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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 8th May 2019, 7:30 pm   #41
ajgriff
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

The valves are sometimes an attraction in older machines.

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Old 8th May 2019, 9:50 pm   #42
jamesperrett
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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Originally Posted by woodchips View Post
What is Revox quality? According to my A77 sales bumf its W&F (all at 3.3/4ips) is 0.1%, frequency response is 30Hz to 16kHz +2/-3dB, SNR 64dB. My oft giggled at Grundig TS945 is +/-0.09%, 20Hz to 16kHz and 62dB.
If I'm thinking of the right machine, your Grundig was of a similar vintage and aimed at a similar market to the Philips N4515 which I have. While the sound at low speed is amazingly good, the Philips machine feels flimsy and nothing like as well built as a Revox. The Revox also has a certain solidity to the sound that is missing from the Philips - although that could partly be down to my Revox being 2 track while the Philips is 4 track.

I've not encountered a domestic reel to reel that handles tape as well as either a Revox A77 or B77.
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Old 8th May 2019, 10:07 pm   #43
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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I've not encountered a domestic reel to reel that handles tape as well as either a Revox A77 or B77.

I have always found them pretty brutal, especially the A77, which does not have logic. It is possible to snap a tape on it by over-keen pushes of the transport controls! The high wind speed does not help. I suspect they were aimed at the kind of market that use thicker SP tape.

The gentlest I have seen (used) are the aforementioned Philips N4504 series. Even triple play tape would be a struggle to break on this unit. The only comparable handling would be the later model Teacs like x2000, or Studer 810.
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Old 8th May 2019, 10:43 pm   #44
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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What is Revox quality?
Seems to be a European thing. The A77 never impressed me, the B77 seemed nice enough, but by the end of the 80s NZ would have been awash with Tascam 32s for the semi-pro/pro end, and Akais, Teacs and Sonys in the domestic end. Certainly after using both the B77 and 32, I'd go for the 32 any day, and I love my BR-20.

Of course I'm "only" 47 though, so was not around in the early days of the A77 and not in the market for any of these until I could pick them up used. Dad had a Ferrograph 2A and Akai 4000DB. Now I have a GX265, 32 (with sticky pinch roller, really must get around to sending it to Terry's Rubber Rollers) and BR-20.

(oh and a Rola 77 and pile of Ferrographs in the corner of the workshop)
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Old 8th May 2019, 11:38 pm   #45
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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I have always found them pretty brutal, especially the A77, which does not have logic
I discovered this with my eponymous Itam805, which was a 1/2" based A77. If one pressed 'stop' when in FF or RW, several 100 feet of precious recordings ended in a tangled mess on the studio floor I soon learnt the technique of hitting the opposite function, i.e. if in RW then hit FF to bring the motors to a near stop - then hit stop

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Old 9th May 2019, 3:49 am   #46
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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Never had much interest in them as a rule. But as already said, the proof will be when the questions and requests for repair start coming in here thick and fast. We will have to wait and see.
Alan.
I've just had a request to fix a beat up Ferguson-based HMV recorder. It was a horrible job trying to replace the take-up spool drive band, fiddly bits fell out, and rather than do it all over again I told the owner it wasn't worth it. For some reason he had the idea he could get a lot of money for it if it was working. I suppose it's the valves.
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Old 9th May 2019, 7:30 am   #47
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

Funny you should say the A77 never impressed me had mine 35 years its still going albeit with a little bit of work it looks stunning does what it should do !
I am well impressed with the design build and functionality
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Old 9th May 2019, 7:55 am   #48
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

What is Revox quality? Well, it starts with a determination to spend the money where it really matters. A tape recorder without an accurate and stable transport is a waste of time, so you find the Revox attaching three robust motors to a solid casting. The headblock is likewise cast. The bearings throughout are generous and the brakes are simple and effective steel bands. The heads are superb, and guttered so that superb performance remains available almost until the pole pieces are worn away. The electronics are devoid of many of the frills the Japanese love, but onit nothing which actually improves results.

What of the downsides? A lot of the switchgear and external panels use plastic - all the better to spend money where it improves performance. Brutal? I don't think so, properly operated, and if the tension switch is in the right position for the spools in use. The 805 was a turkey anyway - if you take a quarter inch transport and expect it to handle half inch tape with minimal modification, on your own head be it.

Impressive as the appearance and specs of the Japanese machines are, when you actually use them day in, day out, they flatter only to deceive. And fixing a Revox is so much more straightforward, with its logical and tidy internal layout and modular construction.
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Old 9th May 2019, 8:52 am   #49
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

I totally agree with Ted.

Originally we had a Korting MT157 (see my avitar) then I went for an Akai 4000DS which was nothing but trouble. It looked impressive but was quite poor and unreliable. After 3 years, I got fed up and bought a Revox A77 dolby which I still have.

The A77 needs a thorough service but after 43 years it deserves it.

As far as the logic control on the A77, the machine was originally released in 1967. That means it was designed in 1965/66 when the technology for tape motion detection probably wasn't available and logic IC's were in their infancy.

The A77 was way ahead of its time using all but one or two silicon transistors, a servo control capstan motor, plug in modules and a die cast chassis. Unheard of in the day, it out performed all of the competition.

It took several years, probably over a decade before other manufacturers started to introduce a couple of its features.

As far as I know no other manufacturer of domestic or semi-pro recorders used a die cast chassis.
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Old 9th May 2019, 9:39 am   #50
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

I've sold a few machines on eBay recently, but they struggled a bit and didn't reach what I'd have considered a good price. A fully serviced Philips N4407 went for under £100, and to add insult to injury the buyer opened a case against me (he lost).
I think, like VW camper vans, it's all in the name. Grundigs are the ones to go for in the domestic range - nothing wrong with that, but other good makes can be left high and dry.
I like my A77 as well - it's one of those machines that just go on and on - witness every recording studio in the Seventies and eighties that had one on the rack, also radio stations that had the ultra-low speed versions as loggers. On all day, every day. My main complaint with them is head block access and the power supply accessibilty - but nobody's perfect!
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Old 9th May 2019, 9:40 am   #51
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

For interest the price I marked on the Grundig TS945 was £400, the TS1000 was £600 and the Revox B77 was £550. This was all early 1980's, time to pension off the Ferrograph after a good few years service, and a pay rise.

Again, for interest, the bumf I have for the Tandberg TD20A and the Philips N4520 have near identical characteristics as the Grundig and Revox, as you would expect.

The sales details for the Revox included a review by Hugh Ford of Studio Sound, and he wasn't overly impressed. Particularly the winding, he described it as pretty brutal too. A direct drive mains AC motor has to be a few steps down from the DC servo motors used on the other machines.

I recently put my R2R back into use after about 25 years of not using it. Creaked and groaned a bit as the oil circulated in the bushes, but works fine except for the rewind, not working. I was impressed with just how good it sounded, the tapes hadn't shed any oxide either.

Die cast chassis? So what? A stress relieved steel chassis is its equal, if not better if only because steel is so much stiffer than aluminium. Also the casting stresses could creep out after the decades. The Philips uses 4mm thick steel!
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Old 9th May 2019, 9:48 am   #52
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

The Philips PRO12 served a similar market to A77, with limitation of 7" reel capacity, but
it did have a die cast chassis,and was heavier than the Revox,with standard mains motors.

I don't think I've broken a tape on my PR99/3, although it is important not to mix metal
and plastic reels. I also have a Teac X-1000R which has benefit of dual capstans.
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Old 9th May 2019, 5:14 pm   #53
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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Originally Posted by ben View Post
I have always found them pretty brutal, especially the A77, which does not have logic. It is possible to snap a tape on it by over-keen pushes of the transport controls! The high wind speed does not help. I suspect they were aimed at the kind of market that use thicker SP tape.

The gentlest I have seen (used) are the aforementioned Philips N4504 series. Even triple play tape would be a struggle to break on this unit. The only comparable handling would be the later model Teacs like x2000, or Studer 810.
I'm using a three motor Teac unit that turned out in really great condition after a simple repair. I bought it for lunch money from a neighbor that does household clearouts. It was left in the attic (loft).
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Old 9th May 2019, 5:40 pm   #54
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

There's revivals and there's revivals. Just like the so called cassette revival I think this will be a 'not so hot' revival mainly attracting people who had (or wanted them) first time around. Nonetheless as a vintage audio enthusiast I welcome it. The vinyl revival is of course, a great success.
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Old 9th May 2019, 8:10 pm   #55
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

So what's going to be the reel to reel equivalent of the "Dansette"?

The thought of all those "I've just bought a ………… reel to reel" threads is giving me nightmares!
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Old 9th May 2019, 8:41 pm   #56
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So what's going to be the reel to reel equivalent of the "Dansette"?

The thought of all those "I've just bought a ………… reel to reel" threads is giving me nightmares!
Not sure but one with a BSR deck might be in the running.

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Old 9th May 2019, 9:36 pm   #57
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

Probably the little Elizabethan with the BSR TD2 deck?

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Old 10th May 2019, 1:19 am   #58
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

I'm waiting for the PR99 in the loft to have babies...........
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Old 10th May 2019, 2:23 am   #59
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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witness every recording studio in the Seventies and eighties that had one on the rack
I still think that's either a European thing, or it might be my age, but every studio I've ever been in has had a Tascam or Otari…. Prior to that I think Rola was more common - certainly RNZ had lots of them, and the one I have is ex-Radio Otago. Those were radio studios though, the only recording studio I worked in was the one attached to Radio One (OUSA) in Dunedin - Tascam MSR-16 and Tascam 32.

It'd be interesting to find old photos of the likes of Stebbing or York Street though, to see what NZ studios had in that era.
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Old 10th May 2019, 7:55 am   #60
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

No one has mentioned the Akai R-R recorders. I have two of these (1720) which I used for stage sound effects many years ago. They were reliable gave ,what I thought, good audio. I powered one up recently to digitise a recording I made in the mid seventies It worked perfectly.
Not up to Revox orStuder standard but a reasonable domestic machine.

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