Most Coveted Paul: I have next to nothing to play on a UHA deck, have no idea where I’d put it, and the price of quality blank 1/4” reel tape is scary by itself. But I still want one. Bad.
Scot: I got a few weeks to play with the entry-level UHA Phase tape deck and a handful of tapes, courtesy of tape evangelist Greg Beron. To be fair (to Greg), I’ve been arguing against the (apparent) absurdity of going back to tape for years. And for years, Greg has been wearing me down with demo after demo of his now-famous after-hours tape sessions at an audio show near you.
He was right; I was wrong.
With the right tapes, this is the best-sounding source available in high-end audio today. I may actually go get another job just to be able to save up for one of his magnificent machines.
Why Buy a UHA Open Reel Tape Deck?
1.) New UHA playback and record preamp design:
The latest state of the art 2015 design featuring the following innovations.
- Hyper pure thick copper preamp boards with silver solder points.
- Most direct signal paths possible with no muting circuits or lesser connections from tape heads to output connectors.
- No capacitors in the signal path. This revolutionary design takes care of the DC offset and does not amplify
any DC from one gain stage to the next. This avoids the sonic signature and negative influence of capacitors in the signal path.
- The finest electronic parts available all chosen to compliment the dense information contained in magnetic tape.
2.) Tape heads:
- The new UHA custom tape heads were chosen after a long search for the best sounding tape head in the world.
The heads both record and playback are made only for UHA and the new preamps record and play are designed only for the UHA tape head.
It stands to reason that using a generic tape "head amp" that is designed to be used with all types of tape heads is not the equal of a purpose built tape head and it's matching purpose built preamp.
3.) Internal wiring and connectors:
The internal wiring is a mix of new old stock wire and Synergistic Research wire. Each wire chosen for it's sonic qualities
in the circuitry. This has been a long trial and lots of research to come up with the proper wire for each area of the deck.
Cardas XLR's are used on all decks and on the higher end decks WBT Next-Gen RCA connectors are used.
4.) Power supply:
On the Phase11 and Phase12 a new power transformer is installed inside the deck to run the preamps only.
This is a high quality device that was chosen for it's sonic purity. Also each gain stage has it's own power filtering caps for
both the positive and negative, this delivers perfect power to the preamp.
5.) Tape path:
Conventional wisdom in reel to reel tape decks dictates that one should buy a 40 to 60 year old studio deck.
That is like buying a 40 to 60 year old car and driving the 2015 Formula 1 circuit in it.
Do you think you would win?
These old decks have large AC motors in them that create more magnetic flux than what typically adheres to well used tape heads!
The motors cost lots of money and just to change the bearings on a deck's motors can cost $800.
The tape path of the UHA deck (built until 2002) uses reliable compact DC motors, they are quiet very speed
stable and most important, they are reliable.
UHA has never had a motor go bad on a deck yet!
Servo tape tension control arms and computer logic tape control result in zero error tape handling, a UHA deck has never harmed a tape.
Some of the older decks have "E prompts" that control the tape path operation and these prompts can be lost and need to be reloaded, not good!
Compact and weighing 70 lbs makes the UHA deck able to be moved by one person, studio decks weigh 200lbs (+/-).
Older studio decks will do 3.75, 7.5,15 and 30 inch per second playback and record in NAB, IEC and AES equalization!
That is a literal birds nest of wiring and electronic circuitry, it degrades the signal path.
The attention to detail on the UHA decks did not end with award winning playback.
The same attention to detail and innovation has been invested in the recording capability of the UHA decks.
Ultra clean signal path, finest preamp boards and electronic circuitry internal wiring and connectors are all UHA extreme quality.
The result are recordings that are extremly revealing detailed and that convey the excitment of the original source!
New! March 2015
UHA's latest award!
The United Home Audio Tape Decks win an
"EDITORS CHOICE AWARD 2015"
The Absolute Sound
March 2015 Issue #251
United Home Audio UHA-HQ Phase12 OPS Tape Deck
Given a truly high quality tape, the UHA-HQ Phase12 is simply the highest fidelity source component JV has heard:
phenomenal bass, matchless dynamics, unrivaled resolution, astonishing transient speed, and simply gorgeous tone color.
Jonathan Valin speaking about hearing the Master Tape copy of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper.
I want to be very clear here, because, truthfully, I would’ve swooned if the mastertape of Sgt. Pepper had sounded terrible. Which, BTW, is pretty much the way the album (in stereo) has always sounded, no matter whose version you’re talking about. Anemic in the bass, dry and brittle and bath-tubey in the mids, crudely mixed (very left/right) with obvious manifold overdubs. Oh, there are some variations from cut to cut, but for the most part Sgt. Pepper didn’t make it to Number One on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Rock Albums of All Time—or Number One, with a dagger, in my heart—because of its audiophile-grade sound.
But the sound wasn’t awful. It was anything but awful.
If you think The Beatles couldn’t rock, I truly wish you had the same chance that I had—to hear this mastertape on this stereo via Greg’s Phase 11 machine. Folks, to say that this was a “better” sound, even “an extraordinarily better” sound, doesn’t cut it. This was a revolution.
I don’t know where to begin; the net effect was so overwhelming. Of course, the bass is the weakest thing on vinyl and digital. You hardly even know Paul is playing, much less rocking. But on the mastertape…on the mastertape, boys, it is an entirely different story. Here is Paul’s bass guitar the way you’ve always wanted to hear it—full, deep, incredibly powerful, and so clear and defined in pitch and articulation that it is easy to tell the McCartney was a heckuva player. Same for Ringo’s drum licks—some of which, like the bass, almost literally knock you on your ass with their slam—same with George’s garden of guitars. And the voices! It was like having John Lennon and Paul McCartney in my room with me. It goes without saying that there wasn’t a single cut that didn’t hold surprises in store—things I’d never heard and I’ve heard this album countless times.
Given the importance Sgt. Pepper has had in my life, the whole thing was so amazing it left me agog. I have never heard rock and roll reproduced more powerfully and realistically in my home or at a show in my entire life. And, guess what, it was just the start. Because thanks to Greg and Bruce I also got to hear a mastertape of the anti-Beatles, The Doors, performing “Crawlin’ King Snake” and that creepy “Hyacinth House” from L.A. Woman. When black bluesmen, like John Lee Hooker, sing “Crawlin’ King Snake” or “Back Door Man” the humor comes from the disparity between the “innocent” text and the sexual subtext. When The Doors’ Jim Morrison sings them, there is no subtext—and no humor. There was a reason why they called this guy "The Lizard King."