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Planning on tape machines Synchronisers/Clock Generators
Old 30th September 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Planning on tape machines

Hi guys,

I'm planning on buying a few tape machines:
- A Studer C37 - 2 Track with valves
- A Soundcraft Saturn 824 - 24 track 2"
Both machines are in good working order and well serviced.
Before I make a final decision, I would like to know if some among you have any bad and good experiences to share about these machines.

Thanks and keep those tape machines rolling!
Ludo.
Old 30th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Ah, I love when a fellow slut jumps into the abyss.

I guess the biggest obstacle I see for you is the Saturn. That machine was only made for a year or two before the company went under and then was bought by another company who only ran it for another couple years.. they went out of business too.

That said, I have never seen one of these machines ever.. so you should make sure there are no critical proprietary parts that are unavailable. I'm sure other g.s.'s can chime in on this. Anyhow, if you can get this machine in working condition for a screaming deal.. why not. Have fun with it... I love tape.
Old 30th September 2011
  #3
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

About the Saturn,
Luckily, not only the manual but also the service manual comes along with it
As these machines were mainly used in Europe, perhaps overhere (I'm from Belgium) spare parts are easier to find?
Old 30th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Can you test or demonstrate them before buying? Or are you buying them off someone who has had them in "storage?" (This could mean anything .. Like Marriage .. For Better or Worse ..)
Old 30th September 2011
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

I used to use that Saturn and its little brother, the 624 a lot in the 90's. Nice sounding machines. I remember liking the simpler 624 better. The 824 had an auto-align mode which was never trustworthy, but even if you did it manually (on the remote), the thing seemed a bit moody. The 624 was good as gold....go in with a screwdriver....done. Might have just been that particular 824 though.
Old 30th September 2011
  #6
Saturns used all 5534 opamps. Yank them and replace with National LME49710NA's. Then most of the el caps can go. Replace record/play EQ caps with Wima FKP-2/MKP-2.
Old 1st October 2011
  #7
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

@Redwall: Indeed, I am aware of what happened with the Saturn company.
The machine is from 1992 so it will be one of their last recorders made.
@Ray: A test of the Saturn is to be made next week, together with the owner.
That will give a better idea.
The Studer is completely checked, revised and sold by a company who only repairs and renews vintage recording equipment.
It will take me 4 hours of driving but it's worth it to check out the Studer.
@Jim: Is there a reason why the 5534 opamps shouldn't been replaced with the same, new ones, or do the Nationals just sound better and with lower noise?
The same question for the capacitors?
I don't mind replacing them, just want to know if it really is worth it/makes a big difference.
Thank you all for the valuable comments!
Don't hesitate to comment more!
Grtz,
Exo.
Old 2nd October 2011
  #8
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Anyone else who experienced these machines?
A Studer A812 is in the running now too .
Grtz, Exo.
Old 2nd October 2011
  #9
Saturn electronics are all 5534 opamp based, with some el coupling caps and those small film mylar EQ caps. That makes improvements easy and very effective. I reviewed the schematics and if precision opamps are used, many if not most of the el coupling caps can be removed.

I would probably go with National LME49990MA opamps on Brown Dog headers. Those are super low noise (.85 nv/hz/sq) fast and the lowest THD at -155 dbu. They would make for a great sounding analog recorder, sort of like MCI on steroids.

807/810/812 Studer electronics benefit from the similar opamps, coupling cap removal, polyprop EQ caps and low noise Tosiba 2SC3329BL front end transistors. I also recommend removing the output transformers for a tighter low end and much clearer top end.
Old 2nd October 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Telefunk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I also recommend removing the output transformers for a tighter low end and much clearer top end.
Removing the transformers?! You have gotta be kiddin'

Yes, you might get "clearer" top end but certainly with transformers it will sound more musical, or whatever you want to call it, deeper sounding. Music is not just frequencies.
Old 2nd October 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by exoterrestrial View Post
Anyone else who experienced these machines?
A Studer A812 is in the running now too .
Grtz, Exo.
I would stay away from the A812.



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Old 2nd October 2011
  #12
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

@JimWilliams: Removing the transformers, isn't that indeed a bit drastic?
On the frequency side, that might give perhaps improvement but on the musical side? As Telefunk also wrote?
@GeorgeNecola: Any bad experiences with the A812? Or do you like the sound less, compared with the C37 (after all the C37 uses valves)?

Grtz,
Exo.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by exoterrestrial View Post
@JimWilliams: Removing the transformers, isn't that indeed a bit drastic?
On the frequency side, that might give perhaps improvement but on the musical side? As Telefunk also wrote?
@GeorgeNecola: Any bad experiences with the A812? Or do you like the sound less, compared with the C37 (after all the C37 uses valves)?

Grtz,
Exo.
what do you want to do with it? what is the exact condition of the machines?

the A812 is not a pro-machine (transport, headstock, electronics). it's a broadcast mobile recording machine. the C37 is 60 years old and could be in really bad shape.

the good thing is, if you go Studer I am able to help you with spare parts and repair services.

cheers
G
Old 5th October 2011
  #14
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
Removing the transformers?! You have gotta be kiddin'

Yes, you might get "clearer" top end but certainly with transformers it will sound more musical, or whatever you want to call it, deeper sounding. Music is not just frequencies.
Actually removing the transformers from my A807 did exactly what Jim said--it was clearer and tighter. To my ears that translated to more musical. However, I ended up having problems with stability that I couldn't figure out so I ended up putting the transformers back in. I did something wrong for sure. However, I definitely preferred the sound without them!

Jim--what are the Toshiba transistors giving you?

Brad
Old 5th October 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
I would buy the Saturn in a heartbeat. Great sounding machines IMHO.
Old 8th October 2011
  #16
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

I will take a very close look to the heads (with a magnifying-glass).
About the 812 and C37, I was planning on using one of them as a master machine.
After reading several threads on this forum, some use the 812 as a mastering machine but I have my doubts as indeed it was created for broadcast purposes.
The C37 should be in good condition. Both machines are to be sold by companies who renew vintage equipment.
I won't mind driving to the northern part of Holland or to Berlin (I'm from Belgium) to check them out as I would like to spend my money on something in good condition rather than to spend it on a rubbish deck.
On the other hand, the C37 goes 15 ips and the 812 30 ips.
I'm getting more and more interested in the Saturn indeed.
An Otari is offered too but that I'll have to check out further.
Old 8th October 2011
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
Removing the transformers?! You have gotta be kiddin'

Yes, you might get "clearer" top end but certainly with transformers it will sound more musical, or whatever you want to call it, deeper sounding. Music is not just frequencies.
Yes, it's THD and noise too. That I don't particularly care for in a recorder. Subjective opinions on what amount of filtration and distortion is needed to make their music "musical" should be taken in proportion. Of all the Studers I've removed the output transformers from, every customer said it opened up the sound drastically and all prefered no iron. These were done mostly for mastering houses that need transparency, not more colors to add up.

Of course, not personally hearing these differences stops no one from making opinions on sounds they've never heard before.
Old 30th October 2011
  #18
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Hi folks,

Today, I bought a Studer A80
It's a 2 track, and modified for to be changed to a 4 track too.
I got all the parts (head block, pinch roller etc...) for to make it a 4 track plus the service manual.
2800 hours, devided over the use as a 2 and 4-track.
Completely serviced and up-to-date heh
I had to drive 500kms to get it but it's worth it!
Next on my wish list is a 24 track.
Grtz,
Exo.
Old 31st October 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Cool . . A80 are awesome.
.
.
.
Old 10th October 2013
  #20
Here for the gear
 

I'm trying to bring a Saturn 624 back into service after several years in hibernation, and would like to get hold of operation and and service manuals.

So far I have established that the transport is OK except the tape lifters don't always retract properly when in play. I haven't been able to test any record functions as the cable to the remote control seems to be faulty.

I'd appreciate any tips on this machine and help locating the manuals.
Old 10th October 2013
  #21
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Where are you from Analogarak?

Cheers,
Exo.
Old 14th October 2013
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Hi Exo

I'm in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK

Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks
Old 23rd December 2014
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Saturn electronics are all 5534 opamp based, with some el coupling caps and those small film mylar EQ caps. That makes improvements easy and very effective. I reviewed the schematics and if precision opamps are used, many if not most of the el coupling caps can be removed.

I would probably go with National LME49990MA opamps on Brown Dog headers. Those are super low noise (.85 nv/hz/sq) fast and the lowest THD at -155 dbu. They would make for a great sounding analog recorder, sort of like MCI on steroids.

807/810/812 Studer electronics benefit from the similar opamps, coupling cap removal, polyprop EQ caps and low noise Tosiba 2SC3329BL front end transistors. I also recommend removing the output transformers for a tighter low end and much clearer top end.
Hi Jim,

I read in the thread about the soundcraft saturn 824 that you reviewed the schematics.
Do you have any idea how to get acces to these schematics?
I'm desperate for a service manual ..

cheers,

Peter
elektrophonik.org
Old 25th December 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elektrophonik View Post
Hi Jim,

I read in the thread about the soundcraft saturn 824 that you reviewed the schematics.
Do you have any idea how to get acces to these schematics?
I'm desperate for a service manual ..

cheers,

Peter
elektrophonik.org
Jim don't post here no more. Your best bet is to contact him through Audio Upgrades, his company.
Old 26th December 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by exoterrestrial View Post
Hi folks,

Today, I bought a Studer A80
It's a 2 track, and modified for to be changed to a 4 track too.
I got all the parts (head block, pinch roller etc...) for to make it a 4 track plus the service manual.
2800 hours, devided over the use as a 2 and 4-track.
Completely serviced and up-to-date heh
I had to drive 500kms to get it but it's worth it!
Next on my wish list is a 24 track.
Grtz,
Exo.
I'd stay away from more esoteric Saturn and Lyrec regional selling 24 Trk 2" machines, go with Studer, Otari, MCI, Sony Apr, and you'll always be able to find parts at the worst case scenario should a channel card or head stack pop it's wig, tech knowledge and alignment alongside some kind of Syncing scenario via Timeline Lynx or Adams Smith Zeta, and even Clasp will make you just so aware of how important remote and Timecode control are.

Good luck!
Old 26th December 2014
  #26
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

No problem Lastbyte .

In the meantime, I'm the proud owner of a Studer A800MKIII with only very, very few hours on the counter

Cheers,
Exo.
Old 26th December 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by exoterrestrial View Post
No problem Lastbyte .

In the meantime, I'm the proud owner of a Studer A800MKIII with only very, very few hours on the counter

Cheers,
Exo.
Great choice!
Old 26th December 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by exoterrestrial View Post
No problem Lastbyte .

In the meantime, I'm the proud owner of a Studer A800MKIII with only very, very few hours on the counter

Cheers,
Exo.
Beautiful Purchase Exo, you'll love this Machine, sublime operation and a great sounding unit with that big Tape Sound, I'd say a Studer A800MKIII is the most lovely coloured tape machine!

Enjoy Man!
Great Purchase!
Old 26th December 2014
  #29
Gear Head
 
exoterrestrial's Avatar
 

Thank you all folks .
On the other hand, I'm having a record problem with it for the moment... .

Cheers,
Exo.
Old 26th December 2014
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastByte View Post
Beautiful Purchase Exo, you'll love this Machine, sublime operation and a great sounding unit with that big Tape Sound, I'd say a Studer A800MKIII is the most lovely coloured tape machine!

Enjoy Man!
Great Purchase!
agreed. Been looking for a god one for a long time.
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