July 9th, 2011

Slowly I Turn...

The cable that I needed to connect the 8-track reel-to-reel recorder (a Tascam TSR-8) having arrived yesterday, I went down to the studio today and wired up the recorder to the Octopre, found a couple of BNC to RCA adapters and hooked up the word clock to the Octopre so that I could sync it to the rest of the digital gear (because not doing so is a recipe for getting clicks and pops), connected the Octopre to the ADAT patchbay, powered up everything, and was ready to go to work transferring The Grim Roper.

I went to the cabinet and grabbed the tapes. But where was the take up reel? After a fifteen minute ransacking of the area, I found it on top of the filing cabinet where the 8-track unit had been sitting.

Ok, mount the reels and let's rewind the tape, which had been carefully stored tail out. And after a short time, the rewinding function slowed down. That's not good. I found that I could pick up the speed by lifting the right tension arm by hand. Ok, that'll work for the moment.

Tape rewound. Channels enabled in Cubase. Hit play on the recorder.

And it sits there.

Apparently, there's something wrong with the transport mechanism, which would explain the trouble with rewinding.

Thud, thud, thud.

Update: I've opened up the front panel and the capstan belt has definitely gone bad, so I've ordered a new one off of eBay that should get here some time next week. Installing the new belt looks like an adventure. I think I have to partially remove the head stack.

On the other hand, having the machine opened up this way allowed me to clear some remarkable crud off of the metal parts around the heads, so...

The heads themselves were clean. And easier to reach. :)

Cleaning Up Is Hard To Do

We've been in this house for fifteen years. During that time, there've been a few changes. For example, when we first moved in, the studio was where the guest bedroom is, while the library was where the girls' room is now, and Mrs. Duntemann was living in the room where the library is now. Around 2000 or thereabouts, we had the studio built out in the basement and moved the studio gear downstairs, leaving the guest bedroom as a guest bedroom. Then it was Katie's room for a while, then the library moved downstairs, Katie moved where the library was, and the guest bedroom went back to being a guest bedroom.

The thing to remember in all this is that the studio started out in what is now the guest bedroom. This meant that various pieces of no-longer-used gear ended up in the closet in that bedroom. And that is where they've stayed.

Lately, daisy_knotwise has become extremely covetous of that closet space as the number of little girl clothes keeps increasing and has suggested that the stuff in that closet could go somewhere else. Well, save for the enormous pair of JBL monitor speakers which weigh a ton, are tucked into a corner of the closet, and might stay there until we sell the house.

Earlier this evening, we stopped by the Container Store to pick up three new laundry baskets to replace some recent casualties. And since I had sturdy empty laundry baskets when I returned home, I figured I could use them to move all of the stuff to the basement. And there was a bit more than two laundry baskets of stuff that got moved. Some of it is actually useful, like a brand-new mic stand and boom. Some of it is useful to someone else, like RCA patch bays. And some of it was recycled. But the rest of it went to the basement.

Of course, this meant that I had to figure out where to put this stuff in the basement. And when I saw a half-empty box on the basement shelf labeled "Dodeka and Windycon", I figured that it might be able to become a completely empty box. The ancient bank statements from a closed Dodeka account will be consigned to the recycling bin. The old Moebius and SpaceTime scripts will be filed away. The cartoons by scarfman will be chuckled over and filed.

The big box of black and white photographs from when Gretchen was in college will be examined later.