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Otari - Whatever happened to them ?


al mcguire
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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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  • 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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  • 3 weeks later...

I own three of them now (about to be four) and find them to be solid machines.  I've sent the headblocks out on all of them to JRF Magnetics and couldn't be happier.  Most of my work these days has been transfer work and I just finished almost four hundred 1/4" reels on my MTR12 without a single hiccup.  I find them to be easy to work on, easy to calibrate, transparent (I do a lot of classical music work), and a lot less expensive to find parts for if necessary than the equivalent Studer.

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I've got an 8 track master from an Otari machine, almost certain it's 1". It was for a multi-image show and has priceless (maybe not...) recordings of famous Southern musicians, like Piano Red, some recorded in our studio. Anyone have any suggestions of where I could get this tape transferred to a digital file? Thanks.

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On 7/2/2021 at 9:04 AM, rodpaul said:

I've got an 8 track master from an Otari machine, almost certain it's 1". It was for a multi-image show and has priceless (maybe not...) recordings of famous Southern musicians, like Piano Red, some recorded in our studio. Anyone have any suggestions of where I could get this tape transferred to a digital file? Thanks.

Audiosonics in LA. 323-467-6505

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It's better to do it locally if possible for safekeeping of the reels as it could be tragic to lose them in shipping.  However, if you don't find someone that can do it let me know and I can help you out.

 

 

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I see there're a couple of MX-5050s coming up for auction in Canada this week.

 

https://bid.asta.auction/search?key=otari&xclosed=on&xclosed=

 

No affiliation, but I bought some DPAs when the Canadian distributor used these guys for old stock clearout. That experience was fine. They were booking pandemic online 'viewings' back then due to pandemic:  I didn't bother since everything I was looking at was new, but this lot is much harder-ridden, so might be a good idea. Factoring in shipping/brokerage and the fairly hefty 17% buyers' premium on this sale probably makes this more mildly interesting than attractive, but might be worth checking out if somebody's looking.

 

Not shilling, but of course I'll take this down if it's inappropriate.

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