Best regards and presentation of my Studer A820

Ingenia

Member
Jul 15, 2018
13
0
6
Hello everyone.
This forum is a pleasant meeting place for enthusiasts of the old sound machines.
I work as a sound technician in a recording studio.
All my sound world has become digital.
Now I need to transfer old sound tracks on tape to wav files.
I have taken this Studer machine for a while, then I will look for a new owner.
At first glance it looks clean, but with the camera on my phone, I see dirt around the heads.
What is the best way to clean this dirt?

20180728_144646.jpg
20180728_010605.jpg
 

Ki Choi

Member Sponsor
May 13, 2010
757
8
430
Seattle WA area
Based on your photo of the heads, this machine had been neglected. There are wears in both record and repro head with close to oval wear pattern that show me the tensions on this machine were not correctly set for a long time. I would suggest this headblock to be sent to a professional place to be relapped, be cleaned ultrasonically, and optically realigned. John French would be my choice for revitalizing the headbock to match the rest of the marvelous machine when calibrated and adjusted properly.
 

astrotoy

VIP/Donor
May 25, 2010
1,137
411
525
SF Bay Area
Based on your photo of the heads, this machine had been neglected. There are wears in both record and repro head with close to oval wear pattern that show me the tensions on this machine were not correctly set for a long time. I would suggest this headblock to be sent to a professional place to be relapped, be cleaned ultrasonically, and optically realigned. John French would be my choice for revitalizing the headbock to match the rest of the marvelous machine when calibrated and adjusted properly.

Ki, would you recommend that he get anything else serviced in the machine? I have used John French for several relappings for different machines. Really excellent work. His website is www.jrfmagnetics.com.

Larry
 

Ki Choi

Member Sponsor
May 13, 2010
757
8
430
Seattle WA area
Ki, would you recommend that he get anything else serviced in the machine? I have used John French for several relappings for different machines. Really excellent work. His website is www.jrfmagnetics.com.

Larry

Hi Larry,

The machine seems to be a Mk II version judging from its flat VU meter volume knob caps (Mk I's have shiny contoured caps) and its wide roller caster. So it's a young machine relatively speaking. Whoever buys it should check all the electrolytic caps (more than likely it will have all blue Philips caps but still the Frako studded can type filter caps) and replace the Lithium Iron battery in its MPU Master Card as a minimum. One can never know what else to do until loading a reel of tape and start the basic transport exercises and measure its audio performances while sweeping 20Hz-20Khz in record mode.

Ki
 

Ingenia

Member
Jul 15, 2018
13
0
6
Based on your photo of the heads, this machine had been neglected. There are wears in both record and repro head with close to oval wear pattern that show me the tensions on this machine were not correctly set for a long time. I would suggest this headblock to be sent to a professional place to be relapped, be cleaned ultrasonically, and optically realigned. John French would be my choice for revitalizing the headbock to match the rest of the marvelous machine when calibrated and adjusted properly.

Does anyone know the cost of reconditioning the heads of the A820?
 

Tapetech

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2014
123
11
228
Fairfax, VA
If your intent is to only transfer some tapes to digital, there is no need to have the heads relapped at JRF. They are not that bad. Just clean the tape path. If you want to verify play performance, buy an MLR test tape and an external dB meter. You can then check/set play head azimuth, play levels and play EQ. To check/set play speed and wow/flutter you will also need a speed test tape, a counter and wow/flutter meter.
 
Last edited:

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,116
34
485
Is a picture of the capstan available :confused:
 

Tapetech

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2014
123
11
228
Fairfax, VA
Is a picture of the capstan available :confused:

Yes, if the capstan is highly polished, you could have speed and/or wow-flutter problems. The capstan surface can be restored to it's mat surface if need be. If the capstan is just dirty, you may need a very strong solvent to clean it like acetone.
 

Ingenia

Member
Jul 15, 2018
13
0
6
In the previous videos, some fluctuation of the recorded tone is appreciated
Here are a couple of photos:
20180801_013039.jpg
20180801_013108.jpg
 

Tapetech

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2014
123
11
228
Fairfax, VA
Your capstan may be ok. I have seen worse.

Record variations may be the tape. If those variations are only in record, you may be ok since you want to only use the deck for playback. Only new MRL speed and level tapes will verify if playback is good.

You also may need a new pinch roller. It is difficult to judge the quality of the pinch roller with just photos.
 

Fred Thal

[Industry Expert]
Jul 15, 2016
159
6
18
It seems there are some parts not working well

Try to have a good sense of humor here, please. I do not intend for the following to be insulting.

Ever heard of the tech support person's term, picnic?

(Problem in chair, not in computer.)

From reading your posts here, I would say that you desperately need A820 operator training.

You have just purchased a fighter jet, and you apparantly have a learner's permit for a Cessna 150.

Do you have the A820 manual? (The printed red book?)

I also read a couple of somewhat off the mark responses to you, posted here from others. It's unfortunate that we need to stress that you should not believe everything you see posted on a forum.

(Not sure how you concluded that WBF is the right place for technical information/instruction on the Studer A820.)

But since you're here, why not post what country you are in? Then you might hope that someone who knows the A820 will kindly offer to help you learn something about the machine. There are nice people out there!

Make getting qualified A820 instruction your first step!

Even before cleaning the capstan! (Because there are huge cautions to be aware of, with cleaning Studer capstans.)

Good luck!
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,116
34
485
In the previous videos, some fluctuation of the recorded tone is appreciated
Here are a couple of photos:
View attachment 43031
View attachment 43032

Oh, yes...please do clean the capstan. One can apply a small amount of anhydrous isopropyl alcohol / IPA to a clean cloth to address the capstan shaft dirt.
Ensure no excess fluid runs down the shaft
. :D
 

Ingenia

Member
Jul 15, 2018
13
0
6
I greatly appreciate yours assistance.
I will be traveling for several days. Then I'll go back to work.
I live in Spain. If there is someone in this country with knowledge of the A820, please contact me.
My best wishes to all
 

Ingenia

Member
Jul 15, 2018
13
0
6
Hello again. The machine has been calibrated by an expert company in this area.
Although I have found some anomaly. Watch the video.
To what is due? I want to know the cause before sending back to the company for verification. The company is 500 km away. There is no other expert in closeness.
 

Fred Thal

[Industry Expert]
Jul 15, 2016
159
6
18
. . . I want to know the cause before sending back to the company for verification. . .

The symptom that exhibits in your video is well known.

A popular "fix" for that symptom is to just install the latest firmware.

That firmware (NOT written by the original A820 developers) simply "dumbed-down" the reel servo responsiveness, so that the symptom you are experiencing would go away.

But the source of the underlying problem was not (and cannot be) fixed by changing firmware.

Also, you don't need to send the machine away for "calibration". You'll instead want to learn to calibrate the machine yourself. It was designed for owner calibration. Read the manual.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing