This site is the beginning of the RCA quad equipment catalog. Even though I have worked with RCA machines over the years, and have a modest collection of parts (Available for trade for Ampex parts!). However, I have no additional information or pictures of RCA machines other than what is listed here. Especially sought after is a set of manuals from any RCA machine, especially the TRT-1, TR-70, TR-600 or TCR-100. I am also interested in any issues of 'RCA Broadcast News' you might have laying around. You can e-mail me with any information at the address at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance!
Click here for a picture of a TRT-1B.
Photo coutresy of David Crostwait, DC Video, Burbank, CA.
The TRT-1 is RCA's first practical VTR, and was introduced not long after the Ampex VR-1000. This would start a race between RCA and Ampex to see who could come out with a new VTR design first. This lasted until the demise of RCA Broadcast in late 1985! The TRT-1 was a two piece machine, occupying five full equipment racks. (Six if you employed RCA's hetrodyne color feature introduced in the TRT-1B.) The transport unit occupied three 84 inch racks, with the transport mounted vertically in the center rack. It weighed in at 1,450 pounds (Shipping). The two power supply/MDA racks weighed in at 950 pounds (Shipping), and could be located up to 27 feet away, if desired. The optional color rack weighed 275 pounds (Shipping) and had to be close to the transport racks. Six 115 V power circuits were required to run the machine for a total power draw of 4.65 kW! (And you thought the Ampex AVR-1 used a lot of power!) Several of these beasts are still in existence, including one in a museum in Perth, Australia.
Click here for a picture of a TR-2.
Photo Courtesy of Marc Roost.
The TR-2 is an updated version of a TR-11. Like the TR-11, it requires three racks to contain it. It used a fair amount of solid state electronics, especially in the servo. A special, smaller version of the machine was available for remote trucks. TR-2's are exceedingly rare, and none are known to exist.
Click here for a picture of a TR-3.
Photo courtesy of Bob Mayben
Click here for a picture of a TR-4.
Photo Courtesy of Marc Roost.
The TR-4 was a compact record-play quad VTR. Weighing only 900 pounds and requiring only 20 amps at 120 volts, it was totally self-contained. (That includes air compressor!) It was essentially a TR-3 with an additional module frame on the left side of the machine for the record electronics. It was originally low-band only, but was apparently easy to high-band in the field. A collector friend of mine in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has the only working TR-4 I know of.
Click here for several pictures of a TR-5.
Photo Courtesy of Marty Mertz
The TR-5 was a record-only machine designed for remote trucks. It was similar in form to an Ampex AVR-2 without the overhead console. (It was also one-piece, like all RCA Quads.) I know of no surviving machines, except perhaps one in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Sorry, there is no picture of a TR-11
The TR-11 is a first attempt at miniaturizing the TRT-1. It fits in three racks, consumes 3.5 kW of power, and is identified in the TR-2's literature as it's predecessor. Rack layout is a bit different than a TR-2. Little else is known about this machine, nor are any known to exist.
The RCA TR-22 was the first all solid-state quad VTR. It is a console style machine, and was apparently very popular. At least two were in regular operation in Lacrosse, Wisconsin until a few years ago. There is a TR-22 in the collection of the Ampex Museum of Magnetic Recording.
The TR-50 is a factory high-banded TR-4. It differs very little from the TR-4. The TR-50 was also the first quad I had full care of in my career! A good working machine exists in Green Bay, Wisconsin (My old one!). I know of no others!
Picture coming soon of a TR-60!
A TR-60 is an updated TR-50 with a bunch of updates throughout the machine. Notably, it had much better video specs. It could also accept all of the TR-70's editing options.
Sorry, there is no picture of a TR-61.
A TR-61 is a TR-60 with the TR-70c's digital servo 'in a drawer'. No other differences known. Apparently, the digital servo wasn't perfect... If you played the tape past the end of control track, the top tape spool (Supply, if I recall) would go into high speed reverse. The resulting tape loop would fall to the floor and be sucked by a muffin fan at the bottom of the machine! RCA's 'patch' was to reverse the direction of the muffin fan!
Although marketed very early, the TR-70 was perhaps RCA's most successful quad VTR. Even though introduced after the solid-state TR-22, the TR-70 employed nuvistor tubes (What else would RCA use??) in it's preamps. These workhorse machines are the most common RCA machines you are likely to find in service today. The machine exists in three variants, the a,b, and c models. The original ('a' version, which was really just called a TR-70) had seperate video and sync demods. It's loudspeaker cover was silver. The 'b' version had just a single video demod, and had front porch head switching. It's loudspeaker cover was blue. The 'c' version featured a digital servo, which lived in a drawer at the bottom of the machine. (Previous servos were analog.) It was an attempt to copy the AVR-1 servo. Alas, it didn't work as well as hoped, and the most valued machine today is the TR-70b.
The TR-600 was RCA's attempt at a lightweight, full featured quad VTR. It had a horizontal layout, like the TR-22 and 70, but could use a sidecar monitor bridge as well as an overhead one. Much weight was removed by eliminating the on-board air compressor and the heavy frame on most of the electronic modules. Although a lot of them were made, and a fair number survive, it was a troublesome machine. There is an 'A' variant of the TR-600. I do not know what the difference is. There are a couple of collectors who have working TR-600's.
This was RCA's automated quad spot player. It consisted of two parts: the TCR-100 dual tape transport and the SPU-100 signal processing unit. The machine was instantly recognizable by it's horizontal oval cart belt on the front of the machine. The transports were acessible from behind and pulled out on slides. Like the later ACR-25, the TCR-100 was a pneumatic monster with lots of intricate air-operated mechanisms. In fact, most machines I have seen were equipped with an after-market indicator panel that indicates the state of the elaborate tape-loading mechanism. This was used to diagnose problems with the loading mechanism. These machines also make characteristic noises during loading that will make one always remember a TCR-100 when they hear one!
A surprising number of these are still in use, despite not being able to buy new tape for at least five years! However, they are doomed to a certain death, along with all other tape-based automation systems. There is just no reason to ever consider a tape-based automation system with the availability of the more relaible, less expensive, often better picture quality computer disk-based automations.
The TPR-10 is a very late (Circa 1976) 'portable' quad VTR designed for mobile and portable use. Much larger than an Ampex VR-3000, it was capable of color playback. The machine may have originally been designed for the air force. Unique features included a gimbal mount for mobile operation and reel heaters! Also note the sealed tape compartment. Other than that, I know very very little about this beast. Do any still exist?