Navigation | AMPEX , tout ce qui concerne cette marque mythique…

AMPEX , tout ce qui concerne cette marque mythique…

Tout d’abord , rappel des faits.

Ampex web site (December 2003): Ampex Data Systems has a long, proud history of innovation in the field of electronic imaging. Currently, Data Systems’ high-capacity DST® storage systems are enabling broadcasters to migrate their existing videotape libraries to the distinct advantages of digital storage. DCRsiâ„¢ ruggedized recorders are the most advanced data gathering systems in the world today, and are used in many critical government applications. Data Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ampex Corporation. 

When Ampex Corporation was founded in 1944, audio recording technology was in its infancy. We were the driving force in the development of this revolutionary communication tool. As video was introduced to the world, Ampex was ready with the technologies that enabled the growth of this medium. We designed and marketed the first viable videotape recorder, the first slow motion color instant replay device, the first 3-D digital special effects system, the first composite digital video recorder, as well as the fastest, high capacity digital storage systems available. With thousands of patents to our credit, Ampex is internationally recognized for its innovative contributions to the advancement of audio/visual communication. Ampex was also a pioneer in the fields of digital video and compression technology during the early ’90s – both defining factors in our current ability to send video out over the Internet.

Today, Data Systems continues to shape breakthrough technologies for the acquisition, storage and processing of visual information. Our new quad density DST storage systems feature a maximum uncompressed capacity of 660 gigabytes on a single cartridge. Particularly attractive to television broadcasters are the new DST 714 and DST 914 automated archive libraries. These scalable systems allow facilities to invest in their digital transformation at a managed level as they begin to apply the clear advantages of digital storage to their existing video libraries.

julius mwago nduati (September 11, 2008): please give prices of ampex 2.1 subwoofers,and
5.1 subwoofers that you have in market,also give me contacts of your wholesele outlets in dubai.

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Ampex web site (December 2003): Ampex Corporation has been at the forefront of technology breakthroughs for more than five decades. Among Ampex’s many contributions are the development of the first practical videotape recorder, the introduction of helical scan recording and the invention of slow motion instant replay. 

Ampex Chronology

1944 Ampex Electric and Manufacturing Company is formed by Alexander M. Poniatoff in San Carlos, California.

1948 American Broadcasting Company uses an Ampex Model 200 audio recorder for the first-ever U.S. tape delay radio broadcast of The Bing Crosby Show.

1950 Ampex introduces the first « dedicated » instrumentation recorder, Model 500, built for the U.S. Navy.

1954 Ampex introduces the first multi-track audio recorder derived from multi-track data recording technology.

1954 Ampex introduces the first magnetic theater sound system, made for Todd/AO CinemaScope.

1956 The Ampex VRX-1000 (later renamed the Mark IV) videotape recorder is introduced on March 14, 1956, at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters in Chicago. This is the world’s first practical videotape recorder and is hailed as a major technological breakthrough. CBS goes on air with the first videotape delayed broadcast, Douglas Edwards and The News, on November 30, 1956, from Los Angeles, California, using the Ampex Mark IV.

1958 NASA selects Ampex data recorders and magnetic tape, used for virtually all U.S. space missions since.

1959 The famous Nixon-Khrushchev « Kitchen Debate » takes place at the Moscow Trade Fair, and is captured on an Ampex videotape recorder.

1960 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents Ampex with an Oscar for technical achievement.

1961 Helical scanning recording is invented by Ampex, the technology behind the worldwide consumer video revolution, and used in all home VCRs today.

1963 Ampex introduces EDITEC electronic video editing, allowing broadcast television editors frame-by-frame recording control, simplifying tape editing and making animation effects possible. This was the basis for all subsequent editing systems.

1963 Ampex introduces a new computer peripheral digital tape transport, the TM-7. Its design far surpasses previous tape drives, using 80 percent fewer parts and completely eliminating pinch rollers and brake cylinders.

1964 Ampex introduces the VR-2000 high-band videotape recorder, the first ever to be capable of the color fidelity required for high-quality color broadcasting.

1967 ABC uses the Ampex HS-100 disk recorder for playback of slow-motion downhill skiing on World Series of Skiing in Vail, Colorado. Thus begins the use of slow motion instant replay in sporting events.

1967 Ampex introduces the RG memory. It is a medium capacity memory with an access time of 350 nanoseconds (less than half of one millionth of a second) and expandable from medium to very large capacity (up to 5,000,000 bits) by adding memory modules.

1967 The introduction of the Ampex VR-3000 revolutionizes video recording

1968 Ampex invents magneto-resistive (MR) heads, now used in advanced computer disk drives.

1969 Ampex introduces the Videofile® system, used by Scotland Yard for the electronic storage and retrieval of fingerprints.

1970 Ampex introduces the ACR-25, the first automated robotic library system for the recording and playback of television commercials.

1970 Ampex introduces TBM (TeraBit Memory), a 2-inch transverse tape-based online digital storage system for high-performance computing applications.

The first TBM delivered reaches a never-before-achieved 3 trillion-bit capacity.

1974 Ampex introduces the AVR-2, the first modular quadruplex recorder/reproducer for professional broadcasters. It requires one-half to one-third the operating space required by other quad machines.

1976 Ampex introduces the VPR-1, helical scan, 1-inch videotape recorder. The VPR-1′s successor, the Type C VPR-2 (1978), becomes the industry standard for video recording.

1977 Ampex introduces the AST® process, the first automated scan tracking for variable speed effects, making slow motion possible directly from tape for the first time.

1977 Ampex introduces Electronic Still Store (ESSâ„¢) which allows producers to store digital video images for later editing and broadcast.

1977 Ampex introduces the HBR-3000, the first high-bit rate, high-density magnetic recorder for logging and storage of electromagnetic data.

1978 The Ampex Video Art (AVAâ„¢) video graphics system is used by artist Leroy Nieman on air during Super Bowl XII. AVA, the first video paint system, allows the graphic artist, using an electronic pen, to illustrate in a new medium, video. This innovation paved the way for today’s high quality electronic graphics, such as those used in video games.

1981 Ampex introduces the ADO® system, which creates digital special effects, allowing rotation and perspective of video images. This changed forever the way television material would be manipulated and created.

1983 Ampex introduces the DCRS digital cassette recorder, offering compact cassette storage with the equivalent of 16 digital, 14 inch, 8 DDR instrumentation reels on one cassette.

1983 Partial-response maximum-likelihood (PRML) data decoding technology has its first use in Ampex’s DCRsiâ„¢ recorders. This technology is now commonly used in high performance computer disk drives and other high density magnetic data storage devices.

1988 Ampex introduces D-2, the first composite digital video recording format.

1991 Ampex obtains patent for keepered media, which adds a soft magnetic layer to magnetic recording media, increasing the resulting recording capacity.

1992 Ampex introduces its DCT® products, the first digital component post-production system using digital image compression technology to produce unsurpassed quality images. The system includes the finest videotape recorder ever made, the DCT 1700d.

1992 Ampex introduces its DST® products, high-performance computer mass data storage systems able to store half the contents of the Library of Congress in 21 square feet of floor space.

1995 Ampex introduces the DISâ„¢ 120i and DIS 160i dual port, data/instrumentation recorders, making it possible for the first time to capture real time instrumentation data and then utilize the same recorder to process the data in a computer environment through its second port using SCSI-2 protocol.

1996 Ampex introduces the new double density DST data storage product line, offering the highest capacity data storage system in the industry. The DST 812 robotic library can now store 12.8 terabytes of data, the entire Library of Congress, in 21 square feet of floor space.

1997 Ampex introduces the DST 712 Automated Cartridge Library System capable of storing up to 5.8 terabytes with an aggregate data transfer rate of up to 40MB/sec.

1998 Fox Television Network becomes the first network to store its primetime television programs as data files on DST media and library systems.

1999 Ampex Introduces scalability to the to the DST 712 library system, allowing multiple DST 712 cabinets to be connected via a simple cartridge pass through mechanism Multiple libraries can be configured for almost unlimited capacity.

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Refurbishing & modifications
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Ampex Mailing List Home Page
Ampex Virtual Museum
AmpexMailing list There many people on these lists with a lot of knowledgeabout professional analog tape machines. Some of these people arepushing analog to the limit, 1” two track and 2” eighttrack, serious stuff. To get on to these lists go to the followingweb sites and follow the instructions.


 AG440 Infos et maintenance


Caps to Replace on your Ampex AG 440 – MM1000 – MM1100 or MM1200 Tape Recorder !!




First off, MOST caps do NOT need replacing!!

Caps last for years and years and years and years
and actually may be one of the factors in your equipment’s ‘Vintage » sound!!



if you find a number of the same cap needs replacement in various cards
(then replace them all)

First let’s look at what bad caps look like!

AMPEX , tout ce qui concerne cette marque mythique... cap08a



If you see something like the above, where the rubber or plastic vent cap is puffed out or if you see a gross gooey gunk coming from the cap – usually at the wire connections -
go ahead and replace it…. if a bunch of the same value and make of the cap are going
bad, then replace them all…

I’m finding that most 440′s, MM1000′s, MM1100′s and MM1200′s are now at the age
where a lot of the electrolyics in the Audio Cards are begining to leak
and go bad.

This may show up a a loss of over-all level, a loss of low frequency signals,
cards not working correctly and other probelms.

So in the older Ampex machines I recommend you replace the following caps:

RECORD CARD: C28     10uf 25 volts (replace with 10uf 50 volt caps)
REPRODUCE CARD: C13 and C8   50uf 50 volt (replace with 50uf or 47uf   50 volt caps)

Note these are AXIAL caps – the wires are connected to each side of the cap!!


You’ll need the following tools:

Soldering Iron and Solder


Jameco Electronics part # 229673 $ 59.95 each
get Solder at your local Radio Shack
Solder « Sucker »


Jameco electronics part # 19166 $ 4.95 each


Small cutters and small needle-nose plyers




Ampex AG-440 Cosmetic Evolution

Ampex Corporation introduced the AG-440 reel to reel studio mastering deck in 1967. The model went through 3 generations and was in production into the mid 1970′s. The machine is an all-discrete transistor design, with class A electronics. Mechanically, it was an upgrade from the long-lived 350-type transport. The AG-440 transport featured a rigid die-cast assembly that achieved tape stability equal to the larger « brute force » 300-type transport but kept the approximate form-factor and user interface of the popular 350-type. The tape path featured a scrape-flutter idler between the record and play heads, with facilities for a second idler on the other side of the record head.

Full details of these machines are found in their online manuals, generously hosted by Ampex Data Systems. The purpose of this web page is to show and explain the machine’s cosmetic evolution, with cursory mention of the various electro-mechanical changes that evolved over its lifespan.
This is the original look of the AG-440, the « a » series. Above is a 4-track machine. The machine was originally available in full-track, 2-track and 4-track configurations. Plug-in headblocks and spring-loaded rotating guides (one side for 1/4″ tape and one side for 1/2″) allowed quick change-overs between quarter-inch and half-inch tape. The original machine used an AC capstan motor and was available in either 7.5 / 15 IPS or 3.75 / 7.5 IPS. Both NAB and CCIR equalization were offered. The transport featured 24V relays and solenoid-controlled tape lifters that automatically kept the tape out of physical contact with the heads during fast-winding. Unlike later models, the lifters would disengage immediately when the machine was switched to stop from either rewind or fast-forward. Thus, to preserve head life (and studio monitor tweeters), the user is well advised to shuttle the tape to a near-stop before hitting the stop button.
Above are views of the original 440 electronics, the front panel, removable PWA cards and the AG-445 play-only electronics module. The knobs are similar to those used on the AG-350 and AG-300 machines, small diameter with locking pre-set rings. The larger, square PWA card is the master bias oscillator and power supply regulator circuit to provide 39VDC to the electronics.
Here are the back panels to the 440″a » electronics (bottom) and transport control box (top).
In 1969, Ampex rolled out the AG-440B, which was cosmetically similar to the first generation machine but included some updates to the electronics and the transport. As seen in the above photo of the electronics front panel, the knobs were changed to the larger types without locking rings. A clear « memory set » disc was under each knob, to be used to remember standard operating levels. Inside the electronics, a L-C network was added to the repro level circuit to trap bias leakage. These electronics were similar to those used on the production version of the MM1000 1-inch/2-inch multi-track deck. As such, they had a 4-pin jack on the back allowing the record status light for each electronics to run remotely. This feature was more pertinent to the MM1000, which had record-status lights on the remote control unit.

Inside the transport, a lifter-delay circuit was added. This enabled the machine to come to a complete stop from fast-winding before the lifters dropped the tape on the heads. Cosmetically, the transport was identical to the 440″a » on the top plate. Ampex also offered an add-on DC servo capstan motor, which had jumper-selectable speed pairs, any two speeds, of 3.75, 7.5, 15 and 30 IPS.
Here are the 440B back panels. Note the 4-pin Jones socket on the electronics.
In 1974, Ampex introduced a substantially redesigned AG-440C. This machine offered the DC servo capstan motor as standard, although many were sold with the same AC capstan motor as earlier models. In the transport, a motion-sensing circuit was added so the machine would come to a complete stop from fast-wind before it would kick into play or record. This prevented the « death tape spill » possible on the earlier machines. The transport circuit was also altered to work with the new record circuit in the redesigned electronics, so it is not interchangable with earlier electronics without modification. Above is the 2-track version.
Here are the full-track and 4-track versions of the 440C.
The 440C electronics, front and rear, are pictured above. Note the smaller-sized VU meter, the « set and forget » level trimmers and the push-button control interface which replaced a slide-switch and a rotary switch on the earlier versions. Inside, the electronics circuitry was substantially redesigned. These electronics do not work with previous versions of the transport.
The 440C heads are shown above. This particular block is a 4-track half-inch model. Note the ruby guides on block’s entry and exit, on the individual head cans and on the scrape-flutter idler. Ruby guides were new on the AG-440C. The previous models had glass guides on the entry and exit sides of the head block.
Finally, here is a closeup of the electronics PWA card front panels. All electronics adjustments were made from these panels and the cards could be enclosed behind a stainless panel.

Produced by Tom Fine, 11/04



pdf ag440brochure.pdf


Chronology of Ampex Professional Products

(Draft: 29 Oct 95; Rev. 4 Nov 99)
                         Compiled by Howard Sanner


The source for this chronology of Ampex professional audio and video

products is principally the Ampex Fact Book prepared by Ampex in 1970 to

celebrate the company's 25th anniversary. All dates not in square brackets

are from this document, as are all quotations unless otherwise noted. Any

dates given in square brackets are from another source, often the date on a

manual in my collection. Additional sources I have found helpful are a

chronology prepared by David Dintenfass, anecdotes about the Ampex 200A by

Larry Racies, and comments on the MR-70 by Bill Vermillion. My thanks also

to Russ Bleakley and, indirectly, John G. McKnight, for sending me the Fact

Book. I have also included other significant events in the company's

history. I drew the line at instrumentation recorders, computer equipment,

consumer audio gear, and the like.

An overall chronology is first, followed by a discussion, in

chronological order, of some models of audio recorders.


1944 Nov. 1: Company founded as Ampex Electric and Manufacturing Company.
     The name Ampex is derived from the initials of the company's founder,
     Alexander M. Poniatoff, plus "ex" for excellence. [This is the party
     line. An insider once told me that the "ex" actually stood for

1946 May 2: Incorporated in California as Ampex Electric Corporation.

1947 Oct. 1: Model 200A audio recorder demonstrated at Radio Center,
     Hollywood, Calif.

1948 Apr. 24: First production model 200A recorders delivered to ABC and
     placed in service Apr. 25 across the country. First regular
     professional use of magnetic recording. [The Germans don't count, I

1949 May: Model 300 audio recorder. It "provided improvements in head
     design, drive system and tape path." [Cf. date in Lindsay article,
     cited below.] July: Model 300 production begins (Harold Lindsay,
     "Magnetic Recording, Part II," db, Jan. 1978: 41). [Cf. date in Fact
     Book, cited above.] Lindsay, op. cit., 42, says the 400 was first
     manufactured "late in 1949."

1950 Fall: Model 400 audio recorder. This was "lower priced," "of
     professional quality," and "developed specifically for independent
     broadcast stations."

1953 Apr.: Model 350 audio recorder replaced the model 400. "The model
     350's simplicity, improved tape drive system, durability and
     performance established a new standard of excellence for the broadcast
     industry." May 1 [per p. 1] or July 2 [per p. 43]: Name Ampex
     Corporation adopted. September: Entered motion picture field with
     sound equipment for Cinemascope.

1954 May: Model 600 portable recorder for field use. It "retained full
     master quality in a highly compact form." [No date given]: Models
     3200-3300 high-speed duplicators.

1956 Apr.: Demonstrated model VR-1000, the first video tape recorder at NAB
     convention in Chicago. Nov. 30: First coast-to-coast network TV
     broadcast using an Ampex video recorder was "Doug Edwards and the
     News" on CBS.

1956 Mar.: Ampex wins Emmy for VR-1000.

1958 Model 351 audio recorder. [A flyer in my collection copyrighted 1962
     refers to the 351's "four-year history of dependable operation by more
     than 9,000 units."--hcs] Apr.: Color video tape recorder. [No model
     no. given in Fact Book.] First demonstration of video tape editing.

1959 Jan. 19: Ampex stock listed on N.Y. and Pacific Stock Exchanges. June:
     United Stereo Tapes formed to record, make, and distribute stereo
     music tapes for home use. October: Orr Industries, Opelika, Ala.,
     merged into Ampex Corp. and became the Ampex Magnetic Tape Division.

1960 [specific date not known]: MX-35 four channel stereo mixer. [My copy
     of the manual is dated Sept. 1960.--hcs] Jan.: Model 970, a self-
     contained portable stereo recorder. It had a built-in stereo amplifier
     and speaker system for monitoring purposes. Apr.: Model 354 audio
     recorder, "designed specifically for recording and reproducing
     stereophonic sound." Apr.: VR-1001A video tape recorder, an upright
     model, introduced.

1961 Jan.: VR-8000, a closed-circuit video tape recorder for education and
     training applications. Apr.: Awarded Oscar for "development of an
     advanced multipurpose theater sound system." Dec.: 40 acres purchased
     in Redwood City, Calif., for a new corporate headquarters and research
     complex. Dec.: Experimental video tape recorder weighing 35 lbs. and
     occupying one cubic foot of space developed to record one half hour of
     satellite television pictures. Delivered to NASA.

1962 July 26: Ground breaking for Redwood City facility. Mar.: Ampex
     Electronic Editor, which allowed editing video tapes without cutting
     and splicing. Dec.: VR-1500 portable video tape recorder. Dec.: VR-
     660, a 130-lb. model priced at one-fourth the cost of previous video
     tape recorders.

1963 Aug. 12: Moved in to Redwood City facility.

1964 Apr.: VR-2000 high-band color and B&W video tape recorder. Apr.: MR-70
     mastering audio recorder. July: United Stereo Tapes changed name to
     Ampex Stereo Tapes.

1965 Feb.: VR-303 closed-circuit video tape recorder. (Dropped the same
     year; replaced by the VR-7000.) May: AG-350, the first all-
     transistorized audio recorder. July: VR-660B, advanced version of VR-
     660; replaces VR-660/1500. Nov.: VR-7000 compact portable closed
     circuit video tape recorder.

1966 Jan.: AG-300 solid-state audio tape recorder. Mar.: VR-1200 high-band
     broadcast color and B&W video tape recorder. Mar: VR-1100E,
     modification of the VR-1100 for mobile use. May: VR-6000 low-cost,
     compact close-circuit video tape recorder. Nov. VR-6175 closed-circuit
     video tape recorder/TV receiver.

1967 Jan.: AG-440 series audio recorder. "It is a new generation of the 350
     and 351 Series recorders, most widely used professional audio
     recorder/reproducers ever built." AG-445 is a playback only machine.
     Feb.: AG-500 series, solid state compact portable audio recorder. "An
     advanced generation of widely used PR-10 recorder/reproducers." Feb.:
     VR-7003, first closed-circuit video recorder that can record & play
     back at both 525-line and 625-line standards. Mar.: HS-100, high band
     color recording system that can do slow motion and stop action instant
     replays. Mar.: VR-3000, battery powered portable video tape recorder
     and camera combination, less than 50 lbs. Apr.: VR-7500C, first
     compact color video tape recorder to cost less than $50,000. Apr.:
     Ampex Stereo Tapes announces it will start making cassettes. May: AL-
     500, long play professional logging recorder, will record more than 34
     hours on a seven-inch reel. June: Second Emmy, for high band color
     video tape recording. Oct.: AG-440-8, eight-channel version of AG-440.
     Oct.: AG-1000-24 & AG-1000-16, two new solid-state multi-channel audio
     recorders. [I think these were the same model later called MM1000, but
     cannot prove it.--hcs] Oct.: ADM-500A Duplicator Master and AD-150
     Duplicator Slaves for high-speed cassette duplication. Could make ten
     copies of an hour long tape in two minutes. Oct.: AG-600 series, a
     solid-state version of the 600 series audio recorders. Oct.: AA-620,
     solid-state, portable 20W amp/speaker system. Oct.: AM-10, portable
     six-position 2 channel mixer. Nov.: VR-2000B & VR-1200B, high band
     color video tape recorders. Nov.: VR-5000 and VR-7800 portable video
     tape recorders.

1968 Apr.: VR-3000 introduced; first deliveries in May. Apr.: HS-200, color
     disc recording & editing system for producing commercials. Apr.: MM-
     1100 multi-channel audio recorders for mastering, TV, and motion
     pictures. June: VR-5003, international version of VR-5000. Aug.: VR-
     4900 and VR-5100 closed-circuit video tape recorders. Nov.: VR-7400,
     time lapse closed-circuit video tape recorder that can record 76 hours
     on a single reel.

1969 Jan.: AG-440B, an update of the AG-440. June: VP-4900C, closed circuit
     video tape player, priced at $1950. July: VR-7500X, closed circuit
     video tape recorder with higher resolution than previously available.
     Sept.: MM-1005, a playback-only version of the MM-1000. [This must be
     what was referred to as the AG-1000 above in the entry for 1967.]
     Nov.: VR-1500E, lowest priced video tape recorder that allows B&W
     assemble editing.

[late 1973?]: MM-1100 (date from Alastair Heaslett).

[late 1974 or early 1975?]: MM-1200 (date from Alastair Heaslett).

[mid-1970s?] AG-440C.

[Spring 1976]: ATR-100 introduced at AES in Los Angeles. (Date from
     Alastair Heaslett, who certainly ought to know.)

[ca. 1978] ATR-700 audio tape recorder. [My copy of the ATR-700 brochure is
     dated 1978.--hcs]

[ca. 1983] ATR-800 audio tape recorder. [My copy of the ATR-800 brochure is
     dated 1983.--hcs]

Discussion of Specific Audio Recorder Models

Note that more than one version of electronics was used by many of

the tube machines.

200A: The Ur-Ampex. Earliest ones ran at 30 ips only; some later ones

ran at 15 and 30 ips. Ampex made 112 of these (Harold Lindsay, "Magnetic

Recording, Part II," db, Jan. 1978: 40). The 200A used oxide-out wind, like

the Magnetophons. The 201 had the now-standard (except for cassettes)

oxide-in wind, had 300 heads mounted in an adaptor plate, and replacement

electronics configured to fit in the 200A's wire gutter. The 201 conversion

kit brought the Model 200A up to the same level of performance as the Model

300. Both lacked monitor bridges, being designed with the same connectors

as the monitor equipment for the then-current Scully disc recording lathes.

(However, the Model 200A would accept any 600 ohm, +4 signal as input.) A

real masterpiece of industrial design, hard to believe it was their first

effort, rivalled in this regard only by the MR-70. No built-in microphone

preamps. (Note: strictly speaking, there was no Model 200, though that is

the name generally used for this model. The first Ampex was really called

the Model 200A.)

300: Ran at 15/30 ips (strictly speaking, this was a Model 301) or

7.5/15 ips. Machines with serial numbers below 500 differed in many details

from those that followed: top plate solenoids were AC; the top plate was

plywood sandwiched between aluminum and stainless steel; there was no

stiffening "banjo" under the top plate; the cabinets of the console-mounted

machines looked like a miniature Model 200A cabinet. A great machine by any

standard. Available up to four track on half-inch tape. It was the 300

transport that Ampex used to build up the then one-of-a-kind multi-channel

recorder later sold to Les Paul. This was the standard studio mastering

deck for decades. All the major studios owned them by the dozen. Most of

the stereo Mercury Living Presence and RCA Living Stereo records were

recorded on multi-channel Ampex 300s. Ampex made over 20,000 of these

(Lindsay, op. cit., 41), including solid-state versions. The main problem

with the 300 transport is its indirect capstan drive. This design did not

age gracefully: absolute speed accuracy was difficult to attain and flutter

increased with wear. The 300 transport was more than nineteen inches wide;

it had to be mounted vertically in a standard rack. The 300 transport was

also the basis for the 3200 duplicator and various instrumentation decks.

300s with "bathtub" electronics lacked built-in microphone preamps.

400 series: The worst Ampex, hands down, universally considered a

catastrophe. Two motors, capstan to the left of the heads. The electronics

are very similar to those of the 350.

350: A hit and, with the 351, the best of the "smaller" Ampexes. 350s

had a four-pin Jones plug between the electronics and transport; the

electronics had an outboard power supply and used point-to-point wiring and

octal tubes. Some people think the 350 has more headroom than the 351 owing

to an allegedly beefier bias oscillator. Two-track version available, but

maybe not right from the start. (?) The direct capstan drive of the 350

series yielded greater absolute speed accuracy but more flutter than the

300 transport.

600/601/602: Portable tube machines, available mono or stereo. Used

seven inch reels and operated at a single speed, either 3.75 or 7.5 ips

(field convertible with kit available from Ampex). No tape lifters at all!

351: Transport identical to 350 (or nearly so) except that it uses a

six-pin Jones plug to connect the electronics and transport. The first

Ampex to be designed as either a stereo or mono machine from the beginning.

The front panel of the electronics, of which there are several versions, is

distinguishable from 350 electronics only by the black dot under the "input

transfer" switch. Unlike the 350, the 351 electronics have an integral

power supply, printed circuit boards, and use miniature tubes. With the

350, the nicest of the smaller tube Ampexes. The most desirable of the

several versions of the electronics are P/N 02-30960.

354: Same transport as 351. Electronics have two channels crammed

into one chassis, small VU meters and knobs, and a less-than-wonderful tube

complement. Hard to work on because of the cramped interior space, problems

with heat build up for same reason, switches aren't robust. Front panel

bias and EQ adjustments. Available with the same three head configuration

as the 350 and 351 or with a four head headblock, which allowed for a

quarter track playback head. Sound isn't as good (in my opinion!) as the

350 or 351, but still better than most transistor (including non-Ampex)

machines. Microphone preamps plugged in to octal tube sockets and usually

are not present.

PR-10: A small, portable machine that used seven-inch reels and 354

electronics (with a different faceplate).

MR-70: Without any argument the best tube Ampex ever made, probably

the best analog tape deck ever made, period. This machine was an all-out

effort to make a cost-is-no-object, state of the art recorder. According to

a 1966 GSA price schedule in my collection, a two-track, quarter-inch MR-70

in console cost $5456.25 and an identically configured AG-300 cost

$3496.00. Transport is similar to the 300, but considerably beefed up.

Nuvistor electronics. Custom-wound transformers, metal film resistors, film

capacitors, etc., etc. Available in many track configurations, up to eight

tracks on one-inch tape, and speed pairs of 7.5/15 ips or 15/30 ips. Some

track configurations (e.g., two track on half inch tape) anticipate today's

preferred analog formats; some configurations were available only on

special order. It and the much-despised Model 400 series were the only

Ampexes before the ATR-100 to have constant tension. Completely mu-metal

shielded. Motor drive to reel idler for faster starts. Allegedly fewer than

100 made. Parts not shared with the 300 are scarce to the point of being

impossible to get. According to Bill Vermillion, a Studer engineer once

told him that Willi Studer's goal in life was to make a tape recorder

better than the MR-70. He tried for two decades; then came to the

conclusion that he could equal it but not surpass it. All-in-all, a

fantastically elegant piece of industrial design. See Rein Narma and Mort

Fujii, "Performance and Reliability Requirements for a Master Tape

Recorder," Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, v. 12, no. 4 (Oct.

1964): 274-279 for a full discussion of the rationale behind the MR-70's

design. Microphone preamps plugged in to octal tube sockets and usually are

not present.

AG-350: The first transistor Ampex. Transport design essentially

unchanged from the 350/351/354. Faceplate and control panel redesigned to

conform to the "new" corporate look of the MR-70 and later AG-440. Eight

conductor Jones plug interconnecting the transport and electronics. Speed

change on the transport now changes EQ automatically. Available with either

the three or four head headstack, like the 354. Locking level controls for

record and reproduce, as on the MR-70. Ampex offered a kit to upgrade tube

350 series machines to use AG-350 electronics. No built-in microphone


AG-300: Facelifted 300 transport, as for AG-350, with AG-350

electronics. No built-in microphone preamps.

MM-1000, MM-1100, MM-1200: Multi-channel mastering machines using AG-

440 electronics. MM-1000 transport based on the VR-1000 video transport.

Available with up to 24 channels. No built-in microphone preamps.

AG-440: The workhorse of the transistor Ampexes. Available in

versions up to eight track on one-inch tape. Synchronous or servo capstan

motor. No built-in microphone preamps.

ATR-100: An MR-70 for the 1970s and beyond. The only analog machine

in the MR-70's league. This machine took fourteen-inch reels and could be

field adjusted to operate at any two speeds from 3.75 ips through 30 ips

(note: speeds do not have to be adjacent). Specifications are at least an

order of magnitude better than any other analog tape deck and in many areas

rival those quoted for digital. Available up to 24 track on two-inch tape.

Later examples were assembled in Mexico. No built-in microphone preamps.

AG-500: Solid-state version of the PR-10.

AG-600: Transistor update of 600/601/602 decks.

ATR-700: According to Mike Rivers approximately a TEAC 7030 with

different buttons and low impedance mike inputs. The same guts appeared as

the Tascam 25-2. Not a "real" Ampex, and not very desirable.

ATR-800: The last of the Mohicans. Made in Japan by Tascam but an

Ampex design. Sic transit gloria Ampex.


Par theaudiodomain le 28 janvier, 2009 dans

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