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Basic vinyl mastering question
Old 19th August 2019
  #1
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Basic vinyl mastering question

I have a newbie question:

About 35 years ago, a band I was in put out an EP . Nothing fancy, recorded on a Teac 3340 and issued on a local label.

We have recently has a request to transfer the original master to a 96K digital file to be pressed on vinyl as part of a fanzine that includes a vinyl disk with each issue.

I assume my old Revox A77 is still in working order, and the master tape is still playable. My question is this. The original recording is OK, the sort of thing you do in a basement studio with a 3340, but I'm sorely tempted to do a little tweaking to the high and low end before sending it off.

However I've read a lot about how masters for vinyl should be prepared differently from those for digital release. Any potential pitfall I need to watch out for?
Old 22nd August 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I assume my old Revox A77 is still in working order, and the master tape is still playable.
Those are massive assumptions. If the A77 hasn't been used for a while you'll probably see smoke coming from it when you first switch it on. There are some notorious capacitors in it which crack and break down with age. Most engineers will replace them on sight.

If the master tape is Ampex you'll need to bake it before you play it. Don't even think about trying to play it without baking as you'll just damage the tape and clog up your heads. If the tape is BASF, 3M or Agfa you may be OK but these tapes aren't immune to problems either.

I'd concentrate on getting a good straight transfer before even thinking about any enhancement.
Old 22nd August 2019
  #3
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GYMusic's Avatar
Your Revox A77 is a 1/4" quarter-track or half-track and will not play a tape recorded on an 3340 properly. Tapes recorded on a Teac 3340 are 4 tracks on 1/4" in one direction.
Old 22nd August 2019
  #4
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Riccardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic View Post
Your Revox A77 is a 1/4" quarter-track or half-track and will not play a tape recorded on an 3340 properly. Tapes recorded on a Teac 3340 are 4 tracks on 1/4" in one direction.
I assumed they recorded on 4 track and mixed it down to 2? Maybe the Op. can clarify this.

Yes the supply caps in the A77 may well be still ok if a bit noisy, I am worried about the trimmers falling off and also and the caps behind the switch board.
Has it been used regularly or been in long term storage?

Tape will vary, there are also a couple of 3m series that are very sticky in addition to those mentioned above. What tape is it?
Old 22nd August 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic View Post
Your Revox A77 is a 1/4" quarter-track or half-track and will not play a tape recorded on an 3340 properly. Tapes recorded on a Teac 3340 are 4 tracks on 1/4" in one direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
I assumed they recorded on 4 track and mixed it down to 2? Maybe the Op. can clarify this.

Yes the supply caps in the A77 may well be still ok if a bit noisy, I am worried about the trimmers falling off and also and the caps behind the switch board.
Has it been used regularly or been in long term storage?

Tape will vary, there are also a couple of 3m series that are very sticky in addition to those mentioned above. What tape is it?
Yea, the 4 track was mixed to half track stereo. I was just going to make a new mix from the 4-track, but the last time anyone can remember seeing those reels was about 20 years ago! they may be sitting in the bottom of someones closet, but we can't find them.

The A77 was last used about 3 years ago, and was working then, but had some noise on one channel ( bad coupling cap? ). Fortunately, All I need from the A77 is for the transport to work, as I have a decent working tape head pre-amp, and can bypass the electronics completely and just come off the replay head.


Fortunately, the spousal unit got a nice new Bosch convection oven last year that has setting for 125, 150 and 175 degrees, so I'm ok if the master needs to be baked, but it looks like non-back coated Maxell, so it may be ok.

Thanks everyone
Old 23rd August 2019
  #6
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You should be fine then.
Biggest task is locating the tapes!
Just out of curiosity what outboard repros are you using with the A77?
Old 23rd August 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
You should be fine then.
Biggest task is locating the tapes!
Just out of curiosity what outboard repros are you using with the A77?
Don't laugh, but i'm using a slightly modified Stanton 310 Broadcast PHONO pre-amp that my smarter brother tweaked for me.

Apparenty the NAB disk and tape replay curves are similar, and a 310 can be tweaked to give a reasonable NAB tape head equalization. It is very quiet compared to most tape pre- amps I have encountered.
Old 24th August 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Don't laugh, but i'm using a slightly modified Stanton 310 Broadcast PHONO pre-amp that my smarter brother tweaked for me.

Apparenty the NAB disk and tape replay curves are similar, and a 310 can be tweaked to give a reasonable NAB tape head equalization. It is very quiet compared to most tape pre- amps I have encountered.
I see, I was aware of the 310 as a broadcast phono preamp, had no idea it could be modded.
Good luck with finding the tapes!
Old 12th September 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post

Fortunately, the spousal unit got a nice new Bosch convection oven last year that has setting for 125, 150 and 175 degrees, so I'm ok if the master needs to be baked, but it looks like non-back coated Maxell, so it may be ok.
125 degrees C sounds rather high! I normally bake tapes at 50.
Old 12th September 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Le Vien View Post
125 degrees C sounds rather high! I normally bake tapes at 50.
Aha, but I'm in the US, where we still use Fahrenheit as a measurement.

(As do other leading countries of the world like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands)
Old 13th September 2019
  #11
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Oh THAT Norfolk
Old 13th September 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Le Vien View Post
Oh THAT Norfolk
Actually Andy, I grew up in the count of Norfolk in the UK. (arrr!) I emigrated to the US in '82, and live in Oklahoma, of all places!
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