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This doesn't answer the original question, but I've had a Teac A3300SX-2T since
early 1982, and it's still a reliable machine in spite of occasional metal fatigue
(the reel clamps and cue lever have lost appendages over the years). I've probably
replaced the heads 4 times. I don't think parts are available in Canada any more
though. It's certainly a better machine than the Tascams that followed. I still
record on it occasionally, and it's still the best machine for editing and
splicing (works fine on its back and there's a place for you to set the splicing
block).

For auditioning of quarter-track and half-track tapes and variety of speeds, I'd
still recommend the Technics 1500.

dl

Eugene Audio wrote:

> 7 June 2005
>
> Hi,
>    I am a new member to your group, but an old member within the
> open reel recorder business.
>    I've been an audio repair technician since 1978 and have serviced
> many brands and models of open reel tape recorders.
>    From your criteria of  "we'd like something that will have a long useful
> life and won't be a huge maintenance headache" I'd suggest looking for
> certain models from TEAC.
>    After servicing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of different machines, I
> have found many of the older TEAC products to be well built, reliable and
> long-lived. Specifically the A-2300 series, the A -3300 , the A-4300 series of
> 2 channel decks and the A-2340 series , A-3340 series of 4 channel
> decks are quite good candidates for reliable restoration. They have a
> robust tape transport, they share many common parts and the three
> head configuration allows some interesting options for your
> particular application.
>    As one other gentleman mentioned ( I believe in reference to
> Studer-Canada ?) it is useful to modify the heads arrangement for
> versatility in playback.
>    Specifically, what I do is, modify the tape deck for playback
> purposes only. On some models this involves removal of the record head and
> replacement
> with a second playback head. Original playback head is a quarter track.
> The second playback head is a half-track. A simple switch allows choice
> of either head to be fed to the playback amplifiers.
>    Some decks have a quarter-track , 4 channel head which allows
> even more versatility with multi-track recordings.
>    Since these decks are modified for playback, I also "amputate"
> the record/erase functionality to prevent accidental erasing. This
> also has a great benefit in that I can "wire around" some of the switches
> in the audio path which are no longer necessary, such as the 3 -head
> source/tape switch. This leaves a "cleaner" electrical circuit path and
> eliminates the problem of not having a particular switch in the "correct"
> position.
>    Final end result of a modified TEAC deck is a reliable transport
> machine with both quarter-track and half-track playback capability
> with individual channel playback volume control and stereo headphone
> monitor system. So on the 4 channel quarter track model you could adjust
> playback volume on any one or all (individually) tracks and have the
> option of moving the head switch to listen to a half track tape using
> only two of the playback amplifiers.
>    After the Teac deck is serviced correctly there's no reason not to
> expect to get 10 more years of useful service. The thick rubber belts
> last a long time. It is best to run them a couple of times a month just like
> any other machine. Eventually the grease will harden again and will
> need to be cleaned and re-lubed, but that should last 10 years. This is
> based my experience with return customers or their sons/daughters.
>    Some "newer" model Teac decks produced in the 1980's drifted away from
> their better built models of the 70's. Some extra features were added
> which were cool, but they also changed the tape transport dramatically
> and I saw a lot more problems with those models. Specifically the X -series
> went to DC capstan motors (for pitch control) and some models were
> "over-engineered" so that they had intermittent problems with tape
> tension which led to random stoppage.
>    For a non-technical customer looking for performance and reliability
> the A-series is a great choice.
>    Prices, from my shop, for a modified and restored TEAC A-series run from
> $350. to
> $ 850. depending on reel sizes and some other features.
>
>   I'd be interested in hearing feedback or questions, suggestions or
> comments from other group members. I have about 80 decks currently
> awaiting restoration. I'm trying to gauge how much interest people
> would have for the playback only decks. Or how much demand there
> would be for completely restored recording decks with new heads and
> calibrated for Quantegy 456 tapes.
>
> Thankyou,
> Chris
> @eugene-audio