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Re: arsclist IPS speed
Many (if not most) of the top-end machines will play 3-3/4 ips. I believe
that the Ampex ATR-100's would do four speeds or two speeds and two tape
types. My Sony APR5003V will do three speeds--and mine came set for
7.5-15-30. I've kludged it for reasonably good 3-3/4 ips by using the
offsets in the 7.5 MRL test tape and calibrating a second register to make
those flat with -50% varispeed from 7.5. I believe the Studer A820's will
go to 3.75 as well. I don't know about the Nagra T.
On the other hand, 1-7/8 i.p.s. is more problematic.
I am still evaluating whether or not I like my APR at 3-3/4 better than my
Tandberg 3400X. That is a good machine and is of high quality. In many
regards it's better sounding than a ReVox A77 (something I had to compare
it to). For 2-track, the APR is better than the ReVox as the ReVoxes always
had a bit more hum than they should have.
Of course, track format becomes an issue. Your best playing 1/4 track tapes
on 1/4 track heads (in most instances you have to) and vice-versa!! I've
just put a 1/4 track repro head in place of the 1/2 track record head in my
APR and I'm getting good results from it.
If you don't have a high-end machine that can go down in speed, the you
should probably look for used, but refurbishable, high-end consumer
machines such as a Tandberg that can be used for playback.
I'd suggest that you look at two relevant workflow issues:
(1) Triage tapes so that those most likely to decay are
transferred first: acetate tapes with vinegar syndrome
come to mind and acetate tapes that are cupping badly
(2) After (1) is done, do your 1-7/8 i.p.s. tapes because
they are twice as susceptible to a given bit of damage
than 3-3/4 tapes and machines to play 1-7/8 are probably
harder to find long-term than machines to play 3-3/4.
As to the latter comment, yes, I know that I can switch the APR to
3.75-7.5-15 and then do the same trick to "jeep" it down to 1-7/8, but the
gap width issues of using heads optimized for 7.5 to 30 will not give me as
good response as gaps and pole pieces designed for 1-7/8 to 7.5 like the
It's a tough issue, but I'd look at transferring the stuff to CD-R. Put it
in next year's budget <smile>.
PS I looked on eBay and saw
I would suspect that either of these machines would work for you after the
belts were replaced. There are people who can find belts--at least as of
At 09:36 AM 05/11/2001 -0700, you wrote:
I have many oral history tapes recorded at various speeds below 7.5. As
far as I know, reel to reel machines today do not play at those speeds.
I do have two early 1970's machines that do, but very uneasy about using
them because of the poor quality. What makes the speed possible the
motor that drives the reel at the desired speed or the magnetic head?
Is it possible to replace an old head with a new one on an old reel to
reel machine? We would like to be able to transfer these in house.
Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
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