Category Archives: Open reel tape reviews & ramblings

“Mike Valentine is to blame”: falling in love again or how I came to be a reel-to-reel rambler

In my previous ramble I introduced you to Mike Valentine. Then again, chances are you knew of him already. To some, he’s a renowned underwater film cameraman credited on an enviable list of A-list movies. To others, he’s the owner of the excellent UK audiophile record label, Chasing the Dragon, with quite a reputation for his stunning quality direct-cut vinyl albums. To me, however, he will always be the man who is to blame. Or, to put it another way, the man to whom I shall be eternally grateful. For what? For my near-religious conversion to open reel tape and the enormous amount of listening pleasure I’ve enjoyed since. Can I tell you the story? Go on, indulge me….

Continue reading “Mike Valentine is to blame”: falling in love again or how I came to be a reel-to-reel rambler

Open reel tape versus direct-cut vinyl: two versions of Chasing the Dragon’s superb ‘A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald’ go head to head

Audiophile record label Chasing the Dragon has been causing quite a stir with its superb quality direct-cut vinyl albums. Earlier this year, the label also began to release master tape versions of those albums, taken from simultaneous recordings of the exact same live studio performances. As a lover of both vinyl and tape, I couldn’t wait to compare them – providing the perfect excuse for another reel-to-reel ramble….
Continue reading Open reel tape versus direct-cut vinyl: two versions of Chasing the Dragon’s superb ‘A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald’ go head to head

“Staggering”. David Denyer is blown away by Open Reel Records’ recording of Eduard Kunz on master tape: “the greatest pianist I’d never heard of”

Eduard Kunz: Sonatas
Beethoven Piano Sonata in C Major No.21 Op.53 ‘Waldstein’, plus Brahms Piano Sonata No. 3 in F Minor Op.5
Open Reel Records

Eduard Kunz – Sonatas – Open Reel Records

They don’t call me the ‘rambling reviewer’ for nothing and this, dear reader, will be no exception. But stick with me and you may well be handsomely rewarded, because there is a point to my ramblings and we will, I promise you, get to it. Continue reading “Staggering”. David Denyer is blown away by Open Reel Records’ recording of Eduard Kunz on master tape: “the greatest pianist I’d never heard of”

Reel-to-reel review: Greetje Kauffeld & Band – ‘On My Way To The 30th Analog Forum Anniversary’ from STS Digital

Don’t let the name of Dutch high-end recording label STS Digital confuse you. Yes, they’re called ‘Digital’ but even so, they produce vinyl records and reel-to-reel tapes as well as CDs.

While we’re in clarification mode, let’s start with a brief explanation of the name of this particular album, which is also a tad unusual. The Analog Forum is a real event, an annual get-together of the Analogue Audio Association (AAA) held in Krefeld, north-west Germany. (And yes, it’s ‘Analogue Association’ but ‘Analog Forum’, apparently).

Still with me? Great. So now cast your mind back, if you will, to 2015, when the members of the Association were enjoying their 29th Forum. No doubt over a glass of wine or two, the question of how to commemorate the following year’s 30th anniversary Forum was raised. Naturally, given the business at hand, the idea of a music release was mooted and so the wheels started turning and they kept on turning until the outcome was an album: titled (you guessed it) ‘On My Way To The 30th Analog Forum Anniversary’….  Continue reading Reel-to-reel review: Greetje Kauffeld & Band – ‘On My Way To The 30th Analog Forum Anniversary’ from STS Digital

Occasional ‘rambling reviewer’ David Denyer listens to Erica Opizzi’s ‘Wildwood Flower’ from Open Reel Records

I hadn’t had the pleasure of hearing a full album from Erica Opizzi before sitting down to review this recording on 15-ips two-track reel-to-reel tape. But since hearing a couple of her sample tracks on an anthology some months back, I was keen to discover more.

Continue reading Occasional ‘rambling reviewer’ David Denyer listens to Erica Opizzi’s ‘Wildwood Flower’ from Open Reel Records

Talking tape: ‘Thelonious Monk Live in Milan’ from Open Reel Records

As an audiophile, your love of music is almost matched by your passion for great sound and so sometimes you come across a recording that leaves you cold musically, but involves such hi-fidelity recording wizardry and a sound so divine, you just have to have it. More often, you discover a piece of music that lights up your soul but on a technical level the recording’s a tad lacking. It’s pretty rare to lay your hands on something that scores a full ten out of ten on both counts but when you do, you get a bit excited. I did and I am.

Continue reading Talking tape: ‘Thelonious Monk Live in Milan’ from Open Reel Records