THE SPACE CASE TE-2 - Eurorack / Standalone Echo + Tape Unit

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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leterell
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Post by leterell » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:07 pm

jzwoopwoop wrote:
leterell wrote:big companies can afford marketing etc, small shops' strategies and success on that front vary.
Strongly disagree with this notion. ANY communication between manufacturer and customers (potential customers or paid customers) is marketing.

EDIT: In case my statement doesn't make it clear, that means that marketing need not cost money and need not be something that only big companies can afford.
yeah, well, ok. one may read it that way. i think you've gotten your point across.

just saying I'm not expecting professional marketing from Jim and i find he has genuinely put effort into informing us.

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Post by jzwoopwoop » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:18 pm

leterell wrote:
jzwoopwoop wrote:
leterell wrote:big companies can afford marketing etc, small shops' strategies and success on that front vary.
Strongly disagree with this notion. ANY communication between manufacturer and customers (potential customers or paid customers) is marketing.

EDIT: In case my statement doesn't make it clear, that means that marketing need not cost money and need not be something that only big companies can afford.
yeah, well, ok. one may read it that way. i think you've gotten your point across.
Fair point. My intention has not been to dominate this thread, so apologies for doing so.

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Post by Ruiner » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:46 pm

I haven't been on Muffs in a while but came to check in on this thread after all the exciting buyer updates I've been reading over the past few weeks and it's a total bummer that it's just pages of complaining for the most part. I can understand someone being frustrated with that kind of cash being held on for as long as it has IF you couldn't get it back.... but you can... at any time. I'm dealing with a situation with a reputable pedal builder that has had over $500 of my money for over 2 years now on a pedal that was released a year ago that I never received after countless promises and then I said I want my money back, he then offered to get me a pedal ASAP but I declined saying I want my money and every time I reach out he goes on about personal problems where he can't get it to me now but promises it will be soon...... THAT is frustrating. I guess I just never had my hopes up since there was only tentative time frames and until something is concrete I just enjoy seeing the progress and all the extra cool stuff being implemented that I wasn't even expecting. Hell, I just sent in money last week for a second unit so I could go stereo with it!

I'm super excited we're getting close and I'm still as excited as I've ever been since first hearing about this product. It's been my most anticipated gear purchase since I started purchasing music gear 25 years ago.

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Post by EPTC » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:13 pm

Ruiner wrote:I'm super excited we're getting close and I'm still as excited as I've ever been since first hearing about this product. It's been my most anticipated gear purchase since I started purchasing music gear 25 years ago.
FUCK RIGHT, DUDE. I AGREE. Loved the Buyer's Update sent today.

Those with short memories: I'm reminded of early Space Case TE-1's that would be released with an email, and you had to jump the gun on it or they'd sell out in five minutes. That process was likely to avoid conversations like this about pre-orders, and just the best way to distribute available supply. So the panic to purchase was pure market interest and GENUINE COMPETITION with other buyers. People would post about getting one before they were gone like they'd won a Wonka Gold Ticket. I'd prefer avoid a seller's market like that.

I can appreciate it's a lot of money, too, but the farther I get away from having paid the less it actually matters. I know it isn't a future expense.

I much prefer the peace of mind in being able to know I have a production unit reserved and not having to constantly check email for the opportunity. The over-communication has been a fun ride, personally. Even the playful inclusion of things like weekly sellers update passwords. I love Jim's love for this machine. He spends paragraphs talking about the smallest design considerations. It's not a distraction technique, he's genuinely sharing his joy.

Jim's a rockstar and rather brilliant, and any frustration here from you Fritos eating couch sitters is, at this point, an exploitation of his interest in your feelings. I don't really care about your feelings, though, so I'll just suggest that anyone complaining on this thread makes shitty karma music and needs gas pills. Prove me wrong?

I liken his work to the people who remanufactured 78rpm records, https://the78project.com/ - It's a joy to realize something from the past that you deeply care about. So he's not only making a newly manufactured tape deck, he's infusing it with so many interesting control options. And yes, he had to find some others to help him realize this vision and there are delays when you collaborate with other people.

This machine is instant Boards of Canada on tap. How glorious!

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Post by TemplarK » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:42 pm

A simple page should be added to the website that puts the main components and a quick easy to see status update next to that.

It might be late in the day but something along the lines of

Case - Concept finished
PCB - Queued at manufacturers approx 3 weeks before prototypes
Power supply - Finished
Packaging - in production

obviously this is my random thoughts and not in any way relating to how the land lies from what i've read etc, but, i've seen this used on alpha games to get across to the community who have bought into early development games to give quick insight into how long things are taking.

Just a suggestion. Doesn't have to be pages full of information, just, a quick clear truthful estimation of where the process for each main subsection lies.

We can't make it faster, but we can make it less frustrating, and its not being told its going to take a year that's frustrating, its not knowing or basing estimates on guesstimations.

Great project, i don't think Jim has been unethical quite the opposite, maybe guilty of overestimating the timeline and not accounting for setback, still, this is amazing project we all love to be part of. Easy for people not involved to be critical and leave derogatory comments... Lets not react to those people !

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Post by jzwoopwoop » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:04 pm

EPTC wrote:Jim's a rockstar and rather brilliant, and any frustration here from you Fritos eating couch sitters is, at this point, an exploitation of his interest in your feelings. I don't really care about your feelings, though, so I'll just suggest that anyone complaining on this thread makes shitty karma music and needs gas pills. Prove me wrong?
Can we all quit acting like this is black and white? I may be quoting a Jim-booster here, but same would go for those complaining about Jim's tactics too. I've vascillated between both camps throughout the TE-2 production process.

This is tricky stuff, and while there's plenty that Jim has done amazingly well, there's also plenty that I think could be drastically improved. I want to see Jim succeed and my feedback is meant to be constructive. I've failed in that at times, and for that I apologize. My intention has never been to drag Jim, his name, his reputation or his business. As I told Jim personally, I take absolutely no joy in seeing this be a struggle for him - in fact, it makes me incredibly sad.

As for why I pre-ordered: I was told in no uncertain terms that the TE-2 was 100% guaranteed ship in 2018. That's why I said in an earlier post that my expectation was not just to receive a TE-2, but to receive one within 6 months from when I pre-ordered. Those expectations were mismanaged. Plain and simple. It is revisionist history to say that the production timeline was always described as ambiguous.

In subsequent updates, including when Jim publicly announced that the TE-2 would not be shipping in 2018, he was more clear about the ambiguity surrounding the production timeline - yet specific dates were still mentioned. So yes, I could've opted out at that time, but I still think my expectations were not appropriately managed. Not in any criminal way, not in any dishonest way, and not because I think Jim is a bad person. I still found it hard to determine what to make of those updates.

I thought the latest buyer's update was EXCELLENT for explaining how all this came to pass and why it was wrong, and I very, very much appreciate that - in addition to the extras that Jim is including, such as the foot pedal.

As I mentioned, this is incredibly complicated stuff, there is no clear right way to handle production and communication about production of an instrument as unique and unparalleled as that. The fact that I haven't requested a refund is, as Jim noted, a direct result of my excitement for this instrument to become realized.

But I would hope that we can have honest, respectful, and constructive conversations about this process - because it has been difficult and trying at times. And yet, I remain as excited about the TE-2 itself.

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Post by TemplarK » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:17 pm

jzwoopwoop wrote:
EPTC wrote:Jim's a rockstar and rather brilliant, and any frustration here from you Fritos eating couch sitters is, at this point, an exploitation of his interest in your feelings. I don't really care about your feelings, though, so I'll just suggest that anyone complaining on this thread makes shitty karma music and needs gas pills. Prove me wrong?
Can we all quit acting like this is black and white? I may be quoting a Jim-booster here, but same would go for those complaining about Jim's tactics too. I've vascillated between both camps throughout the TE-2 production process.

This is tricky stuff, and while there's plenty that Jim has done amazingly well, there's also plenty that I think could be drastically improved. I want to see Jim succeed and my feedback is meant to be constructive. I've failed in that at times, and for that I apologize. My intention has never been to drag Jim, his name, his reputation or his business. As I told Jim personally, I take absolutely no joy in seeing this be a struggle for him - in fact, it makes me incredibly sad.

As for why I pre-ordered: I was told in no uncertain terms that the TE-2 was 100% guaranteed ship in 2018. That's why I said in an earlier post that my expectation was not just to receive a TE-2, but to receive one within 6 months from when I pre-ordered. Those expectations were mismanaged. Plain and simple. It is revisionist history to say that the production timeline was always described as ambiguous.

In subsequent updates, including when Jim publicly announced that the TE-2 would not be shipping in 2018, he was more clear about the ambiguity surrounding the production timeline - yet specific dates were still mentioned. So yes, I could've opted out at that time, but I still think my expectations were not appropriately managed. Not in any criminal way, not in any dishonest way, and not because I think Jim is a bad person. I still found it hard to determine what to make of those updates.

I thought the latest buyer's update was EXCELLENT for explaining how all this came to pass and why it was wrong, and I very, very much appreciate that - in addition to the extras that Jim is including, such as the foot pedal.

As I mentioned, this is incredibly complicated stuff, there is no clear right way to handle production and communication about production of an instrument as unique and unparalleled as that. The fact that I haven't requested a refund is, as Jim noted, a direct result of my excitement for this instrument to become realized.

But I would hope that we can have honest, respectful, and constructive conversations about this process - because it has been difficult and trying at times. And yet, I remain as excited about the TE-2 itself.
I've read your previous comments, they are super positive exclaiming jim is the best and he's exceeded your expectations in regards to customer service all this stuff, the thing is, if your offered a refund because your frustrated, then refuse the refund, its extremely low then 2 months later to come and state Jims being unethical.... Its crass and disrespectful, take the refund or don't but don't not take it then come down with a ton of bricks mate....

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Post by jzwoopwoop » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:23 pm

TemplarK wrote:
I've read your previous comments, they are super positive exclaiming jim is the best and he's exceeded your expectations in regards to customer service all this stuff, the thing is, if your offered a refund because your frustrated, then refuse the refund, its extremely low then 2 months later to come and state Jims being unethical.... Its crass and disrespectful, take the refund or don't but don't not take it then come down with a ton of bricks mate....
Yup, I get it, and you're not wrong to point this out. I think this is a direct result of how complicated this whole process has been. I admitted that I've vacillated between the two camps of Jim-booster and Jim-detractor!

When I've complimented Jim, it's because I thought he was meeting deadlines that HE had set and WITH the bonuses. Jim started the buyer's update in response to constructive criticism I offered last year as well. Those are all part of the many, concrete positives that I referred to in my last post.

Unfortunately, things changed, further deadlines were not met, and that has then caused me to change my feelings. Again, I apologize for the times when my criticism has not been constructive. Happy to take those posts down if that's the best route. I prefer posterity, which is why I haven't taken them down.

I don't want the refund: there is literally no better use of $1250 that I can think of. I also want to be able to trust someone when I've given trust. I don't think I'm wrong to offer constructive criticism when I feel that trust has been violated. If that comes off as crass or disrespectful to you, then we just have a disagreement of opinion there.

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Post by TemplarK » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:40 pm

jzwoopwoop wrote:
TemplarK wrote:
I've read your previous comments, they are super positive exclaiming jim is the best and he's exceeded your expectations in regards to customer service all this stuff, the thing is, if your offered a refund because your frustrated, then refuse the refund, its extremely low then 2 months later to come and state Jims being unethical.... Its crass and disrespectful, take the refund or don't but don't not take it then come down with a ton of bricks mate....
Yup, I get it, and you're not wrong to point this out. I think this is a direct result of how complicated this whole process has been. I admitted that I've vacillated between the two camps of Jim-booster and Jim-detractor!

When I've complimented Jim, it's because I thought he was meeting deadlines that HE had set and WITH the bonuses. Jim started the buyer's update in response to constructive criticism I offered last year as well. Those are all part of the many, concrete positives that I referred to in my last post.

Unfortunately, things changed, further deadlines were not met, and that has then caused me to change my feelings. Again, I apologize for the times when my criticism has not been constructive. Happy to take those posts down if that's the best route. I prefer posterity, which is why I haven't taken them down.

I don't want the refund: there is literally no better use of $1250 that I can think of. I also want to be able to trust someone when I've given trust. I don't think I'm wrong to offer constructive criticism when I feel that trust has been violated. If that comes off as crass or disrespectful to you, then we just have a disagreement of opinion there.
I think you should take a refund, get in touch when they are ready, and buy one. Otherwise you need to accept that your TE2 might not arrive until 2021 or beyond and not publicly lambast Jim for anything other than overestimating the timelines. Your comments go well beyond that of critique, they insinuate deviousness or a planned agenda to mislead the community in order to get more pre-orders so the project can be backed financially, which i don't think is the case, i do not think Jim has planned this which is what in my opinion saying he's being unethical alleges.

I'm not trying to take sides either, i understand you didn't fully understand the time involved in these things, i have had the experience of being on waiting lists for modules from boutique euro manufacturers that make high quality complicated synths and even re-runs of these things can run into years never mind the prototyping and concepting designing of it in the first place to get to testing stages. You can see this with Cwejman or Natural Gate how long lead times are. I myself have followed this project since it got announced and only just pre-ordered now, when i think it really is in its final stages, because i foresaw myself getting frustrated as i don't really have the funds to put down on this its a big deal for me too.

So, i do get it, i really do.

Its going to be some time, its not coming quick, put it to the back of your mind and just accept that; if not take the refund and buy when they are in stock.

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Post by jzwoopwoop » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:29 pm

TemplarK wrote:
I think you should take a refund, get in touch when they are ready, and buy one. Otherwise you need to accept that your TE2 might not arrive until 2021 or beyond and not publicly lambast Jim for anything other than overestimating the timelines. Your comments go well beyond that of critique, they insinuate deviousness or a planned agenda to mislead the community in order to get more pre-orders so the project can be backed financially, which i don't think is the case, i do not think Jim has planned this which is what in my opinion saying he's being unethical alleges.

I'm not trying to take sides either, i understand you didn't fully understand the time involved in these things, i have had the experience of being on waiting lists for modules from boutique euro manufacturers that make high quality complicated synths and even re-runs of these things can run into years never mind the prototyping and concepting designing of it in the first place to get to testing stages. You can see this with Cwejman or Natural Gate how long lead times are. I myself have followed this project since it got announced and only just pre-ordered now, when i think it really is in its final stages, because i foresaw myself getting frustrated as i don't really have the funds to put down on this its a big deal for me too.

So, i do get it, i really do.

Its going to be some time, its not coming quick, put it to the back of your mind and just accept that; if not take the refund and buy when they are in stock.
I think there are 3 separate (but obvs still related) things going on here:

1. The way Jim has communicated about the production of the TE-1
2. The right of a paying customer to comment (positively or negatively) in response to said communication
3. The specific way that I personally have communicated in response to said communication

On #1: Obviously, I think Jim has not handled this well. I like to adhere to the classic professional adage of "under-promise and over-deliver." The way that communication has been handled for TE-2 is the exact opposite of that. Jim has repeatedly set his own deadlines and then failed to meet them. Sure, there have been caveats about the timeline being ambiguous in general. If that's the case, my personal preference would be to never include any mention of any dates. Obviously, others may disagree with that, and that's fine.

In this latest instance, I found it incredibly frustrating that Jim so cavalierly discussed another setback without couching it in a larger context especially right before he (and we) knew he was due to deliver updated info about the latest delivery date. Seems relatively obvious to me that others felt the same, considering the shitstorm of commenting that has come to pass after the microcontroller post. These are all marketing blunders, in my opinion. This is not about me not understanding the timeline: this is me taking Jim at his word and then after the fact, that message changes.

On #2: I do not at all agree that the options are binary between being silent and accepting the timeline, or complaining and accepting a refund. I'm not the one who set deadlines. I'm not the one who then failed to meet those deadlines. I have a right to express constructive criticism about those mistakes. I do not at all care about how other companies have handled similar situations. In fact, it's quite alarming to me that the bar is so low for these types of ventures.

On #3: So far, I've done deflecting. The third point is where I accept blame. I have now apologized 3 or 4 times for when my comments have not been constructive and I will do so again, because you're right-- my first couple comments after Jim's post regarding the microcontroller were not constructive. I again apologize for those comments.

I should've been more clear that the only thing I have concerns about is communication about the timeline. I should not have used the phrases that I did to express those concerns. I'm happy to edit or delete those comments if you or Jim would like.

I do not believe that Jim has willfully misled me or anyone else. I don't believe that Jim is dishonest or runs a dishonest operation. I do agree with Jim's own label for himself as "idealistic" and I think it was a mistake for him to post the latest Friday update prior to the critical info contained in the latest buyer's update was communicated. That led to a false sense of panic. But again, I apologize for then communicating my panic in such a harmful manner.

EDIT/POSTSCRIPT: I’ve said plenty (read: too much) as of late on this thread. Gonna stop comments for a while. Sorry for dominating this thread so much.

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Post by bkbirge » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:43 pm

It would be nice to hear some more demos of the unit as it's hitting the home stretch. As much as I love this demo, and it got me to pre-order, it's getting kind of long in the tooth...

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Post by MotoModular » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:03 pm

bkbirge wrote:It would be nice to hear some more demos of the unit as it's hitting the home stretch. As much as I love this demo, and it got me to pre-order, it's getting kind of long in the tooth...
Actually, we’re nearly set up to make more. Hoping this coming week some time, but it could be early following week. Once the set up is in place, it will be possible to generate demos regularly again as before and more frequently. First demos will start off just for buyers in the updates, then will return to the social media format at some point.

Thank you all and happy holidays in the States
J

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Post by TemplarK » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:26 pm

Ok, maybe we can generate some chat about intricacies of using cassette tapes for those of us, like myself, who haven't touched a tape since a child back in the late 80's early 90's!

So far i've bought one tape a Maxwell XLII-S 90 - IEC Type 2/High position.

I've read the basics on the types of tapes, what i'd like to know is when you change the setting for the tape type what actually changes inside the TE2? The signal strength? Are there filters that come into play with different tape types?

What if i had the TE2 set to Type IV and was using a Type II tape? What would one expect to hear sonically? Would it be detrimental to the sonics or the tape mechanism itself?

Is there a tape type that is more expensive but actually a much better tape type (maybe one used for mastering etc) that i should look out for a bargain of? The maxwell i mentioned i bought was around £8 UK so, i don't mind so much to get a much better tape but i'm also mindful that a better tape might not saturate as much? Thoughts on this?

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Post by leterell » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:08 am

TemplarK wrote:Ok, maybe we can generate some chat about intricacies of using cassette tapes for those of us, like myself, who haven't touched a tape since a child back in the late 80's early 90's!

So far i've bought one tape a Maxwell XLII-S 90 - IEC Type 2/High position.

I've read the basics on the types of tapes, what i'd like to know is when you change the setting for the tape type what actually changes inside the TE2? The signal strength? Are there filters that come into play with different tape types?

What if i had the TE2 set to Type IV and was using a Type II tape? What would one expect to hear sonically? Would it be detrimental to the sonics or the tape mechanism itself?

Is there a tape type that is more expensive but actually a much better tape type (maybe one used for mastering etc) that i should look out for a bargain of? The maxwell i mentioned i bought was around £8 UK so, i don't mind so much to get a much better tape but i'm also mindful that a better tape might not saturate as much? Thoughts on this?
what I've previously done with the TE-1 and with my marantz units, is just chuck some tape in and flick the tape type switches until the sound suits me. the TE-1 (and the TE-2 will) does so many things with the circuitry, for which said circuitry was not intended, that I've pretty much found theoretical pondering on the sonic qualities to be redundant for me. the tapes more knowledgeable people found good i was mostly unable to tell apart reliably, age also comes into play with these... the delayed signal degrades heavily beyond anything in slapback territory.

what needs to be considered here, tho, is that I've also heavily used old looping cassettes that used to be utilised for railway station announcements and such, and were meant to run in the background for extended periods of time and thus sonic performance is probably sub par for most. and coming to think of it must significant prob have been all the filterbanks and filters i've ran the echo signal thru :deadbanana:

well maybe my rambling is of some use... can't wait to get to experimenting with the TE-2!

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Post by MotoModular » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:20 am

TemplarK wrote:Ok, maybe we can generate some chat about intricacies of using cassette tapes for those of us, like myself, who haven't touched a tape since a child back in the late 80's early 90's!

So far i've bought one tape a Maxwell XLII-S 90 - IEC Type 2/High position.

I've read the basics on the types of tapes, what i'd like to know is when you change the setting for the tape type what actually changes inside the TE2? The signal strength? Are there filters that come into play with different tape types?

What if i had the TE2 set to Type IV and was using a Type II tape? What would one expect to hear sonically? Would it be detrimental to the sonics or the tape mechanism itself?

Is there a tape type that is more expensive but actually a much better tape type (maybe one used for mastering etc) that i should look out for a bargain of? The maxwell i mentioned i bought was around £8 UK so, i don't mind so much to get a much better tape but i'm also mindful that a better tape might not saturate as much? Thoughts on this?
Firstly, you won't be damaging anything ever, no matter what kind of tape type you put in and what kind of eq/bias settings you use. It's all just sonic adjustment, like any eq knob essentially, and doesn't have anything to do with physical mechanisms or the oxide tape itself or magnetism of heads or anything.

The bias/eq situation on the Space Case is the same as for all cassette machines back in the day. The simplest way to think of it is that some tape formulations (the chemical brown stuff adhered to the inside of the tape) are cheaper to make but require some tricky frequency compensation at both the input and output in order to make it sound acceptable.. and then on the contrary...some tape formulations are better sounding and need less work (frequency compensation) to make it sound good but cost more to make (at least that's what they tell us). One of the absolute cores of the concept is this... With the cheaper tape, manufacturers knew well that if they sent in basic signal to tape but with brighter/higher boosts, and then reversed it on its way back out to bring the original signal back to normal, that whatever white noise was inherently on the empty tape itself would get dramatically reduced by the second half of the process.. the repro/playback stage.

To put that into a more life like context..... if you were to record a crash cymbal to tape live, and have a mixing board with a single channel turned up to monitor the tape/repro (delayed) signal being recorded, you'd being hearing your actual recording but you'd also have whatever tape hiss is inherent with the tape. Because, it's tape. And that's what tape does. Most people don't like tape hiss... So, if you go ahead and turn down some high-eq on that mixer channel's EQ knobs, let's just pick a setting of negative "5" out of a total of negative 10 notches on the high EQ knob, your tape hiss is maybe almost totally gone now right? .. but so are a bunch of your high frequencies of your crash cymbal. It sounds dull and muffled. That's a problem. But, if you happen to have another separate EQ/channel at your disposal, you could put the cymbal mic through it BEFORE tape and set the EQ exactly reversed.. turn up the high-eq exactly as much UP before it goes to tape, say to PLUS "5" instead of minus 5, so that your original signal is receiving a high boost before the recording process. Now, since your output EQ is cutting at negative 5, it's countering your boost going in, and your cymbal sound is practically sounding correct because it's bright enough again, AND your tape hiss sound is mostly gone, all that the same time. And the important thing to note is that the EQ designs are symmetrical. You're using a pair that does something and then undoes the same thing.

That's the overall principle. But in this tape/bias/type domain, there are multiple similar tricks being pulled off at once.. there is low frequency stuff, and also saturation/distortion/headroom stuff. It really is a lot more complex than that, and the curves are more elaborate than this picture is painting. But the point is always "compensation". We're doing something going in, and were undoing said something going out, for the specific purpose of making the tape better sounding than it should be on its own. If you dig through professional tape machine service/user manuals, you'll find one word often repeated, which is "compensation." Or "frequency compensation" Or "Low freq comp switch" and things like that. This is because that's exactly what's going on, circuit engineers are compensating for tape's lack of performance in certain ways. This is happening AT ALL TIMES ON ALL TAPE MACHINES. There is no such thing as a perfectly neutral tape situation. ( i don't think) That probably would have been unmarketable.

So the market comes into play then.. There are cheaper, Type 1 / I / Normal tapes, then there are more expensive Type 2 / II / Chrome / "High Bias" tapes, and there are properly high priced Type 4 / IV / Metal tapes. Three categories. There is a switch on most cassette machines for all three, but some just focus on two types and omit a third of their choosing due to customer base focus. But those three settings are standardized. I don't know if there are strict legal adherences involved so that consumers have their pre recorded tapes sounding fully as expected, and i also can't say for sure how much variance there is from cassette player design to cassette player design ("man have you heard this 1986 Sony 35L56's Type II eq curve it sounds so much better than the 1985 Sony 35L55's Type II eq curve!!" ???) But i find it doubtful that there is much art to the three curves when manufacturers implement them into their machines, and I think it's for the most part just standard for all three types. But with this machine here that i know well, the three curves have always done a very good job so i chose not to mess with it ever at all. If i had, it would have been extremely subtle. I also haven't had the time to look into all the history. It would be completely irresponsible to go ahead and adjust those curves, with the risk that some (or all) tapes around the world would no longer sound as expected.

With the TE-1/TE-2, there is a lot of EQ / Tone adjustment to take this and practically make it all a moot point. For instance on the TE-2 if you turn down the 4 pole Low Pass Filter and also raise your 4-Pole High Pass Filter, you're making an extreme shelf-change to both the high eq and low eq and all that Tape Type curve preset is just whisked away into meaning almost nothing to your ears. However, if you want stock and standard strong sound, you really should to start off with the proper setting for the tape, and then deviate from it. You'll start off with proper headroom/distortion, proper high and low frequencies, and then you have a healthy home base to then completely muck up. The primary reason is probably headroom. The sound that you send in to the machine is hitting tape first, then it's getting filtered and feedback'd, so you should hit the tape with the correct setting if you want it to sound as one would expect. But go ahead and flip the Type switch to something else to your hearts content. But you may get some weird overdriven tape sound at the core, which you're then working with as your basis.

The thing about hitting switches on the fly is that there are two different situations and two different results... playback and recording. You can experiment and get all kinds of results.. If you recall the example of live recording a crash cymbal, there was some EQ applied to the mic before hitting tape, then the reverse EQ applied afterwards on the output channel to bring your cymbal sound back to normal. So if you remove the first half and are just playing back a neutral cymbal crash, your sound will be too dull because your output EQ is turning down the highs... but if you record with the boosted highs but then don't apply your high cuts on the output anymore, your sound will be too bright. This is basically all that is happening when you're interchanging between Type 1,2,4 and also playback/record. You can change it up and get some different EQ's and saturations/distortions. If you fully record/playback with a different Type selected than the tape you're using is supposed to have, for example if you use a Type II tape and record/play using the Type I setting.. you might think "oh so it's getting adjusted going in and readjusted back going out, so it should sound the same no matter what Type switch i have selected" but this isn't the case because the formulations themselves are meant to chemically react to the Type curve, and Type II tape under Type I switch / curve will not at all have the same sonic results as using a Type I tape in Type I switch/curve. The Type I tape is meant to receive and react well with that curve. These are real physical chemicals, having magnetic reactions, giving you sound, and these chemical makeups are designed for certain reactions.

Generally speaking, the chemicals of a Type I formulation, whether its made by Sony, TDK, MAXELL, BASF, all pretty much do the same thing but some do it better than others. Then you can repeat that statement for Type II and also Type IV. So there is not just one single Type 1 cassette formulation/tape, one single Type II cassette formulation tape, nor Type IV cassette formulation/tape out in the world. There are thousands for each of the three. As opposed to the circuit EQ curves being standard on machines, tape formulations themselves are vastly more artful and secret, and they all are strategized to making the most out of one of the three I, II, IV eq curves on machines. Type II is very commonly assumed to be the best category to stick with since it can sound terrific and also be attainable reasonably. The TDK SA and MAXELL XL II have proven to be rather similar to each other, and also they are rather better than the rest of the world out there in relation to Type II tapes AND in relation to cost. There are other Type II tapes by BASF and others that sound quite similar and are just as good as well. Maybe even better.

There are also some unannounced things going on with third parties that I'm not yet allowed to disclose that are pretty exciting and have to do with brand new tape being made. It'll be fun to see it come to fruition. And it's sounding really good in tests. Interestingly though, this is all in the realm of Type 1, which has been reinvented in recent years by a handful of formulation designers and absolutely meets the performance quality of Type II, and exceeds it. The reason that Type II has been abandoned by anyone looking to make new cassette formulations is that the manufacturing behind making Type II chemical formulation is very caustic to the environment. It's a good sign that it's been ruled out! Fortunately there is a boat load of unused Type II out there. Also fortunately, good Type II tapes have been known to last a very very long time in the Space Case and retain high frequencies. It's impossible to give numbers because it has to do with how you handle the machine during use and how long and often your sessions are, but it's a long time. Under no clinical tests/measurements.. I've had tapes get used regularly for over a year with no noticeable issues. Whatever regularly means!

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Post by Modulus » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:54 am

Thanks Jim, conveniently enough I had just sent you an email with a similar question and this answers it perfectly. For experimentation purposes, I went ahead and picked up a TDK MA-X type IV metal tape from ebay (got it at a bargain bin price of 30$ :bang: )

I also picked up a TDK 20 second loop tape. I can definitely see myself building a collection of loop tapes to use as presets for 1v per oct playback. Hopefully you are working with the third party to produce these loop tapes at a better price point :yay: the possibilities are super exciting

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Post by TemplarK » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:33 am

Thanks Jim appreciate the detail about the tape types!

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Post by TemplarK » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:21 pm

[video][/video]

I think this was meant to put you off metal tapes in some respect but in others make you want a few, but, damn, hell i want one of those he opened just for the visual appeal haha!!!

Now the question is how good a drive and deck the TE2 gives compared to the best cassette recorders of the day? Will it drive to metal enough to give a great metal recording!? I'm going to guess and say that it will having been engineered in 2018/19 effectively!

I never came across this guys youtube but i think we should all give his tape reviews a good look!

Also damn the TDK MA50 tape sounded fucking LUSH

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Post by MotoModular » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:56 am

I myself am not all that versed with metal tapes because I always focus any tape investigation/experimentation time testing the kinds of cassettes that I can formally recommend for buyers to use on a regular basis and naturally that falls into the more affordable territory of Type II. However, one of these days i would like to be able to start making a couple recommendations for metal tapes. It would be nice to compile a list of all tape test / opinions on the Moto Modular website as a cassette resource. Thoughts noted here by you all would certainly become a contribution to this! When gathering the info, I would comb through this thread and do further testing of tapes recommended.

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Post by bkbirge » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:04 am

Will there be a way to disable the record button for those times we want to use a tape loop in mono-mellotron mode but don't want to accidentally erase it?

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Post by TemplarK » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:15 pm

bkbirge wrote:Will there be a way to disable the record button for those times we want to use a tape loop in mono-mellotron mode but don't want to accidentally erase it?
You can enable/disable both the record head and the erase head.
Last edited by TemplarK on Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MotoModular » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:17 pm

bkbirge wrote:Will there be a way to disable the record button for those times we want to use a tape loop in mono-mellotron mode but don't want to accidentally erase it?
Not in a "preventative" sense, no. The REC button is electronic though, so it's not really in the same physical motion as the Play button which is a chunky hardware piece. That may help not accidentally hit it, in a sense that it won't be muscle memory like hitting both the play/rec buttons together with one press might have been.

There used to be a swivel detection piece in the back of the transport that would read the record tab on top of tape for record-able "info". Normally that would do what you needed, if the tape had the proper tab/scotch tape on it. However, that detection piece needed to be removed in order for the transport to physically fit in its new chassis for the TE-2. So all tapes are recordable.

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Post by MotoModular » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:20 pm

Terrifically productive week.
The chasm between knowing how things sound here and the lack of the public's ability to hear it has got to go away soon or I'll just go bonkers.
Anyways here's a pic of the pcb harvest from earlier this week. As part of the builds, we have to pull some vintage "unobtainiums" from the old boards. Thank goodness they're through hole! Makes it so much easier to safely work with. And if and when we figure out how to replace them down the road, the spots on the TE-2 boards are designed to receive some substitute pins.

Image

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Post by EPTC » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:46 pm

What a beautiful photo! It looks like you're flying into a city,
view from the window of a plane of a bunch of small garages
and back yards - going down blocks.

Regards, man. Happy harvesting components!

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Post by citizensmurf » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:35 am

MotoModular wrote:Terrifically productive week.
The chasm between knowing how things sound here and the lack of the public's ability to hear it has got to go away soon or I'll just go bonkers.
Anyways here's a pic of the pcb harvest from earlier this week. As part of the builds, we have to pull some vintage "unobtainiums" from the old boards. Thank goodness they're through hole! Makes it so much easier to safely work with. And if and when we figure out how to replace them down the road, the spots on the TE-2 boards are designed to receive some substitute pins.

Image
That is crazy. Just how many old Marantz units did you have to source for this production?

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