I just bought a reel to reel, after all these years of telling everyone how stupid they are if they do it!

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I'm ready for that to be fair. That was one thing I remembered from the old days - cleaning, maintenance, demags etc etc. Makes a computer and a USB drive look like magic.
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
@spantini RPBH (Registered Product Box Hoarder) lol me too!!

Listing all my gear at this point would be a chore in and of itself. For open-reel machines it’s:

Ampex MM-1000 1” 8-track/2” 16-track
3M M64 1/4” halftrack
Sony TC-630 consumer quarter track (from my youth)
Akai X-150D consumer quarter track…acquired for free in a large lot of essentially rubbish machines I sold off for parts, but the Akai works and just…stayed…
 

henrygeorge67

New member
Cool! I found this short video : Logic 7 Recorder

I had a Tascam 38 which was a beautiful piece of gear.. when it was fully operational. I wouldn't want one of those back for all the tea in China. Plus it weighed as much as a VW Beetle (with engine.. fully fueled.. and the high school's football team front linemen inside).
I had a T-38 too! Wrote some of my still favorite songs on it. I can't even remember who I sold it to. You are correct the unit was almost impossible to carry alone.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
"and you have a lot of free time to tune it up every time you use it" I think you are laboring under a misapprehension Mr P?

Yes, a tape deck will need to be INITIALLY aligned for a specific tape type but once so setup it will remain stable for many years, just keep the tape path clean. For THE most nit picky studio work you should check the bias and EQ for each fresh batch of tape but for most users it will be near enough for jazz.
However, Dolby noise reduction does demand very close tolerances to the rec/play levels and frequency response.

Dave.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I’ve found a guy in the US who will make me a new pinch wheel rubber. I need to send him the brass centre and he’ll sort it, and he has the sizes too! Terry’s Rubber Rollers!
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
When I worked with broadcasters who had loads of mechanical kit, then the covers were frequently off, cleaning tools to hand and lineup and testing part of the daily shift. In local radio, my next stop, you serviced when required. However, for my own recordings, the machines just worked….. until they didn’t. My own Ferrographs, a series 7 then a super 7 had faults which like all gear of that era, you just fixed. No big deal. Learn how to tweak bias, learn how to adjust brakes, and a bottle of isopropyl and cotton bud fixed everything!
 

jamesperrett

Active member
I’ve found a guy in the US who will make me a new pinch wheel rubber. I need to send him the brass centre and he’ll sort it, and he has the sizes too! Terry’s Rubber Rollers!
For some reason I assumed that everyone knew about Terry Witt. Lots of people recommend him. The other Terry that you need to know about is Terry Summers at Summertone who is the person to go to when you need your heads relapped.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I’ve found a guy in the US who will make me a new pinch wheel rubber. I need to send him the brass centre and he’ll sort it, and he has the sizes too!
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Without the pinch wheel rubber I can’t play a tape of course, but I thought I’d at least clean the heads. Oh oh! These look like 4 track heads. On these machines there is a long handle that sits in the slot next to the socket panel. It is always ‘in’ because few people carry them by it, they’re just too heavy. You also need to prise them out with a screwdriver. Memory served well, under it was the ID plate. It should have been a 7622DH 2 track with high speed and Dolby, but it is really a 7624D. A 4 track with 7.5ips as top speed. The seller mentioned he had just two from his deceased dad’s collection, and my 400 mile round trip had been wasted, the other one was mine. I checked the speed with some maths based on the diameter of the capstan and rotation speed. Slow speed was around two rpm and the circumference just over 20mm. Yep, 1⅞” IPs. So I’m doing the trip again on Tuesday, this time at his expense.

I don’t think any attempt at a con, we both just got carried away with tape, studio stuff and instruments. Without the pinch wheel rubber, I checked the rewind and wind torque, and the absence of crackles and pops.

I’ve told Terry’s rubber wheels there will be a delay, so it’s just waiting time again. He has sent me the photo of the hidden ID plate on the other and this one is indeed 2 track and high speed.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Re-arranged for this weekend due to work coming in - but just to prove how stupid I really am, I have just bought a white Yamaha grand piano - not even a baby grand, a full 6' 1" long one! The theatre I run had it as a hire-in piano, and this year it was tuned twice and been played for a total of fifteen minutes in the year. I loved playing it every time we moved it onstage and lit it. I called the hire company and asked if they wanted to collect it. They said they'd rather not as we were the only customer they had for it and it was free storage. On a whim, I made an offer for me to buy it and they said yes. I have just broken the 'exciting' news to my wife and oddly she didn't seem to think it was as good an idea as I do? I got up today to see her with a tape measure staring at our dining room that she'd just emptied by moving the dining table into another room. Yet again, I don't think I am that popular.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Now you've got a perfect instrument for doing your microphone comparisons. I fancy a comparison of mics going to both your interface and your tape deck recording your new grand piano.

Then you can tell the wife that you're paying for it from the residuals of your Youtube channel.

Just a thought.....
 

Slouching Raymond

Active member
I don't think you're stupid Rob. I want one. Six foot new, you're looking at £13,000 plus. I doubt your offer was that big.
Yamahas have a treble-y tone. Keep the lid shut when not in use. I'll wait for the 'How to Mic a Grand' video.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
This one has a lovely tone, light action and apart from the dings, in really good condition. Sounds great. less than a grand, including delivery. I hadn't thought about being able to do recording experiments? The Ferrograph has two ¼" unbalanced mic channels. It will be interesting to try these. The SM57 I bought in the 70s was plugged in this way - I didn't have any gear till the mid 80s that had an XLR input, but my recollection was that I could put the mic outside and record bird noises - I wonder what the noise will be like compared to modern kit? Good call.
 
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ecc83

Well-known member
This one has a lovely tone, light action and apart from the dings, in really good condition. Sounds great. less than a grand, including delivery. I hadn't thought about being able to do recording experiments? The Ferrograph has two ¼" unbalanced mic channels. It will be interesting to try these. The SM57 I bought in the 70s was plugged in this way - I didn't have any gear till the mid 80s that had an XLR input, but my recollection was that I could put the mic outside and record bird noises - I wonder what the noise will be like compared to modern kit? Good call.
Had a look at a schematic Rob and the mic pres are simple transistor pairs, very similar to those in my Teac and I remember my son used to use an SM57 into the recorder with decent results, tape noise was above pre amp noise.
However a pair of XLR low Z to high transformers gave a useful signal lift.

Dave.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well, I started with saying I was stupid, and it has ended badly!

Another 400 mile round trip today - got there with the 4 track version and he powered up the 2 track. Rewind and wind (which use a knob to control the direction by upping motor torque on the supply spool to make it reverse and vice versa. You can turn the knob and the rewind slows then reverses. Neat idea, but one that needs necessarily brakes release and proper tension. This worked great. Popped it into play and the capstan wasn't moving. The system these use is a fixed speed motor and then three idler wheels that make contact with the motor drive, through one of the idlers, selected with the speed control, which make contact with the massive flywheel which has three different stepped diameters. Smallest one produces highest capstan speed, and the largest doe the low speed. The seller isn't very technical - but I had an Allan key on my leatherman and I whipped off the top of the machine, which had a capstan wheel in as new condition, to reveal a nasty horrible sticky mess where not only had the idler wheels turned into a thick black tar like goo, so had the rubber running surface of the three bands in the idler itself. I touched it and still have now the black gunge on my fingers. The machine I wanted totally shot. The lower speed version my initial wrong 4 track had actually has the same size capstan, but a large one is heat fitted to it to increase the diameter and produce the higher speeds. We talked it over, and the snag seems to be that to cure this needs a total strip down, and 3 idlers sourcing (which I have seen on some forums for sale) but also new rubber inserts in the flywheel and a quick google found none of these whatsoever - meaning you'd need a donor machine to use for parts. I simply don't have the time or inclination for a rebuild project of this kind, even assuming I could find the parts.

I was aware of the rubber problem before I bought them, it having appeared in the late 80s - ten years or so from new - but I did manage to find a few parts that I bought, but not on this scale. So my wish to get one of these as a sort of throwback to my early recording years has failed and that I think, is that. I'm not interested in trying to keep this machines going. I've never recorded anything on the first one, and the 2 track I should have had appear to be totally scrap. The seller I feel is genuine, as he powered the machine up as soon as I arrived and went to make coffee - only for me to say ........ it doesn't work. Was I stupid? Yes, I think I was.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well, with my luck, what could go wrong with a piano?
I sat in the guys living room and I wasn't angry - just incredibly dissapointed. Counted the chickens far too early! I've decided to not look at Ferrographs any more. They seem to be a ticking time bomb. Is a perfect pinch roller or other rubber part a new one with modern rubber, or is it an old one a week before it goes into self-destruct mode.

In reel to reel tape, we all know about the sticky shedding problem with the tape formulation going bad, but in all my time, I think I only ever saw one reel where it was bad. It was well known, but not really that common, unless you had standardised on that one dodgy formulation. I'd heard about the rubber problem - but I had never imagined that the description I'd heard so many times was underplayed. You know that black stuff you paint on leaky shed roofs? Like road tar in a jar? This was what it really was like - disgusting and even cleaning it out of the machine would have been so messy!
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Well, that certainly sucks. But the bright spot is that you don't have a boat anchor sitting on a table in the studio that you're going to try to fix up "someday". Chalk it up to time spent on a nice fall drive through the countryside.

This isn't the first time I've seen this happen. I don't know what it is about the rubber that was used in the 60s and 70s but when it turns to goo, it's really nasty stuff. I used to see rollers dry-rot and crack up. Maybe they reformulated the rubber so that it doesn't dry up like that. Well, surprise...
 
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