Otari MX5050 mkIII 1/2" 8-track thoughts? Vs. TEAC?

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mc437
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Otari MX5050 mkIII 1/2" 8-track thoughts? Vs. TEAC?

Post by mc437 » Tue May 18, 2010 9:21 am

So, I have the chance to pick up an Otari MX5050 mkIII 1/2" 8-track tape deck. It is in great functioning shape with all service records, the remote, manuals, etc. I already have a TEAC 80-8 1/2" 8-track that I've used a lot and has served me well, but the Otari seems like a step up. Anyone who has used both, is there a noticeable difference in sound and/or build quality? The guy wants $400 for the Otari, and I'm pretty sure I could talk him down. Should I get it? Or should I just keep my TEAC and leave the Otari alone?

daysleeper
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Post by daysleeper » Wed May 19, 2010 8:05 am

The Teac 80-8 was the first tape machine I owned and when it broke I bought an Otari 50/50mkIII. This going back 15 years and I was just a novice when I made the switch, but I don't remember hearing much of a difference between the 2 machines.

I do think that $400 for the Otari w/remote is a good deal if it's in good condition.

Hope this helps.

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chuckfurok
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Post by chuckfurok » Wed May 19, 2010 9:49 am

That is waaaaay too much money for such a terrible sounding deck, you would be crazy to not let me buy it. wink. wink. nudge. nudge.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed May 19, 2010 10:05 am

i've had a 5050 forever and while it doesn't get used much anymore, it served me well for years and i really can't imagine selling it....i just like having it in the studio even if it only gets turned on once a year (and then has to warm up for half a day before it'll work). last year i pulled out an old project and dumped it into the computer at 88.2.....i was really surprised at how good it all sounded. for $400 or less you simply can't go wrong.

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Post by stereopathetic_banjo » Wed May 19, 2010 1:26 pm

In my opinion, the Otari 1/2" 8 track is the best sounding narrow format tape machine made. Almost to the point that it doesn't sound "narrow". My main machine now is a 2" MCI JH-16-16 trk, but If I had to track a record on the Otari, I'd not be bummed at all. Go for it!

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Post by doctari » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:05 pm

The 5050 is a robust machine. Has not seen much use since protools moved in and blank tape sources became strange. i sure liked mine and a radio engineer friend used the hell out of one during the 80's and early 90's. Jingles, sneaking rock bands in late at night and it even held up against DJ abuse.

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Re: Otari MX5050 mkIII 1/2" 8-track thoughts? Vs. TEAC?

Post by ofajen » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:37 pm

mc437 wrote:So, I have the chance to pick up an Otari MX5050 mkIII 1/2" 8-track tape deck. It is in great functioning shape with all service records, the remote, manuals, etc. I already have a TEAC 80-8 1/2" 8-track that I've used a lot and has served me well, but the Otari seems like a step up. Anyone who has used both, is there a noticeable difference in sound and/or build quality? The guy wants $400 for the Otari, and I'm pretty sure I could talk him down. Should I get it? Or should I just keep my TEAC and leave the Otari alone?
I'd suggest there may not be an obvious upgrade in audio quality. There might be other advantages: newer unit full of newer caps that won't go bad as soon; gentler, microprocessor controlled transport with a DC capstan motor and more sophisticated remote control functions; quieter ambient noise level from the transport when in play and record modes. Of course, the greater complexity may also be a disadvantage if you want to do your own service and that level of electronics is hard for you to deal with.

In any event, I would be reluctant to sell my MKIII Otari quite that cheaply, so if you don't have to pay for shipping, you could just buy it, see if you like it better and turn around and sell for at least that much to someone else.

Cheers,

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Post by mattallen » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:31 pm

I bought and sold an Otari 8 track some years ago.
With the now how from an experienced Otari tech, I was advised to the the following:

Replace relays in the audio cards.
This brought the noisey record problem of all 5050 era machines down quite a bit.

Power Supply got new caps - pretty standard with most electronics.

New bearings and Pinch Roller.

All pretty standard things I've been taught and incorporate into gear I work on anyway.

I had a pretty massive speed drift problem that was in the capstan servo card.
That was a fix by installing a nice trim pot and dialing it right on the money.

I was pretty amazed by that little guy. From Input to Record, it sounded really nice. Surprisingly nice!

sure it has it's issues, like a lot of static non-rolling surfaces, which can increase scrape flutter significantly, but overall a nice little machine.
They are just a major pain to take apart and service, like any small non-pro machine.

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Post by percussion boy » Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:03 pm

The thing to think about up front is tape. Getting it, payng for it, how long you will be able to get it.

These are good decks but they are cheap now for a reason. I sadly sold an Otari 8 track, with minty relapped heads, for around the price above . . . because feeding the thing looked less and less practical.

Not saying don't do it, just understand the whole picture.
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Post by the brill bedroom » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:46 am

My whole last album was done on an MX5050 and I just started laying down tracks for the next one on the same machine. You will have absolutely no problem finding tape (as you probably already know) and the 5050 is a great sounding machine with a minimum of maintenance issues. $400 with remote is a great price, just be prepared to put a bit more into having a good tech go over it and fix anything that may be under the hood.
check out what I did on my Otrari 8 track at
http://www.myspace.com/3903599

WhinyLittleRunt
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Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:29 am

Don't mean to hijack, but speaking of, I was looking for a Teac 80-8 recently. If $400 for the Otari is a good price. what should the Teac be worth these days in good shape, honestly?

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Post by honkyjonk » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:33 pm

Is the 5050 local?

You would be crazy not to buy it if it is.

If it has to be shipped please re-iterate over and over and over to the seller how important it is to double box, and pack it like a mo-fo.

Lucky.

I have a Tascam 58 (after having a 48) The 58 is amazing. I can't believe it sounds this good. And it's sooooo easy on the tape. It just blows anything digital out of the water. And I have a Radar II.
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skywavebe
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Post by skywavebe » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:44 am

Hello Prospective Otari buyer;
Those machines are amazing units when adjusted and set up correctly.
The Teac 80-8 is really pretty old technology and I am not against using one but if I had to compare an Otari deck to a Teac deck the comparison would be between the Otari and the Tascam 48 or 58 decks. In the case of the newer Tascam products which I have worked on more than a hobby guy, I would say they would give the Otari deck a fight for it's money. The 48 and 58 are seen on E bay now and then and even though I am not a musician but an Engineer, I bid on them just to get one at that price. However a guy who knows his stuff did not let me get it so cheap so I lost.
Best regards,

Sam Palermo,
Skywave Tape Deck Repair
(708) 334-2260 cell
skywavebe@sbcglobal.net
Past Lead Tech. Teac Chicago Factory Service

endino
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Otari 5050 8-track half-inch

Post by endino » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:30 pm

Hi - Jack E here... Strongly recommend the Otari MX-5050 8-track machine, I had one for years, it's now behind a glass at the EMP Museum in Seattle. ;-) I second all the recommendations here, you probably need new a pinch roller, make sure you get a cal tape, manual w/schematic, etc. Aligning it is easy, trim pots in the back. Also, I prefer the one-piece mark III model with the built-in meter bridge, or the later mark IV. I never needed a remote with mine, the machine is small and quiet enough to sit right in front of you wherever you need it, although it hurt my back to lift it. The front surface by the buttons was polished where my hand used to rest on it. Actually, I've never SEEN a remote for this machine.
One caution, when you get one and try to wire it up: if memory serves me (I no longer have the schematic here), the XLR ins and outs are UNBALANCED, PIN 3 HOT, PIN 2 OPEN, PIN 1 GROUND. So if you cable it up 'pin 2 hot' and wonder why there seems to be no signal going thru the machine, check that possibility.
Getting parts, yikes, I don't know what's left of Otari at this point.
Jack Endino
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mikoo69
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Post by mikoo69 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:22 am

hows the Otari MX5050 MKII ? I found one for $400. I am looking to get an 8 track reel to reel.

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