3M M79 Tape Machine

Message Board - 3M M79 Magnetic Tape Machine - General Discussion

The 3M M79 Tape Machine is a versatile, multichannel, compact magnetic tape recorder for producing superior quality master recording tapes. The recorder can record and reproduce up to 24 tracks with full remote control operation, including synchronous cue (overdub). Tape editing can be accomplished at the console for 1, 2, and 4 track recorders.

The patented Isoloop tape drive system incorporated in the tape transport provides flexibility of tape handling and ease of tape threading. A new standard of timing accuracy has been attained in the tape transport as a result of an entirely new capstan dc motor drive coupled with the Isoloop Drive. Variable internal speed control, and synchronization to external speed signal sources are incorporated.

The packaging concepts provide greatly improved accessibility of components for alignment and maintenance purposes. The use of silicon solid-state devices in the electronic circuits provide greater stability and long-term reliability.

3M M79 Front View - "Thank you for smoking Studio" in Montreal.

The tape recorder can be configured to contain 24, 16, or 8, and 4, 2 or 1 track. Physically, each configuration consists of a tape transport pivot mounted in the top of rectangular plastic-laminated wood console. Below the transport is a signal electronics module assembly containing the record/reproduce electronics and operating mode switching circuits, Input and output transformers and connectors are accessible from the rear. A meter display panel mounted above the transport provides selective input/output signal monitoring of each channel.

3M M79 Side View - "Thank you for smoking Studio" in Montreal.

3M M79 Front View - "Thank you for smoking Studio" in Montreal.

A self-contained solid-state power supply is fastened to the floor of the console, and a remote control assembly which is detachable from the front of the console allows the recorder to be operated up to 30 feet from the console (for 8, 16, and 24 tracks only). When the remote control assembly is detached, a panel fits into the front of the console.

3M M79 Tape Machine

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Memories from the turn of 80's decade 
The M79 was considered to have great "sound" and I believe was the machine of choice for the Steely Dan's producers. Anyone who owned / operated one of …

Andrew Bayfield 
I ran a 16 Track version of one of these in my studio for fifteen years starting in the mid 1980s. Here's their strengths and weaknesses: They are …

Isoloop ingenious but quirky Not rated yet
We had one of the first 16-track M79s, and found it frustrating. The drive worked by distorting the tape between the capstan and pucks, and would sometimes …

Randy Thomas Not rated yet
Bought a 3M M79 24 track from Hank Sanicola in L.A. circa 1986. I think it cost about 13K, used, and heavily modded. Installed it in a home studio in Redlands …

The two-24 track tape machine setup for "Thriller" - Bruce Swedien Not rated yet
The two-24 track tape machine setup for "Thriller" - Bruce Swedien.

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