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Thread: Webcor reel to reel circa 1953

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    Rock Star 87's Avatar
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    Webcor reel to reel circa 1953

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    hey guys, I just got a webcor reel to reel recorder. I have a couple questions, if I may:

    1. 7 1/2 VS. 3 /34
    2. Which output, I have 1,2,3,4?
    3. When I hold fast and set to left or right, it doesn't go any faster. I have no tape yet, so I'm running it empty just to get a feel for it.
    4. What type of tape should I buy?

    I appreciate any and all input, as I'm completely new to this type of recording.
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    Rock Star 87's Avatar
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    nobody has any advice on this?
    Train As You Fight, Fight As You Train.

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    analog aaron is offline Swami King of Poppers
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    Rock star,

    This machine looks cool and it is a "Reel to Reel", but honestly this machine is well dated and I'd doubt if anyone on here could give you advice on this. With all due respect, when I first got into analog recording I bought a few of these Older units too because I didn't know any better, they were cheap, and I thought they were cool looking, but unfortunately, I don't think this is going to be a very useful tool for you. I would imagine it only records on 2 tracks (if it even works) and probably doesn't sound very good considering it's age. Also, finding a tech or ANY info on this (like how to repair, calibrate,get spare parts, etc... yourself) is going to be next to impossible and if you're serious about recording with analog, this is what you're gonna need. I'd save up a little dough and try getting yourself at least something as new as an 80's era recorder or 70's era that has little to no use on it. Maybe try for a Tascam, Teac, or Fostex unit. You'll have WAY better luck finding parts (as well as other info) for the Tascam and Teac units. Cheers!

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    jpmorris's Avatar
    jpmorris is online now Tape Wolf
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    Be aware that this machine will almost certainly be mono.

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    All negative and no positive!!

    Rock Star, I would have to agree that in regards to using this machine for serious tracking or mixdown, this machine is likely not going to fit the bill. Judging from the age, relatively small size and decorative appliqué, it's definitely a consumer deck. Given that analog tape barely hit the consumer market in the late 40's, this machine probably has little to no features that you would come to expect from tape recorders of today.

    Now I don't know the model number, so for me to tell you any factual information about this recorder would be jumping the gun. But, it's very likely a mono deck - I'm not sure. Stereo didn't really hit it off big with the consumer market until the early 60's, but I would imagine there was some nuances of stereo recordings being done earlier than that.

    Assuming this is a mono deck, and assuming that it still kinda actually works with a transport that doesn't suffer from speed fluctuations (aka wow and flutter), and assuming that a decently audible, relatively clean signal can be recorded and reproduced by this machine, you may be able to toy around with it and use it as a sound effects box to apply a special color to a track.

    If the unit has separate record and playback heads, and has the ability to record on one head while simultaneously playing back the track on the playback head, you may be able to loop the output of the playback head back into the input, and get a nice echo loop effect happening. Who knows...

    Find some tape. Looks like most any 7" reel will do (find some scotch 203, Sony PR-150 or Ampex 407/406. These are decent consumer tapes, the latter being a more semi-pro tape) and see what happens.

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    analog aaron is offline Swami King of Poppers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muckelroy View Post
    All negative and no positive!!
    .
    Well, for me at least, there wouldn't be much of anything positive about it. (No Offense, Rockstar.) I wasn't trying to respond with an essay of pros and cons. Wasn't trying to "burst your bubble" either. Maybe I'm just blunt about things I see as a waste of time. Sure, anyone can toy around with something old, and learn at least SOMETHING about it. You could also record onto a walkman, but who really wants to waste their time with such things. Lord knows I've wasted my time fooling around with all kinds of gadgets. Spending countless hours trying to repair stuff that wasn't worth repairing or messing with in the long run. Don't get me wrong, you can learn a lot from that sort of thing. I've also fixed many, many things and felt a great sense of achievement and self satisfaction. So, I guess it just depends on the particular situation at hand. But, in retrospect, If I would had someone point me in the right direction from the get-go, I'd been grateful and all about it. It Would've saved me much time, headaches, money, etc.. Back to Rockstar, - with all that said, have fun with whatever you decide to do with it. That's the most important thing.
    Last edited by analog aaron; 09-10-2009 at 09:21.

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    Dr ZEE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by analog aaron View Post
    Sure, anyone can toy around with something old, ...
    Those "something old" things aren't all the same. Some of them are KILLER recording "devices" and some of them are killer "signal/effect processors" , and some of them are simply cool devices . But there's something common for ALL of them - they need serious attention mechanically and electronically, and there's absolutely NOTHING "toying around" about it. As a matter of fact I'd strongly recommend to NEVER "toy" with those "old things" and I mean - NEVER, as they aren't toys and they may kill you.
    ***********

    1. 7 1/2 VS. 3 /34
    these are two different speeds. on those machines usually you'd need to run the unit to be able to switch speed, as it's a "mechanical matter".

    2. Which output, I have 1,2,3,4?
    I almost sure that these is a selector of track. So, I gues this is 4 track mono recorder. Some of those similar webcor machines that I've seen are two track only.

    3. When I hold fast and set to left or right, it doesn't go any faster. I have no tape yet, so I'm running it empty just to get a feel for it.
    I would put tape on the machine and then try again.


    4. What type of tape should I buy?
    Pretty much any tape you can find that is in good shape.

    /respects
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    Rock Star 87's Avatar
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    I understand all viewpoints. I get that this shouldn't be used to record something professional onto a reel, but hey, it may give the music a good sound...

    With music, anything and everything has it's place.

    I do appreciate you letting me know that if I wanted to go pro, this isn't the machine to do it with though aaron. how much of an ass would I look like touting it as professional to a buddy when he calls me out on it.

    I appreciate all input.

    PS. 7 1/2 VS. 3 /34? I know that it represent 2 speeds and has to be turned manually, but what are the pros and cons of each?
    Train As You Fight, Fight As You Train.

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    jpmorris's Avatar
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    15ips is generally considered full studio quality, though people speak quite highly of 7.5ips as well.

    Depending on what you're trying to do with it, 7.5 is probably the better choice unless you're going for a lo-fi sound.
    3.75 inches/sec is generally considered voice-grade for studios or consumer grade for general purpose. It's twice the speed of cassette tape.

    It all comes down to a choice between quality and recording time. The figure is literally the speed in inches of tape per second. Reels of tape are generally given a length in feet, so if you do something like:

    600ft * 12inches = 7200 inches
    7200 / 7.5 ips = 960 seconds recording time (/60 = 16 minutes)

    ...where 600 is the length of the spool in feet, and 7.5 is the speed.
    For 3.75 ips, you'd get twice as much recording time, but at lower quality.

    The length of the tape depends on it's thickness but it's something that is always specified when you purchase the reel.
    Typically it's something like:

    5" diameter = 600ft normal , 900ft for extended play (e.g. Quantegy 407)
    7" diameter = 1200ft (or 1800ft for extended play)
    10.5" diameter = 2400ft (or 3600ft for extended play)

    ...at the end of the day it all comes down to trying the machine out with some tape and seeing what you think of the quality for each setting.

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    Rock Star 87's Avatar
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    what length tape would be best for me to buy?
    Train As You Fight, Fight As You Train.

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