A head assessment? Comments invited

Skywavebe

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#21
I would not worry about the rusty screws as if a Technician is going to work on the deck he may have new ones. Why would anyone go looking for a Akai 400D when they have a working Teac A2300SX? The Teac should forever be repairable and the Akai was junk from day one.
The heads in the pictures above can all be resolved with some Nu Finish polish which will then provide protection against further oxidation with a side advantage of bettering the tape to head contact. I have several examples of proof that the Surfactant is beneficial to a tape path even on a Tascam 42. The head shields that exist on the play heads can have Brasso a more abrasive material scrubbed to make them look way better. It is all looks but the critical part of the head is at the center of the parabola shape. Don't just change head blocks willy-nilly like some do just for wear. Ever head must be optimized as to placement and I have found that over the years head blocks for any model Studer on down do not have correct azimuth when placed on a different deck due to tape path irregularities. When you put a new block on then you need to go through the whole calibration process.
I know a lot of guys just screw them on and say they are fine- these are not professionals and they use the (some sound comes out) method of determining if the heads work. That is the same way Akai has gotten away with worn out heads all these years with plenty of marketing telling everyone their heads never wear out. The fact is 95% of decks I had come in were worn out terribly and there were no possible replacements. When I asked a client if he had any fidelity problem with his GX635D he said no. It measured -11dB at 6.3K and all the higher were much lower- I do not call these lifetime heads. I later learned that a past Akai technician said they tested the machines at 1KHz and did not worry about the high end. I wonder why that was?
 

62vauxhall

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#22
Thanks Sam. Two days ago that GX400D was nudging $200 so I lost interest.

For now, I'll probably leave well enough alone with the RT-707 heads. I've thought for a while that it might be prudent to get another set if the opportunity presented itself.

When the time comes to do a re & re, I'd take it to that fellow Curt Palme.
 

Skywavebe

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#23
OK, The thing I keep on reading is that people have heads lapped all the time when there is often never a need to do that. It is another error that propagates like fire in CA and is impossible to stop.
To lap a head it must be taken off, determined if it is worth it, then slowly worn down to the level that you want. Regardless- some good head material is worn away in the process- maybe 100 hours worth. Then the heads have to be remounted and precisely positioned and maybe moved forward which might now require some mount hole drilling. When you lap a head you remove metal that was in a place the tape makes contact with- although this is small it does not take much to start to see tape to head contact issues which makes itself more evident with 1.5 mil tape because of it's rigidity. That then requires the head be moved up forward more and the screw holes do not allow for this. Just lapping and putting heads back on any old way which most do I suspect do not get you the correct result from the head and therefore they waste more time doing this or paying for it than was necessary in the first place.
There needs to be a real reason to lap a head not that every head needs it. That is stupidity.
 

Skywavebe

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#24
From looking on the original pictures there should be a a good amount of time left on those heads. People get too nervous when they start to see wear patterns. When they sound bad then take action but that should not be a for a while yet as the Pioneer heads have deep gaps. Besides I have new ones here made at the same place as the originals.
 

62vauxhall

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#25
Thanks Sam, it's reassuring to know this. I think the existing heads will out live me.

That "spare" head block I got in the spring sits on top of the deck so a new owner, whoever gets it when the bank liquidates my assets, will be good for a while.
 

Skywavebe

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#26
Are you anticipating a departure any time soon? With regular use these head should last from 2 to 5 more years. I have seen them come in with 6mm wide wear marks. It is best not to jump to any conclusions. If the distortion is real high on record or the playback response begins to suffer then that is indication of the need for new heads. I have a lot of pioneer heads here and have already replaced some heads with the new ones and they worked great. I was in on the testing of the new proto types and they did pass the tests. I have direct contact to the guy who is having them made only in Chicago.
 

orange

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#27
My 1983 Trinitrons will outlive me most likely. Still kicking at 36.
 
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