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Connecting the recording world together...

I have done quite a bit of research on this piece and even though it is renown for it's horrible Auto-Revers mechanisms, I still wonder if it would be a good piece for me to start out my venture of analog recordings.

A friend has one that he told me to take home, try it, and then shoot him any offer if he liked it. He has not used in about 10 years and it still has the dust cover (which does not look like it has been removed in 10 years either).

A couple of things that I find wrong with it:
-The pot for mic input 2 trim is kinda bad. It's dirty to turn it and you need to touch it/tap it to get it to work well.
-The counter does not work. I have read that this is common for a belt to break that drives the counter. Is that true and something that could be bought cheap?
-You have to slight move the left reel before you can move anywhere after stopping. It sounds like something is clicking and resetting into place... Problem, or standard procedure?

Cosmetically it is mint, just a little dirty. Everything else works wonderfully on it. I was thinking of offering him about 75 for it. Too high? Too low? Just right? Please give me some feed back.

I'm going to go buy some Quantegy GP9 1/4" tape on 7" reel tomorrow from a local vendor. I want to test it with some high quality tape to see how it really reacts/sounds.

One last question:
Does anyone have any advice or links to guides for gain staging in analog? I hardly know how to read a true VU meter and judge what will be tape saturated gain and what will just sound like distorted junk.

Thanks for all of your help!

JoeH Mon, 10/12/2009 - 21:03

For starters, you may want to read this thread about the 580....

Your heart is in the right place, but this particular machine may or may not be the best way in to the analog world. As someone who's worked in both fields, I can tell you that just because something is "Analog" doesn't make it a cure-all or a better choice from a modern-day alternative to digital.

Just a heads-up as well: buying good tape won't tell you much unless you know how to align the machine and set it up for the tape you're using (Bias and EQ for starters, record level, playback level, etc., are all critical tweaks that need an alignment tape and a professional's skill.)

Just finding/buying an old analog tape deck and hoping it will work like new (and/or better than a digital counterpart) is like finding an old car in someone's barn and hoping it will start up and run safely down the road for you, better than a new car or taking a cab. It's pretty rare it will ever happen.

Ok, that's a lot of negatives and caveats; you may still end up getting the thing to work and do some recording with it. If so, have a blast, and keep all that knowledge with you for future projects. As for what to offer the guy, a nominal $50 is more than enough. This is not a vintage machine; it's never going to fall into favor with some group of collectors, and it's going to cost YOU some serious time and money to get it working properly.

Thats a long way to go for a consumer machine that was one of Sony's less-heralded creations. Good luck, however you go.

JesterMasque Wed, 12/02/2009 - 10:23

Well, it has been a while, but I have done too much research for my own good... I still have the TC-580 in my possession, the guy lost communication with me. I did find a local place that has a few machines that pique my interest though.

It's a big name broadcast station and they have 3 Otari MX5050 MKIV-II machines. The big ones on the rack, it looks so hot... Anyway, they are asking $599 or best offer on each one. I went and saw them. All of the machines move and run wonderfully (we ran tape through each one). What do you guys think? Is that a fair price? I have a partner and we are going to go halvseys on it. We want to offer $500 for one.