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MCI JH24 or Studer A827?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #61
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127Riot's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
These are not stock, they are heavily modded/custom.
Wrong.

Again, he cleans them, repairs them, resells them. There’s No mod, No custom build. Not at all.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #62
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127Riot's Avatar
 

Mci JH-24

I think what Mara is doing is great. He’s brought many machines back to life that would of otherwise sat unused. Mara made a good business out of refurbishing JH-24’s and obviously there was enough people out there that wanted them. Mara also has a record making facility besides the studio. This guy has a lot of love and determination he put to good use and learned how to make it happen. Anybody could if they have the drive and determination. The only thing magical about it, is the sound! BOOM! Hahaha!

If you think for a second a studer doesn’t need to be repaired & maintained that’s laughable.

Mci JH-24’s Sound FAT!!! Sorry.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #63
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 127Riot View Post
Mci JH-24’s Sound FAT!!!

Ditto!

Actually, in regards to the Mara decks, I don't think $14k is a lot of money for a machine that's fully recapped with the heads lapped that has been fully gone over and will work for a long time. IME, it will still need a good amount of maintenance over the years - but it WILL run years. Vs. buying a machine off eBay that may barely run. If you want to run tape, that's part of the gig.

if I had the inclination to run tape again - which I don't - that's exactly where I'd head.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #64
Quote:
Originally Posted by I.R.Baboon View Post
The JH24 i had in mind has been sold..
Now I've got my eye on a MCI JH 110-8.

What do we think about that one,?

8 tracks is enough for my purposes...
The "C" version is excellent. I got those to record flat to 32k hz at 30 IPS. THD went down from .55% at +3 to .15% THD at +9.

Got tape?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #65
Lives for gear
 

I've owned a late Sony/MCI from new. I love that machine. To me....it sounds fatter than the Otaris I've worked on....and it punches faster than the Studers I've worked on.....and I can find parts anywhere.
Last week I took delivery of a Mara Sony/MCI Jh24. I don't know why people think Mara is charging $14k. $9k with a warranty and tech support. I don't have the time to refurbish a machine myself. I couldn't be happier

Kirt Shearer
Paradise Studios
Old 4 weeks ago
  #66
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 127Riot View Post
Wrong.

Again, he cleans them, repairs them, resells them. There’s No mod, No custom build. Not at all.
You are correct. According to a close source he does rework the most common failure points, but it makes them more reliable and does not really affect the Sonics. Not major mods by any stretch of the imagination. When I found this out I realized he’s not doing anything a DIY guy like me can’t do. If you can’t wheel a soldering iron buy a Mara. The life long tech support is worth the price. I just know I can recap one for way less and I’m learning the decks by going through them with Steve. These decks are stupid simple.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #67
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian M. Boykin View Post
If you can’t wheel a soldering iron buy a Mara.
Some people just can't afford the time that it would take to DIY.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #68
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Some people just can't afford the time that it would take to DIY.
Touché. And in that case the price is a convenience and totally worth it. I send gear to Jim all the time because he’s affordable and has an Audio Precision. Other not so critical gear I do myself, or gear I can screw up and chalk it up to education.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #69
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 127Riot View Post
Mci JH-24’s Sound FAT!!! Sorry.
"Fat" now was "tubby" in 1980. Whichever you call it, it's way more acceptable now that your final mix won't deteriorate by several analog generations before it hits the airwaves and the street.

And "working" trumps everything else.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #70
Here for the gear
 

I had a chance to see a Mara machine recently, It ran fine, but very little work seemed to have been done, I could not see any recapping in the audio, same original caps. A few caps on the servo board were replaced, but that was it.

The availability or parts for a Studer vs a MCI are about the same. There are very difficult to obtain parts on an MCI as well as a Studer. On a MCI, the reel resolver brushes is one, that is that "motor" on the back of the reel motors used in the servo system, when they wear out you are down. Very few parts on a Studer are not available from third parties.

The big difference is what you want to hear, it is an aesthetic choice. If you want transparency, you better stick with digital, Tape on any machine is not neutral. But that is why you want to use it. So listen to them, and decide which one floats your boat. YOUR boat. Then get to work.

As referring to the OP question, I'd take an A820MCH to an A827MCH any day.

For you in Nashville area, Steve Sadler is a great tech.

Cheers
Alan
Waltzing Bear Audio
Old 4 weeks ago
  #71
Gear Addict
 

I'm about to go back under the hood of my JH/16-24 1979 vintage

Transport issues again but I have a death Metal band traveling across the seas just to dump to it and mix so there ya go!!!!

Got keep her breathing.

PS: running it 16 track 2" pretty sweet when aligned properly!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #72
Lives for gear
 

Curious, is Ampex MM1200 not interesting to you? There is a fellow named Bobby Starr that is creating a whole slew of modern cards that aims to close the gap between its performance and a studers. And the tone of these machines is killer.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #73
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Curious, is Ampex MM1200 not interesting to you? There is a fellow named Bobby Starr that is creating a whole slew of modern cards that aims to close the gap between its performance and a studers. And the tone of these machines is killer.
I want one. They come up very rarely and never in my price range.

And interesting note that I’m not sure is myth or fact is the JH16 and MM1200 audio cards are identical and can be swapped. Steve Saddler told me this over breakfast in Nashville. Pictures seem to support that. He went on to say the heads and biasing is what makes them sonically different. Fletcher posted once that MCI was producing Ampex cards at one point so who knows. But in short, yes, I’d love to own an Ampex mm1200 or a Studer for that matter. I have a JH16.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #74
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drBill's Avatar
My first "pro" deck was a MM1000 2" 16 track. What a beast that machine was. Huge footprint - both sonically and physically. Loved the sound. Hated the transport and the "punch in time". I got good at physically time morphing myself into the future for punches though....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #75
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The MM1000's were gigantic. I'm nearing the end of a saga to rebuild an 1200. Super excited about it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #76
If you’re a true glutton for punishment (j/k), I saw an Ampex ATR 124 2” 8 track with a spare 24trk machine, and parts, just got re-listed. $10k (Atlanta) gl

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ampex-ATR-1...d-13edbb35c500
Old 4 weeks ago
  #77
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Ampex clones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian M. Boykin View Post
And interesting note that I’m not sure is myth or fact is the JH16 and MM1200 audio cards are identical and can be swapped.
only partially true.
Ampex cards have additional components that the designers deemed necessary.
has been said that clone cards will fit in Ampex machines but not vice versa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian M. Boykin View Post
heads and biasing is what makes them sonically different.
Ampex machines, MM-1000, MM-1100, and MM1200 use 150 kHz bias,
and heads of their own manufacture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian M. Boykin View Post
Fletcher posted once that MCI was producing Ampex cards at one point
quite laughable.
one GS poster claimed the cloners were offering advice and consultation to Ampex.
Jay M. was not amused.

Last edited by cathode; 4 weeks ago at 03:40 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #78
Lives for gear
 

Nnnnnyope. I have bitten off as much as I can handle with this one. The project grew teeth, arms, legs, you wouldn't believe it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #79
Lives for gear
 

I have used and owned both machines mentioned here and others, I still own the Studer 827 in pristine condition....haven't used it in a recording session in a long time although its used for t. It (the Studer) didn't need repairing nearly as much as the MCI and it was a more accurate machine, both sonically and mechanically.

My choice for a really nice recording tape machine (not an effect box) would be the 827, but if someone is looking for a project, the MCI might be the right machine...my opinion.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #80
Gear Head
 

hey guys,

i m in a similar position, deciding which 2" to get. I m located in europe, thus i guess studer would be first choice.

I got lines on an A80, A827, MM1200, and a 16track Telefunken M15.

I m mostly into 70s/80s soul, jazz, disco etc. Was tracking a band last week to my Otari Mx70 1", which does the job, but is rather noisy and lacks the balls of 2", i recon.
How much of a difference in sound will an a827 make?
I m looking for a machine that will be relatively hassle-free, something from which i will never have to upgrade from.
I d love a Mara, but price, maintenance (parts in europe) + shipping makes it a rather expensive choice.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #81
Lives for gear
 
127Riot's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Ditto!

Actually, in regards to the Mara decks, I don't think $14k is a lot of money for a machine that's fully recapped with the heads lapped that has been fully gone over and will work for a long time. IME, it will still need a good amount of maintenance over the years - but it WILL run years. Vs. buying a machine off eBay that may barely run. If you want to run tape, that's part of the gig.

if I had the inclination to run tape again - which I don't - that's exactly where I'd head.
Was gone for a few days I took my 2 boys and their friends on a camping/rafting trip.

Anyways, No it’s not too much $$ for a completely refurbished machine. I didn’t know he gave life time tech support with his machines that’s great. Its 6 months on parts, 90 days on labor. And I did just read on the Mara site it’s life time tech support. I didn’t see a machine that cost $14.k I seen $9.k to $12.5k depending on which JH-24 you get. Might be old pricing on his site.

Does he recap the entire machine? The mother and daughter boards don’t have too many caps compared to the audio cards.

Does he do every audio card & the Auto Locator with every machine he sells?

I purchased my machine and just dug into it and started refurbishing. Mine didn’t have the red sockets but I still took it completely apart and serviced it. I still need to recap it. It’s been working great but I feel it would make an overall improvement.

I recapped my entire console. The difference in performance and sound after the recap was considerably noticeable.

The way I recapped my console was master section first then 2, 4, 6, channels at a time.

I’m going to take this same approach with my JH-24 transport - analog torque board, phase lock loop, logic, lamp driver boards. Then the audio cards 2-4 channels at a time.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #82
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sp12Jazz View Post
hey guys,

i m in a similar position, deciding which 2" to get. I m located in europe, thus i guess studer would be first choice.

I got lines on an A80, A827, MM1200, and a 16track Telefunken M15.

I m mostly into 70s/80s soul, jazz, disco etc. Was tracking a band last week to my Otari Mx70 1", which does the job, but is rather noisy and lacks the balls of 2", i recon.
How much of a difference in sound will an a827 make?
I m looking for a machine that will be relatively hassle-free, something from which i will never have to upgrade from.
I d love a Mara, but price, maintenance (parts in europe) + shipping makes it a rather expensive choice.
The 827 is a rather clean-pristine machine, not a mojo one. It sounds great, but it depends what you're after (if I want clean and noise free I'd look into very hiend converters, that will sound great like the DADax32 or the Metric Halo uln or lio-8...)
Or maybe in your case might be some Radar ADA II converters? (I'm not saying is the same as tape, it's not, but they do have a certain "colour" while sounding very good in a musical way..)

The telefunken m15 is a wonderful sounding machine, but I didn't own one so I can't say how difficult or not is to mantain.. I believe GS member gpiccolini owns one, he might shed some light (although I might confuse him for somebody else.. )..
But this would probably be my choice, if it's not a pain to fix (which I don't have a direct experience with)..
Although I heard one.. It's very nice! It's a very large machine, and I'm not sure it will be cheaper than a 2" 16 MCI from Mara, shipping included (I owned one and I live in Switzerland, so I know what I'm talking about, when thinking at shipping and customs).

Soul, disco and rock'n'roll might call for an MM1200, but while it's rather a "simple" machine, it doesn't handle tape very well (studers are king in handling tape) and it's not what I'd call maintenance free.. But sounds great!


maybe instead of a 2" you might want to get a 1/4" 2 track..? Is that an option?



Cheu
Old 4 weeks ago
  #83
Lives for gear
 
Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 127Riot View Post
Was gone for a few days I took my 2 boys and their friends on a camping/rafting trip.

Anyways, No it’s not too much $$ for a completely refurbished machine. I didn’t know he gave life time tech support with his machines that’s great. Its 6 months on parts, 90 days on labor. And I did just read on the Mara site it’s life time tech support. I didn’t see a machine that cost $14.k I seen $9.k to $12.5k depending on which JH-24 you get. Might be old pricing on his site.

Does he recap the entire machine? The mother and daughter boards don’t have too many caps compared to the audio cards.

Does he do every audio card & the Auto Locator with every machine he sells?

I purchased my machine and just dug into it and started refurbishing. Mine didn’t have the red sockets but I still took it completely apart and serviced it. I still need to recap it. It’s been working great but I feel it would make an overall improvement.

I recapped my entire console. The difference in performance and sound after the recap was considerably noticeable.

The way I recapped my console was master section first then 2, 4, 6, channels at a time.

I’m going to take this same approach with my JH-24 transport - analog torque board, phase lock loop, logic, lamp driver boards. Then the audio cards 2-4 channels at a time.
I took this same approach to my console. I had the master section done by Jim Williams. Recapped 32 channels myself as well as swapped op amps, decoupled them, and added feedback loop compensation caps where they were missing. I’m swapping in all metal film resistors 8 channels at a time. I’ll take the same approach to the JH16. It will get recapped for sure. Op amps maybe. Not sure I have the fortitude to do the resistors. Besides, I think it may affect the Sonics too much. I may do a channel or two just to see. God forbid I make it more transparent and digital sounding. It’s a 24 track deck so I’ll have extra channels to play with. First thing I did was take it apart and clean it. Me and Steve did a session and we had it pulling tape. Ordered some missing parts on the auto locator and a switch that was dead. Most of the red sockets are gone. I just have a few to swap out. Steve’s been telling me to leave them but my console and other gear around here I’ve been recapping has me pretty confident. I planned on doing a full restore so I’m gonna stick to the plan.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #84
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Kudos, but I don't know how you guys have the time. I do music full time, and work 6-7 days a week 11+ hours a day, and I STILL don't have enough time to do the music I need to....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #85
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Kudos, but I don't know how you guys have the time. I do music full time, and work 6-7 days a week 11+ hours a day, and I STILL don't have enough time to do the music I need to....
Here’s the poop on me. I got into recording in around 2003ish. It was with the intent of building a personal studio for me and my friends. Start small but think big. I got into buying older gear that was ripe for mods and then modding them. I’ve spent most of time on Geekslutz learning what’s in the gear rather than relying on peoples opinions about how it sounds. I’ve gone the transparency route for the most part and buying a tape deck is kinda out of character for my style of recording, but I’m 45 y/o and always wanted one so I bit the bullet. I’m also a drummer and I can hear the difference in drums starting on tape. So, the extra time comes from being a professional firefighter and working 48/96’s, meaning 48 hours on and 96 hours off. I take gear into the station and after 5:00 I’m at the kitchen table wheeling my soldering iron. I work part time in an Emergency room because I’m also a Paramedic. But that’s two days a week. I have 3 full days off a week to commit to starting a little recording business. I pulled a dba last year and have a supportive wife that’s given me a large part of the upstairs for a studio. She’s a music freak and loves it. Live music is our favorite pass time. So, I’m giving it a go. Part of model is building a portable 16 channel recorder made up of Jim Williams modded Symetrix sx202’s and a MOTU 16a. All in a 6u case. I can track live performances around town and bring it back to my room to mix it through all my modded 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s gear and hopefully make a good enough impression that they’ll want to use me for a studio album. I’m in Central Texas between Austin and San Antonio. Rockabilly and Americana are big around here and an “open” not so processed sound is desired so I can get away not being as refined. Tape is a plus for these bands also. They love it. I’ve been reading on this forum since before I joined in 2005 and I owe what I know and can do to all the professionals that I’ve learned from. I use techniques and work flow I’ve learned and applied with what I have. That’s the kinda long short version of how I find time to DIY. I didn’t mention I’ve been building my own mics also.

Brian
Old 4 weeks ago
  #86
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Yeah, but what do you do will all your spare time???

Old 4 weeks ago
  #87
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Yeah, but what do you do will all your spare time???

Record.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #88
I sent out some JH-24 cards last week. It got some new super low noise opamps, film EQ caps to replace the ceramics, precision film resistors etc. Several of the el coupling caps were removed. The rest are bypassed with poly film caps and enlarged to pass 10 hz. Power supply caps are either 1000 uf or 470 uf. The bias card was also rebuilt to lower leakage and increase current to the heads. It will do +9 easily now.

These do 30k hz at 30 IPS, not bad for analog tape. THD is also a bit down if the bias is optimized.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #89
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I sent out some JH-24 cards last week. It got some new super low noise opamps, film EQ caps to replace the ceramics, precision film resistors etc. Several of the el coupling caps were removed. The rest are bypassed with poly film caps and enlarged to pass 10 hz. Power supply caps are either 1000 uf or 470 uf. The bias card was also rebuilt to lower leakage and increase current to the heads. It will do +9 easily now.

These do 30k hz at 30 IPS, not bad for analog tape. THD is also a bit down if the bias is optimized.
There’s a thread on Geekslutz about electronic distortion and I figured you’d know how to fix this in the MCI’s. I have a JH16. Can you work those over like the JH24’s for high output tape and less distortion?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #90
Lives for gear
 

So which part of the vintage tape sound is worth keeping? Maybe some of the distortion and grit is the sound people are looking for? Wonder what a modernized MCI would sound like?
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