Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

radio, tape, stands and accessories
dstariha
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Joined: 07 Jul 2018 01:34

Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by dstariha » 07 Jul 2018 02:16

I have owned various tape decks since the '70's. At that time I bought a Handi-mag kit and have used it since. Strong field, sturdy and the magnetometer lets you see the difference.

Have fun.

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 24 Sep 2018 11:58

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I recently picked up this combination of a fully serviced Teac X3 MkII Reel to Reel and the pictured Sanyo Super D N55 Sound Reduction Adaptor.

I used to have an Akai 4000DB deck at one time, so this is my second venture into reel to reels.

vinyl master
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by vinyl master » 24 Sep 2018 15:04

That is an impressive-looking reel to reel machine there, Tink...I'm sure you will get many hours of enjoyment and lots of recordings out of it...You might have to stock up on some reel tapes for the future, if you haven't...It might be fun to make a reel mixtape to show off it's dynamics...A "demonstration tape", if you will, for guests and admirers! Maybe even make a small video of the thing in action, if you're so inclined... :-k

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 27 Sep 2018 20:43

I've started to make a jazz mix tape on a Maxell XLII 35-90 type EE tape at 3-3/4 speed using the Sanyo Super D noise reduction and the results are excellent as far as sound quality goes.

It's great to be able to get some high quality sound on the low tape speed and three hours of music on one tape. =D>

vinyl master
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by vinyl master » 28 Sep 2018 07:29

Tinkaroo wrote:I've started to make a jazz mix tape on a Maxell XLII 35-90 type EE tape at 3-3/4 speed using the Sanyo Super D noise reduction and the results are excellent as far as sound quality goes.

It's great to be able to get some high quality sound on the low tape speed and three hours of music on one tape. =D>
Three hours of music on one tape is enticing, especially if you don't want to keep changing the tapes when you're doing something else...Sounds like a lot of fun there, Tink, and it looks to be a quality machine! 8)

I'll have to look for more blank reels myself and do some experimenting when I have more time! :-k

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 28 Sep 2018 10:14

vinyl master wrote:
Tinkaroo wrote:I've started to make a jazz mix tape on a Maxell XLII 35-90 type EE tape at 3-3/4 speed using the Sanyo Super D noise reduction and the results are excellent as far as sound quality goes.

It's great to be able to get some high quality sound on the low tape speed and three hours of music on one tape. =D>
Three hours of music on one tape is enticing, especially if you don't want to keep changing the tapes when you're doing something else...Sounds like a lot of fun there, Tink, and it looks to be a quality machine! 8)

I'll have to look for more blank reels myself and do some experimenting when I have more time! :-k
Better tape formulations will give better results, as will higher tape speeds but the latter means a shorter playing time. The EE tape formulations were meant for decks such as the Teac which had the necessary EE bias setting switch. EE stood for Extra Efficiency. The tapes were fairly expensive when new and fairly rare today which often translates to overpriced on the used market.

The Sanyo Super D noise reduction is similar to Dolby, DBX , ANRS or Toshiba ADRES. It's necessary to do a calibration procedure with the device and tape deck with the Sanyo unit before taping where a tone is generated by the device to the tape and then the device calibrated to the cal point on the Sanyo's VU meters.

For those used to adjusting bias and level recording levels on a Nakamichi ZX-7 the procedure is similar, but most consumers would have considered it to be too much work. I got this Sanyo Super D as part of a package deal with the Teac deck and some tapes or I wouldn't have tried it. The seller was a bit reluctant to let it go. It can also be used with a cassette deck too. If you record with it you also need to play back through it.

goblinman
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by goblinman » 13 Oct 2018 18:30

On the subject of aligning tape heads. This process requires an oscilloscope and a professionally made full track width calibration tape, so unless you have these don't mess with the head positions. Azimuth adjustment is done playing back high frequency part of the cal tape and with an oscope matching the phase of the playback signal of the two channels. Alignment cannot be done listening for a difference as you turn the screws. For a quick check place a reel with transparent leader on the machine and lay the deck down on its back so you can look directly at the heads through the leader tape. Look to see that the pole pieces are parallel with the edge of the tape. They may even extend above the edge of the tape a fraction, but don't try to correct this. Yes the tracks may not be exactly positioned equally across the face of the tape, but you have no idea of what you'll be getting yourself into. Alignment is a mechanical alignment and electrical alignment. If you have a trapezoidal wear pattern on the head that means the part of the head with the wider part of the trapezoidal has had more tape pressure on the head due to less than perfect mechanical alignment. I'm pretty sure there are still companies that will take your head block, resurface to like new condition, if they're not completely worn down, and return the block to you with the heads aligned. Alignment tapes are now sold by the foot too. And as previously mentioned here HiFiengine web site has all the docs you could need to fix up an old machine.

AudioFeline
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by AudioFeline » 30 Jan 2019 13:41

- demagnetise the heads regularly (as noted above).
- keep the record playback heads clean.
- keep alcohol record/playback cleaner away from any rubber rollers, etc.
- use good quality tape.
- splice leader tape on the head/tail.
- use good quality spools.
- record at higher tape speeds.
- get a splicing block and tape, and practice so you can make good splices. Have non-magnetic scissors/knife.
- rehearse a simple explanation to explain to family/friends why you have a r-r in your setup. Don't expect them to understand.

ColdBeer
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by ColdBeer » 07 Feb 2019 08:36

Well, so nice to have found this topic...
I am future r-r user, waiting to get my revox a77 two track machine checked by a friend of mine, who is also a service guy for them in my neighborhood. From my pov, it looks cool, and fashionable this days, to sit one r-r beside my turntable for my instagram photos now and then :D
But, my real objective is to get a 3 hour tape with mixed Ben Webster, Miles Davies, Ray Brown, Arne Domnerus, Oscar Peterson , ... for now and then
Other objective is to get some recordings from my friends collections that I dont have.
And that's all about it that I can think of.
Am I right or wrong?

:D

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 07 Feb 2019 09:24

ColdBeer wrote:
07 Feb 2019 08:36
Well, so nice to have found this topic...
I am future r-r user, waiting to get my revox a77 two track machine checked by a friend of mine, who is also a service guy for them in my neighborhood. From my pov, it looks cool, and fashionable this days, to sit one r-r beside my turntable for my instagram photos now and then :D
But, my real objective is to get a 3 hour tape with mixed Ben Webster, Miles Davies, Ray Brown, Arne Domnerus, Oscar Peterson , ... for now and then
Other objective is to get some recordings from my friends collections that I dont have.
And that's all about it that I can think of.
Am I right or wrong?

:D
If it's something you are going to enjoy then there is nothing wrong with it. =D>

AudioFeline
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by AudioFeline » 07 Feb 2019 10:47

ColdBeer wrote:
07 Feb 2019 08:36
Well, so nice to have found this topic...
I am future r-r user, waiting to get my revox a77 two track machine checked by a friend of mine, who is also a service guy for them in my neighborhood. From my pov, it looks cool, and fashionable this days, to sit one r-r beside my turntable for my instagram photos now and then :D
But, my real objective is to get a 3 hour tape with mixed Ben Webster, Miles Davies, Ray Brown, Arne Domnerus, Oscar Peterson , ... for now and then
Other objective is to get some recordings from my friends collections that I dont have.
And that's all about it that I can think of.
Am I right or wrong?
:D
I had a Revox A77 until it was stolen. Nice machine and engineering. I looked at the multi-pin socket and wondered if I would be able to work out the pin layout so I could make my own (corded) remote control for it, I figured that there would be a common ground and the other pins would represent different functions (play, rewind, etc) and would just get shorted to the common ground. That was pre-internet, so getting info on vintage OS gear was very hard. It could probably be found with google easily now.

I wanted it for the quality and to make long recordings. I enjoyed having it and learning about r-r, and found that the quality of tape was important. Ultimately it didn't get a great deal of use, and I had decided to sell it when it got stolen by someone evaluating it to buy.

At a hifi show a cassette deck was being promoted by bringing in your cassette deck to have the freq.response graphed, and then compared to the freq. response of the cassette deck being promoted (which had a very wide and relatively flat response). I took in the Revox with a good tape, tested it at 15ips (from memory), and it wasn't as good freq.response as the cassette deck. I was quite disappointed, as I had expected it would have been much better. I later saw a print advert for the cassette deck, and they said that it had a better response than the several hundred (exact number given in the ad) cassette decks they had compared it to, and it even beat a reel to reel (that would have been my Revox).

My reflections: All good fun, very cool, and I learned a lot, but I wouldn't want another one now - too much trouble. If I wanted 3hrs of music I would rip it to wav/flac and play it from a usb memory stick. Much easier.

ColdBeer
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by ColdBeer » 07 Feb 2019 14:14

OK. So, how do I recognize good tape? Also, freq response isnt crucial, dynamics are . Also, what speed is acceptable? I know that 15 ips is good, but how about 7,5 and 3,75 ?
Remote control? I saw one in my neighbourhood, NOS, for A77 , for 40 €. I will probably buy it ...

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 07 Feb 2019 14:43

Good quality tape can be expensive in comparison to cassettes. Check the prices on the auction site.

A 7-1/2 IPS speed will sound better than a 3-3/4 with the same tape. The better the tape formulation and the faster the speed then the better the recording, but the shorter the play time.

There are charts to show how long you can get at each speed, but at 7-1/2 IPS on a 7 inch tape you can get about 45 minutes per side and an hour and a half at the slower speed. A 10-1/2 inch will give you an hour and a half at 7-1/2 IPS. The 10-1/2 inch tape has about 3600 ft and the 7 inch about 1800 on average.

circularvibes
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by circularvibes » 07 Feb 2019 15:12

I am curious about buying used tape. I find locally that anything I would have used and respected in the 80's is as expensive used as buying new tape stock from the 2 or 3 suppliers that I know exist now. I bought a few used reels from a local audio shop to make mix tapes on and they all seemed to shed the oxide from the edges or all across the ribbon. My machine (Akai GX630-DSS) was a mess. I tried to return the tapes and a baggy of oxide. The guy thought I had abused the tapes and after two visits finally replaced them. the others did not shed though I have been afraid to use them yet. The only reason I knew the tapes had problems is that anytime I put a new tape away, I make sure to wind it on my machine for an even pack, and to put tails out for my next recording/playback session. I believe the tape stock was Scotch and Ampex.

Tinkaroo
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Re: Reel-to-reel tips and/or advice

Post by Tinkaroo » 07 Feb 2019 15:20

circularvibes wrote:
07 Feb 2019 15:12
I am curious about buying used tape. I find locally that anything I would have used and respected in the 80's is as expensive used as buying new tape stock from the 2 or 3 suppliers that I know exist now. I bought a few used reels from a local audio shop to make mix tapes on and they all seemed to shed the oxide from the edges or all across the ribbon. My machine (Akai GX630-DSS) was a mess. I tried to return the tapes and a baggy of oxide. The guy thought I had abused the tapes and after two visits finally replaced them. the others did not shed though I have been afraid to use them yet. The only reason I knew the tapes had problems is that anytime I put a new tape away, I make sure to wind it on my machine for an even pack, and to put tails out for my next recording/playback session. I believe the tape stock was Scotch and Ampex.
Some of the brands you had problems with suffered from sticky shed syndrome. Kind of sounds like the heartbreak of psoriasis but not what you want to see on your tape heads. Read this:
http://www.tapeheads.net/showthread.php?t=2597