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Please someone answer this Studer A80 question!
Old 25th May 2006
  #1
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Please someone answer this Studer A80 question!

I've purchased a Studer A80 Vu Mk II 24 track and discovered that it was not fitted with any sync line amplifier cards.

In short, I have some conflicting information and need to know whether or not these are necessary for overdubbing.

I've been told that the dedicated sync output on the machine is redundant, as the repro output can be switched to sync, which is why the sync line cards were offered as an option on the machine. This seems to be true looking at page 56 of 77 of the manual posted here:

http://classes.berklee.edu/mpe/pdf_f...studer_a80.pdf

On the other hand, I've been told that the cards are indeed necessary for recording overdubs, so I'd like to know for sure...

Please Help!!!

P.S. The machine is at my tech's place so I can't test it for myself!

-Chris
Old 26th May 2006
  #2
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XSergeantD's Avatar
 

Never heard for a sync card being optional. They're not called a Synchronous Record Head and Reproducer Head for nothing.
I've never seen a machine w/out sync cards except in mastering suites.
I'd like to know if this be true. Is the record card wired to the repro head? In which case it wouldn't be a repro head it'd be a sync head.
Old 4th June 2006
  #3
Gear Head
The sync amp's not missing

The fet switching inside the A80's above MKI eliminated then need for the sync line amp. The slot remains in the audio elctronics housing but it is generally not found in these machines. Once in a while when triggering a kick or snare back in the 90's I would miss those cards.

I PMed you with a thread from the studer users list.
Old 4th June 2006
  #4
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
Thanks for the message...

I did ultimately get a definitive answer to the sync line amp question after a solid week of calling everyone under the sun. The guys at Studer were extremely nice, but were quite candid in saying "hey, we do digital consoles, not tape machines!". Even Charlie Bolous in LA, who is apparently the final authority on Studer analog tole me, "hey I'm old, but not that old...the A80's were before my time." Finally he got in touch with the ex-Studer guy out of Nashville and called me with an identical explanation...I was about to drop $1200 on 24 used cards that I didn't need!

As for the Studer list, I applied to get added to the list about a month ago and never heard back. Can you get me added to the forum?

On a final note, my A80 is about 99% done after having all of the modules recapped and it is running in 'time capsule' condition. The former owner is now the VP at Sony. I get it delivered on Friday where it will hopefully stay for quite a while!

Thanks again,
Chris
Old 4th June 2006
  #5
Gear Head
I have no idea how to post but

Majordomo sent me an confermation almost instantly for the digest. The instructions for subscibing to that was pretty clear. Who recapped your machine?
Old 5th June 2006
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

I have some experience of A80's, and I think what you say in your first post is correct, that the sync LINE AMP cards were optional.
The monitor output signal can be switched between Replay and Sync. If you needed both simultaneously, then you need the extra Line Amp cards.
However, there can be a pitfall.
The earlier A80's did not have an "Auto Input" feature, which sent the record signal back to the output when you were in "Sync" and "Ready."
The later machines have a different switching card (a small board located on the backplane of the connector card) which DID allow the input signal to be monitored.
I'm afraid I don't know the number of this later board, and I thought they were only fitted to the Mk 3 A80's, but your Mk 2 may have them.
Is there a switch position on the "Safe/Ready/Sync" switch that allows you to be in both "SYNC" and "READY"?
If so, does the "Line in" signal come out of the replay output?
I recall a link has to be made inside the "Remote" connector, so that if you select "Remote" the machine enters a "Ready/Sync" mode, i.e. the green "Ready" light comes on, and the output is fed from the Sync replay.
Old 16th August 2012
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Studer Noob here. If the SYNC card are unnecessary on a A80 MK IV 2/24, what is the purpose of the SYNC output on the back of each electronics module? It's an XLR terminal, just like the REPRODUCE output right next to it. When overdubbing, where are these SYNC terminals supposed to connect to? This is delaying my project and forcing me to record in GarageBand until i figure it out. Thanks!
Old 16th August 2012
  #8
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Space Station's Avatar
Why dont you get someone down to teach you how to work it? Sir Clive Kavan or someone like that?
Old 18th August 2012
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Steve Smith confirms that the Sync cards were optional on an A80 MK IV.
Old 18th August 2012
  #10
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by studerduder View Post
Studer Noob here. If the SYNC card are unnecessary on a A80 MK IV 2/24, what is the purpose of the SYNC output on the back of each electronics module? It's an XLR terminal, just like the REPRODUCE output right next to it. When overdubbing, where are these SYNC terminals supposed to connect to? This is delaying my project and forcing me to record in GarageBand until i figure it out. Thanks!
Even 827's had a dedicated sync output connection though I believe theirs were on a db25 connector.
I would use the sync out when mixing to trigger samplers and noise gates which would otherwise lag behind and disrupt the mix. In other words the sync outputs were helpful as a control signal output. To have a few cards floating around might be useful if you were planning on staying completely analog for a project.
Old 18th August 2012
  #11
Gear Addict
 

You can use the SYNC OUTPUT to do ADT like The Beatles did at Abbey Road.
Of course, the SYNC AMP needs to be therfe are you need another analog tape machine.

Studers are about the only tape decks that have this option although it is possible to modify alomost any three head machine to do it.
Old 18th August 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Why dont you get someone down to teach you how to work it? Sir Clive Kavan or someone like that?
He is a bit inexperienced with the machine, but he just needs the question answered. Give him a break!

However, I must admit that I find it strange that he has to make the choice between an A80 and Garageband!

Hey... I have been around a lot of years and used almost every type of tape machine that ever made it's way to the US, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THE SYNC OUTPUTS ARE ON STUDERS.
I can think of ways to utilize them, but other than a few special uses like pre-triggering gates and stuff or the ADT thing I guess they were a carryover from the electronics being used on a 2-track machine.
The SYNC OUTPUT would work to control a record cutting lathe.
Mastering decks have an extra head before the REPRO head that tells the lathe how to set things like groove spacing.

I am setting-up an A80 later today and one of the first things that I intend to do is see if the SYNC cards are installed in this machine.
Old 19th August 2012
  #13
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
It's always funny to be reminded of a question you asked 6 years ago!

My, how time flies...I have a four year old now, for chrissake!

Best,
Chris
Old 19th August 2012
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Well, guess what?
The previous posts were WRONG...

THE SYNC REPRO CARD HAS TO BE IN THE ELECTRONICS MODULE IN ORDER FOR THE SYNC FUNCTION TO WORK!

I was setting-up an A80 mkiV last night and this thread was one my mind, so I checked to see what the deal was.

Most tape decks have a second reproduction audio card from the SYNC CARD.
However, Ampex machines up through the MM-1200 DID NOT have a separate SYNC AMP.
The output of the RECORD/SYNC HEAD is routed to the REPRO AMP in SYNC MODE.

MCI JH-24s DO have a separate SYNC AMP as do JH-114s.
The SYNC AMP is on the RECORD CARD.

On the A80 mkIV there are two identical REPRO CARDS arranged side by side.
The REPRO AMP card is on the left and the SYNC AMP card is on the right (looking fat the cards rom the front of the machine.)
The card on the left is amplifying the signal from the REPRO HEAD.
The card on the right is amplifying the signal from the SYNC HEAD.
When the channel is placed in RECORD the SYNC AMP is switched out of the circuit to the RECORD/SYNC HEAD by a relay.

The module that has the adjusting pots plugs directly onto these two cards.
The SYNC AMP amplifies the output from the RECORD/SYNC HEAD when the machine is put into the SYNC MODE.
The controls for SYNC adjustment (LVL / HI and LO EQ) would be hanging in space and connected to nothing if there was not a SYNC AMP installed.

I verified all of this by removing the second card.
If you take out either REPRO CARD out you will have REPRO or SYNC depending on which card you take out.
If you take out the card on the LEFT there is no REPRO OUTPUT.
If you take out the card on the right there is no SYNC OUTPUT.
Old 19th August 2012
  #15
Gear Head
There are serial numbers on the side of all the cards in an A80. I should have asked as I assumed you were referring to the card that sits behind the meter next to the repro card and not the card that sits to the right of the the meter behind the calibration plate. The card to the right of the meter makes it possible to monitor of the sync head. This is a critical component for multitrack analog overdubs.
It is confusing to me why an a80 24track would be missing this part. Without it you could only cut basics and then mix.
Old 20th August 2012
  #16
Gear Addict
 

I can't see any reason why the SYNC AMP would not be there.
You can't do sync recording without them.

I have only seen one multi-track in 33 years that didn't have RECORD and SYNC capabilities and that was an Ampex AG-440B REPRO ONLY 1" 8-track used to play back the elements of a large diorama and painting.
Old 1st April 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
brewbacker's Avatar
 

missing sync card?

I suspect that the empty slot to the right is the location of the sync card. Is this the case? This machine was owned by the doobie brothers. I guess they didnt do overdubs. Where can I get these cards?

I know this is an old thread, but it's the only information about this problem that I've been able to find anywhere. Any advice fellas?

edit: sorry for the photo being rotated that way
Attached Thumbnails
Please someone answer this Studer A80 question!-photo-2-.jpg  
Old 1st April 2014
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

It's been so long since I last used an A80 I can't remember what went where, but from asking such a question I'm guessing you don't have a manual for the machine?

You can download the full official Studer manuals from this site: ftp://ftp.studer.ch/public/Products/
Old 1st April 2014
  #19
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brewbacker's Avatar
 

Thanks beegee, it seems I'm missing the sync line amplifier, not the sync preamplifier. Can anyone confirm that this card is necessary for overdubbing? As it is, I'm not able monitor the current recording in realtime unless I'm setting it up wrong. I should be able to monitor and sync from the repro output right?
Old 2nd April 2014
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewbacker View Post
Thanks beegee, it seems I'm missing the sync line amplifier, not the sync preamplifier. Can anyone confirm that this card is necessary for overdubbing? As it is, I'm not able monitor the current recording in realtime unless I'm setting it up wrong. I should be able to monitor and sync from the repro output right?
Yes, as I recall, I think that is the case, the Replay/Sync switch should select the signal appearing at the line out connector.

Switching from "Replay" to "Sync" on the selector switch should change the normal line out from Playback to Sync.
The A80 can separately output Sync all the time, which is what you would need the missing Line Amp card for.
One thing to watch out for is that if you select "Ready" on the module (green ready light illuminates), the output stays on Replay.
We used to modify our machines so that if you selected "Remote" on the selector switch the machine entered the "Ready" mode and the output switched to "Sync" which is obviously what you want for overdubbing. It's a long time ago and I think I no longer have the details, but I recall the mod involved a link on the "Remote" connector on the back of the amplifier module.
How the machine monitored under these conditions was, I think, dependent on which type of switching card you had installed. I seem to recall that one type of card gave you "Line IN" from the output until you dropped in and then gave you the Record signal (essentially the same) but another type of card gave the Sync replay signal from the output, until you dropped in, meaning that you needed to monitor the incoming signal from the studio via the console, rather than from the machine output. (I may have got this confused, but I know there are differences between switching cards.)
Like I say, it's a long time ago and the details are long forgotten, and although I may have them written down somewhere, I wouldn't know where to start looking for them.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
brewbacker's Avatar
 

Thanks for the information BeeGee. People like you make Gearslutz tolerable.
For posterity, here is a link I found detailing the mod that BeeGee suggested.

http://www.recordist.com/studer/A80_..._alignment.pdf

I applied this to my machine and can now monitor input in remote mode. I had no idea this was necessary. I guess it was just expected that everyone would be using a remote.
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