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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 17th Sep 2020, 9:37 pm   #1
DMcMahon
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Default Brenell Purchases

Just purchased 2 Brenell, 4 speed, 2 track, mono valve 1/4" tape recorders.

The grey one is a Mk. 5 Series 2 (serial # 12704 ) dated early 1960's and cosmetically looks in fairy good condition (at least externally) and the gold one is the earlier original Mk. 5 (no serial # seen yet) dated around 1960, this one is quite tatty condition wise.

Their operational status is totally unknown, but I would guess that they have not been operational for a long time.

Yesterday I collected the Series 2 (S2) and saw the Mk. 5 and decided to buy it, as it was quite cheap and I thought at worst it would come in handy for spares support of the Series 2.

I previously knew of Brenell, but have no experience of them and little knowledge. Few weeks back I brought and have been reading since the excellent book “Brenell – True to life performance” which got me really interested in the various Brenell tape machines.

So will be very interesting to see how they perform, once checked out fully.
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Old 17th Sep 2020, 9:58 pm   #2
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

If you weren't aware, the Author is forum member brenellic2000
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Old 17th Sep 2020, 10:04 pm   #3
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Thank you Bill, yes I did know this.

Does anybody know the purpose of the metal pillar on the right hand side of the adjustable tape guide, identified as "W. Supplementary Guide Pillar" in the Mk. 5 manual ?

David
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Old 17th Sep 2020, 10:48 pm   #4
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcMahon View Post
Does anybody know the purpose of the metal pillar on the right hand side of the adjustable tape guide, identified as "W. Supplementary Guide Pillar" in the Mk. 5 manual ?

David
It's meant to prevent tape spillage on start-up in Play.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 7:20 am   #5
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

I had a Brenell in gold with black head cover, bought in 1962. It was excellent, reliable and easy to use. I replaced the electronics in 1967 ish with a Stern Radio stereo record / playback kit and changed the heads for Bogen 1/2 track stereo ones. Then in use until about 1979
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 8:23 am   #6
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcMahon View Post
Does anybody know the purpose of the metal pillar on the right hand side of the adjustable tape guide, identified as "W. Supplementary Guide Pillar" in the Mk. 5 manual ?

David
It's meant to prevent tape spillage on start-up in Play.
Thank you Ted, so this photo I saw online has the tape incorrectly threaded around the outside of the pillar.

David
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 8:52 am   #7
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Be warned, Brenells are addictive! The 'gold with white headcover' Mk.5 Srs.1 (AEI/BTH + Brenell heads) last forever; the headache comes with the later 'grey' models with their open circuit Papst motors, motor capacitors and Bogen heads, albeit different heads can usually be fitted.

Alas few second-hand examples have both high and low-speed capstan sleeves. The stud usually carries a bobbin guide to assist in spooling (absent on 10-1/2" models).

For mind boggling fun track down an STB and a Type 19 workhorse!
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 9:01 am   #8
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

I look on these as old friends - still have some excellent recordings made on them from many years back. Only passed mine on when acquiring a very cheap Revox.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 9:25 am   #9
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Smile Re: Brenell Purchases

Hi,
My old secondary school had a Mk. 5 Series 2. It was eventually given to me when the school had a clear out. I wondered what the threaded pillar was for too. When the machine was given to me, there were two disks on the pillar that were missing when it was in use, turned out that it was an adjustable tape guide to stop the tape rubbing on the sides of the spool.
I removed the EM84 and fitted a moving coil meter to make it look more 'professional'. Oh, the folly of youth!
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 9:27 am   #10
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

I had an early Mk5M with the silver grey painted cover that took 10.5” spools. Also had 2 STB2 stereo ones with 10.5” spools. All before the grey ‘rexine’ covered style. Still have buried in the workshop a gold deck with homemade stereo transistor playback amp that I used for transferring to the other decks. The 5M had the original heads before Bogen heads were fitted. The STB’s were half track and also had a quarter track head for use if I had to play someone’s tapes recorded on a quarter track deck.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 9:56 am   #11
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

The grey one in the first post seems to have been left parked with the pinch wheel engaged on the capstan. I hope not for long.

David
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 10:31 am   #12
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Thank you David, but luckily that was me. In the sale photos it was switched to Stop and I am 99% certain that it was still switched to Stop when I collected it.

When I got it home I did try the various switches and left it in Playback prior to taking the photo but did switch it back to Stop fairly shortly afterwards.

Of course I will be inspecting the Pinch Wheel etc a little later, hopefully it will be in a reasonable condition.

David

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Old 18th Sep 2020, 10:54 am   #13
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by brenellic2000 View Post
Be warned, Brenells are addictive!

Alas few second-hand examples have both high and low-speed capstan sleeves. The stud usually carries a bobbin guide to assist in spooling (absent on 10-1/2" models).
Yes saw a post from you earlier in the year, where you said you had more than 50 Brenells !

On the Mk. 5 there is a stud in the lid with a sleeve fitted which I assumed is the small (0.5") capstan sleeve. I do not think there is anything fitted to the Supplementary Guide pillar

On the Series 2 there is a similar looking/sized sleeve fitted on the Supplementary Guide Pillar, which I assumed and was hoping is the small capstan sleeve. What does the bobbin guide look like ?

I am assuming and hoping that the large (1") capstan sleeve is fitted on both machines on the capstan shaft. Will check this out later today.

David
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 11:10 am   #14
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

These were so well regarded in their day. You say yours are 4 speed. If the 4th speed is 15/16", I heard piano music very convincingly demonstrated on one of these at an early Hi Fi Show at the Russell Hotel, London.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 11:57 am   #15
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

A 'bobbin' is simply two flanges separated by a 1/4". It is useful for accounting for the different flange thickness of alloy vs plastic spools, and for maintaining back-tension for smooth spooling. (The gold Srs.1 had a flutter brake on certain phases of development).

Yes, l have a 'couple of Brenells' - it comes from researching the company! It is a 'reference set' and includes a prototype and some very rare models; there are a couple of 'specials' I am still hunting.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 1:20 pm   #16
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

So shape wise like a sewing machine cotton bobbin. So the bobbin guide is not the Adjustable Tape Guide (item J) ? you said the bobbin fitted on the stud, did you mean the Supplementary Guide Pillar (item W).

Do you have a Mini 8 ?

David
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 1:27 pm   #17
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Definitely need more gold.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 1:45 pm   #18
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Huggins View Post
These were so well regarded in their day. You say yours are 4 speed. If the 4th speed is 15/16", I heard piano music very convincingly demonstrated on one of these at an early Hi Fi Show at the Russell Hotel, London.
The standard low speed is 1 7/8 ips, the top speed being 15 ips. There are 3 normal operating speeds, 15, 7 1/2 & 3 3/4 ips when using the large diameter (1") capstan sleeve. When using the small diameter (0.5") capstan sleeve the 3 speeds are 7 1/2, 3 3/4 & 1 7/8 ips.

David
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 2:47 pm   #19
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenellic2000 View Post
Be warned, Brenells are addictive!

Alas few second-hand examples have both high and low-speed capstan sleeves. The stud usually carries a bobbin guide to assist in spooling (absent on 10-1/2" models).

On the Mk. 5 there is a stud in the lid with a sleeve fitted which I assumed is the small (0.5") capstan sleeve.

David
Correction - the capstan sleeve fitted in the lid is the large 1" one (nominal 0.97"), the small 0.5" one (nominal 0.48") is fitted on the capstan shaft.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 3:18 pm   #20
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Default Re: Brenell Purchases

Series 2

Does have its large 1" capstan sleeve fitted on the capstan shaft and small 0.5" sleeve stowed on the Supplementary Guide Pillar. Pinch Wheel condition looks quite good.
Left (L2) felt pressure pad requires replacement. Front face of R/P head looks a mess, hopefully only cosmetic and will clean up.

Mark. 5

Pinch Wheel not as good condition as the Series 2 but probably OK (somewhat cracked). Top head cover cracked.
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