Capturing ambience: Neville Roberts explores the art of making a masterful live recording

Reel-to-reel master tapes have the ability to convey the ambience of a venue like no other recording medium. Hi-fi journalist Neville Roberts looks into some of the techniques used in modern recordings that can really help capture the atmosphere of the performance venue. Making a modern recording is a bit more complex than simply switching … More Capturing ambience: Neville Roberts explores the art of making a masterful live recording

One for collectors of vintage commercially-released tapes: the Columbia House Record Club

If you’re a collector of vintage commercially-released tapes, here’s something that might interest you. A short while ago I received an email from US-based music lover Kabir Bhatia, who had just discovered the reel-to-reel rambler and who kindly offered to share with readers a listing he’d compiled of the tapes that were released by the … More One for collectors of vintage commercially-released tapes: the Columbia House Record Club

Still reeling: Ken Kessler discovers audiophile cassettes

You know that irksome feeling when you really want to hate something but you can’t help loving it? Worse still, have you ever waxed lyrical in the public domain about how terrible something is, and then found yourself being blown away by it? Then you’ll understand how poor Ken Kessler feels, as this self-confessed cassette … More Still reeling: Ken Kessler discovers audiophile cassettes

The High-End Show 2019: the rambler reports on some exciting reel-to-reel happenings in Munich

The Munich High-End Show always seems to go from strength to strength and for me 2019 was the best year yet – not least because of a number of enticing developments in the niche-but-growing world of audiophile tape. I had a brilliant few days catching up with a range of tape movers and shakers. Here’s … More The High-End Show 2019: the rambler reports on some exciting reel-to-reel happenings in Munich

R2R goes mainstream as the ‘return of reel-to-reel’ is heralded in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper (hint: the rambler may have given them a tip-off!)

“It began with vinyl, and cassettes closely followed. But now reel-to-reel tape decks have joined the analogue revival and are making a comeback, as musicians reject new technology for the ‘unbelievable’ sound of the classic machines.” So writes journalist Laura FitzPatrick in this weekend’s Sunday Telegraph, a national newspaper with a print run of around … More R2R goes mainstream as the ‘return of reel-to-reel’ is heralded in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper (hint: the rambler may have given them a tip-off!)

Tape operating level aka ‘reference fluxivity’: what’s it all about (and why should you care)?

So, I’ve been investigating the subject of tape operating levels. Or, to use the more technical-sounding term, reference fluxivity. I actually started looking into it a few months ago but it’s taken me this long to get my thoughts into enough of a semblance of order to write something vaguely coherent! Why? Well, it turns … More Tape operating level aka ‘reference fluxivity’: what’s it all about (and why should you care)?

Kicking off the Kessler collection: in which tape junkie Ken Kessler recounts his early forays into the world of pre-recorded reel-to-reels

Intrepid R2R junkie Ken Kessler didn’t always have a bountiful stock of tapes. Everybody has to start somewhere, after all. Here, Ken casts his mind back to the early days of his open-reel tape habit and recounts how he got started building up a collection of pre-recorded reel-to-reels. When Tim de Paravicini demo’d a mint … More Kicking off the Kessler collection: in which tape junkie Ken Kessler recounts his early forays into the world of pre-recorded reel-to-reels

Vivaldi in Venice part 2: a post-script from the rambler’s listening room

In 2018, hi-fi journalist Neville Roberts flew to Venice to attend the live recording of audiophile label Chasing the Dragon’s Vivaldi in Venice album. At home in the UK, Dave Denyer listens to the recording on copy master tape. Spoiler alert: “this is one of the most wonderfully captivating examples of the recording art I’ve ever … More Vivaldi in Venice part 2: a post-script from the rambler’s listening room

Vivaldi in Venice part 1: Neville Roberts discovers the joys and the challenges of making audiophile recordings of a live concert

Making a high-quality audio recording in a recording studio is one thing, but making a similar recording at a live concert has its own particular challenges. Neville Roberts flies out to Venice to investigate. I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend a number of recording sessions in recent years. The aim at each session … More Vivaldi in Venice part 1: Neville Roberts discovers the joys and the challenges of making audiophile recordings of a live concert