audiotape playback perfected

Imagine that you have a priceless original analog master tape of a famous recording.


What if you wanted to hear that tape played back in the highest possible fidelity?


What equipment would you choose?


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First, do no harm.

Many surviving master tapes have become fragile with age. Playback using a reclaimed studio tape recorder with erase and record heads, or with a forced-guidance headblock, or with fixed-pin lifters, or poorly controlled tensions, could irreparably harm these tapes. The use of modern, specialized hardware is indicated.

Those seeking the highest quality audio tape playback demand tape machines that are optimized for this purpose. These specialized machines are called reproducers.


Next, listen.

Experts know that with an analog recording, preserving the amplitude versus time relationships is crucial. Everything in the playback chain matters, but the time-base accuracy stems entirely from the tape transport mechanism and its headblock.

Modifications that replace the recording and erase heads with fixed posts (called dummy heads) will prevent unintentional erasure, but they do nothing about removing the sources of scrape flutter excitation which add distortion (amplitude and frequency modulation) to the audio signal.

What's desirable is a reproducer having laboratory grade speed stability and tape tension control from an ultra-low-flutter precision guidance transport and headblock.

ATAE was the original developer of the single-head read-only (or SHRO) ultra-low-flutter reproducer headblocks for the acclaimed Studer A820 and A80 tape transports.

That work then led to the Model One and Model Two reproducers, which are built from our own exactingly re-manufactured Studer A820 and A80 transport mechanisms.


A systems approach.

Complementing ATAE's laboratory grade tape transports, the playback electronics must be closely matched to the individual play head installed in the reproducer's headblock and must accurately align to the standard playback equalization curves.

Each of our five different models of tape playback electronics deliver industry leading performance and sound quality.



For over 30 years our mission has been to help preserve the treasure from the golden age of music recording, half a century's worth of original analog master tapes stored in record company archives. Few people know how good legacy master tapes can actually sound. We hope the state-of-the-art tape playback hardware we're building changes that.

ATAE has been an email contact only company since the year 2000. To reach us, kindly submit this form and we'll get back to you promptly. If you prefer a phone conversation, just let us know.


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