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A Sad Day for Analog Tape Users and Fans


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  • A Sad Day for Analog Tape Users and Fans

    Mike Spitz of ATR Service and ATR Magnetics passed away on Saturday, October 12. Mike was an industry expert in magnetic recording, in later years specializing in the Ampex ATR series. He repaired and restored hundreds of recorders in his career, making them better than new and keeping the technology alive. He presented seminars in tape recorder alignment where he emphasized that by proper adjustment of bias and fluxivity level, you could get any characteristic you wanted out of nearly any recorder.

    Mike was a really friendly guy who was always willing to help people with problems with their recoreders. When 3M and Ampex stopped making professional audio recording tape, he set up a tape factory, developed some new techniques for manufacturing small batches of tape, and ATR Magnetics tape was born. 

    He had cancer, and apparently didn't survive his latest treatment. He was 59. Industry news is that his business will carry on, with parts, service, and tape continuing to be available. But the real star and spark plug will be missed.

    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

  • #2

    RIP, Mr Spitz.



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    • #3

      I'm really sorry to hear this.


      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


      • #4

        A big loss for the recording world.  Hopefully his vison will continue with ATR.


        On a technical note, Quantegy acquired Ampex and 3M magnetics in 1996.  It was when Quantegy suddenly closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy in 2005, causing, "The tape crisis" that Spitz began work that would lead to ATR magnetics.  Quantegy came back for a while under new management, as did the old BASF/EMTEC models under RMGI, but ATR fills a niche with high output (+9 class) tape particularly well suited for the ATR machines.

        I have a near-future goal to get one of their ATR-102's in either 1/4" or maybe 1/2", so I hope they will be around for a while.



        “Music is well said to be the speech of angels... nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."

        ~Thomas Carlyle