Technics made some excellent reel to reel decks, from about 1977 to 1985 or so. These were the high end ‘Isoloop’ decks with the unique U shaped tape path. The tape handling is excellent, and the fidelity is great. Unfortunately, these decks have unique problems associated with them at this point.

Bad Capacitors- Like Revox/Studer, EVERY Technics deck that comes into our shop over the last 5 years is showing signs of capacitor failure, due to the Panasonic-made light purple capacitors, of which there are over 100 of in each Technics. Even though the deck may still be working, the electrolyte leaking out of these capacitors runs down the leads of the capacitor, and starts eating away the PC board foil on the underside of the deck. Some decks show 50% capacitor leakage, some only show 5%. Outside of leakage, the capacitors do change value over time, and the end result can be a massive (or minor) change of the calibration settings and gain within the decks.  A re-calibration without changing capacitors will result in another calibration required within a short time, as more capacitors drift in value, or leak.
A full recapping of each Technics is absolutely mandatory at this point, no exceptions! This isn’t cheap, as it’s about 8-10 hours labor plus the price of 100-140 capacitors, however it’s the only way to get a reliable Technics working for the long term.

Typical bad Technics/Panasonic capacitors

Squealing tape counter- the Technics use 2 counter belts, and an intermediary plastic pulley, that will squeal in FF and REW modes. Lubricating this pulley is mandatory on every Technics that comes in.

Brakes- the brakes are badly under-designed on the Technics, and use very thin brakes pads. While they can be adjusted, we replace them with leather strips to make them more reliable. Proper adjustment of the brakes is mandatory as well, incorrect adjustment will result in reel table binding, or tape spillage. We replace the brakes on every Technics that comes in.

Capstan servo motor adjustment. Incorrect speeds, drifting capacitors and maladjusted trimpots are the cause of poor or incorrect capstan motor speed. These tend to drift over time, and a check/readjustment is mandatory on each Technics deck that comes in for service. This can only be done with proper test equipment, ‘tweaking by eye or ear’ will only make things worse.