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June 9, 2010

Nostalgia

by soundlandscapes

Maybe it’s a sign of age but, much as I adore my twenty-first century digital sound recorders, the Nagra ARES-M, the H4N Handy recorder and the Sound Devices 722, there is nothing quite like the old  reel-to-reel tape recorders to stir the emotions. There was always something rather comforting about watching those reels of tape going round and round.

I still have my Uher 4200 Report Monitor although sadly, it doesn’t get much use now except for replaying some of my old tapes.

This Uher has long since been superceeded first by DAT and now by digital recording devices but, even so, I simply can’t bear to part with it. It was amazingly heavy to carry around as anyone who had to carry one for any length of time will attest to. The BBC used the mono version of this recorder as their standard radio reporter’s recorder for many years. It was said that it was always easy to spot a BBC radio reporter because they all walked with a permanent list to one side, the infamous “Uher Stoop”, generated by carrying the Uher around all day.

My Uher reel-to-reel recorder has many happy memories associated with it but not as many as the reel-to-reel recorder picured below. I found the picture at: http://www.schimmel.talktalk.net/tape/index.htm

This is a Ferrograph Series 4, the first tape recorder I used professionally.  In my experience it justifiably earned its reputation of being “Built Like A Battleship”. I was first inroduced to the Series 4 in 1969 and immediately fell in love with it. It was a half track mono, 2 head, 2 speed, valve driven recorder whose most distinguishing feature was its utter reliability. Whilst the sound quality was probably not as good as the subsequent Series 6 and the flagship Series 7, it never failed to perform even in the most arduous conditions.

When I came across this photograph earlier today it was the first time I had seen a Ferrograph Series 4 since 1972 and it brought back many, many, happy memories not to mention a flood of nostalgia.

For the technophiles, you can find more detailed  information about the Ferrograph Series 4 at:

http://www.morphet.org.uk/ferro/s4docs.html

http://www.ferrograph.info/pages/ferrograph-part-1-series%204%20servicing%20notes.pdf

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