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Old 12th Apr 2011, 12:46 pm   #1
Boom
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Default Wind up reel-2-reel

I had to look twice at this somewhat scruffy item which is in Frome auctions tomorrow. It is a wind up reel-2-reel conversion by 'Gramdeck'.

The pickup from a wind up gramophone has been removed and a box bolted in place of it containing the electronics. The turntable presumably drives the tape mechanism.

I wonder if this is used how it was intended or if someone was having a joke.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 12:49 pm   #2
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

I vaguely remember these Gramdeck things. I've never seen one used with a wind up gramophone though. I think they were supposed to be used in conjunction with things like radiograms.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 4:50 pm   #3
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

I think these things first came out when I was still at school - in the late 1950s. I remember a friends dad buying one - it was dreadful! Permanent magnet bias and wow and flutter that would make tone sound as though it came from a violin with vibrato. Generally a bad bit of kit - but nevertheless, an interesting part of home entertainment history and well worth saving.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 5:03 pm   #4
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Those were built to be used in radio stations that were moving to the new reel to reel technology. this would be used to play a tape then lifted to play a record.
-Chris
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 7:10 pm   #5
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

In the UK Chris, they were marketed as an economy add-on TR [as many homes already had the drive mechanism with speeed change] but still cost a bit. I've got the centre plate for one. They weren't very successfull as I recall and I was told that they ran at varying speeds. As Paul says, they were around in the Radiogram era. I imagine coupling one to a wind up gram would do nothing for speed regulation. Perhaps it's a joke or the only deck available for a demo at auction? I'm pretty certain that the BBC wouldn't have gone in for them over here, relying on their own battleship R to R decks instead.
I think it's just a "wind up".
Dave W
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 7:39 pm   #6
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

It is definitely not a wind up. These Gramdecks were advertised for use with any turntable and were marketed at a time when real tape recorders (pun intended) were expensive. I cannot, however, imagine a broadcaster to use such a crude bit of kit for program purposes but as Chris says, it is very easy to change from tape to disk as the mechanism just lifts off the turntable leaving its "anchor" looking a bit like a dust-bug mounting.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 7:45 pm   #7
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianc View Post
It is definitely not a wind up.
Lol - It definitely is a wind up (gramophone that is)

It looks like it was done years ago and my first thought was how on earth the speed was stable enough to run tapes through it. It must have sounded horrendous.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 8:08 pm   #8
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

This is hilarious really! You're right Brian, the original advert [Sunday People News of T W etc] does say "any turntable" but [late fifties] that would generally be any RG or nothing! I can't imagine that someone still relying on a handle for their listening pleasure would be a TR pioneer but anything is possible I suppose. Either way there is agreement that it wasn't very good so the addition of the motor running down/turning the "andle" [while trying to get a recording] couldn't have helped much. Makes me think of Chaplin in Modern Times. I imagine that it would have been "back to acetate" pretty quickly. Conversely, I very much agree that all these sort of devices are of great interest in recording history.
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Old 12th Apr 2011, 9:10 pm   #9
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

This has brought back some memories! I had one of these in 1958,(bought from Lasky's, I think) and I used it with my HMV wind-up gramophone. The result was pretty horrendous though, even to my young ears, and I don't recall it lasting very long. I wonder if that's why I've never since been remotely interested in tape recorders?

Barry
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:49 am   #10
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

I've seen a picture of a broadcast station using these, i'll see if i can locate it again.
I Am actually quite interested in finding one of those for sale.
I think the point of having it on a windup was for playing it out in the field for the beach or something.
-Chris
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 2:04 am   #11
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Somewhere I have a picture in an old book (from 1953) of a similarly-conceived attachment made by Presto which was designed for fitting to transcription turntables. It was strictly for tape playback of up to 7" reels at 7 1/2 or 15 ips depending on which puck was fitted onto the rotating member which was intended to be driven by the turntable's spindle. (These speeds were with the turntable running at 78 rpm, of course.)

There was only a balanced low-impedance microphone level output from the head which presumably had some semblance of passive replay EQ circuitry with it, as the device was not supplied with any electronics.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 2:30 am   #12
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

So it seems my theory is correct, as no homes had balanced microphone inputs on radios.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 9:26 am   #13
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

I've seen them 'in the flesh' in the sixties, and they were advertised in many of the magazines like PW; Laskys, Henrys and others sold them.

There was one in Hanney's window in Lower Bristol Road, Bath, and I coveted it when I went past en route to/from school.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:02 pm   #14
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Hi
I assume these were only for playback, though if they recorded too it wouldn't matter if your speed was out as long as you played it back on the same machine. Were they capstan driven? Interesting piece of history, I suppose, and the reasoning that if you had a radiogram you already had a motor, an amplifier and a speaker couldn't be faulted.
On the auction one was there an amplifier? If so then I assume it was meant to be coupled with that mechanism, at least by the optimistic owner...
Glyn
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:17 pm   #15
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

They did record.

The headmaster of the junior school I attended had one ans to my in-experienced ears it was fascinating.

My father was about to get one but decided on a rather more sophisticated machine and bought himself a Gammage's BSR based machine eventually.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:22 pm   #16
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Yes Glyn, the plate which sat on the turntable and was rotated by it was the capstan and there was a pinch wheel and a springy belt to drive the takeup spool. The box contained a simple transistor record and playback amplifier. I'm not sure whether there was a bias oscillator - I don't think so but I know that permanent magnet erase was used so perhaps bias was achieved by moving the magnet close enough to the tape.
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:25 pm   #17
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmagnetophon View Post
I've seen a picture of a broadcast station using these, i'll see if i can locate it again.
I Am actually quite interested in finding one of those for sale.
I think the point of having it on a windup was for playing it out in the field for the beach or something.
-Chris
How would you power the reproduction in the field
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 12:45 pm   #18
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

Maybe for recording in the field then. With the battery-powered Gramdeck amplifier, a wind-up turntable, that's all you'd need. Then you could record birdsong, waves breaking on the shore, other outdoor sounds...
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 5:08 pm   #19
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

At the beach with your car using the car battery i would only guess?
Its transistor so it doesnt take a high amount of power, coupled with a small transistor amp and your all good.
-Chris
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 6:32 pm   #20
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Default Re: Wind up reel-2-reel

I did have one of these Gramdeck units to repair in the late 60's and therefore had to get hold the circuit diagram of the Preamp unit and a copy of the spares list. I think Gramdeck themselves had gone bust by this time, and B.H. Gordon Electronics had bought up the remaining stock and spares. I cannot recall whether the repair was successful or not, but I see that you could buy a complete unit (Gramdeck, Preamp & Microphone) for £11 0s 0d.

Peter
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