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Messages - Arnold_Layne

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Suggestion Box / Suggestions
« on: January 24, 2010, 04:42:30 PM »
As a huge Pink Floyd fan, I'd love to see some Floyd titles (as this may be what's needed to get me to pay $300 for a reel. However, it's highly unlikely Mr. Gilmour and/or EMI will allow the master tapes to be used for such a low production run.

Titles I would like to see:

CCR: Debut, Cosmo's Factory, Willie and the Poorboys

Boston: Self Titled

Roger Waters: Amused To Death (the vinyl release is a masterpiece I can only imagine what a TP version would sound like)


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Head adjustments
« on: January 24, 2010, 03:57:30 PM »
I'm attempting to adjust the heads for proper record and playback alignment. I'm aware I need an alignment tape which I have on the way. I'll be using oscilator software to monitor the output for proper alignment.

On my 1500 deck, each head has three adjustment screws. I have marked each type of adjustment in a different color here in this image:

I know the the screws marked in black are adjustment for aligning the heads to avoid crosstalk. The Yellow and Red marked screws I'm curious about, I know one of them is for azimuth, but what does the other screw adjust, they both seem to affect the angle of the head.


I did some more tests. I have some various tapes of different grades etc. It would seem the problem with with old tapes. First was some old used reels of Ampex 631. I had a solid 5db drop on the left channel while recording. Next, I tried some Maxell UD35 which was a previously used tape as well.  Left channel was almost perfect, but would have intermittent drops to -5db. So I watched the tape as it passed by the record head, and noticed the tape looked deformed when the dropouts occurred. Next, a brand new never used reel of RMGI SM 911 tape. Now the VU meter registers only a hair difference.

My conclusion:

Stretched for deformed tape. The SM911 tape is backcoated, and seems to pass over the heads smoothly vs non-backcoated tape.

I never really noticed this before until I shined a light on the tape as it passed over the record head.

Thanks for everyone's time in helping to locate and fix the problem.


Wow & flutter are terms for speed errors, so that's not what you are hearing.  You're having drop-out/head-to-tape contact issues with the record head.  It's possible your play head is ok in this respect which is why the pre-recorded tapes sound better.

Yes, you are probably having both tape-alignment and tape-tension issues. (notice I said tape-alignment and not head-alignment...your head is exactly where it should be, but the tape is taking the wrong path).  This is a common problem with the Technics "isolated-loop" series.  Due to many factors, the tape skews (has a thrust-vectors 90 degrees to the direction of travel) within the headblock, causing uneven head wear, which results in the dropouts you are hearing in one channel. The best indicator of this defect is to observe the head-wear patterns.  Do the heads show uneven wear as I earlier described? It should be a perfectly-shaped rectangle. Sides of this rectangle should be parallel, straight lines (not wavy)


You are correct, wow and flutter is the wrong term. Tape alignment and tension issues sound more likely. I have done my best to take a picture of the record head. I'll post it here:


I did some more cleaning of the record head. Seems to have helped. Now I'm getting a lot of "wow and flutter" in the left channel. I believe there is an alignment or tension issue causing the problem as the tape moves over the record head as the issue is not there on pre-recorded tapes even those with test tones. If I ever get enough funds together, I'll send the deck in for a "tape project" overhaul of the tape path. For now, I'll use my back up deck, my Otari MX5050B2II.


I can definitely hear the imbalance. Pre-recorded tapes play fine, and levels are accurate on the VU meter. I have pro-recorded tapes with test tones and during playback the test tones are equal in both channels with the output level knobs set at the same settings for both channels. It is a recording issue. It is possible it's a problem with the record head, as it seems to have gotten worse over the years. I did take the back panel off, but after seeing the location of the circuit boards, I knew I was in for more trouble than it was worth, so I left the guts alone.

Here's how I figured out it was in the recording path:

Using a Nak Dragon, I output the built in 400hz test tone to the technics. I set the monitor switch to source, and adjust the input levels to 0db on the metes. While recording the test signal, I switched the monitor to tape, adjust the output dial till I get 0db on the right channel, but the left is only reading -5db. Switching the monitor back and forth, not only does the VU meter move, but you can here the differences in the level. The right channel stays at the same levels in both monitor modes.

The deck is large and rather expensive to ship. I'm wondering if changing out the headblock would be easier and would alignment still be needed after the change out?


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Technics RS1500U: Recording Level adjustment
« on: January 09, 2010, 03:40:28 PM »
I need help. My 1500 is recording about 5db lower in the left channel than the right. Is there an internal pot to adjust the recording output levels? I have no service manual.


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: MX 5050 IIB service manual
« on: April 22, 2008, 06:47:00 AM »
I did send an email but it must not have gone thru. I will resend.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: MX 5050 IIB service manual
« on: April 21, 2008, 05:41:08 PM »
I'm still looking for an answer to this question: I need to know how to access the pinch roller tension on an MX5050 IIB


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / MX 5050 IIB service manual
« on: April 17, 2008, 08:01:41 AM »
Would some kind soul with a service manual to a MX5050 IIB be willing to email me a scan of the page that shows you how to adjust the pinch roller pressure? I installed a new roller on my deck, but there doesn't seem to be enough tension. The tape tends to move side to side with the new roller which I bought direct from Athan. If a apply additional pressue to the assembly by hand the side to side motion stops.



Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Adapters for Otari MX 5050
« on: April 14, 2008, 07:24:06 PM »
Are you talking about the XLR connections?
Due to the fact most of the MX5050 decks run Pin 3 hot XLR's which is not very common, I had cables custom made by Redco Audio.

Contact info:

Chris Stubbs
Redco Audio
1701 Stratford Ave
Stratford, CT 06615
P800-572-7280 x104
P203-502-7600 x104
[email protected]


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Otari MX5050BII2 Problem
« on: March 31, 2008, 05:23:26 PM »
Thanks ironbutt. I will give the rubber restorer a try first.


Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Otari MX5050BII2 Problem
« on: March 30, 2008, 05:08:11 PM »
I'm having problems getting rid of wow and flutter on this deck. I've narrowed it down to tape slippage at the capstan/pinch roller. If I play a tape, I can affect the tape speed by grabbing the supply reel. The capstan continues to spin but the tape stops. I have inspected the pinch roller, and it's not sticky. It still bounces back into shape if you put pressure on it. It does have very small cracks I can see if I look closely but it does not feel dry rotted. The capstan is very smooth where the tape passes and I fear this may be the cause of the problem. Is there a way to refinish a capstan to give it more "grab"?


Suggestion Box / Re: Titles from the Mercury label and others
« on: March 29, 2008, 08:19:57 PM »
The Gold CD was relased by Sony. A 20-bit "Super Bitmap" issue. I can't really hear the sonic benefits of it, but it is rather collectable. I would welcome a DVD-A version of it, but not as much as a TP version :)


Suggestion Box / Re: Titles from the Mercury label and others
« on: March 26, 2008, 06:38:37 AM »
Radio KAOS was digitally recorded I believe. However Amused To Death is an analog recording.
The process used on Amused to Death you speak of is called Q sound. Really remarkable how that technology makes the album suck you in. Some people might consider Q sound to be a gimmick, but Roger really put it to good use. Oh and how can we not just burst into tears on What God Wants Part II when Jeff Beck's guitar sounds like it's weeping on that solo.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE attempt to get the rights to release it :)

Other suggestions of albums I loved listening to when I was a teenager:

Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination (20th Century Fox/Mercury)
Boston Third Stage (MCA)
Maynard Ferguson Live From San Francisco (I think Rhino Records did the latest release) I played trumpet in a jazz band in High School so I was fascinated by this album.


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