Fostex Model 80
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ericthegreat 01/12/2012

Fostex Model 80 : ericthegreat's user review

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The Fostex Model 80 is a two track reel to reel recorder than prints to 1/4" tape on 7" (or smaller) reels in one direction. This means it will have the same amount of track width as a 2" 16 track recorder. It can be run at 7.5 or 15 ips and was designed to record on 1 mm thick, +3 tape such as Quantegy 407. Since Quantegy no longer produces tape, it can use RMGI (Emtec) LPR 35, which is the equivalent of Quantegy 457, a +6 tape. Although slightly underbiased for this, using this tape will produce more high end.

The 80 is a little workhorse of a machine and is intended for mixdown. It does have two mic pre-amps on each of its two channels via 1/4" inputs, so it could be used for location recording without a mixer, although there is no onboard EQ or speaker, just a stereo headphone out via a 1/4" jack and RCA outs.

The recording quality is pretty good, but this machine is entirely mechanical, unlike it's big brother the 32. This means that there are no memory points, no real return to zero facilities, and no way to really do any editing of the tape.
This machine features three heads (erase, record, and play) meaning that the user can monitor from the tape a split second after a recording is being made. This is especially useful during mixdown because what you're hearing is literally what you're going to get as an end result. It could also be used for slap tape delay in conjunction with another recorder.

In the time I owned this machine I was very happy with it. The only issue I ever had was the capstan belt was too worn. This will be apparent by playback slowing down or even not working at all; it will not affect rewind and fast-forward.