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Low Volume Recorded Playback from Teac Tape Machine

 
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hithere
audio school graduate


Joined: 06 Apr 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:14 pm    Post subject: Low Volume Recorded Playback from Teac Tape Machine Reply with quote

Hello recently picked up an old Teac A-2300SX. Everything seems to be working great.

Before possibly taking it off to a tech to have it get a check up, I figured I would buy an old cheap tape which had church music previously recorded on it, and a cheap plastic take up reel to check out the functionality before buying a blank ATR reel.

The music plays back great. All functions seem normal. Machine looks clean, should probably clean the heads though?

When I record directly into the machine from it's onboard mic preamps, the levels are what I put in when I play it back.

When I plug a mixing board (tried two) into the machine, I get a strong line level signal with plenty of signal hitting the meters, but when I go to listen back to my test recordings, they are extremely quiet and barely audible.

Besides cleaning the heads, is there any strange possibility it could be the used tape? Don't know why that would make a difference between the internal pres playing back fine though....
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4443
Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Low Volume Recorded Playback from Teac Tape Machine Reply with quote

hithere wrote:
Hello recently picked up an old Teac A-2300SX. Everything seems to be working great.

Before possibly taking it off to a tech to have it get a check up, I figured I would buy an old cheap tape which had church music previously recorded on it, and a cheap plastic take up reel to check out the functionality before buying a blank ATR reel.

The music plays back great. All functions seem normal. Machine looks clean, should probably clean the heads though?

When I record directly into the machine from it's onboard mic preamps, the levels are what I put in when I play it back.

When I plug a mixing board (tried two) into the machine, I get a strong line level signal with plenty of signal hitting the meters, but when I go to listen back to my test recordings, they are extremely quiet and barely audible.

Besides cleaning the heads, is there any strange possibility it could be the used tape? Don't know why that would make a difference between the internal pres playing back fine though....



Hi hithere,

So, the tape machine works great until you plug it into a mixer? I am not at all sure what you are describing...

"The music plays back great."

What are you listening through? Were you listening through a receiver or mixer different than the ones you describe in the problem after this statement?

"When I record directly into the machine from it's onboard mic preamps, the levels are what I put in when I play it back."

That a good sign.... but, what does the recorded playback sound like?

"When I plug a mixing board (tried two) into the machine, I get a strong line level signal with plenty of signal hitting the meters,"

Which meters? The ones on playback of the tape machine? The ones for metering the recording level on the tape machine? The meters on the console? Please clarify.

"but when I go to listen back to my test recordings, they are extremely quiet and barely audible."

So, let me get this straight... the meters on the tape machine seem to indicate that whatever you recorded is the same level going in as coming out, BUT the actual level going into the mixer seems low? That would be a problem with the mixer, not the tape machine.

Be sure to plug in the tape machine playback to the LINE INPUTS, and that those are selected in the mixer, and that you have the right amount of gain trim in each MIXER channel.

I hope this confusing answer helps somewhat...
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hithere
audio school graduate


Joined: 06 Apr 2012
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Low Volume Recorded Playback from Teac Tape Machine Reply with quote

Nick Sevilla wrote:
hithere wrote:
Hello recently picked up an old Teac A-2300SX. Everything seems to be working great.

Before possibly taking it off to a tech to have it get a check up, I figured I would buy an old cheap tape which had church music previously recorded on it, and a cheap plastic take up reel to check out the functionality before buying a blank ATR reel.

The music plays back great. All functions seem normal. Machine looks clean, should probably clean the heads though?

When I record directly into the machine from it's onboard mic preamps, the levels are what I put in when I play it back.

When I plug a mixing board (tried two) into the machine, I get a strong line level signal with plenty of signal hitting the meters, but when I go to listen back to my test recordings, they are extremely quiet and barely audible.

Besides cleaning the heads, is there any strange possibility it could be the used tape? Don't know why that would make a difference between the internal pres playing back fine though....



Hi hithere,

So, the tape machine works great until you plug it into a mixer? I am not at all sure what you are describing...

"The music plays back great."

What are you listening through? Were you listening through a receiver or mixer different than the ones you describe in the problem after this statement?

"When I record directly into the machine from it's onboard mic preamps, the levels are what I put in when I play it back."

That a good sign.... but, what does the recorded playback sound like?

"When I plug a mixing board (tried two) into the machine, I get a strong line level signal with plenty of signal hitting the meters,"

Which meters? The ones on playback of the tape machine? The ones for metering the recording level on the tape machine? The meters on the console? Please clarify.

"but when I go to listen back to my test recordings, they are extremely quiet and barely audible."

So, let me get this straight... the meters on the tape machine seem to indicate that whatever you recorded is the same level going in as coming out, BUT the actual level going into the mixer seems low? That would be a problem with the mixer, not the tape machine.

Be sure to plug in the tape machine playback to the LINE INPUTS, and that those are selected in the mixer, and that you have the right amount of gain trim in each MIXER channel.

I hope this confusing answer helps somewhat...


Thanks for the response! Sorry to be confusing Let me try to keep it as simple as possible.

I was actually completely wrong in that using the onboard pres make anything difference. Both yield a very low playback level.

Suppose I will clean the tape heads, is there any chance that the one old reel of tape I have with prerecorded music might just not be up to being recorded on strongly?
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4443
Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Low Volume Recorded Playback from Teac Tape Machine Reply with quote

hithere wrote:
Thanks for the response! Sorry to be confusing Let me try to keep it as simple as possible.

I was actually completely wrong in that using the onboard pres make anything difference. Both yield a very low playback level.

Suppose I will clean the tape heads, is there any chance that the one old reel of tape I have with prerecorded music might just not be up to being recorded on strongly?


Since you are only using the same old tape, it could be the culprit. I say go and get a new fresh reel of tape, and use that to record some test stuff with. It will eliminate the old tape from the equation.

As to cleaning tape heads, yes please, with 99% iso alcohol, and OFTEN. You cannot hurt the heads by cleaning them properly, so knock yourself out.

As to the onboard preamplifiers, yes, they will NOT affect the PLAYBACK level.

They are ONLY for use at the INPUT into the tape, and have nothing at al to do with playback.

So, try to mess with the OUTPUT amplifiers, if possible.

Also, do you have an MRL tape for aligning the tape machine properly?

That is important.
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