Q8 deck to complete my setup?

QuadraphonicQuad

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n8nagel

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Oct 7, 2016
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I've had it in the back of my head that my vintage quad system really needs an 8 track.


I've found the following models:
Wollensak 8080 (but can only play back in quad, not record)
Akai CR-80SS, CR-80DSS
Technics RS-858US

Were there any others made? opinions? Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the two Akai models?

thanks!
 

quadsearcher

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CR-80DSS has the usual line outputs.
CR-80SS has line outputs plus 10W speaker outputs.

I've found Akai models (stereo and quad) to run a tiny bit slow, almost 3% in one case, and it is not adjustable. I've not found the cause, perhaps the wrong oil was used in the motor, but in the one case where I relubed the motor with synthetic oil it did not help. Maybe it's the capstan grip turning smooth over time. Maybe someone else knows.

I haven't tried the other models listed.
I would like to know if Pioneer made a quad unit. I use a Pioneer stereo unit and although it is very worn, it has a speed control and I can adjust it to be spot on.
 

n8nagel

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Oct 7, 2016
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CR-80DSS has the usual line outputs.
CR-80SS has line outputs plus 10W speaker outputs.

I've found Akai models (stereo and quad) to run a tiny bit slow, almost 3% in one case, and it is not adjustable. I've not found the cause, perhaps the wrong oil was used in the motor, but in the one case where I relubed the motor with synthetic oil it did not help. Maybe it's the capstan grip turning smooth over time. Maybe someone else knows.

I haven't tried the other models listed.
I would like to know if Pioneer made a quad unit. I use a Pioneer stereo unit and although it is very worn, it has a speed control and I can adjust it to be spot on.

Thanks for the comments. I did see a Craig Q8 car receiver, but I don't think that's what you were looking for...

Edit: found this, this guy says they did but I do not have model numbers. Will have to search sometime when I have insomnia and no work to do...

 

n8nagel

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Well my spidey senses told me to stop at thrift store last night... no Q8 but a Teac X-10 jumped into my cart... no reels but the NAB adapters are still there. Not quad though but I do have a Sony quad unit.
 

par4ken

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There were many, many Q8 decks from most manufactures at one time. It should not be hard to find one. It was never the best format, far too many eaten tapes! Compound that with now 50 year old tapes.

The foam pad on the old tapes always turn to a sticky goo. The foil splice always breaks as well. Make sure that the tapes are in good shape before playing. It's best to make copies and store away the originals.

Interesting the comment about Akai's running slow. I always thought that my Akai's speed was correct and that my Superscope was running a bit fast!
 

Flaquad

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CR-80DSS has the usual line outputs.
CR-80SS has line outputs plus 10W speaker outputs.

I've found Akai models (stereo and quad) to run a tiny bit slow, almost 3% in one case, and it is not adjustable. I've not found the cause, perhaps the wrong oil was used in the motor, but in the one case where I relubed the motor with synthetic oil it did not help. Maybe it's the capstan grip turning smooth over time. Maybe someone else knows.

I haven't tried the other models listed.
I would like to know if Pioneer made a quad unit. I use a Pioneer stereo unit and although it is very worn, it has a speed control and I can adjust it to be spot on.
I previously printed out a qoute from Hoffman's forum from someone named Barry who owns an 8 track repair business explaining the problem with Akai units. "High end Akais also tend to run just a bit slow, with a huge AC motor and no speed adjustment. A few layers of sensing foil wrapped around the motor pulley can fix the speed - IF the cast pulley hasn't distorted, expanded and bloomed into a flower from age." You can probably find this qoute by searching "Barry's 8 track repair" at Hoffman. Here is a link to one of Barry's videos about repairing the Akai units.

 

n8nagel

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
75
There were many, many Q8 decks from most manufactures at one time. It should not be hard to find one. It was never the best format, far too many eaten tapes! Compound that with now 50 year old tapes.

The foam pad on the old tapes always turn to a sticky goo. The foil splice always breaks as well. Make sure that the tapes are in good shape before playing. It's best to make copies and store away the originals.

Interesting the comment about Akai's running slow. I always thought that my Akai's speed was correct and that my Superscope was running a bit fast!

Is there a comprehensive list with model numbers anywhere? Searching is not yielding a lot of results, is why I'm asking.
 

vinylguy4

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A Harmon Kardon 8+ is a good Q8 player to look for.
Had a Wollensak 8060, but motor did not seem strong enough to pull some of my q8s.
 

furui_suterioo

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I previously printed out a qoute from Hoffman's forum from someone named Barry who owns an 8 track repair business explaining the problem with Akai units. "High end Akais also tend to run just a bit slow, with a huge AC motor and no speed adjustment. A few layers of sensing foil wrapped around the motor pulley can fix the speed - IF the cast pulley hasn't distorted, expanded and bloomed into a flower from age." You can probably find this qoute by searching "Barry's 8 track repair" at Hoffman. Here is a link to one of Barry's videos about repairing the Akai units.


After determining how much foil tape was needed to correct the speed using test tones and my phone mic, it took me 4 attempts to get it smooth, any uneven spots on the pulley will be audible especially in sounds like pianos.
 

quadsearcher

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After determining how much foil tape was needed to correct the speed using test tones and my phone mic, it took me 4 attempts to get it smooth, any uneven spots on the pulley will be audible especially in sounds like pianos.
How many layers did it take? Maybe that would be a good starting point for me, with trial and error after that if necessary.
Did you make once around and cut it so the ends meet, then do that for each layer?

Some site I found in research suggested that restoring the grip surface of the capstan would increase speed, but I doubt that is the cause in my case, and seems like a huge risk. Tapes are not slipping, speed is constant as seen on the scope with a test tape.
 

furui_suterioo

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How many layers did it take? Maybe that would be a good starting point for me, with trial and error after that if necessary.
Did you make once around and cut it so the ends meet, then do that for each layer?

Some site I found in research suggested that restoring the grip surface of the capstan would increase speed, but I doubt that is the cause in my case, and seems like a huge risk. Tapes are not slipping, speed is constant as seen on the scope with a test tape.
I had to do it for my Hitachi Q8 car player, it took 3 layers in my case. I unbolted the motor and used a single piece of sensing foil with the end right where it start so that there no gap but also not overlapping. I recorded a 1khz tone onto an 8-track cart and downloaded the "Spectroid" app for android to check the frequency until it was correct(or at least running at the same speed as the Akai which I made the test tape with).
 

THX1136

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Pioneer QU-44
I have one, but it will not pull tapes any more. Haven't read the rest of the comments so there may be some reference to a way to get things working again which I would enjoy being able to do. Back in 2009/10 I ran all my Q8s off into Pro Tools so I could burn CD-A discs. A friend gave me two 'combo' units (receiver plus Q8 deck) - one worked, the other had issues - possibly filter caps. After I ran everything off I 'loaned' the working unit to a friend to use for his turntable. (Ought to see if he still has it). Going back recently and reviewing the files I found I'm missing a couple songs from Dark Side of the Moon. That's why I'd like to get the Pioneer up and running.

I was trying to find someone with a working Teac 388. Was going to use that to run everything off again, this time in 24/96. No one in my area that I've been able to find. I was willing to disassemble all the Q8s onto a reel or 5, run them through the 388 while recording into Auria on my iPad Pro. Afterwards I'd probably put the Q8s back together. Had a lot of experience doing 8-track tape repairs back in the day so I should be able to do so. More than you wanted to know and mostly outside the scope of the question - my apologies.

EDIT: deck model is QH-44. My apologies for mistyping that info. The label on the back of the deck states it's licensed by Lear Jet Stereo, Inc. with the license number being VP-251.
 
Last edited:

THX1136

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Messages
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There were many, many Q8 decks from most manufactures at one time. It should not be hard to find one. It was never the best format, far too many eaten tapes! Compound that with now 50 year old tapes.

The foam pad on the old tapes always turn to a sticky goo. The foil splice always breaks as well. Make sure that the tapes are in good shape before playing. It's best to make copies and store away the originals.

Interesting the comment about Akai's running slow. I always thought that my Akai's speed was correct and that my Superscope was running a bit fast!
Indeed! I've found some Audiopak carts have foam that has held up quite well (mostly early 70's tapes) - and, of course, others that didn't. The worst is some of the older carts where the pinch roller has turned to a sticky black goo. The carts with the plastic pinch rollers are always problematic. I do like the Lear carts that have the felt padded metal spring setup. When I did my project I went through and replaced all the sensing foil before trying to play any tape (my deck had an autostop function - or a quick pull at the point where the head shifts). Never had the foil break, just the adhesive becoming old and no longer sticking - that's where a lot of the 'eaten' tapes happen in my experience.
 

Q-Eight

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I don't suppose there were ever any Q8 decks with quartz lock?

hahaha! Not a chance. Sadly, 8-track technology got cheaper as time went on where cassette technology was constantly being improved upon. It's a shame there never was an "audiophile" grade 8-track deck with a static head (and electronic track switching) and a more robust/accurate drive section.

The closest we came were some of the Panasonic Quad units with a 2-position head and electronic pickup switching in stereo mode.
 

MidiMagic

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Pioneer QU-44
I have one, but it will not pull tapes any more. Haven't read the rest of the comments so there may be some reference to a way to get things working again which I would enjoy being able to do. Back in 2009/10 I ran all my Q8s off into Pro Tools so I could burn CD-A discs. A friend gave me two 'combo' units (receiver plus Q8 deck) - one worked, the other had issues - possibly filter caps. After I ran everything off I 'loaned' the working unit to a friend to use for his turntable. (Ought to see if he still has it). Going back recently and reviewing the files I found I'm missing a couple songs from Dark Side of the Moon. That's why I'd like to get the Pioneer up and running.

I was trying to find someone with a working Teac 388. Was going to use that to run everything off again, this time in 24/96. No one in my area that I've been able to find. I was willing to disassemble all the Q8s onto a reel or 5, run them through the 388 while recording into Auria on my iPad Pro. Afterwards I'd probably put the Q8s back together. Had a lot of experience doing 8-track tape repairs back in the day so I should be able to do so. More than you wanted to know and mostly outside the scope of the question - my apologies.
Are the tracks on the 388 inline or offset (adjacent tracks staggered to prevent crosstalk)? My 238 has offset head gaps.
 

par4ken

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That Teac 388 is rather cool, 8 tracks on a 1/4" tape. Looks like that would be the perfect way to dub those old 8-tracks! Others have done something similar but they mounted an 8-track head onto a 4-track machine. I didn't even realise that such machines existed!


With a sound card with 8 inputs you could copy both programs simultaneously!

Edit: Looks like it only has one speed 7.5 ips though!
 
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THX1136

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Are the tracks on the 388 inline or offset (adjacent tracks staggered to prevent crosstalk)? My 238 has offset head gaps.
I'm not certain. It may very well be. I was going to record all tracks at once so the staggering would not be an issue for me.
 

THX1136

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That Teac 388 is rather cool, 8 tracks on a 1/4" tape. Looks like that would be the perfect way to dub those old 8-tracks! Others have done something similar but they mounted an 8-track head onto a 4-track machine. I didn't even realise that such machines existed!


With a sound card with 8 inputs you could copy both programs simultaneously!

Edit: Looks like it only has one speed 7.5 ips though!
The 7 1/2 ips was not going to be an issue as I can pitch shift down in Pro Tools. When I first saw these were available back in the late 80s, I thought it would be cool to use one to make a mobile recording studio. Fill up the back of a Caravan with this deck and the associated outboard gear along with tie lines for a snake & power and be set up to record live and/or in someone's home space.
 

MidiMagic

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I'm not certain. It may very well be. I was going to record all tracks at once so the staggering would not be an issue for me.
It would if you plan to play the tape on a different machine. For example, if you record tracks on a tape to play on another 8-track, they won't line up.

They will line up of you record it to put in an 8-track cartridge. The 8-track and the Q8 both play all odd tracks or all even tracks at once. If the head gaps are staggered, all of the even tracks line up and all of the odd gaps line up.
The 7 1/2 ips was not going to be an issue as I can pitch shift down in Pro Tools. When I first saw these were available back in the late 80s, I thought it would be cool to use one to make a mobile recording studio. Fill up the back of a Caravan with this deck and the associated outboard gear along with tie lines for a snake & power and be set up to record live and/or in someone's home space.
Note that changing the speed also changes the equalization. The reproduction curve on the machine won't match the record and repro curves for the tape. The turnover points in the curves will be an octave off.
 
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