FWIW I've always felt the ATR had the edge as a quieter recorder however the
A-80 Studer remained the better reproducer provided you weren't overtaxing
its output stage. A number of mastering facilities and studios modified the
voltage regulation of their A-80s to allow a little more current to be
available. I have a modified 7 1/2-15 Revox that has trounced every ATR it
has ever been compared to for sound quality thanks to Studer's superior head
designs and the substitution of higher quality parts.
The comments about ATRs not being a good idea with fragile tape are well
justified. I can remember watching something go wrong 25 years ago with a
two year old ATR that resulted in a huge tangled mess. This machine had seen
nothing but light use and had meticulous maintenance from a factory-trained
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!