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Panasonic SV-3800

Professional Digital Audio Tape Recorder (1996)

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Panasonic SV-3800


Based on the popular SV-3700, the SV-3800 incorporates technological refinements for enhanced sound quality and functionality.

It features new 20-bit resolution DACs, together with the same type of 1-bit, 64 times oversampling A-D converter employed in the SV-3700.

The result is wider dynamic range, lower noise, and greater linearity. In audible terms this means natural sound, true to the original, with minimum colouration.

And of course, the SV-3800 incorporates the highest quality, high tolerance components, resulting in low noise and exceptional reliability for which Panasonic is famous.


Type: digital audio tape deck

Track System: 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 8.15, 12.225 mm/s

Recording Time: 120 minutes

Heads: 2000rpm, rotary

D/A Converter: 1 bit

A/D Converter: Sigma Delta bitstream, 1-bit, 64 times oversampling

Sampling Frequency: 48, 44.1, 32kHz

Frequency Response: 10Hz to 22kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio: 92dB

Dynamic Range: 92dB

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.003%

Digital Inputs: AES/EBU, coaxial, optical

Digital Outputs: AES/EBU, coaxial, optical

Dimensions: 430 x 122 x 315mm

Weight: 5.9kg

Accessories: remote control



Whine from the record heads

I bought a used SV 3700 (very similar to the SV3800) from Ebay and after cleaning the heads very carefully with a piece of typing paper soaked in IPA (isopropyl alcohol) found it to be an almost "good as new" machine; the hours meter only registered about 1000 hrs. The error rate was typically in single digits, with the occasional bounce up to 15 or 20. However, there was a whining sound coming from the rotating heads and I wondered if I should try to lubricate the spinning axel. This seemed to entail serious deconstruction and would probably result in a box of used parts. So I was loathed to tackle that. Still, I did managed to cure the whine without the use of lubricant: I removed the panel on the base of the machine that is located under the mechanicals, then loosened the exposed circuit board and moved it slightly so I could get to the underside of the mechanism. I placed a small strip of new typing paper (about 2" long and 1/4" wide) between the base of the rotating head and the grounding contact by lifting the spring loaded contact about 2mm and slipped the paper in the gap. I then moistened the paper in the contact area with a drop of IPA, and using tweezers moved the paper back and forth. It came away black. I repeated this another couple of times with a fresh paper strip. Once I had put everything back together and tested it I was pleased to find that the whine had completely gone. It seems that the whine was not lack of shaft lubricant, but the rapid grinding of residual graphite particles between the grounding contact and the shaft end. Moreover, the error rate seems to be even lower now. I'm pleased as punch especially as the unit was under $10!

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Panasonic. To purchase SV-3800 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.