Hi, Tim,

You approached Stuart's challenge from a different direction. I can tell 
you that I've received tapes that "pin" the Dragon's auto azimuth 
capability. If it's a Dragon-worthy tape, I'll readjust the mechanical 
azimuth to get some range on the motor-driven azimuth, and then put it 
back. If it's not a Dragon-worthy tape, I'll put it in an MR-1.



On 2019-05-07 6:13 p.m., Tim Gillett wrote:
> Hi Stuart ,
> I've serviced a Dragon  but not to test the limits of its azimuth 
> correction system.  I guess we're talking about severe azimuth changes, 
> beyond what the Nak was designed to deal with.  Law enforcement people 
> must have had to deal with such recordings as  court evidence and who 
> knows what they may have come up with. I've read of the JBR company and 
> a modified microcassette player they pitched to forensic people. I think 
> it had a play head split into something like 12 tracks.
> Cheers,
> Tim
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "ROBINSON Stuart" 
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2019 6:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tascam 122n MK models
>> I have never used a Dragon, but what I wonder when I think about is 
>> how long it takes to respond to azimuth changes? Does it for example 
>> respond fast enough to react to tapes that have country-laning issues? 
>> I have had cassettes where record issues have meant an almost 
>> constantly shifting azimuth and I wonder whether the system can 
>> correct for this or if it will end up in hysteresis always trying to 
>> seek the ideal point.
>> Stuart Robinson,
>> Audio-Visual Archival Technician,
>> School of Scottish Studies Archives,
>> The University of Edinburgh
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List 
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tim Gillett
>> Sent: 07 May 2019 04:03
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tascam 122n MK models
>> Hi Corey,
>> On a dual capstan deck, the reason it's better for azimuth stability 
>> is its uniform back tension. In a standard single capstan deck, back 
>> tension from the supply reel tends to increase as the tape plays from 
>> start to finish.
>> Changing back tension can change azimuth. An interesting complication 
>> in our situation is that the deck which originally recorded the 
>> cassette we are now playing, may not have been dual capstan, meaning 
>> its recorded azimuth may well change from start to end of tape side.
>> I was in a team digitising thousands of Oral History cassettes mostly 
>> recorded on simple single capstan cassette decks. We used Tascam Mk 
>> III playback machines which, like Naks have a constant back tension, 
>> but controlled electronically, not by dual capstan. Often the azimuth 
>> alignment would slowly drift from start to end of the tape side, 
>> seemingly always in the same direction.  If we'd used Naks I suspect 
>> the result would have been similar.
>> Ideally, such tapes would be played in a similar deck with similar 
>> back tension changes! Or on a model such as a Dragon, but I wonder how 
>> many of us have access to one of those?
>> The other thing is that it's the constant back tension which *allows* 
>> removal or lifting of the pressure pad. This means that many otherwise 
>> fine dual capstan cassette decks would potentially benefit from the 
>> adding of a pressure pad lifter, as per the Naks. I've modded a few 
>> such dual capstan decks (Pioneer, Tandberg, Sony) with a custom made 
>> pressure pad lifter with good results.  It's not always appreciated 
>> that the absence of the pressure pad greatly improves  head life, 
>> which is one of the main reasons I like Naks myself.
>> The Tascam 122 MkIII retains the pressure pad but it mostly works 
>> againt the record head, not the play, but has a role to play in 
>> maintaining the back tension across the play head downstream of it. 
>> The pressure pad on the record head causes quite a bad wear groove  
>> after not too long a time, but in even the worst wear cases I've never 
>> seen a play head - sitting right next to the record head- worn nearly 
>> as badly or unsalvageable.( The Tascam
>> 122 head is a beautiful piece of engineering IMO, which unusually 
>> allows full adjustment of the record head independently of the play 
>> head. They're not locked together).  In my view the 122 record/play 
>> head assembly should be replaced not when straight line playback 
>> performance suffers, but earlier when the record head becomes grooved 
>> due to the wear from the pressure pad..
>> This is especially so when azimuth is routinely adjusted and the tape 
>> is forced to distort inside the "tramline track" of the worn record 
>> head as the head twists with azimuth adjustments. Of course this 
>> applies to any tape head in any machine.
>> I noticed on a  head from a later model Nak deck, relief slots were 
>> factory cut into the head faces. A nice feature, especially in a 
>> transfer situation where azimuth is regularly being adjusted.
>> Tim Gillett
>> Perth,
>> Western Australia
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Corey Bailey" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, May 06, 2019 11:06 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tascam 122n MK models
>>> Hi John,
>>> I prefer cassette decks with a dual capstan mechanism for playback. The
>>> reason is that cassettes, particularly old ones, tend to skew and a dual
>>> capstan deck will hold azimuth better throughout the length to the tape.
>>> Some Nakamichi's also have the added feature of a pressure pad 
>>> lifter. If
>>> you are going to consider a NAK, be sure and buy one that was built post
>>> 1982. Dual capstan decks are expensive, even used which, I think, is the
>>> only way you will find one. The Tascam that you mention is current but a
>>> good used dual capstan machine will out perform it, hands down.
>>> My $0.02
>>> Corey
>>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>>> On 5/5/2019 7:19 AM, John Schroth wrote:
>>>> Hoping to get some input from everyone.
>>>> I'd like to add a Tascam 122 cassette deck to our inventory. I've been
>>>> studying up on the different models, reading conflicting reports. Does
>>>> anyone have recommendations on which of the models they prefer - the
>>>> original 122, MK-II or MK-III?
>>>> Thanks in advance for any input.
>>>> Kind Regards,
>>>> John Schroth
>> ---
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Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.