A 1/4" stereo master tape recorder from the end of 80s/start of 90s. It superseded the legendary A80 model and surpassed it many aspects both soundwise and in terms of tape transport mechanics and control.
The Studer A812 Mk.1 was manufactured between 1985 and 1996 as a successor to the famous A80. Following the rapid evolution of the recording equipment towards the digital era, it had a very hard task to at least retain or possibly better the specs of the previous model and at the same time introduce all the needed peripherals to allow advanced remote control! No small feat, but the the Studer brand did not earn the "legend" tag for no reason - they pulled it off with flying colors by introducing one of the most advanced reel-to-reel machines ever made.
The combination of transofmer balanced inputs and outputs and clean IC-based circuitry offers a perfect combination of transparency and subtle "oomph" that you'll instantly recognize once you hear it - it's just "that sound"!
The nominal input level is calibrated to +6dBu and the converter inputs and outputs to +24dBu(!) to allow for a broad range of sounds from completely clean to seriously overdiven.
Generally on sources that could do with some additional “content” or “thickness”. All the subtle non-linearities distributed throughout the signal path of a tape machine will gently shave the sharp, harsh transients and convert them to pleasant harmonic content. The lowest frequencies are saturated a bit more and in that manner get a helping hand to be heard through a busy mix, while the highs get a bit of a softening treatment without sounding dull.
The Studer, when driven conservatively, is surprisingly transparent for a tape recorder, but push it hard and it will make it's presence known in no uncertain terms. Everything inbetween is pure magic - it will add a subtle "glow" to the source and help with instrument separation in a busy mix, while retaining definition and punch.