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Old October 8th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #1
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Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

Just thought you folks would enjoy a look at some of yesteryear's "prosumer" recording equipment. These are Ampex brand, and Ampex made a lot of studio recorders, but the ones pictured here are only the home level machines.

Note that the external speakers are not included in the bold-face prices.

The most expensive machine on the page is the 601-2, the stereo version of the [mono] machine shown at the bottom. It cost a mere $995. and then you'd need a pair of the external amplified speakers, at $189.50 each. Total for this "prosumer" system: $1,374.00 USD.

Remeber that these are 1961 prices. According to US government figures, $1.00 in 1961 had the same purchasing power as $7.70 in 2012 dollars. So $1,374 then becomes $10,579.80 today!

The bigger problem is that this stuff still looks "new" to me, and this was 51 years ago... ;-)
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

Funny you should post this today. Today on the BBC site I came across this BBC News - When vintage tech makes modern music
It seems a lot of profesional's still like the old stuff.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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Re: Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

I was sorry to see Ampex go under. We once did some work with them on a digital tape drive that handled cartridges about the size of a briefcase - I seem to recall that one drive was around $135k in 1995
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Old October 9th, 2012, 05:27 AM   #4
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Re: Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

Ouch! No wonder that product didn't survive.

Ampex had an interesting history. They were the original US manufacturer of magnetic tape recorders. Somehow, though, they never kept up and their machines were never as refined as Studer, for example.

I seem to recall that back in the mid '60s they were making a machine that recorded audio on some sort of magnetic coated card or cardboard disc. I think it was intended as a broadcast product, perhaps hoping to replace the ubiquitous tape cartridge machine... I guess I need to look up the details.

After hearing about that tape drive, I'm wondering if they didn't try to go off in too many different directions, and burned through their capital looking for "the next big thing."
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Old October 9th, 2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Re: Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

wikipedia is your friend...
Ampex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old October 9th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Past "Prosumer" equipment -- nostalgia

Well, the $135k tape drive(s) were intended to mount in an automated tape library that would hold quite a large number of cartridges.

The total capacity as I recal was less than a 4U high LTO library today.

Interesting thing about the Ampex drive was that it was a helical scan device. Unlike the tiny head assembly on a tape camera, the head assembly in the big drive was pretty massive - a good handful of metal. The heads also servo'd individually which was quite a trick considering their mass.
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