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Thread: Any Other Fostex Model 80 Owners/Users Here?

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    Any Other Fostex Model 80 Owners/Users Here?

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    I recently just bought a damn-near MINT conditioned Model 80 from another musician that I'm very happy with. The sound is just phenomenal for a quarter inch machine. I did some transferring from Pro Tools to virgin tape at 15 IPS, and then back into Pro Tools for some added analog warmth on a few stereo mixdowns. It was truly the "glue" I've been looking for in knocking out some of the digital harshness.

    Any other owners here of this model who'd like to share their experiences with the machine, what they've used it for, projects, ideas, etc?

    It also came with the transport control and some fresh, sealed Ampex 456 Grand Master tape, as well as Hosa snakes. Very happy with the machine.

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    I use a Fostex R8, which is the same as the 80 but with a few improvements like a detachable front panel control. There aren't many other Fostex tape machine users here. They aren't as popular as Teac/Tascam units. They're still great though. And yes, the sound is excellent.

    Have you aligned the machine? If not, you should look in to it. But if the previous owner was a good owner you probably won't notice any symptoms of a misaligned deck. How is the Ampex tape? The machine was designed for Ampex 457, which is a thinner (1 mil) variety of 456. The transport and heads may be under excess stress from the 456, which is 1.5 mil thick. So in addition to finding some Ampex 457, Quantegy 407, or RMG LPR-35, you should look in to a head demagnetizer and some concentrated isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips to clean the heads if you haven't already.

    Oh, and welcome to the world of analog tape! My apologies if you're not actually new to this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avieth View Post
    I use a Fostex R8, which is the same as the 80 but with a few improvements like a detachable front panel control. There aren't many other Fostex tape machine users here. They aren't as popular as Teac/Tascam units. They're still great though. And yes, the sound is excellent.

    Have you aligned the machine? If not, you should look in to it. But if the previous owner was a good owner you probably won't notice any symptoms of a misaligned deck. How is the Ampex tape? The machine was designed for Ampex 457, which is a thinner (1 mil) variety of 456. The transport and heads may be under excess stress from the 456, which is 1.5 mil thick. So in addition to finding some Ampex 457, Quantegy 407, or RMG LPR-35, you should look in to a head demagnetizer and some concentrated isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips to clean the heads if you haven't already.

    Oh, and welcome to the world of analog tape! My apologies if you're not actually new to this.
    Thanks for the reply, man!

    Yeah, I wasn't aware the machine was designed for 457 tape. Guess I better get to finding some for sure. I did do a full head cleaning, as well as a cleaning of the rubber parts (such as the pinch roller) with a special rubber cleaner that came with a ree-to-reel maintainance kit.

    I'd love to do an alignment, but I'm sorta hoping to find someone who might have a MRL tape they'd let me borrow, versus having to pay the hundred to hundred and a half for a new one.

    Thanks for sharing, man!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonice Surgeon View Post
    I recently just bought a damn-near MINT conditioned Model 80 from another musician that I'm very happy with. The sound is just phenomenal for a quarter inch machine. I did some transferring from Pro Tools to virgin tape at 15 IPS, and then back into Pro Tools for some added analog warmth on a few stereo mixdowns. It was truly the "glue" I've been looking for in knocking out some of the digital harshness.

    Any other owners here of this model who'd like to share their experiences with the machine, what they've used it for, projects, ideas, etc?

    It also came with the transport control and some fresh, sealed Ampex 456 Grand Master tape, as well as Hosa snakes. Very happy with the machine.
    OK..I just found your post here. I was in a band that did a lot of recording with the Fostex M80 in the early 90s and produced about 10 master reels. You are right -- the M80 has a very surprising quality for a 1/4" reel. We had been using a 1" reel before the M80, and although the quality was decent, we were really surprised to find the M80 actually sounded better.

    When the band split up our bass player claimed the M80 since he bought that particular piece of the studio. Fortunately, I kept all of the master reels since my brother and I wrote and recorded all of the music with the exception of a few bass tracks. I intended to buy another M80, but got married, had a couple of kids, and yadda, yadda, yadda...

    In any case, about a month ago I decided to try and find an M80 so I could copy those masters into Cubase. I was lucky and just got one through eBay with 14 Ampex 457 tapes still in the shrink wrap. The unit looks to be in excellent shape, but I have not ran any of my reels yet because I am worried that they may be "sticky." I decided that I should bake them first since I don't want to take a chance on loosing my masters, not to mention what that could do to the M80 heads and transport rollers.

    So, I am curious if you baked your tapes first? Do you know how old your tapes were when you got them? My masters were also done on the 456s, which are known to have sticky problems for ones made before like 1985. I don't know when mine were made, but I bought them around 1990.

    By the way, the previous poster is absolutely correct in the fact that the bias and EQ were factory aligned for the Ampex 457 and Scotch 227. Those tapes are 1 mil thick and 1800 feet long. The 456 is 1.5 mil thick and 1200 feet. It is also true that the 456 will put undue stress on the heads/transport system and should be realigned if you use those tapes. That being said, we never realigned our M80 for the 456 and the recordings came out fantastic. Sounds like your recordings are coming out just fine as well so I would not let anyone mess around with the alignments. If you want new 457 equivalents check out usrecordingmedia-store.stores.yahoo.net/rmlp1x18sub.html.

    In addition, if you ever need your heads reconditioned or replaced you might check out the guys at jrfmagnetics.com. I've never used them, but they look like a good resource.

    Best regards....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCoastMan View Post
    My masters were also done on the 456s, which are known to have sticky problems for ones made before like 1985. I don't know when mine were made, but I bought them around 1990.
    Pre-1995 is within the danger zone, as it were. You might be lucky, but if baking them is probably a good idea.

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    I have an R8, but have never used it, as it has some transport issues. Does anyone know of a good source for parts? I am loth to open it up until I know I can get the parts I need for it. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevieb View Post
    I have an R8, but have never used it, as it has some transport issues. Does anyone know of a good source for parts? I am loth to open it up until I know I can get the parts I need for it. Thanks.
    Since I don't have 5 posts yet I am not allowed to post a full URL, but by dropping off the first part of the URL I can get around it. The only place that I know of that you might find those spare parts, or have them custom made, is at "jrfmagnetics.com/index.html?JRF_mainframe=/audioprices.html"

    If you decide to use JRF Magnetics we would love to hear of your experience since we may need to use them as well at some point.

    Best regards...

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    Quote Originally Posted by avieth View Post

    The machine was designed for Ampex 457, which is a thinner (1 mil) variety of 456. The transport and heads may be under excess stress from the 456, which is 1.5 mil thick. So in addition to finding some Ampex 457, Quantegy 407, or RMG LPR-35, you should look in to a head demagnetizer and some concentrated isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips to clean the heads if you haven't already.
    1.5 mil tapes will not harm this machine in the least. No appreciable additional strain on the motors or wear on the heads will result. Fostex (& Tascan for that matter) used 457 so they could publish slightly improved specs because the thinner tape stock provides a better head wrap. Just about any machine will exhibit similar improvements when measuring 1.5 mil vs 1 mil of the same oxide formulation. I also doubt that anyone would be able to actually hear any sonic difference between the two thicknesses, everything else being equal.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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