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Author Topic: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp  (Read 9508 times)

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Offline musicmanbob

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Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« on: April 27, 2012, 05:07:46 am »
Good morning all and than you for accepting me to this great forum of enthusiasts. I am totally new here so be gentle. I want to know more about the Foreplay tapehead preamps and how one would work with my Tascam 32-2B reel to reel tape deck. I will be having a tech bypass the deck's internal electronics and run cables directly from the tape playback head. Since I can't afford to purchase the newest Bottlehead preamp, I will be looking to purchase a used earlier model tape head pre amp on Ebay or Audiogon. I would like to know more about how the pre amp works and sounds. Also, are users modding them? Thanks for all your feedback.

Robert

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 05:14:23 am »
Robert,

The tape head preamps are built from the Bottlehead phono preamps.  They have the gain needed.  They are Seduction and Eros.

Like a phono stage a tape head preamp needs the proper equalization.  That is one of the reasons for the two active Voltage Amplifiers.  But that being said the old FP and FP 2 have two tubes and could be (heavily) modified to give you the proper equalization, well, maybe. 

Offline musicmanbob

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 06:12:44 am »
Hello Mr. Morrison and thank you so much for getting back to me. Thank you for the information provided. I do appreciate sir. I had heard of the "Foreplay" pre amps a year or so ago but did not look at any specifics at that time. However, now that I am looking to purchase a used pre amp to use with my Tascam deck, I want to know what to look for. By the way, my Tascam is switchable between NAB and IEC settings. Since I plan to purchase a used tape head pre amp I want to learn as much as I can.

I understand there is a "Foreplay 2 & 3". And then I understand there is an upgrade kit for these units. I also understand there is the latest unit referred to as "Eros" which can be purchased in kit form which I cannot afford now after relocating from Maryland to Georgia. Plus, I would rather purchase used earlier model Bottlehead unit from someone who is looking to move up to the Eros model. I am sure there is a huge difference in technology and audio quality.

My Tascam is still at the Tech Shop waiting for my pickup. I am quickly trying to come up to speed regarding the quality, electronic and audio, of the earlier Bottlehead pre amps. I am sure there are even differences between the Foreplay 2 and 3. Was there ever a model 1? I'd love to know as much as possible about the Foreplay 2 and 3 models from anyone who has or are presently using them. 

Robert
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 06:29:33 am by musicmanbob »

Offline galyons

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 06:29:00 am »
When you run the signal out directly from the heads, bypassing the internal head amp, you will lose the equalization.  The equalization is part of the electronics.  It is highly unlikely that you will have enough output from the heads to drive a Foreplay, (preamp gain about 10db) without a head amp.  You need an actual head amp to raise the signal to line level. This will generally require about 40db +/-.  The head amp would have the required equalization circuit(s).

I have a Seduction tape head driven directly off the heads of an Otari Mx5050 MkIII-2.  The gain from the Seduction is borderline at about 40db with my current preamp of 14db gain.  I really need another 3-6db gain for ideal levels. But that said, the Seduction is such a huge improvement over the the stock SS electronics a little tube rush can be ignored!

Cheers,
Geary
VPI TNT IV/JMW12.7i/FR1 MkII Soundsmith retip >Eros TH+ Otari MX5050 IIIB2 > Eros + ANK Dac2.1 + Smash^Up >Paramount 300B 7N7 > EV Sentry IV-A

Crack 7N7 > Sennheiser HD650 & AKG K240 Sextetts

Thorens TD124/Ortofon RMG-212/SPU >Seduction > Foreplay 3X/> Paramour 45 MQ >K12's

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 06:40:35 am »
Bob,

You have most of the information right.  All of the Foreplay preamps are line stages, i.e. no equalization and less gain than the Phono stages.  There was a Foreplay, no number.  Then the Foreplay 2 with a different transformer.  The Foreplay III is a serious upgrade from the basic Foreplay and the FP 2.  The "Extended" kit is the upgrade for the current FP III.  The product page will lead you to descriptions of all current pieces:

http://www.bottlehead.com/store.php

The current Seduction and Eros are phono preamps, that is preamplification for the low signal level and equalization, RIAA EQ.  There are current Seduction and Eros kits.  That means that Eros is not really the same kind of device as the three FP preamps.  The Eros kit is sold as a tape head preamp kit and a Phono preamp kit.  The Seduction kit can be modified for tape head preamp duty.  Look in the Seduction folder in the forum and you will find the link to modifications.  The Eros tape head preamp has a switch for NAB and IEC equalizations.  The Seduction is not a kit so you can also make it switchable between NAB and IEC.  

Then there is the Tube Repro that is a dedicated tape head preamp and is available for $4,000, built only, no kit.  That is pretty much out of my range, it is a professional piece.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 07:01:34 am by Grainger49 »

Offline musicmanbob

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 07:23:16 am »
Hello again Grainger,

This is not only great info you provide, but, clear and concise as well. Obviously, the tape only (Tape Repro) is out of both our reach financially. Plus, as I am just getting into use of a pre amp with my Tascam I want to get a pre amp that is financially within my reach and that has already been prepared to accept feed from the tape playback head. From what I've learned from you this day, the Foreplay pre's are/were developed for phono playback only. Presently I have a VPI TT and Jolida (JD-9) tube phono pre amp which is excellent. So, my primary concern right now is to purchase a pre amp that is setup for feed from tape heads. It would appear then, that the earlier Bottlehead pre amps had to be modified to accept signals from tape heads. Is that correct sir? If this is the case, I must be careful when I purchase a Bottlehead to make sure it's already prepared for tapehead use. You've been wonderful providing this info sir.

Bob Williams

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 07:32:33 am »
Bob,

We got switched somewhere.  The Foreplay line is a line stage, no EQ and much lower gain than you need.  The Phono stages can be converted to an NAB /IEC tape head preamp.  There are only the two available for mortals.  The Seduction, described by Geary, will most likely make you happy. 

I haven't seen a tape Seduction for sale, you might have to get the tech to convert it if you don't "sling solder."  Here is the link to conversion instructions:

http://www.bottlehead.com/et/adobespc/Seduction/bottleheadtapeheadpreamp.htm

Offline musicmanbob

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 07:51:08 am »
Hello sir,

I take it from your last post, the two (2) Foreplay 2 and 3 can be converted to work with an IEC tape head. Is that correct? Then, there is the Seduction which would also have to be converted, if not by me, then by Bottlehead to a new unit? As you've said, I have not seen a Seduction for sale, but have seen Foreplay 2 & 3 units from time to time, but I did not pay attention to whether they were modified to play NAB/IEC tapes. Based on what I've learned, I should be looking for a Foreplay 2 or 3 that has been modified to accept a signal from tape heads. You've been wonderful Grainger49.

bob

Offline galyons

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 08:09:31 am »
I take it from your last post, the two (2) Foreplay 2 and 3 can be converted to work with an IEC tape head. Is that correct?
In theory yes, but in a practical application, no.  The Foreplay is a line stage/preamp.  It does not have sufficient gain to push  the low level tape head signal to the power amplifier.  This is no different from a phono stage, requiring similar gain, but different equalization.

Then, there is the Seduction which would also have to be converted, if not by me, then by Bottlehead to a new unit?
That is correct. The change is pretty simple and defined here:
http://www.bottlehead.com/et/adobespc/Seduction/bottleheadtapeheadpreamp.htm

 
As you've said, I have not seen a Seduction for sale...

May still be available?
http://www.bottlehead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1324.0.html


Based on what I've learned, I should be looking for a Foreplay 2 or 3 that has been modified to accept a signal from tape heads.

No, that is not correct.  You want a Seduction modified as a tape head.


You've been wonderful Grainger49.

Well, yes,  we can all agree on this one!

Cheers,
Geary








VPI TNT IV/JMW12.7i/FR1 MkII Soundsmith retip >Eros TH+ Otari MX5050 IIIB2 > Eros + ANK Dac2.1 + Smash^Up >Paramount 300B 7N7 > EV Sentry IV-A

Crack 7N7 > Sennheiser HD650 & AKG K240 Sextetts

Thorens TD124/Ortofon RMG-212/SPU >Seduction > Foreplay 3X/> Paramour 45 MQ >K12's

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 09:03:14 am »
Foreplay has nothing to do with tape.

Seduction can be converted to tape playback equalization. We sold a very few of these as assembled preamps when we started into the whole tape thing. We no longer offer them, it's strictly a DIY project. A standard phono only Seduction with the C4S upgrade can be converted by a competent DIYer. There can be issues with not quite enough gain with some playback heads. I do not know if the Tascam head falls into this category.

Eros is available in a tape playback version. In my opinion this is the best choice.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline musicmanbob

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Re: Forplay Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 09:55:30 am »
Geary, you have been most gracious in taking the time to get me to the right information. I finally get the message you have been trying to convey over several posts. I cannot thank you enough sir. And thank you Doc for your input. I guess I will have to wait until I can save up funds for Eros. I am not sure if there will be problems with a Seduction ( tapehead modified) driving the output of my Tascam, though I would not think so if the Seduction can drive the Technics 1500 series or other prosumer decks. By the way, when played through my Classe DR-5 pre amp I get all the signal volume I can stand. Thank you so much guys.

bob williams

Offline musicmanbob

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Re: SEDUCTION (modified) Reel to Reel Playback PreAmp
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2012, 09:32:28 am »
Hello again,

Thanks so much for the great help I've gotten here regarding very badly needed information on a tape head pre amp. I am now aware that I will need to look for a Seduction Pre Amp that has been modified to accept a signal from my Tascam 32-3B reel to reel tape deck. I've got to say, the Seduction looks like a very substantial and well thought out instrument. I liken it to a musical instrument and look forward to hearing one in my music system for myself.

 I will wait to see if another Seduction (tapehead modified) comes up for sale. Someone may just be ready to move up to the mighty Eros musical instrument. Thanks all very, very much and everyone have a great upcoming week and weekend.

bob williams
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:08:43 am by musicmanbob »