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Reel To Reel All discussions pertaining to reel to reel decks. These include general usage, recording, playback, and service questions. For subjects related to tape itself, see the Open Reel subforum under this one. Obscure service subjects that don't quite fit go in the Help and Do It Yourself subforum.

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  #1  
Old 08-02-2015, 01:32 AM
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390FE 390FE is offline
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EQ & BIAS settings for various vintage Tapes.

Here is an excerpt CHART I scanned from the Realistic TR-3000 Owners/Users Manual with suggested EQ & BIAS Switch Settings for a short list of various vintage Tapes.

This should be a good starting point in setting up your deck for recording on some older tapes or newer equivalents.


TR-3000 (exerpt from pg 16 Owners Manual)(EQ & Bias lower part).jpg
  #2  
Old 08-02-2015, 06:26 AM
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And here is one for the Technics RS-1500 and 1506. I believe it also applies to the RS-1700. I saw a copy of this listed on eBay for about $22!
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File Type: jpg Technics RS-Series Bias & Equalization Chart.jpg (86.0 KB, 292 views)

Last edited by dhnash; 08-02-2015 at 11:50 AM.
  #3  
Old 08-02-2015, 06:47 AM
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Wouldn't these charts be specific for the machines they are for?
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2015, 06:48 AM
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Here is the chart from the Pioneer RT-707

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Last edited by Skylab; 08-02-2015 at 06:52 AM.
  #5  
Old 08-03-2015, 04:22 AM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark J View Post
Wouldn't these charts be specific for the machines they are for?
Bias level is really a tape characteristic and not tied to the machine used. If you read the data sheets of the later pro tapes they would specify a bias needed relative to standard tapes. One example would be that Scotch 203, their first low noise, was speced as needing %117 of the bias of 111 standard tape.

The difficulty is deciding where to draw the line between standard and high bias and what relative difference to set them to. I'm also not sure what determines the 2 EQ choices as shown on the Pioneer 707.

These charts should be considered a good starting point and will suit if you want to bounce between a variety of tapes. Best results will still come from setting up a machine for one exact tape.
  #6  
Old 08-03-2015, 07:58 AM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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At the consumer level the idea of changing bias is something of a non starter. In the heyday of reel to reel there were dozens of tape brands of varying quality. If I look back at my tape buying between 1963 and 1968 I have no fewer than a half dozen brands none of which told the user anything about bias. Even if they did I wouldn't hove known what to do or how to do it. We didn't even know what the term bias meant.

In the studios it was different a studio could run one type of tape and be set for a very long time. So today it's nice to have the information but unless the user has an external bias adjustment it's almost as untenable as it was 50 years ago. I'm certainly not going to open my machines and adjust bias on the board every time I record on a new tape. And unless you're buying new the consumer has to take what they can get and that varies widely.

It's interesting information to have but there's really only ATR, RMGI LPR-35, 900 and 911 worth going through the trouble of bias adjustment on the board. And even for those tapes sometimes supplies are not reliable enough to warrant a specific set to any of them.
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Last edited by Lance Lawson; 08-03-2015 at 08:01 AM.
  #7  
Old 08-03-2015, 03:42 PM
tbllau tbllau is offline
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I never liked tapes myself when I was actively using them during my school years in the eighties of the last century. I used them coz I like using Walkmans and portables. Nto the sorta beach goers liek in the 70's but I noted drastic changes in sound when changing from ne tape to another.

Until I learnt about the calibration of tapes on tape decks, cassette and reel, that is. Then I rushed out to buy a cassette deck that had a sort of tuning on it. I started with an Akai that I could use its auto-tuning on. Regretted having sold it coz I thought the auto tuning function didn't work very well. Then I discovered Nak 582Z, which had full manual tuning on level and bias, but not EQ. It gave me a whole happy time all through secondary school and university days then.

I just got into this reel deck hobby, and it surprises me to find that, among semi-pro and hi-end reel decks, only Otari offered some sort of tunability on its MX 5050 series with internal tones, and Tandberg on TD 20A (SE) but without any internal tones at all.

A further surprise is that there seems to be no industry stadard on EQ. Not the sort of simple 120/70 on cassettes, but an undefined sorta low, mid and hi. More confusing is the naming of EQ and bias, that some decks do not have mid but only low/hi, or std/LN....... inviting unending questions nowadays.

I'm mentioning my views here coz I wonder why different reel tapes would need different EQ, unlike cassettes, where one can use 120 on metal tapes without weird freq response in the end. But I noted different teel tapes have different FR. Some have srtronger bass, some emphasized mids, some augmented highs.

Is this a trial and error game on EQ?

Terence
  #8  
Old 08-03-2015, 04:21 PM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbllau View Post

I'm mentioning my views here coz I wonder why different reel tapes would need different EQ, unlike cassettes, where one can use 120 on metal tapes without weird freq response in the end. But I noted different teel tapes have different FR. Some have srtronger bass, some emphasized mids, some augmented highs.

Is this a trial and error game on EQ?

Terence
The cassette market was in many ways a format kept simple because of the sheer number of people using them. Also the cassette all ran at the same speed so there were a few less variables. Reel to reel after the late 60's was ever more and more a audiophile format and audiophiles like tweeking and don't mind doing it. But there were far more cassette formulas than RTR. In the heyday a new formula hit every month. The reality is the reel to reel needs less bias tweeking than the cassette but perhaps the powers that be felt most folks weren't able to bother with bias adjusting which is pretty much true.
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2015, 04:39 PM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbllau View Post

A further surprise is that there seems to be no industry stadard on EQ. Not the sort of simple 120/70 on cassettes, but an undefined sorta low, mid and hi. More confusing is the naming of EQ and bias, that some decks do not have mid but only low/hi, or std/LN....... inviting unending questions nowadays.

I'm mentioning my views here coz I wonder why different reel tapes would need different EQ, unlike cassettes, where one can use 120 on metal tapes without weird freq response in the end. But I noted different teel tapes have different FR. Some have srtronger bass, some emphasized mids, some augmented highs.

Is this a trial and error game on EQ?

Terence
EQ is absolutely standardized...for playback. This is equally true for cassette and reel to reel.

Bias and EQ interact and you can adjust treble level by changing bias. That is, more bias can be used to reduce treble response. This is not the best way to set bias, though. Most spec sheets for high performance tape will give a procedure for setting bias for peak level for long wavelengths (generally frequencies of a kiloHertz or lower) or a certain amount of 10 kHz over bias (roughly again corresponding with long wave peak bias). From this point you will need to set HF EQ as required for flat playback.

This can't be standardized because to many parameters enter into it. For example ypu could have a tape that gets biased up correctly and happens to have great frequency response. Take the same formulation and thicken the oxide coating and low frequency sensitivity will increase but not treble. The same bias will be needed but now you need some treble boost for flat response.

The same is true for cassettes although the tape makers did try to standardize formulations to a few reference performance points.
  #10  
Old 08-08-2015, 07:47 PM
john from seattle john from seattle is online now
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Without the reference charts that came with your R2R deck, most people would be lost as to what is low noise, high bias, or vise versa as I've found that what the manufactures called their tapes differed enough that unless you stuck to say, Maxell, and they did keep to a similar type branding with R2R as they did their cassette line.

But a Sony tape that is simply PR 150, SLH 180, or it's ULH, which was was the better? Unless you knew what to look for, you'd likely not know that PR150 is similar to Scotch 150, a basic tape, SLH was a mid grade tape, and ULH was a higher grade tape.

As for cassettes, I mostly stuck with Maxel, from the lowly UD/UDS, their base chrome (type II) tape to UD/XL II, or XL II type II tapes, and Fuji chrome tapes, mostly their DR II type II, along with their ZR II series, and the occasional Maxell Metaxial MX metal tapes from the mid 80's through the 1990's before cycling through some of my older mix tapes. I also used the occasional TDK SA type II tapes, as well as Memorex, I think mostly type II cassettes from the 80's with the smoke transparent boxes.

Anyway, I ultimately found Fuji better than Maxell when Maxell tapes began to generate more drop outs when still newish, and the Fuji's held up much better towards the late 80's on. Even with a more or less standard bias/eq specifications for cassettes, some Chrome class tapes were clearly superior to others in terms of overall sound, drop out rate, and level of detail and clarity on any given tape deck.

As to my R2R, I have a variety of used tapes, with some Sony SLH 180 that my TEAC A4300SX deck recommends, and some 212, new old stock that I need to clean as they are known squealers.
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2015, 09:24 PM
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It would be great if we could get more BIAS & EQ Chart scans from other decks and manufactures. Even if the tape makers had their own suggestions on settings.
  #12  
Old 08-09-2015, 06:58 AM
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Well, here are a couple from Teac decks. The first has a very basic mention for the 1972 A-4070 deck. There is no EQ switch for that deck. However, the A-4300 gets more detailed, just a few years later. I have posted that graph also.
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File Type: jpg 4070 BIAS switch.jpg (28.8 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg 4300BIAS.jpg (77.2 KB, 165 views)
  #13  
Old 08-09-2015, 12:52 PM
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Most of the tables and graphs may seem interesting but as any Technician can tell you none of the tapes in the table will work to optimum levels unless that tape is calibrated for by a Technician or even a hobby person who knows how.
Decks that are older now may have even left those values of tables a long time ago so they would not be accurate IF you were to check.

The advice from a Technician is to get a machine set up for LPR35 and use that tape. The idea of using such a great machine such as an Otari with a tape like 111 or 631, 642 is a waste. Even though the Otari deck is front adjustable you are still using garbage tape. Some people go out buying all kinds of machines and some have a lot invested but it is surprising to see them fighting with trying to get good sound out of a Scotch 150. Man give it up! you are just about climbing a vertical wall and you are not going to improve that old tape with UD just behind it.

Often times I have had to modify decks to have less 7.5KHz boost due to the set up for such low grade tapes so some machines will need this correction as well when using better tapes for the 90's on forward.
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  #14  
Old 08-09-2015, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywavebe View Post

The advice from a Technician is to get a machine set up for LPR35 and use that tape. The idea of using such a great machine such as an Otari with a tape like 111 or 631, 642 is a waste. Even though the Otari deck is front adjustable you are still using garbage tape. Some people go out buying all kinds of machines and some have a lot invested but it is surprising to see them fighting with trying to get good sound out of a Scotch 150. Man give it up! you are just about climbing a vertical wall and you are not going to improve that old tape with UD just behind it.

.
Sam then there is the issue of head wear with old low quality tape. With heads so scarce you'd think people would use the gentlest tape they can.
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2015, 06:14 AM
DutchReeltoReel DutchReeltoReel is offline
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This is the Bias reference for the Phillips N4520.



"Naband piek tot" Means what's the recording's peak level.
  #16  
Old 01-03-2016, 04:13 PM
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Hello everyone, i wish you a great new year !

I may be offtopic with this, but i spent the better half of the day adjusting one of my B77 mk2 4track ReVox machines to Maxell UD-XL tape

I know the instructions from the manual, but i tend to adjust by sound not by overbias presets.
So there are 3 aspects i take in consideration for Bias adjustment.
1. Using a 40hz sine, listen on output for lowest modulation/rocks/fuzz
2. Using a 1k sine at 0db, adjust bias for lowest 3rd harmonic on an analizer.
3. Adjust for the best bandwidth from 50 hz to 20k , keeping an eye on the other two aspects.

In your experience, what is the best way to go with this? Since going for lowest distorsion usualy does not give me the best bandwidth (readings are done at -10db)

Thanks.
  #17  
Old 05-15-2016, 10:48 PM
homegas181 homegas181 is offline
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Reelspin Pioneer ft 909

Please can any one out there help me , I've got a pioneer rt 909 the main power board has gone down,I can not find any where in the uk that can fix this Iam in Shropshire , am I on my own with this problem ? If any one has Any good news for me please. Contact me on gadsby774@btinternet.com. Thanks Mel
  #18  
Old 02-22-2017, 06:19 AM
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Tape repair

Kevin Edwards can fix it for you he is based in North Staffordshire. He is a member on here or google him
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