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Thread: Ampex AG-440B-8 Story...

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    Ampex AG-440B-8 Story...

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    I'm more or less putting this up as a place-holder while the information is fresh in my mind...This came up on eBay. Got it for a pretty good price but it needs help for sure. I'm just in process of doing some coarse cleaning and running an inventory of obvious parts needed before it goes into storage. Not going to touch this much for awhile until some other projects both studio and home-related are finished, and also not until I sell some gear.

    So the bottom line is that this thing is pretty straight but it looks like a deck that has been used as a parts deck...some tape path components are missing (scrape-flutter filter, head shields for instance...simple stuff like that ), the monitor head is beat up...pretty much no hope in that one so that stinks...didn't figure that out until I got it home and looked closer...covers are missing to some things, but it looks like it might clean up pretty good. It has the (apparantly) more desirable AC capstan motor and it is a 'B' model which included a lifter delay circuit so the tape wouldn't hit the heads until the transport came to a stop...all the electronics modules are there and are also 'B' variety which had improvements over the 'A' electronics, but there is one repro card missing (each module has three cards, one each for bias, record and repro) from a couple modules, and a couple others that are suspect...shoulda pulled the covers off before driving away...It did come with a new pinch roller, spare relay, a dummy plug and some used tape so that is good...just need all the stuff that attaches the roller to the arm... Anyway, the gentleman I bought it from was really, really nice and has a collection of some of the most wonderfully eclectic and desired vintage gear...wow. So here are some pictures and then it is going away for awhile.


    Have to have a picture of the gear in the Subaru...everything fit...barely:



    Here it is unloaded, front view:



    And the back view:



    And here are the electronics modules that are obviously not in the rack with the transport...nobody but nobody would be able to safely move that thing with the electronics in it...it was a bear with the rack empty:




    The transport:



    And the underside of the transport:



    Headblock:



    A closeup of the repro head:



    And a closeup of the sad, sad monitor head...it appears that it sustained a hefty impact. See the crushed laminations on track one, and compare this picture with the one of the repro head and you'll notice that the monitor head looks like it separated from its base and its been hot-glued together and even the mounting plate looks tweaked:



    And just for fun the erase head:



    Power supply unitswoo-hoo:



    A bias card...I'm so used to the PCB's in my Teac/Tascam gear...these are so different. Really hefty...thick...and there is so much solder on them; on the traces:


    And last but not least I thought this would be fun...here is a Tascam 48 amp card with the equivalent of the "amp card" of the 440, the electronics module:



    Well, that's all for now!
    Last edited by sweetbeats; 06-28-2019 at 10:53.

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    All that I can say is WOW!!

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    Wow as in "Yer in deep dood" or wow as in "Neat-o"?

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    Both.


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    Seriously, Cory, how does the 440 strike you as far as ease of service and "LEGO", just pull 'em out, components? Thanks for sharing this story with us.

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    The Saga multiplies.....

    Well Cory, If nothing else those amps go for a pretty penny.

    Drop by some weekend (in the spring) and we'll relap those heads.

    --Ethan
    In Sunny Vancouver ..... (Washington)

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    Can they be relapped? The one head shows gaps, if that's the case, I'm pretty sure it's garbage. I don't know how available the headstacks are but man I'd sure like to see that baby reconditioned and working, that'd be one sweet unit...
    Tascam TSR-8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamm7215 View Post
    Can they be relapped? The one head shows gaps, if that's the case, I'm pretty sure it's garbage. I don't know how available the headstacks are but man I'd sure like to see that baby reconditioned and working, that'd be one sweet unit...

    It won't hurt to try.... And actually if you look at it you can see that the gaps are visible on all tracks and that they are uniform in width. I think that we are seeing the gap spacer here rather than a worn out head. You can also see the gap spacer on the other head.

    Regards, Ethan
    In Sunny Vancouver ..... (Washington)

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    Yeah, I think Ethan is right. I don't see any gaps...it is misleading because of the original profile of the head...the wear pattern is the skinnier band in the middle.

    Ethan, I will be in touch with you about relapping. Shared with the folks over on the Ampex List about the results of the lap job on your 38...was it roughly -2 @ 30Hz and -8 @ 34kHz?

    Though I don't think the repro head (what I was calling the monitor head) can be saved with that damage to track 1, but good for practice...

    Daniel, I'll let you know about the LEGO-esque nature as I get into it more with breaking down the transport and cleaning/testing/repairing, but even just looking at it yeah...everything interconnects with neat plugin harnesses...need to pull the capstan motor? Rotate the transport, remove the motor mount screws, unplug capstan motor harness from the transport control box and its out...everything is that way on this thing, but I have to say that it feels really alien...so used to the Tascam decks...I'm sure I'll get more comfortable, but it is all pretty new...

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    Yeah, Ethan is really good at those lap jobs. He posted photos of the before / afters a while ago and it looked like a brand new head.

    Cory, just wanna echo a previous statement that I too look forward to that machine being reconditioned and working. IMHO, with Ethan's help, you're most of the way there, as the heads are the costly proposition and Ethan will do a great job, I'm sure. You know, I'm not at all down on that head which appears to have a crushed track one. Don't give up on it yet as I think it can still be re-polished.

    Take your time, Cory. Don't rush it. We'll still be here.

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