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Author Topic: Back at the bench  (Read 3143 times)

Offline docb

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Back at the bench
« on: November 20, 2007, 08:25:15 PM »
Now that we have tape production rolling along smoothly it's time for me to get back to what is supposed to be my specialty in this wacky business, the hardware. One very patient fellow has been waiting for a few months to get our latest tape head preamp, a few of you kind folks have recently ordered complete machines and I know more of you are ready to send machines in for mods. I also have a few machines to get ready for CES in January. Yeah, self employment, that's the ticket! Call your own hours, all 80 per week of them...;^)> Anywho, I'm getting parts ordered, cabinets made, sending off headblocks for custom heads, etc., etc. for a big tape recorder building party in December. And of course I'm always looking for new tweaks.

We are finding time and again that the trick to getting top performance from any tape machine is to understand the importance of friction reduction. Even our ATRs have been getting friction reducing mods lately. Today's discovery is that I can now get a ceramic/stainless hybrid ball bearing sized for the tension rollers, that is a couple of grades up (ABEC #3) from standard in terms of tolerance and supposedly runs smoother with lower friction than the Stainless ones I've been using for upgrades. It costs about 4X as much as the stainless bearings I use in the current upgrade and about 20X the cost of the stock bearings, so I have ordered a pair for a tatty RS 1520 that I'm redoing as a test dog to make sure they are worth the extra cost. If they work as promised I will offer these as an upgrade to the already upgraded stainless bearings that I use to replace the stock chrome steel ones.

I really appreciate all of the enthusiasm folks have been showing for these modded Technics machines. Hang in there with me for a bit and we'll get a bunch of them cranked out in the next few weeks.

Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline ironbut

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Re: Back at the bench
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 08:47:33 PM »
I was wondering if any of the orders you have with Flux Magnetics have included the 1/4 track head. I'm about a month away from sending my block to Greg and I'm hoping that the upgrade will go smoothly. Paul had stated in another post (months ago) that the upgrade was worthwhile but I'm worried that fitting it in the old shield might be tough.
steve koto
 Sony scd 777es(R. Kern mods)> Vpi Aires>Dynavector XX-2mkll>Bent mu>CAT ultimate>CJ premeir 140>Magnepan 1.6qr(Jensen xover)Headphone Eddie Current Zana Deux>AT ad2000,HD800 ,Metric Halo ULN-2 (battery powered),
 HE Audio Jades

Offline docb

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Re: Back at the bench
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2007, 12:35:00 AM »
I haven't tried a 1/4 track head from Greg. I will be sending a couple of head blocks soon (next week?) and I can ask him to take a look and see what he thinks about the fit.

On another bright note, I got a new prototype cabinet today, co-designed by our latest addition to the Bottlehead design team, Paul Birkeland - aka Caucasian Blackplate over on the Bottlehead Forum. Same basic look from the front, but more refined in the way it goes together. The way it fits together points the way toward a whole series of modular cabinets with a similar look. I'm kind of envisioning mic pres, VU meters, etc. in the same format. I'll post a pic at some point.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline ironbut

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Re: Back at the bench
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2007, 04:26:20 PM »
Another question about the Flux 1/4 tracks. If it will fit, I need to know the mHy and DCR for them. I would guess that it would be the same as the 200 mHy/40 ohm DCR as the 1/2 track heads, but I'll need to buy a new MRL test tape for 7.5ips for it so I need to know for sure.
steve koto
 Sony scd 777es(R. Kern mods)> Vpi Aires>Dynavector XX-2mkll>Bent mu>CAT ultimate>CJ premeir 140>Magnepan 1.6qr(Jensen xover)Headphone Eddie Current Zana Deux>AT ad2000,HD800 ,Metric Halo ULN-2 (battery powered),
 HE Audio Jades

Offline docb

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Re: Back at the bench
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2007, 12:13:12 PM »
I would assume that Greg would make the 1/4 track head similar to the 1/2 track head. I'll ask for some numbers when I talk to him.

On a more general note, am getting lots and lots of requests for machines and repro amps, so please be patient with me. I will do my best to get back to everyone as quickly as possible. I have arranged for three techs to be building the first run of Repros this month, and I will be meeting with Jeff Jacobs, aka Hubcapkimbo/Stereokimbo to discuss the supply of machines. Hopefully we will be able to roll right into another Repro production run in the second half of January and keep up the pace.

BTW, I received my test pair of spendy ceramic bearings for the RS1500 tension rollers. I'll let everyone know how they work out. Still looking for the ultimate brake pad material too. The pads are turning out to be one of the most critical components in terms of smooth operation.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 12:19:14 PM by docb »
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project