GENERIC Setup Calibration Kit for most 'other' tape machines
Nagravox Calibration kits are different to what you might expect. A lot more than just a calibration tape!
Developed over the last 3 years specifically for discerning audio enthusiasts and professionals, the rationale is to provide an appropriate set of tools, instructions and media to test, calibrate and setup a specific model Revox or Studer machine properly. Three resources based on the three fundamental chains of signal processing.
* INPUT OUTPUT CHAIN * PLAYBACK CHAIN *RECORD CHAIN
A cheap short generic reel of tape recorded by an enthusiast to try and make some money from his tape machine on eBay is not realistically going to help you setup and calibrate your machine properly. Calibration is the final step and is not just a process of throwing on a playback tape, tweaking some trimmers and hoping it will all come together. All 3 chains must be considered singly and then together. You also need to understand what gear and instruments are needed and how to use them. Awareness of modern tape formulations, relevant steps, differences, peculiarity's and nuances of a particular model, later factory updates not in factory manuals and hints and tips based on experience make calibration and setup a science and not a hit or miss affair.
The Nagravox calibration kit is designed to setup and calibrate your machine fully and properly. Each kit is tailored for a specific machine and your tape type preferences. Feel confident that your machine is setup and performs the way it was designed and manufactured.
PLEASE NOTE: This GENERIC kit caters for most commercial consumer machines that have 2 speeds but are setup in two different ways.
- Commercial machines that are set-up only at the higher speed on playback. There is no adjustment for the low speed levels or equalisation and they are hard wired derived from the high speed settings. This means most of the popular Japanese, American and European made machines.
- Semi Pro and Pro machines where playback is set up separately at each speed. You need two playback calibration tapes. Generally for higher end later Japanese and American machines.
- If your machine has 3 speeds please communicate with Nagravox so we can advise accordingly and perhaps make up a special kit for you. Please reference your exact machine make, model, speeds and equalisation.
Nagravox Setup and Calibration kits include:
• Playback calibration tape or tapes
• New fresh record setup tape for calibrating the record chain
• A set of detailed generic instructions, explanations, required equipment (which are not too onerous nor expensive), diagrams and check sheets to coach you on what to do. These are based on a range of generic machines that have come through our workshop over the years and incorporate Nagravox’s personal experience repairing, updating and restoring tape machine’s.
You need to decide:
• Machine model and whether you may want the kit to cater for multiple models.
• Speeds and equalisation
• The tape type and formulation you will be using to set the machine up for. We recommend SM900 or LPR90 but can accommodate SM911, LPR35, SM468, ATR Master and ATR MDS36. (All currently manufactured new tape)
The playback calibration tape/s are long length on a 7" special somewhat 'ugly' blue reel (so it can’t be mixed up or easily recorded over in error) and includes a plethora of appropriate length tones (the important ones are in minutes not seconds!) at calibrated levels with full commentary and explanation. Everything on the tape relates back to the calibration manual notes and explanation.
The Record chain tape is a brand new full length 7" tape of the type you will set your machine up on.
Instruction Manuals are requested and sent to you via a download service as a pdf
Do you want add a second machine model or equalisation speed or want to set up on multiple tape types? We offer extra add-on kits for purchasers of this full kit which provides additional options and usability to this base kit in an economical bundle.
SOME GUIDELINES ON TAPE TYPE
SM468 is a 0 Db low print through older formulation still produced today. I recommend this tape type for all older machines prior to 1966 and most valve machines. Also for studios and musicians that want to experiment with 'ye olde' and controlled distortion effects.
SM911 is a +3 Db slightly more modern formulation. Recommended for most commercial and semi pro machines up to ~1982 including those prior to 1966
ATR master is a +4 to +6 Db modern formulation. Recommended for all commercial, semi pro and pro machines from ~ 1982. Also for all machines but dont push the level too much
SM900 is a +6 to + 9 Db modern formulation. Recommended for all commercial, semi pro and pro machines from ~ 1982. Also for all machines but dont push the level too much
Sometimes you may have to use tape that perhaps your machine was not set up on. I make the following comments, bearing in mind 'you don’t get something for nothing' and these are rough guidelines.
- Standard / long play compatibility. SM900 & LPR90, SM911 & LPR35 and ATR Master & ATR MDS 36 have the same magnetic properties. Just the tape overall thickness changes. So you can use interchangeably SM900 and LPR 90. Similarly with the other pairs.
- If your machine has been setup on SM900 / LPR90 or ATR Master / MDS 36 decrease the max VU meter readings by 3 VU when using SM911 / LPR35 and 6 VU using SM468.
- If your machine has been setup on SM911 / LPR35 decrease the max VU meter readings by 2 VU when using SM468 or increase VU meter readings by 3 VU when using SM900/LPR90 or ATR Master/MDS36.
- If your machine has been setup on SM468 decrease the max VU meter readings by 2 VU when using SM911/LPR35. Don't use the other tapes.
FOR HOW LONG CAN I USE MY TAPE?
I suggest the following rough time use guidelines for 1/4" tape
- Re-recording over SM900 / SM911 / SM468 / ATR master - 10x
- Re-recording over LPR35/LPR90/MDS 36 5x
- Playing pre-recorded. This is dependent on machine but generally I would apply the following:
- Machines with rub block type tape guides 200x
- Machines with rotating bearing type tape guides 500x
- Semi pro and pro machines with electronic tape tensioners 300 - 500x