Here is a list of the things you MUST have to align
and keep your Analog Tape recorder performing well...
You MUST have a Professional AC Spike Protector
on your AC line for the tape machine!!
Better yet is a Professional AC line-filter and Voltage Regulator all-in-one unit.
You need one that can handle the current your machine takes...
usually 12 - 20 amps!
I like the Furman units: AR-20 II or the AR-Pro
these are a bit expensive... worth it though!
You MUST have either a Professional Test Tape for alignment
or (second best) a studio-made set-up tape made by a very qualified tech who has
a 'real' professional alignment tape of his or her own and has set-up
your machine correctly, then made a set of 'House Tones' on a tape for you to use...
Professional Test Tapes are made specially by MRL -
the only folks still making Professional Studio Test Tone Tapes !
Call or Email them directly if you need a Test Tape -
they're expensive but worth it...
Cost is only $ 59.00 directly from R.B. Annis Company (in 2015 - likely a bit higher now)
I'm going to do a video soon about how to de-mag heads... come back in a few days...
You MUST have Head Cleaner and Q-tips.
You're lucky on this one, since the normal Head Cleaner is nothing more
than "Isopropyl Alcohol" which will cost you all of one dollar at your
grocery store! Buy the stuff that's 90 - 99% alcohol.
Also make sure to buy Q-tips that are either the wood stick or the
paper stick - do NOT buy the plastic stick ones!!!
You MUST have a good Magnifying Glass, and a small flashlight
- the only way to really clean your heads is to look through a magnifying
glass at the heads and guides, especially after playing any 'bad' tape!!
You may think you've cleaned the heads, but 'tape gunk' really
sticks to the heads and guides and tape-lifters like glue (which it is!).
Some clients have brought in Tape Recorders for repair
where it's taken more than 10 Q-tips and cleaner to get
all the tape gunk off the heads and guides,
so don't think that you can just wipe a head with a single Q-tip !!
You've got to check by looking at the heads and guides....
That's it.... just 4 things you MUST have....
of course there are other things you SHOULD have...
a Splicing block - in good condition -
(yes I have some for sale, go to the "Current Parts" link on the main page)
- splicing tape, leader tape, spare empty reels...
a small bottle of high-quality 'bearing oil' to lubricate
various things that turn... guides, tape-scrape filters and so on...
a can of "LPS-1 greaseless lubricant" to use as a spray cleaner