In tape recorder history, this name means excellence in audio engineering.
Studer AG may have been sold, it may not be making open-reel recorders anymore, but its name and stature live on.
Its products recorded for posterity some of the most famous albums in musical history and they are still used by serious recording studios and archive transfer suites the world over.
And AV Resilience, with its experience of the B62, the B67, the A80, the A807, the A810, the A800, the A820, to name a few, keeps those "time-machines" lined-up and repaired.
Past clients have included the BBC, the British Library Sound Archive and the Royal College of Music, London.
They have the benefit of using AV Resilience to maintain their machines.
You can benefit too..
You can see details of past Studer/Revox projects here:
A Little Studer History
Studer first offered its own line of open-reel tape recorders in the 1950’s and steadily developed their products through the 1960s using audio value technology and relay control. Many high-end recording studios used these grey “battleships” to record and master some of the seminal albums of that decade. But it was not really until the mid 1970s when Studer produced its machines with brushed aluminum deck-plates and illuminated transport control buttons that the classic Studer image was created and the legend consolidated.
2 Track Machines
The ultimate in analogue controlled and adjusted 2 track mastering machines has to be the A80. With a transport that looked after the tape, like a mother cradling a newborn baby, and options such as read-before-record, time-code and even a second take-up reel, just pushing the big, square buttons, seeing that button illumination "fade up" and hearing the clunk of the pinch wheel and flutter roller engage, you just knew that you were watching, and listening, to Swiss-watch precision. Oh, and seeing it rewind in "library wind" mode, where it made the tape pancake just so flat, was such a sight to see.
Further down the product range, Studer made the B67 Mk1 and later Mk2. Ideal for radio stations and smaller mastering work; it featured a stable transport, separate circuit boards for audio record and replay, transport drive and bias. It too came with a bewildering number of options: mono, stereo, VU meters, blank front panel, narrow and wide record heads, meter over-bridge. We doubt we have seen two of the same model twice!
In the 1990s, just before the price fall of hard-drives and the increase in processor speed made computer-based recorders viable, Studer introduced the A807. With a stripped-down transport path (there was no right-hand tape tension arm) and just two large circuit boards, one for the audio and the other for the transport control, it featured micro-processor control and line-up. Once you got the hang of it, by pushing the transport and ancillary buttons, you could set the audio levels, eq. and bias easily. In spite of its budget build, it still looked after the tape, and recorded, like a Studer.
At the top of the range in two-track mastering machines from the Swiss company was the A820, and like the A807, this machine was fully micro-processor controlled. A two-track half-inch wide tape version was offered and when recording at 30ips was the zenith in analogue tape-recording quality.
As such, it was a fitting swan-song to the company's great association with reel-to-reel recording technology.
As mentioned some of the world’s best known and popular albums in music history were recorded on a Studer. For example, at EMI's Abbey Road studios, two 4-track Studer J37s had the waveforms of The Beatles "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" running through their valve amps.
In 1978, Studer upped their game with the 24-track A800. With reel motors that would not have been out of place as starter motors on a truck, these 2" tape "bank vaults" went through Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 versions before giving way to the last Studer 24 track, the A827.
In the mid 1990s, four A820s were used to record a BBC Radio 1 broadcast of a U2 concert on New Year's Eve at The Point in Dublin. With 118 sources coming off the stage, it was necessary to have a pair of A820s slaved together, by recording time-code on track 24, to make a 46 track recorder. Running at 15ips, each tape reel would last only 30 minutes, so each pair formed a "tag team" to allow continuous recording of the 2-hour concert.
How do we know this? It was this author who lined up all four machines before they left the UK, again when they arrived in Dublin and then "baby-sat" them during the concert.
When new, these high-end 24 tracks cost at least £50,000 ($70,000) and could be out of reach of a many studios. To address this, Studer also produced an “entry level” multi-track recorder: A 2” tape, 24 track version of the A80.
In AVR's experience, these always suffer from excessive bearing wear on the tension rollers and capstan. On the 24-track version, the A80’s capstan was simply an extended "rod" of the two-track version, and with four stacked pinch rollers pushing against it the post just bent under the strain and wore out the motor bearing prematurely!
Open Reel Tape Machine Mechanical & Audio Line-Up
The work involves:
- Check tape transport action of the machine including stop on no-power
- Clean entire tape path
- Check head wear**
- Lubricate guide rollers, tension arms and motor bearings*
- Clean braking system and adjust*
- Check pinch roller pressure and adjust if required*
- Check tape tensions and adjust if required
- Check speed and adjust if required
- Check transport controls
* Pinch rollers, brake bands and brake drums are carreid as stock and can be swapped as part of the service
** If head wear is excessive, this issue will be raised. A decision can then be made to do an audio line-up with the heads in their current state or a head re-lap/replace can be arranged. Please note, as part of the service, the only head adjustments made are to the azimuth of the record and replay heads. Should any of the three heads require further setup, such as height, wrap or zenith, this can be arranged separately.
Cleaning of the machine is confined to the areas where work is being carried out, although in practice this invariably means adjacent areas are cleaned too, however the aim of such cleaning is to allow adjustment of mechanical/electrical parts and not return the machine to 'showroom condition'.
Replay chain - level, head azimuth and eq.
Record* chain - level, head azimuth, bias* and eq. (if available)
*A sample of the tape you plan to use on the machine will be required otherwise machines are lined up to Zonal 675/Agfa PEM 468 tape spec.
Clients have the choice of:
- Site visit. In addition to labour charges this will incur expenses plus travel at 48p/mile x VAT. Please note should work run over I reserve the right to levy overnight accommodation charges.
- Deliver the machine to the workshop: If you wish to engage a courier to do this, I strongly advise engaging a reputable same-day 'man and van' service. Delivery must be made by prior mutual arrangement. The client is responsible for adequately packing the machine and its transit insurance. The return journey is made on the same basis: Client pickup or arranged same day courier service in the packaging it was delivered in and insured by the client.