The RECTEC M-142 Recording Monitor - Review 2019

Discover the beautifully made RECTEC M-142 Recording monitor

I admit, trying to find a decent monitor preamp that filled my criteria to be on the input source of one of the best Reel to Reel machines was a task. There are plenty out there but most don't have everything you need.

Image of the Air Tight ATM-1 Power Amplifier

There are some with inputs but no loop throughs. Some don't have a source volume, just an output volume. Some have only an output volume. Some have V.U and some have PPM metering. The quality of some units is poor or old and some can no longer be calibrated accurately enough due to wear and tear. I could go on.

So, the Rectec is something of a one-off when it comes to a unit that has everything you need for recording.

The Rectec M-142 has so many goodies it's hard to know where to start. So let's start with the input controls. It has an individual source selector to hear source-in and playback. And within the same cluster, you have 4 potentiometer controls (one for each channel) which are for controlling repro and input signals.

RECTEC M-142 front panel

Having a more standard control from 0db to +10db would be more appropriate. Except, the M-142 has -6db to +10db, so more for fine-tuning which is fine. The M-142 comes with this as standard but there is a modification and it's certainly not difficult to do.

Next are the meters themselves. They are of very decent quality VU meters and both track well. With a nice retro yellow glow, they are bright and in keeping with the vintage VU vibe. Both have an adjuster and both have a +8 and +6 peak lights which are great.

Towards the right-hand side of the front panel, we have a potentiometer for headphones, a Monitor out selector, and the power switch.

RECTEC M-142 front panel VU meters

The back panel mostly consists of Neutrik XLR sockets. All sockets are clearly labelled which is good.

We have LINE IN, TO RECORD, FROM RECORD and TO MONITOR. Inbetween the connections there is a small switch to change select a pre-amp or a post-amp.

A very handy TRS phones monitor socket and lastly a small 12v DC socket to connect an external light, just in case, like myself I had it in a meter bridge canopy/hood.

RECTEC M-142 back panel. XLR input/output connections

RECTEC M-142 rear panel. XLR connections

The Sound

My reel to reel machine used in this review is a fully serviced Studer A80/R machine. My full review of the machine can be found HERE!

The pre-amplification on the output from the Rectec is a Croft Epoch Elite which is highly modified. A full review can be read HERE!

The main amplification is a Tube Distinctions Copper amplifier. A full review can be read HERE!

The reproduction sound from the Studer A80 and Rectec is really good. It doesn't seem to take anything away from the source. However, from brand new (out of the box) I did feel it lacked a little bottom in the sound. After I left it on for 48 hrs with a signal it seemed to get better.

The only criticism for me would be that of the input controls. To have an option to have the level from 0 to 0db would be better. Although there is a mod for this it still would have been nice to have the option.

Build Quality

Designed and built in Italy, the 2U Chassis is very sturdy. It's easy to remove the lid if you have to and the finish is nice too.

The internal layout of the PCB looks very well thought and the components look to be of high quality.

The unit is also fully configurable so you can calibrate it how you wish.

RECTEC M-142 inside circuit board

Overall, this is probably one of the best monitors for Reel to Reel decks on the market. 

Price is €899 + shipping. 

I'd highly recommend this unit for anyone with a Reel to Reel deck be it pro or semi-pro.

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