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MCI Jh 14 or 16?
Old 7th February 2007
Gear Maniac
FormulaReed's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
MCI Jh 14 or 16?

I went to look at a pair of tape machines today. I thought that they were JH16s but in a few places I saw JH 14. They're transformer based and have the cream colored tops like jh16s. I looked around but I can't find any reference to them other then a bias card at blevins but there is no other mention of them. They're from 1976, they both have remotes and one has a locater from a later machine (possibly JH24).

First off, is there such a thing as a JH 14? If so what is the difference between a 14 and a 16? Do they share parts? They look like they're in good shape, the heads have been re-lapped and nothing is missing. However they're not plugged in and I can't test them before buying. They're cheap and local but they wouldn't be a good deal if a) they'd be a total maintenance nightmare and b) are impossible to find parts for. There are two of them so we can always cannibalize from one machine to the other but...

What do you guys think? Yay or nay.
Old 7th February 2007
Gear Nut
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Be afraid..very afraid

Yes, there was also a JH-8 and a JH-10. We had a JH-110 at the college (Fredonia) and I had to maintain TWO JH-114's on the Record Plant NY White Truck in the late '70's(until thru much pleading I got Hewitt to get rid of them)> By far the WORST maintenance nightmare I have ever known, and I would think getting parts would be really difficult by now. Without knowing for sure they still work, a really superior tech. guy and REALLY low price for the pair I'd say pass on them.
Old 8th February 2007
Gear Maniac
FormulaReed's Avatar
๐ŸŽง 15 years
well thats not what I wanted to hear... but thanks for the info.

What tends to go wrong if you don't mind my asking.
Old 8th February 2007 | Show parent
Gear Nut
๐ŸŽง 10 years
MCI (Munchy, Crunchy, and Intermittent)

Reed, there are sooooo many, just the highlights:
Power supplies that blow up, even when working always on the edge of not supplying enough current.
The dreaded RED IC sockets. IC's would often fall out just from moving the machine, or opening the electronics' drawers. Often the pins made poor contact resulting in "chase your tail for hours" type intermittent problems. Hence the "I" for Intermittent.
Lots of those sockets held LM741's, not a chip you really want in your studio, and trying to upgrade with better IC's without modifying the circuits usually resulted in new problems. The "C" for Crunchy.
The deck plate was made from aluminum and steel. Otherwise known in your home's heating/cooling system as a bi-metal thermostat. As the temperature of the machine changed (as say when it warms up after you turn it on) the deck plate would warp and twist slightly. This would throw off the tape path alignment, sometimes enough to make it chew tape. The "M" for Munchy.
Plus there's several hundred 30+ year old caps in there, all would need to be checked, soooo many replaced.
The remote/autolocater problems, my favorite of which is: if the red record led on the remote burns out then you can't go into record on that channel until it's replaced.
And there's the ceramic capstain shaft that gets slick and you have problems with the machine running on speed.
Good pinch rollers becomming really hard to find.
And the machine weighs over 400lbs. making it really hard to send to the experts at for repairs/upgrades.
If you really want an analog multitrack I would suggest buying a reconditioned Otari MTR-90 or Ampex 1200 from one of the reliable dealers. They're better sounding machines as well, IMnotsoHO.

What's the difference between a Violin and a Cello? The Cello burns longer in the fireplace.
Old 8th February 2007 | Show parent
Lives for gear
numrologst's Avatar
1 Review written
๐ŸŽง 15 years
jh 24 and nh 16 are fantastic sounding machines... And as long as you get one after the red sockets, or one that had the sockets replaced, then you are cool...

I bought a jh-24 that i didn't know too much about... But i did it anyway... turns out it was the best purchase i ever made... I've had it for 6 months or so, and i track on it every day... After figuring out how these work, it's not too hard to work on.

Im no tech genious, but when something goes wrong... I just call up steve saddler and he walks me through everything... As long as you have an extra set of cards, then you are good... I had my first repro/cue card go out yesterday... Pulled it out, put the spare in and i was up again fast... After inspection of the card, i noticed that there were a few burnt resistors..> So i changed them out and the ic they were associated with... Popped it back in and worked fine.

If you can find a good condition 24/16, then do it... Mine is a 1987... I had the heads relapped when i bought the machine..> And the report came back more than 88% on all heads
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