I'm going thru alignments on a Fostex Model 20 mastering deck.
The manual states that 0VU is referenced to 514nWb/m! This would strike me that it's factory set and intended to use +9/185 high output tape, (499, 996, etc.), and the 0VU is set on the hairy edge of MOL! Being that's what the manual states, it strikes me as funny anyway. However, using this deck at 15 IPS on +9 tape must sound very clean, punchy and impressive! (Just don't hit it too hard above 0VU!)
The practical thing is the bulk of my tape is +6/185 tape, 456/equiv (031 media), or standard 457, 3M 226, some 806, other various standard or lower output tapes (can't remember them all), and yes, some Quantegy 480 and 3M 996 high output tape in smaller amounts. I am ready to recalibrate and I can't decide what standard to use. The (lower) practical one for my own purposes, or the (higher) one that's stated in the manual?
The ethical twist is that after calibrating I'll likely be selling this unit to locals via Craigslist. Just to set it for factory and tell the next owner to get some +9 tape, or set it to +6 (@MOL) and recommend using 457 all the way across? The Model 80 8-track is set for G320, which would be like running 456/457 with 0VU at the hairy edge of MOL. Again, that seems odd, but it's FOSTEX, and they were definitely marching to the beat of their own drummer.
If there's a small chance it won't sell at all, I will be keeping it, nonetheless.
I can't decide. I know what seems expedient to me, (lower levels using +6 tape), but to just set it to factory specs to hand it off to the next user and tell them to use +9 tape or let them make adjustments as they see fit?... (seems "right" vs "expedient" or "comfortable")
Mastering to a +9 tape doesn't sound like a bad idea, but my stocks of +9 on 7" or 5" reels are minimal, and my estimate is that +9 tape is more expensive than +6 tape to buy at the dealer level.
The Fostex Model 20 was designed for and factory set for +9 tape, so anything less would not be using the hardware to it's greatest advantage... is the most common sense idea I can draw about the situation.
If I could decide, I could move onto the calibration and be done with it!
Any input or recommendation, tapeheads? For some reason, this question has me way outside my comfort zone! I typically don't use +9 tape. I'm not used to it, but tape is tape, and I can read the manual! Aaagghh!! I think I'm having "analysis paralysis"!