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Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Technics 1500 Test Alignment Tapes
« on: February 21, 2011, 02:45:53 PM »

I have speed problems with my 1500 (prior post) and need a test tape with about 10 minutes of 3 kHz tones at 7 1/2 IPS and 10 minutes of 3 kHz tones at 15 IPS to check wow and adjust the speed.  Is there a source for this?

How about the standard recording level, azimuth and freq. response tape for 71/2 & 15 IPS?  Does the Tape Project sell any test/alignment tapes?  Any other sources known?

The wow/speed tape is most pressing for me right now.

Thank you, Bob Edwards

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Technics 1500 brake pad check and clean
« on: February 21, 2011, 01:31:30 PM »
Hello all,

I have cleaned the brake drums - I want to check my break pads.  It looks like there are two possibilities:

1. Back and top cover removed, unscrew the three phillips head screws holding the motor and carefully remove it through the top or move it to the side.  I am hoping the motor has a connector for the wiring.

2. Remove the runout bearing assembly at the rear, pull the C-clip on the end of the shaft at the rear and remove spindle/rotor assembly from the front.

clean the pads with a q-tip lightly with a naptha based cleaner (but don't soak the adhesive - I did read this on the forum I believe).

Are brake pads available from somewhere?

Sorry if this is on the forum somewhere - if it is, I could not find it.

Thank you, Bob Edwards

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Technics 1500 capstan motor speed problem
« on: February 07, 2011, 09:37:24 AM »
Hello there,

I have been bringing my recently acquired "cherry" 1500 back into the world.  Everything works well at this point after working the switches/controls and keeping it running on and off for a couple of week.  It sounds great, all controls work well, FF, Rewind, play, pause, etc. work fine.  The tape lifters work as they should, all controls work great (no drop-outs) and the tape path has virtually no wear and is clean as a whistle.  Pinch rollers have good pressure and do not slip.

The one issue is capstan speed in "Normal" that is, pitch control disengaged is a bit slow and getting flutter or wow (not sure which is which) per the strobe and listening.

With the pitch control on/engaged, the speed is locked in and steady as she goes, and adjusts to the proper speed (about middle of the pot range) and no speed issue at all.  I suppose I can use it this way but I have a bit of OCD!

I do not know if this is related (probably is) but the reel motors  (both) have more torque and turn more rapidly when the pitch control is on/engaged then when off.

I have looked at the circuit topology and the big difference I can see is that there is a quartz clock IC chip in the circuit with the pitch control off.

I have both volumes of the service manuals, a digital multi-meter, a freq counter and dual-trace Tektronics.  I was a radar tech many years ago and worked mainly on tube equipment, not much solid state.  If the IC is shot I hope I am not dead in the water as I know there are few parts around for Technics R2Rs.  I have not pulled the Techics apart yet.

Can anyone help or may have seen this problem before and can suggest a good place to start?  It is probably beyond my skills, so 2nd question is, can I send the capstan control board to someone for a look-see?

Thank you, Bob Edwards

Hello all,

I picked up a cherry 1500 (at least cosmetically), that runs slow on all speeds.  I can adjust the speed manually and it locks-in pretty well with just a bit of drift when 1st turned on.  If I leave the machine on and the capstan motor running for a couple of hours (use a rubber band to hold down the idlers) it will lock-in manually with virtually no drift - when I take it off manual, it runs slow at all speeds.  Any ideas?

Also, the tape lifters do not operate when tape is loaded (fast forward and rewind).  If I remove the tape and cheat the system by holding the idler down, the lifters work, but intermittently.  There seems to be dirty contacts in the right-hand idler assembly as sometimes I have to work it up and down to stop FF or reverse when I have things cheated (no tape loaded).  Also, any ideas?

The machine had been unused but otherwise well cared for.  Pots were noisy but worked them all manually 25 - 30 times as well as all of the front panel switches.  Sounds great on phones and operates well otherwise.  Tape transport controls and tape handling is otherwise excellent.  Brakes seem fine.  I have degaussed the heads, cleaned everything in the tape path with alcohol well, washed the rubber idlers rollers down with water - they seem to make good contact and do not appear to be slipping.  The heads are in excellent shape.   

I have not pulled it apart yet or used Deoxit on contacts or switches but probably will, given age of the machine and fact it saw little use.   

Otherwise, she is a beautiful thing!

Thank you in advance for any ideas/suggestions.  Regards, Bob


I have had the 1500  on for several days in a warm environment with the tensioners cheated and running at various speeds.  Continued to work all of the mechanical parts and the lifter problem has resolved itself.  BTW, I think the unit has been stored in a home environment and it does not have any bad odors or signs of abuse, smells good in fact, no signs of rust, and the more she runs, the better she plays and operates mechanically.

The speed issue persists however.  She locks in well with the manual speed control with little/no drift.  Still runs slow when the pitch/ manual control is out of the system.

I have both of the service manuals, a dual trace scope, a digital volt meter and a frequency counter.  Does anyone know of a source for the calibration tapes or a source that has the equipment to creat those required?  BTW, the 2nd volume of the service manual is EXCELLENT for the Technics 1500/1506!  I have to put a plug in for HiFi Engine where I obtained them!

I had an OTARI B3 and the alignment procedures were nowhere near as clear!

Thank you all for the support and suggestions!

RE: Tape Project mods for the Technics RS series - are any of the tape path mods available for a handy DIY guy like me?

Thanks again, appreciate your time and skills!  Bob Edwards

The tapes I have to bake are Ampex 406/407.  The recordings were made '72 - '75 and the tapes have remained in the boxes, essentially unplayed, for many years.

Has anyone used a convection oven for baking tapes with good results?  I have a Jenn-Air electric oven with digital temp controls and the convection fan, built-in.   I also have an external digital thermometer i will use to track the oven temp.

RE: unpacking before baking - how critical is it?

I am concerned about unpacking them on my R2R for fear of losing more of the oxide.  I don't think I can run my OTARI at play speed without the tape contacting the heads.

Any comments would be appreciated.  Thank you, Analogfan/Bob/[email protected]

OTARI recording level +4 dB vs. pre-amp outs of ?10 dB

I am new to pro-level decks, having recently acquired an OTARI 5050 B3. I have owned other R2R decks and cassette decks but have not run into this problem as they were consumer/prosumer level decks and the pre-amp tape-out levels matched the tape recorder, record-in levels.

The tape-out levels from my BAT VK30 pre-amp are ?10 dB or around .3V rms (I verified using a Nakamichi deck?s VU meters and can easily get 0 dB with the recording level pot at the 4 o?clock position).

My OTARI B3 is looking for a +4 dB input level or around 1.2 V rms for recording. I have to crank-up the record pot to about the 3 o?clock position to get 0 dB on the OTARI VU meter. I am assuming that I will have to re-align the recording electronics using a calibration tape (e.g. MTR) recorded at ?10 dB reference levels to re-calibrate the OTARI operating levels for ?10 dB? Is this correct?

Am I missing an easy solution or do I have to go the alignment route? Any other suggestions/comments are appreciated.

I have the OTARI operating manual which provides the alignment procedures and the required test equipment but will have to obtain an alignment tape. I have found vague references to ?operating levels? in the manual and on the Internet but nothing as to this specific problem and how to deal with it.

I will not be using this set-up for studio work ? only home recording and Tape Project playback.

Thank you ? any ideas would be appreciated.

Bob Edwards

Tape Project Machines / OTARI 1. reel hubs repair 2. side panels
« on: December 20, 2009, 08:06:55 AM »
Hello and Happy Holiday,

I recently acquired a '93 OTARI 5050 B3 in mint condition.  Hope to use it for playback of Tape Project tapes among other things.

RE: hub adapters:

The OTARI came with the stock reel hubs however they are stiff in operation and I am afraid I am going to break one of them.  A couple of questions:
1. I am thinking of disassembling them, cleaning them and lubricating them - is this possible/recommended?  What would I use for lube - Vaseline (I assume the inside is mainly plastic) or?
2. Love the custom Darklab Studer/Revox adapters sold by Jeff at J-corder - does anyone know if they compatible with the OTARI?
3. Have also seen after-market (I assume) Studer/Revox adapters sold on ebay.  Same question - does anyone know if they compatible with the OTARI?

RE: side panels:

4. The side panels are dark gray ash color over mdf - no handles.  Does anyone know where I can get stock side panels with the built-in handles?

Thank you, Bob Edwards/617 335-0066

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Revox/Studer A700
« on: December 04, 2009, 01:20:31 PM »
Hello there,

I am a Tape Project Forum newbee.

I have an opportunity to acquire a Revox/Studer A700 in excellent condition.  Is this a suitable R2R for tape project tape playback or should I continue the hunt for a mint Otari or Technics recommended by the tape project?

Anyone have any direct experience with the A700 for archiving vinyl?  The closest thing to anything decent I have owned was a Pioneer RT909 which pretty and "OK" for recording, but not great.

Thank you,

Bob Edwards

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