Airshow’s tape machine collection has grown

Meet the newest member of the Airshow Mastering tape machine family: Ampex ATR-104 #2. Like its sibling, it has four channels of electronics and a 1” capable transport, and it was fully rebuilt by the late Mike Spitz of ATR Services, with additional modifications by Dan Labrie. 

Along with the new machine, we welcome two new head block assemblies: a 1” 2-track record/playback (yes, you read that right; 1” 2-track, a format that sounds absolutely stunning), and a 1/4” 4-track playback-only head block for playing those 4-track tapes recorded on the once-popular Tascam and Otari semi-pro machines. (Thanks to John French of JRF Magnetics for his work on this, and several other of our Ampex and Studer heads.)

If you have any 4-track 1/4” tapes from the ‘70s and ‘80s recorded on Tascams or Otaris, don’t play them on those semi-pro machines that are long past their prime: let us transfer them on one of the best-performing tape machines ever.

We have head blocks to play 1/4” full, 2- (NAB & DIN), 1/4-, and 4-track;  1/2” 2-, 3-, and 4-track, and 1” 2-track; plus a custom 1/4” 2-track head-block and electronics for optimized Plangent Processes transfers. For tapes with noise reduction, we have four channels of Dolby A, Dolby SR, dbx type I, and Telcom C4; and two channels of dbx type II.

For tapes from the “sticky-shed” era (mid ‘70s through the 80’s and later) our Fisher Scientific laboratory incubator is ready for baking. For a recent, large 1000+ tape archiving project, we successfully baked around 600 reels.

On the left, ATR #2 rockin’ the 1” 2-track tape; ATR #1 in the middle, set up for Plangent Processes 1/4” transfers; some of the analysis tools we use sitting on top of the blue Plangent replay electronics; and on the right, our Studer A-820 sporting 1/2” 2-track heads.