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Otari MTR 90 Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
Registered User
 

Otari MTR 90

Otari MTR 90 Mk II....any thoughts...will be tracking on one in the near future...is this a decent deck....FYI the search function on this site is ****, so apologies if there is a ton of info....I can't seem to find it...tracking beds...rock n' roll, three piece...any suggestions of tape stock, aligninment, NR (I want to track 15ips no NR)...anything else welcome....Memphis if you're there, I know you'd have some good info. Thanks.

Nick
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
IMHOP....one of the better ones. Handles tape well, punches well. Sounds good.

Should be fine at 15 no n/r, especially for rock at high levels.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #3
Gear nut
 

I have been the proud owner of a MTR90 Mark II for many years. I actually bought 3 of them from Fantasy Studios a few years ago. They are excellent machines! I have been using mine frequently without any major repairs since then. I am running mostly GP9 and have calibrated them to + 8. I dont use Noise reduction.
Sound wise the MTR 90 is consistant. They dont have the Low end oomph of a Ampex 1200, They sound somewhat reminiscent of a Studer A800 without the necessary maintenance that most Studers have. Overall a very solid machine that should give you years of trouble free service.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

mtr 90

as long as the roller guides are in good shape, and its properly aligned, the mtr 90 mk 2 is an excellent machine. tape handling is excellent, sound is very acceptable. the remote is easy to use and the locate functions are very good. punching is wonderful.....align it at +3 to +6; no higher.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #5
Registered User
 

thanks everybody....good stuff

Nick
Old 22nd January 2009
  #6
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
IMHOP....one of the better ones. Handles tape well, punches well. Sounds good.

Should be fine at 15 no n/r, especially for rock at high levels.
Amen
Old 22nd January 2009
  #7
Gear addict
 
The Reel Thing's Avatar
 

for 15 ips., i recommend using the CCIR equalization curve instead of NAB, if you can get hold of a reference tape. it sounds quite a bit better.

tom

analoghaus :: studio label verlag - home
Old 22nd January 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 

+1 above. I switched over from NAB to CCIR last month and am very pleased with the results. You can do the calibration from a NAB MRL as well. Leave the bass calibration on auto (IE OFF) on the OTARI and do your 10K eq at -2.5dB if your using a NAB MRL.

Also you have to switch the machine over to the CCIR curve/time constraints on one of the cards. I can't remember the card name, but do remember it is pin 1 and pin 3 that need to be "flicked".

The machine sounds better set for +6/185 if using +9/185 tape at 15ips CCIR. Wonderful low end, with real smooth top. I'm using 3M996 but have heard very good things about ATR's tape.

I've had no tape hiss issues at all set up like this - believe it or not, even a solo acoustic guitar wasn't bothered by hiss. Basically with a CCIR curve your hitting the top end a lot hotter than with an NAB eq and it is a really noticeable improvement in the "hiss" department. The bottom end is flatter than with NAB, but it is still great (I prefer it actually).

As far as the machine itself is concerned - it's a tank, requires little maintenance, and is real easy on tape (no pinch rollers). Very simple operation.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #9
Registered User
 

thanks again guys

Nick
Old 26th March 2009
  #10
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matskull's Avatar
 

What is a good price for a MTR-90 MKII?

I saw one for what I think is a good price (if it's in good shape) and it got me thinking about making the move...
Old 26th March 2009
  #11
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Well last year they had been selling for $2500 average, but there has been a price creep and some have sold upwards to $5k. I have one on ebay for 3k BIN 4k which is pretty average.

I was really pissed about the 16 track Otari that sold a couple of weeks ago - he listed it at $6k and I was like, man that's almost Studer price - so that's what I did, bought a A827 hehe. Then he blows it out at $4K...

Man, I would have bought it instead.
Old 26th March 2009
  #12
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
Well last year they had been selling for $2500 average, but there has been a price creep and some have sold upwards to $5k. I have one on ebay for 3k BIN 4k which is pretty average.

I was really pissed about the 16 track Otari that sold a couple of weeks ago - he listed it at $6k and I was like, man that's almost Studer price - so that's what I did, bought a A827 hehe. Then he blows it out at $4K...

Man, I would have bought it instead.
5K is too much imo.
I saw one locally for 2K CAD, it used to work, but it has been in storage for the last 10 years so it might need work...
Not sure if that's a good deal or not.

There's also a MX80, ever heard them?
Old 26th March 2009
  #13
Gear nut
 

I've always been a fan of 30ips no NR. Smack it hard whilst recording!
To quote Todd Rundgren:
Made loud to be played loud. (Grand funk album. Of course that was referring to monitor level. He wanted everyones ears to flatten out)
Old 26th March 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
5K is too much imo.
I saw one locally for 2K CAD, it used to work, but it has been in storage for the last 10 years so it might need work...
Not sure if that's a good deal or not.

There's also a MX80, ever heard them?
2k is a good price. But you'd probably have to factor in new rollers ($400) and it will depend on the head condition. One thing to watch out for is that there are many remotes that do not have the auto locator. They are separate units housed together. You definitely WANT the auto locator.

I have never personally used an MTR80, but they are supposed to be very good sounding machines albeit "spartan" in features.
Old 26th March 2009
  #15
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
2k is a good price. But you'd probably have to factor in new rollers ($400) and it will depend on the head condition. One thing to watch out for is that there are many remotes that do not have the auto locator. They are separate units housed together. You definitely WANT the auto locator.

I have never personally used an MTR80, but they are supposed to be very good sounding machines albeit "spartan" in features.
Ok I didn't know about the remote, good to know, thanks.
I think I'll be looking around for a deal on a tape machine.

It might not happen today but I think I'd like to get one someday, maybe this year...
Old 26th March 2009
  #16
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matskull's Avatar
 

Another question, which tape machines are quiet enough to have in the control room?
Old 26th March 2009
  #17
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The Reel Thing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Another question, which tape machines are quiet enough to have in the control room?
most of them, because most people don't have a machine room.

tom

analoghaus :: studio label verlag - home
Old 26th March 2009
  #18
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Reel Thing View Post
most of them, because most people don't have a machine room.

tom

analoghaus :: studio label verlag - home
Good to know.
I've been asking those question in another thread and got pretty good answers but I'd like different opinions.

Here's what I saw locally:
Otari MTR 90 MKII
Otari MTR 100 (I don't knw if it's MKII too or just mtr 100...)
Otari MX80
MCI JH16
Ampex MM1000

Some are expansive, some are great deals...I don't know all their condition yet and I'm not in a rush to buy anyway (even though I'd love one)

From what I understand the Otari are very solid but don't sound that much impressive.
The MCI and Ampex are the **** tone wise for rock music, they are only 16 tracks though, 24 would be ideal.

The MCI and Ampex wouldn't be as solid as the Otari but they would cost less to repair.

How do these Otari compare with each others?
I won't be making any money with those machine, I'd like one for my personnal use only pretty much, realibility and sound are still requirements though.

If you were to get a tape machine, which one would it be?
I'm talking about something reasonable, not a 20K machine.

thanks
Old 31st March 2009
  #19
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analogtodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Good to know.
I've been asking those question in another thread and got pretty good answers but I'd like different opinions.

Here's what I saw locally:
Otari MTR 90 MKII
Otari MTR 100 (I don't knw if it's MKII too or just mtr 100...)
Otari MX80
MCI JH16
Ampex MM1000

Some are expansive, some are great deals...I don't know all their condition yet and I'm not in a rush to buy anyway (even though I'd love one)

From what I understand the Otari are very solid but don't sound that much impressive.
The MCI and Ampex are the **** tone wise for rock music, they are only 16 tracks though, 24 would be ideal.

The MCI and Ampex wouldn't be as solid as the Otari but they would cost less to repair.

How do these Otari compare with each others?
I won't be making any money with those machine, I'd like one for my personnal use only pretty much, realibility and sound are still requirements though.

If you were to get a tape machine, which one would it be?
I'm talking about something reasonable, not a 20K machine.

thanks
Why no Studer on that list!????
Old 31st March 2009
  #20
Gear addict
 
The Reel Thing's Avatar
 

if it's in good shape, i'd go for the MTR-90II.
i'm sure it will be the most reliable and most easily maintained and easiest-to-work-with machine among the ones you mentioned.

Things people say about the sound of other tape machines being better is really a matter of taste. I've been working for quite a couple of years now years now on an MTR-90II, an MCI JH-24 and a Studer A80 MkIV. they're all great.
the differences in sound are quite subliminal if you compare the sound of tape to digital.
it's like, is this gourmet dinner better than that one? hell, you'll take any gourmet dinner anyday if McDonalds is the alternative...

tom

analoghaus :: studio label verlag - home
Old 1st April 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

I agree with the above. I have a Studer 827 side by side with an Otari MTR90 II. I have no preference to the sound of either TBH. I love the Studer for it's features. But as far as the "sound" of a machine, the condition is 9/10ths of it, where brand name is only 10%.
Old 1st April 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
I agree with the above. I have a Studer 827 side by side with an Otari MTR90 II. I have no preference to the sound of either TBH. I love the Studer for it's features. But as far as the "sound" of a machine, the condition is 9/10ths of it, where brand name is only 10%.
Even if one has transformers on its i/o and the other doesn't?
Old 1st April 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 
analogtodd's Avatar
 

I'd be more concerned with finding a tape machine that has a reliable head report (hopefully with lots of life left) and second a rock solid tape path.

The rest is just blah blah blah talk and tire kicking. Buy the most well kept/maintained unit you can afford... doesn't matter if its a Studer, MCI or an Otari.

Don't buy a headache, its not worth the go round for a first machine.

I did LOADS of stuff back in the day on Otari... I'd think they would be harder to get parts for than Studer/MCI nowadays.

I'd pass on anything 3M or Ampex simply because they are getting so old.

I cannot stress this enough, buy a machine with a KNOWN history and have a tech go through it with you... then pay that tech to maintain it, you'll learn as you go and everybody will be happy.

If you buy a basket case machine just because you think it'll be "cool" you'll more than likely end up frustrated and spending more $$$ than if you'd gone the other route....
Old 1st April 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
dick swifter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Good to know.
I've been asking those question in another thread and got pretty good answers but I'd like different opinions.

Here's what I saw locally:
Otari MTR 90 MKII
Otari MTR 100 (I don't knw if it's MKII too or just mtr 100...)
Otari MX80
MCI JH16
Ampex MM1000

Some are expansive, some are great deals...I don't know all their condition yet and I'm not in a rush to buy anyway (even though I'd love one)

From what I understand the Otari are very solid but don't sound that much impressive.
The MCI and Ampex are the **** tone wise for rock music, they are only 16 tracks though, 24 would be ideal.

The MCI and Ampex wouldn't be as solid as the Otari but they would cost less to repair.

How do these Otari compare with each others?
I won't be making any money with those machine, I'd like one for my personnal use only pretty much, realibility and sound are still requirements though.

If you were to get a tape machine, which one would it be?
I'm talking about something reasonable, not a 20K machine.

thanks
As stupid as it may sound, I never felt comfortable with the Ampex MM1000's auto locator. Otari's and Studer's are just smoother to "drive" IMHO, which to me, helps with session "flow".
Good luck!


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Old 1st April 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyt View Post
I'd be more concerned with finding a tape machine that has a reliable head report (hopefully with lots of life left) and second a rock solid tape path.

The rest is just blah blah blah talk and tire kicking. Buy the most well kept/maintained unit you can afford... doesn't matter if its a Studer, MCI or an Otari.

Don't buy a headache, its not worth the go round for a first machine.

I did LOADS of stuff back in the day on Otari... I'd think they would be harder to get parts for than Studer/MCI nowadays.

I'd pass on anything 3M or Ampex simply because they are getting so old.

I cannot stress this enough, buy a machine with a KNOWN history and have a tech go through it with you... then pay that tech to maintain it, you'll learn as you go and everybody will be happy.

If you buy a basket case machine just because you think it'll be "cool" you'll more than likely end up frustrated and spending more $$$ than if you'd gone the other route....
Thanks for the tips, I know what you mean and pretty much feel the same.
I,m just looking around, I won't be buying right now anyway but if I find a good deal or somthing then I'll be allready informed about what to look for.
thanks
Old 1st April 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
 
edvdr76's Avatar
Bought mine about 5 years ago and it's a great machine. 15 ips is ideal for anything rock on this deck. Punching is flawless on it as well.......
Old 1st April 2009
  #27
Gear interested
 

Definately a nice machine, I had a chance to buy one with SR at a rediculous price a few years ago although didn't pull the trigger on it as I thought my JH-16 would suffice. On the topic of CCIR, I just had my machine modified to use this curve, it may just be me although I think the highs are too bright and forward, is there a way to attenuate these while still remaining within the CCIR curve?
Old 13th September 2009
  #28
Gear interested
 

what had to be done as far as mods to get you MCI JH 16 to do the CCIR curve?
Old 13th September 2009
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyt View Post
I'd be more concerned with finding a tape machine that has a reliable head report (hopefully with lots of life left) and second a rock solid tape path.

The rest is just blah blah blah talk and tire kicking. Buy the most well kept/maintained unit you can afford... doesn't matter if its a Studer, MCI or an Otari.

Don't buy a headache, its not worth the go round for a first machine.

I did LOADS of stuff back in the day on Otari... I'd think they would be harder to get parts for than Studer/MCI nowadays.

I'd pass on anything 3M or Ampex simply because they are getting so old.

I cannot stress this enough, buy a machine with a KNOWN history and have a tech go through it with you... then pay that tech to maintain it, you'll learn as you go and everybody will be happy.

If you buy a basket case machine just because you think it'll be "cool" you'll more than likely end up frustrated and spending more $$$ than if you'd gone the other route....
Fantastic post!
Old 13th September 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
The notion that Otaris don't sound good is nonsense.

Back in the late 80's Mike Chapman brought his MTR 90 tomy place and we locked it to my Studer A80 Mk4 for a Lita Ford record and some other projects. It was a nice combination because of the differing strengths of the two machines.

He in particular liked to do vocals on the Otari because of its superior punching. But the sound of the machine was certainly competitive.

Now...someone mentioned a JH16 sixteen track. If you have never cut 16 track 2 inch, the improved sound over 24 track is immense. Particularly in an environent where you are probably going to track then dump it into a DAW, 16 track is really the optimum solution.

I wish I could say that the MCIs were as reliable the the Otaris or Studers...

One very interesting point. Back in the 80's if you had had an MCI most people looked down their nose at you.......times change.
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