Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

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brianroth
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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by brianroth » Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:48 pm

Just for clarification, there are NO belts in any Ampex (or Studer or MCI) multitrack.

Some of the smaller Ampex machines (portable mono and 2 track decks) such as the PR-10, AG-500, 600/601/602 and AG-600 did have belts.

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by takeout » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:33 am

What he said.

If you get it, and it is an AG-440, holler at me. Mine's the same machine. B series, if memory serves.

Huge track width goodness.

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by somniferum » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:13 pm

brianroth wrote:Just for clarification, there are NO belts in any Ampex (or Studer or MCI) multitrack.

Some of the smaller Ampex machines (portable mono and 2 track decks) such as the PR-10, AG-500, 600/601/602 and AG-600 did have belts.

Bri
Yeah, I had a brainfart there, so apologies are in order for the misinformation I posted. That was a gross over generalization on my part. Sorry,
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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by brianroth » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:27 pm

Hehehe...brainfarts are common for me as well! I have to REALLY watch my comments on lists like the Ampex or Studer reflectors since there are dozens of watchful eyes who will gladly correct ME. <g>

Back to the original reson for this thread...I am still wondering what model the original poster is lookin at? I have lots of experience on AG-440's, MM-1000/1100/1200 (but none on the final Ampex hurrah...the ATR-124).

The 440 is probably the easiest to keep running since it's the simplest, although a (HUGE) MM-1000 isn't all that far behind.

Of course, there are a number of *user* features that make various models harder/easier to use in session work.

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by takeout » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:16 am

brianroth wrote:...Of course, there are a number of *user* features that make various models harder/easier to use in session work.
I like the fact that simple plumbing fixtures can be used as motor shaft spacers...

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by gevermil » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:28 am

recordist.com/ampex is where you will reside for a year if you want to take on that deck . the problem with the 440 1" is apparently underpowered transports . I think the beef with any 440 model is about transport issues .
My 440c has been a labor of love , I think anyone getting one now will have to accept that . it aint bam bam-done protools . I second the head condition issue . If the heads are really worn you have to dump big $ for relapping or replacement . I could think of a million analogies for these machines , its like having abig fat high maintenece girlfriend who drives you crazy , but gives the worlds greatest blowjobs

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:34 am

:rofl:

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by soundguy » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:31 pm

some folks on this board have some serious misconceptions about what it costs to maintain a tape deck as if to suggest that one type of 30 year old tape deck somehow costs more than a different 30 year old tape deck. At this point, assume that ANY tape deck you buy is going to cost you well more than you thought to run it. that said, Id buy any 440 8 track sight unseen as even if the thing is completely fucked, its worth more than $500 in parts. Of course you have to fix one to realize that, but if you bought it, decided it was too much of a bear to deal with, couldnt sell it whole, you could strip the thing, sell parts on ebay and make your money back with out even thinking twice, of course if you did that you basically go straight to hell, but if we are only talking economics here...

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by brianroth » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:40 am

IMHO, a 440 8 track should be relatively easy to keep running, especially since so MANY 440-somethings were made (and hence there's lots of spares as well as folks who can service them). It's not as sophisticated of a transport as a MM-1000/1100/1200, but then there's a lot less to go wrong.

A 440 8 track is a bit of a slug when fast-winding since the core transport was originally designed for 1/4" and 1/2" tape, but they DID actually run OK once upon a time.

Be aware that an AG-440B and AG-440C have significantaly differences in the audio electronics and heads.

Bri

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Re: Vintage Ampex 1" 8-track...

Post by radiationroom » Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:52 am

Both Brian and Goose are probibly going to use me as a clay pigeon when I say this, but I'm going to say it anyway.... Not knowing the model or it's condition, I'd wait a bit until the tape situation settles down before soaking your hard earned cash in this machine. Like others have said, it is very likely that you will have to do something with that machine to get it to run with the not-so-remote possibility of having to change every electrolytic in the beast before it will play, and in all likelyhood you will see a lots of complete, working MTR-90's available for the taking if the tape situation doesn't turn around within a few weeks. You don't want to wind up spending two grand and a whole chunk of your time on getting an old deck running only to find out that there is no tape for it.

I had an Ampex MM-1100 two-inch 16-track (dated 1973) which sounded fantastic but was a maintanance nightmare. Everytime I turned it on, there was a problem with it, and it doesn't matter how funky something sounds when the damn thing doesn't run. That Ampex actually lost me clients because I'd have a project up on it, ready to mix, then the machine would go down and it would be three daze until it was running again due to troubleshooting time and the logistics of having a part Fed-Ex'd cross country. And missing a deadline due to equipment failure can spell the deathknell of one's business real kwik!

So I wound up selling it to a guy who drove up from the Atlanta area (I'm in PA) and got myself a RADAR 24 project system. :rockin: No regrets. Considering the amount of work and cash the MMonster Ampex needed to get it in really prime condition (which included replacing some of the audio cards with Bob Starr's updates) and the sync box needed to chase video I was in to a RADAR price wise. So when Zonal shut their tape plant down :( followed by BASF selling their's to EMTEC :evil: I got a little nervous and let go of the MMonster Ampex. No regrets.

The most common problem that I encountered on the MMonster Ampex was mechanical problems, most especially RELAYS not making contact. :evil: The 2nd most common problem with that machine was that the boards were hydroscopic and if it was an ungodly humid summer day the tape tension would drift and bias points would shift as the machine warmed up. I found that it needed at least a two hour warm-up before everything would stablize, unlike my Otari MTR-10 mix decks :D which would be pretty much stable after a couple of minutes of power-on time.

If you get serious about owning an Ampex deck, I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU CHECK OUT BOB STARR'S PRODUCTS - http://www.rtzaudio.com - AND SIGN UP FOR THE AMPEX@RECORDIST.COM LISTSERVE - http://recordist.com/ampex - Also worth looking at is Mike Spitz's website - http://www.atrservice.com -

I'm not trying to scare you, just warning you about what you might potentially get yourself into with one of these older decks. While an old deck can make a wonderful addition to any serious studio, I suggest not relying on it for your main multitrack unless you are willing to spend the time and effort to educate yourself about how these things work as well the necessary capital to get and keep the machine up to speck.

FOOTNOTE: I have spoken to people who are "in the loop" and am cautiously optimistic that someone will have a new tape line up by summer. I'm not going to name names, but there is more than one company working on it and we could potentially see two or {maybe} three competing tape brands by the fall. And that does not include one of the majors should Maxell decide to bring their UR series back online.

73's - Peter Carli

Ammendiummendium: - OOPS! - I forgot to mention that you should find out what the remaining headlife is on that deck. If the heads need replaced, that can be boo-koo buxx, depending on the deck. Other mechanical parts need to be taken into consideration as well.

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