"How much will it cost?"
Is a question that invariably comes after.
"Can you fix my machine?"
In short, giving a quotation is impossible so it must be appreciated why one cannot be provided.
A tape machine can be likened to a vintage car. Whether it's a production-line family saloon or an exotic sports model, all will have issues to a greater of lesser degree.
With few exceptions, the last open-reel machines were made in the early 1990's, so even the youngest ones are now over a quarter of a century old. From then, to the resurgence of interest a few years ago, if they weren't scrapped, many were just left as is, usually in far less than ideal storage conditions.
That a machine hasn't been used in a few years is in itself an issue. Leaving a vintage car in the garage, unused for the same amount of time, will mean, at the very least, rubber will perish and lubrication oil will dry out. Tape machines are electro-mechanical devices, a synergy of mechanics, electronics and physics. They will suffer the same degradation as that car.
Don't forget to factor in the time it takes to repair these machine either. It is not like booking your car in for a service. With our workload, sometimes it can take a few of weeks before we can start work on your machine. If it needs hard to find parts, it could be a while before these appear on auction sites etc. Even when sourced, they could require further refurbishment work.
Whilst the proceeding may sound all gloom-and-doom, it isn't meant to be: It is managing client expectations. Tape machine ownership is fun and rewarding and with the market being what it is, once refurbished or simply serviced, like you classic car, these vintage machines will only increase in value, both monetarily and in the enjoyment they give back.
Inspection of a quarter inch 2/4 track machine is charged at £170.00 plus VAT
To service a three-motor machine such as a Revox A/B 77 or TEAC A-3440 model, comprises:
Internal and external clean
Rubber parts cleaned
Brakes checked and adjusted
Mechanical parts cleaned and re-lubricated
Pinch roller pressure checked and adjusted
Tape tension checked and adjusted (if allowable, some machines do not have this function)
Tape speed checked and adjusted (if allowable, some machines do not have this function)
Tape transport checked and free moving (lift pins, rollers/guides, counter, tension arms)
Audio lined-up (inc. heads de-magged, record and replay head azimuth adjusted)
Mains integrity check and electrical PAT test
A minimum 4-hour record/replay soak test (NOTE: this may bring-up further issues and require more work. We can address this should the issue arise)
Is £660 inc. VAT. This figure includes the investigation fee.
Parts/spares. Apart from most common parts, due to many items being sourced from donor machines exact prices cannot be given. Take a look at an online auction site to see the spread of prices asked for sometimes exactly (or almost exactly) the same item. If (usually when) parts are required, a price will be provided prior to purchase.
The Reel Resilience policy is in no way to over-charge the customer but, at the same time, we know via customer feedback, the rates we levy are consummate with the times spent on machine, the level of experience and the workshop support we offer.