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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 7th May 2019, 8:50 pm   #21
duncanlowe
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

I'll delay getting rid of those pr-recorded R2R tapes I accidentally bought thinking they were 8mm film then! Years ago I did have a half decent Ferguson deck, but it was stolen from the garage where it was temporarily stored, along with the car stored there. I did get the car back.
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Old 7th May 2019, 8:53 pm   #22
Ted Kendall
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I think it is very possible to make a working tape recorder (other than the heads) in a model engineer's workshop. Whether you can get it up to, say, Revox standards is another matter.
Exactly. There is something like half a century's-worth of expertise in the finer points of analogue tape recorder design, which is in danger of being lost. For now, the best thing to do is conserve the machines still in existence.
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Old 7th May 2019, 10:53 pm   #23
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

And I don't see a revival being big enough to exhaust the number of machines still in existence. My A77 hasn't seen a lot of use since I replaced the heads, so I'm OK. for a good while.

Unlike the vinyl and shellac worlds, there isn't the range and quantity of pre-recorded material in existence to support a tape revival of the same sort.

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Old 8th May 2019, 12:19 am   #24
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

My first job in the trade was with a small dealer in my home town, Pudsey. One of the partners, Arthur Harding had built a recording studio, and made his own master tape recorder, including the heads, although I never visited there. The shop is a musical instrument dealer these days.
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Old 8th May 2019, 2:15 am   #25
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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There is something like half a century's-worth of expertise in the finer points of analogue tape recorder design, which is in danger of being lost.
I think we should be safe for a little while - the likes of the Tascam BR-20 only went out of production around 2004 and AFAIK parts are still available new from Teac.
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Old 8th May 2019, 7:04 am   #26
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyDuell View Post
I think it is very possible to make a working tape recorder (other than the heads) in a model engineer's workshop. Whether you can get it up to, say, Revox standards is another matter.
Exactly. There is something like half a century's-worth of expertise in the finer points of analogue tape recorder design, which is in danger of being lost.
I think it mostly is already lost - hence the "high end" Ballfinger with a moving headblock.
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Old 8th May 2019, 7:30 am   #27
Ted Kendall
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My first job in the trade was with a small dealer in my home town, Pudsey. One of the partners, Arthur Harding had built a recording studio, and made his own master tape recorder, including the heads, although I never visited there. The shop is a musical instrument dealer these days.
The founders of Calrec (originally the Calder Valley Recording Group) built all their studio kit, including tape machines. I expect they bought in motors and heads. As David says, heads are the major problem. I don't think they have been made outside Japan for twenty years, hence (among other things) the BL campaign to get tapes copied into digits whilst there is still the equipment to do so.
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Old 8th May 2019, 7:39 am   #28
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I think it mostly is already lost - hence the "high end" Ballfinger with a moving headblock.
Sounds like a misunderstanding of the very effective Studer A80/Telefunken M10 layout, where a carriage with two rollers moves forward to engage te tape with the headblock in play and record, and retracts to allow free passage in fast wind, avoiding the use of tape lifters. This, of course, is a precision mechanism...
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Old 8th May 2019, 7:45 am   #29
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Leevers Rich made their own heads, back in the sixties and seventies, with surprisingly little specialised equipment, an oven to bake the lamination stack and a Marconi bridge to measure inductance. However they bought in the photo etched lamination sheets , that was a very specialised operation, which they then built up into stacks of the appropriate track width.

I doubt that you can obtain the laminations now, even then it was difficult to get the right grade of material.

They were producing heads for perhaps 10 machines a month plus spares, I think you would need to up the production a lot more than that to get a reliable supply of laminations.
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Old 8th May 2019, 12:17 pm   #30
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Perhaps laser cutting would make things easier now. Or would the high temperatures affect the magnetic properties of the core material?
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Old 8th May 2019, 12:23 pm   #31
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Interesting point - very possibly, quite a large set up cost to find out though, again, production quantities.....
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Old 8th May 2019, 12:26 pm   #32
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Ferrite.

Lawrence.
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Old 8th May 2019, 12:53 pm   #33
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

Wasn't there a Chinese R2R machine available a couple of years ago? It looked very smart, but, as you might expect, wasn't quite so good under the bonnet. Never saw one, but I remember a discussion on this forum about it.
Won't be long before we have a nice retro MP3 machine with dancing VU meters and revolving spools - are you listening Steepletone?
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Old 8th May 2019, 1:03 pm   #34
barrymagrec
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Ferrite.
Yes indeed.

Mullard use to produce Ferrite cores in a suitable shape and grade for making effective erase heads but the grade of Ferrite needed for record / play heads is different and needs to be extremely fine grain in order to obtain the very small gap required.

Philips (no doubt using Mullard Ferrite expertise) made range of Ferrite play and record heads with very good characteristics which they used on their own professional machines as well as selling on the open market. Unfortunately these ceased to be available at the exact moment that Leevers Rich decided to change over to them on a standard production basis......
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Old 8th May 2019, 1:11 pm   #35
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

The only ferrite heads I came across in reel to reel tape recorders were the one's that Sony used.

Regarding a reel to reel revival, maybe a renewed interest but not renewed production in any mass sense.

Lawrence.
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Old 8th May 2019, 1:50 pm   #36
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

Tape is still being made in relatively large quantities - though along with the necessary drives it's optimised for digital data backup.

https://www.oracle.com/storage/tape-...ta-cartridges/

I wonder just how easy it would be to re-use this modern tape in an old-style analog application? Or indeed to adapt an entire robotic magtape-storage system to record/play analog audio?

[Exits stage right muttering stuff about Hysteresis, Coercivity and Oersteds]
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Old 8th May 2019, 5:44 pm   #37
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

Wish I'd kept all those Racal ICR-32s and 64s that we scrapped a few years ago, after stripping control rooms out. The transport mech was good but the recording channels had a pretty narrow bandwidth meant for voice comms. They weighed a ton. I remember manhandling them down flights of stairs. Oh well...
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Old 8th May 2019, 6:24 pm   #38
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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.

Doesn't seem much in it to me.

The W&F is weight of flywheel. The frequency response is the head, tricky one there, but try Photofabrications who will etch almost any metal, even reduce its thickness if wanted. SNR is electronics, been done, can be repeated.

As has been said, if model engineer's can make the amazing things that they do, then a tape transport deck seems pretty mundane.
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Old 8th May 2019, 6:37 pm   #39
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Default Re: Reel to reel revival

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It seems the resurgence in reel-to-reel is mainly geared toward the ultra high end of the market.

Then again the interest might spill over to lower-end machines too.
There's s definitely something going on. A year ago, old tape recorders would struggle to sell for a couple of quid at my local auctions, but over the last few months I've noticed the price has been going up.

Below is a picture of one that I happened to take a photo of on the viewing day and I was there on the day of the auction only last month, and it sold for something like 92. It may have been slightly more, but it was ninety something, and there's the commission etc. on top of that, which would have taken it to over a hundred. I was hoping to get it for something like a fiver, which would have been the usual a year ago, but the auctioneer announced that commission bids had been left and he was therefore starting the bidding at 30 and it just went mad and was all over in about 30 seconds with it selling to someone in the room for over 90! I was shocked, although it did look a nice example of the machine, a Grundig TK24, complete with original mic and several tapes.

Someone I know who I sometimes do a few repairs for, told me he recently sold an old 60s portable on an internet auction site for 103, so something is going on - you tell me...?

Pictures I took of the Grundig are shown below. There was one other item in the lot that can just be partially seen on the right of the picture, which was an old sewing machine in a wooden box, but although there's usually a buyer for these, they don't go for more than a few quid (under a tenner) on a good day:-
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Old 8th May 2019, 7:22 pm   #40
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I've got a few machines here which have either been donated or bought by me at car boot sales and the like. Last time I used one was in my teens I think. Now that's a long time ago. 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.
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