Test Drive: The Otari MTR-15 2-track Recorder

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The 2ND FUNCTION button is used in conjunction with other transport controls to perform various functions. When pressed simultaneously with the STOP or PLAY button, the MTR-15 goes into a Reverse Stop or Reverse Play mode as mentioned earlier. When pressed with the F.FWD or REWIND button, the unit goes into its "spooling" or "library" wind mode. (This is nothing more than a slower rewind and fast forward which winds the tape onto the reel with a smooth surface on the tape edges so the reel looks like it's brand new.) When used with the RECORD button, the 2ND FUNCTION button places the unit in the Spot Erase mode, making it possible to do spot erasures without removing the tape from between the capstan and the pinch roller.

Above the transport controls are the unit's tape time display and search buttons. Tape time can be displayed in hours, minutes, and seconds; hours, minutes, seconds, and tenths of seconds; or hours, minutes, and frames (for use with time code). A DISPlay button switches the display mode between tape time, tape speed, and percentage of change from the selected speed (for use with the vari-speed). You get a SEARCH ZERO button and three SEARCH buttons. If you have the assignable transport button enabled as a fourth cue point (as described earlier), together with the SEARCH ZERO button, there are actually five cue points available on the MTR-15. A REPEAT button enables the unit's "shuttle" mode which will search to cue point 1, play to cue point 2, rewind to cue point 1, begin playback again, and so on. The CLR (clear) button cancels the REPEAT mode and clears stored cue points. The SET button lets you enter a tape time for the machine to search. The SPEED button selects one of four tape speeds from 3.75 ips to 30 ips.

Now we turn our attention to the little computer hiding under the pop-up door on the MTR-15. Again, this is where the Auto Alignment function is accessed, but there's more. Lots more. Under the door is an LCD display and a set of buttons. Beneath the 2-line, 16-character-per-line LCD display are four "soft keys" which have different functions depending upon which menu happens to be in the display. Many abbreviations are used on the MTR-15's small display, and the manual is necessary to figure out most of them. Below the "soft keys" is a MORE/MODE button which serves mainly to access additional menu items. A LAST button causes the display to return to the previous screen. A STOP button takes you back to the "main menu" which is the alignment screen. The OSC button accesses the unit's internal oscillator and provides, among other things, user selectable frequencies for any number of purposes. The STORE/START button is used to store displayed values of a parameter in memory. It also engages the machine's Reproduce Auto Alignment function. Two CHANNEL buttons let you select either or both channels for alignment. The TYPE button switches between four stored alignment settings for each of the four tape speeds for a total of sixteen possible settings. Each press of this button illuminates one of four LED's on the Transport Control Panel which indicate whether type A, B, C, or D is selected. The METER SENSitivity button switches the VU meter sensitivity between 0, +10, and +20 dB. The MONO/STEREO button switches the unit between the two modes if this option is installed.

Finally, the SPEED MODE button sets the unit in the FIX, EXT, VARI, or VEM modes. In the FIX mode, tape speed is selected with the SPEED key on the Transport Control Panel. In the EXT mode, speed is controlled via an external source such as the Eventide Ultra-Harmonizer's Time Squeeze program. In the VARI mode, tape speed is adjustable up to 50% in either direction in increments as small as .01%. Adjustment is made with the Cue Wheel. The VEM mode is the optional Voice Edit Mode which employs a pitch shifter that will allow playback at variable speeds without altering the pitch of the audio -- handy for editing long voice tracks such as interviews.

Comments (1)

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I am glad found this web address, for my Otari MTR-15 without VU meters, which just about one month in my home.
I would like to share with members in this group, who have experience in open reel tape players.
I also have Otari MX-55, Studer A807 with VU meters fitted on top of the box, and another Studer A807 with VU meters fitted on the bottom side, Revox B77 Mkii.
All these Open Reel Tape Recorders are all in good working condition.
I also have another not working:
- AEG Magnetophon 21R
- Studer A-810
- Teac X2000R

Wempie Pauned
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