Repair Powerhouse Analog Tape Drum Machine

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2. Mai 2018
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Repair Powerhouse Analog Tape Drum Machine

A good friend and drum & synthesizer collector asked me to fix his Powerhouse Analog 8 Track Tape Drum Machine. This was the first time in my career as a producer (and tech), that I had access to such lovely piece of vintage gear. I had my hands on many old „analog“ drum machines, but never heard a drumloop tape machine.
The machine works as a cassette player. First you insert one of the available (8?) cassette catridges. With the left four push button switches you can select on of the 4 (two) tracks, so the tape had will move up & down to select the corresponding track. And then with the balance potentiometer you can choose between righ and left channel, or here between loop 1&2, loop 3&4 and so on. These rhythms often are combinations. For example. You have a kind of latin loop on the first two tracks, with the balance potentiometer in the middle you will hear a complex loop. If you now hit the „basic“ button you will only hear the basic drums (e.g. 4/4 bassdrum/snare loop). If you instead hit the comp(lex) button, you will hear the percussion loop. Let the switch go you will hear both, perfectly (human) matched. You can vari the speed by a potentiometer, now you will be able to add these loop to your production.

This unit here played the tapes, but the sound was a mess. Main problem was, that the tape head holder made out of plastic was broken. After a long time of try and error I found a way to glue this and give it the correct tracking. I also polished the tape heads which looked horroble before. The sound was muff and flutter but now it sounds good. Some loops still don’t sound perfect, but these tapes are very old, close to disintegrating. I did some recapping, ESR was a bit high, and I also found a crack in the pcb which I corrected.

All in all a lot of work here, but one more time one of these dinosaur came back to life. To be honest, in this case it was more a resurrection than a restoration, lol.

Here are some pictures for you boy and girls.