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Thread: Studer 1/4" deck question.

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    Studer 1/4" deck question.

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    I've been looking for a 1/4" mixdown/mastering deck and I have a line on a Studer. It's on consignment at a music store and they don't know what model it is. All they could tell me was it was the size of an oven and old. They did a test recording and all seemed fine. The price is $400 CDN. Is this an appropriate deck for my Boogie Barn Studios. Is this this worth looking into or should I spend my hard earned Loonies elsewhere.
    Quite frankly, I'd rather just go sailing.

    http://www.myspace.com/harripalm

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    loonies. i love canada.

    Well, what would you use it for? to record master mixes onto tape? Do you already track onto tape, or do you track digitally? lots of questions, but here's the main thing:

    If you want to be able to legitimately send your master tapes elsewhere to be mastered by someone else, the machine will need to be in very good working order. (duh)

    Most master/dup houses will ask that your master tape have a bumper, a leader, and a few minutes worth of test tones recorded onto the beginning of the tape. With the test tones, they can check to see that their machines are set to the same spec of your machine. (you probably already know this, I have no idea, i'm just throwing it out there FYI)

    Analog master tapes, though AWESOME sounding, are much more nitpicky to make than digital masters (CD's, dat tapes, what have you), as they require tape (obviously), a good test tone generator, maintenance, and an extra 15 minutes or so of work, to prepare the machine for use before recording your master mix. Plus, you're at the mercy of the length of the tape for the time of your tracks, so you'll have to plan out the time per track, second for second, to see that the last track won't get cut off suddenly as you're recording your masters. Just a lot of work.

    If you're an enthusiast kinda guy, and you don't plan on sending your master copies elsewhere to get re-mastered, and you're the only person that's gonna use your masters, go for it. Don't worry about making your analog masters all officialized, just do what you want, get some tape, clean it up, and record away.

    If you don't already have a CD recorder handy, that 400 dollars might be better spent on one of those, because one way or another, you'll have to make a master CD copy. food for thought.

    GOOD PRICE though, if it's in working order, I'd almost buy it, just because.

    -callie-

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    Thanks for the info Muckleroy. I am a self professed analog geek. I'm mostly do my own singer songwriter stuff or my wifes stuff. My main rig is an Otari MX5050 8 track. I also use a TSR-8 and still enjoy using my 3440. A blackface aDat is my only digital gear at the moment. The Studer would become my main mixdown deck. And yes masters would eventually be going to a mastering house although not on any large scale. My wife plans on doing her next project here. (This is a bit of a leap of faith on her part as in the past she has used some pretty high quality studios.) Up till now I have been mixing to a borrowed minidisc or to cassette. This Studer would be my move up.
    Quite frankly, I'd rather just go sailing.

    http://www.myspace.com/harripalm

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    Now that I read your post a bit more deeply, seems like you're pretty gung-ho about getting a mix-down deck, so you can disreguard my bit about a CD recorder.

    Take a peek at the heads to see if it's a quarter-track machine, or a half-track machine. Studer did make both kinds, although, if it's the size of an OVEN, it's probably a half-track pro model kinda thing. Good stuff if it's the case.

    Just look for the usual signs of wear and tear. heads, pinch rollers, guides, make sure the reel tables turn smoothly and are balanced, all that good stuff. Test out the motor speed, to see if there's any noticable wow and flutter, and check out the electronics. For something like a mystery Studer at that price, that they claim works, go for it. Then get a pro to clean it up and bring it to spec. That is, if you want what I think you want - a pure, analog mix-down deck.

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    OH and make sure that it'll do at LEAST 15 ips. if it'll go 30 ips, all the merrier , though I prefer the sound of 15 ips, it's always good to have the 30 ips option.

  6. #6
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    Not knowing what model it is it's hard to say. An older oven-sized Studer half-track might not be substantially better, and might even be worse sonically than a newer Otari or Tascam. It depends on what it is and its condition.

    It's a personal preference, but I tend to avoid potential restoration projects if what I'm looking for is utility. You might end up needing two 1/4" machines -- one that looks cool and another one that actually works.

    -Tim

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    I think I'm going to take a look at tomorrow. I'll do a test recording in the store and check out as much as I can. I'll try not to let my emotions rule and use common sense. I've bought some analog junk already and certainly don't need any the size of an oven. My studio is cramped enough. I'll let you know.
    Quite frankly, I'd rather just go sailing.

    http://www.myspace.com/harripalm

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    True. I'm seeing Beck's philosophy firsthand with this old Teac A-4010S I've been fixing up. I got it for free, and it was dead as a doornail. So I gave it the basics, belts, librication, a new capacitor (which had blown), and some cleaning up inside and out. Demag, alignment, all that good stuff. and although the transport is as reliable as the Dukes of Hazard, it sounds like sh*t. Do I want to spend the money to buy schematics, an oscilloscope, and replacement caps for a pie-in-the-sky quarter-track restoration? probably not. Hell no.

    So try to determine how old it is, and research the specs of that model, you know the drill. A Tascam 2-22 1/4" half track may sound way better than this Studer if the Studer is ancient and/or beat up.

    -callie-

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