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  #1  
Old 10-15-2017, 05:49 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Welp, that was fast. (Onkyo TA-2058)

Looks like I may have been bamboozled after all. Either that or I'm doing something wrong and can't figure out what.

After not touching my new TA-2058 for a few days, I went to record a few tapes for a batch I have to ship tomorrow. And what do you know, it's acting strangely.

First, I make sure I save the exact settings I used on my mixer from the previous session of recording, so literally nothing has changed. I double checked and the volume leaving the mixer is a little bit under 0db, in the -1 to -3 db range. However, the Source signal on the TA-2058 is showing a lower level than last time. Note that I had not changed the level slider on either my mixer OR the Onkyo itself. So that was oddity #1.

When I recorded anyway, sure enough the tape level was low. Very low. Many db less than even the Source signal showed. Also, the tape sounded distorted, like it had actually been recorded way too "hot", i.e. in the red. But I checked again and it wasn't. Ran more tests, same thing. Whether I turn the input level up or down, the tape comes out distorted and quieter than the signal indicates.

This is very frustrating because I used the deck a few days ago to record several tapes that seemed to have come out just fine. I hadn't used the deck at all for a few days, didn't change any settings or alter it in any way and now it's doing this. Hoping there is some easy solution here. I also auto-calibrated the tape before I recorded it with the Accubias function. Tried HX Pro on and off too.

Please help. These have to be shipped tomorrow as I have a pickup scheduled. Thanks, - J
  #2  
Old 10-15-2017, 06:16 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Hmm, just seems like it's another deck of mine that the digital meters tell lies. Weird.
  #3  
Old 10-15-2017, 06:46 PM
Jeepwalker Jeepwalker is offline
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Does it have a Bypass or other feature you can listen via headphones as it's recording? If so, what does it sound like? Distorted?

Given it's age, it almost sounds like a possible weak internal wire connection or corroded switch/knobs issue. I'd work the switches back/fourth, especially the record level slider .....and see if you can hear static or things get better. Also, perhaps there's an internal ribbon cable that's got a weak connection.

I bought a deck off ebay recently (with known problems) and it turned out to be a weak ribbon cable connection internally. Some judicious wiggling and problem solved.

You could also spray some tuner spray or deoxit in the switches. Your unit has sliders which are notorious for being 'scratchy' compared to knobs. Just work them back/fourth a bunch of times an see what happens.

Last edited by Jeepwalker; 10-15-2017 at 06:49 PM.
  #4  
Old 10-15-2017, 07:37 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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I don't know what's up with it. The meters don't make any sense. And the high end is very high. Too high. Even with the HX Pro featured turned off, the high end frequencies have a lot of sibilance, even with the preset of -2 Accubias which is supposed to attenuate the high frequencies.

I'm stumped. This deck belonged to an actual tech. So I guess I should email him.

Edit - Could this be some sort of balanced/unbalanced issue? The RCAs from my digital recorder aren't the same as the inputs on the Onkyo? My recorder outputs line level -10dbm , whatever that means...

Last edited by jethrodumont; 10-15-2017 at 07:49 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-15-2017, 08:01 PM
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Do prerecored tapes play fine on the Onkyo?

With the Onkyo monitor switch set to source, and audio connected to the input, what does the deck's output sound like?
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2017, 08:29 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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The prerecorded tapes sound good, but the meters show that even they are -8db. My recorded tapes can't get as loud as the prerecorded ones without introducing distortion, but I got them close (probably 2-3 db apart). However, when setting the recording level, It has to be quite low, a few db below zero and certainly nowhere near the +2db level the manual suggests for normal bias tapes. If I even get around -3db, or if the red marker flashes occasionally, the distortion is very bad. So that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

It's a harsh distortion too, not a warm analog tape compression. As if my levels were set *very* high. I'm wondering if maybe the output of my Zoom MRS-1608 recorder doesn't have something to do with it. Since I was getting weird issues with the Nak MR-2 too. The output sounds good but maybe there is some technical detail I'm missing when it comes to an output going from a digital recorder to an input on an analog tape machine.. ?

Last edited by jethrodumont; 10-15-2017 at 08:45 PM.
  #7  
Old 10-15-2017, 10:39 PM
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maybe you record with a wrong tape type.

it is difficult to diagnose this as there are so many variables in the game.
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2017, 03:22 AM
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Which tape did you use?
I would take a standard tape like a tdk sa (no X) or a maxell xl II (no S), calibrate the deck to it and record something from a CD-player or your mobile phone (at 75% output level) and see if your mixer or the tape has anything to do with it.
If this does not work properly your deck might need a service.
You could also record my testtrack from this thread and share your result, to see how good your deck records at the moment.
http://www.tapeheads.net/showthread.php?t=60326
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2017, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodumont View Post
The prerecorded tapes sound good, but the meters show that even they are -8db. My recorded tapes can't get as loud as the prerecorded ones without introducing distortion, but I got them close (probably 2-3 db apart). However, when setting the recording level, It has to be quite low, a few db below zero and certainly nowhere near the +2db level the manual suggests for normal bias tapes. If I even get around -3db, or if the red marker flashes occasionally, the distortion is very bad. So that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

It's a harsh distortion too, not a warm analog tape compression. As if my levels were set *very* high. I'm wondering if maybe the output of my Zoom MRS-1608 recorder doesn't have something to do with it. Since I was getting weird issues with the Nak MR-2 too. The output sounds good but maybe there is some technical detail I'm missing when it comes to an output going from a digital recorder to an input on an analog tape machine.. ?
As suggested already, try recording output from another device like a CD player, computer audio etc...
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2017, 08:05 AM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoganic View Post
Which tape did you use?
I would take a standard tape like a tdk sa (no X) or a maxell xl II (no S), calibrate the deck to it and record something from a CD-player or your mobile phone (at 75% output level) and see if your mixer or the tape has anything to do with it.
If this does not work properly your deck might need a service.
You could also record my testtrack from this thread and share your result, to see how good your deck records at the moment.
http://www.tapeheads.net/showthread.php?t=60326
Cool. I'd have to convert it to a .wav to use in my digital recorder though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MHzTweaker View Post
As suggested already, try recording output from another device like a CD player, computer audio etc...
It's weird because in the past with my Nak MR-2, the balanced stereo 3.5mm to rca input worked great. It seems like there's some weird thing going on between my digital recorder and the tape machines. Not sure what exactly though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
maybe you record with a wrong tape type.

it is difficult to diagnose this as there are so many variables in the game.
The tapes I tried are pretty poor overall, just Normal bias tapes. I have chrome cassettes too but haven't recorded much on those yet. I'll post the results in the future when I try recording albums on the new chrome cassettes.
  #11  
Old 10-16-2017, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodumont View Post
The tapes I tried are pretty poor overall, just Normal bias tapes. I have chrome cassettes too but haven't recorded much on those yet. I'll post the results in the future when I try recording albums on the new chrome cassettes.
I meant that you put a normal tape but the deck thought it is a metal one, or viceversa - signs of a defective sensor.
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  #12  
Old 10-17-2017, 11:01 AM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
I meant that you put a normal tape but the deck thought it is a metal one, or viceversa - signs of a defective sensor.
Ah, interesting. I'm not sure. But when I record more tapes I'll keep an eye on things. The next batch will be using the chrome 40 minute blanks.
  #13  
Old 10-17-2017, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jethrodumont View Post
Hmm, just seems like it's another deck of mine that the digital meters tell lies. Weird.
The meters on a cassette deck, especially for consumers, are no way Swiss clockworks. Digital (I assume non-needle type) or analogue (I think needle type).
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  #14  
Old 10-17-2017, 05:22 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
The meters on a cassette deck, especially for consumers, are no way Swiss clockworks. Digital (I assume non-needle type) or analogue (I think needle type).
I know this, but the differences I'm seeing are beyond just simply being off a few (or several) ticks. Differences of 7-10db shouldn't happen, right?
  #15  
Old 10-17-2017, 10:46 PM
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If your deck shows levels of -8db with prerecordeds then the deck has an issue.
I would not use it for your project before it works properly.
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  #16  
Old 10-18-2017, 01:21 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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The volume matches with a professional tape though, or at least close enough (probably off by 1-2 db or so.) I tested with a Temptations cassette. While theirs sounded better than mine mix-wise and technical wise, and a couple db louder, it also registered at a low volume on the meters. Weird. It sounded good though.

Maybe it's just the meter itself that has an issue?
  #17  
Old 10-20-2017, 05:33 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Well I'm pleased to report that my suspicion was right, in that there was some weird interplay between the output of my digital recorder and the input of the Onkyo. I don't know the specifics, but once I ran the output of the digi recorder into a USB-powered preamp, and the outputs of that into the Onkyo, the meters now register properly, the tapes sound great and the difference can be heard big time.

This was a much needed boost for me. Thanks to y'all for the help.

Edit - Guess I jinxed myself. The left channel records quieter than the right, even though the levels look the same on the meters.

Last edited by jethrodumont; 10-20-2017 at 06:53 PM.
  #18  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:04 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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I guess I learned the hard way about "serviced" tape decks on Ebay. Unless they SPECIFICALLY state what they've done to the unit, avoid. I understand I took a risk, I felt more comfortable being this deck was from an actual tech who also said it was serviced, but there was nothing written about the specifics. Turned out the servicing was cleaned heads and that's about it.

But, I'm glad to have the deck. Hoping to get it fixed in the future.

Once I get a few more bucks though I'll need to venture again into the market for a serviced, killer recording deck. Peace.
  #19  
Old 10-24-2017, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethrodumont View Post
I guess I learned the hard way about "serviced" tape decks on Ebay. Unless they SPECIFICALLY state what they've done to the unit, avoid. I understand I took a risk, I felt more comfortable being this deck was from an actual tech who also said it was serviced, but there was nothing written about the specifics. Turned out the servicing was cleaned heads and that's about it.

But, I'm glad to have the deck. Hoping to get it fixed in the future.

Once I get a few more bucks though I'll need to venture again into the market for a serviced, killer recording deck. Peace.
This is why everyone was telling you not to get a "serviced" deck from eBay in the other thread. You said you weren't an eBay noob and you got bamboozled. I'm no expert, far from it, but after reading lots of threads over the past year, I've learned this. I'm amazed that my CR-3A still works since I got it from eBay in February. It's an exception to the rule for sure, but that's why it's an exception.
  #20  
Old 10-24-2017, 05:53 PM
jethrodumont jethrodumont is offline
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Originally Posted by abdullahcfix View Post
This is why everyone was telling you not to get a "serviced" deck from eBay in the other thread. You said you weren't an eBay noob and you got bamboozled. I'm no expert, far from it, but after reading lots of threads over the past year, I've learned this. I'm amazed that my CR-3A still works since I got it from eBay in February. It's an exception to the rule for sure, but that's why it's an exception.
It was a calculated risk. I saw a Technics RS-B555 that had a detailed servicing list with specifics. But at the last second I rolled the dice on the Onkyo that basically had no details at all. Not because I am an Ebay noob, I just rolled the dice knowingly hoping for a bigger payoff.

But it did let me fill my order so I guess something good came from it. Now just have to figure out why the channels don't match again on this deck. I have to turn the panpot all the way to the right just to get an even recording. No bueno.
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