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John Eppstein 25th December 2011 07:23 AM

Studer A 800 MKIII tape recorder
All things are relative. That's why I gave this machine an 8 on bang for the buck. It's a $100,000 machine available now in the $10k range when you can find one, which is stupid cheap. But there are other factors.

This is widely recognized as the best sounding professional tape machine ever made. It has great features, including a second set of outputs so you can monitor in sync mode while sending an output in repro to a backup recorder and other tricks, it has a switch to optimize channel 24 for time code, it has a rehearse function, built in varispeed, auto locate, etc, etc.

On the other hand, maintenance is a bear. You will NEED a tech available to keep it running properly or learn to do minor electronic repairs yourself such as replacing (socketed) chips on the audio cards. The manual (which you will need) is also somewhat difficult to navigate. It's also a good four inches thick.

As with all professional tape machines you will need to learn to align it yourself and purchase an MRL tape to do it.

The other problem is that Studer no longer supports any of their analog machines (thanks a lot, Harmon) and some parts are getting difficult to find, although I have not had too much difficulty getting anything I need.

Think of it as being similar to owning a classic high performance sports car. It needs care. But the results are worth it.

doug hazelrigg 11th January 2012 09:57 PM

I don't own one, but I've worked on them a number of times and they're wonderful. Quite often I search the web for used ones for sale, but I have yet to make the purchase. I'm convinced there's something about this unit's particular scrape-wow and flutter that have endeared it to so many. It's true they require upkeep, but they're built quite sturdily. You could not build these today, given the wonderful precision they're made with, for anywhere near the price that used ones go for.