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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sun 09, 2022 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 19019
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Don't forget to de-gauss the record/play/erase head before starting the project. A magnetized head can add noise to wire the same way as it does with tape.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2022 8:09 am 
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Joined: Jun Thu 06, 2019 11:14 pm
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Location: Hamden, CT
It's been a couple of days since you posted re: the audio output. Did you get it worked out?


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2022 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Mar Wed 12, 2014 11:29 pm
Posts: 17
No, not worked out just yet. I get some audio out on output switch position 3 (which I understand bypasses the last amplifier stage). Assuming the culprit is a bad tube but I have to try and find a replacement 6V6GT. There is nothing from the speaker (not even static).

In the interim I moved to the other recorder and have been working to resolve what I believe is some really nasty 60 cycle hum on the line when taking audio from the output switch (playing on the units speaker seems fine). I ordered some shielded instrument cable and today I will get a cinch connector put on and see if that resolves the issue; if not, I may need to do some cap replacements. I moved everything to the same AC source outlet thinking perhaps a ground loop but nothing changed as a result. I knew going into this project there would be work on the units to accomplish. I took a quick spectrum shot of the noise in the processing SW and it looks like the 60hz confirms my suspicion. I was able to pull a 3 minute recording of a child singing from the first spool and run it through the processing SW which removed most of the 60hz noise. If I can get past a couple issues here (tube and filter caps) then I can get proficient with the new mixer and Audacity processing SW.

R,
Ken


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2022 5:18 pm 
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So much better results with a well shielded audio cable and use of output switch position 3 (high impedance). Clear, no hum. No real need to signal process. I'm thinking I should just start the raw capture of all the spools in this configuration to preserve them in their present state. Now the question remains as to what format to convert them into. I was thinking MP3 to provide a well used standard across devices. Any thoughts on format and setup for digital conversion and presentation? 3 minutes and 40 seconds of capture converted to MP3 format is about 2500 Kb, that means an hour spool will be pretty hefty in terms of size. Time to research


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2022 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Auburn, AL
for distribution, I like variable bit rate MP3. just about anything can read them, and they're relatively good at compressing the info into smallest size with the relatively low loss of information. anything over 16bit 192KHZ is going to be more than adequate to capture all of the original sound and all of the original noise for all but the most golden eared listeners. the variable bit rate option reduces the sampling rate as it can, but guarantees some minimum specified bit rate will be used, which sets a floor of sorts for the lowest level of sound quality. I hope you will be keeping the master files all the same!

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Fri 14, 2022 11:19 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 06, 2019 11:14 pm
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Location: Hamden, CT
I haven't looked at this thread for a couple of days but I am glad to hear that you are getting some audio out of the recorders.

If you need a 6V6 tube, I probably I have a bunch in my basement vacuum tube hoarde. Message me if you want and I can send you one. We gotta get these wire recorders back alive!

All the recordings I've made have been with Audacity, which saves them in some lossless format, and then I exported them as variable mp3s. They sound fine as mp3s. I mean, these are wire recordings and hardly HiFi. To prove that point I'm attaching a sample. This gem is a drunken rendition of "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" with some backup barking and sometime tapping on the mic.

One other question. Ken, from reading your last couple of responses am I gathering that you haven't yet recapped the wire recorders?

All best,
Brian


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 1:11 am 
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Good Evening Brian,

I've gotten 6 recordings out so far and into Audacity as raw files. The conversion to MP3 is working fine as well. The recordings so far are Christmas 1949, 2 of children recording/singing, some Italian music, a live recording of a band from a spool marked Post 13 Beringer, and one that I can't even describe. I also got a few surprises along the way in terms of spools that were fragmented (good wire over bad wire as well). Lots more to go.

On the not so good side, I've had to take the model 80-1 out of service as the drive and idler wheels no longer support playback and rewind due to hardness and glazing. I found a place in Michigan that will rebuild them for me for $30 each (new rubber, new bearings...). To get them out of the unit requires the removal of the supply and take-up reels and that in itself has become a bit of a project. Held in by set screws (which were not all shown in the parts diagram of the service manual). Once the set screws were removed (two per shaft) the reels have been very difficult to break loose from the shafts. I tried PB Blast penetrating oil and only one has come off with a little brute force from a center punch and light hammer. The other no luck yet. I just ordered and received a small gear puller to assist (that scares me a bit). The idler wheel I believe will be the biggest challenge to remove as it sits on the motor shaft and there is really no metal that I can get a gear puller to work with as the wheel is bonded rubber, I believe I will need to custom make some form of a supporting jig under the wheel to work it loose (all this difficulty in parts removal has me worried about damage along the way). The unit was clearly worked on previously and not by a service center IMHO. I know I'm going to have to figure out how to reline the felt brake pads and adjust them once the reassemble is complete. Keeping a journal and photo archive of the work. I guess after 70 some years things are just reluctant to come loose so it's a game of patience and thought to engineer a way through the disassembly.

I know the model 181-1R will need replacement wheels as well but I need to get proficient and confident via the model 80-1 first. Regarding the caps; I have not recapped at this point in time. I discussed that with an old time service tech and he advised waiting until it was absolutely necessary, any and all advice is much appreciated here!. I ordered a set of tubes for the units and they should be in next week (18th if I recall). Appreciate the offer on the 6V6.

I love a good challenge!!!

R

Ken

Lessons learned so far:

1 - Wire spools that have been stored for a very long time really need an unwind and rewind action prior to use on the recorders (contemplating a parts only machine to turn into a spool condition unit). It would be good to loosen, clean and properly reload the wire spools as practice of preparation ahead of playback.
2 - Tubes are just a given and so a spare set I believe just makes sense (getting some now as the prices become worse over time). Also trying to determine why they have specified some as glass vice metal tubes. Functionally I believe the metal versions are equivalent. perhaps it's a heat dissipation concern????
3 - Idler and drive wheels - not wasting time on soaking to try and revive. Getting a fresh set of rubber in my mind is the way to go and in the long run will mean less time tearing things apart. I also believe the rebuild will be of a far superior rubber compound that will not suffer the wrath of drying out as has been the case on these old units. Additionally this is giving me a much better access to clean, lubricate, and grease all aspects of the top plate mechanical points.
4 - There is no course on Wire Recorder maintenance and repair so I guess I'm developing one as I go along here :shock: .


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Jun Thu 06, 2019 11:14 pm
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Location: Hamden, CT
Hi Ken,

It funny how to simply hear a few wire we all end up being wire recording repair-persons. It sounds like you're on the right track. It's gonna be great when it is up and running.

I'm kind of amazed that the units have been working without dealing with filter caps and general recapping. In all of my units (3 of them) they were DOA and they needed new filter cans to deal with hum and general recapping just to get going. On one of the units the oscillator for the erase head was kaput until it got recapped. I wonder if some of your tube issues might be tied to leaky caps. Again, from my experience, I find that tubes are usually pretty reliable if all the voltages are close to spec. Have you checked the voltages on the tubes to see if they are where they should be?

Regarding the glass v. metal tube question. I'm sure there are folks on here with more experience who could answer it. I found that those Webster-Chicago wire recorders tended to be prone to microphonics, especially the portable model with the case where the top lifts off (I forget the model number). There are also potential hum issues that can be caused by recapping. The chassis is so packed in there that I needed to pay lots of attention to dressing and make sure all the caps had foil side to ground or low impedance, etc. That made a big difference. If I recall, there's also a shielded cap in one of the amplifier stages that, like an idiot, I replaced without a shield and man I could tell the difference. (Chalk it up to education.) I ended up wrapping the cap in a spring and grounding the spring and that seems to do the job.

Good luck and keep us posted,
Brian

P.S. I guess my audio didn't upload last time. Try this.


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 13, 2007 5:03 pm
Posts: 438
Location: Sylvania oHIo
I have lots of reels some good some not here is a cool oneā€¦ little girl fell in abandoned well 1949 first live play by play news coverage.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPheQt3uKOY


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 11:35 pm 
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Location: Sylvania oHIo
Hereā€™s one I recorded https://youtu.be/8Sf_IArnODM
Hereā€™s another old one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fsR_oPaRs
Another https://youtu.be/9cahfL18du0


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 11:36 pm 
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Location: Sylvania oHIo
Not sure how many hard rock fans but I was testing my service repair..
https://youtu.be/GEJ7wRx4BZU Copied from lp record


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 11:38 pm 
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Another I found amongst the family Christmas and preacher recordings
Your hit parade. Pretty cool
https://youtu.be/NIpNnFOa5Vg


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sat 15, 2022 11:46 pm 
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Here is a cool machine I had a few years ago with an original recording patched to my stereo
https://youtu.be/EAI4CptWOWQ


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sun 16, 2022 12:16 am 
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Problem is one false move, tension not quite right, slight snag or rewinds too loose and one big snarled mess. Cut wire disassemble take up reel and throw away,
I think that was the big issue with this technology. The 181 r series had better fidelity and range, fun stuff. I recapped it and replaced the head with nos..The original head had worn groove and began to bind.. I found a cool add on meter to monitor input.


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sun 16, 2022 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Mar Wed 12, 2014 11:29 pm
Posts: 17
Good Morning,

So the thread grows here - that's excellent. Here is my update:

I've taken the two recorders down for a little while while the idler and drive wheels are being rebuilt (4 to 5 week lead time for the rebuilding effort). I was going to do one at a time but I figured getting all the wheels done at one time by the same company was a time saver and good business. Getting the wheels out of the model 80-1 was much more difficult than the 181-1R. The wheels from the 181 were in much better shape than the 80 but are still hard and starting to slip so they are getting rebuilt. The 181 removable take-up reel design allows for idler wheel removal without having to remove the take-up reel thankfully.

Some items I'm addressing while things are disassembled:

1 - More detailed cleaning and lubrication of the top deck mechanical points
2 - Head cleaning
3 - Brake felt replacement on the model 80 - the felt is dry, brittle and deteriorating quickly (means I will have to try and adjust tension after the replacement - service manual reference and I will need to find some sort of pull meter for tension). I also need to find a comparable felt source to make the pads from.
4 - Polishing of the model 80 take-up reel shaft and reel mounting hole as the reel removal was very hard and to reassemble the set screws will need to be placed back into the two indent points on the shaft for the cone set screws (getting to the set screws while setting the reel on the shaft in just the right position can't be hampered by and friction or interference so the reel will need to move freely during the reassembly effort).
5 - Plan to check the tube voltages (thanks Brian for the suggestion) - may lead to some recapping - I just got a lead on where I can get replacement Can Caps made if required for the model 80 unit. I suspect if I decide to just recap all then I should solicit suggestions on a good (reasonable) source for the caps and types of caps to replace the paper wax ones

The tubes I ordered arrived yesterday (yea days early).

ZEFFER1940 - many thanks for the links to the recordings. I agree on the wire issues as I once had a wire fountain I had to deal with early on, not pretty. What meter to monitor the input were you referencing?

R,
Ken


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sun 16, 2022 5:52 pm 
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Posts: 1844
Location: Auburn, AL
McMaster-Carr sells all the felt types you could probably ever want or need.

_________________
filling in the gaps in my education...


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 Post subject: Re: WEBCOR Wire Recorder 181-1R Output SW and Audio Capture
PostPosted: Jan Sun 16, 2022 11:18 pm 
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Posts: 438
Location: Sylvania oHIo
I recapped mine, tricky with layers and tight cabinet for the lytics , I
used individuals rather than cans, my drivers were decent, I used a bit of Emery cloth and solvent to smooth out slight indent from lack of use. Here is the add on device, it clips on ft of machine, plugs into input and output, I added rca plugs to interface with my stereo receiver, I think tape monitor Jack..Record off receiver and playback into system..


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