Which lower priced 2" 24-trk?


Mar 5, 2001
OK, OK, the people have spoken! It looks like our next step is to 2" analog. Our problem is we don't have $10k+ burning a hole in our pockets. We have at most $7k and if we could get that down to $5k, that would be even better.

In that range it looks like we're limited to Sony/MCI JH-24's and Ampex MM1200's. I would love to get an Otari MX-80, that would probably be a perfect fit for us, but I haven't seen one for less than $8k. I am not including Soundcrafts and Lyrecs for presumed service and parts issues.

Any suggestions or comments on the MCI and Ampex machines? Anyone have a Studer gold A827 they want to sell for $5k? ;)

Amighetti Ronnie

I've just bought a Lyrec TR532, but I'm in Europe, so everyhting is easier.
The MCI looks a great machine, and so teh Ampex MM1200. I've only worked on Otari MX80, and I was quite satisfied, the soundn was good with 456.

Good Luck.


Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2001
If the MX80 is what you want, I would keep looking. $7K is not an unrealistic price for Otari's "cheaper" 2" 24 track. One other alternative is to consider 2" 16 track. Depending on what type of work you do, it might be enough tracks, the quality rocks and the price is substantially lower because so many people can't figure out how to do anything without at least 24 tracks. Just a thought....


Well-Known Member
Feb 12, 2001
You may want to wait and budget for a little more before buying. I bought a machine when I didn't have enough knowledge. To make a long story short, I'm getting mine back from a full rebuild next week, for about 75% of what I paid. It's worth it, but there is more involved than you might think. As my tech (who is great) said, "Keep in mind that these machines are old enough to vote and drink!"

Email me if you like, I'd be glad to help.


The Ampex MM1200 sonically pulverizes the other machines you mention. The only thing, as with most 2" machines in your price range, will be maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. You need to have someone who really knows how to tweak one of these to keep them working well. There are mods to make the transport more solid as well as signal path mods to improve sonic performance and reliability. Once these mods are in place, you can learn how to do the general set-up on the machine, and call in a specialist less often then you might need to without the mods. But any 2" machine will need some tlc from time to time to keep it happy.

If I were buying a used 2", I'd dive on the MM1200 and learn what I needed to know to maintain it. They sound great when set-up correctly.

Dave g http://www.groovestainproductions.com

Jon Best

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2001
Well, Fletcher's got a better handle on exactly which JH24's are the best bet, but I recently got a Sony/MCI, and it's wonderful. I do have to wipe out the Molex connecters on occasion, and I've been told to vacuum out the heatsinks every few weeks, but occasionally doing all that has apparently worked- no problems at all, the machine is rock solid. I got it for $6,500, which grew about a grand for shipping, test tape, and arrival maintenance. Sounds great. Well worth it.


I am glad to announce that Old House Recording Studio is NOW the proud owner of a....87'MCI JH-24/24 2" Tape Machine!! We will take deliverly in about a week.

Thanks to everyone for your input!


Thanks Ang, you have always been so helpful. From the time I joined RO your input has always served us well! IMHO it takes a special mentality to be successful in any undertaking, especially music. I can see that in your character and in your work (Grammy's for God's sake) so again, thank you very much!