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Old 07-22-2011, 02:16 AM
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Electronic M Electronic M is offline
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I just scored one of the best Dolby 8-track players! The Wollensak 3M model 8075.

For as long as I have been aware that Dolby 8-track machines exist I have wanted to have one. Earlier this week a when a wollensak 3M model 8075 showed up at a thrift near my home for the low low price of 7$ I snaped it up!


The electronics seem to still work properly, and after pulling some eaten tape remnants off of the capstan and tweaking the motor speed adjustment (it was running too fast ) it is now playing well, though I occaisionally have to jigle the cartridge to stop intermitant sound fading or wow that creeps in.
The belts are marginal and if I had anything that I could steal proper replacements off of with out loosing sleep I'd swap out the current belts. Are new replacement belts for reel to reel, 8-track, video cassete/disc players, etc even avaliable anymore?


Runing a google search brings up several pages that make the claim that it is "one of the best 8-track decks ever" and I have to agree that it is perhaps the best one I've owned. However I still have some questions that the long gone instruction manual probably could have answered. Such as what the heck is FM decode/listen suposed to be used for? And why does the motor stop when the "Dolby-off-FM decode" switch is in the FM decode position?


What are your thoughts and knowledge of this machine?

Tom C.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:27 AM
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Tom-

The FM Decode position was intended to let just the Dolby decoder part of that deck be used with a stereo FM tuner or receiver. Apparently, for a short time period in the 1970s, some FM radio stations encoded their sound with Dolby noise reduction, and a setup like this was needed to listen to the station properly. Dolby FM stations also used 25-microsecond pre-emphasis instead of the normal 75-microsecond standard, and I saw a number of FM tuners that included a switch for that (but few if any that had the Dolby decoder built in).

This is only the second 8-track deck with Dolby noise reduction that I have seen; Radio Shack made one in the late 70s as well.
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:51 PM
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I have a Radio Shack SCT-11 stereo cassette deck as well with the Dolby FM and tape decoder. I have never used the Dolby circuitry in that deck since I've had it (about two years now). Can't notice the difference in sound anyway between Dolby and non-Dolby encoded tapes (I'm 55 years old and practically deaf in one ear), and I have many Dolby-encoded cassettes here. The Dolby FM decoder is useless now as there are absolutely no Dolby-encoded FM broadcasts in my area, and I'm not sure there ever were any stations in the Cleveland area carrying Dolby-encoded signals when I was growing up in the seventies. However, I seem to remember reading an article somewhere at the time (1970s) about the classical music FM station in Cleveland experimenting with Dolby encoding, but that must have been very short-lived as the station quit the experiments and went back to airing unencoded FM signals about a year or so later.

BTW, I think Dolby noise reduction was a frill anyway in consumer-oriented cassette and 8-track tape decks, since most non-technical listeners could not notice the difference in noise level between when the Dolby system was switched on and when it was off. I think the only people who could actually notice the difference were trained audio engineers and audiophiles with very sharp hearing. Most casual music listeners, like myself, probably, even likely, just left the Dolby system turned off.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:03 PM
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That is very interesting! I never heard of Dolby encoded FM radio before granted I was born in the very early 90's. I'll have to research it some more.

I can tell the diference that the noise reduction has, though it is not so obvious any place, but quiet passages, or where there is brief silence between notes.

The fidelity is great on this deck, and with or without noise reduction the audio seems to be less noisy than many other players I've owned!

Pioneer also made a deck with dolby NR. I also have almost the same pioneer model, though mine is the cheaper version that lacks Dolby NR (though I believe it has some kind of no name noise reduction instead). I was rather suprised to learn that there was a Dolby version of my pioneer when I saw a you tube video of one.

Thanks for sheding light on the FM decode feature.

Tom C.

Last edited by Electronic M; 07-22-2011 at 03:06 PM. Reason: grammer error.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffhs View Post
BTW, I think Dolby noise reduction was a frill anyway in consumer-oriented cassette and 8-track tape decks, since most non-technical listeners could not notice the difference in noise level between when the Dolby system was switched on and when it was off. I think the only people who could actually notice the difference were trained audio engineers and audiophiles with very sharp hearing. Most casual music listeners, like myself, probably, even likely, just left the Dolby system turned off.
I am surprised to hear (pun not intended) that you didn't notice the difference then. The improvement with Dolby NR was major to me, and I am near your age. I do not consider myself to be an audiophile at all.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:20 PM
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wow nice deck . I have the 8080 version of this deck. the Only difference is mine has 4 channel payback as well as regular stereo. DOnt know if the Quad playback works as i dont have any 4 channel tapes to test. Also , the bias switch was used for the scotch Classic series blank tape.Have a few of those and they sound great. had it since 1998. $ 6.99 with 6 used tapes. definatley a keeper
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:17 AM
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Yew lucky dawg, you!
If it can play Quad tapes with the dolby noise reduction then it is definitly a keeper.
I have a Superscope Quad deck and two Quad tapes (one is the Boston pops and the other is Elvis) and almost bought a third a while back. I have a crude Quad setup consisting of the superscope a pair of Harmon/Kardon 330B amps and 4 fisher XP55B speakers. Asside from the speakers I had all this equipment and one tape long before I had any clue what the heck Quad sound was (that was in my more active garage sale stereo equip collecting days).

I almost bought a Quad amp this weekend at Radiofest, but the seller wanted 80$ for it and that was the better part of my budget so I decided to pass.

One can identify Quad 8-track tapes by looking for an extra notch not found on stereo tapes. It is located on the large top area at the opening for the tape heads/capstan.
Another identifier of quad tapes is that they have only two "tracks" on the song index.

I want to build my Quad equipment collection, but progress is slow because I have little funds for a hobby that audiophiles are makeing ridiculously expensive.

I've heard of the bias switch for those tapes, but don't know anything about the tapes themselves.

I know that our series of decks has some good info out on google if you put in the brand and model. You can find Quad tapes on ebay if you are eager to test your deck. If your deck can record Quad as well as play it back you can make a fortune selling it on ebay(though in your shoes I'd probably hang on to my deck).

Tom C.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
Yew lucky dawg, you!
If it can play Quad tapes with the dolby noise reduction then it is definitly a keeper.
I have a Superscope Quad deck and two Quad tapes (one is the Boston pops and the other is Elvis) and almost bought a third a while back. I have a crude Quad setup consisting of the superscope a pair of Harmon/Kardon 330B amps and 4 fisher XP55B speakers. Asside from the speakers I had all this equipment and one tape long before I had any clue what the heck Quad sound was (that was in my more active garage sale stereo equip collecting days).

I almost bought a Quad amp this weekend at Radiofest, but the seller wanted 80$ for it and that was the better part of my budget so I decided to pass.

One can identify Quad 8-track tapes by looking for an extra notch not found on stereo tapes. It is located on the large top area at the opening for the tape heads/capstan.
Another identifier of quad tapes is that they have only two "tracks" on the song index.

I want to build my Quad equipment collection, but progress is slow because I have little funds for a hobby that audiophiles are makeing ridiculously expensive.

I've heard of the bias switch for those tapes, but don't know anything about the tapes themselves.

I know that our series of decks has some good info out on google if you put in the brand and model. You can find Quad tapes on ebay if you are eager to test your deck. If your deck can record Quad as well as play it back you can make a fortune selling it on ebay(though in your shoes I'd probably hang on to my deck).

Tom C.
Unfortunately It can not record quad, only stereo. And yes I Plan on keeping this deck for a long time. sounds too good, and the wife likes the auto eject. Shoots the tape out a good couple of feet.
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2011, 10:40 PM
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Great find! I've heard that most thrift stores will simply throw out any 8-track players they find, hence their rarity (around here, anyway). For some reason, though, they seem to have no problem deciding to keep the actual tapes...
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2011, 02:04 AM
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Both tapes and machines appear around here, but the machines don't show up anywhere near as often as the tapes.

Reelman1968, does your unit have intermitant variations in speed that are cleared up by wiggleing the tape? mine does, and it is begining to irk me. If it gets worse I think I'll try to replace my unit's belt.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
Both tapes and machines appear around here, but the machines don't show up anywhere near as often as the tapes.

Reelman1968, does your unit have intermitant variations in speed that are cleared up by wiggleing the tape? mine does, and it is begining to irk me. If it gets worse I think I'll try to replace my unit's belt.
Back when I had an 8-Track I found most speed fluctuations were caused by the tape cartridge, not the machine.

The Pinch roller system wasn't very precision, plastic wheels running on plastic shafts, 4-Tracks actually had a better system because the pinch roller was part of the machine and had a precision bearing.

The cure was to open the cartridge and put just a touch of Vaseline on the Pinch Roller shaft and the center post of the tape reel (a Q-Tip works great here), they worked great after that. Be very careful not to get any Vaseline on anything else though or you have bigger problems.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:46 PM
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I bought an assortment of 8-track belts about a year or two ago. Search for Studio Sound Electronics.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:01 AM
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My Luxman R-1120 receiver has the FM Dolby switch.
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  #14  
Old 08-15-2018, 12:03 PM
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Hey Electronic M! do you still have the Wolly and would you consider parting with it?
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:05 PM
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Sent you an email the other day:

"Yes, I still have the Wollensac. It is my only Dolby 8 track deck and my favorite 8 track deck so it can't be bought for sane money and the only thing I'd consider trading it for is another Dolby 8 track deck (and even then I rather keep a known quantity than trade it for an unknown).

There are things I buy to flip and there are things I buy to keep...Those that try to buy my keeper equipment rarely succeed..."
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