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Vintage Tape Machine for Effects Use? Akai M7 Roberts 770x Etc. Single-Channel Preamps
Old 10th April 2016
Here for the gear
phrecine's Avatar

Vintage Tape Machine for Effects Use? Akai M7 Roberts 770x Etc.

I am going through a phase of reconfiguration to get my studio out of the box. I'm going to be a console and outboard guy! Finally!

This leads me to my question - I'd like to get an old tape machine to use for slap delays and perhaps some stereo ping pong delays using console sends. I'd also like to print to it for some Lo-Fi effects. I've been looking at the old Akai / Roberts tube machines which seem to come up for sale quite often and at pretty reasonable prices.

My experience with tape machines has only been on high end machines in commercial studios, Studers, Ampexes, Otaris, Scullys and MCIs... I know that this is a totally different thing and I don't expect the real nice Hi-Fi mix printing, really just for effects and the occasional Lo-Fi print.

So, my question to you all who are well versed in these type of vintage machines - of which there seem to be unending varieties available - what should I be looking for? What models are the best and most dependable? I'm imagining a 2 track 1/4" machine that gets up to at least 7.5 ips (ideally 15 ips) and has some nice tube line amps on the front end. I have an Ampex 601 modded to be a mic pre / line amp that I love. The Akai/Roberts stuff seems to really closely resemble the 50s Ampex gear... do the similarities go beyond the aesthetic? I know I'm likely in for a project and I've got an incredible tech who does all my gear.

Would the Akai M7 or the Roberts 770x be good candidates for this? What else should I consider? What should I be on the lookout for?

Thank you! Your knowledge, expertise and experience are invaluable!
Old 10th April 2016
Lives for gear
loujudson's Avatar
Look for a 2 track with 7.5 and 15IPS speeds. The home machines are noisier and lower fidelity.

AND plan to spend a lot of time and/or money getting it restored to top condition. Best is to hire someone who knows to show you how to do it. And buy an professioanal test and alignment tape and learn how to use it.
Old 8th July 2018
Here for the gear

Ampex 400/601 akai roberts sound on sound

So I have a VU meter for the 400 and it should work for the 600s and 350s - I am not sure if I need it as I am modding a 601 and am not sure if the one on this unit works - if not I will sell it for a good price.
I also have a killer Roberts Akai sound on sound machine - it needs servicing but the heads are great etc. I could use it for slap back but would sell it for a reasonable price if tempted.
Hit me back
Old 9th July 2018
I use an Akai 4000 DS for tape echo. Works great. There are plenty of them on evil bay. Look for one in good shape. The one I have has a modified capston sleeve so it runs at 12 inches per second for a faster echo.
Old 12th July 2018
Lives for gear
vernier's Avatar
I'd mix albums on M6 or M7, no prob.
Old 12th July 2018
Lives for gear
mikeyman's Avatar

i'm giving my Dokorder 4 track to a nice person who happens to be a famous engineer producer.I don't want to mess with those things anymore..I am all ITB
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