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Messages - reelnut

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Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: PLL Capstan Light on A810
« on: March 18, 2014, 03:22:41 pm »
Hi Waltzingbear,

You have a good point and one would expect to have a need to apply a drop of oil a year to a bearing. However, in a pdf I have entitled Capstan Motor Lubrication, Technical Protocol No. 174, Studer says sintered bearings are used exclusively for the capstan shafts in their tape recorders. They say the porous structure of the bearing is saturated with lubricant under vacuum and the pores amount to 15-30% of the bearing volume! They go on to say "Depending on load and operating conditions, the amount of lubricant thus stored may last for the life of a motor. In contrast to a solid bearing bearing design, the lubricant in sintered bearings is not applied to the face of the bearing via a few central lubricating points but is instead available through the capillaries of the porous sintered material. In this way, a minimal oil film around the shaft is maintained even at standstill of the motor".

There is quite a bit more (5 pages total). For instance, loss of lubricant due to seepage in vertically mounted capstan shafts (particularly A80) versus horizontal capstan shafts. (My capstan is horizontal). I was unable to find this paper anywhere on the Studer ftp site, and I don't remember where I got it from. Anyone wishing to have a look at it can PM me and I will send it to them!

General Discussion / Re: My System
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:49:35 am »
Hi Astrotoy,

My Sound Forge Pro 10 editor comes with an Izotope 64bit sample rate converter plug-in built in. I don't believe in high sample rates and I use it to convert downloaded hi-rez audio files to 44/24, which is all the resolution I need. If Sony thinks it's better than their converter that's good enough for me.

As for de-clicking, all you will ever hear in the "noise only" track is clicks because the de-clicker only affects the attack of a note. If I were to go heavy on the de-clicking the first thing I notice it on is acoustic or jazz guitar string attacks and "ride" cymbals.

After de-clicking, if crackle and hum is not an issue (usually it's not) you may wish to use a good broadband noise eliminator. The Waves X-noise plug-in is really easy to use.
All I normally do is set threshhold at 12-14 and reduction to around 70 and after creating a noise profile the plug-in does the rest. It eliminates 100% of the rumble which becomes audible in quiet passages or at the end of tracks, without affecting the music. Your recordings of LP's become as quiet as CD tracks. It also eliminates tape hiss if you are digitizing a tape. Amazing stuff.

If you have an LP that sounds thin and you want tighter bigger bass the Renaissance Bass Plug-in works incredibly well. Much better than using an eq. It works by adding harmonics to the fundamental notes that are already there.

You can follow that by using a look-ahead peak limiter if you wish, such as the Waves L1-Ultramaximizer . I use it to bring the level of my tracks up a couple of decibels. It works by rounding  off the highest peaks to avoid clipping (and no one will ever know you've done it).

If you are a perfectionist you should be able to chain everything together so that all operations to the file are done in one calculation. If you wish to make CD tracks you can run a 16-bit dither on your 24bit file as the very last step before saving to 44/16. L1 has dither controls on the right side of the plug-in box under "IDR".

General Discussion / Re: My System
« on: March 15, 2014, 03:14:01 pm »
Looks like you've got some big bucks in that system. Are you doing any noise reduction in the vinyl? I have been using Waves plug-ins in Sound Forge for many years. They worked and sounded better than anything else I tried and their vinyl restoration bundle is ridiculously easy to use. Their new version 9 waveshell eliminates challenge/responses, dongles and i-locks, allows you to have your licenses on a usb stick which can be plugged into any computer, and is super easy to set up.

Nat King Cole Sings, George Shearing Plays / Re: First Impressions
« on: March 14, 2014, 03:24:40 pm »
Right on astrotoy- Frank Sinatra.
His 16 disc MFSL vinyl box set is incredible.
I didn't know his music could sound so good.
I particularly enjoy the "swing" albums.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: PLL Capstan Light on A810
« on: March 14, 2014, 12:16:14 am »
Hi Ki,
Excellent! What an amazing post...thanks much.
I've been using the machine every single day for the last 2 weeks, no problems.
Normally the machine warms up before capstan is engaged.
Yesterday I started capstan right after power-up. After the initial spin-up time it blinked a few times then was steady.
Today I did the same blinking at all, but the room may have been warmer.
So, whatever problem exists is minimal at this time.
Looks like I have a newer machine- serial # is 6143.
I will copy & paste your info into my Studer folder for future reference!!!
Thanks again,

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: PLL Capstan Light on A810
« on: February 21, 2014, 06:22:20 pm »
Doc, thanks for your help. Today I fired up the A810 and it had a couple of hours to warm up while I was doing other things. There was no tape loaded and I did not start the capstan manually, I just let it sit while all the circuits warmed up.  When I did load tape and the capstan was activated there were no problems. I'm not a tech compared to what you or Ki know, but I do readily understand when someone explains, and your remarks about an aging cap that needs extra time to charge and running the machine to reform the cap were quite helpful.

Studer has a service bulletin that says my capstan motor is good for 4,000 hours and up to 10,000 hours if it is re-lubricated. It also says there is a big difference in service requirements between vertically mounted & horizontally mounted machines. That makes a lot of sense and mine is vertical.

I've had the op/serv manual since the day I received the machine and have referred to it a lot over the years. But yesterday all I found in it were schematics and how to remove the assembly. I was unable to find a functional description of the capstan.

Today I found this:
"A capacitive sensor detects the movement of a toothed ring that is rigidly coupled to the capstan shaft, The change in the capacitance of the sensor causes a frequency modulation at the input of the capstan motor control."
I'm guessing if the problem gets worse that finding that sensor would be a really good place to start troubleshooting.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / PLL Capstan Light on A810
« on: February 20, 2014, 09:08:53 pm »
Hello all,

Yesterday the PLL capstan light on my A810 would blink occasionally after I turned it on. Prior to about 5 days ago the machine had not even been plugged in about a year. (I know, shame on me. ...for not using it, and also for not exercising it during long periods of non-use). By the time I got ready to record it had quit doing it. I've had this machine for 6 years and put 700 hours on it. This has never happened before. In fact, it has always been 100% reliable.

Today I noticed it blinking during a record process. When the light blinks it means the capstan is not up to speed, and of course, this ruins the recording. I normally give the machine time to warm up before recording, but today it only had a few minutes of warm-up time. After the machine had been recording for about 15 minutes it quit doing it completely. It has been on all day, setting next to my computer desk, and it has not blinked at all after it got up to operating temperature.


Does anyone have an idea of what it is that is trying to fail here? Hopefully, it could be something as simple as the capstan motor needs to be lubricated. Any thoughts?

Tape Tech / Re: Studer A-80/RC recording issue?
« on: April 26, 2009, 02:04:14 pm »
It is my understanding that a worn erase head will cause rumble. You need a magnifying glass to look at the poles of the head. If the iron is not very smooth, but appears grainy-looking, you have a problem.

Tape Tech / Re: Studer A810, do I really need Vu-Meters?
« on: April 26, 2009, 12:53:02 am »

That's a very nice meterbridge Ki posted the link for. I noticed it includes the Studer Vari-speed, which IMO is very cool, even if that auction is way overpriced. If your machine has 2 speeds 7.5ips and 15ips, the Vari-speed would let you record and playback at very nearly any speed from around 4ips to around 25ips. Quite incredibly, the Vari-speed is a rotary control which is marked from 0 to 999, with each number also sub-divided into 10ths. By noting the Vari-speed setting, accurate repeatability is possible. I use it, for instance, to record 90min of music on a 2500' tape if I so desire, etc.

What I don't understand is why his machine has channel controls and no meters. I've never seen any pics of an A810 set up that way. All the pics I've ever seen of the meter bridge have the meters and channel controls mounted in the same board. Maybe the machine was never used to record, only play back? You could certainly play back without meters or gain controls, and I assume you must need the channel control boards to properly make all the internal connections so the machine works? Just guessing.

Tape Tech / Re: Studer A810, do I really need Vu-Meters?
« on: April 25, 2009, 08:34:57 pm »

How many heads does your deck have? If you have 4 heads, the machine has TimeCode. If you have only 3 heads you don't have TimeCode and JS 0,1,2 have no effect. Even if you do have a TimeCode head you won't be using it!

Tape Type:
JS 6,7,8 of the Command Unit determine which speed is affected when you change the Tape Type buttons. Refer to Sections 4/40 and 4/41 of the manual. If I'm reading that right JS 6-8 will have no effect because you have the 2-speed panel. You will use JS 9-11 for this.

Programmable Keys:
LOCST will search to the point where the Play or Rec button was last pushed.
LIFTER is your tape lifter which holds tape away from the heads during fast wind. The lifter itself can be programmed as momentary (only stays down while you have your finger on the button, or flip/flop one press lets it down, another raises it back up. By lowering the lifter you will hear sound during a winding operation, thereby aiding you when you are searching for a specific point.

CODREA is to do with Time Code. I would definitely change that to something else.

I have the 3 programmable keys to the right of LOC1 programmed for LOC2, LIFTER, and TAPE DUMP.
I never use TAPE DUMP. What it does is stop the takeup reel while allowing the supply reel to turn normally if you need to spool off bad sections of tape. I occasionally use the lifter down function, but not often. To me what's really handy is having LOC 1 & LOC2. If you press TRANS (on) and press a LOC point together, for instance, it will program the counter reading into the LOC point. You can use LOC points to automatically Rew or FF to the programmed point. You would press TRANS (on), then press the LOC point, and the machine goes to that point. Furthermore, pressing PLAY after pressing TRANS and a LOC point will cause the machine to enter playback mode after reaching the LOC point. I have LOC points programmed for 2500' and 3600' tapes, so that when I thread a tape into the machine just pressing a couple of buttons causes the machine to automatically to the beginning of the tape and begin playback.

The line level is up to you. IMO it pretty much depends on the kind of tape you use. The newer high-output tapes benefit from the +4db setting. Much older tapes would want a 0db line level. When you calibrate the machine you reset the VU meter amps so that when meters read 0db you are in fact recording at +4db. Since the meter scale only goes up to +3db if you hit that point you would actually be looking at a +7db signal. So you can see how the newer +6db and higher tapes benefit from this.

Your channel levels look very good to me. They are very similar to mine.

Cheers, and happy reeling!

Tape Tech / Re: Studer A810, do I really need Vu-Meters?
« on: April 24, 2009, 08:16:47 pm »

I was glad to help out a little. I've been a stranger to TTP the last few weeks, but having sunk a very large chunk of cash into my vinyl rig, the tape machines have temporarily taken a back seat to the playing of LPs. So I guess it was just fate that I happened by when I did to inject my 2 cents worth!

Tape Tech / Re: Studer A810, do I really need Vu-Meters?
« on: April 23, 2009, 01:20:58 am »
Hi maxrb-

I can see the machine has the channel control boards with the colored buttons for repro, sync, input, rec safe, and rec ready. So it looks to me like the machine was built to record. It also looks as though it was built to be used with an external meter bridge, as most of the stand-mounted machines were. So you need to get the meter bridge. These machines are quite flexible and completely modular. The internals should be ready to plug in whatever you need. But they're also quite complex. The complete manual is 864 pages. There are a number of switches that need to be set correctly inside the machine, depending on if you have panel-mounted meter or a meter bridge, and a number of other things. You may find it more convenient to remove the channel control boards and install VU meters on the face of the machine. Here is an ebay link to one . With this type of meter, the channel controls are built into the meter board itself. He's asking $350.  I'd offer him $4-500 for a pair and see if he takes it. I don't know if they are affiliated with Filmco (described below), or not.

You might call Filmco in Canada at 1-800-476-9775 and ask for Edouard. They bought Studer's complete stock and parts inventory a number of years ago when Studer pulled out of North America and will have what you need. Have your serial number ready when you call them. And I would try to bargain! Whatever they say, offer them a couple hundred less! I bought my machine from Filmco & can tell you from experience that they will stand behind something they sell you. They won't burn you.

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: February 15, 2009, 09:31:18 am »

No, I don't save 'em, but have been meaning to get some of those things. I agree, it seems like it'd go a long ways toward keeping the tape dry. I keep my tape inside plastic bags which are inside the box. Seems like a packet in the bag with the tape would do a great job. I did a search for silica gel packs a while back and came up with this link that looks like it'd be a great place to buy from. They have packets of every imaginable size and they are inexpensive:

It is my understanding that silica gel is re-usable. If one bakes it in the oven it drives out the moisture and recharges the gel to a new condition again. There is also a blue gel which turns a violet, then blue when it's full of moisture. If a guy could get some of the blue stuff in a bag that you could see through well enough to observe the color, that would really be the "ticket", wouldn't it?

Tape Tech / Re: How 'Bout Sticky Shed!
« on: February 14, 2009, 09:41:26 am »
Hi Larry-

I have a feeling that the dehydrator does a really great job of baking tapes, due to the forced airflow. Wish I had one.

But the reason I'm writing this is to say I ended up doing what you did- baking the tapes. I had never done it before and just used my electric oven. I left the tapes in the oven for 12 hrs, or so. I don't think the time is too critical as long as you leave 'em in at least 8 hrs when using a conventional oven. Temp pretty much stayed between 120 and 135 during the process. After letting them cool for about 6 hrs in the oven with door cracked I tried them out and they performed just as nicely as a new tape would. Needless to say, I was very pleased with the results.

The point I'm actually trying to make is this: I did the baking on Dec 1, 2008 and wasn't too optimistic that it would last for very long. I actually just pulled one of the tapes out yesterday to try it out and it still performed exactly the way it did in Dec, and here it is now the middle of Feb. It will be interesting to see how long they last before developing problems again.

Reel to Reel Tape Machines / Re: Calling all Pro's
« on: January 23, 2009, 01:29:02 am »

Don't get the idea that the A810 does not treat tapes as gentle as anything you've ever seen! My 810 without a doubt handles tapes better and with more care than any of my other machines. And in 550 hours it has never broken or stretched a tape in any way I have been able to observe. I have no use for 7" reels, do not use them, so I can't speak about that aspect.

Two of the A810's 4 spooling speeds would qualify as library wind, with the 3rd being ultra-slow and the 4th being full high speed. It's also designed so that by threading tape above the headblock tape can be spooled. Look at a pic of one. You just come right off the top of a guide roller and go across the top of the headblock to the guide roller on the other side.

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