The sound coming from the row of vintage Technics, and Panasonic tape decks was stopping just about everyone in their tracks as they walked down the 11th-floor hall, and peering into the packed J-Corder demo room at Rocky Mountain Audio Festival this past weekend.
Jeff Jacobs is an old hand in the hifi business having spent the better part of 40 years as an authorized dealer, and technician for the likes of Technics, Pioneer, Marantz, Sony – Bang and Olufsen – you get the picture. He also loves restoring vintage automobiles, so it was a natural move for Jacobs to turn his restoration genius to the big analog tape decks that once ruled the audiophile world 30-40 years ago, and start J-Corder.
He now takes long neglected reel-to-reel decks that are in various stages of disrepair, and basically does a ‘frame-off’ restoration of them. I’m here to tell you, to my eyes these decks look better now than they ever possibly could have when they were brand new. The attention to detail, and fit, and finish is eye-watering in its execution, and perfection.
Running a number of them through a Technics Stereo Power Amplifier SE-R1, and C2000 pre-amplifier that were feeding the big Technics Reference-class SB-R1 loudspeakers, the sound was incredibly life-like, with insane amounts of sparkle, and air around cymbals, high-hat, and massive, hall-like decay on piano notes. Listening to the huge sound stage, and pinpoint voice, and instrument imaging was breathtaking, not to mention the spot-on tone, and timbre, and the absolutely otherworldly sense that you are in the studio during the recording process. This is spooky-good sound, and with the right material, that is well-recorded it will give you goose bumps every time you thread up the big spools of analog time travel.