The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Ampex MM 1200
Old 29th October 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Volodia's Avatar
 

Ampex MM 1200

I've located a 24 tracks for sale . How good is this machine . Can you convert it to 16 tracks "easily" . Any info appreciated . (there's also a Scully 8 tracks for sale) .
Old 29th October 2002
  #2
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

http://www.endino.com/graphs/index.html


not exactly the answer what you are looking for but it has some interesting info on it .... think Jon posted this link in a thread originally .... bookmarked it back then .... knew it could come in handy some day.
Old 30th October 2002
  #3
One piece of advice, don't let the current lower price of these units let you think that it will be ready to go once you get it in the door. Shipping alone can cost up to $800 for this unit. If it is $3500 for the unit, count on at least double or maybe even triple to get it going in 24/7 user condition (head wear, condition of electronics/motor condition, extra 24 or 16 track headstack). My $.02.
Old 30th October 2002
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Im still pining for the my machines which i sold earlier this year..

Having owned 4 MM1200's they are AWESOME sounding machines.. the 'Bumps' on the Endino site are what makes them so great sounding for drums. and fuk it everything else!

They are very old machines generally.

Find someone who has intimate knowledge of these machines. They are much different from the OTARI's and Studers such as the MTR 90's, MX-80's and Studer A800 series. The logic and capstan controls are vastly different and most of the MM1200's save the last 50 or so were all Discrete, which also accoutned for their amazing sonics.

There are many places around to help people with ampex's.. PM me and ill email u a whole pile of documents regarding maintenace, setup, lineups etc. Also the address of the ampex mailing list.

I could go one for days about how they sounds but think big **** off bottom end for days, punchy mids and nice top end. They are very ROCK sounding machines and i wouldnt want anything else (except an ampex ATR124... but only 96 of them were made) for tracking drums... studers are also nice but this is my preferred deck.

Try and find out if the deck has PURC cards. These allow the machine to drop in seamlessly with out a gap because of the delay in the logic circuit and the gap between the physical record/repro and play heads. This was erased after MCI started up and other companies worked out how to perfect this problems in later logic circuits.

also makesure that it has LOTS of spares and a few extra MDA's cos they sometimes blow int he motor and its curtain for hte session unless u have a spare which u can slot in and continue without a hitch.

Look to see if the machine has the optional extra auto locators... as the stock 1200 only has ONE yes ONE autolocator memory.
these are also fabulous machines for the digital tranfer sbecuase of the dicrete circuitry adn the awesome phatness of the ampex trannys things allways come off sounding better.

Check the heads and if you canget a report or a tech to do a visual assement. It all depedns on the price tho and the conditon and the amount of spares it comes with.

Let us know and i'll try to be as helpful as ... cos they ahve to go to good homes these machines..

PEACE
Wiggy

Old 30th October 2002
  #5
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Hi Volodia,

Some great replies so far.

I'd give Mike Spitz at ATR service (in Pennsylvania, US, 6 time zones earlier than Paris) a call....+1 717 852-7700...he knows those machines well and might be a good choice for any work/spare parts you need done on it.

Jon
Old 31st October 2002
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
MM1200's are great decks if your recording rock, blues or any kind of music with an edge and personality to it because they sound pretty damn good. You can convert it to 16 tracks pretty easily if you have the headstack and some time to do the alignment. If you want a 2" 16 rather then a 2" 24 I'd look for a dedicated 2" 16 deck. They're almost always cheaper, the only downside is that you can't expand it to 24 tracks if you ever want to.

How much do you know about that paticular deck? What kind of shape are the heads in? Is there an auto-locater? Where is it located in relation to you? Cabling? MRL? Spares? Has it been recapped and rebuilt? What's the asking price?
Old 31st October 2002
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Volodia's Avatar
 

It' located in Paris ,close to my studio and it has a locator (the good one) . I'm checking it with a tech on tuesday.; for the price I have to make an offer .
I inquired at ATR services cause they have a very tempting 11 large tracks+2 standard tracks headstack (its 9db hotter output than 24 tracks and 5 db to 16 tracks) but they charge $9600 for it . Still, it makes a killer machine to make drums or basic tracks . Especially since I'm in a "less tracks" period (probably a reaction to the fact I've done too many 64 tracks projects) . As well I think it's good to have a different sound and attitude than most of the others.
Jon , let us know how it goes with your 1" 2 tracks .
Thanks to all for your replies, definetely a great forum .
Old 22nd July 2006
  #8
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Did you ever buy that 1200? Great machines. How did it work out?

Anyone need any PURC cards? I have 10 or 11.
Old 22nd July 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
rainsinvelvet's Avatar
I love my 1200 (the one in my avitar picture) , but remember they are old machines and it is hard to keep them in 100% working condition. If you are used to working in a stable DAW based sittuation it will come as a big surprise.. I payed $2500 for a "clean" MM1200 and am now into it another $2500 just to work out the gremlins, ect.

I love having the machine, but if you want one that works great remember the terms "welcome to the big leagues" and "nothing comes cheap" heh heh

ERic
Old 22nd July 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
rainsinvelvet's Avatar
By the way..

Anyone know a good tech in california to work on these things? I've got a decent tech, but I'm thinking of checking around..

ERic
Old 23rd July 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 

A friend loaned me his MM1000 for a while some years back. The sound that came back from that machine was friggin' amazing... but what a nightmare to maintain.
Old 4th April 2008
  #12
Here for the gear
 
Enth's Avatar
 

Analog pleasure

Analog pleasure

It's no way around it, analog recording still gives us something we can't
get from the digital media. One day in the future, I'm sure the digital will
catch up with the analog, but not yet, we are probably still years apart.

I have a Stephens Electronic 24 track machine from Burbank California.
It's a capstan less machine that treat the tape gently as a mother cleaning
the butt of her little baby. Works by a motor for each reel with crystal sensor
on the tape roller to stabilize the transport. Got it in 1980 and it's still amazing.
A handmade machine that costed $45.000 in 1980.

Went on to a Sony dash 24 in 1988, but gave it up and went back to my Stephens.
My ears never accepted this Sony machine, so I stayed on my Stephens till 1997.

Now I'm on disc recording, digital is more pleasant today comparing to the 80's.

However, I'm changing location and country, and have been thinking of selling
this 24 track Stephens machine, to travel a little lighter to where I'm going.

The machine is still working great, and I'm using it for sending part of the tracks
from my digital to this machine and back to disc, to benefit from the analog force.

The machine are mounted in a wood console and can be lifted out very easily, and
the weight is only approx. 25 kilos.The meter bridge can be de-mounted
too, and have the weight of approx. 8 kilos.
The wood console has the weight of perhaps 18 kilos.
So this machine can easily go anywhere without too much effort.
For recordings on location outside my studio, I used to bring the machine
and meter-bridge in the backseat of my car.

Anyone interested can contact me.
Attached Thumbnails
Ampex MM 1200-stephens24track_.jpg  
Old 4th April 2008
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
wrekdahouse's Avatar
 

i work daily woth MM1200 and MM1100 and both are great machines, they are true workhorses, never went down, ever, ever, ever. simple electronics, simple transport, excellent sounding machines.
go for it, you wont regret it.
my best
wrek
Old 4th April 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 

How hard would it be, or ridiculous, to part out an mm1200. Like take all the voice cards and box them just to get all those vintage electronics in boxes to run your mix through.
Old 4th April 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 

I have an MM1200 24 track with 16 track heads for sale. Heads are mint. All tracks record and playback. Probably could use a setup/alignment and a good once over. 24 channels worth of cards so plenty of spares. Remote and remote cable. If anyone is interested please drop me a line. Sorry for the hijack. This thread just reminded me that I should list it in the classifieds.
Sean
Old 5th April 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
How hard would it be, or ridiculous, to part out an mm1200. Like take all the voice cards and box them just to get all those vintage electronics in boxes to run your mix through.
I think the magic is in the combination of the electronics plus the tape. I assume when I'm switching between input and repro that the signal is going through the electronics either way? If that's correct (which I think it is) I'll tell you that the magic is in repro. Just hijacking the electronics wouldn't get you there.
Old 5th April 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

PURC cards

Oh, one more thing. Regarding the Purc cards. My machine has some channels with and some without. I could swear I like the channels with the older (simpler) bias cards. Maybe there are other factors at work so I don't want to make this some official pronouncement, but has anyone ever compared and noticed this? Technically there isn't any audio passing through these, but still...
Old 5th April 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Edino's graphs just go to show you that man can not go by frequency response curves alone. He seems to have it out for the mm1200 on that site despite the fact that most techs and engineers I've every spoken to have agreed that the mm1200's were perhaps the best sounding machines ever built. Their discreet electronics (vs all the op amps in the studers) and transformers account for this. Modern op amp chips can be as linear as you could ever want but they never sound as big and euphonic as discreet electronics to my ears.

By the way, he doesn't show IEC eq curves (which I use) and which are more linear and have less tape hiss than NAB.
Old 5th April 2008
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dubrichie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
How hard would it be, or ridiculous, to part out an mm1200. Like take all the voice cards and box them just to get all those vintage electronics in boxes to run your mix through.
utterly ridiculous.

if you have one of these machines at your disposal you are obliged to get it running and use it as intended.

any other course of action will render you undeserving of it and you will be forced to forfeit it to me.

i'll pay for the shipping.
Old 5th April 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 

I live in a very rural place and it scares me to own something as big and heavey as a mm1200. If it breaks its down. Thats why I was interested in getting a broken one and parting it out into small shippable size boxes. Shipping is the real issue. If I lived in NYC iit wouldn't be a problem
Old 29th January 2010
  #21
Gear Addict
 
Arny's Avatar
 

I most likely have more MM1200 & MM1100 parts than any one else in the world, some one also stated that there were only 96 ATR124's ever made, actually there was only 50, of which I am told only 40 of these were 24 track the balance were 16's and 8's.
Ocean Way owned more ATR-124's than anyone else in the world at one time, although I still own two I have had no less that eight of these go through my workshop for complete overall, as far a I know all eight are still in sound working order.

Going back to the MM1200 you guys are right it is without doubt one of the finest sounding machines available, when it has had all its updates up to 2010, then you will also own one of the most reliable as well as one of the cheapest machines to run.
Why it is so good, is because of its simple yet a very straight forward design, even your local TV Engineer would have no problem getting his head round the MM1200's "Theory of Operation" chapter in the service manual.

I still have a late 1983 fully updated MM1200, (Fully PURC-ed), I have been using MM1200's since 1980. I am just preparing one for a guy in Italy and another, which I might keep as I feel they are a good investment and they will only become more valuable, I have seen the price rise by 40% in Europe over the last couple of years.
I like the sound of an MM1200 16-track for the Rhythm Section locked to an ATR-124 X 24 track for overdubs and musicians that lack confidence in the solo they have just played.


Ampex Audio & Recording equipment sales support spares parts and repairs including the ATR100 ATR124 & Ampex valve,Ampex spares,Ampex sales,Ampex servicing,Ampex audio equipment,Vintage audio,vintage studio recording equipment, secondhand studio reco

Best Regards

Tony
Tony Arnold (Director)
Ampex Audio & Recording equipment sales support spares parts and repairs including the ATR100 ATR124 & Ampex valve,Ampex spares,Ampex sales,Ampex servicing,Ampex audio equipment,Vintage audio,vintage studio recording equipment, secondhand studio reco
Home.
Old 29th January 2010
  #22
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Great of you to stop by Tony. Loved Arny's Shack! And the Fripp records, among others...

(for personal use I have a MM1200 16/24 with new caps and pinch, rolling guides, flux heads, Constant Tension, and a Microlynx or two.)
Old 29th January 2010
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Bosco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Great of you to stop by Tony. Loved Arny's Shack! And the Fripp records, among others...

(for personal use I have a MM1200 16/24 with new caps and pinch, rolling guides, flux heads, Constant Tension, and a Microlynx or two.)

your old MM1200 16 track is still making records everyday...

out of relays ...getting scary

looking for a used ATR 1/2 if you know of any

peace
Old 29th January 2010
  #24
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosco View Post
your old MM1200 16 track is still making records everyday...

out of relays ...getting scary

looking for a used ATR 1/2 if you know of any

peace
Hey man ... I have a cherry ATR 102 in the mastering room that almost never gets used. I might ...

ATR Service had an idea for solid state relays, but they need a large order to make them. I'm in ...
Old 29th January 2010
  #25
tekis
Guest
Get an ATR 102 stereo deck!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
I live in a very rural place and it scares me to own something as big and heavey as a mm1200. If it breaks its down. Thats why I was interested in getting a broken one and parting it out into small shippable size boxes. Shipping is the real issue. If I lived in NYC iit wouldn't be a problem
If you're just interested in "coloring" your DAW stuff, then you might not need 24 or 16 tracks and maintenance worries. Tony Arnold is a gentleman, a scholar AND "Yoda" as far as Ampex tape machines and Helios "consuls" go! I once called him up at 3am EST and he (being in the UK and about 6 hours ahead) walked me through a difficult (for me) bias/cal operation on one of my ATR 102's. Thanks Tony!
Old 29th January 2010
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Bosco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Hey man.

I have a cherry ATR 102 in the mastering room that almost never gets used.

ATR Service had an idea for solid state relays, but they need a large order to make them. I'm in ...
Bruce and I also talked about making some,still on the table...don't know how many peeps would be interested,but I can say those machines, as anybody who has ever used one knows,are fabulous...

I will get in touch about the 102...you have no use ???i.e mix down ..etc

peace
Old 31st January 2010
  #27
Gear Addict
 
Arny's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosco View Post
your old MM1200 16 track is still making records everyday...
out of relays ...getting scary
looking for a used ATR 1/2 if you know of any
peace
Dear Bosco,
Your first point is " RELAYS", I wrote a series of Ampex Articles for "Studio Sound" the UK magazine about Ampex, here is part of what I wrote about relays on the MM1200 or the MM1100.


Relays : On each Audio Switching Card there are 4 relays marked K1 to K4, Relays K2, K3 and K4 are Momentary Make before Break relays, to stop any audio clicks during changeover, these relays are now almost impossible to obtain, so we have checked K3 and K4 and have discovered these do not have to be Make before Break, so they can be changed for a Standard Relay of this type, which is still available from most suppliers, what do we do about K2 ?, we now have a certain amount of stock of this type but we do prefer to offer a reconditioned exchange unit, which does carry a guarantee.

With this point in view, we order eight Standard Relays for each Bay of four Electronics, we remove the eight Momentary Make Before Break relays = K3 & K4 and replace them for Standard relays, we now have Eight spare MMBB relays, if you carry this out on a 24 track MM1200 you would end up with 48 Spare hard to get MMBB Relays
Should the MMBB K2 Relay develop problems we now have a replacements.
When we have built a collection of problematic relays then we just take them to a good electronics company and have them placed in a Ultrasonic cleaning tank. if the person using this tank knows and does his job properly, then you should end up with at least a 9 out of 10 success rate.

Ampex tried many makes of relay but no matter which the problem did exist, the story I was told was
Ampex telephoned one very busy Studio who had four MM1200’s to enquire why their replacement order for relays was so small, “Are you buying elsewhere” “NO”, was the reply
“When we get one that’s dodgy we change it and then spray WD40 on the problem one and after activating it many times in our spare machine it seems to be fine,”
It seems that the success rate was 5 out of 10.

I keep an Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank for this very purpose as well as my work in manufacturing Helios.
Be warned you have to remove the plastic relay cover and only place the contacts themselves in the cleaning liquid, support each relay to be sure it does not fall on its side thus immersing what does not require cleaning BUT could end up, damaged.
After this, you will need to check that each relay functions correctly, I'm afraid your average Multi-meter is not good enough, you will need a special meter, and to also build a small test box that holds the relay, with each of the contacts going to a labelled Test Point, you will require a switch to switch the built in 24V PSU to activate the relay.
You will also require a very lo-ohms continuity tester, I did build a small meter in my Test Box, but still found it NOT to be fast enough.

To see what these two items look like you can go to LINK.
http://www.analogrecordingforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=88

Where I try to maintain a tidy series of Ampex Articles. LINK
http://www.analogrecordingforums.com/viewforum.php

I am also running a series about the History of recording.
www.analogrecordingforums.com • View forum - HISTORY OF RECORDING

I would NOT like any member to think that I am trying to attract them elsewhere this is far from the truth I for one love Gearslutz and feel it is one of the best Audio Forums around.
But me joining late makes it too late for me to place all the Ampex or Helios Posts into one single Forum, BUT, being one of the first to join ARF, and also being a moderator this allows me to keep everything tidy.

Best Regards

Tony.







Old 31st January 2010
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Bosco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arny View Post
Dear Bosco,
Your first point is " RELAYS", I wrote a series of Ampex Articles for "Studio Sound" the UK magazine about Ampex, here is part of what I wrote about relays on the MM1200 or the MM1100.


Relays : On each Audio Switching Card there are 4 relays marked K1 to K4, Relays K2, K3 and K4 are Momentary Make before Break relays, to stop any audio clicks during changeover, these relays are now almost impossible to obtain, so we have checked K3 and K4 and have discovered these do not have to be Make before Break, so they can be changed for a Standard Relay of this type, which is still available from most suppliers, what do we do about K2 ?, we now have a certain amount of stock of this type but we do prefer to offer a reconditioned exchange unit, which does carry a guarantee.

With this point in view, we order eight Standard Relays for each Bay of four Electronics, we remove the eight Momentary Make Before Break relays = K3 & K4 and replace them for Standard relays, we now have Eight spare MMBB relays, if you carry this out on a 24 track MM1200 you would end up with 48 Spare hard to get MMBB Relays
Should the MMBB K2 Relay develop problems we now have a replacements.
When we have built a collection of problematic relays then we just take them to a good electronics company and have them placed in a Ultrasonic cleaning tank. if the person using this tank knows and does his job properly, then you should end up with at least a 9 out of 10 success rate.

Ampex tried many makes of relay but no matter which the problem did exist, the story I was told was
Ampex telephoned one very busy Studio who had four MM1200’s to enquire why their replacement order for relays was so small, “Are you buying elsewhere” “NO”, was the reply
“When we get one that’s dodgy we change it and then spray WD40 on the problem one and after activating it many times in our spare machine it seems to be fine,”
It seems that the success rate was 5 out of 10.

I keep an Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank for this very purpose as well as my work in manufacturing Helios.
Be warned you have to remove the plastic relay cover and only place the contacts themselves in the cleaning liquid, support each relay to be sure it does not fall on its side thus immersing what does not require cleaning BUT could end up, damaged.
After this, you will need to check that each relay functions correctly, I'm afraid your average Multi-meter is not good enough, you will need a special meter, and to also build a small test box that holds the relay, with each of the contacts going to a labelled Test Point, you will require a switch to switch the built in 24V PSU to activate the relay.
You will also require a very lo-ohms continuity tester, I did build a small meter in my Test Box, but still found it NOT to be fast enough.

To see what these two items look like you can go to LINK.
http://www.analogrecordingforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=88

Where I try to maintain a tidy series of Ampex Articles. LINK
http://www.analogrecordingforums.com/viewforum.php

I am also running a series about the History of recording.
www.analogrecordingforums.com • View forum - HISTORY OF RECORDING

I would NOT like any member to think that I am trying to attract them elsewhere this is far from the truth I for one love Gearslutz and feel it is one of the best Audio Forums around.
But me joining late makes it too late for me to place all the Ampex or Helios Posts into one single Forum, BUT, being one of the first to join ARF, and also being a moderator this allows me to keep everything tidy.

Best Regards

Tony.







wow...thanx for the detailed solution...I am going to see exactly where the machine sits as far as bad relays and contact you..

Thanks again
Old 31st January 2010
  #29
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Arny rocks. Long live Arnys Shack, and Helios.
Old 31st January 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enth View Post
Analog pleasure

It's no way around it, analog recording still gives us something we can't
get from the digital media. One day in the future, I'm sure the digital will
catch up with the analog, but not yet, we are probably still years apart.

I have a Stephens Electronic 24 track machine from Burbank California.
It's a capstan less machine that treat the tape gently as a mother cleaning
the butt of her little baby. Works by a motor for each reel with crystal sensor
on the tape roller to stabilize the transport. Got it in 1980 and it's still amazing.
A handmade machine that costed $45.000 in 1980.

Went on to a Sony dash 24 in 1988, but gave it up and went back to my Stephens.
My ears never accepted this Sony machine, so I stayed on my Stephens till 1997.

Now I'm on disc recording, digital is more pleasant today comparing to the 80's.

However, I'm changing location and country, and have been thinking of selling
this 24 track Stephens machine, to travel a little lighter to where I'm going.

The machine is still working great, and I'm using it for sending part of the tracks
from my digital to this machine and back to disc, to benefit from the analog force.

The machine are mounted in a wood console and can be lifted out very easily, and
the weight is only approx. 25 kilos.The meter bridge can be de-mounted
too, and have the weight of approx. 8 kilos.
The wood console has the weight of perhaps 18 kilos.
So this machine can easily go anywhere without too much effort.
For recordings on location outside my studio, I used to bring the machine
and meter-bridge in the backseat of my car.

Anyone interested can contact me.

damn... wish i could jump on this. The first studio I ever worked at had one, and I've worked on all the major machines since... but nothing sounded as good.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
oldgearguy / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
2
glut62 / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
1
1964 / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
2
nandoanalog / High end
14

Forum Jump
Forum Jump