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Pioneer RT-1020-L problem--low rec/output on 10"

So I put a 7" on, it plays, records, on either speed. I cannot believe how good the playback is on this, from LP and CD. The tape is bottom shelf, standard RatShack, still sounds awesome.

But try a nice Maxell UD 10" (used)and on -20 to +# VU meters, the deflection is between -20 to -16 with the record input at max even (with the 7" halfway level is about perfect). It records, but playback is still so low. It does have previous jazz recordings on it, and they are likewise low playback at the same level. (This jazz was recorded on another machine who knows when.)

Now yesterday I recorded 5-6 tunes on the RS 7" tape, and it all sounds great (high speed, reel set to small--the only 2 variables other than volume, bias settings, and monitor switch).

I get up this a.m., thread the same 7" tape this morning, and for the first minute or so, the playback is horrible, muted, just like the 10".

Then I fast forward in, push play, and it's all great again. Reverse to the 1st song that was muted (Brick House)and it's back to normal playback.

Switch back to 10", and on various spots along both sides of tape, I try to record and get the same problem as all of the last 3 days--low record level. But this never gets better. As long as that 10" tape is in, it will not record a proper input level. I switched tension and bias settings to no avail. Both sides of a UD-35-180

First I thought it was maybe the large/small (tape tension) switch. But play with it on the 7", and it still records fine, with different bias settings as well.

Any guesses? If it is the 10" tape, then why did the 7" get over the problem within 1 minute this A.M.? And all I recorded on 7" yesterday is great. Could the 10" be bad?
I'm stumped.
Thanks




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Topic - Pioneer RT-1020-L problem--low rec/output on 10" - contrapuntal 11:50:44 05/01/17 (2)

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