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Re: arsclist IPS speed

Hi, Preston,

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 Tandberg.

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 last year.



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.

Preston Everett
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

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