A80 (RC MkII) or A810 - which one should I buy? - ANY INPUT IS WELCOME !!


Please provide some guidance, if possible:

I have quite a reasonable system and started with vinyls some two years ago
(since then I hardly listened to any CD....).
I also own a ReVox B77 - but it cannot match the rest of my system sonically,
so it is mostly for decorational purposes in my music room.

I got to learn that there are some companies that offer copies of mastertapes.
All I read about these tapes made clear to me: I MUST have them - but I need a proper
tape deck to play them. And to be host: I always admired the STUDER products,
so this is a good excuse to buy one....

I tried to read as much as possible, narrowing down the choice to either an
A80 or an A810 (ok, I would prefer the A820 - but my budget is somehow limited...).
Being located in Europe I found a couple of reasonable offers here: one A80 RC MkII
in France and two A810 in Germany and the UK, resp.

Generally speaking: which model is superior? Is this a valid question at all?
My priorities are sonical quality, reliabilty and ease of maintenance. I do not do any
mixing or production of music, no professional use, just from time to time listen to the
best music (quality) avalilable.

And specifically referring to the offers: here are the key facts about the three machines
(all three sellers offer insured shipment ad more or less the same price, and I have no
chance to see/hear the machines myself - unfortunately). So here they are:

1) A80 RC MkII (France, 4k$, private seller)
- a late system (serial 21464, said to be from 1988?)
- was privately owned by an audiophile (his son now wants to get rid of it...)
- only 1850 hours on the clock (documented)
- many pictures, looks very cared for (only the cover of the slot part below the system is missing)
- High Speed model (15 & 30)
- heads look good (no butterfly)
- 5 days to inspect after delivery and - if not satisfied - return with full money back
  (guaranteed through 3rd party service)
PRO: I LOVE the A80 looks...., low usage, good condition (optically), purchase without risk
CON: no documentation (of services or whatsoever)

2) A810 (UK, 5k$, private seller)
- was used by the seller in a studio professionally, which closed down
- obviously knows these machines, tells a lot about valious Ampex and Studers...
- he had it then completely overhould last year (many capacitors replaced, some transistors, some ICs,
  mechanically maintained, lubricated, tested, calibrated, heads re-lapped,.... invoice available)
- System has one or two studio/Pro gimmicks (which I do not need....)
- he wanted it "like new" to keep it for personal usage, sells due to space issues
- system is complete, slight signs of usage (Studio usage...)
- accepts Paypal
PRO: complete service with invoice, was regularely used
CON: the Studio obviously did not care very well - otherwise the service would not be so long...
                some signs of usage...

3) A810 (Germany, 6k$, small "hobby" dealer)
- sells a lot of expensive audio equipment via ebay, 100% satisfied buyers (40 sales last 12 months)
- complete service in 2014
- butterfly heads in very good condition
- hardly any signs of usage, looks like new, at least  9/10
- accepts Paypal
PRO: butterfly heads, looks like new
CON: Service not documented (but written confirmation from seller - legally valid); most expensive one

To me all three offers have their PROs and CONs....
(All three have a trolley, are more or less heady, need more or less the same space).

What would you do?
Any advise / information / thought?

Thanks in advance!














 











ozatschek