chrissugar

I need your opinion
« on: August 21, 2004, 06:14:33 AM »
I have the oportunity to buy a top condition Otari MTR90 with new heads and capstan motor. It has 16 track heads/ 2 inch but it has the electronics and VU meters for 24 channels. I can buy it from a friend for a very low price but I'm concerned about the fact that it is a MTR90 mark I and I know that this compared to the mark II and III is not very reliable.
Should I buy it or not. I'm very busy and would not like to waste my time tweaking and repairing it.
It is like this:
http://www.proaudioeurope.com/london/vintage/multitracks/otari_mtr90_b.html
http://store1.yimg.com/I/primalgear_1805_9244162
thank you

chrissugar
Christian Mike Sugar
        CMS-LAB


tony dB

I need your opinion
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2004, 07:01:37 AM »
I only have experiences with mark II but if the price is good, i wouldn't doubt!

2" will be the very best sounding plugin you've ever used  :thumb:

Wait for more reations from people with more knowledge on maintanance then me before you throw the cash of course  :green:

I need your opinion
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2004, 07:05:34 AM »
Not that I know anything about it, but maintanance is the only reason why I havent bought a 2". If the price is good I wouldnt hesitate though.

Gustav

Scenaria

I need your opinion
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2004, 07:43:59 AM »
if you could share  the price it would be easier to provide advice on it.....

how many hours are on the heads?

does it have to be crated and shipped or is it local?

I need your opinion
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2004, 10:30:10 AM »
Quote from: "Scenaria"
how many hours are on the heads?


Do you have a head report on the machine? If the heads need to be replaced or you decide to go 24 track you could be talking US$4,000.00 for new heads. How are the motors? Also, are you prepared to do frequent maintenance? Does it come with a good set of alignment tapes? They're $500.00/per or more. Are you prepared to spend $200.00 per reel to get 15 minutes of recording time at 30ips? Do you have room to store tapes in a temperature controlled environment? Are your patch bays set up to handle a 24-track? Also, does it have the remote and, more importantly, the locator? They're a pain to use without a locator unless you have a synchronizer. Is it going up stairs? They weigh 500lbs. There's lots of issues that go along with 2" machines that need to be considered beyond price and sound. If you're prepared to deal with these things, by all means, go for it. Just understand what you're getting into.

 :guinness:  :sam:  :thumb:
Seth

The definition of insanity: "Hey, this thing could be really cool - if I had the money to fix it up, which I don't, but if I did it could be really cool - if I had the time, which I don't, but

Scenaria

I need your opinion
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2004, 10:50:35 AM »
and dont forget power consumption...

seriously... I cant run anything else on the same 15 amp circuit the machine is on when its winding....

always way out the pros and cons... im going through this right now with a client in hawaii... he wants an 827 but when we talk about it... its rather apparent he wants it just because of what he hears on the outside "referring to analog as being better"

and as seth mentioned... dont take the weight "lightly" they really do weigh 500 pounds and its not like a 500 pound console thats distributed over 7 or 8 feet that can be manipulated... were talking 500 pound washing machines :)

I shipped one up to jerryp... perhaps he'll chime in as I know he needed to move his down the stairs (would hate to have to get it back up haha)

I need your opinion
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2004, 11:32:47 AM »
I forgot about power consumption, as Steve mentioned. It should have a dedicated 20A line. Also consider the time you'll have to devote to it - realigning every time someone comes in with different tape. Rewind time - remember rewind time? Reel changing time. Head cleaning time. Leader editing time. Channels will go down from time to time, so you should have some spare cards.

I think the net result is that if you're not prepared for the commitment of time, space and money a 2" machine takes it could wind up owning you in short order. You're not a musician anymore, you're a studio owner protecting your investment. That's really the powerful attraction of the high end Pro Tools systems. On the other hand, if you're fortunate enough to get a good-sounding trouble-free machine and you can deal with all the other issues it can be a real joy. Go into it with your eyes wide open.

There's some posts in another thread about Tascam analog machines and why people like them. The truth is (to me, at any rate) they sound lousy but they're reliable and indestructable. That's not what a big 2" is about.

Hope this helps.

 :thumb:  :thumb:  :sam:  :guinness:  :sam:  :guinness:
Seth

The definition of insanity: "Hey, this thing could be really cool - if I had the money to fix it up, which I don't, but if I did it could be really cool - if I had the time, which I don't, but

tony dB

I need your opinion
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2004, 12:18:43 PM »
in case i would ever considering getting a 2" it's either a Otari or Studer

chrissugar

I need your opinion
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2004, 01:11:21 PM »
As I said in the original post the heads are new and also the capstan drive motor is almost unused.
I know the machine, it is in very good shape and the tapes are not a problem, if I take it I will have around 15 or 20 reels with it. The machine has 200 kilograms but this is not a problem because my friend is 10 minutes from me and transpotation would not be a problem. Also maintainance would be not a problem, I done it before and also I have documentation related to the subject.
I'm not new to analog tape recorders, and if I would have to choose an analog multitrack, it would be a Studer or an Otari, the question is related specifically to this MTR90 mark one because I heard it has some problems. I was curious about your experience with it if anyone had or used one.
I would like to have an analogue alternative to my DAW and also it would be a great tape delay machine, but I'm afraid that I will have to waste a lot of time with repairing and hunting for obsolete components.
So should I buy it or not. This is the question.

chrissugar
Christian Mike Sugar
        CMS-LAB

chrissugar

I need your opinion
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2004, 01:49:48 PM »
Hey Kubi, I can understand your enthusiasm and in a way I'm also excited but I'm also afraid to buy it, and if it dies to discover that the part is unobtainable or the reparation/part would cost a lot more than I paid for the complete machine. I'm afraid to buy a boat anchor.

chrissugar
Christian Mike Sugar
        CMS-LAB


Scenaria

I need your opinion
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2004, 01:55:33 PM »
keef knows more about this than I do.. but I seem to recall that one of the issues in the mark 1 was the current drivers for the motors... I think they were beefed up when they hit mark2

also I believe the mark one audio cards had their ic's socketed? which leads to more intermittent issues (hunt and peck if you will)

in all honesty... if you know the machine and you know the seller for that price its hard to beat... but it seriously sounds like a "too good to be true" type thing...

beware that there might come the day that you couldnt give it away and its taking up space... you will have to figure out how to get rid of it... sounds silly but it will happen...

Scenaria

I need your opinion
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2004, 01:56:33 PM »
it would be worth a few hundered to have a knowledgable tech look it over for you..

Scenaria

I need your opinion
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2004, 01:58:01 PM »
it wouldnt sell for much more...

tons of people are tying to ask for $4k for these machines but in all honesty the rates people are getting are closer to $2500 $3500

its a nice price but its not a steal considering if you were to resell it the hastle of crating and shipping is a BIG one...

I need your opinion
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2004, 02:48:56 PM »
Quote
but I seem to recall that one of the issues in the mark 1 was the current drivers for the motors... I think they were beefed up when they hit mark2


Yes, I remember that too - I used to see them sitting around with the power supply out waiting to be worked on. As long as you trust your friend and you recognize the potential can of worms you're opening up, then go for it. Does it have the remote and the locator? That would be a LOT better.
Seth

The definition of insanity: "Hey, this thing could be really cool - if I had the money to fix it up, which I don't, but if I did it could be really cool - if I had the time, which I don't, but

Bo Hansen

I need your opinion
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2004, 02:57:19 PM »
Hi Chrissugar,

If this is the same machine you shall buy that you have show in the picture, in this case this is a MTR-90mk2, and what I can see on the erase head, it have 24 tracks heads.

Of course machine have a remotecontrol, but have it also autolocator ??

Even if it have a 16 track head stack, and have all 24 amp cards, $1500 is a very very good price for a MTR-90mk2 machine.

(on my second hand page http://w1.316.telia.com/~u31617584 I have a MTR-90mk2/remote and autolocator with Dolby SR for $13000 and you can deduct aprox. $5000 for the Dolby)

Both MTR-90(mk1) and mk2 are workhorses, compare with meny others they have very little broken down times, ok as all multitrack machines there can be some fault in the servo-amp and some mechanical things, but this is happen even on Studer and simular machines.

--Bo
I met a man with a dollar, we exchanged dollars, I still had a dollar.
I met a man with an idea, we exchanged ideas, now we each had two ideas.

tony dB

I need your opinion
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2004, 03:06:20 PM »
You can put me next to Kubi as tape fetisjist  :thumb: as far as this goes...
you could sell the tapes as secondhand too and recover good dollar!  :green:

I'm sure you've already bought synths costing more than that price, what have lost their value TENFOLD even after a few years! Noone seems to care about that?  :?

If you don't have to get yourself in trouble at the bank and you know it will do justice to your work, well just do it, use it and you'll never look back. If you know how to do the maintenance yourself and have proper alignmenttapes and tools you wouldn't loose more then 1 hour per week keeping it in mint condition...

Superduper option to this would be Dolby SR, but that would cost at least 5 times more AND also blow about EVERY digital out of the competition!  :twisted:

i'm sure if you could get it shipped to Germany or the UK, you could make more money on it. Maybe you have to see it as an investment too.

Did no-one "special" record his or her stuff on it? Some people are willing to pay more for equipment with a history of succes attached

BTW your friend who sells it doesn't have a 1/2" Ampex, Studer or Otari to match it? Seeing the conditions for this sale i wouldn't mind paying shipment for a VERY decent 1/2" deck!

al_p

I need your opinion
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2004, 03:16:13 PM »
Quote from: "chrissugar"
The guy do not need it anymore, was not used for more than a year.


so, in storage unpowered? i can't speak for otari machines, but we have an MCI that really does not like to be powered down. strange things crop up if we have to shut 'er down from time to time. if it's been unpowered for a year...don't know. but that jumped out at me.

on the other hand, nothing beats doing a real rockin' record on tape. tape machines are great!
AL P.

tony dB

I need your opinion
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2004, 03:31:49 PM »
me thinks if it turns out bad you could still sell :

all these tapes,
all them cards,
the heads (ever seen the price for relapped ones  :shock: )
meters for DIY?
and the motors (in case they're not the problem of course)
the rest can go as iron to recycling since it weighs very much that would pay the transport... or you could diy it to an impressive locker

but maybe you don't need the extra money  :green:  :green:

(this post hurts just writing it really  :oops:

Why isn't the current owner thinking this way? There could be something to think about

JustinS

Just another $.02
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2004, 02:52:49 AM »
Hey,

The studio I was working at (before it went bankrupt  :cry: ) had 2 Otari MTR90's a mark I & a mark II (ex skywalker sound interestingly...) and they both ran 3 years without any major problems... a few card problems in both - easily fixed, and a issue with the bias card on the mark II.  Much more reliable than the Ampex's and Studer that's at my current studio....

Interestingly the mark II was supposed to sound better than the mark I (I don't know who makes these descisions!) but our mark I sounded great, original Otari heads in good nick vs replacement non Otari (though apparently a reputable brand) heads on the mark II, really good transient response nice freq response down -3b at 20Hz and 25 kHz, a great machine... and a 16 track head would prob sound better!

Another point, I would argue that though as much as I love 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch 2 tracks, I reckon that a 2 inch is more flexible and useful, whenever you record to tape what goes in comes back differently - more bass, and depending how hard you hit the tape a different transient response.  Sometimes when you put a mix down you want to hear exactly what you were listening to, sometimes the change is cool, sometimes not... and this is over everything! When you record to 2 inch you can evaluate each instrument, push some harder to tape, be more conservative with others, and filter off some of the bottom end in mix if need be...

Plus it's nice sometimes to not have the thought process of lets chop this chorus into this verse etc. that the computer DAW process opens up... lets get a good sounding band in a room and play the track till it sounds good  :grin:

Anyway, enough of my rant... just buy it... you know you want to!

Justin

chrissugar

I need your opinion
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2004, 05:29:19 AM »
Hi all, and thank you for the answers.

BO, the two links I posted are not pictures of the machine I would buy. I used them as an example. The machine I'm talking about is a MTR90 mark I and had 16 track heads and  electronics for 24 tracks.
It also has the big remote.

JustinS, thank you for your opinion and it is good to hear info from someone who used both mark I and II. I feel much confortable now.

Tony dB
"BTW your friend who sells it doesn't have a 1/2" Ampex, Studer or Otari to match it? Seeing the conditions for this sale i wouldn't mind paying shipment for a VERY decent 1/2" deck!"
Ha ha ha  :green:  :green:  :green: , good joke, I'm looking for years for a high end machine to modify it [you know the Tim de Paravicini trick] into a two track master recorder. By the way in the late eighties I built a complete three motor, three head, 15ips, tube based analog tape recorder and used it some years to record my music and others. But than came the whole digital DAT and DAW "revolution" and I gave it to a friend as a gift. What a fool I was. For some years I have this idea of doing it again but from high quality mechanics like STUDER or AMPEX.

It seems like I will buy it. Wish me luck.

chrissugar
Christian Mike Sugar
        CMS-LAB


 

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