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Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel?

 
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chconnor
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 169
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

Hi!

I can get a Roberts 720A reel-to-reel recorder for $10. No idea if it works, but it doesn't have any obvious superficial defects (besides age).

The most info I've found on it is here: http://www.kvglabs.com/roberts720.html

[Edit: oops, 720 != 720A... 720A = 770X without CrossField heads and with not-as-good frequency response... 770X = Akai M8. The 720 is the same as 770 without those features, and 770 = Akai M7. Searching for info on the 770X and Akai M8 has been much more fruitful, including Rod C's posts here and at beyondsanityproducitons.com... i think i'm getting the vibe that this is a cheaper version of that but might be fun to play with.]

I'm an ITB guy and my only real use (besides goofing around) would be occasional bouncing 2-track mixes to tape and back, more as an effect than a high-fidelity thing.
[Edit: and maybe taking out the preamps and using those, now that I see the mod info.]

Thoughts?

Any recommended online resources to learn more about it, or links to FAQs on "what to check before buying a vintage tape recorder" or "what else you're going to have to buy after foolishly buying a vintage tape recorder", etc?

Thanks!
-Casey
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BrontoSoreAss
gettin' sounds


Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 131
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:27 am    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

It's $10. At that price you could use it as a footstool and feel like you got a good deal.
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3316
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: Almost Free Tape Machine... Reply with quote

Why not? $10? If it's a dog, you can certainly sell it for parts for $15.

It sounds great, but it depends on the track width (something Chris Mara recently reminded me of), and 7 & 1/2 ips is not as good as 15 or 30, but come on, $10!!!!

GJ
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ררררררר
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Joined: 22 May 2006
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:34 am    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

once I bought an old Webcor reel to reel for 25 bucks. Had a cool old carbon element mic tucked inside that it turns out harmonica players love and pay big bucks for.

It also easily had well over $100 (probably much more) worth of virtually-NOS Mullard tubes inside... including a pair of EL84s and several 12AX7s.

Ended up giving the rest of it away, keeping the mic and tubes.
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chconnor
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 169
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:00 am    Post subject: Ok Reply with quote

Ok, you've convinced me. Smile

But i should have asked the question differently: not "is it worth $10", but "is it worth the time and extra $ i'll need to put in to it?"

I guess there's only one way to find out. I'll let you know how it goes. Smile
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

Lots of people are yanking the pre's on these to use stand alone. Search for posts by Rod C. He's got lots of experience with them.
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chconnor
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 169
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: Ok... Reply with quote

Ok i got it. It's in pretty decent shape, i guess, but i haven't opened it up yet or anything. At some point i'll do my homework and really take a look at it. I'm sure i'll have lots of questions. Smile

Meantime, I'm curious if anyone has any general notions about the utility of this thing as a bounce-to-tape-for-effect machine vs. doing one of the mic pre mods on it... if the mic pre's are really a useful and attractive option, that may be a lot more useful to me than a mediocre tape machine.

I know that only i can decide what i need/want, but i'm just wondering how to balance the pros and cons... basically: how interesting/good/useful a tape machine is it, and how good/flexible a pre would it be ("good" being highly subjective/aesthetic, obviously...) ? Just soliciting opinions/experience so i can get some perspective.

Thanks for any input,
-c
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RodC
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

If your unit has an EF86 (6267) then the mods and data I have in my DIY section are relevant. Some of the units in this series have a different tube layout and design. (Im on the road right now so I cant rember the other layout) All of these make great starting points for single ended preamps, AND/OR small guitar amps.
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chconnor
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 169
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

Hmmm... i haven't taken it apart, but judging from the printing on the chassis behind the tubes it looks like maybe i got the version your mod applies to?

(left channel:)
6267
12AD7
6x4
6BQ5 ("EL84" on the tube)
6AR5

...but I have learned to assume nothing when it comes to tubes. Smile

I think the EF86s might be dead? I can get any signal through the mic or line inputs, just the "phono in" except for a faint, faint signal in one channel. Some of the tubes look newer than others.

I have a million zillion questions but i need to do a lot of homework before i unnecessarily pester the message board with my newbie ignorance. Smile

Thanks,
-c
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RodC
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 31 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

Yup, you have the model that is covered in my docs.

Read read read then read somemore.

If you get the big zip files from my site there are the data sheets for the EF86 and the service manual for an akai M7, very similar to your unit.
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chconnor
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 169
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Should i buy this "vintage" reel to reel? Reply with quote

Awesome. Time to go to school.

I already got the docs from your website which are, of course, tremendous.

Thanks,
-c
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