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Thread: how much adat head hours are too much?

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    fretless's Avatar
    fretless is offline Junior Member
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    Question how much adat head hours are too much?

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    hi!

    im considering buying a used blackface adat machine. how much head drum hours do you users out there consider too much? the one im looking at now has a little over 1800 ...?!?

    thanks for your input!

    fretless

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    muttley's Avatar
    muttley is offline Force of Nature
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    You are getting "close". Between 2000hrs-2300hrs I would consider used up, A trip to a tech would give you a better idea, it all depends on how the thing was used/misused/abused before you got it. Also how it was cleaned/serviced/cared for.



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    DDev's Avatar
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    FWIW, I've got a Blackface ADAT that has about 3000 hours on it and it records flawlessly (at least it did until I got my hard disk recorder a few months back).

    Darryl.....

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    eh91311 is offline recordist
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    I recently bought a well-cared for blackface ADAT with 3833 hours... it works just fine so far.

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    muttley's Avatar
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    DDev, eh91311: GOOD! You guys are way ahead of the "average"!! I'll milk mine past the 3khr mark with lots of TLC.


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    aarowsmith is offline Junior Member
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    Question ADAT Head hours and what it means ???

    Quote Originally Posted by fretless View Post
    hi!

    im considering buying a used blackface adat machine. how much head drum hours do you users out there consider too much? the one im looking at now has a little over 1800 ...?!?

    thanks for your input!

    fretless
    I know this is an ancient really old thread dating way way way back to ancient times B.C.E of the year 2003 of the 21st century..........but I would like to comment anyways here..............

    Alesis 8 track ADAT head hours and what it really means can be confusing to many, and so I will be explaining why you should not be too concerned about it.

    When you purchase a used ADAT 8 track machine that uses SVHS tape, please check with the Seller to see if it records and plays tapes perfectly. If it does not and or the Seller does not know, then buy from someone else and avoid that auction at all costs. The reason is you are taking chances that the ADAT machine needs repair or allot of cleaning and maintenance before it will work acceptably or even at all !

    And sometimes on rare occasions the previous owner may have cleaned the ADAT rotary heads the wrong way and damaged them ! Recording and or playback will not work then and this means that you will have to buy yet another used ADAT machine.

    Replacing the rotary heads cost more than a used machine so it is not worth it to replace the rotary heads. So again have the Seller if he/she will do it, have them check the machine out fully, so that you know it does work in playback and record. Otherwise you are taking your chances and waisting both the your time and money.

    Also ask if the rewind and fast forward works well too. If the machine does not, then it usually means the rubber idler wheel needs to be cleaned or replaced, a $12 to $15 part and yes you can still get parts, and you will need to know how to properly replace it. There is free online websites that cover basic cleaning/lubing and maintenance procedures for ADAT 8 track machines, as well as ADAT error codes and what they mean, and how to reset the software in an ADAT machine.

    Be prepared to be your own ADAT technician to keep your ADAT maintenance costs down, and to learn skills that you should learn anyways in your home or project recording studio. The same skills apply for DAT/SVHS/VHS and Reel to Reel tape machines that you may have to clean/lube and maintain from time to time. It really is not that hard to learn ADAT maintenance, especially if you already know how to use a recording studio and maintain your gear.

    So now I will finally get to the point, what does the ADAT head hours really mean, and should you be concerned about the rotary head hours?

    You can find out your ADAT machine rotary head hours by holding two buttons together, the "set locate" and the "stop" buttons at the same time, you should see the hour meter on the front display the head hours. If it reads 0019 then it means you have 19 hours on the rotary head, this does not mean total time of your ADAT machine turned on, rather it means just the time your rotary head has been in contact with the SVHS tape only.

    ADAT rotary heads can last up to 6,000 hours, that is allot of recording time and playback time ! Usually machines with less than 2,000 head hours have allot of life left in them if well taken care of and kept clean inside.

    Machines with more than 2,000 head hours will continue to work very well, but some as they age, like people, anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 head hours, you may experience to have more cleaning intervals of the rotary heads, rubber idler wheel cleaning and or replacement every 1,000 head hours or so. So maybe you will have to do a little more than usual servicing when your machine was newer, due to the heads wearing down slightly and the transport parts wearing in. This is normal for anything, including us humans !!!

    This is not really a cause for concern, I have seen some older "blackface" ADAT's with over 6,000 head hours still working perfectly !!! I can't say that for some people I know ?!?

    Again it all depends on how the machines were taken care of. For example, if the rotary head is noisy when spinning, this usually means the top bearing needs a few drops of Marvel Mystery Oil or a light bearing machine oil, but not too much oil though, just enough to saturate the top rotary head bearing to properly lube it.

    If you have a pool of oil on the top rotary head bearing, then oil can fling off and get on your tape and guides !!! And then you will have to clean everything all over again and throw away that tape !!! So be careful when using oil lube, just a few drops will do you, and make sure to wipe off any excess oil with a Q-tip.

    Oiling the rotary head bearings will increase their life span, and dampen the bearing noise. Since the rotary head now can spin up to full speed, it reduces the chances of having ADAT error codes on the front display. You should also un-plug and re-plug all wired connectors on the tape transport and rotary head, and spray a little silicone contact cleaner before re-seating the wired connector to get rid of any oxidized connections that could be causing intermittent ADAT error codes and some other related problems.

    Any mechanical and electronic hardware always needs to be gone through and serviced, especially after ten years of sitting in storage. Both properly lubed/cleaned/de-oxified and worn out parts replaced. The same goes for any hardware/electronics that is 5 years or older. All connectors, no matter if they are gold, will oxidize over time and create intermittent connection problems that will create headaches. But if you try these tips then you should have a reliable smooth running machine and hardware.

    ADAT machines are very robust and built to last and you will get allot of life out of them ! All the electric motors, electronics and mechanical parts inside ADAT machines were designed to last a very long time without maintenance, but it is better safe than sorry to do atleast periodic servicing to them. Most ADAT machines are still working even today, that is a real life testimony to their build quality.

    With the affordable ADAT used market on eBay, you can now afford to get yet another machine just for a parts machine, or buy yet another good working used machine, if your current machine completely fails, and or is just plain worn out.

    I personally would buy a back up ADAT machine to make safety tape copies, for archiving old tapes to the computer, for 16 tracks, and to give a break to the other machine by sharing useage time, so one machine will wear out evenly with the other machine in terms of head hours and for re-sell purposes. Also buy a BRC, it will give you total control over your machines, control over all ADAT machines recording/playback/locate points/punch in/out/bouncing/copying tracks, ADAT to MIDI sync for your sequencers/DAW, and SYMPTE sync for video/audio, and it's cheap now compared to what you would spend for anything new now a days with all the many features on the Alesis BRC.

    If you have so much money you don't know what to do with it, then buy all new gear that does essentially the same thing.

    I Hope this helps out some who are still interested in using the Very Versatile ADAT 8 track machine's ?? ADAT is Great for getting music ideas down quickly, for demo songs, tracking drums, portable live recordings and surround sound mixes on your home theatre sound system, for archiving old ADAT tapes, for digital audio archiving of LP's/records/cassette tape/reel to reel recording of 4 stereo/or 8 mono tracks at once. And I know they still use 8 track ADAT machines for controlling Lasererium Shows including the Laser effects and surround sound audio. For the price nothing compares to ADAT for expandability, up to 128 tracks live, and cheap media costs..........ADAT good times for more than 19 years and still going!!!
    Last edited by aarowsmith; 08-31-2010 at 09:01. Reason: drunk

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    aarowsmith is offline Junior Member
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    ADAT head hours are really no concern.....

    Quote Originally Posted by fretless View Post
    hi!

    im considering buying a used blackface adat machine. how much head drum hours do you users out there consider too much? the one im looking at now has a little over 1800 ...?!?

    thanks for your input!

    fretless
    According to the ADAT warranty department, no ADAT rotary head has ever been replaced due to rotary heads wearing out, rather all replacement rotary heads that have been done, have been done because of either user error in cleaning heads improperly and or the rotary head amps/motor has burned out due to lack of lubricant or system fault.

    So, no ADAT rotary head has ever really worn out, unlike the crappy Tascam DA Hi-8 tape machines, their rotary heads were shot after only 1,000 head hours or less ! But ADAT rotary heads can last, well, more than 6,000 hours.

    I have 3 ADAT blackface machines with over 5,000 head hours on them, and no problems so far. All ADAT machines have allot of life left in them, especially since most people did not use them much and were really spoiled by using the newer Pro Tools and DAW's instead of using the old linear ADAT recording tape. I still think using ADAT tape makes you a better musician, because it teaches you how to play Live instead of always handi-capping yourself by cutting/pasting/copying and looping everything in Pro Tools.

    "DAW's teach you how to program better, but it will not teach you how to play your instrument better', by no means......."

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    partonkevin is offline Newbie
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    I can't remember how many hours on one of my Blackfaces. A friend of mine somehow reset it to zero! That Adat has problems and it may be the heads. With magnification, you can really see some wear on the leading edge of the heads. Are any of you guys ADAT gurus? I could really use some repair.

    The power supplies have problems with being so old now. The last I checked it was about $110 for a new one, but you can recap it yourself for a few bucks and make it good as new.

    One of the greatest features of the ADAT is that you can hook up just the first two inputs and assign them to different channels for record. That's just great. And it does make the quick demo go fast. As far as making you a better musician...I have an ADAT/edit card new and still in the box. Well, out a time or two. It allowed you to drop 8 tracks into the computer for editing and then back onto the ADAT. I don't use it. No support. And I could never get it to work with XP (the time or two it came out of the box).

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    Farview is offline www.farviewrecording.com
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    My DA-88 and DA-38's had well over 4000 hours on (most of) them when I got rid of them last year. I only had one of the five machines in for service because of an eaten tape. I bought those things in 1996 and used them every day in my studio until I went full time DAW in 2005. Even then, I would fire them up to do location recordings and transfer old projects to DAW. I only got rid of them because they were collecting dust and I don't want to do location work or transfer jobs anymore.

    Nice necro-post, by the way.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording and HERE!!!!

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