Reel-to-Reel Recommendations : Akai GX-230D vs Roberts 770 : help

Discussion in 'Tape' started by tk1769, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. tk1769

    tk1769 Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Colorado
    Akai GX-230D vs Roberts 770 :bye:
    • any recommendations?
    • personal experiences?
    • i have both, new to the 'tape' thing.
    Thank you!!! :rockon:

    ps - i also have a Roberts 1630 at my disposal, not sure if it's even in the mix or not... :dunno:
     

     

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  2. audiojones

    audiojones Jonesin' for audio Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,992
    Location:
    Central NJ
    The GX-230D is a much better machine, personally I wouldn't bother with the other two mentioned. Some folks like the tube amps in the 770 (same as Akai M-8) so it might be worth something for the amps if that's what you're into, as a tape deck it's nowhere near as good as the GX-230D though.

    You might have noisy transistor issues with the GX-230D (as with all Akai solid state decks) or you might not. Clean all contacts and switches thoroughly and check all functions, see what works. The GX-230D is worth keeping IMO and transistor issues are a fairly easy fix if you're familiar with electronic work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  3. tk1769

    tk1769 Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Colorado
    Thank you very much! I like the GX-230, there are some switches I need to clean up but once I could find the 'sweet spot' (meaning turning the switch on & off multiple times) it sounds great...i actually found a Ventures 7.5 (?) tape that blew me away! Onto that, it's SUPER brittle and kept breaking (none of the others I have tried have had this problem), is there any way to bring a tape like this back to life, or should I just huck it and utilize the other tapes I have?

    The other thing I like about this deck, is it matches up well 'visually' with my MAC4100 and AR XA table...all somewhat age appropriate and I'm happy with the sound! :music:
     
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  4. audiojones

    audiojones Jonesin' for audio Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,992
    Location:
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    I don't know what if anything can be done for old brittle tapes but perhaps others might know. If any of your tapes are old acetate based formulas they may become cupped and not play properly or become brittle and snap. There are also tapes that shouldn't be used because have dried out lubricant issues (Sony PR-150 for example) and some back-coated formulas that have "sticky shed" problems which leave a tar-like substance all over the machine (Ampex 456, Scotch 227 and Classic to name a few). There's a list out there somewhere, Google "sticky shed tape" and I'm sure it'll show up.
     
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  5. longjnsilver

    longjnsilver New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Interesting that some tapes become sticky, shed oxide, etc. Back in 1974 when living in the remote bush of Kenya, East Africa, I used "SCOTCH 175 1.5 MIL 1/4" Silicone Lubricated "Tenzar Backing" (whatever that is) on my UHER 4000 Report 5" reel-to-reel machine to tape language lessons and Akamba traditional songs - I mean out in the hot, humid weather. I just bought three used UHER recorders, 4000 Report 6000 Report Universal and a DANDY 4400 Report Stereo Monitor, and those old tapes from 1974 have played flawlessly. The only problems I've had it with a bit of print-through - not sure if that's due to the tape magnetizing adjacent tape - or head variations in head alignment between the machines, but there's been no problem with the tape per se - a glowing testimony to the SCOTCH 3M brand! Pic of the box at this link: https://app.box.com/s/mf6wokjh9i5fg6q0vcpos5e28o0jqnkj
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  6. audiojones

    audiojones Jonesin' for audio Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,992
    Location:
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    Yep, Scotch was a very reliable brand along with Ampex and Audiotape back then. The sticky shed issue came about when certain "back coated" formulas were introduced in the mid to late 70's and on into the 90's. One of the worst offenders was Ampex with their 456 and 457 "Grand Master" tapes, but Scotch had equally disastrous results with their "classic", 226 and 227 formulas (although Scotch had plenty of other reliable formulas available at the time).

    Ironically the back coated tapes that failed were the most expensive high end offerings from those manufacturers, so if you spent more on "good" tape for very special recordings it turns out those are the very ones that got fouled up. You would have been much better off with ordinary inexpensive Ampex 641 or Scotch 203 or 215!

    Sony PR-150 has a different type of failure, it dries out and squeals due to a defective lubrication in the formula that doesn't hold up anymore (although it was fine BITD). I've got loads of 5" Scotch tapes from the 60's here of all kinds (no acetate though) and they all still work perfectly in spite of less than favorable storage conditions by the previous owner.

    Cool about the UHER machines, I've got a couple of 4000 Reports (one with the voice activation unit and all of the accessories except the leather carrying case) as well as a Sony TC-800B (Richard Nixon's favorite). Also have a couple of super reliable Sony TC-222's, they just keep going and going without needing any attention (had 'em forever). I know where there's a Nagra 5" machine that's been long forgotten in a storage unit. I was going to inquire about it but then I realized it's a full track mono that runs at 1 7/8 ips only. Those machines are works of art to look at though!
     

     

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  7. C_D

    C_D New Member

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    31
    Regarding the Akai vs Roberts choice, the simple answer is avoid any reel-to-reel decks with dual-lever design. It is really ancient mechanical approach and much better options exist. Akai uses piano-key control and their heads are amazingly durable, so the '230 and '230D blow away the Roberts on multiple levels. Only American made reel-to-reel brand I'll consider is Ampex. Otherwise I like Akai and Pioneer as both are stellar, well built brands with rubber spare parts still available. Sony would be a close third to Pioneer.
     
  8. James Wright

    James Wright New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Gettysburg, SD
    I recently finished servicing my Akai GX-230D and it sounds great. With my noise reduction unit it is as quiet as a compact disk. I also have a pair of Revox decks that are better yet. I haven't seen a Roberts 770 or Akai M-8 since the middle sixties.
    44.jpg

    Revox A-77 -DBX-224.jpg

    RevoxB-77dbx228.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018

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