NEW! THE UHA PHASE1 PLAYBACK TAPE DECK
The all new lower cost UHA deck!
All UHA decks have DC motors!
Much more speed stable and reliable than 40 year old AC motors with complex bearings.
There are over a hundred changes in from the stock deck.
New silver finish.
New UHA custom playback tape head amps, hyper pure copper, thick boards with wide runs, best dielectric and special grounding systems.
Fully discrete output
New Synergistic Research wiring.
Remove superfluous electronic circuitry known to degrade the sound quality of all tape decks.
Stock tape head and new hard wired power cord.
New Furutech XLR connectors
The Phase1 Playback Tape Deck uses the full-blown UHA dual mono head amp, with hyper-pure copper boards, thick boards, wide runs, expedited hyper pure gain stages and EQ circuits capped off with heavy-duty grounding runs, even has a top-tier dielectric and silver solder points. The deck is completely rewired with Synergistic Research wire and the wiring has been completely re-routed and shielded to lower the noise floor. There have been hundreds of changes in the deck, muting circuits removed, gain stages removed, pots and switches removed, EQ was hard-wired, so many things that improve sound quality … The idea was to bring the UHA technology of the top line decks to a beginning tape enthusiast with a Phase1. UHA also offers an upgrade path, all the way from a Phase1 to a Ultima2-OPS deck and the luxury of never having sell a UHA deck to move up! We all know how we lose money on selling used audio gear….
The first Phase1 was purchased by Scot Hull. "The Part Time Audiophile".
Serial # PH1.001
THE UHA PHASE1 RECEIVES THREE AWARDS FROM THE PART TIME AUDIOPHILE!
1.) EDITORS CHOICE AWARD
2.) BEST OF 2016
3.) JULIA AWARD
I bought a UHA Phase 1 after years of angry denial. How could analog tape be better than vinyl or high-resolution digital? There was just no way — or so I argued. But then I listened. And compared. And listened some more. And finally, in a blaze of pain and sheer outrage, I was forced to admit how wrong I’d been. Yes, high-res is great. Vinyl is awesome. But tape? Tape is just a whole different thing. We audiophiles keep on and on about the quality of the speakers, the amps, the power, even the cables — but we rarely do more than nod at the fact that the music itself is the engine that drives this entire train. But with analog tape, I cannot help but think that we are getting closer to the original than along any other path. And boy-howdy, it matters. It matters a whole lot.
As for me, this is the closest that I’ve yet gotten to perfect.
best-2016The UHA Phase 1 is the first step on a dangerous road of addiction, self-absorption, and alienation. Your friends will wonder what happened, your colleagues will call you mad, the forums will ring with calumny. But you won’t know or care, because there always seems to be more delicious, delicious tape to spin.
This level of performance calls to mind the Julia Award, as the Phase 1 completely destroys the argument that you need to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars to get a truly goose-bump-inducing analog experience in-home, but ultimately, I think we’re doing some violence to the idea of affordable that’s built into that award.
I already gave the Phase 10 a “Most Coveted” award last year; there really is nothing else to say about the Phase 1 but to add an Editor’s Choice Award and a give it a very deserved nod toward the very best that 2016 has to offer.
Call that my most enthusiastic “three thumbs up”.
All New** UHA Phase 1
Sending back the Phase 10 was hard. I mean, really hard. I was convinced that, for the money, you could not buy a better-sounding source. This was beyond all reasonability or expectation — yes, it really was that good, and more besides.
Naturally, I had to have one.
Believe me, I was not happy about it. Neither was my bank account. I asked. Pleaded, really. But stony silence was all I heard. Much to my chagrin, it seemed the case that there was no way I could swing $14k for a tape machine. I’ve been accumulating gear for a decade, stockpiling resources if you will, but that was a commitment I couldn’t swing. Oh well. A few tears, a box of Kleenex later, a few fingers of Angel’s Envy, and I was almost okay with taking a pass.
Which is why I probably popped an aneurism when Greg told me he was going to offer a full analog tape solution for less than half the price of the Phase 10.
What what WHAAAAT?
The Phase 1 ($6,500 for playback-only) is UHA’s “entry-level” offer. It uses the stock Tascam head, but includes:
the full-blown UHA dual mono head amp, with hyper-pure copper boards, thick boards, wide runs, expedited hyper pure gain stages and EQ circuits capped off with heavy-duty grounding runs, even has a top-tier dielectric and silver solder points. The deck is completely rewired with Synergistic Research wire and the wiring has been completely re-routed and shielded to lower the noise floor. There have been hundreds of changes in the deck, muting circuits removed, gain stages removed, pots and switches removed, EQ was hard-wired, so many things that improve sound quality … The idea was to bring the UHA technology of the top line decks to a beginning tape enthusiast with a Phase1. UHA also offers an upgrade path, all the way from a Phase1 to a Phase12-OPS deck and the luxury of never having sell a UHA deck to move up! We all know how we lose money on selling used audio gear….
Sadly, the Reel-Tronix take-up reels are “extra” (in fact, there is no default reel included — you have to buy our source one), but Greg loaned me a steel reel while Patrick spins up for his next production run. The Phase 1 also doesn’t include an IEC-type power connector — this deck has a “trapped” power cord. Again, the sheer number of tweaks and upgrades included in this “base” deck defy description — so I’ll defer that list to UHA.
The Phase 1 is “playback only”, which means that the recording-path has been removed for the sake of simplicity and cost, as have the muting circuits, which makes rewinding an exercise in exorcism. You can set the deck upright (my preference) or flat, but the optional Celtic-knot side panels show pretty well, so why not have them face-forward? Greg recommended a “tiny lift” to the front feet (I have Symposium Point Podz under them) so that the reels don’t pull straight down the face (for better/smoother motor operation, he says).
The default output is XLR, and adding additional RCA outputs is an extra $$$ option reserved for the more pricey decks; for those that run single-ended systems (like I do), a pair of Cardas Clear XLR-to-RCA adapters run about $150 on Amazon. I set the Phase 1 up on the big Box Furniture rack, and I was off to the races.
The sound of this deck is absurdly close to what I remembered from the Phase 10 that cleared my system last fall, and once again, I was completely taken aback at “how close” this 1/5 price front end came to my reference analog and digital systems. Remember, the setup here is minimal — aside from occasional head-cleaning and demagnetizing — and with that, I was getting sound that approaches the very best analog production.
[… swoon …]