Since no-one has addressed the fact that the original question involved a Tascam 1" 16 track machine, I thought I'd jump in with my $0.02.

For the most part, comparing Stephens tape decks and any given Tascam are apples and oranges. John Stephens made some excellent sounding tape decks.(John did manufacture a couple of 2" 40 track machines and I had the unfortunate experience of working with one).

Tascams offering of a 1" 16 track was aimed at the home based project studio market. It was done so ignoring the laws of physics. Or, at least, not making the trade-offs clear to the unsuspecting buyers which included increased signal-to-noise, increased cross talk and decreased dynamic range. About 3dB in each category. Usually these, and their 1/2" 8 track counterparts employed noise reduction to help the situation.

My advise to John Schroths client would be to try and find a good used 2" 16 track. Analog multi-track fidelity reached its peak with 2" 16 track running at 30ips (some will argue the 30ips). NO NOISE REDUCTION!

If your client is stuck with the 1" 16Tr format, then consider it an 8 track and use every other track to reduce cross talk and run the deck at its highest possible speed to reduce some of the inherent hiss. I say "some" because the electronics are a bit noisy as well. Your client may be stuck having to use noise reduction because of the format.  

Corey Bailey Audio Engineering

 From: Roderic G Stephens <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2013 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Incorporating analog tape in modern day recording

According to Brian Kehew, he has two Stephens multi-track analog machines still in use as are others on the West Coast (no snide remarks, please).  Many people seem to like their sound.


On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM, John Schroth
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hello Tom and others - I guess what you're saying is this...
> Using an analog tape deck as either the format you originally record to,
> or, using it as a pass-through is not necessary in today's world and is
> impractical as a means to "color" or add warmth to the recording. You can
> still get pretty much the same results without as much headache and cost by
> first configuring your studio properly, using high quality analog mics,
> preamps and mixers to your taste, then going straight to computer using a
> high quality ADC for ingest verses recording to tape. In essence, if you
> want to use an analog tape recorder as part of your recording or "coloring"
> chain it would be more for the love of incorporating this piece of
> machinery and the craft in knowing how to use it properly - but it is not
> necessary (like driving to Sunday mass in your classic Model T verses the
> family car - you still get to exactly the same place, but it's fun driving
> the Model T)
> I did recommend a high quality AD/DA conversion that is transparent as
> possible as you didn't necessarily want your AD converter to further
> influence or "color" your recording. I told him that Prism Sound and Lavery
> were two of the best (I use Prism here for AD/DA). Does anyone have any
> other manufacturers to consider along these same lines?
> Kind Regards,
> John Schroth

>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Schroth" <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:14 PM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Incorporating analog tape in modern day recording
>>  I have a client that is looking to incorporate analog tape into his
>>> recording studio. I do not create new recordings or mix/master for music, I
>>> just digitize old recordings, so I'm hoping to get some input from the ARSC
>>> community on his questions below.
>>> Kind Regards,
>>> John Schroth
>>> Media Transfer Service
>>> I have a Tascam ATR 60/16 -  1" - 16 track reel to reel deck that I think
>>> I may want to put back to use in my recording studio.
>>> You mentioned that you had a friend that does alignment and calibration.
>>> I think you said he was in Pennsylvania.  Can you give me his email
>>> address and phone.
>>> I want to use the deck to improve my audio sound by employing analog as
>>> apposed to all digital that I am operating under right now.  If you have
>>> any advice on the best way to do this regarding a/d d/a converters and
>>> signal path, I would appreciate it.  I am running Digital Performer 8.0
>>> with MOTU interfaces into my Mac tower.
>>> Maybe there is a better solution than this????  I realize tape decks can
>>> require a lot of maintenance.  Please advise.