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  #1  
Old 09-21-2017, 10:17 AM
Analog Tapeworm Analog Tapeworm is offline
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Sound quality of "superior" walkman inferior to "inferior" walkman

Forgive me for that thread title. I now own two Walkmans woho, just bought one the other day from Tradera. It's in very used condition and that probably explains everything, but here goes;

The new one (WM-EX500) sounds kind of unengaging compared to my near mint WM-EX122, and higher frequenzies sound very wavy and fluttery at times (maybe I've matched some resonant frequency between my recording deck and the walkman). This isn't the whole world but I thought it would sound better, don't know why. The amp in the 500 is very weak in comparison also but that I was kind of prepared for. I've isopropanoled and lubed it to the best of my abilities.
Since it's smaller than the 122 I'm thinking it's due to the smaller wheels and such, perhaps the 122's got heavy brass wheels or something, with higher inertia.

What happens to tape heads when they wear and how fast?
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2017, 09:58 PM
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svampen svampen is offline
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Newer walkmen were of course infected with a price reduction for production, combined with a demand for beeing smaller and lighter. Electronics were more integrated/cost reduced and might therefore produce little less quality (easy explained and my personal thoughts)

I have also a WM-EX5...something. It shares the same internals as yours. I have given up on it. It wrinkles the tapes and the speed is all over.

If you experience variable treble it is usually a cause of tape skewing i.e. the tape is not pulled straight over the tone head but kind of wanders around.
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:49 AM
Analog Tapeworm Analog Tapeworm is offline
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Can you tell from the cassette itself if this has occurred? Sometimes the tape reel looks all jagged and uneven, like it was slightly out of alignment when spooled up. Hope you know what I mean. If you play a tape in a high quality deck the side of the spool of tape will be completely smooth.
  #4  
Old 09-22-2017, 03:25 AM
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svampen svampen is offline
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I understand what you mean. Maybe, but if it is jaggered, I would more suspect the cassette shell's tolerances at first. Usually this jaggered is no problem at all.

Tape skew (also called snaking) can be observed if you look at the tape while playing. If it is not dragged completely straight, this can cause different effects: from almost none to the tape beeing completely crumbled.

Here is an example from a R2R, where it is more easy to observe. Note the tape is not rolling past the capstan/pinch roller in an smooth and even way. The "bubbles" can go back to the playhead. If the physical contact between the tape and the head is not good, this will result in bad sound, usually lack of treble.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haXCy7Ruf9Q
  #5  
Old 09-22-2017, 03:50 AM
Analog Tapeworm Analog Tapeworm is offline
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Thanks a bunch. It's hard to observe the tape path through solid metal though :'D

It honestly sounds better the more I play it, maybe it just needed to be revitalized. I don't think tape skew is a problem in mine but it would be interesting to investigate regardless.
One of the pinch rollers is very loose, it has some serious yaw, or pitch I don't know what to call it. And one capstan is noticeably thicker than the other, is this due to the smaller size of the wheel in the mechanism perhaps? The capstans have a rough surface, will this damage my tapes?

Många frågor på en gång..
  #6  
Old 09-22-2017, 04:22 AM
Analog Tapeworm Analog Tapeworm is offline
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Yep, definitely sounds better today. The high frequencies in F.U.S.E - Dimension Intrusion are much less hesitant for lack of a better word.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKac96TH-_Y
(just link to song, not actual recording... it's a good song)

Last edited by Analog Tapeworm; 09-22-2017 at 04:35 AM.
  #7  
Old 09-22-2017, 05:28 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Both walkmans are not low level, although both of them revolve around a single IC for playback and amplifying - TA2123 vs. LA4582.
One cannot expect stellar results from either, yet both, like the vast majority of the late walkmans are really vastly superior to anything real cheap ones - this is one clear case when discrete analogue is far worse than integrated electronics:
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  #8  
Old 09-22-2017, 07:16 AM
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LesX55 LesX55 is offline
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Personally I think the Sony Walkman line up hit a massive did from the 90s onwards ( exception being DD9 )
And for me the best mid level Sony is the WM-60!! Scarily underrated!! I have 3, of which one is in perfect working order- the other are kept as spares!
Next up but a little more expensive in the day is the DD-33, also very good with its DD drive but the 60 sounds clearly better!
Then there’s the portable ultimate DC-2...the best of the best!!! Now very very expensive!!
So yes get yourself a WM-60!
I’ve never tried the EX Walkman’s.....other than too say they never got good reviews and have the awful volume limiter and are all under powered with the one solitary battery....the only plus is the heads are said to be excellent
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2017, 08:33 AM
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svampen svampen is offline
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Quote:
Thanks a bunch. It's hard to observe the tape path through solid metal though :'D
You have to remove it in order to see. Two small screws on one of the long sides to remove the side without the buttons (i.e. to access the cassette compartment)

Quote:
It honestly sounds better the more I play it, maybe it just needed to be revitalized. I don't think tape skew is a problem in mine but it would be interesting to investigate regardless.
Give the thing a good clean; capstans, pinch rollers, heads. Maybe it is not used for a long time and the belt, friction parts etc inside will need to rotate some to get back in business. Mechanical stuff wants to move now and then.

Quote:
One of the pinch rollers is very loose, it has some serious yaw, or pitch I don't know what to call it.
Hmm? What?

Quote:
And one capstan is noticeably thicker than the other, is this due to the smaller size of the wheel in the mechanism perhaps? The capstans have a rough surface, will this damage my tapes?
The way the rubber belt inside is routed give a little different rotation speed of the two capstans (they both rotate at the same time). This is compensated with one beeing large and one smaller.
They are suppose to be rough looking. It gives better friction and won't harm the tape.

Quote:
Många frågor på en gång..
Den som frågar får oftast någon form av svar.
  #10  
Old 09-22-2017, 12:12 PM
odgcwrtw odgcwrtw is offline
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As it seems to be getting "better" as you use it, the problem sounds mechanical, like tape skew, or pinch roller/belt.

Has the belt of the EX500 been replaced? If so, check pinch roller condition. look or any indents or glaze that might cause wow/flutter and skew problems there. This mechanism needs good pinch rollers to perform. You mentioned a pinch roller being "loose"? How does that compare to the other?

With the front (button) cover removed, put the unit in play without a tape in it and remove the battery (cheat the system by holding down the tape detect lever). Turn the capstan flywheel furthest from the motor (that turns the reel table). You should not feel any sudden increases in mechanical resistance, and it should be relatively easy to turn. This is to see if wow/flutter is caused by a problem under the board. If there is a lot of resistance, lubrication is required (or slightly shrunken gears, old belt goo), but very rare in this model.

The amp is weaker on these late models, but the performance when working right should be quite respectable. Unfortunately, like many other late logic models, azimuth is not adjustable and if there is a problem with the head or its alignmest, the head block needs to be swapped out for the most part.
  #11  
Old 09-24-2017, 09:57 AM
Analog Tapeworm Analog Tapeworm is offline
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Made a video of it! It works very well now, I've disassembled, cleaned and lubed as much of it as I could without desoldering anything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQai_aVHibw
  #12  
Old 09-29-2017, 12:14 AM
Lapis Lapis is offline
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Smile

@LesX55: I wouldn't say DD9 is the exception as that model does not even have an adjustable azimuth compared to a WM-501. The truth is that Walkmans experienced their decline when going for slimline models just to impress the ladies. There are good alternatives to DD9 such as the 701T, 701S (both luxurious models) or 701C in white.
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