Responding to what it calls a phoenix-like rise in demand for quarter inch tapes, high-end audio brand Thorens has announced a new reel-to-reel developed with Germany's Ballfinger. The TM 1600 will make its public debut at the High End Show in Munich next month.
Though streaming and digital formats continue to rule the music consumption roost, vinyl records have seen continued growth over the last few years, signaling that today's listener still craves analog warmth and high quality. For some music lovers, getting access to master tape copies is the only way to fly.
And it's these listeners that Thorens is aiming to please with its upcoming TM 1600 reel-to-reel tape machine. Available in high gloss black or walnut finishes, the device has been designed to play half track quarter inch tape.
Thorens says that to keep the TM 1600 as compact as possible, the tape path geometry was totally redesigned, meaning that the sensors are not located below the reels as you might expect but above the heads. And though it's been developed for desktop operation, it can be wall-mounted too.
There are three direct drive motors with tension controls for the reels. The capstan motor is described as an "ironless bell-shaped rotor motor" while the reel motors shape up as electronically-commuted disc motors which use hall sensor feedback to detect rotor angle. Thorens is promising enormous torque and quiet running.
The TM 1600 will go on sale from mid-2020, starting with a hundred numbered special editions for €11,999 (about US$13,500). The reel-to-reel will be joined in Munich by a number of upcoming turntables from the company.
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