April 24, 2016
I’m listening to the wonderful Mozart tape you kindly sent me.
Here, too, the transparency is absolutely breathtaking!
I love Mozart and this recording is a true gem.
All the best,
VP/Group Publisher & Senior Writer
The Absolute Sound
April 23, 2016
I just listened to the Waldstein Sonata-it was so brilliant I listened to it again
in the same evening. The performance is very engaging and exquisite, and the 3rd
movement is heavenly.
Wish I could have performed it that well!
VP/Group Publisher & Senior Writer
The Absolute Sound
April 23, 2016
My jaw is still on the floor after listening to Tatsuki and YY.
My wife can’t get me out of my listening room to do some things I promised to do
with her today.
Guess I’ll have to turn the system off soon, but I thought I’d be doing that two
VP/Group Publisher & Senior Writer
The Absolute Sound
April 7, 2016
Yes, I¹ve had a chance to listen to all the tapes you kindly sent me.
I really enjoyed them!
The performances are quite good and the recordings are excellent!
Having played the Rigoletto Paraphrase I know how demanding that Liszt
Yu-Yang Lee gives a superlative performance, and the piano is captured
I also really enjoyed the Beethoven Sonata for Violin & Piano and the
Mendelssohn Cello Sonata.
They were both very natural and open sounding, very dynamic with gorgeous
highs, and the piano has a solidity that is often missing on many
Thanks again for send me the tapes!
All the best,
VP/Group Publisher & Senior Writer
The Absolute Sound
The Absolute Sound¹s Illustrated History of High-End Audio
Jim Hannon to Greg Beron on his new Phase 12 tape deck:
Having spent more time listening to the UltraAnalogue tapes Ed kindly sent
me, I must add that the reproduction of dynamics, both micro and macro, are
revelatory. Moreover, subtle details and ambient cues are captured so
wonderfully that there are times I think the performers are in the room.
Absolutely stunning and thrilling!
Additionally, I have never heard a concert-grand piano reproduced more
accurately and naturally, with a solidity to the bass that is missing in far
too many recordings.
I can’t wait to listen to more tapes to fully break-in the deck and to hear
all that this marvelous deck is capable of doing.
Jan 3, 2016
Video by Peter Breuninger of AV Showrooms – Components of the Year 2015.
Ed Pong of UltraAnalogue Recordings sent me a new sampler tape he came up with last week. Many thanks Ed!
The UltraAnalogue label is devoted (so far) to classical music, typically piano, cello, and violin music.
It’s all recorded in one pass direct to 2 ch, 15ips, 2 track, NAB eq’d tape and my copy was taken from the master tape but recorded with the IEC or CCIR eq.
Have to admit it was an exciting listen, the performance by the musicians is first rate and quite impressive since they have only one pass start to finish to get it right, no editing and no digital manipulations here!
What a stellar performance from these musicians, as I listened I was forced to consider the expertise to accomplish this, I became… excited!
In a world where anyone with a computer is a musician this old school stand and deliver effort was inspiring, maybe we still have some musicians in the world and not a bunch of digital sampling dummies?
What subtle emotion was conveyed by that violin, just a feat of technique and complete understanding of the composer’s original message.
Ed records in a very lively room, some would question that.
He also records the tapes +4 db above 250 nW/m = 396 nW/m, that is on the high side.
That is not a problem for the UHA decks however you may want to determine if that is workable on your particular deck, Ed can accommodate the REC level to your specific needs.
This recording level is just a personal issue, I typically I don’t care for recordings done at higher levels, It’s just to my ear they typically sound over done.
I have been sent some tapes from other companies that were recorded so hot that it forces all the breath of life from the recording.
However on the tape I heard last evening there was an immediacy to the music that seems kinda fun.
It sounds different than the conventional approach you typically hear on these small scale classical performances, possibly because of the lively room??
It could be that this lively approach has it’s merits and idiosyncrasies that separate it from the crowd?
Actually I found myself concentrating on the wonderful music and not picking at, or otherwise worrying about the recording.
I was loving the shear immersion into the 3-D heart of the performance.
It was enveloping, dynamic and had all the tiniest most minute subtle cues popping from black 3-D, who can, or should, ask more from reproduced music.
Greg Beron, United Home Audio
Hi everyone. This is my review of the UltraAnalogue Recordings’ Sampler No. 1.
I bought the tape a few weeks ago and it arrived in its original box that the blank RMG SM900 tape comes in. Considering the $60 I paid on Amazon for that tape, the $250 cost of the UA’s recordings does not seem unreasonable given the small quantities, the work of making the recordings, royalties, labor and such. Of course it is still an investment and the question is whether it is worth it.
In a word yes! My first experience started with spooling the tape, hitting play and getting taken back with the level of fidelity in an instant. I had not even made it back to my listening chair! It was like, “wow, where did that come from?” The Passacaglia starting passage could not be a better choice than to showcase what is to come. The strings pull at your proverbial heart and audiophile ears like there is no tomorrow. I sat there mesmerized until the tape ran off the spool!
If you have a Reel to Reel deck and any interest in classical music at very high fidelity, this sampler from UltraAnalogue Recordings is a must have. Highly recommended.
P.S. I have no commercial interest in UltraAnalogue Recordings and bought this tape out of my own funds although Ed may have been kind enough to have shipped it for free to me.
Amir, Whatsbestforum site founder & administrator
Thread & Comments from What’s Best Forum,http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?11888-bravo-to-UltraAnalog-Recordings/page2
Feb 3, 2015
Dear Ed,I just have to congratulate you on your latest accomplishment, those five
magnificent reels from your most recent releases (Jan 2015) … absolutely boffo
performances from both artists involved, captured in some of the most
stunningly resplendent sonics I have ever encountered!What could you possibly do for an encore?… and now to return and listen to the entire set all the way through yet
again …Thanks so much!Best – PeterAugust 27, 2014
I finally listened to the last of your new tapes yesterday….
I chose the cello tape to listen to first as I love the instrument and your
recordings always bring the instruments to life. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before
I don’t have a lot of listening experience or background in classical music. Your
recordings are becoming my education and I’ve just ordered two Fone recordings. On
tape of course!
As always the musicianship is flawless and first rate. Your listeners have no doubt
come to expect this. You know talent. I am deeply drawn to the interplay of the
musicians. The music is back and forth and sometimes you can’t tell who is playing
I keep coming back to your releases for the sound. I love the sound of the
instruments and in this setting they are naked. I don’t exactly hear the room as
much as I feel it. Studio recordings often have a very closed sound whereas yours
are open. For this reason I have the feeling that the players are in my room, not
yours. I could swear that my speakers are dead silent, even as the music plays.
The sound clearly does not come from them but exists somewhere else.
I always tell people that nothing makes my audio system sound better than tape.
That is especially true for your recordings. The speakers disappear and the sound
opens up. Everything is wider, deeper. I can feel the bass when I should feel the
I have a love/hate relationship with the violin. It’s so expressive that I suppose
you might expect that. Sometimes when the notes get high it just drives me crazy
but then, oh my God, I love it! That happens over and over with your recordings
because they so accurately document the performance and the instruments.
Your recordings also bring back fond memories of my daughter’s violin and viola
playing. She would occasionally bring over some friends to practice and the house
would fill with music. I especially remember one time with they practiced on our
front lawn much to the delight of our neighbors walking by.
So much for my review. It’s not so much for these recordings as they are for your
body of work. I will say that I will most often start a listening session with one
of your tapes. It sets the mood and is a great start. I will move on to jazz or
folk or rock if I wish or maybe another one of yours. If it’s late and I want to
wind down then a nice UltraAnalogue will do nicely…
Thanks for keeping analog (and tape) alive!
August 20, 2014
Hi again Mr. Pong
I have now played the tape (Rossini Duo) several times. And this is fantastic. First I like their
playing, the atmosphere in the recording is rare in a recorded media, I don`t think
I have ever heard anything like this outside a concert hall. The fundament is
fantastic, the separation is very near what you can hear during concert if you sit
on the right place. And the dynamics; no words really, it`s just amazing.
I think this is the most realistic and dynamic sound I ever heard on a Hi-Fi system, it is a
serious test for the woofers on my Wilson’s…!!
Thank you so much for the service, the music and the sound. I am a little speechless
really but I tried to explain my feelings in a way I hope so that you understand
what I think about this.
I will be back!
All the best..
April 22, 2014
Well, Ed, I must say again, it is absolutely astounding what you are doing. There is nowhere in the world where one could listen to so many precious instruments played by such talented musicians recorded with such exquisite electronics.
Last night I listened to the Mozart, Handel and Debussy tape, The Chaconnes with Vitali, Bach and Monti, and the Rossini and Gliere.
It took about half of the first tape for everything to warm up but then the magic began to unfold .Your Steinway sounds really beautiful. Maybe the best recording of a piano I have ever heard. I love how you can hear the pages of sheet music being turned.
My friend Joel called while I was listening and I let him hear part of the tape I was playing over the phone. Its amazing that you rely can get a glimpse of sound that way. He said he could understand what I was talking about. He said “I can almost hear what kind of resin he is using on his bow string.”
I can’t wait to hear more.
Greg on the Bach Suite #1 & Cassado tape:
March 21, 2014
OK, now my mind is blown! This morning I put on the Bach Cello tape and overnight everything had changed. The power supply transformers must have awakened. Before everything was slightly compressed, but now it has bloomed into a range of infinite dynamics.The mist is gone. There is a real flesh and blood cello in my room growling and groaning and creaking. But it is more than a cello. It is bigger than life. It is like a cello heard through an electron microscope or listened to on acid. When he bounces the bow on the strings the cello expands like a drum head. This is the best recording of any kind I have ever heard. It surpasses everything.
Ed, what you have accomplished is completely unique. There is nobody in the world doing what you are doing. This takes master tape to a whole new level. Listening to safety masters of the Beatles or Stones is one thing but making recordings with equipment like yours is a whole new paradigm. It brings a level of sound into the listeners home that otherwise could never be obtained. I will probably want to collect your whole catalogue over a period of time.
Peter Kaufman – March 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm
Ed, you have outdone even yourself this time. I auditioned your latest release last night … Simply gorgeous! … From the music (Bach/Cassado) …
to the performance of Sietse- Jan Weijenberg, who I understand is now the principal cellist for the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra … to the recording itself, which was pure gossamer, sonorously lush, and well-nigh perfect!!
What a winner … This one goes right to the top of my rather formidable pile … to be listened to again, and again, and again!! So thank you, thank you, and thank you once more for this supremely satisfying offering!!!
Steve on the Beethoven Cello Sonata No. 3 tape:
March 8, 2014
Best recording I’ve ever heard, true. Yes, I’ve heard a lot of recordings limited by the weakest link., and for this tape of yours there were no weak links in our playback chain. It took listening to the tape 1.5 times to find the best heads, bias and general settings, none of which are what you would expect ,and then we listened to it a final time and it was without question the best sound we’ve heard from a playback system in our entire life. My friend and head QC guy, Dave, is the other part of the “we”.
A fair amount of credit to the success has to go to the two guys on the tape, both simply kicked ass.
What pushed your recording over the top was the dynamics and compete lack of distortion during peaks coupled with the other usual things that come with such a fine signal path.
Thanks for doing what you do and doing it so well.
Decware/High Fidelity Engineering Co.
East Peoria IL 61611, USA
Dec 10, 2013
I just want to let you know how much I’m enjoying the CD’s I got from you, especially the one you went to the trouble of making for me. The timing was perfect, as the same day the CD’s arrived, I installed a new pair of EML 300B XLS tubes in my SET amp, and was treated to music as I’ve never heard at home before.
It’s a pity I won’t be able to acquire a nice R2R machine, and hear just how great these recordings are, but none-the-less, the CD version sounds wonderful.
Thanks, and best regards,
Peter – November 25, 2013 at 9:13 am
These sample sound tracks are great! Even though they are digital, I can hear the sound & performances..
What’s Best Forum
October 5, 2013
R2R, especially 15ips 2 track, will forever be a cottage industry. It was great that Valin did his article in TAS extolling the virtues and providing a near complete listing of what was and will soon be available from the small number of providers.
However, my recommendation is that if you have the means, both in equipment and funds, that a high priority in your audio budget is buying tapes from Ed and others like him. My understanding is that no one doing this has quit their day jobs and they are definitely not getting rich on this. So if you have been thinking about getting that super fancy set of cables, instead spend the same money with Ultra Analogue and Tape Project and the few others like them.
Even if you are not a classical music buff, listen to Ed’s tapes – I think they will at least begin to convert you. Your head and heart will be better off.
Bob Williams – September 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm
Mr. Pong and Tony, you both are doing an excellent job. Your focus on producing the very best is obvious.
Mike Lavigne – August 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm
16 July 2013
After getting the Technics tape deck I was anxious to try it out, and play some music.
I now have 2 recorded tapes, one supplied by Jeff Jacobs (sent back with the deck), and the other I bought from UltraAnalogue.
The UltraAnalogue is a master tape duplicate recorded on RMG SM900 tape at +4 dB above 250 nWb/m (used by Tape Project), that is 396 nWb/m. The tape has a recorded 30 sec track of 1 kHz tone behind the leader to help you calibrate your tape machine to 0 VU. Once the tape is spooled and calibrated, your ready to play.
The recording is Rossini Duo for Cello & Double Bass performed by Rachel Mercer, Jeffrey Beecher & Vanessa Lee and recorded at 396nWb/m. I was not sure how the deck would handle the extra head room.
The tape sounds exceptionally good. Extraordinary lows, the double bass and cello are muscular, bass is raspy and the cello melodic. The recordings have captured the timbre, dynamics & nuance’s of the instruments.
Compared to my digital recordings, there is no hint of grain, harshness or compression. I guess that is to be partly expected, because the tape is a duplicate of the master.
It’s an extraordinary tape. Edward Pong has created these recordings from a love of the music and a trust in the medium that well & truly pays off.
Would I buy another of these tapes? Yes in a heart beat. They are expensive, so I will need to be sparing in my buys, and they would not be for everyday use, but if I want the best of the best, then tape goes to the top of my play list (at the moment).
Dean Kayser – July 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm
I own four of Ed’s recordings. Beautiful, spacious,lush, and quite life-like. Try one and hear for yourself. Call Ed if you have any questions…his passion and enthusiasm for his work is apparent
Neal Patrone – July 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm
I want to drag my deck to every audio event and club meeting I go to. Why? To blow the minds of as many audiophiles as I can. I will only need one tape and it will be from Edward Pong. And the tape will be recorded at 396 NanoWebers-per-meter for ultra analogue performance. This brings the performance to the listener. No appreciable noise and loads of headroom, simply SUPERB.
Jonathan Valin – June 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm
From TAS July/August 2013 “A chamber music lover’s dream come true, Edward Pong’s R2Rs of fine young musical talents (for example, Rostropovich Competition medalist Sietse-Jan Weijenberg’s Brahms Sonata No.1 is worthy of the late Janos Starker, one of his teachers) are Mercury-like in their presence”
John Spijkers – April 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm
“In April, I’ll be recording Xiang, cellist Sietse-Jan & pianist Li Wang in the Beethoven Ghost Trio, along with some other duos… I hope to have some great tapes for you after… ” If the live recital I attended last Saturday is an indication of what subscribers can expect, then I would say they are in for a treat.
Dean Kayser – April 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm
Using an Otari mx5050 deck with custom tube electronics. Really looking forward to,hearing your work!
You’re preaching to the choir! I fully expect to experience the full glory merely hinted at in your CD and presaged by the Xiang tape. I’ve been a reel-to-reel devotee for years now, but your efforts have impressed me the most: top-shelf musical performance coupled with uncompromisingly superb reproduction.
I am feeling much better, thank you. Perhaps your tape had something to do with it – just what the doctor ordered and better than a trip to Lourdes; music has a way of doing that!
I’m starting to get the notion you’re a kindred audio spirit.
I took your CD to work with me yesterday and set my player on Repeat mode. I grew so “tired” of it, I returned to work today and reprised the experience. Just a virtuoso performance of some of the most sublime music these ears have ever been exposed to. And, by the way, the recording itself is the best I’ve ever experienced in the digital domain as well – and that engenders all the
varieties of encoding, be they cd, sacd and even k2hd…. you name it!
When I played it yet again just an hour ago at home through my super system, my wife was equally wowed, remarking “what gorgeous music” and “great recording.”
Well, I think you get the idea, so lest you get a swelled head, I think I’ll just stop and thank you once again.
I’m just bursting with anticipation awaiting arrival of those tapes!
As I left for work this morning, my doorman announced to me that a package had just arrived, showed it to me, and I immediately recognized it as yours. I must confess, there was a temptation to “play hooky,” but I resisted and proceeded to go to work and torture myself all day with the knowledge of what lay awaiting my return home.
When I arrived home, I wolfed down dinner, and, FINALLY, started to listen….
What more could I possibly say about the Beethoven/Rachmaninoff/Chopin performance & sound than what I’ve already expressed? The only thing I would add is that my very high expectations were met….and then some. I am enamored of this recording!
As to the other goodies, I again thank you for the two extra cd’s; one will be added to my small but selective collection at work, the other for our car (we only have one – remember, we live in NYC, where garage spaces are less than plentiful).
And now to the final – and sonically, the best – that almost-jazzlike, modern classical-sounding Chinese cello piece. It reminds me, ever so vaguely, of a UHQR pressing on the Reference Recording label & mastered by Dr. Keith Johnson, an analogue recording of the Kronos Trio doing, of all things, a blues program. The recording per se was stunning and the program material worked beautifully, not gimmicky in the slightest.
I think your recording will have a similar appeal: It will blow audiophiles away with its stupendous sound (demo material for sure, and in spades!) and will appeal to those of us music lovers with truly eclectic tastes!
Now, what could you possibly do for an encore?
Regarding my musical preferences, let me just put it in the following context:
My wife and I are “foodies”; we frequent some of New York’s best restaurants, and when we return to a favorite spot we invariably order the chef’s tasting menu. It’s basically our way of saying, “We completely trust your ability, and anything you prepare will make us happy.”
So it is with you. You are the “chef,” and just about anything you whip up will satisfy.
That being said, I do have more than a passing preference for cello/piano, percussion and just about any chamber piece. Since I’ve already indicated my love of small-scale jazz groups, I won’t continue to beat that dead horse…..but if you ever change your mind…
I trust we’ll be speaking again soon.
Normally, I try to avoid hyperbole, because these days everything is characterized as the latest, the greatest, totally awesome (I’ve never come across anything merely “partially” awesome!) or amazing …. ad nauseum…
I played all three tapes last night, and I must say I’m having difficulty finding the right terms; surely those aforementioned are woefully inadequate. Even superlatives such as “breathtaking” and “ne plus ultra” fall short.
So let me just say these recordings, particularly the live performances, are the finest I’ve ever heard, and are of such a transcendent nature, in my humble opinion, will never be bested. The most anyone could possibly hope for (and this includes even you) is to equal them, and I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen any time soon. In short, the recordings were PERFECT…. not almost, but absolutely! I’ve never said that about any of my recordings or anyone else’s …. and just to think, you weren’t even sure they were good enough for publication!
Congratulations, and thank you, thank you, thank you!
Peter Kaufman – March 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm
As an addendum to my earlier writing, I failed to mention that all my remarks referred to UltraAnalogue tapes employing the 396 nW/m record level rather than the older and dynamically inferior – by some 4 dB – standard of 250 nW/m. This increase in recording level engenders several audible advantages, among which are a lowered noise floor, revealing more of music’s subtle harmonics and timbre, and a greater sense of “hearing into” the performance venue. It cannot be emphasized enough to point out this is a highly significant improvement, roughly akin to the added benefits of, say, going from 33 rpm to 45 rpm in an LP format, all things being equal. However, there really being no “free lunch,” a caveat is in order. If you’re using a truly professional deck (e.g., Studer, Nagra, Telefunken, et al.), you’re home free. On the other hand, if you have one of the “prosumer” recorders out there (e.g., Technics 1500, ReVox A77 or A700, et al.), be forewarned: their electronic stages are of older generation, early ’70′s solid state and will often overload and hideously distort during some of the hotter portions of 396 tapes and even some 250′s. The answer? Short of obtaining a full-blown professional deck, you can acquire an outboard tape preamp (repro), after having the deck’s tape head output hard-wired. As an example, I recently purchased a completely rebuilt and modified Technics 1506 retrofitted with a Flux Magnetics output head from J-Corder, then purchased Bottlehead’s top-of-the-line repro, and voilÃ : performance closely rivaling some of those vaunted professional decks! In closing, it should be mentioned that the Bottlehead unit is factory set at the 396 nW/m level and has handled everything thrown at it with utmost aplomb!
Peter Kaufman – March 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm
I have been an avid open reel devotee for over 35 years, and I must say your 15 ips 2-track tapes represent, by far the finest I’ve ever come across — and that would even include offerings from that wonderfully quixotic outfit, The Tape Project, as well as direct dubs from masters of some of the most highly acclaimed recordings of all time (sorry, I can’t divulge anymore on that subject.) I was particularly impressed with your recordings of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 and Rossini’s Duo for Cello & Double Bass – absolutely magnificent, palpably real sounding and musically inspired. If you come close to equaling these in the future, I will be ecstatic!
March 12, 2013
Received my 3 tapes this afternoon from Edward. All I can say this is the very start of my collection from Ultra Analogue. All three tapes are stunning in both content and production. Sound quality was beyond my expectation with beautiful natural sounding timbers that had goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck doing weird things
Emotional content in the performances was transferred with breathtaking clarity and dynamics that IMHO only comes from quality tape playback. Was thrilled to see these delivered to Australia in under two weeks from placing my order. Now to scrounge up some more cash for some more titles.
March 4, 2013
I got a chance to listen to the tape this weekend (as well as three others that I had ordered and one short selection that Ed sent as a bonus). Besides having the sense of total realism of the double bass and cello (and piano in the Gliere), the pieces are a lot of fun and not to be found in the standard or even unusual repertoire. We had the pleasure to hear a double bass live in our home last fall. Members of the San Francisco Symphony played the Schubert Trout Quintet which is one of the only popular chamber pieces (maybe the only one) that has a double bass. Ed has also recently (more recently than the double bass recording) released a recording of the Bach Cello Suite 6, with the very talented Sieste-Jan Weijenberg. I also got a magnificent recording of the Brahms Cello Sonata 1 with Sieste-Jan in this most recent order. I have not found a bad tape in the 10 or so that I have ordered from UltraAnalogue.
If your system can handle it, I would second Tony’s comments about ordering the high output recordings. Ed and Tony also prefer NAB EQ to CCIR which most folks are using for their 15ips 2 track releases (like Tape Project and Opus 3). Since my tape preamp does both NAB and CCIR, I did the NAB. I just have to remember to switch the EQ!
Feb 27, 2013
Hi Edward. Yes! It was my wife who signed for it. We share a post office zip code with another small town (Riverton).
I have listened to the tape three times this evening and all I can say is: OH MY! After the first listen, I thought I should stand up and brush the bow rosin from my clothes. The soundstage is so three dimensional, I feel as though I can get up and walk around each of the musicians. Bravo!! A stunning achievement! Kudos to you and your entire team at UltraAnalogue. I will be purchasing more of your offerings to be sure, and will look forward to new releases.
I am on the Board of Directors of a local symphony (Symphony in C, Rossen Milanov, Music Director), and we have a recording session this weekend to record a violin concerto by Moravec for the Naxos label. We are going to record it in our performance space (650 seat theatre with very good acoustics). However, this Rossini tape will be the standard by which I compare Naxos’ ability to capture the sound of a live orchestra in real space.
Brian Wheeler – February 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm
Wonderful collection of music. Will be back to buy some when the tape deck arrives.
Mike Thompson – February 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm
The Overall Sound:
The sound is very smooth and warm but with just the right amount of attack and definition. The low to mid range frequencies have an amazing amount of power and subtlety.
The Recording Process:
The microphone placing is well chosen allowing a beautiful spread and depth of sound and the ideal acoustic can be heard. The monitoring equipment used must be of a high standard to have produced such a well balanced recording.
The recording is of such a high quality and well produced that after a few minutes one just forgets it’s a recording and listens to the great music making; simply the best recording of this type of music I have heard.
Professional Recording Engineer
Chief Engineer and co-owner Wessex-Reed Studios, London, UK
As I was feeling a bit under the weather today, I decided to stay home. My spirits were immediately boosted when your tape arrived this morning.
I must tell you, this is one fabulous recording – a heartfelt performance of exquisite music, bathed in a natural and utterly open acoustic. This represents one of the very, very best open reels I’ve ever played through my system. I enjoyed it so much, I played it three times!
Also, thanks for the CD. Musically, I absolutely loved it, and considering it’s a mere CD, it also sounded wonderful, so much so, in fact, I’ve ordered all three tapes.
I only wish you were into jazz. Oh, well….
Unfortunately, most of my weekend was consumed with obligatory, pain-in-the-you-know-where stuff, so I had time to enjoy only two tapes, the Beethoven “Ghost” and the Mozart, both of which were – what shall we say? – DYNAMIC!!! Oh, my goodness, were they dynamic, absolutely stupendous, exhibiting effortless range – WOW – nay, DOUBLE WOW. I’d have to say both these recordings equalled the Rossini/Gliere in this respect. And of course, all other audio aspects were equally superlative, particularly timbre, which is of particular importance to me.
By the way, I was amazed by the interplay of the players and their highly apparent chemistry; it seemed they’d been performing together for years.
I hope to listen to the other two tapes sometime early this week, and after I’ve finished assimilating those, I’ll get back to you with further reflection.
Thanks, and congratulations again.
I put on the tape. Sounds exceptionally good. Extraordinary lows, the double bass and cello are muscular, bass is raspy and the cello melodic. The recordings have captured the timbre , detail & nuance’s of the instrument.
It’s an extraordinary recording, beautiful playing, all I can say is more thanks.
The only problem is the reel wobbles. So I might try & get a replacement.
I thought the CDs were good, but this is another level of fidelity. It appears the tape plays perfectly well on the upgraded deck.
Kudos To Ultra Analogue Recordings, Edward Pong and Tony Ky Ma
IMO one of the wonderful things about WBF is the diversity of our members and their roles in the industry. Two of our Canadian colleagues Edward Pong and Tony Ky Ma are such examples. Over the past few years Tony has offered up excellent advice in all things reel to reel as well as repair and modification of tape decks. The two have formed Ultra Analogue Recordings and have begun to offer up tape for sale.
I received a brief tape sampler from Ed Pong a few days ago along with a CD for my listening pleasure. Boy was I astounded by what I heard. The tape contained the following…
1. Mozart Duo In G Major, K423, Handel-Halvorsen-Passacaglia
2. The Chaccones, Vitali-Bach, Monti-Czardas
3. Debussy-Claire de Lune
The CD which was DSD transfer contained the following…..
Beethoven Ghost Trio,Opus 70 No 2-Allegetto
Mozart Duo In G
Claire De Lune
The first thing that struck me was the dynamics of the tape recording and just how well it sounded. Ed Pong gives the following explanation,
These master tape duplicates are recorded on RMG SM900 tape at +4 dB above 250 nWb/m. which equals 396 nWb/m. This will give you the most realistic dynamic range and best S/N ratio possible. The output level of your tape deck must be adjustable and needs to be calibrated to this level to realize the best playback of these tapes. I have recorded a 30 sec track of 1 kHz tone behind the leader to help you calibrate your tape machine. Use this to set the output level of your tape deck to show 0 VU.Tapeproject tapes are recorded at 250 nW/m so have 4 db less range..Since the tapes they are duplicating are older, likely those masters were recorded at 185-250 nW/m.
The group performing much of the music was put together by Ed. They were truly superb. According to Ed, these are young musicians who he knows & met a few years ago….the violinist Xiang Yu was the Menuhin winner in Oslo Norway 2 years ago…he has a Boston Symphony debut in March 2014. He met the cellist Sietse-jan Weijenberg in Paris at the Rostropovich competition a few years ago. This was the 1st time he got them both together & they hit it off right away….the Passacaglia is special for him as he waited 2 years to get them together for that…
This is one remarkable tape. I kept playing it over and over before I listened to the Cd which was derived from DSD source. This contained some of the music from the tape and it too was exceptional.
I want to give a big shout out to Ed Pong and Tony Ky Ma in their endeavor to bring us closer to the music and I must say that this was as good or better than anything I have previously heard.
For those looking for the best sound possible have a look to buy at www.ultraanaloguerecordings.com
I must admit that what I heard was better than any Tape Project Tape I have.
Another Huge Shout Out To Edward Pong and Ultra Analogue Recordings
A few weeks ago I posted a thread here http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth…l=1#post209072 regarding a compilation of classical music recorded by Ultra Analogue Recordings’ Dr Edward Pong. Those who know me know I’m am somewhat illiterate to the complexities of classical music but always love to listen to it if it is chosen for me. I received 5 full tapes last week from Edward to try to get me immersed. Boy did he ever. The tapes came last week but as luck would have it my mother-in-law was here and only just left. As a result these 5 reels were sitting in my sound room literally unopened until yesterday. First impression….WOW
If I thought the last reel I posted on was so well recorded these 5 were truly special. The dynamics are so powerful that it makes me feel I am but a few feet in front of the stage. The timber of the cello and violin was staggering. The piano sounded magnificent. This was as real as it gets. The tapes are well recorded and Ed uses SM 900 tape and hence the dynamic range
From what I understand Ed also does all of his own miking and recording direct to his Studer A80. The mikes have been modified by our own Tony Ky Ma as well as Edward’s electronics. Hence the incredible recordings.
I am also of the impression that most if not all these performances were staged at Edward’s home and it must be an honor to have been invited to these performances. I have seen photos of some of the productions and they are as professional as they get.
Edward seems to live and breathe classical music and is one of the most knowledgeable individuals I have ever met regarding classical music.
Here is a list of the tapes I received and for those into classical and R2R format I can promise you that this is as real as it gets
1. Rossini Duo For Cello Double Bass in D, Allegro-Andante molto-Allegro
Gliere Four Pieces Praludium-Scherzo-Intermezzo-Tarantella
Performers Rachel Mercer, Jeffrey Beecher and Vanessa Lee
2. The Chaccones
Vitali-in G minor
Bach in D minor
3. Mozart Duo in G major, K.423
Debussy-Claire de Lune
4. Bach Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor BWV 1008
Beethoven-Seven Variations on “Bei Mannern”
5. Beethoven Piano Trio No.4, Op.70 No.1 (Ghost)
Allegro vivace e con brio
Largo assai ed espressivo
Beethoven Piano Trio No.5,Op.70 No.2-Allegretto
I had never heard of or was familiar with any of these other than Claire de Lune. I went to school on Edward’s putt taking his advice on what to listen to and it was quite an experience. I listened to each tape twice and each time my jaws were wide open. These are amazing tapes, well recorded and for those who love classical music and looking for some new music I would definitely give an enthousiastic thumbs’ up to Edward Pong and his Ultra Analogue Recordings.
Bravo to UltraAnalog Recordings
I ordered 3 tapes from Ed Pong’s UltraAnalog Recordings and received them today and have just finished listening to them.
I really enjoyed them and just ordered 3 more.
I find them very much like live music in a small venue, where you don’t get that pin-point type of imaging, but instead wonderful tone and intimacy and a sense of involvement and emotion and a more slightly diffuse presentation like reality. I feel I’m connected to the music. The performers seem to be present with me in the same space.
in my large listening room the music bloomed to fill the space nicely in depth, width and height, yet the scale was realistic. just a comfortable presentation for me.
2 mics, no compression, just truth.
different in a fresh way from typical recordings. Very non-hifi and unfiltered.
i’m not qualified to judge the playing technically, or the quality of interpretation, but I felt connected to the music so that is what mattered to me. I felt uplifted by the music and played each tape a couple of times…..each listening has caused me to dig deeper into the music. I expect to play these often.
the recordings have very low noise, really black backgrounds……and a very smooth extended top end and overall balance thru my Studer A-820 with direct head output to my King Cello output electronics. Tony Ma’s wonderful tube circuits seems to work the appropriate magic with the music and capture the essence of the music.
Bravo to Ed, Tony and the performers.
the three tapes I’ve just listened to are;
The Chaccones; Vitali, Bach, and Monti.
Beethoven Piano Trio No.4, Op.70 No.1 (Ghost), Trio No.5, Opus70 No.2
Mozart Duo in G major, K.423, Handel-Halvorsen-Passacaglia, Debussey-Claire de Lune
i’m a big fan of Chamber Music and listen often to String Quartets and other small ensemble classical music both on Vinyl and dsd downloads. I have developed a taste for it over time and so these recordings are feeding an appetite that is important to me. I have some large orchestral tapes but nothing like this. I call this ‘Sunday Morning Music’ since it brings that relaxed positive vibe to my day when I play it and something essential I cannot define.
highly recommended for a fan of this type music or someone wanting to broaden their musical horizons.
Nguyen – November 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm
I had two recording tapes of you. Perfect sound, really ultra analogue recordings. Please let me know when you have the new recording of Soo Bae cellist.
John – November 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm
After all these years describing this and that component or record with pompous words, finally ! I’m here, stunned, a real size instrument in front of me, in a real hall with a soul. Thinking brain disconnected, just listening. Great thanks for all your efforts. Wish you a long trip !
Paul Hudspith – October 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm
I recently had the opportunity to hear a number of the UltraAnalogue tapes. Wow! I loved the experience! I am a cellist and an audiophile. I really appreciate great music. All of the audiophile attributes are there: large realistic soundstage, extraordinary dynamics, very accurate timbre, etc. But what is really wonderful is the ability of the music to draw the listener into the performance. I found myself in a dreamlike state thinking about the passion of the performers and the intentions of the composers. Just like what happens at a really special live performance. Highly recommended!
Larry – October 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm
I bought 7 of Ed’s tapes. They combine a truly realistic sound with great musicality of young, very talented artists. Extremely impressed with the violin tapes of Xiang Yu. I am also a charter subscriber to the Tape Project and have all the Yarlung Tapes. Very impressive addition source of those of us who are 15ips 2 track addicts.
Sept 12, 2012
I have recently purchased several tapes from UltraAnalogue (ultraanaloguerecordings.com), based near Toronto. Ed Pong records young talented artists in his home studio with all tube equipment and sells copies of the master tapes. Ed shared with me pictures of his home and the area where he hosts concerts. Very nice. The releases are all classical chamber music all recorded within the past couple of years and so far, I have been very pleased with both the sonic and artistic quality. He prefers NAB EQ (but will do CCIR if you want) and uses Studer recorders with tube electronics built by Tony Ma. Prices per reel ($200 or so) are somewhat more expensive than TP tapes and you get artists that Ed has found – mostly prize winners at international competitions. Ed copies the tapes to order, and was very fast with my initial order, less than a week. So far he has a set of the Bach Cello Suites by Winona Zelenka, two violin recitals by Xiang Yu and three cello sonatas (Beethoven, Brahms and Rachmaninoff) and one cello recital by Seiste-Jan Weijenberg. So far I have 1 of the Bach Suites and all of the other albums except the Brahms which has just been released. I think the violin sound is the very best I have heard on a recording. The Meditation from Thais by Massenet is one of my favorite pieces and it is on both violin recital albums in different performances. The sound is as close to that which I heard when we had a professional violinist play it in our home for my 60th birthday. The violin sound is quite a bit better than the violin recital on Yarlung Recordings tape that I wrote about in another thread. To be sure you are not getting the Decca and Reference Recordings superstars that are on the TP tapes.
Harry – September 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm
Best tape source for classical music. Sound and performance, both are great. Service is also no comparison to others. Ed, please keep the project going and we all look forward for future issues. All the best to you and your group.
Bruce Asam – September 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm
The sound of your tapes puts you in the room with the performance, with the instruments. I can close my eyes and the speakers, amps and deck disappear. You can “see” every note, every bow stroke, every nuance. I can’t imagine getting a “closer to the performance” recording.
Morgan – September 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm
I was stunned by the openness and clarity from UltraAlanlogue comparing to other current companies offering tapes on the 2-track 15 ips format. At 396 nW/m on NAB is like listening a 45 rpm to a 33 1/3 rpm LP. Of course the dynamics on the 396 will push most tape machines to the limit. Itâ€™s getting closer to 30 ips but not the 30 ips relax clarity, smoothness and fullness. But 396 are the apex on the 15 ips. I think you made a great choice to go with 396. The Beethoven cello sonata #3 and the Encores by Xiang on violin are good choices to start sampling the catalog.
Lawrence DeRose – April 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm
If you can recreate steller analog open reel tapes of accomplished performers at a reasonable price considering your overhead, then The Tape Project people should go out of business. Cruel? Too bad! $350+ pricing for a tape is a rip in anyones eyes. (Accept the rich). Good luck & expand your inventory & Don’t forget to ADVERTISE in TAS & Stereophile.
Alex – April 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm
I have number of modern 15ips 2 track tapes. All of them are great, but Ultra analogue recording of Beethoven cello sonata #3 Â Is the one that set a standard. The recording is simply amazing capture of the real event in the real physical space. It not a perfected studio (or synthetic digital ) environment, but amazing capture or the real performance. Btw CD also is very nice, looks like recorded analogue and after that transferred to digital with great care.Â Looking forward to get a new tapes! Thank you Edward and Tony !
Roger – January 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm
Sensational amount of love, dedication and experience went into the design of the electronics for the Studer. No wonder the audio is outstanding!
danny – December 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm
Absolutely the best that I have heard.Good work Ed
Peter – November 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm
I have the first tape now. The music is really fantastic! The songs, the musicians and the recording. There is so much on the tape. It is definitely my reference now! You hold what you promise!
Bobby Cochran – October 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm
Jack Elliano is BRILLIANT! If you are using ANY gear he built or designed, it GOTTA be great! Beautiful pics!
Jeff – September 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm
Your passion for music and quality sound is reflected in the recordings. Good job Ed !
chu – September 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm
The best sound of my collection. Looking forward more tapes from you. Thank you so much ED.
Jeewon – September 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Great site! And what a sound! Looking forward to hearing more projects.
Allan – September 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Can’t wait to hear these tapes again. Listening to the commerical pre-recorded tapes now is so unsatisfying. Thanks Ed, for your passion and sharing of these unique resordings.
Ron – September 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Great website and a great recording concept!! I look forward to hearing the tapes!!