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Thread: Fostex B-16D issues

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    Fostex B-16D issues

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    Ok, maybe I got what I paid for this time.

    It's a Fostex B-16D, 16 track 1/2" tape machine. For those of you curious bout its features, here's the jist:

    One speed - 15 ips
    Dolby C NR (whether you like it or not, can't be turned off)
    2 head design (making calibration of rec levels and bias nearly impossible)

    I really don't care about the above limitations. What's bugging the crap outta me is that the electronics are noisy. When listening to the tape-outs on my mixer, at modest, unity levels, and turning the tape machine on, an incriminating hiss protrudes through my monitors. It's not my mixer. I'm 150% positive that the tape out circuits are all noisy. It's not bad, but multiply it by 16, it's pretty annoying.
    Also, my tracks sound like raw tape (maybe worse). Is Dolby C Noise Reduction supposed to WORK, or not? On top of the noisy electronics, there's TONS of tape hiss. Maybe it's the heads. THey're evenly worn, but it's a bit flat. THey have shape, but, you know. a bit of wear.......... I'm very tempted to sell it for a 38, or maybe a 48 or a 58. I'd much rather have 8 good tracks than 16 noisy tracks.
    Is there anything that I, the pissed off user that's handy with tools, can do besides sell it, or pay an arm and a leg for 16 tracks worth of gates? I don't want to have to transfer the tracks to a digital domain just to clean them up.

    -callie-

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    And just so you don't think i'm crazy...

    I paid $450 for the thing.........

  3. #3
    Beck Guest
    The B-16 was Fostex' first foray into the 16 on 1/2". It's not the best of the line, but I wouldn't think it should be that bad. Dolby C is quite effective and preferred by many over dbx.

    Someone may have fiddled with it that didn't know what they were doing and set the playback amps too high. Dolby doesn't work right if input and output levels are out of whack.

    What kind of tape are you using? Do you have a manual with setup info in it?

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    I'm using quantegy 456.

    There's no manual. But I took it apart and figured out where the cal tweakers are. Just need a cal tape. That's a possibility. I'm the 3rd or 4th owner, and who knows what the 1st or 2nd owners did w/ calibration.

    -callie-

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    Should I set the operating levels to +6? +5? +4? +3?

    I know that with DBX, 456 tape needed to operate at +3dB.

    What kinda headroom is needed with Dolby C on 456?

  6. #6
    Beck Guest
    456 is the right stuff for that machine. Another possibility is that someone reset the unit for a lower output tape, so 0 vu is not as hot as it should be.

    Or the heads are so badly worn everything is tweaked to the max.

    Here's a link with calibration portions of the B-16 manual. It's a little annoying being in jpg rather than pdf... but hey, it's free.

    http://synthetizer-sche.chez.tiscali.fr/listtape.html

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    You Rock. thanks. I'll go ahead and get a cal tape and try it out.... wish me luck.

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    Except that I need a test tone generator, and an oscilloscope. I'll have no problem obtaining an oscilloscope, but I don't even know where to start looking for a test tone generator. Looked on ebay, and they were all cheapo telephone repairman things

    What's the technical name for an audio test tone generator, and where can I find one? WHo make them?

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    my B16 is very quiet. Once you get it calibrated, I think you will be very happy with it.

  10. #10
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Muckelroy
    Except that I need a test tone generator, and an oscilloscope. I'll have no problem obtaining an oscilloscope, but I don't even know where to start looking for a test tone generator. Looked on ebay, and they were all cheapo telephone repairman things

    What's the technical name for an audio test tone generator, and where can I find one? WHo make them?
    Look for the TEAC TO-122A, or the Fostex TT-15 test tone oscillators. I use the Fostex and it works great. I don't have an oscilloscope, just a frequency counter on a good multi-meter -- works like a charm.

    Here's a tt-15 currently on ebay.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=7310667558
    Last edited by Beck; 03-28-2005 at 22:08.

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