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what used two inch to look for? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 5th February 2003
  #1
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

what used two inch to look for?

A would be client dropped by today to look at the new room in progress and stated matter of factly " I'd bring a ton of projects here if you had a 2inch"
(this isn't the first comment like this from would be new biz)
So we're looking into the options.

what to look for in a used machine? Also, our mic pres are pretty much all alacarte, this would require us getting a small console for headphone mixes and monitoring.....or would we shoot to lock up the PT rig right from the get go?

The last time I priced 2 inch machines was in 94 and just couldn't spend the $$$ neeed to get in the game.

where would you start looking? (we're in So Ca)
could someone fill in the holes for me, what to look for , what to avoid?
thanks
Old 5th February 2003
  #2
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Sounds logical.. plus, it would suck to go buy an Otari, and have people say " You know, I would bring a ton of work here if you had a Studer..."
Old 5th February 2003
  #3
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Mike Tholen's Avatar
 

check into a Studer A800.
simply the best.
Old 5th February 2003
  #4
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Ahhh.... 2". Yum. Comes in two flavors, 2" 16 and 2" 24. I'd go with the 2" 24 variety, you can still mix 16 track tapes and clients won't say "But it's only 16 tracks!"

Renting a deck doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. In NYC the typical rental price is about $400 or $450 a day from Dreamhire and you can buy a deck for as little as $2K or as much as $25K.

There's no arguing with a Studer A800. Hands down probably the best machine ever built. The other big bang for the buck decks are the MTR90MkII and MkIII (try to avoid the MkI), the MCI JH-24, Ampex MM1200, and the Otari MX80. I'm not a big fan of the MX-80 but it doesn't suck. The plastic alignment pots are a bit cheesy and it won't take a 14" reel. Most of the time you'll never have to worry about it but last year I did get a mixing gig over another studio because their deck couldn't take a 14" reel and mine could. Haha! For the most part 2" is 2" but some people do feel better about certain decks and I can totally understand and relate.

Yes, you'll also need a console for monitoring and mixing. Clients who work on 2" will really not be into tracking to 2" and dumping to PT for mixing. Also, factor in cabling.

The first thing you'll need to do is establish a budget. Figure that once you buy the deck you'll need to drop a few more bucks into it, same deal with the console. $4000-5000 is a reasonable budget for a 2" deck, spending more won't always get you a better deck. Spend less then $4K and it'll probably need some to a lot of work. My JH-24 was more (almost double) but it had also been recapped and gone through so I knew it didn't need anything when I got it. Figure that for a decent console and deck your probably looking at about $10-16 large unless you get really lucky on the used market.

When looking at a deck the first thing to get is a head report from JRF or the other place in Florida (forget the name at the moment). After that ask about the caps, motors, autolocater & meters. After you get all that fun stuff out of the way your kind of into machine specific stuff. Like, were all the red sockets on the MCI replaced or did the Ampex get the mod for faster punch-ins etc.

Hope this helped...
Old 5th February 2003
  #5
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atticus's Avatar
There is an A800 on Ebay right now for $8500. Don't know if it is a good price but I just figured I'd post it.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=15199
Old 6th February 2003
  #6
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Seems like a good deal, I'm not too sure what an A800 is going for these days though and the auction is over anyway. I can't think of too many people that buy something big like a tape machine or console off Ebay unless it's really cheap. ****, the JH-24 that I almost bought was on Ebay and when I called the studio for more info it turned out that I actually knew the engineer (he played sax for a bunch of people that I know) and he said "As a friend I'll tell you, don't buy this deck."

Funny enough, if you look at the market for analog decks a solid 1/2" deck will cost you almost as much as a 2" deck. There are plenty of deals out there if you look around. I'd still buy one rather then rent it. Renting a DAW makes sense because it's easy to move and you don't have to worry about keeping it up to date. Moving a 500 pound tape deck the size of a hot dog cart around really sucks. Plus, some decks (like MCI's, and 3M) don't really like being moved and wont' be stable until they've sat in one place for a bit. Plus, who wants to (or actually can) calibrate the transport and stuff for each session if it's a rental? Buy the deck and do it once or twice a year instead.
Old 6th February 2003
  #7
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Ampex MM1200 fantastic for bed tracks like bass and drums and everything else... but the transport is kinda slow.. but the sonics outweigh the slow transport if ur patient.

ATR 124..... the be all and end all of 2".. so long as they are setup and teched out right.. it dont get better!.. but there are vERy few of them around and most of them reside @ oceanway.

MCI-jh 24 is a great workhors and is what i learnt to use first. pretty decent transport. Mostly transparent sound. Easy to find part and heads.. BIG PLUS!!!! sand cheap and kinda easy to runa nd maintain. Ours had some bull**** black box mod doent o the drop in speed and still to this day no machine i have ever used dropped in an dout as fast as this one... it was spectacular.. several techs tried to work it out and apply it to othe rjh-24's to no avail..

Otari MTR-90... workhorse that sounds good and is easy to maintain and lotsa parts are still being made as it is the ONLY 2" currently in production.. all be it in continually dwindling numbers..

Studers, Soundcraft, Stephens, Autotec, Aces, Lyrec, 3M (mean tot sound FAT as!..ala motown!) i have not had the pleasure or displeasure to use so i cant comment.. other than what others have told me..

Keep an eye out for any of these machines cos they are still VERY handy for a pro studio.. dont let people tell u otherwise as ther eis still a bit of work around for this format... although it is becoming less.

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 6th February 2003
  #8
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

I had my eyes on a Studer A80 16 Trk(3000$) for three years and now it was sold and I'm kikin myself all over.
I don't need it anyway.
Old 7th February 2003
  #9
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by 7rojo7
I had my eyes on a Studer A80 16 Trk(3000$) for three years and now it was sold and I'm kikin myself all over.
I don't need it anyway.
That's a great machine/format to cut basics on! Especially an old one with discrete electronics, although don't plan on being a punching fiend on a pre MkIV... Wish I had one...

MM1200 DO sound very very good!

Probably the best sound quality vs features vs built quality vs price machine must be the A800 mkIII. I've never had less than spectacular results and very few hassles whith those machines.

Unique Recording in NYC had a recently recapped one on eBay not too long ago that did not sell.
Might be worth checking out...
Old 7th February 2003
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I love my 3M M79. It's a peculiar beast. There are a few 3M wizards out there. Contact me if you get a 3M. My guy has some mods that will really make it sing! Most good tech can work on an MCI or Studer, or Otari. Stephens are known less than 3M, Lyrec just don't go there, Soundcraft (yes they made a 2") I doubt you'll find and expert. Ampex are known but the "old guard," the ATR-124 is about the hardest and most expensive tape deck to repair, Michael Spitz won't even work on them.
Old 7th February 2003
  #11
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound
...the ATR-124 is about the hardest and most expensive tape deck to repair...
They're also the ones that run hoter and have the most fans! You MUST have a well conditioned machine room to contemplate these machines! yuktyy

Regarding the Soundcraft, I've never used one but the only guy I know that had one at some point told me he had to change it for a Studer when it caught fire!

Mmmh, the smell of tape...
Old 7th February 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Hi all,

Is $600 for an Otari MX50 a good deal ?? i'm thinking of adding an 2" for tracking drums. I'm on Pt HD. My drum tracks sounds very good already with Daking Pre and PT HD...wonder if 2" will make that much of a difference. Thanks.
Old 8th February 2003
  #13
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Quote:
wonder if 2" will make that much of a difference.
depends on what you are doing?

And whether or not you are coming from a 2" background. I am reared on 2" and when i moved over to PT last yr i just noticed that off the bat there was a significant difference.. however its more a matter of knowing the format that you choose to work with so that you know its strengths and weakneses in relation to acheiving the tyoe of sound that in ya head.. i have heard great drums done on PT by people who know it inside out... but im still a sucker for magentic oxide so go and figure..

I have had decent result by tracking drums to 2"16tr and then flying it into PT and doin everything else there.

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 8th February 2003
  #14
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Yeah, 2" will make a difference if you know what your doing with it and are willing to get the required tools to maintain it. But, if you aren't then it's going to hurt you. Analog tape is not a magic cure all that makes ****ty audio sound good. If you don't know how to align and bias a deck and take care of and feed the transport it'll sound worse then a DAW or even a cassette deck.

I don't think the MX50 is a 2" deck and if it is it's gonna be really old. They made an MX5050 which came in a few flavors. Either 1/4" or 1/2" with 2 to 8 tracks.

Supposedly the ATR124 sounds amazing but punches slower then ****. I've never had the chance to use one, but rumor has it that most studios with a 124 around also have an A800 or whatever that gets used for overdubs. Speaking of punching the JH-24 is really really fast, even at 15ips. It's almost as good as an Adat or Tascam DTRS deck.
Old 8th February 2003
  #15
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

I have a JH24 and an A820 and the A820 punches out much better than the JH24...no trace.

The A820 aligns and sounds more linear than the JH24. The JH24 has larger head bumps in the lows and low-mids. Different colors.

The 820 and 827 are probably the most linear-responding 2" machines out there.

Of course, it depends how you align them.
Old 9th February 2003
  #16
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
I have a JH24 and an A820 and the A820 punches out much better than the JH24...no trace.

The A820 aligns and sounds more linear than the JH24. The JH24 has larger head bumps in the lows and low-mids. Different colors.
And you can also buy 4 or 5 JH-24's for the cost of one A820. Not to say that an A820 doesn't rock because it might (never had the chance to use one, but I have spent a day or two on an 827) but the JH-24 is no slouch.
Old 9th February 2003
  #17
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
And you can also buy 4 or 5 JH-24's for the cost of one A820. Not to say that an A820 doesn't rock because it might (never had the chance to use one, but I have spent a day or two on an 827) but the JH-24 is no slouch.
I don't think he was dogging it, just pointing out the diffrences...
Old 9th February 2003
  #18
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Of course. But, I was just trying to point out the difference in cost between the two. You pay a lot more for a little extra seamlessness.
Old 12th February 2003
  #19
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

thanks for the helpful info here.
I may have a line on an MX 80. Private studio,one owner, as little as 600 hours total. the guy has a label/room that does primarily new age stuff. He made the switch to DP about 3 years ago. Has dolby and remote.

He has the machine maintained by the same company it was purchased from.
Question is #1 How much was it new?
If it is indeed "mint" what would be a reasonable offer?

I'd prefer to stay DAW only , but the climate around here is such that a 2" could help attract clients we'd otherwise not see, so looks like we'll have to dive in now or later.I'm sure the bulk of projects would end up in Tools so the idea of forking over for an analog desk may not be a worry...but if we were to look for something under 10 k.....suggestions? (we've got the mic pre's covered.
thanks
Old 13th February 2003
  #20
Gear Addict
 

A 2" deck is one of the friendlier captial costs you can incur in terms of how many years of use you'll get out of it. Many big rooms have kept their decks going for 20 years. Divide the cost of a Studer over that much time and it's pretty reasonable. Yeah, there is maintenance, repair, and tape costs, but hard drives cost, too, and you won't be in an every three year upgrade cycle like with your DAW. If it brings enough work year in and year out and you don't have anything more compelling to spend the money on, go for it.

Bear
Old 13th February 2003
  #21
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

If the 2" will increase your clients and sales, I would finance its purchase with a 2-4 year lease-to-buy, allowing the machine to pay for itself over time and relatively painlessly with the increased business it brings you.

If its just for you, then pay cash.

Remember that the machine you choose will say something about the quality of your studio....a Studer A827, A820, or A800 provides a different perception than, say, an Otari or old MCI. Also, the more recent the machine, the less maintenance problems/issues you'll have to deal with.

Don't forget to factor in an additional $500 for an MRL alignment tape, plus $100 or so for a headstack optical realignment at JRF, plus maybe a head re-lapping while its there, if needed.
Old 13th February 2003
  #22
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dave-G's Avatar
Great responses by Jay, Wiggy and Jon here, and I'd only add that the difference in sonics between, say an A800 and and MTR90mkII is actually pretty large. Clearly, the Otari should be cheaper to procure, and it is a great workhorse deck (I've worked with one for years), it punches brilliantly and handles tape nicely, but it just doesn't have that "aahhh" sound of a well-maintained 800, or even an MCI (if you get the MCI going during the 5 minutes it stays aligned )

And while we're on the topic. I still miss the smell of 996. grudge

-dave
Old 13th February 2003
  #23
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
MCI's can be stable for long periods of time but it takes time to get them there. I was planning on digging into mine for monthly maintance today but I yanked my back out a few days ago... still sitting here with the heating pad.


Rather then spending $500 on the big MRL get a shorty for about $300. It'll have 1k, 10k, 100hz and I think 12khz and 16khz too at both 15 and 30ips. Not too shabby and besides, who really uses the other tones?

I'd offer as little as possible for an MX80 or any other deck. I was considering one before I got the JH-24. It had both 24 track and 32-track heads (32 were unused, maybe 1 or 2 projects on them) and I think the seller was asking $7K but we got to around $4K and were still talking but I didn't think it was going to get much lower then that. Yeah, I'd probably start around $3500 and see where it goes. I wouldn't go over $6500 though. If you look around and are patient enough you can score an MTR-90 in that range. And, I'd start another thread on consoles after you do a search of what's already been said.

BTW, 456 smells great and I don't mind GP9 either. Emtec doesn't smell as good.

And before I check out and take more drugs... A friend of a friend is selling his JH-24 in north western NJ. Parting it out is also an option, but if that the case I get the power supplys. If anyone is interested drop an email [email protected]. It's actually the deck I almost bought and the guy who bought it hasn't used it at all in the year and half he's owned it.
Old 13th February 2003
  #24
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Bad news...the pro audio tape division of Emtec is apparently in insolvency proceedings.
Old 13th February 2003
  #25
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cajonezzz's Avatar
 

I'm pretty sure that the price on this deck would be in the Hi 5's maybe 6k. My gut feeling is that this would be one of those "granny only drove it on Sunday" deals, 'course I wouldn't know for sure until we see it first hand.

Have you 2" veterens worked on this machine in particular?(mx80) Any caveats with this particular deck....?

If a client started his project on say a Studer A800 and wanted to continue at our place would they be turning their nose up at the Otari? Are the sonics completely different ....punching?
Old 14th February 2003
  #26
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Have you 2" veterens worked on this machine in particular?(mx80) Any caveats with this particular deck....?
For some engineers its a love or hate deck..I dont mind it cos IMHO.... nearly any 2" is better than none!!!! when tracking basics! so long as it works and is not too much of a pain in the ass and dont **** itself half way thru a sessionas 2"'s have a nasty tendency to do!grudge

I found it CLEAN... there is not much of a head bump around on this machine. The transport is more than adequate and pretty fast considering it was the cut down big bro of the MTR 90. From what i have been able to gather about this machine it was meant mainly for SMALL studios and post places that would not be thrasin it 24/7... it falls very much into that "granny only drove it on Sunday" type of vibe... not to sayu that it wont cut it @ 24/7 operation rather that it wont LAST @ long as one ofthe other afforementioned decks like JH-24, MTR-90, Studers etc.. maintenance will be more than regualr thats all. MTR-90's are REAL work horse that rarely **** up or go down... but it al depends cos ive heard of hell stories from all makes of 2" decks even 827's that shat themselves from new after a month of operation.. but definately get a tech to look at it and also parts are still around for these. Thats another consideration for older machines like AMPEX and 3M and Stephens... but i read that if ur kind enuff and live close by 'Mr Stephens' himself does house calls! how cool is that!

But if if the right price i would get it cos they are pretty decent machines and will open a door for you and ur business that is not currently available for the moment... and if ppl start complaining that u dont have a studer well tell em to fist it! cos we got that cos we got an MCI with our 8024 neve and its just crap cos as if any half decent engineer is gona complain about tracking thru 24 x 1073's and a MCI-jh 24...... total ******S!!!!!!!.. i cant understand the goldent rule of Studers and Neve... i mean sure in a perfect world but its Melbourne here not LA!!! LOL!!!

anyway ive vented now so im gona shut up.. he heheheheh

Let us know!

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 14th February 2003
  #27
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Bad news...the pro audio tape division of Emtec is apparently in insolvency proceedings.
Old news man. They're still making 2" tape and wouldn't ya know it but they ditched the ****ed up blue flange on SM900 and went back to the regular silver one. How's that for progress?
Old 14th February 2003
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I've met a number of people who think the MX-80 is not worth owning. They say it sounds cold and bland and is not worth the time. One of these guys is not one of the Otari hating snobs. He started a record on and MTR-90 and did overdubs on the MX-80. He said the difference was night and day.
Old 14th February 2003
  #29
Gear Addict
 

To veer OT a bit more, is Emtec still doing 1/4" and 1/2"? I still haven't gotten a good chance to mess with 468 and I want to try it.

Bear
Old 14th February 2003
  #30
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
As long as they're making tape they'll be making 1/4" and 1/2". Tape is made on really wide rolls, then it's cut to different widths. So, 2" is made from the same sheet as 1/4" and 1".
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