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Otari MTR-12

Mastering/Production Recorder (1984-89)

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Otari MTR-12

Description

The MTR-12 Mastering & Production Recorder is designed to be the most advanced available for the audio professional.

Whether you consider yourself an artist, an engineer, or both, these superlative machines will deliver the performance necessary for your most challenging audio requirements today, and tomorrow.

You'll discover that the MTR-12 makes sense for the way you work with audio that these are truly intelligent machines that will quickly become a dependable and powerful extension of your expertise.

You'll also find that the MTR-12's quiet and natural sound speaks well for its excellent technical specifications, and that the machine as a whole is logically laid out and easy to use, so you can concentrate on what's really important.

Note how the controls recessed into the deck eliminate tape tangle and back-up. Work with the control buttons. They're where you need them - every time.

And deep into one of those, long, long sessions, you the artist, and you the engineer, will discover the true value of The Technology You Can Trust.

Specifications

  • Track system: 2-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 40Hz to 27kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 74dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 55dB

    Dimensions: 846 x 584 x 660mm

    Year: 1984

  • Track system: 4-track, 4-channel, stereo/monaural/multi channel system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 60Hz to 29kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 73dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 55dB

    Dimensions: 846 x 584 x 660mm

    Year: 1984

  • Track system: 2-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 40Hz to 27kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 74dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 55dB

    Dimensions: 1156 x 584 x 660mm

    Weight: 113.4kg

    Year: 1984

  • Track system: 2-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 33Hz to 27kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 77dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 60dB

    Dimensions: 846 x 584 x 660mm

    Year: 1984

  • Track system: 2-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 33Hz to 27kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 77dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 60dB

    Dimensions: 1156 x 584 x 660mm

    Weight: 113.4kg

    Year: 1984

  • Track system: 4-track, 4-channel, stereo/monaural/multi channel system

    Motor: 3 x DC servo

    Reel size: up to 12.5 inch reel

    Equalization: NAB/IEC/AES

    Tape speeds: 7 12  15  30 ips

    Wow and flutter: 0.04% (30 ips)

    Frequency response: 60Hz to 29kHz (30 ips)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 73dB

    Total harmonic distortion: 0.15%

    Crosstalk: 55dB

    Dimensions: 1156 x 584 x 660mm

    Weight: 113.4kg

    Year: 1984

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Reviews

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rating
Reviewed Nov 28th, 2015 by Mo-Tech

MTR-12 is among the most underrated pro decks around considering their going prices these days. Mainly due (and thanks to-) it does not have that resonating R2R clique name behind such as Studer or Ampex. Those who know Otari brand and their long tradition of high-end R2R machines also know their top notch design and build quality. Otari went to great lenghts to prove themselves against the lobbying that went on in 70-80s calling them a Japanese junk to put them into a marketing disadvantage. This ment Otari had to design and build superior decks compared to it's competition to gain that edge and since early 80s Otaris got so good that the MTR-series did force their way into many famous studios as the preferred machines for the highest mastering machine demands. MTR-10 and MTR-12 (and II) go into that golden Otari era, when every last detail was uncompromisingly though through, designed and knowingly chosen high-end.

Sonically they are more to transparent and 3D side with it's carefully designed high-end later Otari large-coil heads and solid-state OP-amp circuitry, yet when you saturate (hit the tape harder) you can add that slight crunchy american or large flavour to sound that many people find suprising since the common myth has been that the Otaris sound just too clean or silky compared to the more legendary pro vintage machines such as AG440, A80 or JH110 that have a certain sonic character. Thus sonically there's more than one side with MTR and it can be the jack of many trades if you learn to use it's abilities. They also make a great DIY project since you can modify their circuitry, i.e. using different set of audiophile-grade capacitors for the audio path (I've done this with excellent results), input/output transformers can be added for more flavour, also if you're good in electronics and require that excessive colored sonic character then even adding tube stages for recording and playback is certainly possible as I will explain below.

Not only MTR-12 is stunning sonically, it's also excellent mechanically. Transport may not be at the level of the legendarily gentle-to-tape A80, but very close yet it's faster and more gentle than i.e. A807 that costs much more than MTR-12 and IMHO yet A807 sounds inferior sonically.

Another thing going for MTRs are they are open-source machines so to speak: all detailed schematics are reaily available, parts are cheap and plenty but most of all - they are utterly easy to work on (each board comes out in a split second to get a direct acess to any bit or part you like) in case you want to improve, modify or repair it. Something that's much more harder, risky and conisderably more time consuming to do on integrated compact decks as i.e. competing Studer A807/810/812 where parts are also tend to be more expensive and harder to obtain.

Otari MTR-series are known for their renowned reliability, it's rightfully called the Lexus of pro grade R2R decks made to run a very long time with virtually very little to no maintenance required. Back in the tape haydays MTR was a preferred machine also in radio- or TV stations running them 24/7 since MTRs have no belts or other high maintenance parts common on other decks and they hold their calibration superbly stable, almost indefinitely.

So go on, grab one before it's too late since sooner or later people will release how good and underrated those Otari MTRs are!

 

Comments

tazdevl35's picture

re: MTR-12

People have for the most part realized that the MTR series, especially the MTR 12 II and MTR 15 are serious machines. More than contenders to the throne, in proper nick they are every bit the equal to such machines as the Studer A80-II or the A-810/A820 series. While tape handling could be a tad more convoluted that the legendary Studers, it is still more than competent and gentle enough when handling older precious master tapes for analog remastering to current vinyl releases or transfer to high resolution digital formats.

Sonically, these machines are not glaring, hard, or analytical sounding as their reputation once boasted in the popular media or studio engineering circles. More than that, they sound accurate, precise, enveloping when recording to or playing back from various 1/4" and 1/2 "tape. With more than generous controls and calibration adjustments, it is easy to service or adjust the record and reproduce electronics when needed, which isn't often unless you swap between more than 2 types of tape, IE Ampex 456/499, Scotch 207/226/250, etcetera. There are 2 selectable adjustable calibration positions provided, allowing a quick swap between 2 tape types without wasting time adjusting from one to the other. Low Frequency compensation is available as are NAB/IEC positions at the flip of a switch.

Built in Sine and Square wave generators in 100, 1K and 10K allow quicker calibration, without the need for an external signal generator and millivolt meter. Another excellent feature of this machine is its availability to switch between 3 different flux levels, 180, 250 and 320 nanowebers/ per meter. Preset an vairalble record and repro levels are conveniently available on the front of the meter bridge, along with a built in monitor speaker and headphone output. Transport controls are also easily accessible without being in the way of tape dump, splicing and other operations. Built in time code card makes editing a snap. Available Dolby HX-Pro increases and optimises high and low end frequency response, while recording.

Since the word is out, and analog tape has become the De-Facto source for high end audiophile reproduction, prices have begun to soar in recent years. Where a machine may have been selling for a few hundred dollars, the Otari's in many cases sell for 10 times that cost. The MTR 15 is the rarest and most sought after of the bunch, commanding prices equivalent to their Studer counterparts. Maintenance and repair seem to be less critical than other similar machines, often it can be years between needing any real work performed. Fixed guides, rubber pinch roller and heads are the exception to wearing, as they are on other machines. Removal and replacement on these parts is quick and intuitive, swapping in a pre-aligned head block takes a matter of minutes and choosing high end Flux Magnetics heads to replace OEM heads makes a real difference, even if the original heads are of Otari's Butterfly type.

In closing and without any reservations, I recommend these machines to anyone who is getting into Audiophile high end tape playback, have a home or even professional level studio, the Otaris are an excellent option of choice over their rarer and often more expensive to maintain (due mostly to reputation, IMHO) Studer brethren. With an extender card for access, service, and repair is much easier than many other machines, each individual function card plugs into a motherboard, powered by a large, overbuilt, trouble free power supply which will operate in all global voltage/frequency environs. I've spent the better part of 2 decades with these machines and 4 decades with most other brands, and I can say from personal experience, these Otaris trump the others when a workhorse or audiophile level machine is desired.

I make my own or purchase high end master tapes of performances commercially available for playback in my personal system, as well as record live performances or garage sessions where I play guitar or drums. In a world with many options to choose from, where money is no object, the Studer machines are chosen by folks at home or in the industry in search of audiophile quality at home or at audio shows. This being said, I personally would not hesitate to choose an available MTR 10, 12 or 15 machine, the last 2 models and especially the MTR 15.To both hands on, my ears these machines are sonically equal to or better than other available models or brands. Such comparisons must be made between machines in equal condition, properly serviced and calibrated.

Everyone has their favorite brand or model. When it comes to easy gentle tape handling, there are many folks who prefer the ATR 100 series, Studer's A series, MCI, Sony or similar model machines. Based on my hands-on experience archiving 40-50 year old recordings or older, the Otari MTR series has no trouble, to date have caused no damage to these tapes when copying them. I would no hesitate to use the MRT machines in any instance I can think of. YMMV, YEMV of course.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Otari. To purchase MTR-12/MTR-12 II spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.