This also opens up interesting techniques like custom Python scripts to scan for dropouts. And this is assuming the tape doesn't break and require surgical splicing techniques...
If the tape is mechanically sound, you could use a computer/data DAT deck with the appropriate firmware to read faster than real time. In my experience, my masters [mostly live recordings, some small local bands/clubs, and a lot of '90s Phish] haven't been in good enough shape to attempt this reliably, and there's enough time lost in setup that the real time transfer isn't such a big penalty unless you're transferring hundreds or thousands of tapes.
Now the OP was talking reel-to-reel, which luckily doesn't suffer from the digital "cliff", where after a certain threshold nothing is recoverable. Analog suffers a much more graceful drop-off in quality, although as I understand it, a lot of vintage tapes suffer "sticky shed" where the magnetic emulsion of the tape de-laminates right off. There are some brave recipes online for baking the tape dry and sacrificing a small animal to get one good read for a transfer.
So, in short, a lot of the time it's the medium going bad.
Both digital and vinyl can sound great on good systems, but the best I've heard is definitely digital. And the convenience factor kills vinyl.
Now if we could just get modern sound "engineers" to stop ruining digital recordings...
Some tape, but not all, can fall prey to Sticky-Shed Syndrome. Last year I got a bunch of old tapes from a local museum that was cleaning out its storage. Every tape I tried from that selection had this issue. Generally it results in tape fighting being played (when fast forwarding or rewinding, the stickiness is enough that it slows the reels to a crawl), a horrible whining sound as the tape is run across the tension arms (kind of like a bow over an out of tune violin string), and shedding all over the tape heads, tension arms, and whatever the reel to reel player is sitting on. The audio quality also becomes unlistenable quickly. (I tried digitizing one of these tapes, leaving my room to avoid hearing the whine. The digital copy was completely garbled and then I had to spend a lot of time cleaning the tape heads, capstan, and tension arms). There are threads of specific brands and makes of tape that are especially susceptible to the dreaded SSS.
Fortunately, most of the tapes that I got from my dad do not have that issue, but I was listening to a tape my dad made of the NPR broadcast of Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at Wolf Trap. While audio never completely goes out, a channel might fade in an out at a times which I do not remember happening when I had previously listened to it. To confirm it was the tape and not the tapeheads, I put on the "Notorious Byrd Brothers" by the Byrds and it had no issues with the channels. Going back to the Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie tape, the problem was still there.
I have already digitized a few things (A few KFAT radio interviews my dad recorded as well as a rebroadcast of NPR's coverage of the White House Jazz Festival in 1978).
As for the digitizing process, I play them real time through a Behringer UCA-202. Yes, there are better ADCs out there (I am sure the Jil is better, but the Jil is also a lot more expensive. I bought the Behringer because it was rather well reviewed for its price point and I was just dipping my toes into digitizing. I found it works well enough for my purposes).
Edit: @audio philestine was a bit quicker in typing than me, so some overlap of info.
The putdowns begin. We're used to it. The audio reviewers at the high end magazines subjectivists usually admire think very highly of the speakers I own, Mid priced speaker of the year at TAS when they first reviewed it. Stereophile raved about it too. I think Paul Barton knows what he is doing. PSB is like Schiit, building very high quality stuff at semi-reasonable prices. That "not accustomed sufficiently to very good gear is a catch-22. See, we are accustomed to listening to very good gear. We just think that the price to goodness correlation isn't that strong. There simply isn't any sound reason why a CD player, preamp, amp, streamer, anything electronic has to cost over $10,000 to sound great. So when you say "very good gear" what you usually mean is "very expensive gear" and that is not the same thing. If it was, why does this thread exist.
Did you have to twist the cartridge for best alignment? ... this question show me that you know what you're talking
Indeed, you need to twist the cartridge a little, facing to the inner side of the record.
Also the new MM cartridges are really spectacular, like the Ortofon Black with a shibata stylus or the audio technica 540 with a microline cut.
In MC, i used the venerable denon family ... but considering the convenience of just changing the stylus and the minor quality gap with a good MM, i'm a MM guy.
I like direct drive, in a medium turntable the direct drive approach usually have better timing and speed consistency and the Technics are practically 0 maintenance (2 drops of oil every 2000 hours). The new models like the 1200GR are simply spectacular and the 1200G it's directly hi-end with magnesium arm. Also the new VPI now it's direct drive.
In the CES 2019 Technics announce the cheaper models thinking in DJ use ... but i suspect that many people will buy them to play records in a hi-fi system. The original 1200 was not designed to DJ use, the DJs in that time used the lenco l75 or the garrard 401 (i also used that turntables). Think about a turntable with VTA / azimuth configuration to play with conical stylus at 4 - 5 grams ... that's crazy.
Ok, i stop here because i really like the vinyl world and this begins to be long and bored
I have the ability to dub the tapes but did digitize things I wanted to keep. I have at last count 40,000 albums so digital works best for me and I can search by artist, year, genre, etc. Not much ritual involved in this, I have gone back and purchased newer HD tracks copies of many of my records as new editions came out. Beatles White Album is a great example.
Hmm. So can't be wrong. Hmmm. And anything that is marketed and sold as an audio improvement has to be one or they wouldn't sell it. Here is a quote from Schiit audio concerning their USB cleaner-upper. "Yes. Some listeners say Wyrd improves the sound of their system. We won't make any such claim to sonic nirvana—sorry, creating expectation bias and neuro-lingustic programming ain't something that we do. Sonic improvements are for you to decide. The rest of it—color printing and data stability—that’s like saying charging your iPhone off Wyrd makes the battery last longer. Have fun with that one." They build what they think you want. As I stated before when you weren't "getting it", Mike thinks USB has audible problems and needs improvement, he also thinks streaming audio all sucks. Many people here would disagree with the latter. If he can be wrong about that, he can be wrong about the other and so can you.
@Ableza this Poison still good!
The Grateful Dead have an extensive archive of reel-to-reel tapes of their live concerts from the 1970's. There were certain time-frames where they were using a tape brand that over time proved to be a shedder. They have successfully baked, restored, and released to the public a number of popular concerts, demonstrating that properly done the music can be saved for commercial release.
There's definitely some magic in it...
Lenco... haven't seen one in years. Yes the microline pretty much were my favs, those shibatas could be hot. But then again haven't heard a 'new' cartridge since 2005. VPI with a direct? I did see that, they must have figured something out because they were belt all the way for years. The one drive nobody wants to see is "rim". Denon 103D, nice bass, there was someone who modded them to good effect back like 10-15 years ago. Yeah, we better stop before the sub 50 year old set calls for our heads.
Carry on with styli!