Thin Brown Line has developed upgrades for some of our tape machines, and these are now available to other users too!
A weakness of the Ampex MM-1100 and MM-1200 design (and to a lesser extent the MM-1000 too) is the amount of tape wrap over static surfaces. These surfaces are a source of flutter, tape wear, and oxide shedding. They tend to cause a buildup of gunk from the backing material, and furthermore they present an unnecessary workload on the Motor Drive Amplifier.
The solution comes in the form of the following easy-to-fit upgrades…
Once your machine is fitted with these rollers, you will find overall tape handling totally transformed, with increased responsiveness, especially towards the end of the reel.
The design of the MM-1100/MM-1200 head assembly involves over 90 degrees of total wrap over fixed guides. This is a source of flutter, which is only partially alleviated by the small flutter roller between the record and repro heads.
Until recently, the only solution was to disassemble and drill the head block to accept modified guides taken from a donor machine.
With the new Thin Brown Line purpose-made guides, replacement of the fixed guides is literally a 10 minute operation. Click here to see more
There is another 45 degrees of wrap around the static tension arm post,against the oxide layer of the tape. Up until now, replacing this post with a roller involved the tricky task of separating the post from the tension arm, followed by its replacement with a custom mount for yet another donor machine roller.
The Thin Brown Line rolling tension arm by comparison is a complete replacement assembly, that can be installed in a few minutes using nothing more than a screwdriver and an Allen wrench. Click here to see how!
Hi David, Guides showed up. Have them installed and adjusted perfect first time!!!! Now I REALLY dig this machine... wow what a difference! I also really liked the instructions (with pictures) included with the rollers and arm! A great high end product that is a must have for any Ampex MM1200 owner!!!
"Just a quick thank you mail. Head guide and tension arm rollers received ok and now fitted to the machine. Fantastic! Very measurable improvement in flutter performance and tape handling. An excellent modification to these machines that I would not hesitate to recommend."
"... it spins like a cat when rewinding and FF now instead of a sounding like chunky stock car".
David, the rollers are excellent. The tape is running so smooth I can't believe it. The old moniker for the Ampex MM1000, "Master Muncher" no longer applies! I can actually use tracks 1 and 16! Many thanks.
Hi David, Machine runs like hell with your rollers, no friction at all - VERY cool! Even with 10 year old 456 tapes it now accelerates faster than ever:) I'll check with some veeery old tapes from 1992 soon...
"I got the rollers fitted and spent some time with the machine today. I knew there was going to be a significant difference but I didn't know quite what to expect. The machine is running so much smoother than it ever was, and even than it was designed to."