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

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As expected, the micro-processor control of the MTR-15 makes it possible to easily change many of the ways the machine operates. For example, you can select how the Punch In/Out function of the unit operates -- whether you need to hit PLAY and RECORD to punch in or just RECORD. You can limit the number of tape speeds selectable with the SPEED button. For example, if you know you'll never use 3.75 ips, the SPEED button can be set to only switch between 7.5, 15, and 30 ips. You can set the hub diameter of the reels you use so that the MTR-15 will slow down during fast rewind and forward modes when the end of the tape is near. This avoids damaging tape ends when the end of the reel is reached. You can adjust how the reel brakes function or whether or not the RECORD LED flashes when the unit is in the RECORD READY mode. You can set the SPEED button to require two "clicks" to change speed or just one. The same goes for the SEARCH button. You even have the ability to change the layout of the transport buttons. Three options are given. Once you've made the changes, you physically switch the transport buttons with one another to have the new layout properly labeled. The mini-computer of the MTR-15 has dozens more functions. Things you never thought of as being adjustable can be adjusted. Things, as a production person, you'd never WANT to adjust are adjustable! The MTR-15 can be customized to suit the users preferences in many aspects.

Speaking of changing the layout of the transport controls, if you don't like the transport control panel on the right side of the machine, the entire panel can be removed and placed on the left side of the machine (for lefties)!

Frequency response using Ampex 456 tape at 15 ips is 30Hz to 22kHz on the record side and 40Hz to 18kHz on the playback. At 30 ips the response is 40Hz-28kHz and 60Hz-20kHz for record and playback. At 30 ips, the ANSI "A" signal-to-noise ratio is 74dB. Wow and flutter at 30 ips is a maximum of ±0.04%. Ins and outs are balanced XLR connector type and levels are adjustable. The unit can be switched for unbalanced operation if necessary.

You get a built-in monitor with headphone jack and monitor level control. You get the popular Dolby HX Pro bias optimization circuitry that improves high frequency headroom. There are tape reel sensors that automatically detect reel size and make the appropriate tension adjustments. For maintenance purposes, your engineer will love the "wear meter" which provides total power-on time, total head wear, and total lifter wear, all measured in hours. The internal PC boards are easily accessed just beneath the transport control panel.

You and your engineer will both love the MTR-15 even though your GM may cringe at the price. This isn't your basic, no-frills 2-track recorder. The MTR-15-N pictured lists for $9,250. The "NM" model we had with the roll-around cabinet and meter bridge lists for $10,650. If you're going to spend that kind of money, you might as well get the optional CB-120 remote control. You get ninety-nine locator points, auto-punch in/out, rehearsal mode, head and tail guard points, pre-roll, and more for an additional $2,145. For still more bucks, you can get the MTR-15 with time code capabilities.

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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