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Re: [ARSCLIST] Wollensak

Richard L. Hess wrote:
My T-1616-4 was in the shop more than it was out and had an annoying tick-tick-tick related to the capstan flywheel, I guess. I finally said, I'm going to learn how to fix this blasted thing myself and dug into the Sams PhotoFact and took it apart and fixed a whole bunch of minor irritations,
I also got the Sam's PhotoFact for it, and that EXPLODED drawing of the mechanism was scary!!! I wondered how they could squeeze so many little teeny tiny parts into the machine. All those little hair-springs. And everything was held together with E-rings. It seemed impossible. But now, have you ever gone inside your camcorder?? Talk about tiny and complex. YIKES! That Wollensak seems simple in comparison. But the 1500 series mechanism was simple. I never needed the book to work on those, if they ever needed work.

However, this was one of those machines that recorded better than they played back.
Quite true. I was going to mention that it made good tapes, better than most American machines at that time. You did have to be careful to make sure the two hum-balancing screws were properly adjusted. Fortunately they had holes in the bottom of the case to allow you to get to them without opening the case. But the first time a friend in Europe sent me a tape made on a Philips I realized that we could do better.

There were worse machines,

and the styling was pretty cool.
Sleek chrome, square white buttons that lit up.
I had lusted after the later T1818 but then got a used Tandberg 74b in 1969
I picked up a Tandberg in the original box a year or two ago, just for old times sake.
I bought several ReVox A77s from about 1972-1980, and ended up with four by 1981.
I bought one for the Northwestern Univ. Radio Archive in 1970. It was one with the non-hinged post to the left of the head block, and the tape bounced three times when you started in play or record. You had to compensate for that by giving three seconds of blank. Also very awkward to monitor off the tape during record. You had to go to the sound-with-sound position by taking one track's playback into the other track's imput, which meant you could only do that when recording mono. The capstan motor also ran hot, and the tape would be warm when taken off the machine. Those were major design flaws in what was otherwise a fantastic and relatively inexpensive machine.

In 1998 I bought my first Sony APR-5000 and obtained my first Studer A810 in 2001-2002. I got my A80s in 2006 or early 2007
Cheers, Richard

We had four Ampex ATR 100s on order when they went out of the tape recorder business. We had to switch over to Otari's because Studers were way out of the university's budget, would have been overkill for our needs, and would have been too difficult to teach beginning students. The standard single-case Otari's with the amp below the deck had the world's worst brakes. The Mark series that had the amp in a birdcage above the deck had the worlds BEST brakes. The literature didn't tell us that the brakes were entirely different in the two versions -- it looked like the only difference were the cases. They also switched their tape lifter defeat lever mechanism in the middle of the production run, and there is no cosmetic difference to warn you which is which. The radio station had eight of them and I had six in my studios, and we had to be careful not to switch them around because of that lever. If you push on the older ones to release instead of pulling, you WILL bend the bar inside.

Every tape recorder has a personality. It's like a marriage. Maybe that's why we get so emotional and attached and nostalgic about our old flames. For those of us who are hung up on our recorders of the past, Phil Van Praag's "Evolution of the Audio Recorder" is the book for you.

Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

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