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Thread: Otari MKIII Head spot Question and a few beginner questions

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    Otari MKIII Head spot Question and a few beginner questions

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    This is my first post so I am sorry if this is the wrong spot or if I am doing anything out of order. Please Correct me if need be.

    I just got an otari mx 5050 MkIII-2 that spent most of its life in a radio broadcast studio and the rest dormant in the house of an employee. All the guides and parts move very fluidly and the machine seems to still be good for the most part mechanically besides these few things.

    1. There is a completely black head marked ER above it (I presume that means it's the erase head) located all the way to the left. I'm thinking it's probably not stock but I don't really know much about this stuff yet. Anyways, the head has a dull mark on it that doesn't seem to be coming off. I'm thinking it may be really old tape residue but I don't know for sure.
    So is there a more thorough way to clean than q-tips and alcohol or is this normal (or some random bad sign)?

    2. The guides are super worn and I need to get at the stationary ones in/ by the heads but i'm not sure if they unscrew or if they are press fit. They look like 3 pieces. Like two larger diameter sandwiching a smaller diameter guide in the middle. Do they screw out, heat them and pull, just pull without heat, or what?

    The Picture makes the black head look a bit worse than it is but the spot is on the upper left section contact pieces (If you know what I mean).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20190917_224808-jpg   20190917_224736-jpg   20190917_224708-jpg   20190915_093517-jpg  

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    I can probably get a better picture of the black head later when my phone is charged up.

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    OK, the left-hand head is the eraser. The actual erase elements are normally black, or dark metallic, with the rest of the head surface being plastic. Usually it's white, but it looks like some of the Otari ones are black plastic.
    From these pictures I can't see anything catastrophically amiss, though there is clearly a bit of wear on the audio heads.

    EDIT: Here's one I found online:
    Otari mx5050 mkiii - 2 erase head - Image on imgED
    ...though that one looks like it's a full-track erase that wipes both channels at once. The head you have is a 2-channel eraser, which can wipe left and right independently (e.g. for overdubbing) so it looks a little different.

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    Thanks for your response

    Ok, that would explain why it won't clean up like the others. Maybe most of that dullness is actually wear on the plastic. I'll post a good and clear picture of the head when I get home so you can see the actual "spot" I was referring to. Any Idea on how the guides by the head come apart?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeisREELcool View Post
    Thanks for your response

    Ok, that would explain why it won't clean up like the others. Maybe most of that dullness is actually wear on the plastic. I'll post a good and clear picture of the head when I get home so you can see the actual "spot" I was referring to. Any Idea on how the guides by the head come apart?
    Not on that deck, I'm afraid. On most decks the guide pillars unscrew, often from the top when the head cover is removed (or flipped open if yours does that). The tape lifters, that depends. On some of the cheaper TASCAM decks they're literally welded to the lifter assembly and can't really be replaced or rotated. On the Otari MX80 they're screwed in from the bottom, but the 5050 is probably quite different.

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    20190918_172511-jpgscreenshot_20190918-172236_gallery-jpg
    I got some pictures of the head up close. The white part is more of a magnified reflection than anything else. But what the pictures do pick up is the weird speckled almost rust like pattern on the head. That's more of what I was seeing. It's just a little worse on the top so it looks like one spot in person. Is this normal or am I over exaggerating the problem?

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    They do look a lot more textured than the erase heads I have, but I don't know the 5050 well enough to know if that's normal. Hopefully someone else here has more experience with them and can chip in.
    Have you actually tried the machine?

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    Yes, the heads look fairly worn but the interesting thing is that you appear to have both half track and quarter track playback heads - I don't know how standard this was with these machines. The erase head looks clean to me although I don't know about the texture. Does it play tapes properly?
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesperrett View Post
    Yes, the heads look fairly worn but the interesting thing is that you appear to have both half track and quarter track playback heads - I don't know how standard this was with these machines. The erase head looks clean to me although I don't know about the texture. Does it play tapes properly?
    Standard option from factory. I think Miroslav mentioned recently that he got a Otari 1/2 track that had 1/4 track playback option, it can come in handy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesperrett View Post
    Yes, the heads look fairly worn but the interesting thing is that you appear to have both half track and quarter track playback heads - I don't know how standard this was with these machines. The erase head looks clean to me although I don't know about the texture. Does it play tapes properly?
    Unfortunately I don't have any tape to play with it yet. I should be able to get a 7 inch spool of RMG/EMTEC 911 mastering tape in a couple days from amazon by Saturday or Friday but nothing untill then. I don't really plan on playing many (or any) pre-recorded things.

    '

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