Back in the pre-pandemic days (remember those?) it was mooted in various places (e.g. Stereonet, What’s Best Forum) that French company Analog Audio Design was working on a design for a new tape deck. Such announcements are always hugely exciting news – but then the world went a bit AWOL and, I’ll be honest, my memory kind of went with it.
But hang on, eyes open wide awake – looks like it’s either here, or close to being here! Thanks to good ol’ Facebook, Analog Audio Design just came to my attention again and, lo and behold, they have a machine…
Analog Audio Design is based in the North West of France and headed up by Christophe Martinez. You can be sure I’ll be knocking on Christophe’s door to request a virtual chat, but in the meantime, a rootle around their website tells me that two machines are planned, one of which is apparently just launched (though I’m not sure as yet if it’s a prototype/preview or the actual final product) and the other is on its way at the end of this year.
‘Just launched’ (to be confirmed) is the TP-1000: ‘TP’ for tape player (ie. playback only), for which you can find a full spec, diagrams images on Analog Audio Design’s website at www.analogaudiodesign.fr/tp-1000-product (the site is English language so don’t worry if you’re not a French speaker). It’s a quarter-inch stereo deck that takes reels up to 12 inches, offers speeds of 7.5ips and 15ips, and allows you to switch between NAB and IEC equalisation. There isn’t a price listed as yet, which is why I’m wondering whether it’s available to buy at present.
Coming later in 2021 is the TR-1000, ‘R’ as in ‘record’, this model being designed for both playback and recording. Again, full details and specs are online, visit www.analogaudiodesign.fr/tr-1000-product
My first thought on discovering this is, Yessss! Another excuse to pop over to France, have a look/listen and suss it all out! It feels like aeons have passed since my last trip over the channel when I went to visit RecordingTheMasters. But then realty sinks in… the whole travelling thing is still difficult right now (and the ‘traffic light system’ for entry into/exit from the UK seems to change more quickly – and far less predictably – than an actual traffic light), so I might have to shelve that idea for a while. Fortunately, my friends and fellow audiophiles Stuart and Linette Smith of hi-fi website Hi-Fi Pig are already ‘on the ground’ so to speak (they live in France) and have just done some sussing of their own.
“We’d heard that the tape player, the TP-1000, was going to be on show at a small art exhibition in a chapel on Sunday afternoon, and so we took the time to travel up there and take a look,” writes Stu.
Interestingly, Stu writes that “the price for the player is likely to be around €10,000” which suggests to me we’re not quite at full launch stage yet, but watch this space, I’ll aim to find out and report back.