Say hello to enhanced tape transport and minimized distortion with the brand new TP-1000 reel to reel player by Analog Audio Design. Learn more about the deck via our interview with U.S. distributor, Brian Tucker, or order yours today.
Analog Audio Design, a French company with its roots firmly planted in the fusion of the past and the present, has been making waves with its brand-new tape player, the TP-1000.
Blending modern technology with tried-and-tested methods from the past, this high-tech audio device is the result of four years of intensive development. As their first product, the TP-1000 is wholly constructed from new components, utilizing technologies such as computer-aided design and advanced testing tools to augment tape transport and minimize distortion.
The company was founded by Christophe Martinez, an engineer boasting 25 years of experience in designing flight simulators, electronics, and firmware. He has brought his expertise to bear on the development of the TP-1000, which is being aimed at the high-end prosumer and professional markets.
This playback-only machine has a unique blend of features, which we will delve into shortly. Analog Audio Design is also working on a record/play machine, expected to be released later in 2023.
Analog Audio Design decks have made their way to the U.S market via Pro Audio LTD, under the guidance of Brian Tucker. This partnership is an ideal match, as Brian, with his 21-year tenure at Studer and ReVox, brings an unparalleled wealth of experience in sales, service, setup, and maintenance. His clientele includes high-profile entities like the St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and noteworthy individuals such as the musician Prince, who bought his first Studer machine from Brian.
Brian's deep understanding of Studer components was instrumental in connecting him with Christophe. I recently had a conversation with Brian to learn more about this impressive deck. Here are the key points from our chat.
When asked about what led him to the TP-1000, Brian shared his enthusiasm for the tape player. When he initially heard about this new French deck, he was intrigued and reached out to Christophe, keen to know which heads were being used in the device. He was thrilled to find that AM Belgium heads had been chosen. Brian explained that after Studer closed, AM Belgium inherited the tech specs and started manufacturing the same heads used for Studer and ReVox machines.
Asked to elaborate on the significance of these heads, Brian highlighted their construction, especially the cylindrical shape with a large contact area, which reduces head wear and low frequency head bump. He explained that this design influences how the head wears over time, and with a parallel gap, the wear is far more consistent and resilient. The Playback head is the same as used on the Studer A800, A820, A810, A812, and A807.
Discussing the unique aspects of the TP-1000, Brian was quick to underscore its professional quality. Inspired by classic machines from Studer and Telefunken, Christophe has innovated on the best features from these devices. The TP-1000 stands out as a three-motor machine using DC motors, all uniquely coupled by a belt and a flywheel to a modern design. Why? It’s to reducing the cogging and flutter commonly associated with DC motors.
Another remarkable feature is the use of "strain gauge" tape tension sensors, which measures the tension on the tape during play or fast-wind conditions. Tape tension is held to 0.5 grams and read/corrected in less than one millisecond. This delicate care and handling of the tape maintain the media's quality, crucial when dealing with a valuable master tape.
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"Studer machines and I have a long history, but I must say, this new device has an exceptional way of handling tape," asserts Brian. We had the opportunity to speak with one of the first TP-1000 owners, Chris Purves, whose praise for the machine's tape handling capabilities were unequivocal. Owner of both the TP-1000 and a Studer A810, Chris draws an interesting comparison, stating that, "...the TP-1000 treats the tape with utmost care, unlike the Studer that's more akin to a Ford truck in its tape drive approach."
"The TP-1000 instills in me a confidence that its sophisticated engineering will meticulously care for my tapes," Chris continued, "My modest collection of master tapes, worth more than the player itself, includes some that are irreplaceable. I truly value the respect with which the deck treats these tapes."
Exploring the user interface, Brian and Chris were impressed by its modern, intuitive design, complemented by multiple touchscreens offering a plethora of setup options. The interface handles management of a comprehensive array of settings - from spool speed to capstan speed, NAB or IEC, network information, tape tension, headphone output level, calibration settings, auto play, last play, track repeat, and more. The machine even offers the convenience of remote control via an iPad or phone. In Chris Purves' words, regarding the user interface "it creates a deck that significantly enhances accessibility." He adds, "It's a great deal simpler to use than the Studer. Even a novice, with a mere five minutes of training, can effortlessly navigate and enjoy it due to its simplicity of operation."
Regarding the service of the deck, Brian reassured that any U.S. purchases will receive parts and service through Pro Audio LTD, as the design is modular and easily repaired or replaced. The deck also includes an RJ45 ethernet connector, facilitating remote firmware updates.
Finally, looking ahead to future developments, Brian disclosed that by the end of the year, a 15/30 IPS half-track record & playback deck, primarily intended for the pro market, is expected for release.
All in all, it seems that Analog Audio Design, under the expertise of Christophe Martinez partnering with Brian Tucker, is truly modernizing the reel-to-reel market with the unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and updated technology found in the TP-1000.
The TP-1000 retails for $20,000 in the US and that price includes a hard shell shipping case designed for the deck.
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