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ferrograph series 4

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ferrograph series 4

Postby gingertimmins » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:01 am

Hi all, for a while I've been wanting to dip my toes into the world of vintage recording.
What can you tell me about the ferrograph series 4?

I've spotted one for 60 pounds, it seems to be in pretty good nick, everything is moving freely and it's not rotting away. I haven't had a chance to hear it though.
Do you think it's worth it?
Where can I get replacement tape and other parts should I need them?

Many thanks.
Chris
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:17 am

That will be an ancient domestic machine, albeit better quality than most domestic machines from that era. It won't be as easy to use as a modern professional machine but it will almost certainly have plenty of character.

It probably won't like the high levels used by modern professional tapes but RMGI still make older style tapes like LPR35 which ought to be OK.

Sixty quid is a fair price if it is in good condition but be aware that anything of this age will require maintenance at regular intervals.

Cheers

James.
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby gingertimmins » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:30 am

thanks for the reply james!!
Do you think it's worth buying as my first tape recorder?
It uses 1/4 inch tape and its mono, which I know is hardly preferable. a stereo amplifier can be bought but I'm guessing the chances of getting one are very slim.
With regard to it being mono, could I pan everything left on my master fader in PT, record that to tape, record that back into PT, then pan everything right, repeat the process and line up the 2 mono files in PT or will that mess with the stereo field?
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:44 pm

You are going to be making life very difficult for yourself. The tape speed between the two takes will almost certainly drift which will play havoc with the stereo image thanks to the Haas effect. While the Ferrograph might be a good addition to an existing reel to reel collection, if you are looking at spending that kind of money on a first reel to reel then I'd go for something newer and stereo. There's another thread in the Newbies section about this right now.

Cheers

James.
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:28 pm

chris.m.timmins wrote:Do you think it's worth buying as my first tape recorder?

No, frankly. If you were interested in collecting vintage recorders it would make a nice addition, but for a practical machine for making music I wouldn't touch it. Mono, slow speed, 7-inch reels only, difficult to get spares... Don't do it.

a stereo amplifier can be bought but I'm guessing the chances of getting one are very slim.

Yep, I'd think so. Plus you'd have to buy new heads and possibly indulge in some re-wiring to the headblock...

...or will that mess with the stereo field?

It undoubtedly will. Long term (drift) and short term (wow and flutter) speed variations will make it impossible to fully realign the two passes, and the stereo image will be unpleasane tunstable as a result. Plus it will take lots of time and effort to do.

If you are really set on using tape, I'd recommend saving a little more and buying something a little more modern more capable, and easier to use and maintain. Something like a Revox A77 -- or better still a B77 or PR99 or a Studer A807 would be fantastic. These are all relatively easy to maintain and service, easy to use, and are built to last. There area lots of other decent makes too including Teac/Tascam, Sony, Otari, Ampex... but they aren't generally as common and some are significantly more expensive, even now.

Tape machines have lots of moving and fixed parts that wear. Some are easy to fix and some either aren't or are expensive to deal with. If you don't have the experirence to tell good 'un from a turkey, find someone who does, or spend some time researching.

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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby gingertimmins » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:15 pm

thanks for the replies guys.
James- funnily enough, I think I know the poster of the thread in the newbies section, he lives in plymouth, as do I and I know of a local band called the teleheads (the poster is called Telehead!)
I'll try and contact him.

I've just got back from a location recording and the reporter I went with works for BBC devon, after a chat about reel to reel he's actually offered me a Revox reel to reel that was used at the BBC right up until they went digital....for free!!
It may need some work but if he's willing to bring it to my house, surely I should snatch it from him?? Unfortunately I can't remember the model!!

thanks again guys!!
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby Folderol » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:19 pm

Now this brings back memories - first 'real' taperecorder I ever saw (as a teenager).

As a collectors item - great, especially if it is in working condition, otherwise a total nightmare.

The heads will be well worn by now, and I've no idea where you'd get replacements. I've retrofitted different heads in the past, but it's not something I'd recommend unless you enjoy frustration. As well as mechanical mountings to worry about there's bias and equalisation (both record and replay) for which you need proper test tapes and decent test gear.

As I remember, the capstan had a neoprene sleeve - I kid you not! If this hasn't perished, or at least become quite hard, it will probably have worn so the speed will not be correct.

Valves might be a problem. I think the bias oscillator used an output valve EL82-EL84? I don't know how easy it is to get those, and if the one in the machine is old you'll get low bias levels, so weak and slightly distorted recordings. I don't remember there being any user bias adjustment, but I could be wrong.

All in all, I'd go with the other suggestions of an A77
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby ROLO46 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:34 pm

Those Wearite Transports were ghastly
Designed for the TA Signals department to be dropped out of the back of a Beverly.. :angel:
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby anmlsrmnml123 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:55 pm

i to seen a few of these on ebay and way thinking of getting one but after read this thread it doesnt seem the best option. Im looking for a nice tape machine any recommendations.

Im buying my first machine but have previously used studer, otroi and aphex machines. ( i know these will be out of my price range)
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:46 pm

There has been a recent thread HERE discussing this:

H
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby KuRu » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:19 pm

after a chat about reel to reel he's actually offered me a Revox reel to reel that was used at the BBC right up until they went digital....for free!!


if someone offered me something like that id thank them profusely and start using it!! if its free whats to lose?
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby ken long » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There has been a recent thread <a href="/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=1031824&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=1#1031824" target="_blank">HERE</a> discussing this:

H

ahahah... need to make the epic TAPE MACHINE sticky.
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Re: ferrograph series 4

Postby Tamika Caleigh » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:29 am

chris.m.timmins wrote:Hi all, for a while I've been wanting to dip my toes into the world of vintage recording.
What can you tell me about the ferrograph series 4?

I've spotted one for 60 pounds, it seems to be in pretty good nick, everything is moving freely and it's not rotting away. I haven't had a chance to hear it though.
Do you think it's worth it?
Where can I get replacement tape and other parts should I need them?

Many thanks.
Chris


Replacement Ferrograph tape and other parts are being supplied by David Durrant who can be contacted here http://www.ferrographworld.com/spares.html

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