Tape recorders

Ok. I have this thing for open reel recorders. I have had it all my life, since I found my mothers Grundig in my grandmothers attic. I must have been 4 or 5 and was totally amazed.

Today I have quite a few. Actually I don’t really keep track, but probably less than 15. 🙂 They are ranging from the early Philips ones listed here through the Tandberg ones used at schools here in Sweden up to my Revox A77 and Tandberg 9100X. Both the Revox and the Tandberg will have their own sections here soon, they both need work. The Tandberg has a near-deaf output channel and the Revox has a near-deaf input channel. I just got the pinch-roller for the Tandberg rebuilt (it started to turn to goo) and at that point I realized the Revox probably was next so I got a repro pinch-roller for it as a spare.

My Eben

DSC_0124I got this one when I was a kid. I loved it and played it from dusk til dawn. 🙂

It did have some problems with speed now and then but otherwise it was surprisingly good, and sounds better than many recorders from the same era. This was probably a low-cost machine. It is very light, it is battery operated and it runs at 9.5cm/s. It has no real flywheel, the capstan is driven by a light wheel rim-driven by the motor. This actually works well. 🙂

DSC_0125I got this one with it and I thought until now that it was a Luxor recorder, but it is not. I have yet to find out why they used a Luxor power adapter. Was this original or did someone patch them together before I got it?

It did have some problems. First I disconnected the speaker cables at some point and without any clue or a schematic it was not that obvious… But I got it sorted.

Another problem is the capstan and the pinch roller. The capstan was out of alignment and the pinch roller pin was bent. Getting this to work 100% is not easy. It would be much better to have some tool to at least set one of them correct… Now there are at least 4 variables. 🙂 I got it working well enough for now.

Another problem is the speed… I would like to turn it up a few %. There is a pot on the motor PCB but that does not seem to do anything useful. 🙂

If someone happens to have the service manual I would be very grateful.


My EL3586

DSC_0117I bought this one from a audio-dealing friend and I knew it needed work. It needed a new re-wind belt (old one turned into goo) and some O-rings to replace the rubber on some wheels for fast forward and re-wind. It looks a lot like the 3585 but it has some enhancements like an idler wheel between the motor and capstan wheel and a tone control. Once I got the mech running smoothly it actually sounds nice! Not much hi-end (it is limited to 8.5kHz) but it still is nice to listen at.

This one is actually done at the moment… I think it works just as it should. 🙂

My EL3585

DSC_0130This is my EL3585. I found it at a flee market for motor hobbyists and the recorder was in a really bad shape. At first I just went by thinking it was “too dead for resurrection” but I couldn’t help myself. It turned out it was not that bad. Some bad solder joints on the PCB, some rubber was transformed to goo (easily replaced by O-rings) and all it really needed was a new belt for the re-wind.

I’m not very pleased with the sound, though. It sounds like it has a peak at 2kHz or something and if I record something with it it sounds even worse. The problem is I’m not sure if it is anything wrong with it or not. I even replaced all caps and it sounded exactly the same.


This is an early machine running at 4.75cm/s and the manual says it goes up to 5.5kHz which is not much. Just a little better than the old fashion telephone. Recorded speech sounds more than ok. It also shows some ringing in the amplifier… It goes away when I replace the speaker with a resistor, though. It would be great to get hold of another one to compare with.

The two top pieces are missing as well as the battery piece and the handle. Half of the microphone was included. 🙂 I will print the missing pieces when I get time.

My EL3510

2017-11-07 20.40.37Here it is. It found it at a flea market for audio hobbyists.

It looked awful. Love at first sight! 🙂

First step was to tear it down (which was a small adventure in itself), replace all electrolytic caps and the other caps as well. Then I had to replace most resistors as well since they had drifted away.


All tubes were ok!

Mechanically it was not too bad. It uses an idler wheel between the motor and the capstan wheel and that was intact. Also there is no normal belts in this one, it uses a spring belt instead. The only problem left is one of the pins in the center of the spool holders probably got hit by something heavy at some point and was somewhat bent. This makes the left spool wiggle just a little during playback and….that can’t be good. 🙂

1509797583307In spite of that it actually sounds nice! A real 50’s experience. It’s not hifi, of course, but it must have been more than needed in 1955.

Today it got a new set of felt pads for the heads. The old ones didn’t feel as they should and some tapes didn’t play well since the pads were not slippery enough. I hope this helped.

DSC_0128Old pad