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Author Topic: 3m m79  (Read 16658 times)

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3m m79
« on: February 14, 2006, 04:50:23 pm »

Not really a specific question for Steve, but what is the general concensus about a 3m m79 (24trk). Parts are getting hard to find, but overall, what the goods, the bads, and the in-betweens? I've used most other brands, but the studio that had one that I was going to use got a newer MCI JH-24. Never got a chance to use it. And there is this guy who has one for $1500, but it needs new rollers. Thanks.


J.Powers
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mcsnare

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2006, 05:18:05 pm »

Incredible sounding deck, I've owned 2 of em and a 1/4". Fat, punchy and with the right mods clear and quiet.
They are a maintenance nightmare. Get a JH-24 and just have a maintenance bad dream instead of a nightmare.
Dave McNair

wwittman

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2006, 12:20:43 am »

my PERSONAL opinions:

The 3M machines sound MUCH better than MCI's (which I frankly think sound lousy)

but a good sounding machine that doesn't run is of no use to you, so unless you have real maintance, skip it.

I'd suggest an A800, or an MTR 90.

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William Wittman
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Slipperman

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 02:14:34 am »

wwittman wrote on Wed, 15 February 2006 00:20

my PERSONAL opinions:

The 3M machines sound MUCH better than MCI's (which I frankly think sound lousy)

but a good sounding machine that doesn't run is of no use to you, so unless you have real maintance, skip it.

I'd suggest an A800, or an MTR 90.




My personal opinion is that wwittman is from the anti-matter universe and I might hafta strangle him in the time tunnel thingie that joins his universe to the one I reside in.

Just kidding... of course.

Anyhoo.

I think a well maintained jh24 beats the flying fuck outta the A800 from a euphonic character standpoint, and certainly the utterly DREADFUL MTR-90.

Mark WHATEVER.

Guys who can't keep them(JH24) running might wanna check into another profession as they are the SIMPLEST MACHINE TO WORK ON IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH.

OK. I'm exaggerating again.

The Coleman stove is a little bit easier.

Parts are mostly easy to get and when these machine break.... they break in the same BORING and PREDICTABLE fashion. I manage to keep 4 of them running around the clock with very few problems at all.

Go figure.

The 3M's are LOVED sonically. I used to work on both M79 and the M56 quite a bit. My old boss and mentor could fix them in his sleep. I just found silly ways to stress and destroy them. By all accounts... they are somewhat tougher to keep flying.

In any case:

Come over to the dark side.

Help to hurl wwittman and that whole generation of 'Studer Snobs' under the bus.

Buy a JH24.

SM.

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mcsnare

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2006, 02:47:22 pm »

WW, I usually agree with you, but I have to side with Slippy on this one. I think MTR-90's sound like a microwave TV diner. I MIGHT take an A-800 over a JH-24, but for reasons other than sound. JH-24's are super detailed sounding compared to a Studer. The MCI might be a LITTLE light in the bottom, but I'd rather have the detail. Also much cheaper to fix when they break and at this point ant Studers out there have enough milage on em to be as problematic as an MCI. Note to J., find a late model Sony JH-24C, they ROCK. My .02
Dave McNair

drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006, 11:37:02 pm »

J.  My room sounds a lot like the room you described.  I still have the M79 and when the JH24 went down recently I tracked basics with the 3M and she still sounds great (It possibly belonged to McSnare).  Mine has been modded and rebuilt and it still has its quirks.  So I got the JH24 and though it sounds different, I believe it sounds quite nice.  Fixing its recent problem was a lot simpler and cheaper then when the M79 goes down...
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meverylame

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2006, 04:50:04 pm »

If you get it, learn the name Doug Weeks...
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Jason Kingsland

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2006, 05:33:14 pm »

drumsound wrote:

J. My room sounds a lot like the room you described. I still have the M79 and when the JH24 went down recently I tracked basics with the 3M and she still sounds great (It possibly belonged to McSnare). Mine has been modded and rebuilt and it still has its quirks. So I got the JH24 and though it sounds different, I believe it sounds quite nice. Fixing its recent problem was a lot simpler and cheaper then when the M79 goes down...


What broke on your machine? I love 3M and Ive always wanted one. Im gonna be in the Portland area soon.... may I stop by?
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mcsnare

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2006, 08:27:10 pm »

Also Otho Wilburn in Athens Ga. I think his company is called Intense Audio. He know 3M's inside and out. Kinda like you will, if you get one....
Dave McNair

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2006, 01:55:59 am »

J. Powers,

We've been doing 3M M79 retorations, upgrades and service in California for some 25 years plus. We've got 3 M79's in the shop now for restoration work.

I love the sound of the M79's, but buying an "inexpensive" used machine usually means some required maintenance, unless the previous owner has kept it up. I Like the Studer's: A800's and A827's sound great with excellent reliability. I like the MCI's, but they sound less dynamic to me. The Otari's are OK, but the one's I've heard sound flat / thin to me compared to the Studers & M79's.

ALL machines will require regular maintenance, what ever you buy. Be sure that the heads, rollers & tape guides are in good condition on the machine. A new set of heads can cost much more than the price of the used machine! Plan $300 or more for a set of new rollers on the 2" M79. not including bearings.

Regarding used analog multi-tracks, expect to pay at least the price you paid for an inexpensive used machine in repairs and maintenence to bring it up to snuff. Some less or more than others.

PM me and I can give you some pointers and advice on the M79's.

Regards,

Ted Jolly
GRS Systems

drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2006, 04:20:28 pm »

meverylame wrote on Fri, 17 February 2006 15:50

If you get it, learn the name Doug Weeks...



Yes, Yes and Yes.  Doug rebuilt mine and I consider him her Daddy!
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drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2006, 04:23:05 pm »

J.Powers wrote on Fri, 17 February 2006 16:33

drumsound wrote:

J. My room sounds a lot like the room you described. I still have the M79 and when the JH24 went down recently I tracked basics with the 3M and she still sounds great (It possibly belonged to McSnare). Mine has been modded and rebuilt and it still has its quirks. So I got the JH24 and though it sounds different, I believe it sounds quite nice. Fixing its recent problem was a lot simpler and cheaper then when the M79 goes down...


What broke on your machine? I love 3M and Ive always wanted one. Im gonna be in the Portland area soon.... may I stop by?



I had a bridge rectifier go bad on the MCI power supply.  The 3M Selectake II is not working right now.

You are welcome to come by my room, but it's nowhere near Portland.  I'm in Bloomington IL.
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drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2006, 04:28:21 pm »

mcsnare wrote on Fri, 17 February 2006 19:27

Also Otho Wilburn in Athens Ga. I think his company is called Intense Audio. He know 3M's inside and out. Kinda like you will, if you get one....
Dave McNair



I believe Otho Wilburn is doing high-end stereo stuff in Atlanta.  Intense Audio is long fucked (closed, no surprise there...).  Doug Weeks of Studio Tech 1 used to work with Otho and is still doing pro audio repairs and mods.
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Guest

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2006, 08:38:21 am »

I wonder why I thought that you were in Portland, Tony. Huh.... on a side note, Bloomington is *lots* closer to me. Huh....?!
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j.hall

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2006, 05:59:55 pm »

my M79 is rocking.  i've only had one problem.  the capstan motor was running a bit slow.  a quick tweak to that and i've been rock solid ever since.

the transport design on these things is a bit screwy and they high wind faster then a jet engine.  although my deck packs tape like brand new reels.
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drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2006, 02:25:37 am »

J.Powers wrote on Tue, 21 February 2006 07:38

I wonder why I thought that you were in Portland, Tony. Huh.... on a side note, Bloomington is *lots* closer to me. Huh....?!


If you're close come on by sometime...
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ironsheik

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2006, 01:31:33 am »

I love our M56 2" machine.  The only times it left me dead in the water I was able to figure out the problem within a couple of hours and get the session back up and running.  That's only been twice in almost 2 years.  I consider that pretty good for a 30 year old machine.  

It will happen even less now that we've really gotten to know the machine.  The transport is tricky but after the first time I spent a day of tweaking I know how to whip it into shape quickly.  Get the machine and make sure you have spare parts ready to go in case something goes wrong.  Something always will on a "new" used machine.

Josh
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Matt Allen

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2006, 05:05:22 pm »

I pm'd you J. Powers
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Matt "Buster" Allen
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wwittman

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2006, 01:25:46 am »

The opamps in a JH-24 are utter crap.

You can't call me a Studer snob when my next choice is an Otari which has much less snob value than your MCI!


I've done side by side A-B's... recording the signal siumultaneously to an MCI and an A800.
there's zero contest.

For ME.

it's all about opinion.

There are just a LOT of MCI's out there (because they were cheaper!) so now people have learned to love them.
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William Wittman
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Brian Kehew

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2006, 08:27:58 am »

Wow - there are "opinions" about gear? Go figure. My two cents (everyone has a pocketful) on 2" machines follows. [I have two 3M M79s, full disclosure!)

Old Ampex 2" machines kick butt sonically, thick and full and punchy. Almost no one disagrees with this. You do NOT want to own one. Too much trouble. Need mods just to work properly.

3M M79 - musical, beautiful and clear. Not as "punchy" as Ampex but maybe more fidelity of sound (The M56 16 track is like an Ampex mixed with this, amazing.) Worrisome tech problems. Good news is - I paid $1000 each for the last two M79s I bought - lots of spare parts.

MCI - punchy, almost like a little brother to the Ampex, but not in the same league as the two above. MCI construction is detailed and thoughtful (VERY easy to service), crappy connectors all throughout.

Studer - there are so many versions. All sound good, built and designed very well, the oldest ones sound great, but punch badly and are tougher with parts and service. The newer ones are good but not quite as full and clear as the Ampex and 3M.

Otari - not that good-sounding, all the ones I've heard. Used to be my main machine, VERY good with tape. Easy enough to fix.

Stephens - rare, great sound, amazing design. Rough sailing if you want it fixed.

Scully - punchy like the old Ampex, but not as clean, tough on tape, some bits are very hard to service.

Soundcraft/Aces - run away!
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siberiaguy

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2006, 08:04:08 pm »

Ted Jolly (www.grssystems.com) has been helping me to get my M79 back into shape.
I cannot say enough nice things about the service he has provided thus far!
His rates are very reasonable and he is great about answering emails.
His work is top notch and thorough and he really knows these machines.

I highly recommend his services!


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Barry Hufker

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2006, 12:06:06 pm »

I now have an M79 and am in need of an original manual or a good photocopy of one.  Can anyone help?

Thanks!

Barry
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drumsound

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2006, 04:51:37 pm »

Barry,

I've got a complete manual and a bunch of release note/update things from 3M.  There's a lot to copy including fold out schematics and such.  I'd be happy to drop it by the Kinkos  if you pick up the tab and shipping.

email me
record@oxidelounge.com
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bobreghr

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2006, 01:55:25 am »

Hi Barry,

Try the guys at GRS. I got my 3M M79 manual from them. They included everything - the M79 operators manual, the service manual, the factory service manual and the Selectake manual

These were all really good quality copies and they had these humongus schematics that folded out. They did a good job for me.

I will see if I can locate their eamil or web site and post it later.

Bob

EDIT: of course I found the link as soon as I finished the reply above. The web site for GRS is  http://www.grssystems.com

Speak to Joe or Ted
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Barry Hufker

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2006, 12:42:30 am »

Tony and Bob,

Many thanks for taking an interest.  I appreciate your help.

I have now been contacted by a couple of people who can help.  I think it's going to be OK!

Barry
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siberiaguy

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2006, 06:51:29 pm »

I have a manual but I don't have any pages that show parts blow-ups. I was wondering if your manuals include parts blow-up views?

Thanks

PS:  Keep Ted Jolly (www.grssystems.com) in your thoughts and prayers.  He is recovering from a severe back injury.
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bobreghr

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2006, 01:10:25 am »


Hi Siberiaguy,

I just replied to another thread of yours in the tech area.

Anyway, you asked about the manuals having blow-ups. The one I got from GRS has the schematic blow-ups and there are anumber of parts and assembly blow-ups too.

I just checked out the GRS web site and they have the manuals and descriptions listed there now.  grssystems.com

Wow, no I didn't know about Ted being injured. He was the one tech that really got my M79 working right ! He spent a couple of days at our studio and sorted out the machine so it ran better than new. Better sound and was much more reliable. He knows these machines inside and out. Sorry to hear he got hurt. Do you know what happen to him?

Bob
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sofa king

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2006, 01:54:04 am »

FWIW,
Im looking to move my M79 16 track, manuals, sync box, extras, 2nd owner.

best
Sean
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Sean McDonald
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richdesantis

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2008, 09:37:06 pm »

Unfortunately, Otho passed away this year in Atlanta. His studio and company was Elixir Audio in Athens, GA
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Brian Kehew

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2008, 02:18:19 am »

Ted Jolly and crew still missing somewhere in Thailand, last I heard. I've been after them for nearly 18 months to get me some help, but they went over to install a console and got stuck with washed out mountain roads etc. Months and months of delays. Sounds like a huge project, with big issues to tackle.

They have a ton of unclear voicemail boxes on their phone line - no clear way to know how to reach them that way for an update. But no replies to my many queries since they contacted me from Thailand...
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Former Oceanway drone

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Re: 3m m79
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2008, 06:45:03 pm »

Brian Kehew wrote on Mon, 13 March 2006 14:27

Wow - there are "opinions" about gear? Go figure. My two cents (everyone has a pocketful) on 2" machines follows. [I have two 3M M79s, full disclosure!)

Old Ampex 2" machines kick butt sonically, thick and full and punchy. Almost no one disagrees with this. You do NOT want to own one. Too much trouble. Need mods just to work properly.

3M M79 - musical, beautiful and clear. Not as "punchy" as Ampex but maybe more fidelity of sound (The M56 16 track is like an Ampex mixed with this, amazing.) Worrisome tech problems. Good news is - I paid $1000 each for the last two M79s I bought - lots of spare parts.

MCI - punchy, almost like a little brother to the Ampex, but not in the same league as the two above. MCI construction is detailed and thoughtful (VERY easy to service), crappy connectors all throughout.

Studer - there are so many versions. All sound good, built and designed very well, the oldest ones sound great, but punch badly and are tougher with parts and service. The newer ones are good but not quite as full and clear as the Ampex and 3M.

Otari - not that good-sounding, all the ones I've heard. Used to be my main machine, VERY good with tape. Easy enough to fix.

Stephens - rare, great sound, amazing design. Rough sailing if you want it fixed.

Scully - punchy like the old Ampex, but not as clean, tough on tape, some bits are very hard to service.

Soundcraft/Aces - run away!


Mr. Kehew hits the salient points although a bit diplomatically for my taste.

Ampex machines rule. But you want a tech who really knows them or you don't want one.

MCIs molex connectors are the stuff of legends!

I can't go on, I laugh when I think about 2" machines.

Brian Kehew spoke gospel above. Read it and believe it.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson
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