Sunday, April 27, 2008

DES: Hubs

What is a hub?.

A hub is the axis where a reel is put in a reel to reel tape recorder. There are two main standards about it, the european and the american.

The european hub is more or less than the same used in the 8mm projectors.

There are reels from 2.5" to 10.5" that need an european hub. Maybe ir's rare the use of this thin hub in the bigger reels, but were the common in plastic reels like Philips or Revox.

The american hub is wider, about 76 mm of diameter.

Except some professionals decks, reel to reel machines came with european hub as a standard, so to use a reel with american hub, it's needed an adapter.

Most reels with american hub are 10.5", but there were some rare exceptions like some 7" reels.

European to american hub adapters are known as NAB hub adapters and there were different types, from the cheapest made of plastic that were put first in the reel, and in second place in the european hub, to the expensive ones that were put directly in the european hub and then, the reel over them.

The first method is less confortable because to remove a reel and put another one, it's needed to remove the adapter from the reel table and put it again in the new reel.

With expensive adapters, the adapter irself is placed in the reel table as it were the natural hub of the deck, so when is needed to put a tape, the time used in the procedure is the same as the original hub of the machine were american.

American and european hubs weren't used in their respective productions. The common is always the european hub except in most cases, in the 10.5" reels.

Here are some examples of cheap NAB hub adapters:

Today some of these adapters are collectables pieces so their price is high, as occurs with the Pioneer PP-220 adapters.

Expensive adapters were maybe the common ones. Brands like AKAI, Teac, Otari, Revox, Basf... made good adapters that were put directly in the reel tables.

The best (and expensive too) hub adapters maybe are the metal Revox adapters. They were produced in different metal colors, the same that the metal reels produced by the brand: light aluminium, red, blue, black and gold.


Anonymous said...

hello, can you tell me if i could mix reel with different hubs? for example, supply reel has a NAB hub, and take up reel has a trident hub.
doing this will screw thing up? thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sure, you can. But be VERY CAREFUL fast winding! Without matching hubs/reels, fast winding can get very ugly, very fast! I suggest you keep it to a minimum until you get the tape transfered to a matched set of reels.

mhmontgomery said...

I know these were with an Ampex Reel to Reel....what are they called..what's the difference in the two??
Link to picture: