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At 01:54 PM 2009-11-01, A. F. Thal wrote:

>The notion (championed by persons whom I would characterize as being
>mis-informed) that archival audio transfer technicians might now collect a
>number of such worn-out machines for spare parts, in order to re-assemble
>enough working units to go forward with the transfer work, is one I find
>preposterous if any (even bare minimum) technical standards are to be met.

I would have to agree with Fred here. Having obtained some other 
decks, sight unseen, thinking they would be useful for parts, has 
been a very hit-or-miss affair and I now no longer collect parts 
machines as the same parts seem to be broken on many of them. That is 
not to say that I'm getting rid of any parts or parts machines, but I 
see it counter-productive to acquire any more. There comes a time 
where the most-likely-to-fail part will have to be re-sourced or 
re-manufactured in one way or another.

With that said, the A80 appears to be the most easy to maintain deck 
available due to its use of standard (but very high quality) ball 
bearings. I am sure that Fred returns these machines to the finest 
"Swiss Watch" precision possible.

We are seeing fewer and fewer "cream puff" versions of any tape 
machine and a beat-to-a-pulp machine is a sad thing to try and put right.

With that said, I do spend a fair amount of my time in machine 
maintenance, but the most annoying formats are the oddball cassette 
formats. My four-track Tascam cassette just died and it sounds better 
(though is not as flexible) than my CMS unit. Sigh. The real 
annoyance here is that I do about two to four tapes a year in this format.

As a broad caveat, I am not aware of anyone doing what Fred is doing 
for DAT and other dedicated digital audio tape machines (maybe 
Manhattan Sound Technicians in Minneapolis) so I think that these 
dedicated digital formats are even more at risk than the older open reel.

Thanks Jim and Fred for highlighting these issues. I feel comfortable 
that I'll be able to transfer tapes as long as I want to with the 
parts that I have and are still available, but I'm not encouraging my 
sons to continue with it (thankfully, one is thinking about being a doctor).

Cheers,

Richard


Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.