Need help with Fostex G16 analogue multitrackrec.

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by tboeken, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. tboeken

    tboeken Guest


    In 'the old days' I used to record all my stuff on a Fostex G16 multitrackrec.
    Now, after some years, I finally have the chance to copy all my stuff onto a Hd-recorder.

    So, I connected my G16, put on one of the Ampex456 tapes and pressed the play-button. Nothing happens... (tape is running, but LEDs don't show anything).
    Then I wanted to Ffwd the tape, but for some reason the machine doesnt catch up speed. Same thing for the Rewind: the tape goes very slow and now and then even dtops while forwarding/rewinding.

    I have no clue what the reason may be. The machine itself always was in a dry, secure place. Same goes for the tapes.

    Hopefully someone can help me out with this!!


  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    There may be two issues ...

    First, were your tapes perhaps stored tails out? I actually hope they were. This would mean you need to re wind the tape before you can play it. Most likely there is nothing recorded at the end of the reel ..

    Second , it sounds like your machine needs to have the ffwd / rew belts replaced and the brakes adjusted / replaced. Things probably dried out from sitting for a long time. Get the machine serviced before running it..

    A couple of other things to look for .. be sure the tape is on the machine correctly, with the correct side to the heads and threaded through the transport correctly. The tape may be sticking to the heads and guides. Look for shedding and gumming up on the heads, rollers and guides. If it is gumming up, the tape needs to be baked and then copied / transfered to the DAW in as few passes as possible.

    Kurt Foster
  3. tboeken

    tboeken Guest

    Hi Kurt.

    Thanks very much for the quick response!

    The tapes were stored, fully rewinded on the reel.
    What I found out is that when rewinding/forwarding and I push up the ffwd/rew wheel, it makes more speed and slowly keeps speeding up; my guess is that the belts do need to be replaced.

    So, at least I can work with it for now and copy the tracks to my DAW.

    Thanks again!

  4. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    :D All of what Kurt said, here's a bit more.

    Ya, 456, some chemical interactions with the binding agents for the back coating, etc. This is a critical point in the life of the tape. First, I would get a known test tape, clean and demag all heads and guides.

    Let the machine run idle a few day's, for the electronics to get stabilized. Inspect all the rubber, from belts to the puck (pinch roller) and any cushion sleeves, these are in the lifter rails, if the rubber has returned to a natural state (rubber) it will be gummy and sticky, like tar. All this must be replaced. It only means that the polymers have evaporated into the air, and no bonding agents are left to hold the rubber in its shape and form.

    If there is shredding of material from the tape, then you must be careful, because the life is near end. You may have to bake it, search RO for tape baking articles.

    Even after all conditions are met, you have a limit to how many quality passes you can get, so it is best to be prepared in advance as best as possible. I got, once ready, 3 passes before the tape began to loose chunks of oxide, but I am very happy I was able to save these recordings. Good luck!

  5. sign

    sign Guest

    If a tape is baked the way it should, you can make as many passes as you like, it will run like a new tape.

    Sticky tape is the result of storing under bad conditions and 456 is the most sensitive tape.

    I have baked many tapes, a while ago five old tapes from George Clinton. I will put a tape from the Beatles in the oven without hesitation.

    Store the baked tape in an airtight plastic bag together with a sachet of 10g silica gel, seal it and don't worry.

    You can bake it again if necessary.
  6. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    :D That's good to know! In my case the tape was stored under bad conditions, very humid and hot here. Interesting, tapes made prior to 456, show little problems. In fact I am restoring a tape from the early 60's, and the only problem I have is that it is brittle. But if it breaks, it breaks clean and with no stretching allowing a splice.

  7. Amalgam

    Amalgam Guest

    Can you please explain why you bake tape ?
  8. sign

    sign Guest

    Rick, the very old acryl tapes can not be baked, it will destroy them.

    Read all about baking tapes at Eddie Ciletti's :
  9. sneak

    sneak Active Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    Maybe a stupid question, but do you attach the tape properly ?
    I've also got a G16, it's nice sounding.
  10. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Tboeken, any luck yet?

    :D No baking required on these, nore would I, they sound amazing, the machine I have to play them on is a Webcore all tube half tracker, I must be very careful. No rewinding or fast forward permitted with this old machine and tapes. That is a great article, thanx!

  11. tboeken

    tboeken Guest

    Up to now everything works fine...
    Do have to clean the heads & wheels after every song, but as long as I am able backing up the songs this way to my DAW I'm satisfied!

  12. sign

    sign Guest

    I strongly advise you to bake the tapes, there will probably come a time when the tape gets damaged and this is definite, no undo here. The song will be lost for ever.

    Baking tapes is no big deal, get a dehydrator like Eddie Ciletti.

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