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Thread: Maxell UR-60 records warbly while Maxell XLII sounds just fine - PORTASTUDIO 244

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    Maxell UR-60 records warbly while Maxell XLII sounds just fine - PORTASTUDIO 244

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    Has anyone experienced such a huge difference between two tapes, the one brand new and cheaper and the other older and better quality.

    I know cassettes are probably built cheaper, but those brand new Maxell ur-60 are strangely unsuitable to record with the portastudio. The recording playback gives a warbly sound, almost like it has gone through a leslie.

    I tried it with a 30yo Maxell XLII-90 and it works just fine. The cassette, let's admit, is much heavier and seems of better quality but... am I to expect a newer tape to simply not take a recording correctly??

    Thanks all!

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    Well, first of all, the new tape you bought (UR 60) is a normal bias tape, which is already an inferior tape to the XLII 90, which is a high bias tape.

    If you look in your 244 manual, I bet it advises against using normal bias tapes with the machine. Actually, I just took a look through it. Although I didn't see anything about it in the instructional part of the manual, it does mention it in the SPECIFICATIONS. (See attached.)

    So ... normal bias tapes in general are not fit to record with on the 244; it's definitely recommended that you use chrome type II (high bias) tapes for the best quality. That said, I don't think it should be warbling with a normal bias tape. If the machine works fine with the XLII90, then I think you must have gotten a bum tape in the UR60.
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    famous beagle

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    I snagged a box of ur-90 about 6-years ago, and felt the same way. That's mostly on two decks, though. There's nothing wrong with buying used tapes and erasing them with a bulk eraser..

    Back then, I mostly used TDK AD, but if you can find these, check 'em out
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    Oh, I'm Buying Fuji for Type-2 tapes.
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    As an aside, it's pretty funny to take a look at what two or three years (I think) can do. If I'm correct, the 244 debuted around 1982 or 1983, whereas the follow-up, the 246, debuted in 1985. Though the machines were fairly similar in features (the 246 having a bit more robust feature-set), the manuals couldn't be more different.

    The manual for the 244 begins like a tech manual almost. Before it tells you what any buttons do, it launches into an 8-page essay about electronics, the science of sound, impedance/ohms, how amplifiers work, etc. It's really pretty technical. After this comes a very detailed section explaining the function of nearly every feature on the unit. It doesn't teach you how to actually record until page 36.

    In the 246 manual, though, it spends about three pages getting you acquainted with the unit using big, fun drawings. It uses all layman's languages and hardly tells you any of the workings under the panel or anything to do with electronics or science. After that, there's a brief one-page bit talking about tape types. By page 8, you're already recording your first track.

    It seems as though they were still trying to identify their target audience.
    famous beagle

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    Ya, my m-1076 manual was still old school. Some of my older manuals are in a binder - not the spiral, but the plastic fingers.

    In the case of the manual for the Roland under my cassettes, it is simply wrong .

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    There was a shift in their technical writing department in the mid 80s. The M-500 consoles the old school manual with all the theory, the M-300 with cartoon-ey flow diagrams and little theory/technical education.

    The 388, 238, TSR-8 all simplified manuals, the 234, MX-80 early generation fully loaded. The manual for the 58 has an amazing theory of operation section detailing *how* the different functions operate right down to the specific transistor. This is all in keeping with the norm of professional operation/service manuals and is extremely helpful when troubleshooting issues. They had good technical writing staff onboard and then something changed. Not that the later manuals are "bad"...I don't mean to be disparaging, but they are a light version of what came before and, generally, have a lot more errors within.

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    I know what you guys mean about the manuals. Like my 520 manual. Great stuff!
    I remember the 246 and 238 manuals lacking. I liked all the techie geeky stuff. If anything, it's an education.

    I'm suprised. My MSR16 manual is quite detailed like the old stuff. I believe it was written in Japan and translated and printed in the US.

    Onto the original topic.

    The porta studios were in fact designed for the better type 2 tape.
    But the warbling issue is the craftsmanship, materials and construction of the cases. (My opinion, not to be blindly construed as fact)

    I've found the cheaper tape........well it's just cheap.

    Independent of the 'type' of tape it's loaded with, its just flimsy and cheap.

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    I would only consider type 1 inferior in electronics that are set-up for type 2. There were pretty extensive tests with the newer breed of NORMAL tapes like the TDK AD. Generally though, Type 2 has the smoother hi-end and type 1 can get you some levels at lower distortions - I mean, if you work it out for your gear.

    At the time, I was thinking the cheap Maxell didn't have the non-friction inserts in the sides and the 3-head, dual capstan I was using could warm up the tape well a bit ??

    The much cheaper 2-well in front of me has no problem with them. The top-loader will be laying down tape on its bottom edge

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    Strangely enough I got the same warbly sound on two maxell sa-60 and one sa-90...

    Again, the high bias xlii worked well.

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