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Thread: Tascam 388 Demag and head cleaning - advice?

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    Tascam 388 Demag and head cleaning - advice?

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    Hey all, my band is treking into the mountains for a week to finish our album. We've recorded the whole thing with a 388, but the heads have never been demagnetized or cleaned. I'd like to do this before we leave Friday. I've read and researched on here a bit but I've read some conflicting advice so I wanted to ask two questions, with 100 sub-questions:
    When demagnetizing, have the machine OFF/unplugged first and foremost. Second I've read to turn the unit on at least 3 feet away and make circular motions slow toward the machine. Once you do that, make circular motions away from the machine till at least 3 feet away, then it's safe to turn the unit off.

    My questions regarding demag'ing are:
    Approximately how big of circles should I be making?
    Should I be making the circles as slowly as possible?
    How close do I get to the heads until I start backing away? Do I get within an inch, and do I only target the heads?
    Does it matter if my circles are clockwise or counterclockwise?
    Should I make sure all my tapes are on the other side of the house before I do this?

    I'd like to be thorough because I don't want to ruin the machine and have to cancel the trip AND not have anything to mix our previously recorded songs on.

    The only other question I have is about cleaning the heads. Can I use 'off the shelf, pharmacy' rubbing alcohol? Or would that be a bad thing?

    I appreciate any and all help you guys can give me, I really do.

    -C. Whit

  2. #2
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    Sep 2010
    Oshkosh, WI USA
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    Most pharmacy rubbing alcohol is 70%, and will say on the bottle. Don't use it, too much water. Use 99% isopropyl. If you can't find it at your pharmacy you may have better luck at a hardware store or similar. I live in the upper-midwest USA and buy my 99% from Fleet Farm for about a couple bucks a bottle; not sure where in the world you live or what stores you have. Also, avoid swabs with plastic sticks. If you can find industrial-use wood stick swabs that's great; if you can't, use paper stick swabs.

    You should absolutely be cleaning your heads and any other metal parts in the tape path every time you use the machine. Do NOT use alcohol on rubber parts however, as it will dry them out.

    Here is a video of the infamous Fletcher showing how to demag. He's doing it on a big 2" machine but the method can be applied to smaller heads too of course. I demag our 1" MCI machine with pretty much the same technique and haven't had any problems. I don't make any circles as I approach the heads and I move as smoothly as I can. I do not go poking at the heads afterward like he does because I want to keep them clean. Also, I would ignore it when he says you can demag while the machine is in input. I'm guessing he probably says this because some pro studios never shut their gear off, but trust me, just have your unit off and unplugged period!

    Beyond that, just keep in mind what you're doing, don't let anything distract you while you're doing it, and keep magnet-sensitive items (like tape and hard drives!) away from where you're demagging. Make sure your demagger can't come unplugged while you're operating it--use an extension cord if necessary to have plenty of slack. I move any tapes several feet away from anywhere my Han-D-Mag is going to be operating before I get started.
    The vid: The Meth Lab - Videos
    Last edited by briank; 12-13-2011 at 16:53.

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