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Messages - docb

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Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: A80 bearings and where to buy them?
« on: February 23, 2019, 04:19:17 PM »
SKF is a manufacturer brand, not a tolerance rating. ABEC is a tolerance rating. Look for the highest ABEC rating you can find. This one is touted to be very quiet and ought to work.

Tape Tech / Re: How to Align Otari MX 5050 BII
« on: August 20, 2018, 01:42:19 PM »
A scope with an X-Y display is the best way to align a head, using a Lissajous figure. It's much easier and more precise than using the VU meters.

Service Resources / NAGRA - well how about that!
« on: June 21, 2018, 04:03:29 PM »
Last winter I was approached by Rene Laflamme, sales and marketing manager for Nagra in the US and Canada, about offering service for Nagra high end audio products to US and Canadian customers. After some serious consideration I am proud to announce that we have agreed to take referrals and have begun both service and also restoration work on several decks. We can also help with service on Nagra amps, preamps, etc. From what I can gather some other shops that were known for Nagra service in the past no longer take on work on the tape related gear as their experts retire or otherwise move on. At least that is what our customers have been telling me.

Nagra have been most helpful in providing us with service data and are offering access to what parts they have available for repair. I want to be clear that we're not a free consulting service, and we do not share Nagra intellectual property. Regarding parts for sale, at this time we will stick with providing parts only for repairs that come to us. If, in the future, parts become more readily available we may be able to make some available for sale with Nagra's permission.

If you are anywhere in the world besides the US and Canada please contact Nagra Switzerland for direction to a service resource.

Our rate is $125 per hour plus parts. Bench fee is also $125, and includes a diagnosis and baseline measurements for tape machines. Rates are subject to change. You can email me at [email protected] for more info.

Tape Project Machines / Tape path kits - end of production
« on: January 30, 2018, 05:53:13 PM »
Thought I would mention here that we are taking orders for the final run of Technics and Otari tape path upgrade kits. It's such a niche product and so different in terms of parts inventory from our electronics kits that it does not work to keep it in the Bottlehead product line. So we are taking orders for the final run through February 18th.

Tape Project Machines / Re: Otari 5050 BII With Flux Magnetic Head
« on: June 12, 2017, 05:54:54 PM »
The deHavilland preamp is based on Ampex designs and has that family sound. That may mean that it has been designed with the older high inductance heads in mind, but I don't know. At least in terms of how they work with a Tube Repro, the stock Otari head and and the Flux head both work just fine, of course with the Flux head sounding more extended and flat at the frequency extremes.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Nagra T "stutter" issue
« on: January 17, 2017, 06:03:21 PM »
Well, it's been four years, and the stutter problem came back. This time it was the takeup side capstan clutch rather than the supply side one. I couldn't get the clutch to get any purchase at all, even with the brass nut very tight. That scared me, didn't want to strip the nut or round the flats on it. So I took it apart. I mentioned in a previous post in this thread that there is some sort of soft washer inside the assembly that I though might be the clutch plate itself. Nothing so complex. The thin little SS washer right under the brass nut is the clutch. I am amazed this thing works at all! Cleaned the nut and the top of the cap that the clutch runs against with alcohol. More importantly I went over the thin washer/clutch plate on both sides with a Scotchbrite pad soaked in naptha, which took off a ring of gray schmutz (guessing it was a buildup of graphite dust off the motor brushes). Rinsed with alcohol, put it all back together and was able to tighten the nut down to get the spec'd 180g of resistance. Medium locktight holds the nut, which I am waiting to dry as I type this. Fingers crossed...

I should also mention that I found the brakes slightly out of adjustment as well, which was causing a bit spill when I put the deck in load mode. That is worth checking while you have the deck open and the tension gauges out.

Followup: all is good, deck running like old times. I recently acquired some extender cards, so now is a good time to go back through and do a full CLA.

Tape Tech / Re: Baggie or No Baggie?
« on: January 05, 2017, 01:17:53 PM »
The bag is there simply to keep the flange from getting burnished by rubbing against the inside of the box in shipping. It's not necessary for storage - unless you store your stuff in a moving UPS truck.

General Discussion / Re: Retiring!
« on: December 21, 2016, 07:05:06 PM »
Dan, thanks to you and Eileen for all the work involved in TP.  At the recent RMAF show, Romo was on a panel on tape moderated by Myles Astor. The packed audience gave a great round of applause to Tape Project for getting this who mini industry started a decade ago. A great ride so far for TP and as the world of tape is expanding, the ride will continue, thanks to the big push that you, Paul and Romo gave it.


Ah yes, I was on what I think was the first one of those panels that Myles did, a few years ago. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the attendees. I was also one of first two people to demo with tape at RMAF. The other guy was Ron Welborne, who had seen our tape demo at VSAC 2003. It was the very first one, in 2004. I had an Ampex 934 with a modified Seduction tape head preamp playing into our S.E.X. headphone amp, and a Nagra IV-S playing into the big headphone amp/preamp that is now Xavier's. Paul made up some demo reels for me (still have 'em, great stuff) and we pretty much blew everyone away with the sound. That was one of a couple of very positive experiences that led us to start the project. After we started the project we went back to RMAF a few times, and at least once we were playing our albums and playback electronics in a room that got best sound of the show.

General Discussion / Re: Retiring!
« on: December 21, 2016, 06:20:29 PM »
Wow. 11 years! It was crazy then and still is.

You need to tell me about those places in Oregon. It seems that my San Jose del Cabo to Anchorage road trip will have to be driven in stages though. BTW, maybe I park my Defender a few months in the middle of the road. Does Bainbridge Island sounds right?

Abrazo bro

Sure, we have a massive driveway at my house, big enough for a semi trailer. Lots of extra parking spaces. I'll regale you with the latest stories of keeping my CRT projector running when you drop it off.

The places we went in Oregon were way over on the east side of the state. So they would make for a pretty big detour. But if you want to get away from the crowds and see some beautiful country not many people have seen, it's totally worth the drive. The night sky alone was worth the trip.

General Discussion / Retiring!
« on: December 21, 2016, 05:39:04 PM »
Eileen and I will be retiring from the Tape Project in the new year. It's been an absolute gas pursuing this crazy ass idea with my brothers Paul and Romo. Before anyone starts ridiculous speculations I'll say right here that all is very well amongst the three of us, TP is in great shape with lots of albums in stock and a couple of very interesting new projects coming out very soon (one to be introduced at CES), and we wish the guys the very best as TP rolls forward.

Our decision came about from a couple of things -

One is that I felt my main job at Bottlehead was suffering a bit from my divided attention. I've had a few interesting product ideas that I have been wanting to pursue for several years now. The time never seemed to be there to get them done, and I really want to get some of them out next year. We'll be putting out our first speaker kit in 15 years in early 2017 and I am working on some studio oriented kit products as well. We have also experienced a rather startling discovery of Bottlehead by lots and lots of local audiophiles in the past 6 months (after 25 years in the business we became an overnight sensation) and we have been enjoying dedicating time to that local audience with regular audiophile meetings at Bottleheadquarters and frequent, pleasant client visits for auditions and tech support. We've also had great success with our yearly concerts with Jacqui Naylor and Art Khu and I have decided to try that type of intimate concert here with local artists on a regular basis in the new year. So there will be plenty to keep us busy in the future.

The other thing that has happened is Eileen and I actually took a real honest to god adventurous vacation last summer in the form of a trip to Bonneville land speed trials and some camping in some of Oregon's most remote areas. We realized we want to do a lot more of that and it means adjusting our life style from working every week of the year to a stop and smell the roses once in a while approach. And so I need to lighten the load a bit to be able to pursue a little more travel and some other passions.

Obviously I remain a staunch supporter of TP and the entire master quality reel to reel album industry that Paul, Romo and I created eleven years ago. And I will keep my hand in the equipment end of the business. There will be no shortage of tape decks in our listening room system. Thanks so much to everyone who has supported TP over the years. I know many of you have heard my stories of the incredulous looks we would get from people when we first proposed the idea back in 2006. I truly appreciate those of you who got past "you're crazy as f***" and gave us a chance to help people experience just how incredibly good music reproduction can be.

Tape Project Albums - general / Re: Tp 029 and 030
« on: December 11, 2016, 06:17:50 PM »
TP-029 has begun shipping. We've gotten just a few copies out with more to follow soon. Once we have all of the Series 3 subscriber albums shipped we will be listing the album for sale on the TP website.

TP-030 is nearing completion of the editing phase.

Tape Project Albums - general / Re: Tp 029 and 030
« on: November 08, 2016, 04:52:13 PM »
At the Cypress sessions we were given an analog feed to Paul's 1" ATR from the Skywalker Sound console. Mark Willshire was producer and Leslie Ann Jones was the recording engineer, Dann Thompson house engineer. Paul was of course the chief tape op and Michael took that duty over for one day as well. I could only stay for four of the 5 session days and when I left there had been around 18 hours of material recorded that will need to be edited. My main job was keeping all the boxes of tape out of the way when people went down the hallway into the machine room. I think we brought something like 2 dozen reels.

Re live session recordings, I recorded Jacqui Naylor and Art Khu at Bottlehead last year, but had some technical problems. So we are going to give that a shot again on December 8th.

We just announced this show yesterday and half the tickets are already sold. I'm hoping to host more live recording events at Bottlehead in the coming year.

Tape Tech / Re: Flat Copy?
« on: November 05, 2016, 09:10:07 PM »
I believe the 30ips transfer connection option on the Nagra Ts might have bypassed the record/playback eq circuits, but I'm not sure. However Larry is right in assuming that I simply meant no EQ changes are made with outboard equipment to the change the tonal balance of the copy relative to the master. A common situation would be changing the EQ for disc mastering.

Tape Tech / Re: Flat Copy?
« on: November 05, 2016, 12:00:38 PM »
That means there was no EQ applied during the transfer.

General Discussion / Re: Worried About Tape Head When Rewinding
« on: October 17, 2016, 12:08:56 PM »
I'm pretty sure that if you locate a service manual it would have instructions for the adjustment.

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