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Author Topic: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD  (Read 6625 times)

Offline TommyTunes

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Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« on: November 19, 2013, 07:47:04 PM »
I recently ordered six of the Tape Project tapes and picked up a very clean Otari MX5050 B2HD.  However just looking at the heads it appears that they need an Alignment.  I'm going to order the Alignment tape however I'm clueless on how to do the Alignment, do I need a scope or can I do it by ear?  Any help would be appreciated.
Thomas Caselli

Offline Tim

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Re: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2013, 03:42:00 AM »
However just looking at the heads it appears that they need an Alignment.

What exactly are you seeing that tells you the heads are not aligned?   Are you quite familiar with what perfectly align heads look like?  First thing to check is the head alignment screws....is the lockpaint broken?  Do they look like they have been turned by someone?  If they look "unturned", then they have the original factory alignment and that should not be tampered with.  Heads do not "go out of alignment" all by themselves. 

If someone unqualified has misaligned the heads, then yes, they heads will need to be realigned.  Also, if the deck has been used for a significant amount of time with misaligned heads, then the heads will be damaged and will need to be re-lapped or replaced.

As far as an alignment tape, you will only be able to adjust the azimuth with it.  A scope will be needed to do that correctly.  Adjustments like head height and head tilt (zenith) are aligned by other means.  And this assumes that, in fact, the heads actually have been adjusted out of alignment by someone.

Generally speaking, if heads have been put way out of alignment by someone (incorrect azimuth, zenith, height, wrap and penetration), only an experienced RTR technician will get them back to perfect.  On the other hand, if someone has made very minor (incorrect) adjustments to only the azimuth screws, then yes, with a test tape and scope, you can get them back to proper alignment.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 03:44:55 AM by Tim »
Tim Leinbaugh
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with RTR specialty.

Offline TommyTunes

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Re: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2013, 07:36:33 AM »
Hi Tim,
Thanks for your response.  I own(ed) a number of 2 track decks and noticed that the playback head was slanted downwards to the right.  When I played a 2 track 15ips tape recorded on my Teac X2000M (which was bought new and never touched other than for routine maintainence) the highs were dull.  I purchased this deck from a local repair shop and it was still in the box with manuals, etc.  Apparently someone had to "play" with the adjustment screws.  The heads appear to have very little signs of wear and the machine is nearly blemish free.

I'm going to contact the shop today to see if they can do a proper alignment, however my guess is that they don't MRL Calibration tapes.  I'm willing to by the necessary tape(s) if he can do the alignment.
Thomas Caselli

Offline TommyTunes

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Re: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 04:17:38 PM »
Is there a company that I can send the Head Block to for Alignment?
Thomas Caselli

Offline Listens2tubes

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Re: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 10:34:49 PM »
Call John at JRF Magnetic Labs 973-579-5773. Ask him.
Neal - Ampex Fineline F-44, 3 - Otari MX5050BII-2, Revox A77 Mk II , Teac A 4010s, 4070, Sony TC102A, Magnecord 1020, Systemdek IIX/Dynavector Karat 17D2MKII, CEC CD3300 CDP, K Works NanoMax DAC, Van Alsine Transcendence Eight+ tube preamp, Dynaco MkIV amp pair, Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v1

Offline TommyTunes

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Re: Head Alignment on an Otari MX5050 B2HD
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 02:23:18 PM »
Thanks, I sent my head block to him and spoke with him.  He is doing a relapping and alignment.  I should be then good to go.
Thomas Caselli