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Tape Machine Compatibility Database Project

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I am happily getting deluged with emails asking whether machine XYZ will work with Tape Project tapes. This is something we expected, and our desire is to build a database of compatible and incompatible but adaptable machines.

The basic requirements of a reel to reel machine for Tape Project tape playback are:

* handles 10.5" reels
* plays at 15 ips
* has 1/4" half track stereo (a.k.a. two track) playback head
* has IEC (a.k.a. CCIR) playback equalization
Some machines have all of this right out of the box. One example would be the high speed version of the Otari MX-5050BII. Another is the Technics RS1520. Others are adaptable - for example a low speed MX-5050BII can be reset internally for 7.5/15 ips, and it may be possible to activate the IEC EQ on NAB type RS1500s.

So what we would like to see posted to this thread is info that you have determined by looking at any  machines you have in your possession. A simple post naming the brand and model and listing whether it meets or does not meet each of the the above criteria is all that is necessary. Please be as specific as possible about the model number as there are a lot of variants of some classic machines like Revox, Technics, Otari, etc. when it come to tape speed, head complement, EQ settings, etc. Info from brochures, websites, etc., is welcome too, but please be very clear to state that it's from a second hand source rather than from a machine that's sitting in front of you. Believe it or not, some info on the Web is wrong...

I happen to have one of these sitting here, so I'll start the database:

Otari MX-5050BII low speed version ( 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips)

10.5" reel capable with Otari hub adapters

IEC EQ switch on rear panel, below power cord.

no 15 ips on this low speed version as delivered, but this is switchable internally.
Extracted from Otari tech bulletin TB-5050-001:

1) Remove the six screws attaching the rear panel to the tape deck
2) Remove the 4 Allen screws that hold the right side panel to the frame. Remove the panel.
3) The Speed Selection Switch is located on the control PCB assembly (labeled SW701)
4) Slide the switch from the L position to the H position. This will now allow switching on the front of the machine between 7.5ips and 15ips.
To fine tune the setup you can use a speed reference tape and measure the frequency of the output signal from the tape. There are three adjustment pots (L,H,M) on the Capstan Servo Control PCB. The H pot will adjust the 15 ips speed.

The MX-5050BII comes with both 1/2 track and quarter track playback heads, reputed to be the same heads as those used on the Technics RS1500 and some other machines. These are very soft heads so check carefully for head wear when evaluating a machine.

I've got a Technics RS-1520 that meets the Tape Project criteria.  It is a 2-track record/repro machine with quarter-track play back capability.  It plays at 3.75"/7.5"/15" ips and is 10.5" reel capable with either Technics or Teac NAB hub adaptors.  There is an IEC switch on front panel. 

The RS-1520 also has 3 eq and bias settings and a built in tone generator for fine-tuning bias.

Doc, you're just interested in machines that meet the criteria, correct?

I have the MX-5050BII-2 mentioned above. I have switched it back to 7.5/15 IPS. I also have a Technics RS-1506 which would require an outboard IEC equalization unit (read Seduction). The 1506 has the requisite speed and 2 track playback capability. I'm still trying to decide which to use as I plan to go with the tube-based seduction in place of the built-in SS amps in either case.

My question is which of the 15 IPS IEC alignment tapes from MRL is the proper one to select for this project?


According to my info for a Reference Fluxitivity of 250 nWb/m, then it is the 15ips IEC tape #21J203.  Cost is up around $100 now.

They do have 3 other tapes depending on the ref flux. - from 200 to 355.  Doc/Paul - what tape will you be using?

If you're not going to be recording withthe deck, then the actual ref. flux. is not that critical - the azimuth and frequency response tones are what you really need.



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