Tape Project Forum

Tape Machines => Reel to Reel Tape Machines => Topic started by: rbwtapeinterlink-Bob on May 26, 2012, 11:47:12 AM

Title: Otari Tape Decks
Post by: rbwtapeinterlink-Bob on May 26, 2012, 11:47:12 AM
Hello all,

Does anyone know if any of the various versions of the Otari B2's had a "spooling" option? The B2 I gave away a while back did not have this feature. I am thinking the later model B3's may have had this option, but my interest is in the B2 Otari's. Thanks all and I will await your informative responses.

bob w.
Title: Re: Otari Tape Decks
Post by: ironbut on May 26, 2012, 03:33:56 PM
Hi Bob,

By "spooling", I guessing that you mean a "library wind" option (a slow rewind).
If that's the case, I can't recall any of the pro-sumer decks that had that as a standard feature but I would guess that it may have been an option.

The tape pack on fast wind can be pretty good on some of these decks (my Technics get a pretty decent rewind pack) and a lot depends on how well all the fine adjustments have been made.
The first thing to try are different tapes and reels. If the pack varies a lot from reel to reel or tape to tape, it probably isn't the machine.
If it all winds about the same, it's time to check the tape handling (guides and tension).

My general philosophy for tape path adjustments is to adjust the guides so they do as little "guiding" as possible. Current production tape is made to insanely tight tolerances (slitting) and if you let it travel as freely as possible, your machine should be well adjusted.
Each guide has a tiny amount of "wiggle room" so if the tape is exactly centered, it isn't touching either side. Of course, this is an ideal and you can only hope that this is the case some of the time. In fast wind, there's almost always some guiding involved.

I suggest that you get a new blank tape and use it for doing nothing but these adjustments. Doing adjustments with a worn tape will skew the whole process and some tapes with worn or damaged edges will never wind very well. Doing adjustments tends to wear tape unevenly so this adjustment tape will not last forever (after using one for 5 heavy sessions of adjustments, mine get used for something non-critical and I buy a new tape for testing).

It's a good idea to clean the heads/guides and check the tape tension before you evaluate what might be happening.

Begin by playing the blank tape and watching it's behavior as it moves through each guide. After you have watched this for a while, put the machine in rewind and look for any differences in how the tape moves through the tape path.
Sometimes the problem will be obvious like a bent tensioner or a badly worn or bent lifter.
If the tape is pushing against either side of a guide and leaving oxide behind or even trying to "climb" up the guide edge, either that guide or the ones just before or after need adjustment.
My machine has 2 "fixed" guides so everything else must be adjusted in relation to those. I adjust the guides between those 2 fixed guides then work from each of those guides to the reel.

Use a bright light (those little $10 gooseneck led flashlights are great for this) and get the machine in a position so you can see both edges of each guide (I lay them down).
Even if the tape isn't climbing or losing oxide, it can still be pushing against a guide edge. You can usually see the tape "cupping" by the shadows on the tape if you get your light at the correct angle.
If it's the first guide before or after the reel, wind some tape onto that reel and try it again. The position of the tape on the reel hub can cause rubbing against the first couple of guides the tape travels through.

Once you're satisfied with the adjustments of the guides, align the heads and check the tape tension.

These adjustments should always be done during play since that is the most critical. Once you have the tape moving freely in play, see if the fast winds pack better.
Title: Re: Otari Tape Decks
Post by: rbwtapeinterlink-Bob on May 28, 2012, 04:08:38 PM
Hello Steve,

Thank you so much for being right on target with advice and suggestions. And of course I appreciate the amount of time you take to make certain what you say is understood. I am sure some where in your past you were a teacher (smile).  Thanks my friend.

bob w.