playback : LUSENET : To Hear Ourselves As Others Hear Us : One Thread

I think I remember having to cable the TCD-D5 to a receiver to playback the recorded tape and hear it - am I mistaken? Otherwise I was using earphones. But that makes it difficult to use with a student if you have to take turns listening. I was hoping that one of these units would act more like a "waslkman" is it impossible to put it all together?

-- Elly Ball (, November 16, 1998


You are correct. Sorry for misunderstanding. The usual language in audio is that a 'tape deck' (such as all the machines you've mentioned) is not expected to supply the amplifier and speakers. For that you get a 'tape recorder'....but tape recorders are rare these days, and you don't want one anyway, as the size limitations on its speakers mean they won't be very good.

The Sony TCD-D5 does have a monitor speaker built into it, for use in a pinch, as well as the headphone jack. But for good quality, one always uses an external amp and speakers.

The disadvantage of ext. amp and speakers--the greater bulk, less portability--is perhaps offset by the fact that multiple people can listen easily at once. If you really need to use the system in different studios, with teacher & student in each location, I suggest that you choose a nice but physically small system and put it on a cart with shock-absorbing casters. Without knowing more about your particular situation, it's hard to recommend.

Note that the Update to the book -- I hope you got an Update sheet tucked into your copy -- contains some recommendations of inexpensive speakers.

-- James Boyk (, November 16, 1998.

Finally got a chance to try my TCD-5M/Beyer 260-M combination, and I'm most impressed. The tape recorder is especially impressive. It looked very tiny at first, but I soon found that big things come in small packages. It's exceedingly well-built, and works like a charm. It's very stable pitch-wise. There is no detectable distortion of sustained notes. I'm even using it as a stereo component, as it plays stereo cassettes better than anything I've ever heard.

It is somewhat disconcerting to hear sound coming from only one speaker during playback, I guess because I'm just used to "stereo" playback.

I've tried many mike placements, including dangling it from the ceiling fan (which worked pretty well), but I seem to get the best results by close-miking it on the treble end of the scale and pointing it right at octaves 5/6, then adjusting the VU meter down a bit.

The sound from the Beyer is very "warm" and realistic, but seems to lack detail at the high-frequency range, swallowing up a bit of sustain, and on playback through my AR220 bookshelf speakers the piano sounds somewhat muffled, as if the sound were coming from out of a box (which it is, of course), but generally the fidelity is quite good.

Now I'm ready to go to work. James, thanks for the advice.


-- George Gilliland (, March 09, 1999.

Glad you're pleased with the equipment. I want to emphasize that the crucial point is the one you made: You've got the gear, now you can get on with the real work. The following comments only for the technically obsessed! You can press the "mono" button on your receiver or amp, if you have such a button, to get sound from both speakers. Or use a "Y" connector to connect the mike to both channels of the recorder. It will still be mono, but will come from both speakers (hence will sound like it's in the center).

If you're pleased with mike placement, that's all you need. Mikes like this are not intended for close-miking. Try it at three to five feet--even more if your room is big-- aiming at dampers of octave above middle C and placed so that the mike can 'see' the entire soundboard area. Avoid having mike pointing horizontally at the underside of the lid. (Lid should always be up on all pianos, of course! If you have an upright, take the front panel off--the one under the keyboard; and the upper one also, if that still leaves a usable music rack.)

Any apparent lack of "detail" in sound may well come from your being used to the condenser mike sound of commercial recordings, which is artificially bright. After you get used to the new equipment, see if the highest treble on most recordings doesn't by contrast seem 'disconnected.' This will not happen with the Beyer.

"Muffling" is not due to your new units, which are *extremely* neutral in sound. It may be property of some other element of chain, heretofore masked by excessive brightness of most commercial recordings.

This all just by way of technical commentary. Doesn't matter to the work! (Do be Sure you have a shock mount however, unless you are positive that the mike is adequately isolated from the substantial amount of energy that comes through the floor and the structure of the building!) Again, None Of This Matter to the work!!

"Now I'm ready to go to work." Good luck!

-- James Boyk (, March 14, 1999.

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