Broadcast 2" Quad Editing VTR Hi Band
The AVR-1 is perhaps the most interesting and unusual VTR ever built. A total departure from what had gone before, the AVR-1 was an attempt to create a 'goof-proof' VTR that anyone could operate. And this at a time when you had to have considerable training and experience to operate a VTR properly.
Just about everything that could be made automatic was. There was an auto guide servo, auto tracking servo, auto standards selection, a timebase corrector with an entire line of memory, and easy-to-use setup aids. The video head even had a retractable vacuum guide to facilitate tape threading.
This machine, weighing in at 1600 to 2200 pounds, was overengineered and overbuilt. Vaccuum columns accepted tape from the reels, which guaranteed perfect tape handling under any circumstances. They also allowed for the industry's first search dial, and shuttle speeds of 300 in/sec. A vacuum capstan eliminated the troublesome pinch roller, and allowed full reel servo action at any tape speed. Most of the tape guides were air lubricated, so the tape never actually touched the guide. The video head motor was an eight phase motor! The servos used digital error measurement and correction. This provided for nearly instant lockup from 'ready' (under 200 msec), and you could almost 'take' the machine like a camera. The servos would also allow playback of a tape without a control track.
The timebase corrector used a series of glass delay lines for dropout compensation and error correction. The delay lines were switched in and out as needed to correct for timing errors, and a small electronically variable delay line took care of the residual error. The timebase error was measured using both digital and analog techniques. All of the electronics in the machine were designed to be as unconditionally stable and drift free as early '70s technology would provide for.
The built-in air compressor was in a 200 pound box that was so well isolated you can't even tell the compressor is running. Even the cabinet was overbuilt-- machined blocks of aluminum were used where a simple bracket would have worked just fine. This machine was a tribute to American engineering at it's very best.
The mechanical design of the AVR-1 and the ACR-25 was the work of Dale Dolby, brother of the quad pioneer (and noise reduction system inventor) Ray Dolby.
There are minor variations in the AVR-1 through it's production run. Early models had a small low pressure air pump that supplied guide air and guide vacuum. Later machines derive these items from the bearing air supply.
There were only 500 of these machines made, and most have gone to 'VTR heaven' because they were very difficult to maintain. There is an AVR-1 in the Quadruplex Park collection, and it is the centerpiece of the collection!
Notes from Lyonlamb.
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