Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Squeel

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Old 06-01-08, 07:12 AM
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Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Squeel

I am using an Akai GX 400000 Ree-to-Reel tape recorder with Sound on Sound capabilities and have been using it to record some songs, but I noticed that when I try to record these songs on to PC using Nero 7 Ultra that there is a squeel eminating from the playback, I have zeroed in on the source and it seems to be coming from the area of where the tape passes over the tape heads on the reel-to-reel. I was wondering if there is any way to remove this squeel from the recordings or any way to stop the squeel when the recording is being made; and this squeel is also audible when doing playback of any tape.
 
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Old 06-01-08, 02:35 PM
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Are you saying the squeal is mechanical? And it shows up in the electronic signal due to microphonics?

Stuff to try ...

When was the last time the heads & tape path were cleaned?

The rubber pinch roller could also be slipping. Try cleaning it as well.

In sound-on-sound mode it should play from the record head. Does it squeal when it plays from the record head too?

Are you using old tape? Perhaps the lubricant has dried out, if the tape had a lubricant to begin with.

Have the heads ever been degaussed? What about alignment? (These last two suggestions are not for the inexperienced.)
 
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Old 06-03-08, 06:45 AM
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Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Squeel

The heads have been getting cleaned on a regular basis lately with all the need to record and last night I decided to clean all parts that come in contact with the heads, and the rubber pinch roller was in terrible shape, two seconds of Q-tip on it and the Q-tip was black, so now that's cleaned. This brings up an important point, should I be using head cleaner or rubbing alcohol(Isopreopyl).

Also I am not acquainted with the term "degussing". Would this be the same as "de-magnetizing" the heads.

I put in a new reel and after cleaning the rubber pinch wheel, the squeel seems to have abated.

It doesn't seem to help things not having a dust cover for the unit
Thanks for your imput.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 03:03 PM
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Glad to hear you fixed it.

There are rubber conditioners made specifically for pinch rollers, but if it's old enough it will be too dried out. When it's dry, it gets hard and doesn't make good friction contact with the tape. The roller slips, causing the squeal. The squeal is transmitted along the tape to the head, which acts as a microphone to pick up the squeal and amplify it.

A pinch roller should have the texture of a hockey puck, not a bowling ball. If your fingernail can't easily grab it, it should probably be replaced.

BTW, rubbing alcohol shouldn't be used to clean the heads or tape path. It leaves a thin film behind that will affect the audio quality. Denatured alcohol is the most widely used, usually on a moistened natural chamois.

Degaussing is the same thing as de-magnetizing. Be slow and meticulous. If you don't do it correctly you can do more harm than good.

I'm happy to hear there are still people who are recording to analog tape. It has a richness and warmth in the sound that digital systems can't seem to replicate.
 
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