AMPEX Model 200/200A Tape Machine

Message Board - AMPEX Model 200/200A Tape Machine


Ampex delivered the first production Model 200A in April, 1948, to Jack Mullin; the second recorder followed a few days later. Jack used serial numbers 1 and 2 for recording the Bing Crosby Show. Many of the rest of the first production run of 20 went to ABC in Chicago where they were used mainly for broadcast time delay.

This was a revolutionary change for the broadcast industry, because they now could replace their disk lathes with Ampex recorders that provided much better sound quality, were easier to operate, and used a recording medium (magnetic tape) that could be erased and reused many times. It is interesting that Ampex put Serial Numbers 13 and 14 into portable cases (movable would be a better word; they were large and heavy) and shipped them to Bing Crosby Enterprises. Jack Mullin had now become chief engineer there, and he proceeded to cannibalize one of them and modify it to work as a transport for a video recorder he was developing. It was an interesting experiment although it was a failure, and the idea was abandoned. Serial Numbers 13 and 14 became historical units as they were the only two “portable” Model 200A recorders ever made!

Although everyone seems to talk about the “Model 200”, each recorder shipped was a Model 200A. This recorder used 14 inch open flanges, 1/4-inch tape with oxide facing outward, and ran at 30 ips. Frank tried operating the recorder at 15 ips, with a suitable change in equalization, but felt the results were not of professional quality, mainly due to the limitations of 3M RR tape. 15 ips remained impractical until about a year later when 3M introduced its 111 tape. (There is some confusion in the industry about 3M RR tape and 3M 112 tape. RR was the designation of an experimental batch of magnetic tape. 3M later listed it as 112 so the latter tape actually preceded the introduction of 3M’s much improved 111.)

Foundational text courtesy of Ross H. Snyder and John Leslie from the AES Historical Committee paper, “History of The Early Days of Ampex Corporation”.


AMPEX Model 200A with Harold Lindsay

Harold Lindsay with the Model 200A in the lab. Photo courtesy of Ross H. Snyder and John Leslie from the AES Historical Committee paper, “History of The Early Days of Ampex Corporation”.


AMPEX Model 200A

AMPEX Model 200A. Photo courtesy of Ross H. Snyder and John Leslie from the AES Historical Committee paper, “History of The Early Days of Ampex Corporation”.


AMPEX 200A at Capitol Records

AMPEX 200A at Capitol Records.


AMPEX 200A at Capitol Records

AMPEX 200A at Capitol Records.


AMPEX Model 200A

Ampex Model 200 Electronics

Ampex Model 200 Transport Description

Jack Mullin

Jack Mullin with a Ampex Model 200, which revolutionized the entertainment and information industries. Photo courtesy of Peter Hammar.


Ampex 200A original 1947 from Capitol Records

The original 1947 Ampex 200A from Capitol Records. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording.




Ampex Model 200/200A Tape Machine

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Eddie Ciletti 
Jack Mullin's collection included two German Magnetophons. One of which was at the Pavek Museum in St Louis Park, MN, right next to am ampex 200(A?). …

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