A reel shock

January 1, 2008


I was shocked at your story on Otari. Shocked. Almost fell out of the chair. You mean to tell me that 20 years have gone by and I still have three of these things left in the rack? They seem like old friends to me. We started in 1976 with an Otari 5050, that we had to special order because I was the only kid on the block that had to have “capstan servoed direct drive”, just like my big MCIs. So 20 years ago I purchased 15 MX-55s and used them for dubbers to release radio commercials to almost every market in the country. Today we do it via the Internet and it's much easier. Over the years I've sold the Otari's to mostly analog fans and guys who want to transfer tapes themselves rather than pay me. Now, every time I need more rack space to install a new server or RAID array, I remove one of them and set it in the tech room. Sooner or later, someone will buy it. But now I have only three left. I can sell only one. I always keep one for a spare. I also keep one-inch VTRs, Betacam/SP, ¾", even MIIs and PCM-F1s to transfer from. It's actually a profit center for us. Twenty years, well time flies and nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
Pat Appleson
Hickory, NC

Loved the picture of the WBT cold war studio. With 50 years in the business I remember working with all the type of equipment in that room with the exception of the keyboard thingy with the blue screen sitting on top of the rack. Was that some Russian spy-monitoring device or was it left there by an alien from an advanced civilization?
Bill Draper, CE
Poughkeepsie, NY


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