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Sony TC377 - recording levels and stuff

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:18 am
by General Calisti

I recently got my hands on a TC377, anyone have any experience or thoughts with these?

Mine was bought practically unused and restored by a reel-nerd, and was as clean inside as i've only seen brand new computers be. Sounds very nice and feels great to use. Knock on wood, very little fuss so far.

The idea is to use it as a step in processing sounds and samples, i've been using it to record when i'm riding the daw controls with the mouse-pad and keyboard on my laptop, little dub-sketches or demos, whatchamacallem.
I know its not a pro level recorder, it seems the market nische was "affordable if not cheap high-performer" for the private market.
I love to record something at one speed and replay it at another, there is simply nothing that compares to the time-shifting capability of a machine imo, i'm no fan of analog vs digital (what sounds good is good) but its like playing 45s at 33. It's just immensly fatter.

Would it be hubris to think i can use it as a step in recording master-versions of my dubs? I'm liking it so far and i want to learn to use it skillfully, but i guess a better machine is needed for distribution quality right?

The line level knobs hadn't been put back all that well so i had some initial issues with finding a decent stereo balance. Fixed the knobs and i'm trying to go by ear while looking at the needles, keeping the peaks hitting hot by a millimeter or so but not more.

Any tips or tricks related to balancing the levels and getting a good recording?
Is it better to run the ins on the reel as high as possible and adjusting the incoming signal or the other way around?

How much do i need to think about degaussing and parts becoming magnetized? I dont have a degausser, i should probably get one for future needs right?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:47 pm
by interruptor
i don't know this particular model. i used a revox a77 for tape delays a lot though which was great. that unit needs servicing badly now, so i currently use a analog delay unit (bucket brigade type). tape can be helpful for analog compression especially when driven hard. before i had any distortion units i used to record certain parts on a cassette tape real hot and sampled them back afterwards. these days i prefer to use a plugin for this purpose.
if you like the sound there is nothing wrong with mastering to the reel tape. you will likely loose some of the punchiness of your transients, but that's up to your ears to judge. :-)
degaussing is recommended if you want to get the best possible sound from your reel machine. it all depends on how often you use your machine i guess. i have to admit i never degaussed my a77..

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:18 am
by General Calisti
Hi Iterruptor!

I need to look up how to do a tape delay with a reel machine.

Haha i love that it can serve as a dist unit as well, these machines are great!
I've been running vintage-warmer to do that pre-tape and it translates well to tape also. I'm still having a blast just figuring out ways to use it.

So how do you set your levels then? Maxed out signal in and moderate with recording levels or max recording levels and moderate your signal?

That's what i was thinking too, i like how it sounds and in the end that's whats important. Running it back in i might double the track digitally to boost it or make it wider.

As far as servicing goes i'm banking the restoration will hold up until i've taught myself some basic electronics repair and soldering like replacing a component. For now i just clean the heads and poles with q-tips when i see residue. First time i did that i nearly fell off my chair at the difference but then i'd only been rummaging about with old sticky tapes to look for cool stuff to sample. Strictly new tape now.
Degaussing seems finnicky, someone wrote that if you accidentally magnetize your capstan shaft the machine is now a spare-parts kit...
But as long as one touches the heads only then it's no problem.
This all makes me want to not degauss it.