The Number White by jazz singer Jacqui Naylor.’ border=’1′> The Tape Project’s inaugural release is The Number White by jazz singer Jacqui Naylor.San Francisco, CA (November 15, 2007)–As reported in Pro Sound News (July 2007), Paul Stubblebine Mastering and valve electronics experts Bottlehead Corp. have introduced The Tape Project, a new label and music delivery format. The Tape Project is presenting a series of analog releases on reel-to-reel tape that aims to offer an analog listening experience that comes as close as possible to that of hearing the original master tape.
Slated for 10 releases per year and sold primarily on a subscription basis, the 15 ips half-track stereo, reel-to-reel recordings encompass a range of musical styles, the first of which include classical, jazz, blues, Americana and roots music. The company is recommending tape machines and specifications for playback, as well as offering its own specially modified tape decks with custom valve components from Bottlehead Corp.
“The only two requirements for the music that we release are that the master must exist on analog tape and that the music be great,” says Stubblebine, who founded the company with mastering engineer Michael Romanowski and Bottlehead Corp owner Dan Schmalle. “That it be music that moves the listener. That it be music that can stand the test of time, and continue to bring satisfaction for years.”
The company has secured the rights to release a variety of extraordinary recordings. The first 10 titles are:
1) The Number White by jazz singer Jacqui Naylor
2) Dave Alvin’s Blackjack David
3) Arnold Overtures, original music by Malcolm Arnold with the London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded by Grammy-winning engineer and audiophile equipment designer Keith Johnson
4) The album that established Robert Cray as a strong new voice in the blues, False Accusations
5) Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos with the New Philharmonia Orchestra performing Albeniz – Suite Espanola
6) David Oistrakh and the London Symphony Orchestra with music by Bruch and Hindemith
7) Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra performing Exotic Dances from the Opera (Saint-Saëns, Strauss, Rabaud)
8) Bill Evans Waltz for Debby live at the Village Vanguard in 1961
9) Mose Allison in 1959’s Creek Bank, engineered by Rudy Van Gelder
10) The incomparable Sonny Rollins in Saxophone Colossus
There are two tiers of subscription costs for The Tape Project: $1,200 US for a selection of six of the ten releases per year, or charter subscriptions of $2,000 US per year to get all 10 releases. Each album will also be sold individually for $329 US to non-subscribers. Each tape release comes in a custom-designed box with full-size color artwork and custom tape flanges inscribed with serial numbers for charter subscribers.
Michael Romanowski, revealing the tech behind the analog says, “We have assembled the highest-quality duplicating system that has ever been attempted. The result, for those with ears to hear, is the most involving and satisfying experience that has ever come from reproduced music. I work with master tapes everyday, and these releases are sonically everything that a master tape has to offer. And now listeners get to have this experience in their own home.”
Noting specifics about the playback systems, Dan Schmalle adds, “In order to play these tapes correctly, a machine must meet the following requirements: It must play 15 ips half-track stereo, and must be set to the IEC curve–formerly known as the CCIR curve. There are many machines that meet these specs, but many that don’t. We have looked at the various machines made for home use and decided to adapt the Technics RS1500 family.” The company offers an on-line database of tape machines that meet the requirements.
The tape machines offered by The Tape Project, approximately $7,500 US each, are supplied with a custom playback head designed by Flux Magnetics. Schmalle asked Flux Magnetics to design a head strictly optimized for 15 ips, with no compromise for other speeds.
The playback head is mated with the latest generation playback electronics, developed by Paul Joppa and Dan Schmalle of Bottlehead Corp. exclusively for The Tape Project. There is an optional wireless remote control for the Technics RS1500 offered by The Tape Project.
The company has started an online forum for customers to request albums they would like to own at
The Tape Project
Paul Stubblebine Mastering