Polk Forum Tapeheads -- how about a dedicated thread for analog tape reproducers?

mhardy6647
mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
edited January 2015 in 2 Channel Audio
Posts to the forums here in the past month or so have rekindled my interest in the long, iron-oxide coated ribbons of Mylar. :- )

To "celebrate" this renaissance, I thought it might (??) be nice to start some sort of thread on the topic in the most general way possible; just a chance to show off (or, as the case may be, to exhibit some of the "don't let this happen to you" items in our collections.

Here's one that hasn't been powered up for probably five years or more... Tandberg 3300X . Playin' an "air check" tape of utterly unnknown provenance. Based on the music, ca. 1973. Elton John's Mellow playing as I type this. Jeepers, I don't even remember ever hearing that song on the radio even when Honky Chateau was a new release!

16214487725_72cf7a9271_b.jpgTandberg 3300X by mhardy6647, on Flickr

My only "request" (suggestion) -- new-to-Polk forum decks (or, at least new photos) are preferred. Reel to reel, cassette, 8-track, Elcaset, Dictaphone... all fair game ;- )

EDIT:
1. I need to level my tripod!
2. I need to dust the top of that sucka!
3. Does anyone know if the VU meters on a 3300X are s'posed to function on tape playback? 'cause these... ain't :-p
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Comments

  • boston1450
    boston1450 Posts: 6,714
    edited January 2015
    I just picked up this TC-520 & a tuner yesterday for cheap fifty & cleaned up the tape player & put on some Allman Bros & Marty Robbins & sounds sweet. Now time to service the 320. I enjoy tape players & r2r alot. lv0o51weh7rt.jpg
    ...
    ...
    Randy/Maine .. SDA-CRS+TL-RTA15TL-Cs1000p
  • miner
    miner Posts: 1,307
    Nice decks mhardy and boston. Many 'philes do not fully appreciate a good quality R2R and the sound reproduction it can produce. I recently bought the SRV box set @ 45rpm and first thing I did after cleaning the LPs was to record to 1/4" tape.
    [
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    The Yamaha TC-520 is pretty seldom seen nowadays...

    Except for being truly front-load & having adjustable rec bias, it is more than a little similar to the (considerably) earlier TC-511S, isn't it?

    15592735814_241d076623_b.jpgTC511S203-420view20AK by mhardy6647, on Flickr
  • Polkie2009
    Polkie2009 Posts: 3,835
    edited January 2015
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    Posts to the forums here in the past month or so have rekindled my interest in the long, iron-oxide coated ribbons of Mylar. :- )

    To "celebrate" this renaissance, I thought it might (??) be nice to start some sort of thread on the topic in the most general way possible; just a chance to show off (or, as the case may be, to exhibit some of the "don't let this happen to you" items in our collections.

    Here's one that hasn't been powered up for probably five years or more... Tandberg 3300X . Playin' an "air check" tape of utterly unnknown provenance. Based on the music, ca. 1973. Elton John's Mellow playing as I type this. Jeepers, I don't even remember ever hearing that song on the radio even when Honky Chateau was a new release!

    16214487725_72cf7a9271_b.jpgTandberg 3300X by mhardy6647, on Flickr

    My only "request" (suggestion) -- new-to-Polk forum decks (or, at least new photos) are preferred. Reel to reel, cassette, 8-track, Elcaset, Dictaphone... all fair game ;- )

    EDIT:
    1. I need to level my tripod!
    2. I need to dust the top of that sucka!
    3. Does anyone know if the VU meters on a 3300X are s'posed to function on tape playback? 'cause these... ain't :-p
    Nice Tandberg Mhardy! Those two blue buttons on the right that says source/tape are in the tape mode (buttons out) for playback? And obviously you have the two red buttons in the middle not pushed in on playback. EDIT: Ok, I just noticed something your deck doesn't have slide pots for adjusting output levels, I know my Teac 3340S has those for all 4 channels. Still seems like the vu's would have signal passing through them on playback. I didn't play my rtr for about 10 yrs. and when I turned it on last yr., the r vu meter just all the way to the right for about a second they worked fine.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    Yup, no output level adjustment on this particular Tandberg (most did have such). The tape plays fine; just no life from the VUs. It might be normal, it might be pathalogical -- I dunno. Guess I should get a manual ;- )
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Great idea, I'm all in... B)
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    An Akai GXC-706 D I picked up a while back. Plays fine, dirty as all get out.
    Not worth much but I do like the look of the face.ey91brep0652.jpg
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Hmm, first pic not to load.
    Love the "cross hair/look" control on that Tandberg.
  • voltz
    voltz Posts: 5,385
    Question? ....If you want to record a Vinyl LP to tape, how do you go about doing this?

    do you need a tape in & out on preamp? or do you go straight from a phono amp?

    I knew some girls when I was like 15 who's father had a nice Reel to Reel and recorded all his albums to it and they could play the Reel to Reel but not touch his albums :) I've never heard anything as nice sounding since...I can not remember what brand of equipment or speakers he had just that they ROCK!
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Oops, it did load, sorry for the prema jump. Not sure on the LP thing as I got rid of my albums years ago..D'oh!
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    Tandberg and a few others did use joystick controls on tape recorders at one time. There is a pretty wonderful resource for vintage (reel to reel) tape information (particularly ad scans) at http://www.reel2reeltexas.com/ -- and, of course, there're the (to a visually-oriented old guy like me) the incredible twin resources www.radioshackcatalogs.com and www.alliedcatalogs.com

    That's an interesting ss Fisher receiver in the photo above! I don't recognize the model at all...
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Not sure on the model number myself at the moment. I got that at a thrift store for next to nothing, was quite "static" ridden, good old de-ox did the trick. Haven't played with her for a while.

    Bad news on the GX4000D, I think I got a bad rca output on the right side, did a solder on it, nothing yet. Go figure, this one is so very clean :s
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    edited January 2015
    Here's one I'd sort of forgotten about... I was actually looking for a Sony TC-377 but... umm... I couldn't find it. I found this one, though :-P

    15596523504_b24cb68877_b.jpgDSC_9940 by mhardy6647, on Flickr

    This was given to me by a friend who was retiring, downsizing, and moving South. I think it was a Vietnam-era PX (or whatever it was called) acquisition. It isn't that different than the entry level AKAI... except that it's auto reverse. It weighs a ton (well, not a ton, but a lot; 30-plus pounds, if memory serves).

    This one has an issue; no output from the left channel. Indeed, that's why it was in the basement and not upstairs already! I spent a little quality time evaluating it today. The problem seems to be related to the auto-reverse; if I change directions, I can occasionally get a little static from the otherwise dead channel. This is "old school" (cheap) auto-reverse; the playback heads (only) are solenoid driven and physically shift when the tape play direction is reversed. I am thinking that - perhaps - one of the hot or ground leads to the PB head (L channel) is making intermittent connection (due stress from flexing when the head shifts). I tried to probe it a bit but my fingers are too fat... this will require a more subtle tool to evaluate... someday...

    At any rate, the right channel actually sounds pretty good :- )

    EDIT: heh, www.hifiengine.com has the OM and SM for this deck -- I guess that's not a big surprise... but I don't think I ever looked 'til tonight...
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Nice looking unit, looks like the pause button missing on it. My 4000D has a similar pause button design it appears, with a very small set screw on the side to get it off. I need to re-check it to see if my problem might be the same as your as I also got a little static a few times.

    The guy I got the GX 280 from said his Father got it when he was in Vietnam, just checked the manual and it comes in at 49.5 lbs.

    Do you ever notice that when any of your units are running and it's between songs that you hear a sound from the tape rubbing on the side of the reel? I have this slight "rubbing" sound from a few metal reels. Plastic ones don't do this. I've watched the tape from the side as it runs and can see sometimes the tape does briefly touch the inside wall of the reel thus making a "faint" rubbing sound.
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,310
    voltz wrote: »
    I've never heard anything as nice sounding since...

    .....and you probably never will too. Analog tape in my opinion rivals vinyl without the pops and clicks. Plus speakers back then weren't as revealing as todays so I can't imagine the glorious sound a good R2R on some nice tube gear would sound like today.

    Nice pics gents, I hope some of you are putting them to good use.

    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    I play mine almost every day.

    However, upon doing more research, the head cover on my GX 280 D SS also has the words "focused field" on it. Anyone know what this represents? Most units currently for sale do not have these words on them. Scanned through the manual and couldn't find anything on it.

    As far as sound goes, still have it on the old sansui but switched out the 5jr's for a set of 11's and went up to about 2 on the volume dial, "had to stretch" the ole girls legs and it was very nice.

    Sadly no tube gear here to try.
  • Akai worked very hard to obtain the widest and flattest frequency response especially at lower recording speeds (3 3/4" inches per second). The original cross-field recording head placed a bias head opposite the record head meant to improve high frequency response. Then in the 1970's Akai went to a head design that used glass and ferrite blended together for longevity and performance. The use of an advanced recording head core material that had better permeability in the audio range created a sharply focused magnetic field, hence the term "focused field".
  • oldrocker
    oldrocker Posts: 2,431
    Thanks Ken.
    Had hoped you would chime in on that question and sure glad you did.

    Update from the seller, he could not find the original manual,"I got one from hifi", seller also does not remember ever seeing the remote or the dust cover. Those will be tough to find.

    Ken

    Could you advise on some quality "sensing foil" as I'd like to use the auto rewind capability. Sorry for all the questions but this is interesting to me.

    This thing is 40+ years old and as you said before, you thread the tape, push the button, hear the clicks, watch the components engage, see the meters move and it starts to play. Maybe I'm being too personal here but the nostalgia if not intimacy of this device with all those moving parts with precision producing such a good sound after all these years is just fascinating.

    As always guys, THANKS, very much appreciated!!
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 7,659
    edited January 2015
    Hello,
    The best source for cleaning supplies, blank tape and sensing foil is:

    http://usrecordingmedia.com/

    I've been buying from them for years and have always been satisfied.
    Cheers, Ken
  • Hello,
    In keeping with this thread, here is a Nakamichi BX-100 that was given to me a few years ago. I had to take the main drive motor apart and clean the brushes, the outer shell of the motor was a wrapped hard plastic "tube" that I just unfurled and took off the main assembly. Really a different approach. Then all the belts including the main drive pulley "tire" had to be replaced and a thorough cleaning was done. Somehow the AC power cord had been spliced and I replaced it. The top cover and the bottom plate were pretty scratched so I had them sand blasted and powder coated.
    It checked out great, with wide flat frequency response and low distortion.
    Cheers, Ken8rhm9urcosgk.jpg
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    Akai worked very hard to obtain the widest and flattest frequency response especially at lower recording speeds (3 3/4" inches per second). The original cross-field recording head placed a bias head opposite the record head meant to improve high frequency response. Then in the 1970's Akai went to a head design that used glass and ferrite blended together for longevity and performance. The use of an advanced recording head core material that had better permeability in the audio range created a sharply focused magnetic field, hence the term "focused field".

    Ken -- do you know anything about whether there was any cross-licensing (no pun intended) or intellectual property imbroglios between AKAI and Tandberg for crossfield biasing? Spec-wise, both companies' seemed to enjoy a marked improvement in HF extension -- even, as you note, at low speeds -- with the crossfield head scheme... but both companies ultimately abandoned it. I've long wondered about whether there was any back story...
  • Hi Mark,
    I remember talking to a Tandberg engineer about the crossfield head process and he explained that what Tandberg really wanted to do was make some changes to the NAB and IEC recording and playback EQ to take better advantage of the high frequency capability the crossfield head produced. This was why they licensed Akai (Roberts) the technology, thinking that other companies would want to follow and use the same designs. When other manufacturers didn't want the system any attempts to change the EQ compensation was doomed.
    The other problem with crossfield heads was that any contamination on the record head brought the tape slightly closer to the bias head and a self erasing caused dropout. Plus the tape needed to be thick enough to allow the complete penetration of the bias head's magnetic field. Also it wouldn't be compatible with Dolby's noise reduction system. Too many adverse things stacked against it.
    In the early 70's improvements in head design and better circuitry eliminated the need for crossfield heads and the increase in cassette sales (couldn't fit crossfield heads in a cassette well) caused both Tandberg and Akai to move on to other approaches.
    Anyone remember push button shifting on Chryslers?
    Cheers, Ken
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    edited January 2015
    I had a good friend in high school (mid-1970s) whose father (a pastor) had a 63 (or maybe 64 -- memory is a bit hazy) with (of course) a slant six and the dashboard, pushbutton transmission...

    Thanks for the crossfield info; things I didn't know.

    Actually there's another crossfield AKAI downstairs-- I'll lug it out anon, in honor of this thread, and give it a spin.
  • My Dad's best friend had a big Chrysler with a group of push buttons for shifting to the left of the steering wheel and a CB under the dash.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    oh... I had a CB in the Bronco. Yes. Yes I did ;- )

    14803393032_e8b9b41b24_o.jpgbronchusspiffed by mhardy6647, on Flickr

    Old school Baltimorons may recognize the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel toll ticket sticker on the windshield!
  • boston1450
    boston1450 Posts: 6,714
    Gosh your old :smile:
    ...
    ...
    Randy/Maine .. SDA-CRS+TL-RTA15TL-Cs1000p
  • cnh
    cnh Posts: 13,286
    edited January 2015
    My Dad's best friend had a big Chrysler with a group of push buttons for shifting to the left of the steering wheel and a CB under the dash.

    My father had one of those Chryslers as well, it had a "space age", dare I say post-Sputnik age, glass dome behind the steering wheel behind which the Speedometer, and all meters were encased. Everything lit up in an almost Marantz like blue back lighting at night, and we thought that was the coolest!

    As for being old. I look "younger" than half the guys on this site who are 45? lol And I hardly feel much older than that either. Now if that is old then yeah I'm old. But let me tell you I'm a LOT older than 45! Sorry boys but aging is "relative" and some of us have GREASIER skin and have, due to our occupation, seen very very little sunlight. A combo that makes for almost NO wrinkles! Can we patent that?

    Original recordings on tape were HIGHLY sought after. And MIXES were what R-2-R was for us. Throw that vinyl on the table, pick out the song(s), put on another LP and another, and before you knew it you had a great mix that was right there as close as possible, almost indistinguishable from the original.

    That said. I don't mess with R-2-Rs today, too much WORK! Even playing LPs is often too labor "intensive"!

    cnh

    Currently orbiting Bowie's Blackstar.!

    Polk Lsi-7s, Def Tech 8" sub, HK 3490, HK HD 990 (CDP/DAC), AKG Q701s
    [sig. changed on a monthly basis as I rotate in and out of my stash]
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    boston1450 wrote: »
    Gosh your old :smile:

    10-4 good buddy!

    ... and that's why I am retired...
  • Malbec
    Malbec Posts: 532
    Unearthed these from the catacombs (closet) Mr. Hardy.

    tby4zg1wmnys.jpg

    I bought the Tandberg in '79 or '80?? The Nak, maybe mid eighties, don't remember.
    Hard to believe I haven't played with these decks in 20-25 years.

    That big Chrysler with the push button keys for the transmission and the domed instrument cluster was the 300. My Dad had a '62 300 that I used to get my driver license. Man I was sweating bullets parallel parking that big boat!


  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 27,799
    edited January 2015
    Thanks for posting thaa photo; nice cassette decks -- always had a soft spot in my heart (and/or my head) for Tandberg products... I own only a couple, and none of the great ones, unfortunately.

    I do have a Tandberg 64 deck, but it's currently nonfunctional -- and I've yet to look it over in detail. In fact, I started to take it apart shortly after I picked it up from a local consignment store... and I got stymied & to this day I haven't figured out how to get it apart!