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Sansui QD-5500 Reel

Discussion in 'Tape' started by betamax, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. betamax

    betamax Active Member

    Messages:
    114
    Picked up a QD-5500 with unknown history with about 20 reels with material already on them. Not sure if they were recorded on this machine. Anyway, I'm trying to figure out why it has a muffled sound. Head alignment, or worn out? I've already cleaned and demagnetized the heads. Could the tapes be wasting away? Also it shows output on three of the four meters, the right front channel comes and goes.
     

     

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  2. oldvinyldude

    oldvinyldude AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,645
    Location:
    Buckeystown Maryland
    Not that many folks had Quad recordings or made Quad recordings, so you may have 1/4 track recordings made in Stereo. You should hear 2 of the tracks in reverse, if the tapes were recorded on a 1/4 track stereo machine.

    Remember that all items in the audio path, starting with the head, across possible slider switches and relays, to the rear out jacks, can be the culprit. The symptom of dirty switches\relays is more typically no sound, erratic sound level, or static. Muffled sound is usually tape or head issue. Anything interfering with proper head to tape contact, will muffle sound. Poor quality\poor condition tape will cause this issue as well.

    Worn out heads are possible. Deep grooves in the head can mean many miles of tape passage. Google for photos of worn heads. You have to sift through quite a few to get a feel of what excessive wear looks like. It's quite tricky to get head wear photos that can accurately portray wear so folks can see here and comment on with any certainty.

    I have heard of many head cleaning attempts that users later found, were not sufficient to remove gunk deep into the head gap. So so small a place..... Do try a bit more cleaning. Don't be afraid to put some very firm pressure on the cleaning material, and rub in the same direction as tape travel. There are a couple of suppliers of effective head cleaning agents.

    You mentioned nothing of tape brands you have. When stored reasonably well, tapes such as Scotch 207, Maxell UD\UDXL or TDK LN still perform very well today. There are many older formulations from major manufacturers that are also very good. Off brands abounded, varying from quite good to very mediocre. Try a known good tape-buy or borrow one to rule in/rule out tape as the culprit.
     
  3. betamax

    betamax Active Member

    Messages:
    114
    I actually got really aggressive with the cleaning, using 91% alcohol and then the vintage TEAC head cleaner I have. I'm happy to say it cleared up. Most of the tapes I got with it I'd say are not worthy of messing with, Concertape (Rat Shack) Ampex. A few scotch but not 207, maybe one Maxell (hard to tell with the box saying one thing the reel another) and some Sony. So far, the Sony PR-150 has been ok, I recorded new material over from CD and it sounded good, both channels strong and clear.

    I'm someone a novice in that, when you record, you can only record in one direction, correct? Also, I'm using half the width when I record, right? So I'm recording on 1/8" of the tape one way, and then 1/8" the other way in Stereo?
     
  4. oldvinyldude

    oldvinyldude AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,645
    Location:
    Buckeystown Maryland
    Good to hear!

    RS Concertape was 2nds of a major manufacturer, from what I understand. Sony PR-150 is good tape. Keep an eye out with local CL and similar. You may be able to slowly acquire a stash, although I have seen that tapes I might have bought for a few dollars back then, sellers are now asking 3-5 times what they did 10 years ago.

    Your deck only records in one direction. It's designed as a 4 channel recorder\player. (The S version offered Stereo playback) You should get a user manual from HiFiEngine. You will need to create an account, but it's free, and they do not spam. I believe the track layout is the same as a stereo deck uses. The layout there is (from top to bottom), Track 1,2,3,4. Tracks 1&3 are one Stereo 'pair" and on reverse play, tracks 2&4 are played. This arrangement helped minimize cross talk from the tape, and within the heads.
     

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