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Buying Ampex 350
Old 6th May 2019
  #1
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Buying Ampex 350

I wanna buy an ampex 350, of course they are few and far between ... and leads on one? Or what would be a comparable machine - I know of a ampex 440b that is available. As you can guess, I'm looking for the opposite of transparent, would the 440b a comparable option?
What about the mara machines?
thanks!
Old 6th May 2019
  #2
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EvilRoy's Avatar
There’s a 4 track 1/2” 300 on LA craigslist for $2500.
Old 6th May 2019
  #3
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Ampex 350

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
I wanna buy an ampex 350, of course they are few and far between ... and leads on one?
get in touch with Silvertone who posts here, he knows the Ampex folks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
Or what would be a comparable machine
Ampex 351 or maybe a Presto 850.
a 351 is arguably less color but more hi-fi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
- I know of a ampex 440b that is available. As you can guess, I'm looking for the opposite of transparent, would the 440b a comparable option?
440's record well, with excellent tone. playback is muddy and boring.

I would recommend finding and restoring a Scully 280.
fantastic sonics and more reliable than a tube machine.
Attached Thumbnails
Buying Ampex 350-850.jpg  
Old 6th May 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
get in touch with Silvertone who posts here, he knows the Ampex folks.

Ampex 351 or maybe a Presto 850.
a 351 is arguably less color but more hi-fi.

440's record well, with excellent tone. playback is muddy and boring.

I would recommend finding and restoring a Scully 280.
fantastic sonics and more reliable than a tube machine.
Appreciate the detailed reply cathode!

Would the 440s sub par playback matter if i was just using to track/dump to daw through burl b2 or CONVERT-AD+?

Im just a hobbyist that just records my friends or myself, and want to learn/experience recording to tape anyways. So the issues that would arise with tape machine troubles and paying clients don't apply

thanks again
Old 6th May 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
Appreciate the detailed reply cathode!

Would the 440s sub par playback matter if i was just using to track/dump to daw through burl b2 or CONVERT-AD+
440s were the industry standard for about a decade.

Last edited by avare; 4 weeks ago at 11:26 PM.. Reason: Corrected spelling
Old 6th May 2019
  #6
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Ampex AG-440

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
Would the 440s sub par playback matter if i was just using to track/dump to daw through burl b2 or CONVERT-AD+?
certainly.

a maintained Revox A77, especially one that has the line input mod, would make for a better "tape" interface.
Old 8th May 2019
  #7
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I heard that when MCI first started making machines, all they did was clone an Ampex 440 (Otari also for that matter), some of the cards are even a direct swap. Would not an old MCI be a viable option?
Old 8th May 2019
  #8
my friend @ jono is selling a Ampex 440C machine, located in Austin, TX
Old 15th June 2019
  #9
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just a little bump on this ... I ended up finding and securing a 10/10 condition Ampex 351 - original cases, original manual... everything. It was a collectors and had been stored perfectly in a closet for 35+ years. The condition is unreal... So i pulled the trigger. Gotta play to win :D

Stoked to get it here - i'll follow up with some pics / vids when it arrives
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
just a little bump on this ... I ended up finding and securing a 10/10 condition Ampex.
Congratulations. I am looking forward to your reports.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
SRS
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May I ask why you are in search of and now acquiring this machine? Just curious what you seek that cannot be obtained in other means that may be more readily available.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS View Post
May I ask why you are in search of and now acquiring this machine? Just curious what you seek that cannot be obtained in other means that may be more readily available.
I like old things with vibe and character and after tons and tons of reading, I know this ranks up there with the best of them. I love the atheistic it will bring to the room and will get alot of joy spending long days with it learning to how to use it properly , thinking of all the ways this was used in times past. - I mainly record my own stuff and my friends, don't make my living from recording. So its journey motived by what makes me happy.
If my studio was my main income generator I would have to make far more practical and pro business decisions haha. I do that enough with my other business so I can throw caution to the wind for the music.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
SRS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
I like old things with vibe and character and after tons and tons of reading, I know this ranks up there with the best of them. I love the atheistic it will bring to the room and will get alot of joy spending long days with it learning to how to use it properly , thinking of all the ways this was used in times past. - I mainly record my own stuff and my friends, don't make my living from recording. So its journey motived by what makes me happy.
If my studio was my main income generator I would have to make far more practical and pro business decisions haha. I do that enough with my other business so I can throw caution to the wind for the music.
Fair enough. It's "personal - nostalgia" I get it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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This equipment was built to a standard that will never be seen again. Post WWII mentality, made to outlast all of us and keep working. Indeed Presto built the field recorders for the army so that had to withstand the worst adverse conditions. They also built for Muzak and their machines had to run reliably for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just amazing build quality.

When I work on and restore this equipment I’m keenly aware of the history that I hold in my hands. I only wish I could really afford what I do... but hey somebody has to be the keeper of history.

Congratulations on the score!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
This equipment was built to a standard that will never be seen again. Post WWII mentality, made to outlast all of us and keep working. Indeed Presto built the field recorders for the army so that had to withstand the worst adverse conditions. They also built for Muzak and their machines had to run reliably for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just amazing build quality.

When I work on and restore this equipment I’m keenly aware of the history that I hold in my hands. I only wish I could really afford what I do... but hey somebody has to be the keeper of history.

Congratulations on the score!
Thanks Silvertone! I've gotten immense value from reading back through your posts and will no doubt reach out for some of your expertise/maintenance at some point. I've been studying the ampex newsletter and original manuals. so much to learn, but I'm up to the task.

Here are some pics ...
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Buying Ampex 350-screen-shot-2019-06-16-12.39.19-pm.png   Buying Ampex 350-screen-shot-2019-06-16-12.39.07-pm.png   Buying Ampex 350-screen-shot-2019-06-16-12.38.59-pm.png   Buying Ampex 350-09324-01l.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Here is a beautiful vintage Ampex 351-2, 1/4" Reel to Reel Tape Recorder with two per-amplifiers, Hard Cases, original Manual, two original NAB adapters, one original 10.5" take-up reel, and one 10.5 original Ampex magnetic tabe with matching Ampex reel. This entire outfit came out of a high-end Estate Auction. The previous owner, just a private individual, liked high-end, quality products, and had this tape recorder in a closet. It must have spent the last 35 plus years in that closet as everything shows very little signs of use. The instruction manual has some notes in it, but other than that, everything is in mint condition. Even the two cases outside have no scuffs from being moved around. I have never seen a clean machine like this one; these machines were bought by studios and heavily used and not just put in storage...
Please note that it is very difficult to take pictures of shiny objects; the blue color and red color on the face plate of the transport and the two pre-amplifiers are just reflections. There are absolutely no scratches on the face plates.

The 351 tape deck is known to have motor start capacitors which over time leak a black tarr like substance which will flow slowly over time out of the cylindrical metal enclosures. The stuff is sticky and messy. There are three of these capacitors in the transport unit, one for each motor. To keep the deck all original, I cleaned each enclosure to the bone and refilled the voids inside with a stable black resin instead of simply replacing the capacitors. This should last for ever and never cause any future problems.

Technical data:
frequency Response 30 to 15,000 cycles +/- 2 db @ 15 ips,
signal to Noise separation 55 db,
speed 15 and 30 ips,
motors 3,
max reel size 10.5 inch,
timing accuracy 0.15% rms @15 ips,
weight transport case 58 lb,
case with per-amplifiers 36 lb.
This stereo recorder has been tested and works perfect. All the tubes have been tested with my TV-7B/U tube tester and all tubes test well over the 100% emission value. Everything is in excellent cosmetic and working condition as shown. Both Mic pre-amplifiers have Input transformers Cat. No. 58-0022. Heads show little wear, see pictures # 6-10. All interconnect cabling is complete as well. There is even an extension cable for the remote control which was available to remote control the functions of the transport unit. These remote controls show up on eBay occasionally if you need one. The transport is System Serial Number 0930107, Cat No. 30810-01, the preamps are Serial # 4'084 & 4'078 Cat No. 30960-01 & 30960-03 and the case is Model # 351-2, Ser # 12'007, Cat. No. 30810-03. There is an additional tag, see picture #20 , with the info: CAT.NO. 02-30970-01; SCHEMA 84-0079; CONT.NO. 20512.

The two tube pre-amplifiers come loaded with killer vintage Telefunken (six 12AX7), RCA's (two 6X4, two 12AU7, and two 6201), and Sylvania (two 12AU7) tubes included. The transport case measures about 20 by 18 by 15-3/8 inches and weighs 71 lbs. The Preamp case measures about 21 by 17 by 12 inches and weighs 51 lbs. This will make a wonderful addition to any museum or anyone's collection.


This entire outfit came out of a high-end Estate Auction. The previous owner, just a private individual, liked high-end, quality products, and had this tape recorder in a closet. It must have spent the last 35 plus years in that closet as everything shows very little signs of use.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Ampex 351

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
The 351 tape deck is known to have motor start capacitors which over time leak a black tarr like substance which will flow slowly over time out of the cylindrical metal enclosures. The stuff is sticky and messy. There are three of these capacitors in the transport unit, one for each motor. To keep the deck all original, I cleaned each enclosure to the bone and refilled the voids inside with a stable black resin instead of simply replacing the capacitors. This should last for ever and never cause any future problems.
my compliments for the fix.
be advised that the actual capacitors have pcb's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
speed 15 and 30 ips
looks like a 7.5/15 capstan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
Both Mic pre-amplifiers have Input transformers Cat. No. 58-0022.
if planning on keeping/using the machine,
look for a pair of 17331 input transformers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shakermaker3 View Post
Heads show little wear, see pictures # 6-10.
head assembly is from PR-10 with 4th reproduce head,
ostensibly to play 4 track pre-recorded tapes.
hard core Ampex buffs will recognize that assembly,
but not normally seen on a 351.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
my compliments for the fix.
be advised that the actual capacitors have pcb's.


looks like a 7.5/15 capstan.


if planning on keeping/using the machine,
look for a pair of 17331 input transformers.


head assembly is from PR-10 with 4th reproduce head,
ostensibly to play 4 track pre-recorded tapes.
hard core Ampex buffs will recognize that assembly,
but not normally seen on a 351.
My apologies, I should have clearly stated that was actually the description from the original listing and the credit to the work was done by the original seller.

your expertise is much appreciated.

you are now going to be pestered by me in PM ... haha feel free to ignore

thanks again!
cheers
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