After Revox-based Sonorus ATR10 (discussed here) and TASCAM-based UHA-HQ series (here) let’s now give a look at the J-corder brand by Jeff Jacobs. Most readers will immediately recognize the unmistakable headblock plate in the picture below: J-corder specializes in customizing and upgrading the RS-1500/1506/1520 Technics series.
These models are ideal listening devices for analog mastering studios or hi-end home hifi. The recording section is not removed, like with UHA-HQ models (and unlike Sonorus ATR10, which is a REPRO machine).
Cosmetic rework is simply beautiful: materials used for finish range from wood to carbon fibre, to kevlar.
Rather than focusing on upgrading the electronics, as other companies do, J-corder specializes in several customization options on the headblock, in collaboration with John French from JRF Magnetics (we talked about JRF Magnetics here).
The headblock upgrade options:
- Three Head Option: eliminate the 2/4 head switch and have the machine converted to a fixed two-track or four-track configuration for best performance in specific applications.
- Four Head with external Playback Option: an additional playback head with its own separate wiring for direct stereo output. Maximum minimalism on the signal path here: ideal for external tube preamps.
- Autoreverse modification for RS-1700: transform the recording/erase autoreverse heads into a unidirectional 2-track recording section, for increasing recording quality. Playback is still autoreverse.
Special machined headblock plates in Aluminum or Brass are available for the options above. Here is a nice picture of one of these new parts for the RS-15xx Isolated Loop dual roller transport. Note that the slot for the 2T/4T original switch is not present (see options above).
J-corder offers also a rebuilding service for your own machine:
- Completely disassemble the machine
- Replace brakes and springs
- Replace bearings if needed
- Hardwire in the heavy-duty power cord
- Resurface and laser align all heads
- Clean and lube all switches, pots and controls
- Treat all connecting posts with “Deoxit” rejuvenator and protector for better electrical connections
- Reassemble and recalibrate the machine with ATR tape