Can you believe it? Tape Project is ten years old! Thanks to everyone who has supported us in introducing studio quality tape reproduction to the audiophile community!

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - reelnut

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Calling all Pro's
« on: January 21, 2009, 09:53:05 AM »
Thanks for clearing that up. I re-read your initial posting and can see that you were referring to tension during acceleration and braking, not referring to tension during the spooling mode itself!  Your observations are certainly correct in that regard.

I am confused about your recent comment that any stretching over the full length of a 1 mil tape would not be noticeable on the tape counter. It looks to me like if the tape was stretching at all the difference would show up on the counter, and as earlier noted, I have not noticed my counter readings increasing by even 1 second. Thus I assume the tape is not stretching. I would like to re-iterate that the A810 is the only machine I have that I trust to play the several triple-play tapes that I own. It just does not have problems handling anything, as far as I can see!

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Calling all Pro's
« on: January 20, 2009, 10:47:05 AM »
Wow, looks like someone might have an A810 which was badly out of adjustment! I could not disagree with the comments  Tubes n tapes made more! Another posting from me is in order here.

To begin with, the A810 does not stretch tapes in any way, shape or form. The LED counter is extremely accurate and all of my tapes are the exact same length now as they were the first time I played them. I know this for a fact because I have a Loc point programmed for 3600' tapes at -96:30. When starting rewind, I position the end of the magnetic tape over the left guide roller as a reference and the counter is reset. After pressing Loc1 and then pressing Play, the tape rewinds (at full speed) to this point, playback begins and the music starts at -96:25. This is the way I have set up my 3600' tapes and if the tapes were stretching, this kind of automatic playback operation would not work. Furthermore, accuracy is right to the second. I also have a Loc point for 2500' tapes programmed at -66:30 which works in the same manner. Very handy!

"The tape tension will be as high as the motors can generate." That statement is simply false. Tape tension is adjustable for each reel during Rew, and a separate set of adjustments set tension for each reel during the FF operation!

"..dramatically more mechanical stress". No way Jose! It's apparent from the observations I've made and my personal experience, as noted above, that the A810 is the only machine I have which does not subject the tape to ANY stress. As for the insinuations that after pressing Rew or FF the machine reacts just like an out-of-control powerhouse, nothing could be farther from the truth. It spools faster than my other decks, but that is a positive aspect of its operation. It's also true that the machine has not one, but four spooling speeds and Tubes n tapes neglected to mention that!

Triple-play tapes: I have in my posession three triple play tapes. The A810 is the only machine I own which I trust to play these tapes. It most assuredly doesn't break the tape as was suggested, nor does it stretch them, as counter readings are consistent every time the tapes are played.

Regarding mikel's comments and quotations from Fred Thal, I'd have to agree there. It's usually true that you get what you pay for. That's why I'd recommend buying a used Studer from Filmco. You don't need to use ebay, just give them a call and they will set up a deck for you just the way you want it. Shipping is strictly air freight on it's own pallet via Forward Air, then trucked, still on its own pallet via Forward Air in an air-ride trailer to the nearest F/A terminal, if necessary. Filmco purchased all of Studer Canada's parts inventory a few years ago when Studer pulled out of North America, and have a technician who's worked on Studer decks for 20+ years. The deck they sold me did not have a shiny polished capstan, in fact it was just the opposite. The heads had not even a trace of a flat spot on them. The pinch roller, far from being old and brittle is a Studer part, having a slightly greenish color, and being made of some type of silicone compound it should last a very long time, unlike the $50 so-called "Studer" pinch rollers commonly available on ebay. In a nutshell, the deck runs with the precision of a swiss watch.

Lastly, there is the support issue. Filmco stands behind their machines. The only reason I had to change the Basis Board to begin with is because I tried inserting a card incorrectly and cracked the plug-in receptacle on the board. I was wondering what to do about that and Filmco didn't even hesitate, they immediately said they'd send me a new board, no charge! They took the time to pull a working basis board out of another machine for me, and sent it without even charging me for the shipping.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Calling all Pro's
« on: January 19, 2009, 10:32:48 PM »
I should make another comment about that A810, which some fight find interesting, and I certainly thought was waaay cool- I know I mentioned the machine is modular. But even on that basis board, which has 16 card slots, plus 10 more plug-in points, and over a dozen wiring harnesses going off of the board to other areas of the machine (I just now went and had a look at the old one, so I'd know what I'm talking about here!), there was not one wire which needed to be cut or soldered. Talk about plug 'n play!

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Calling all Pro's
« on: January 19, 2009, 04:15:25 PM »
Hi Steve-

Although you know I'm not a pro, you also know I have a Studer A810, An RS-1500, X2000-R, etc, etc. I would like to tell you that I do the maintenance on all of my machines and the Studer is by far the easiest machine I have to work on. The biggest job I had to do on it was changing the "basis board", which runs across the entire width of the machine and has around 12 cards plugged into it. It was a major task studying the machine and figuring out how I was going to do it. I was really surprised at how little dis-assembly was actually required. Most repair jobs would be far simpler than this because the machine is completely modular. I'm sure I could not have performed an operation like that on my X2000-R, for instance.

I was told during the purchase process of the A810 that "Once you use a Studer, you won't want to use anything else". That statement is very true. The Studer makes my Teacs, Akai, and Technics machines look like toys, literally.

I cant' tell you about any of the other pro machines because I don't have any.

I believe Ki Choi would likely tell you the same thing about maintenance, and I believe you know how many pro machines he has, not only Studer, but Sony and maybe others. You might shoot him a message this weekend. He is on the east coast until Friday.

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: December 13, 2008, 03:44:11 PM »
I did find a small amount of material in the corners of the guides (after I got out my magnifying glass)! Removing it seems to have cured the problem. Really surprising what a difference a tiny amount of crud can make!

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: December 13, 2008, 02:17:11 PM »
Thanks very much for those insights and good pointers. I'd assumed I have the guides clean, as I am somewhat of a fanatic when it comes to proper upkeep of a deck. I do have a nice magnifying glass. I'm going to get it out and check those cracks! I've been using Lasermedia's pinch roller and their head cleaner, available from USrecordingmedia. Incidentally, if I'm allowed to plug a product: in the 5 years I've been doing R2R that's the best stuff I've ever used! Just be aware that the head cleaner will melt plastic!

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: December 13, 2008, 11:57:34 AM »
It must be SSS, but it bothers me that the tapes appear fine, except for the fact they don't rewind rapidly, as a tape should! There's got to be some resistance there somewhere, whether it's apparent or not! Thanx for the info on the 3M!

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: December 13, 2008, 06:37:31 AM »
Thanks Steve-
Yeah, it is Scotch 808. Can old tape get so stiff that it just is hard to rewind? I don't know anyhtning about 808. Do you know if it's similar to 226?

Tape Tech / How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: December 12, 2008, 02:08:30 PM »
I have several tapes which:
   A- Do not squeak
   B- Do not deposit goo or excessive oxide
   C- Fall off of the reel in a perfect tangent (if you were to unwind the reel by hand)
   D- Are older tapes and have been cleaned with Pelon as a precaution

Yet these tapes won't rewind like new tapes. When rewinding before playback they slow down the reel motors, especially near the end, as though something were dragging.

Does anyone know what's goin' on here?

Tape Tech / Re: VU meter calibration for Pro recorders
« on: December 03, 2008, 07:07:25 AM »

I am learning here, as well. I ended up leaving the A810 at the +4db operating level, as it was instantly apparent to me that now the machine matches up level-wise to the mixer that I use to route various sources into it. I've also left the meters in a PPM state, as PPM seems to be better at indicating if L and R channels are matched properly.

Thank-you for your comments regarding the Yamaha CX-1 & MX-1! That pre-amp weighs more than many amplifiers, and for me, being a bona-fide recording nut, the ability to route 7 sources simultaneously to 3 tape inputs is waaay cool! I was pleased to hear that you would prefer the MX-1 over the new digital version also, since all of the manufacturers are constantly trying to tell us that the equipment we own can be replaced by something which is "better"! It is very quick on transients, but for me the main drawback of the MX-1's class A amplification is the fact that it idles on 500 watts. Great for running up the electric bill!

Tape Tech / Re: Reference Fluxivity
« on: December 01, 2008, 11:25:56 PM »
Hi Xavier-

The magnetic flux level is also indirectly related to your operating level (how loud the signal is at the tape outputs) because you also set the VU meters to zero for the operating level you use. If reference level is left constant and you increase your operating level by say, +4db you will get a volume increase of +4db at the tape output. If operating level is left constant and you raise the reference flux level from 320nWb/m to 510nWb/m the difference also happens to be exactly +4db! So it's two ways of saying the same thing: "How loud do you want the signal at your tape outputs to be?" 514nWb/m is not commonly used in the USA, so your decision to get the 320nWb/m tape would appear to be the correct one. Although either one would work, you'd simply turn down the output control on your deck by 4db if you played the 514nWb/m tape.

Tape Tech / Re: Reference Fluxivity
« on: December 01, 2008, 07:53:30 PM »
Hi Xavier-

Reference fluxivity is a signal of known and standardized magnetic magnitude which is used to calibrate the gain of the reproducer so that program level meters (VU or PPM) read some standard level, usually 0db. The recorder will be calibrated to record this same fluxivity. Thus, reference fluxivity is used indirectly to set the levels recorded on tape.

So knowing what reference flux the recording engineers at TP use has no bearing on how the tape plays back on our machines, and isn't a value that we need to consider. You and I can rest assured that the brains at TP are recording at the level which is perfect for the source (i.e. say, classical or jazz) and the type of tape used.

As for the question of why use SM468 when there are other tapes with higher output available, the type of tape needed depends on many, many, MANY factors besides output, and I certainly don't have enough knowledge to intelligently comment on that, except to note that it is a "high output" tape and according to USrecordingmedia is the most sought-after tape on the market today.

Does this help out?

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Studer A810 reel tables
« on: November 30, 2008, 06:00:34 PM »
Hi Ki-
Here's a thought regarding your A810 brakes: The A810 servie manual states that brake pads can be roughed up with steel wool. You might try that- see if it helps. Also, did you touch the brake pads with your fingers? A810 service manual states emphatically DO NOT EVER touch brake pads. They can be cleaned by scrubbing with isopropyl alcohol, if necessary. Happy servicing!

Tape Tech / Re: VU meter calibration for Pro recorders
« on: November 28, 2008, 12:12:59 AM »
Hi Ki-

Your were confused because, from what I can see, the different Studer manuals vary considerably in what they explain and what they assume you already know! My A80 VU MKII manual does not explain the difference between PPM and VU meters. There is one example of a hypothetical calibration where they tell you to set repro to -6 before you set line level and zero, but they don't say why you do this! (More on this at the end of this post). My A810 manual does not explain the voltages associated with different operating levels (0dBm, +4dBm, etc.), so I had to read, read, read... (more reading), and learn. In the end I recalibrated my machine to the +4dBm (1.228V) line level because I couldn't read and say "Ah! Oh now I get it"- I wasn't getting it! I normally use 0dBm (0.775V) as my line level. The only way I finally got it was by doing it! And I set the meters to PPM from VU, which I had been using. Sometimes the only real test of what a person knows is to actually do it, and then you can say "Ah, now I get it"! The A80 Vu MKII manual has a long table which lists the voltages that correspond to different line levels. The voltage of 1.228 is correct for a line/studio/operating  level of +4dBm. These 3 terms are used interchangeably. (Notice I did not use the words "reference level", which is another thing entirely and always pertain strictly to the magnetic flux level that's going on the tape). There's so many "levels" I thought this might be worth mentioning again! The manual states this voltage is to be measured across a 600 Ohm load for NAB eq. For CCIR/IEC1 eq the resistance is 200 Ohm. If you don't have a 600 Ohm resistor, don't worry too much. It doesn't appear to have a large effect. I use a very normal Wavetek multi-meter and tried it both ways. Not using a resistor causes the machine's meters to read 1/2db higher than they read when the 600 Ohm load is connected across the positive and negative wires of the output, and, of course, the voltage remains the same in both cases, so you would still adjust to 1.228V.

So, to answer the last 2 questions of your original post:

The voltage output of the AF generator is irrelevant, because you are concerned with setting the deck's meters properly for the line level of 1.228V. So, input a 1kHz tone, usually from your MRL tape. It is possible to set line level with the AF generator and then adjust meter amps if you  do not need a complete calibration of the machine. You do not need a test tape for that. All you need is a multimeter to confirm 1.228V at tape outputs, and then you adjust the meter amps. The info presented below will take us through a basic level calibration, using your MRL test tape, and at the end you will know why I have been using the word "adjust" instead of saying"zero".

There is a 6db difference in the way the Studer PPM and VU meters react, due to the dynamics of the different types of meters and how they respond to a sine wave test signal. Here's the procedure for calibrating which is straight from the A80VU MKII manual:

Step 1:
"Mode selector at SAFE; Meter selector at REPRO; mount reference tape, select preferred tape speed; Line level of this example: +4dBm/600ohms"

Step 2:
"Reference tape, 1kHz reference tone section; Depress calibrate button;" (Yeah, that's right partner! They are, in fact, instructing you to engage your repro amp at this point! You'll see why shortly!). "Adjust playback level pot of the corresponding speed to obtain the following meter reading: -6db". (The manuals are vague here. I was able to determine from looking at A80 and A810 manuals that they are assuming you have meters set to PPM indication.  If you are using VU metering you need to set playback level pot to 0db).

Step 3:
"Reference tape, 1kHz reference tone section; Adjust line level with control REPRO" (this is referring to your main output knob) "to obtain the following reading on the external voltmeter: +4dBm". (The table in this book defines this value as 1.23V, but they don't carry out the decimal point past 1/100th of a volt).

Step 4:
"Reference tape, 1kHz reference tone section; Adjust meter calibration control REPRO/SYNC to obtain the following reading: 0db". (This is where you are "zeroing" your meters, but as you can see, a correct calibration depends on playback of the reference tone to be set at -6db for PPM meters)!!

Here's a test I'm going to reccomend to you so that you can see and compare the action of PPM and VU meters:

Perform the above calibration. Now, don't touch anything, except to switch one channel to VU metering. The VU meter will read precisely +6db higher than the PPM meter when displaying the 1kHz sine wave at reference level, as it should. But instead of seeing -6db on the PPM and 0db on the VU both readings will be changed by 0.5db since you no longer have the 600 Ohm resistor inserted. My suggestion is to now play a tape and observe how the different kinds of meters respond to the music. For me it was a real learning experience because the PPM meters move quite slowly compared to VU meters. But this is only because the PPM has a slow "fall" time in order to give a better indication of the actual RMS output of the music. You will notice as you continue to watch, that the PPM has an extremely fast rise time and will reveal peaks that the VU meter can't catch. And you will also see the VU meter falsely over-shooting, giving false peak readings where none exist. Here's a way cool link to a page that tells about PPM and VU meters:

Having a properly calibrated machine is a great feeling, isn't it Ki? Happy reeling!

Tape Tech / How Balanced Audio Systems Work!
« on: November 27, 2008, 05:36:21 AM »
Really great, simple, quick, easy to understand tutorial here: click me

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4