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Thread: Tascam 388 head cost

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    Tascam 388 head cost

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    Hi All,
    I have been thinking about replacing the recording/playback heads on my Tascam 388. Ive been getting drop outs on channel 1 and distortion on channel 2.
    I found a head that is "65% still good." The price is close to $300 with shipping.
    What do you think?
    Is that about the what head for this machine are going for these days?
    Thanks much,
    M.

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    That’s about the price tag I think. A few years ago you could still get them new from Teac for about that price, but that’s long gone now. Important questions

    1. Is that “65%” verified by a head report?
    2. What leads you to believe your existing r/p is causing your problems with tracks 1 & 2?

    Can you see a gap opening up? There are a couple different reasons you might be having dropouts on track 1. Have you recently switched tape type/brand? And regarding track 2, head failure doesn’t typically result in increased distortion. Typically as the tip depth wears in a head coil the result is decreased HF performance and then ultimately no signal transmission, and at that point you should be able to corroborate the failure with a visible open head gap.

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    Thanks sweetbeats. Here are some photos of the head in question. I haven't switched tape recently but have been going back to older reels. The "distortion" in track 2 is more like "muddy/mushy" dropouts. Totally unusable. They just started. I do see gaps forming on the head, or am misreading the look of them?
    Thanks again.head1-pnghead2-pnghead3-png

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    So, really hard to tell from your pics because there is not enough light. You need to shine a flashlight in there when you take the pic. But from what I can see:

    1. No obvious gaps opening up but...
    2. You’ve got a pretty healthy wear pattern there, and
    3. Maybe slightly greater wear depth toward the lower tracks, and
    4. Your wrap angle is off quite a bit...you see the faint vertical line off-center in the face of the wear path? That should be dead center. Anyway nothing you can do about that now.

    It’s possible you are approaching the wear limit on that head.

    You say you are playing back older tapes. What type of tape are the older tapes versus the type of tape you have been using more commonly?

    Do your drop-out/distortion issues stay on tracks 1 & 2 if you swap those amp cards around with non track 1 & 2 cards?

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    Thanks sweetbeats. I tried what you suggested and switched the cards. For some reason all channels work perfectly now. I'll test more but they seem stable. Maybe a card was a little off or something. Thanks for the tip!
    For the head I'm not sure I see a gap at the bottom but was wondering about these side gaps. Do they affect anything?gaps-png

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    That’s just Normal head construction you see there.

    And I suspect you had some oxidized contacts which has been helped by re-seating the amp cards.

    Good deal!

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    Love it when that happens!

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    Me too. Thanks again sweetbeats.

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