Reviving an old Ampex MM1200

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A few weeks ago I received a call from a friend who desperately needed help with an old tape recorder. I hesitated at first, because I’m not in to vintage things, but I changed my mind as soon as I realized which one this recorder was. A glorious Ampex MM1200 dated back to the late seventies, capable of recording 24 tracks on a two-inch tape

I phoned back to let him know it would be my pleasure to help and put my hands on it. Regarding the required knowledge I was still ignoring even how to turn it on so I started looking for the appropriate documentation. I’d like to say a big thanks to the guys of historyofrecording.com for providing the original MM1200 manual/schematics. What I found when I reached his studio was this machine partially disassembled and totally covered in dust. The recorder was supposed to work till the capstan motor stopped working and something burned up showing some smoke venting from the chassis. This is how it looks now after removing all the electronics assembly and the power supplies. The first thing I’m gonna check will be the power supplies section; in the days to come I’ll post more as the restoration goes on !

Front view

Front view

Rear view

Rear view

An old Ampex advertisement

An old Ampex advertisement

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