A head assessment? Comments invited

62vauxhall

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#1
All the reel to reel talk made me post this.

A few years ago I bought a Pioneer RT-707 from a local guy who fixes and sells R2R's. When I bought it, the heads were said to have some wear but were not bad. Just hauled the deck off the shelf to check the reverse sensing switch and clean the heads. I read on TH that Pioneer heads withstood wear better than say Teac heads.

When I bought it, I was told it "was flat to 20K" and it does record and play fine but I was hoping Sam might catch this and offer an opinion whether the wear on these heads is condition Yellow, Orange or Red.

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#2
Ya know..... If you were to use the magical silicon goo and a wood rasp..... you could have those heads ready for another 1000 or so years.. :)
As long as you don't have the sticky sak syndrome. LOL!


I have a brand new set of heads still in the package (for my Tascam 42NB). I'll take a pic and post it tomorrow. They are 2 channel heads. The flat on them (my new set doesn't look as wide as your's but I'll take a gander. Of course, the RT707 (1977-1984) predates the 42 by possibly a decade or more so being a 40 year old machine it may have a bit of wear.

Here is a pic of a head off a 707. The wear face doesn't look as wide.

RT-707 rec head 2.JPG
 

62vauxhall

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#3
Mine definitely looks more worn than your example. And thanks, a close-up look at a brand head would be informative.

When I was looking for info, I came across a pic that Sam commented on estimating about 60% wear. Looked somewhat similar but the head had tilt so wear was not even bottom to top.
 

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#4
Sometimes it's hard to tell. I thought the heads on my Sony were shot... They are the weirdest I have seen. 2 heads built into one so they have a big valley in the middle of a head set.... Turns out they were in great shape. After I cleaned and lubed the whole deck and inquired about the heads... All is good.
 

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#5
Here is a pic of brand new "out of the wrapper" heads for a Tascam 42 (and a few other models). They are probably a bit different but it may or may not help. They have no flat spot on them and I don't believe I've seen a new set of heads for your rig so i don't know if there should be a flat on yours or not...




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62vauxhall

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#6
Thanks for posting - it confirms what you thought about new heads not having a flat surface. I suspected the same. No new or low hours head that I've seen in the past has had that.

That Sony head(s) you mentioned, if it was from the reel to reel you had/have, I've not seen that either - just with 3 head cassette decks. My first 3 head was a Hitachi and they designated theirs RP combination.

I just put the RT-707 back on the rolling cart with my Teac. Neither sees a whole lotta use so it's heads will probably last longer than I will.
 

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I know it well. It's macro mode is stellar !
Heck yeah, I use it on Macro for a lot of my pics here on Phoenix. My new phone takes awesome pics but the Canon is my goto... She's been to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and all shit holes in between. Me and my buddy each bought one and every time I see him (he's in town for 2 weeks now) we always say to each other, my camera is better than yours....
 

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#11
I see the TapeHeads dudes pretty much agreed that your heads are hatched....... Too bad the Tascam 42 heads won't fit. They are wollensac and are hard as cheneeze arithmetic... I found a guy who has them for $125 each so I bought a spare set just in case. They are $250 each on the bay. I guess you CAN USE THEM TILL THEY PUKE AS LONG AS THEY DON'T DAMAGE YOUR TAPE...... :)
 

62vauxhall

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#13
I got a PM from Sam and at this point, that deck does not see enough use for me to consider the expense of new heads. Pretty sure I'll puke before they do.

It splits duty with a Teac A3300 and its heads were re-lapped two or three years ago by some one in Canada Sam recommended. Theoretically, I can do all recording on that one and use the Pioneer strictly for playback. Since it auto-reverses and that is a playback feature, there is really no need for me to record on it other than to make sure it still can.
 

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#14
I got a PM from Sam and at this point, that deck does not see enough use for me to consider the expense of new heads. Pretty sure I'll puke before they do.

It splits duty with a Teac A3300 and its heads were re-lapped two or three years ago by some one in Canada Sam recommended. Theoretically, I can do all recording on that one and use the Pioneer strictly for playback. Since it auto-reverses and that is a playback feature, there is really no need for me to record on it other than to make sure it still can.
Yep, it's nice having 2 machines for that reason. As long as they are set up correctly, you can listen to tapes recorded on the A3300 on the 707 but listening to prerecorded stuff could be an issue if you have the 707 set to listen to tapes from another machine. It all depends on what tape they set it up for (the 3300).
I set mine up for the SM911 tape and may not sound the best listening to different tape/prerecorded tape. But I'm just going to monkeying around and recording some of my new albums. Besides, the last tape my buddy brought over for me, got tape dust and shit ll over it so I recleaned it and threw the tape into the dumpster... so, I probably wont be listening to much pre-recorded stuff except my own tapes which are brand new.
 

62vauxhall

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#16
He estimated them to be on the good side of 60% worn and explained he had "turned decks out" with heads in similar condition. Sounds like they will still be OK for a while at least.

I went gung-ho finding and buying used tapes before I even had a functioning deck I Intended to keep. After I got the Teac 3300 mechanically working (and it did seem to record & play satisfactorily), it went back east to get tweaked and have the heads relapped.

I did not foresee myself buying new tape and I sent a spool of TDK Audua so the Teac could be calibrated for it. However it's set also seems to be within range for whatever Maxell and BASF that I've used. I could be wrong but I'm assuming the Pioneer has not been touched in that regard since day one and as Sam mentioned, is likely in need of adjusting. But, it too seems to be dialed in for the tapes that I have recorded on it.

If anyone shows up at your place for a listen to something on a reel of Sony PR-150 (red & black box) - do not play it.
 
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