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New to Q8.. so far this is not going well

winopener

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Quadchuck,
get a cd changer robot and a good software as dbPoweramp, and you can rip quickly everything.Been there done that and saved a lot of headaches.
 

Quadrifoglio

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Hi all,

Well, in the past two years of this hobby I think I have done everything one can do to some Q8's, including taking a tape out completely and rewinding it back. I did use a horizontal open reel-to-reel deck, empty reels, pencils and plastic tools and I do wear gloves whenever I need to touch a tape or re-splice it etc.

One thing I have not yet solved, is that a few Q8-tapes I have (The Sly & family Stone Greatest hits and Pink Floyd's WYWH for instance) have an annoying amount of flutter and wow. It occasionally gets a bit better and sometimes really good, if I slightly wiggle the cartridge, give it some push and wedge it more tightly against the deck (Akai CR-80D SS) , but then also the pressure may be too much and the tape speed slows down a bit, which is another nuisance. Although if I make a digital copy, changing the playback speed is of course a piece of cake. but getting rid of wow and flutter is not!

I am pretty sure it is because the pressure rollers are out of true, they are worn or damaged.

These two cases (pun intended) are EPIC Q8 EAQ 30325 from ca.1972 and Columbia Q8 tape cartridge CAQ 33453 from 1975.
Both look fine and have their cardboard covers and lables, the Sly tape was flipped and is bit tight, but the PF runs fine, except that it has this constant wow and flutter. :(

I know some of you folks in the US have a vast amount of stereo cartridges you can just use for spares etc. but over here, there are none. And if we find some, even though they would be useless and the contents would be available anywhere anyways (regular stereo mixes on CD and iTunes, Spotify, etc.) people would still consider them "exotic" and "vintage" or even "antique" which equals money.

So can anyone give advice on the pressure rollers?

Are there spare ones available somewhere?

Can they be restored?

I have noticed most are hard plastic, some had a chrome like coating (peeling off), most are uncoated plastic, a few are like conventional pressure rollers in tape decks, plastic covered with rubber. So I guess the rubber could be replaced if it's worn and hard, right?

I can get tape deck pressure rollers in various sizes and I think from nylon I could make plastic rollers with a lathe, but if spares could just be bought from somewhere that would of course be a whole lot easier.

Still any good advice regarding how the rollers could be restored or replaced would be appreciated.

Cheers!
 

winopener

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Columbia USA carts with THREE tabs for opening have rollers are smaller than ALL the other patented variants, so while swapping rollers from a lear jet to a rca is ok, no other kind of roller can be placed in a Columbia cart of this kind.

Columbia USA carts with TWO tabs for opening have rollers that can be swapped with Liberty USA or Mastro* carts but not with Ampex or RCA.

The best bet you can do is to get a pair of still-sealed and musically crappy Columbia USA or Canada 8 track for few $ and swap the rollers.

* Beware that european cart that on the back says MASTRO TC8 looks similar to the Columbia Three tabs ones but the roller are regular size and can fit in a Columbia Two-tabs cart.
 

Quadrifoglio

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Thanks guys for all that info. Being over here it's hard to find ANY 8-track cartridges, and much less sealed and unopened ones with crap contents. But I will keep that in mind should I travel in the US again. :)

Ohh, that could also explain some pressure (ok, pinch) rollers being out of true, or behaving oddly. I have of course cleaned them, but only with mild soap and hot water (not too hot). So they too will get the Isopropyl Alcohol treatment in the near future. So perhaps what I thought was a chrome like coating peeling off on some is actually tape oxide that's gotten stuck on the surface of the roller.

I will make them as clean as I can, lets see where we go from here. :)

Yesterday I made my first recordings with the Akai CR-80D SS. Onto blank sealed stero tapes that I had opened, replaced the pads and splices AND used a soldering iron to "convert" the cartridges from stereo to "quad" like I had seen someone else on this forum do. :)

Seems to work fine, except that the Rear-left remains silent in the recordings. :(
Maybe I need to send the whole (heavy!) unit back to service as they only had stereo cartridges for testing and adjusting the heads when it had a large service done last time. This time I would include a blank tape modified to quad and perhaps some not-so-valuable Q8 tape.

If I record in stereo only, the tapes sound good, but in quad they are a bit "muddy" that is, the levels are too low and the rear-left channel is missing (tape hiss only).

I don't think my DIY skills are on that level that I would start adjusting the heads myself. Anyone done that on this Akai unit?
(I do have a copy of the service manual)

Cheers!
 
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