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Otari - Whatever happened to them ?


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Otari analog machines were generally great.  Not the mojo of Studer but way more reliable than all the recorders around then.  I had hoped they'd make a competitor to the Nagra IV-STC, but they were too smart for that.   When they bought Sound Workshop they made the new line of analog consoles built on SW's technology way more reliable, with mix automation.  But they didn't get on the digital bus fast enough.  I had an MX5050 that was pretty well bulletproof.  It's not completely fair to blame Otari for issues with the tape transports in their DAT decks: like all makers of DAT machines they had to use the same transports from the same two factories in Japan that every DAT maker had to use.  And we know how that turned out.

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5050B machines still getting good money on Reverb.  I would love to have a Studer PR69 but a nice 5050B would be fine.  Don't have a thing to do on them but. . 

 

They are SO cool.

 

D.

 

Oh and DATs.  Haha.  The "Edsel" of the audio world.  Gotta say tho, my HHB machine was flawless for the four or so years I used it.  Every day.  Blessed I guess.

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in the 1980s I spent many an hour, cleaning, calibrating and working with an beautiful white (capstan-less transport) MTR-90. The first studio I worked for, had a 1/2" tape Otari MX 5050 series 1/2" tape 8 track.. spent lots of time with that as well.

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  • 2 months later...

I consider Otari machines as the Honda Accord / Toyota Camry's of the tape machine world.  They aren't particularly sexy, but they do their job pretty darn well and are highly reliable. 

 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Studer / Revox tape machines.  While I don't typically endorse the practice of shotgunning all electrolytic capacitors, I firmly believe that all Studer and Revox tape machines require a full recapping in order to work reliably well these days.  Once recapped, they're wonderful machines, but we've observed that 40%+ of pulled capacitors are out of original tolerance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Love the Otari MTR-90mkii. Punch ins and outs are always smooth. Very nice invisible (unless you effed it up,lol) crossfade. What I do like about the Studer a80 series is that it’s very user serviceable. Like re-capping, easily done…compared to a, eh, Sony APR-5000/1/2/3 series which are really hard to work on because I don’t know that much about microchips and such!

Good times. Had a Mx5050 too, 1/2” 8-track….

ATR Magnetics is still manufacturing tape in various sized last I heard.

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