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Author Topic: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII  (Read 5771 times)

Offline mab

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Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« on: July 06, 2009, 01:56:53 PM »
This is my first post so I suppose I should take the opportunity to introduce myself.  My name is Matt, I live in Austin, Tx. and I recently have purchased an Otari 5050 MIII and am in the process of sending it in to Bottlehead for modification.  In reading through the threads here, and the info posted on the Tape Project website, there has been much discussion of bypassing the playback electronics, but I've seen little mention of the quality of the record electronics.  I'm curious if any of you have bypassed that circuitry as well and used something else in it's place.  Or perhaps the recording part of the machine is of higher quality??? One of the attractions to this for me was also to be able to make high quality recordings for personal use/pleasure.

I have taken a short look at the Aria from ATR, but it leads to another couple of questions.  First off something probably very basic, my system runs all balanced, but I'm not familiar with the +4dB or -10dB terms.  Is this just another way of saying balanced and single-ended?  Two, would using the Aria be something pretty straight forward to modify the 5050 to accept?  Would you just wire the current XLR inputs directly to the heads like is done with the playback head?

I'll probably have more questions as I continue to think of how I want to set this up in my system, but I'll try and make use of the "search" function as much as possible:-).  Thanks for any help!

Matt Berendt
Galibier Quattro TT, Schroeder #2, VDH Colibri XPP, J&R Essential 3150 Phono/Line Preamp, VAC Phi 110, Von Schweikert DB-99's, APL modified Phillips SACD 1000, Otari 5050MIII

Offline ironbut

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2009, 08:51:06 PM »
Hey Matt, welcome to the forum.

I think that before you think about investing in the Aria electronics package, you should try doing some recording with your Otari in stock form.
One of the reasons that you won't find as many threads regarding upgrades of the record electronics is that in most cases, it's very good. There are ways to maximize the record section of most machines but you are talking about somewhat small improvements compared to what can be done on the playback side of the equation.

I'm not familiar with the Aria electronics and the interface with your machine should be discussed with Mike Spitz, the owner of ATR Services.

Regarding balanced operation,..
When it comes to semi pro and professional audio gear it refers to how the equipment is connected. In a professional setting, the need for long runs of cable are the norm rather than the exception as in home audio. Having 200 feet of cable is needed when you're talking about a live stage show (think about how far away the soundboard is from the microphones and the speakers that it controls). Because of that, a tiny signal will pick up a lot of unwanted noise. Because of these situations a standard line level of +4dB is used along with a 3 wire cable to assure a grounded shield that's not connected to the signal wires. The 3 wire connector is either an XLR/cannon or a TRS 1/4" jack.
 The consumer level is -10dB. I suspect that this is mostly a cost issue. Most pro gear employs a transformer to raise the signal leaving a piece of gear and another transformer to lower this level as it enters the input of the next piece of gear. These transformers could easily be the single most expensive components in the gear . And, no matter how good a transformer is, it's another thing in the signal path so it changes the sound.
There is an excellent paper on balanced cabling here;
http://www.rane.com/note110.html

The audiophile use of the term balanced is more of an internal design idea. The level of the inputs and outputs of this gear varies with the manufacturer.
There are other uses of the term balanced in audio but I think the water is muddy enough as it is.

BTW to learn more about the wonderful world of reel to reel, check out the stickies at the top of the " General Forum". They're packed with info.
steve koto
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Offline astrotoy

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 10:31:47 AM »
Matt, I have an Otari 5050 B3. I think the record electronics are quite fine, probably better than the playback electronics. I have recorded quite a few tapes - all at 15ips, 2 track with IEC EQ on the Otari. When I play the tapes back through my Bottlehead modded Technics with the Bottlehead Repro preamp, the quality is very fine. One has to reset the bias everytime the tape type is changed. I am using the RMGI SM468 that the TP uses as well as NOS Emtec SM911 and a few reels of RMGI LPR35 which has the same bias setting as the SM911.  BTW, if the Bottlehead Otari mod is the same as the Technics mod I have, then the record electronics are completely disabled - my Technics is now playback only.  Good luck, Larry
Larry Toy CharterMember-BHReproTechnics1506/Akai747dbx/OtariMX5050B3-ClassicalVinylFreak-15Krecs-VPIHRXRimDrv-LyraSkala-HelikonMono-HerronVTSP3A/BHPhonoPre-PacificMicrosonics Model2 - Pyramix&MykerinosCard-OppoNE-Proceed AVP2+6/CVP2-CJ MET1-Cary 2A3SE-AvantgardeDuos-3Solos-VelodyneDD18Sub

Offline docb

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 11:56:44 AM »
The record electronics are disabled in either the Technics or the Otari only if one opts for the option of a dummy record and erase head. Otherwise the record electronics will function normally in either modified machine.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline astrotoy

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 01:11:05 PM »
Dan, thanks for the clarification.  Larry
Larry Toy CharterMember-BHReproTechnics1506/Akai747dbx/OtariMX5050B3-ClassicalVinylFreak-15Krecs-VPIHRXRimDrv-LyraSkala-HelikonMono-HerronVTSP3A/BHPhonoPre-PacificMicrosonics Model2 - Pyramix&MykerinosCard-OppoNE-Proceed AVP2+6/CVP2-CJ MET1-Cary 2A3SE-AvantgardeDuos-3Solos-VelodyneDD18Sub

Offline xcortes

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 03:07:40 PM »
I opted for the dummy heads and then acquired a second headblock just in case
Xavier Cortes

Offline mab

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Re: Quality of record electronics in Otari 5050 MIII
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 05:10:40 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I'll keep researching a bit, talk to Mike at ATR, talk some more to the guys at Bottlehead and then make a decision.  Once I do I'll report back:-).
Matt Berendt
Galibier Quattro TT, Schroeder #2, VDH Colibri XPP, J&R Essential 3150 Phono/Line Preamp, VAC Phi 110, Von Schweikert DB-99's, APL modified Phillips SACD 1000, Otari 5050MIII