“Among the mechanically best I’ve ever seen”: Ken Kessler gives RX Reels a spin

Back in March we discovered US-based Kevin Root’s RX Reels, high quality tape reels made from upcycled aviation grade carbon fibre that look great and easily out-perform the usual plastic types. Ken Kessler recently checked them out for soundstagehifi.com. “When you remove them from the box, you sense the flatness, the precision, and—lo and behold!—in … More “Among the mechanically best I’ve ever seen”: Ken Kessler gives RX Reels a spin

Hugh Masekela’s ‘Hope’ from Analogue Productions: how much better can it sound on tape than the already superb vinyl?

Of the five tapes I recently bought from Analogue Productions (see A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions), I figured the best place to start review-wise would be Hugh Masekela’s Hope, since I already had the phenomenal Analogue Productions 45rpm vinyl version as a basis for comparison. So, before we get going, let’s … More Hugh Masekela’s ‘Hope’ from Analogue Productions: how much better can it sound on tape than the already superb vinyl?

A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions

Many of you, whether you’re a tape head or a general audiophile, will already be familiar with Analogue Productions. Formed in 1992 by Chad Kassem, Analogue Productions is the record label division of Acoustic Sounds, the mail-order hifi and music retail business Kassem founded in 1986. It has since become one of the industry’s major … More A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions

“Through the past, darkly”: Ken Kessler ponders the condition of pre-owned tapes and what it can tell us about their history

If you read Ken Kessler’s ‘Off the leash’ column in the May issue of Hi-Fi News, you’ll know that he recently added another 200 open-reel tapes to his collection, along with a dozen used LPs. Sorting through his haul to separate the gems from the dross, the near-pristine from the unplayable, he noticed something interesting … More “Through the past, darkly”: Ken Kessler ponders the condition of pre-owned tapes and what it can tell us about their history

Neville Roberts reviews RX Reels’ carbon fibre tape reels

When I was first asked to review a 10½ inch NAB spool that offered to combine high performance with good looks, I was a little sceptical.  Yes, I can imagine that a well-designed spool can improve the look of a tape deck, but I couldn’t see how it could improve performance.  However, I like to … More Neville Roberts reviews RX Reels’ carbon fibre tape reels

Scientists unwind the mysteries of ‘sticky shed syndrome’ and why baking damaged tapes renders them playable again

One of the most commonly reported effects of pandemic lockdown is a day-to-day struggle with maintaining focused attention. And so, when researching some piece of hi-fi news, I sometimes finding myself meandering around the internet hopping from one link to the next like Alice bouncing down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. Sometimes the net result … More Scientists unwind the mysteries of ‘sticky shed syndrome’ and why baking damaged tapes renders them playable again

Ken Kessler’s surprising support of cassettes (and no-one’s as surprised as Ken himself!)

Hoist on my own petard, I closed a previous column (back in the early days of COVID-19!) with the words, “Next Month: The Surprising Sounds of A Crap Format”. Well, COVID-19 and back problems delayed the column in question, but here’s the essence of it: my own, odd, support of cassettes. Let’s not mince words. … More Ken Kessler’s surprising support of cassettes (and no-one’s as surprised as Ken himself!)

In pursuit of sonic nirvana: the GIK Acoustics experiment continues – with much juggling of bass traps

Back in May I wrote a post about room acoustics. Long story short, the folks at GIK Acoustics had (some months prior) very kindly loaned me a bunch of acoustic panels to use in my Reel-to-Reel Rambler demo room at Hi-Fi Show Live. I was so impressed by them that, before returning them, I took … More In pursuit of sonic nirvana: the GIK Acoustics experiment continues – with much juggling of bass traps

The reel deals: Hi-Fi News features Ken Kessler’s definitive guide to buying tapes, new and secondhand

Tape lovers, grab your copy of the September issue of Hi-Fi News magazine. In it, self-confessed tape junkie and hi-fi journalist extraordinaire, Ken Kessler, shares his hard-won wisdom on how to get your hands on some seriously good sounds. “For any format, whether new or revived, it is the availability of pre-recorded music that determines … More The reel deals: Hi-Fi News features Ken Kessler’s definitive guide to buying tapes, new and secondhand