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Ampex Electric
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Manufacturing Company

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This is a list of information we have gathered from a variety of sources on some of the major analog reel to reel tape recorder and related equipment manufacturers. While we have strived to provide the best information available to us, there will be corrections and additions. We include personal stories about the companies when they are provided to us.  We always invite input on corrections and updates. Thank you!

 

Ampex 200A reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection

Ampex logo

 

 

 

Ampex recorders are well known as some of the best built American professional reel tape recorders.

In creating this segment on Ampex, I have researched everything I could find on the Ampex company history using books, magazines and AES media. I've also had discussions and correspondence with folks who worked on the Ampex equipment during the early period.  There are some source differences and I have tried to represent the essence of the process as the original Ampex equipment evolved. Our Museum is always a work in progress and we welcome input to provide a better record of the development of sound recording companies. Opening comments by Martin Theophilus (Ampex 200A left is in our Museum's collection)


John "Jack" Mullin shown with editing sissors in hand beside early Ampex 200A professional reel to reel tape recorders in the Museum of Magnetic Sound RecordingJohn "Jack" T. Mullin

After WW II , John "Jack" T. Mullin, who was in the US Army Signal Corp, brought back to the US, 2 German Magnetaphon reel to reel magnetic tape recorders. Mullin took the 2 Magnetophons apart and shipped them back to the US in 18 boxes to comply with US war souvenir size requirements. Also included were 50 rolls of German magnetic tape.

In late 1945 as Mullin was returning from France, he shared the Magnetophon information with a friend, Col Richard Ranger. Ranger decided to go to Germany, research the information and build an American version of the Magnetophon.

When Mullin arrived at his home in San Francisco he was happy to find the 18 boxes had arrived safely. He decided to go to work with a friend William A. Palmer who had founded W.A. Palmer & Co., a film production company in San Francisco in 1936.


AES interview with John "Jack" Mullin

After tweaking the electronics and converting to US tubes the Magnetophons were used to support Palmer's film business. To their knowledge, this was the first time magnetic tape was used to record motion picture sound with thesubsequent transfer to film.

A Palmer-Mullin demonstration of their magnetic recorders at the MGM studios in Hollywood in October, 1946, gained a great deal of attention when they provided a stunningly clear recording of a studio performance by the MGM Symphony Orchestra.

The first public demonstration of the recorders was to the local chapter of the Institute of Radio Engineers in San Francisco on May 16, 1946.  Attending the demonstration was Harold Lindsey.

Following a number of demonstrations, Mullin and Palmer attracted Bing Crosby's production folks.  Crosby had been frustrated by the poor end quality of disc editing for his radio program. After Mullin and Palmer demonstrated the ability to not only capture a great recording, but also to be able to edit the content with no loss of quality, the Crosby folks decided to adopt the technology.

Mullin eventually went to work for Crosby as his Chief Engineer, using the 2 Magnetophons and the 50 reels of German tape.  He edited the Crosby shows splicing the various tape pieces together as Crosby and his producers directed.  Crosby expressed concern regarding there being only 2 recorders and a limited supply of tape.

In an article written for the db magazine published in December of 1977, Harold Lindsay describes how excited he was about the magnetic recording technology Jack Mullin was demonstrating. Lindsay worked for the Dalmo Victor Company in California and a company named Ampex was building radar motors and generators for Dalmo to supply the US Navy. Given the lessening demand for the motors, Ampex was looking for another product to produce. Lindsay connected Alexander M. Poniatoff with Jack Mullin and Pontiatoff agreed that magnetic tape recorders was the way to go. He asked Lindsay to join Ampex and work with Myron Stolaroff to develop an Ampex tape recorder.

At Jack Mullins suggestion, they began by developing a playback head. It proved to be superior to the one Mullin had on the original Magnetophons. Mullin had by this time agreed to record and edit for Bing Crosby and Bing Crosby Enterprises. As Mullin had committed to help Col. Richard Ranger with a recorder for Crosby, he could not share the electronics information with Ampex. However when Bing Crosby with the first Ampex 200A reel to reel tape recorderRanger's work failed to meet Crosby's expectations, Mullin encouraged Ampex to make a presentation.

Several interesting things occurred. As there was limited tape available from Mullin, Ampex was in a bind to have tape for testing. Luckily within a few weeks of each other, two tape manufacturers (Audio Devices and 3M) approached Ampex asking them to test their tape development. That solved the tape problem and the tape quality improved as did the development of the first Ampex recorder

By the end of August 1947, the Ampex 200-A development was progressing well and the Crosby demonstration was scheduled. Just before the Crosbypresentation, the Ampex 200-A record electronics developed a bug. The prototype was demonstrated anyway with playback only using Jack Mullin's tapes. It was lucky that in their development, Ampex had decided tomatch Mullin's Magnetophon tape speed (which = 30 ips), or the playback would not have been possible. In spite of there being a wide range of engineers who witnessed the demonstration, no one asked to see how the unit recorded.

A few days after the demonstration, folks from Crosby Enterprises approached Ampex with a request to distribute the recorder in eleven western states. An agreement was reached, contracts signed and immediately Crosby's reps gave Ampex an order for twenty Ampex 200-A's. They were all for ABC in New York, Chicago and Hollywood.

As Ampex geared up to meet the demand they realized they had no funds and banks were not willing to loan to them given the new technology. However Lindsay states in his db article, an envelope arrived with a Hollywood postmark and inside was a check for $50,000 from Bing Crosby with no strings attached. Pretty amazing!

Ampex was named after the company's owner, A. M. Poniatoff , using his initials plus EX for excellence.  Alexander Mathew Poniatoff was born in the Kazan District of Russia,about 400 miles east of Moscow, on March 25, 1892. His middle name is the first Christian name of his father, such designations being a Russian family tradition. Mathew Poniatoff was a successful businessman with a couple of dozen employees engaged in cutting timberland and producing firewood and parts for carriages and sleighs. (tonbandmuseum)

As 3M was working on developing magnetic recording tape and the products were tested, Mullin and the ABC folks decided the high end 3M tape was not as good as their low end product.  Interestingly the iron oxide for the low quality tape was called 112 Raven Red which was also used for red barn paint. 

The Ampex 200A was first demoed at Radio Center in Hollywood in October of 1947. It had cost $76,000 to develop. When the Ampex 200A was released for sale in April of 1948, it cost about $7,500. That was later reduced to $5,200. Ampex numbers 1 and 2 went to the Bing Crosby Show and were used to record his 27th performance of the 1947-1948 season. Weeks later ABC ordered 12 more recorders and record companies and broadcasters soon followed.   Other sources indicate that ABC ordered 20 Ampex 200-As.

There were only 112 Ampex 200A's built.

The 200A ran at 30 ips and threading was called a "B" wind with the backing to the inside. This was later reversed. The over-engineered deck was built into a polished or stained wood console weighing 240 pounds.  (right the Ampex 200A #33 in theReel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection)

We can hardily attest to the weight as it is most difficult to move around. The recorder was full track using 14 inch reels, 1/4 inch tape and was capable of a performance that was flat within .5 db from 30 hz to 15 kHz.

Bing Crosby bought 20 Ampex 200As for $4,000 each with a 60% down payment in 1948. In April 1948 two 200As went to Jack Mullin for the Cosby Show and many of the others went to ABC to do tape delayed broadcasts. Model 201 - As the result of progress made with the Ampex 300 in early 1949, Ampex decided to retrofit all the 200A's with the better electronics. This upgrade was released on June 15,1949. The remaining Ampex 200As were released as 201s.By May of 1949 most major recording studios had one. By June, 1950, NBC, CBS, Mutual, Dumont, etc. had at least one.

There are quotes with folks stating the Ampex 200-A was a wonderful sounding machine. Songs said to have been recorded on one of the Ampex 200A's included "(We're Gonna) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK" ,Nat King Cole's "MONA LISA", "UNFORGETTABLE", Mario Lanza's "BE MY LOVE", Frank Sinatra's "YOUNG AT HEART" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "SIXTEEN TONS"

Ray Dolby's comments regarding viewing the Ampex 200A for the first time.EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Ampex 200A reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection

       
Les Paul used his Ampex 200A and later the 300, 400 (actually a pair of 400's were provided to Les Paul by Bing Crosby) and a 350 8 track to make his amazing records with Mary Ampex 201 electronics from the Amex 200A/201 recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collectionFord. The 8 track,Ampex 350 based recorder produced by Ampex in 1957 was sold to Les Paul for $10,000. Les Paul loved the recorder, however commented that he never recorded a hit on it.  Les Paul's son Rusty shared with us that the Ampex 8 track took 8 years to perfect with many changes going back and forth between his Dad and Ampex. 

Ken deGruchy shared with us - " I obtained a pair of Ampex 401's that groomed me on professional equipment.  I really learned those electronics well and it paid off some years later when I became close personal friends with Les Paul (because of his association with things Ampex) and had the honor or repairing and restoring some of the recording electronics on his famous Octopus (8 CH - right) that featured 350 electronics which are very similar to the 400 series machines electronics. "

Our museum's Ampex 200-A, Serial Number 33 was originally bought from Bing Crosby Enterprises, Inc. by Capitol Records in Los Angeles, California in 1948. 

News clips detail some information regarding ABC and Capitol Records decisions to acquire the new technology.  They include one in October 1947 saying that if magnetic tape was to air on radio really "materializes" ....reflecting a tone of reservation regarding the technology. And even in May of 1948 an article talks of capitol Records recording on both tape and a disc cutter to check the quality.


Ron Newdoll in the Accurate Sound Recording Studio in San Angelo, Tx mid- 1960'sComments by Martin Theophilus  - The first time I saw Ampex in action was in 1964 when I was helping a band called the Believers in Alpine, Texas. I recorded the band on a Webcor Music Man reel to reel tape recorder as they developed some new songs. In late 1964 they went to a San Angelo, Texas studio to record a song called "Motor Mouth."

The San Angelo studio belonged to Ron Newdoll and his company was Accurate Sound Company. Ron was using the Ampex 350s and had just recorded the number one hit "Last Kiss" for J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. To view and hear the difference between consumer and professional recording equipment was amazing to me. The whole experience of assisting musicians capture their creations and being in a studio that included a full basement echo chamber influenced the rest of my life.

When I entered Sul Ross University's Music Department, I was given the task of recording all the school's band and choir concerts and tours, as well as their music recitals. I was using the Ampex 600 reel tape recorder and its companion Ampex 620 amplifier and speaker system. The $545 dollar Ampex 600 first came out in 1954 and Ampex ads boasted that it met the specs of the 350s. 80,000 Ampex 600s were manufactured in various configurations. I'd also evolved my own Webcor recorder to stereo Sony and Concertone units and took them on tours as well. We used EV and Shure mics on 40' telescoping stands.

Ampex 200A reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collectionWe have Capitol Records detail regarding the Ampex 200-A, #33's upgrade in 1949.  This upgrade was to the Ampex 201 electronics from the Amex 200A/201 recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collectionAmpex 201 specs and involved the replacing of the original head cover and installing an Ampex 300 head cover and tape lifters.  They also updated this Ampex 200A in 1954 and 1955.

Our Ampex 200A was subsequently acquired by Leo De Gar Kulka, known in the record and recording industry as"the Baron." Documents indicate he moved the Ampex 200A from Los Angeles to his Golden State studio in San Francisco around 1964. The Baron is remembered for his recordings of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Sonny Bono, among others.  One story states Cher worked as the Baron's receptionist for awhile. He also produced the song "Tequila."

We were told that "the Baron" was always striving to keep up with the latest technology.  The Ampex 200-A we acquired was upgraded to stereo using Inovonics amps.  We are in the process of restoring the Ampex 200A recorder to its 201 state.  We have acquired the 200, or "White" tube electronics (pics right).

In interviewing Ray Benson and Floyd Domino with Asleep At the Wheel, our Museum also learned that when "The Wheel" completed some of their original San Francisco, CA demos with Leo De Gar Kulka's Golden State Studio, our Ampex 200A had 4 Inovonics amps enabling four track recording.Ampex 201 electronics from the Amex 200A/201 recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection

Leo de Gar Kulka's Golen State Recording StudioMany folks are not aware that many of the professional reel tape recorders that Ampex produced were "data" or "instrumentation" recorders. The US Defense Department and NSA were early adapters. Here's a declassified document from the NSA detailing some of Ampex's work with their agency.

During the early 1950s Ampex began marketing one- and two-track machines using ¼" tape. The line soon expanded into three-and four-track models using ½" tape. In the early 1950s Ampex moved to 934Charter St., Redwood City, California. Ampex acquired ORRadio Industries in 1959, which became the Ampex Magnetic Tape Division, headquartered in Opelika, Alabama. This made Ampex a manufacturer of both recorders and tape. By the end of that decade Ampex products were much in demand by top recording studios worldwide.

In 1952, Ampex was approached by movie producer Mike Todd, who wanted to develop a high fidelity movie sound system using sound magnetically recorded on the film. The result of this development was the Todd-AO motion picture system, which was first used in movies such as Oklahoma and The Robe. In 1960, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ampex an Oscar for technical achievement as a result of this development. 

In the mid-1960s, Ampex developed a magnetic disc recorder for use in slow-motion replays in televised sporting events. It was considered that tape would not be sufficiently durable for this application. As with tape recording, the disc recording concept found diverse applications in many industries.

Ampex vigorously pursued derivatives of its innovative technologies. In 1962, Ampex introduced a recorder especially designed for closed circuit (CCTV) applications: the VR-1500. At $12,000, it was relatively affordable and could record for five hours on a single tape. In 1963, Ampex introduced EDITEC, which allowed frame-by-frame control in tape editing. In 1970, TeraBit Memory, a high capacity digital storage system utilizing videotape technology, was introduced.

photo of Ampex ATR-124 courtesy dollhgouse productionsreel to reel tape recorder ad in the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording

Ampex MM-1000 professional 8 track reel to reel tape recorder ad in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording museumIn 1966 Ampex built their first 16-track recorder, the model AG-1000, at the request of Mirasound Studios in New York City. In 1967 Ampex introduced a 16-track version of the MM1000 which was the world's first 16-track professional tape recorder put into mass-production. Both used a 2 inch tape transport design adapted from the video recording division. The 16-track MM-1000 quickly became legendary for its tremendous flexibility, reliability and outstanding sound quality. This brought about the "golden age" of large format analog multitrack recorders which would last into the mid 1990s.

MCI built the first 24-track recorder (using 2 inch tape) in 1968 which was installed at TTG Studios in Los Angeles. Later machines built by Ampex starting in 1969 would have as many as 24 tracks on 2 inch tape. In addition to this, the introduction of SMPTE time code allowed studios to run multiple machines in perfect synchronization, making the number of available tracks virtually unlimited.

Alexander Poniatoff was named chairman emeritus in 1970. He continued to maintain an interest in the foundations whose research he sponsored in health and preventive medicine. He died on October 24, 1980.

By the late 1970s Ampex faced tough competition from Studer and Japanese manufacturers such as Otari and Sony (who also purchased the MCI brand in 1982.) In 1979 Ampex introduced their most advanced 24-track recorder, the model ATR-124. It was considered by many to be the finest machine of its type. The ATR-124 was very ruggedly constructed and had outstanding audio specifications which nearly rivaled the first digital recording machines. However, sales of the ATR-124 were slow due to the machine's very high price tag @ $62,500. Only 62 of the ATR-124 machines were sold. Ampex withdrew from the professional audio tape recorder market entirely in 1983.

In 1983, Signal Cos. bought Ampex, which failed to produce a profit the next year. In 1985, Allied Corp. merged with Signal. The following year, when revenues were $532 million, Henley Group Inc. bought part of the company. Allied-Signal sold the rest of the company to the New York-based Lanesborough group (later renamed Sherborne Group Inc./NH Holding Inc.) in 1987 for $479 million. In 1992 Ampex was incorporated as a public company.

April 6, 1987 - UPI -SAN FRANCISCO -- Allied-Signal Inc. Monday said it has agreed to sell its Ampex Corp. subsidiary to Lanesborough Corp. for $479 million.The sale is part of an Allied-Signal strategy, announced by the company in December, to 'really sharpen our focus on our aerospace, automotive products and engineered materials' business, said Michael J. Ascolese, an Allied-Signal spokesman. Lanesborough intends to finance its purchase through a combination of its own equity and an offering of debt or equity securities, a spokesman said. In the interim, the company has received a $475 million line of credit from an undisclosed New York commercial bank.

In addition to the purchase price of $479 million, Lanesborough has agreed to assume certain unnamed liabilities of Ampex, Ascolese said. A privately-held, wholly-owned subsidiary of Allied-Signal, Ampex had pre-tax earnings last year of $53.7 million on revenues of $511 million, slightly up from 1985. Allied-Signal, an advanced technology company based in Morris Township, N.J., had net sales of $11.8 billion in 1986, up from $9.1 billion in 1985. Under the purchase agreement, Ampex will be acquired by a newly formed subsidiary of Lanesborough, which plans to operate Ampex with its present management and organizational structure.

Ampex spokesman David Jensen said Lanesborough's bid was chosen from several others in part because of Lanesborough's promise not to change the management or organizational structure of the company. 'We intend to make sure that Ampex has the financial and other resources to continue investing in its future,' said Edward Bramson, Lanesborough's president and chief executive officer.

'Ampex is a strong company with outstanding capabilities,' Bramson said. 'We think the company's prospects for growth are excellent.'

Ampex has 6,700 employees at production plants and distribution centers in California, Colorado, Alabama, Hong Kong, Taiwan and England.

'we are extremely pleased to be affiliated with Lanesborough,' said Charles A. Steinberg, Ampex's president and chief executive officer May 1963 – March 1988.

Steinberg also expressed satisfaction that Ampex, a publicly-held company from its inception in 1944 until its sale to Allied-Signal in 1981, will once again be operated under its own name by Lanesborough, as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

In the late 1980s, Ampex employed approximately 8,000. In 1989, the company cut its work force by approximately ten percent due to sales growth that was less than expected. Low cost foreign producers by this time had made Ampex the only remaining American videotape equipment manufacturer.

While digital video recording and processing equipment offered unprecedented picture quality and superior flexibility, its high price inhibited buyers. Ampex introduced a sales strategy in 1991 that allowed broadcasters to convert from analog to digital facilities in a gradual, piece-by-piece process.

Terming the U.S. television broadcasting market "mature," Ampex shifted its emphasis away from the analog videotape recording to digital recording and to other applications for digital data storage. It took time for this to prove profitable. In 1995, the company sold its Recording Media division (Ampex Media Holdings Incorporated), which reduced the size of the company considerably but also helped the company retain its profitability. Ampex's "keepered media" technology for extending the capacity and performance of hard disk drives excited investors in 1996 and again stirred rumors of a takeover.

Ampex Audio Recorders Time Line

This information is based on ad and catalog information in our collection

1947 - 1948 Model 200A  $7,200 > $5,200
Bing Crosby bought 20 Ampex 200As for $4,000 each with a 60% down payment in 1948. In April 1948 two 200As went to Jack Mullin for the Cosby Show and many of the others went to ABC to do tape delayed broadcasts.
- Model 201 - As the result of progress made with the Ampex 300 in early 1949, Ampex decided to retrofit all the 200A's with the better electronics. This upgrade was released on June 15,1949. The remaining Ampex 200As were released as 201s.

1949 - Model 300 - $1,550 1949

Restored Ampex 300 oiginal amplifier in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder collection  Restored Ampex 300 oiginal amplifier in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder collection Restored Ampex 300 oiginal amplifier in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder collection

Restored Ampex 300 reel tape recorder amplifier • pdf of additional pics


1950 - 1953 Series 400 $985 pic 2
1953 - Model 350 replaced 400, Ampex 450 (background music) name Ampex Corp adopted, 402C, 403C, 403P
1954 - Model 600, Speaker 620, Ampex prosumer Series "A" Stereo models A121, A122,& Mono models A111 & A112 Later called 960

1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection  1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog in the Reel2ReelTexas.com - Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection

Click here to view entire 68 page 1954 Ampex Full Line Catalog as shipped by Ampex in June 1954 (please be patient as it is a very large pdf file)


1955  Ampex 350 and 600 Stereo has arrived
1956  Ampex 612 Ampex Models List  Data recorders, S-5290 (basically a 601 mono set up for stereo and later called 601-2
1957 Ampex 8 channel Les Paul
1958 - 1965 AG 351 $1,675 601 & A112
1958 Ampex 351, Ampex 601-2 stereo, Ampex prosumer 960 Caprice,
1959 Ampex 601 and 601-2, Model 910 Universal "A", Ampex prosumer 960, 970
1960 Model 970 Model 351, Model 351-C
1961 Ampex The Fine Line Ampex prosumer 1200, 1250, 1260, 1270, Ampex 934, 936
1962 Redwood City facility ground breaking, Ampex 970, Ampex 960, 934 & Fine Line 1200
1963 Ampex moved into Redwood City facility, Ampex prosumer Fine Line F-44, Ampex 351-2P, Ampex 1250 & 2012 Speaker system, 601, 601-2 & PR-10, MX-35, 351 & 352

Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection  Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection  Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection  Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection

1964 MR-70, PR-10, F-44, 602-1 & 602-2, PR-10-2 - Ampex prosumer 2050, 2070, 2080, F-4460 & F-4470
1965 Ampex 602, 602-1, Ampex prosumer 860, 1070, 1160, 2070 duplicators, F-44, 4450, 4452, 4460, 2050, 2060, 2070, 1070,1050, 1080, 850, 961, 1161, 2161, Ampex Music Center
1966 AG-300, AG-350, solid state, PR-10, Ampex 600 Solid State, Ampex prosumer 860, 1160, 2060, 840
1967 AG-440 series, AG-500 series, AG-600, 602, 602-2, Ampex prosumer 850, 861, 1150, 1161, 2050, 2061, AV 770, 961, 1161, 2161, Ampex Music Center

Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection   Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection    Ampex Fine Line F-44 4460 tube reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection Museum vintage collection 

1968 Balco Sound Company, Lubbock, Texas - Ampex displays and HSC representation

Ampex MM-1000 professional 8 track reel to reel tape recorder ad in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording museum
1968 AG-500, AA-620 speaker system, AM-10, Ampex prosumer 755, 1455, 1461, 1461A reversing, 750, 761, 850, 861, 895, 1150, 1161, 2050, 2150,  20611977 Ampex ad for their 30 years
1969 AG-440B, AG-445, AG-500, AG-600  prosumer 755, 761, 861, 1461, 2161 $449, AM-10, 985, 1161, 750, MM-1000
1970 AG-600, AG-500, AG440B, Ampex prosumer 755A, 767, 985A, 1455A, 1467, 2150, 2161,
1971 prosumer AX-300 $599.00, 2161, AX-50, 755A, Broadcast recorder ABR10 & ABR 15, AG440B, AM10 & MX 35
1972 - AG-600 Solid State  Micro42 Auto Cassette recorder
1973
1974 AG-440X  MM-1100  AG-440C
1975 AG-440C  MM-1100 ATR-700
1976
ATR-700  ATR-100   MM-1200
1977 MM-1200  AG-440C celebrating 30 years (ad right)
1978
ATR-700 ATR-100 MM-1200
1979 ATR-100  ATR-124  MM-1200
1980
ATR-100, ATR-700  ATR-124
1981
MM-1100  ATR-124
1982 ATR 800 $5,450
1983 ATR-700 ATR-100 ATR-116 $48,500   ATR-124 $62,500 was the last Ampex reel tape recorder only 62 were made

1983 Ampex and Nagra also developed a broadcast quality video recorder - "The VPR-5 is a 1-inch C-format portable broadcast video recorder. Developed as a joint-venture with the AMPEX corporation of America it was introduced in 1983 as the world’s smallest, lightest broadcast quality portable video reorder. Available in both PAL (for European) and NTSC (North American) television formats the VPR-5 allowed broadcast quality video to be shot on-location."

Joint Ampex Nagra protable broadcast recorder VPR-5

Ampex Basic Concepts of Tape Recording

Harold Lindsay db articles

1977 article by Harold Lindsay about the beginnings of Ampex in the December 1977 db magazine in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  1977 article by Harold Lindsay about the beginnings of Ampex in the December 1977 db magazine in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  1977 article by Harold Lindsay about the beginnings of Ampex in the December 1977 db magazine in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection   1978 db magazine article written by Harold Lindsey about Magnetic Recording in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  1978 db magazine article written by Harold Lindsey about Magnetic Recording in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  1978 ad for new products including the Uher  SG 630 professional reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection   


 


The Ampex Museum

FYI - I contacted the Stanford Ampex archivist in 2014, he responded with the following.

"Martin,
In a nutshell, there are three categories:
1. Documentation, media, photographs (everything but hardware) is fully processes and accessible. The finding aid is available online via the Online Archive of California.
2. Select hardware (original 200A, original VR/VTR-1000, and a few early audio recorders) are on display, the first two items in Green Library, Information Center, and the audio recorders (just one or two) in the Music Library.
3. The remainder of the hardware is in storage. We have on rare occasions provided access, but it is quite a distance away and that portion of the collection is unprocessed.
Since you mentioned Larry Miller, I am guessing that you know he restored the 200A on display here. Fantastic job and he was wonderful to work with - my unsolicited recommendation!
Best,
Henry
"Ampex Model 200a in the Stanford Library's Information Center, in Green Library. It stands alongside the VRX1000. These two machines are the highlights of the hardware portion of our Ampex historical collection, showing off key artifacts from the early history of audio and video recording, respectively.

The sad thing is that since its donation, the Ampex archive has had several curators. Many of the documents have been catalogued, however are mostly available to researchers and not the general public. The restored Ampex 200A is in the Stanford Library in a glass case vs out to be demonstrated.

Here is additional information and their site stats "no online items"

Title: Ampex next hit Corporation records - Dates: circa 1944-1999 - Collection number: M1230 - Collection Size: circa 577 linear feet
Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Abstract: Artifacts (including audio and video recording devices, recordings, and memorabilia) formerly comprising the previous hit Ampex next hit Museum collection; approximately 25,000 photographs (including negatives and prints) and related indexes; documents in hard copy or microfilm form (including manuals, memos, sales materials, public relations materials, articles, drawings, engineering notes, specifications, and manuscripts); and other miscellaneous material relating to the history of the previous hit Ampex next hit Corporation and the recording industry.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English
Access Collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of intended use.
Publication Rights Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Preferred Citation

Founded in 1944 in San Carlos, California by Alexander M. Poniatoff, an electrical engineer born in Russia. previous hit Ampex next hit is a technology leader in high-performance digital information recording and storage products utilized in a variety of fields, including scientific, government, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, data processing, oil and gas exploration, engineering, aerospace, film and video. Primarily known for their mass storage systems, instrumentation/data recorders, helical scan tape drives, robotic storage libraries, post-production switchers, digital special effects, tape cartridges, and system components.
Scope and Content of Collection

Artifacts (including audio and video recording devices, recordings, and memorabilia) formerly comprising the previous hit Ampex next hit Museum collection; approximately 25,000 photographs (including negatives and prints) and related indexes; documents in hard copy or microfilm form (including manuals, memos, sales materials, public relations materials, articles, drawings, engineering notes, specifications, and manuscripts); and other miscellaneous material relating to the history of the previous hit Ampex next hit Corporation and the recording industry.
Indexing Terms

1. Ampex Corporation Records circa 1944-1999
Contributing Institution: Stanford University::Manuscripts Division
Description: Artifacts (including audio and video recording devices, recordings, and memorabilia) formerly comprising the Ampex Museum collection; approximately 25,000 photographs (including negatives and prints) and related indexes; documents in hard copy or microfilm form (including manuals, memos, sales materials, public relations materials, articles, drawings, engineering notes, specifications, and manuscripts); and other miscellaneous material relating to the history of the Ampex Corporation and the recording industry.
416 search terms found:.Ampex Corporation Records; Ampex Corporation records;12 Manual : Ampex 351…

2. Ampex Collection Addenda 1944-1998
Contributing Institution: Stanford University::Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound
Description: Various smaller collections related to the Ampex Corporation, the development of magnetic recording on tape, and stereophonic sound.
34 search terms found:Ampex Collection Addenda...
; Ampex Collection Addenda; Guide to the Ampex Collection Addenda ARS.0109...

3. Alexander Mathew Poniatoff papers, 1948-1980.
Contributing Institution: UC Berkeley::Bancroft Library

Collection Title:Collection Number:Get Items:
Preliminary Guide to the Ampex Corporation Records
M1230
No online items
Collection location Contact Stanford University::Manuscripts Division


More about the Ampex recorders, accessories and documentation in MOMSR/Reel2ReelTexas' vintage recording collection

Ampex ATR-100 professional reel to reel tape recorder  in the Reel2ReelTexas.com/Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording vintage recording collection1977 article by Harold Lindsay about the beginnings of Ampex in the December 1977 db magazine in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection

 

Ampex ATR-100 and ATR -800professional reel to reel tape recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection.  The ATR-100 was manufactured by Ampex. Whereas the ATR-800 was manufactured to Ampex specifications by Teac.

 

View complete Ampex list in our collection

 

 

 


1056 Ampex demo recording for the Ampex A-423 console with the Ampex A-121 reel tape recorder. Tape includes history of magnetic tape recording. From the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Ampex 601-2 with the 1956 Ampex A-423 console demo tape in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection   Ampex 601-2 with the 1956 Ampex A-423 console demo tape in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection

Listen to the tape on this Ampex 601-2

        1956 Ampex console unit using the Ampex 612 in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection 


Ampex Signature V

e Ampex Signature V in the 1963 Neiman-Marcus catalog at a price of $30,000The Ampex Signature V was offered in the 1963 Neiman-Marcus catalog at a price of $30,000. This behemoth was nine feet long and weighed 900 pounds. It was affectionately called "Grant's Tomb" after Gus Grant, the marketing manager who came up with the idea. The video portion of the system included the Black & White reel-to-reel video recorder with TV tuner and automatic timer as well as a home television camera.

The cabinet also housed a complete audio system including an AM/FM tuner, stereo amplifier, record player, reel-to-reel audio recorder, and stereo loudspeakers. A color TV was viewable from the front of the console, while all other components were accessed from the top. The $30,000 price tag included a personalized plaque and installation by an Ampex service engineer.

The nine foot long center permits the owner to record one program for later viewing while watching another, and video camera takes home movies for immediate playback. This $30,000 unit sold initially only through Neiman-Marcus of Dallas. A personal submarine was also profiled in the catalog.

 


  Miriam Himelfarb shared this information and the photos below of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant. The Ampex Corporation, based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was a diversified manufacturing and service company with worldwide production, service and marketing operations primarily in the fields of magnetic recording devices and magnetic tape, computer data storage equipment, photo-electric color sorting devices, geophysical exploration services and instruments, and television transmission equipment. In 1970, Ampex set up a European operation (Ampex Stereo Tapes) in London, England, with manufacturing in Nivelles, Belgium, to promote 8-track product (as well as musicassettes) in Britain and in Europe, but it struggled and folded in 1974. These photographs, purchased from the estate of a gentleman involved in the plant. The photos include: Reception - Ampex S.A.; Final Assembly - VR 2000 Professional Video Recorders; Final System Test VR 2000;  Final System Test Laboratory for Presfessional Video Products; Video Head Rebuild; Core Memories Assembly Area; Digital Transport TM7-TM 9 Assembly Area, etc.), and one smaller black and white exterior picture of the building at the front of the book.  We sincerely appreciate Miriam Himelfarb's giving us permission to publish these photos.

Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection    Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection  Miriam Himelfarb shared this photo of the AMPEX S.A. NIVELLES, BELGIUM Assembly Plant with the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording and Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording collection 

 


Our Ampex 200A Reel2ReelTexas.com - MOMSR.org - before and after

   

Reel2ReelTexas.com's Ampex 200-A professional reel to reel tape recorder on display at the Phantom studio  Reel2ReelTexas.com's Ampex 200-A professional reel to reel tape recorder on display at the Phantom studio  Reel2ReelTexas.com'sAmpex 200-A, Ampex 300 and Ampex 601 on display at the Phantom studio

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