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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 11th Feb 2023, 12:36 pm   #1
DMcMahon
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Default Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Have seen an old reel to reel recorder where the included instructions manual calls it "Gramdeck".

I am not familiar with the name Gramdeck when relating to reel to reel recorders.

Is anybody familiar with this recorder or Gramdeck name ?

David
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 12:44 pm   #2
Simon Gittins
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

The reels are powered by a record player turntable! Very basic.

Last edited by Radio Wrangler; 13th Feb 2023 at 4:41 pm. Reason: Ebay reference removed
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 12:44 pm   #3
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

The only Gramdeck I'm aware of is a device that was marketed for converting a standard record player into a tape recorder.

Found the item - it's a Philips tape recorder, and the Gramdeck instruction leaflet has no relation to it but just happens to be there.

Paul
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 12:52 pm   #4
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

No discussion of the eBay listing or seller please.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 12:52 pm   #5
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Thank you Paul, yes can now see from the picture on the manual that it is a different item, looks the same type as shown in Simons link, I do not think I Have seen that type of deck before.

David

Last edited by DMcMahon; 11th Feb 2023 at 1:16 pm. Reason: Missing word "seen" added.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 3:29 pm   #6
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

The Gramdeck grew out of some Alec Tutchings articles in The Tape Recorder, as it was then. The mechanics were simple - a large capstan drum, driven directly by the turntable, with a spring loaded ballrace covered by something that looked like a doorstop functioning as a pinch roller. A belt drove the take-up turntable, and strategically placed felt washers served for take-up clutching and back tension. Permanent magnet erase, a Marriott rec/rep head and decent battery powered preamplifier with AC bias. Manual rewind, with a supplied handle and stabilising weight. Sounds a bit Heath Robinson said like that, but with care the results were surprisingly good at 78rpm, which gave the only standard speed available, 7.5 ips. I think it retailed for 11gns, which was cheap even compared to the basic BSR Monardeck-based machines available at the time.

Last edited by Ted Kendall; 11th Feb 2023 at 3:41 pm.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 6:55 pm   #7
Chris R
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

The father of one of my friends was the producer of a well known series of TV dramas.
I recall that he bought a Gramdeck to make some outdoor recordings (the foghorn on the local harbour breakwater was one of them).
He used a wind up gramophone for the turntable, so the whole affair was "portable". The recordings were surprisingly acceptable.

Chris R
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:02 pm   #8
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

I am always concerned that one day, somebody is going to hand me their precious tape of a long-deceased relative or whatever and it will have been recorded on a Gramdeck at a speed other than 78rpm.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:11 pm   #9
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
The father of one of my friends was the producer of a well known series of TV dramas.
I recall that he bought a Gramdeck to make some outdoor recordings (the foghorn on the local harbour breakwater was one of them).
He used a wind up gramophone for the turntable, so the whole affair was "portable". The recordings were surprisingly acceptable.

Chris R
An Australian music professor described using the Gramdeck preamplifier with the battery version of the Garrard magazine deck to make field recordings of music, with surprisingly good results.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:15 pm   #10
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathovisor View Post
I am always concerned that one day, somebody is going to hand me their precious tape of a long-deceased relative or whatever and it will have been recorded on a Gramdeck at a speed other than 78rpm.
True, but it's easy enough to calculate the actual tape speed by appropriate division. I think the speeds are listed in the appropriate Hi Fi Yearbook in any case. If all else fails, you can work on the frequency of the almost inevitable recorded mains hum.
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:27 pm   #11
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

I remember the adverts for these and I can understand how the neccessary mechanics were implemented, but how was the electronics done - given that most record player amplifiers wouldn't have had the necessary sensitivity for a tape head or the equalisation for tape recording? Was there an entirely separate standalone playback/record amplifier with its own loudspeaker and input circuits, meaning that the Gramdeck only used the record player motor and turntable for its mechanical drive?
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:29 pm   #12
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Sold my Gramdeck decades ago (bought at a boot sale in the 80s) they come in two seperate red boxes.
The mechanical mech in one box the transistorised pre amp and switching in the other.

I tried it out and it exceeded my expectations but they were low.

Cheers

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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:30 pm   #13
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobaltblue View Post
Sold my Gramdeck decades ago (bought at a boot sale in the 80s) they come in two seperate red boxes.
The mechanical mech in one box the transistorised pre amp and switching in the other.

I tried it out and it exceeded my expectations but they were low.

Cheers

Mike T

I think that answers my question!


Mike
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:34 pm   #14
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulevardier View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobaltblue View Post
Sold my Gramdeck decades ago (bought at a boot sale in the 80s) they come in two seperate red boxes.
The mechanical mech in one box the transistorised pre amp and switching in the other.

I tried it out and it exceeded my expectations but they were low.

Cheers

Mike T

I think that answers my question!


Mike
No speaker or power amp they were designed the pre amp to be plugged into the gram input of a radio.

ISTR the connectors were wander plugs.

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 7:52 pm   #15
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...light=gramdeck
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 8:24 pm   #16
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

A few years ago a fellow member of the forum in Coventry demonstrated his Gramdeck to me and I was pleasantly surprised at the acceptable quality. As Paul suggested, the majority were probably retired pretty quickly due to unacceptable inconvenience in use. They may have whet the appetite of newcomers to recording and perhaps as they threw the Gramdeck into the loft they went and bought a proper machine.

Sorry I can’t remember who the Coventrian was.

Incidentally, the Philips machine mentioned by the OP is quite an old one and has a very curious feature. The tape counter is fitted to the top right corner of the deck and after loading your tape you then have to fit a Bowden type cable between the counter and the centre of the take up spool! Sounds like this was a last minute feature, then again this is Philips….. if you find the item mentioned you will see the counter and cable disconnected.

Peter
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 8:42 pm   #17
Paul_RK
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reelman View Post
The tape counter is fitted to the top right corner of the deck and after loading your tape you then have to fit a Bowden type cable between the counter and the centre of the take up spool! Sounds like this was a last minute feature, then again this is Philips….. if you find the item mentioned you will see the counter and cable disconnected.

Peter
According to RM.org the counter was an optional extra, with a model number of its own, EL3939.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/philip...21_22_23.html#

The EL3511 does look a more interesting machine than most to use...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYY4LyOOg_A

Paul
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Old 11th Feb 2023, 9:54 pm   #18
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Philips Gramdeck Reel to Reel Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reelman View Post
Incidentally, the Philips machine mentioned by the OP is quite an old one and has a very curious feature. The tape counter is fitted to the top right corner of the deck and after loading your tape you then have to fit a Bowden type cable between the counter and the centre of the take up spool! Sounds like this was a last minute feature, then again this is Philips….. if you find the item mentioned you will see the counter and cable disconnected.

Peter
Colton marketed something similar as the Call Boy, presumably hoping to sell to BSR TD2 owners.
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