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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #1
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PD170 Audio drop outs

I really need some help here!! I just started having drop outs in my audio recorded on my PD170. First thing I did was change mic and cables hoping that it was just a mic issue. That didn't solve it. Then I decided to try another tape. Luckily it worked!! I thought I was home free with nothing more than a bad tape....... Well it just did it again with another tape?? So I tried a different tape... same thing?? I just received some Sony Premiums(only tape used in cam) for really cheap. So Im thinking I maybe got a bad box?? I tried a tape out of a different box and it recorded and played back perfect.... OK it must be the 1 box of tapes, right? So I try another tape from that same box and it drops audio??? This is really killing me!! Maybe they are a bad lot of tapes??(I bought 5 boxes of 5) Now I have to go through them and see what ones work and what ones dont before any shoot. Now here is the kicker. The same tapes that dropped audio in the PD170 did not on my FX1?? Cam prob or tape prob?? I did do a few 5 sec runs with a sony head cleaning cassette. It didn't change anything. Please help!!
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Old July 18th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #2
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You didn't say how many hours you have on the heads of the 170. Dropped audio seems to be the classic sign that something is wrong with the heads, dirty or worn out. I seriously doubt that it is a tape issue as the only thing recorded to the tape is a one or zero value. Since you have OK video and dropped audio, bad tape is probably not the problem.

Having said that, there is no doubt that tape differs, batch to batch. So you may have a batch on which it is slightly more difficult to record the ones and zeros. Again, audio always seems to suffer first.

Are there other camera tape transport bits that can cause this type of problem? Yes. Tape tension plays and important role here. It is possible that the tension arm is not working correctly. The arm used to be a major source of early problems in the tape transport.

I'd not use the camera for really important work until you track down and eliminate the problem.

I guess there is some chance that the 'really' cheap tapes are counterfeit?
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for your quick reply Mike. My hours are: Operation 30x 10, Drum 22 x 10, Tape 14 x 10 and Threading 57 x 10. The hours do not seem very high to me. That does not mean the heads aren't worn out though. Im interested in this tension arm thing. After reading other threads about this similar issue, I am thinking that that could be the problem? And I am not thinking that the tapes are counterfeit, just that they maybe were not handled or stored correctly. Thanks again Mike. Anyone else have any suggestions?
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Old July 18th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #4
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I didn't have too many more hours on my first PD150 when the transport started sounding like fingernails on a blackboard.

I sent it to Sony who replaced the drum and the tension arm. Then they couldn't fix the extreme sensitivity to external radio fields so they gave me a new PD150.

They had a rash of bad tension arms and bad lower bearings on the drum. I think I remember that extending into the PD170's. But my memory is a bit hazy on that.

It never did deliver poor video or audio but the sound of the transport was nasty.

If another batch of tape works OK and the camera continues to work OK on all but that particular batch, I'd just keep a weather eye on the performance, put some bars and tone on the header and listen to the playback before you go ahead and shoot important video.

If it were mine and I was shooting a wedding or other non-repeatable event, I'd have the camera checked at a good repair shop. Or make certain I was shooting with 2 cameras. It truly is a good idea to have your cameras checked every year and more frequently if you are shooting really important footage.

I pay under $3 a tape from Tape Resources for the least expensive tape I can buy. Never had a tape-related problem, never had to clean the heads on any digital camera I operated or ro which I was responsible. (I ran the tech shop for a local college's Cinema classes and the studio for the Television Prduction classes.) The rule was Sony tapes only on any piece of equipment. We had VX-1000's that were 10 years old and still going strong. We didn't ever have to clean their heads.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 03:06 AM   #5
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Mike thanks again for taking the time to help me out! I have a shoot tomorrow and then I will have it looked at. It is not worth the worry especially when shooting a wedding or 1 time only event. I may try buying my next batch from Tape Resources. By the way, how do you lay tone to a PD170? I am freelance news stringer and have never laid tone, just bars. Not sure if the stations really care either way but I'm sure they wouldn't mind having it. Thanks again.
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