Head Block For Tascam 42B Reel To Reel


New Member
Jun 13, 2013
Gear owned
Tascam 32 and 42B Decks
Good morning to all,
I have a Tascam 42B tape deck and want to get an extra head block. Does anyone know where I can get one? Thanks much.

Coltrane Music :)
When you say "head block" are you referring to the three heads mounted? If so it might be a very tough find. You don't see too many of these machines broken down and sold as parts.

The 42 and 52 used the same heads. Record & Play heads are the same. Erase head is different.

Tascam P/N's are:

Erase head - 5378302500
Record/Play heads - 5378302300

You can always try searches under the P/N's.

Why would you want another set?
:) Good morning and thank you so much for this response. Yes, I am referring to the ensemble that holds the 3 heads. Actually, it appears that the original TEAC playback heads for the 42 and 52 are very low output. I wanted a second head block in order to replace the playback heads with Nortronic playback heads. You are right, so far I've not seen 42's or 52's sold for parts. As a matter of fact, I have not found very many folk using these tape decks. There seem to be many more people using Studers and Ampex decks in professional settings and now in audiophile settings. I am a member of several reel to reel forums and am the only person with a Tascam 42B tape deck. Is this tape deck considered a prosumer or professional tape deck? Thanks again for yours and others comments.

Music Speaks :)
The 42 is a very good deck, and I never experienced "low output" on the heads. Maybe you are dealing with another issue. Can you elaborate a bit more?

I will go through my Nortronics listings for their P/N's for 42 series heads.
Gcalo said:
The 42 is a very good deck, and I never experienced "low output" on the heads. Maybe you are dealing with another issue. Can you elaborate a bit more?

I will go through my Nortronics listings for their P/N's for 42 series heads.

:) Please forgive me for not providing more information. Actually, I now have cables running from the playback head that will go to a tube tape head pre amp. In order to get a decent signal or audio level from the playback head, the tape head pre amp must be able to produce a 60-70dB level. However, at this signal level the hiss and noise level is pretty high. I've been told that using the more modern and high output Nortronics play back head will be what I need. I wanted to have that extra head block to switch back and fourth. I hope this clears up things. I still don't know where the Tascam 42 series fit into the scheme of things. I don't know whether it was used in professional settings or was mostly purchased by audio buffs. I really don't see them around very often and I have seldom seen them on Ebay. Thank you much.

Music Speaks :cool:
I chcked my Nortronics listings for 42 series heads, and I do not see them there! I have to look closer when I have more time.

I think you need a much better pre-amp. You should look at the Bottlehead project of the Tape Project. They have very fine tape head pre-amps.

Remember that most heads have very low output. Don't expect miracles!

The 42 is a fine machine but many have gone to the BR-20 for it's more advanced transport. Nothing wrong with the 42 however.

Hope this helps.
:) Hello again Ccalo and thank you for responding again. I can't afford the Tape Project $4000 dollar pre amp and the other ($799) is in kit form. The King Cello pre amp is a little over $2000 dollars. The pre amp I am having built will cost between $1100 to $1500 dollars when completed. It is a tube pre amp with a separate power supply. I spoke with Mr. John French of JRF Magnetics who notes that he sells Nortronics heads with twice the output of the original TEAC heads in my tape deck. I will speak to my tech more about this possibility.

I am still amazed that the 42 and 52 series Tascams are not used by more people. You are correct the BR-20 appears to be the Tascam that most people want. However, because it was brought to market later than the 42/52 series does not mean it is better and I know you are aware of this. I've been trying to find others who is familiar with and have actually used the 42/52 series tape deck. My stock Tascam plays music very well and handles tape in an exceptional manner. So, I am perfectly satisfied with that aspect. Thanks again sir for your valuable input.

Music Speaks
Gcalo thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and this valuable information. I will go to this link you've provided.

Music Speaks
Good evening Gcalo,
Thank you so much but I want to make contact with the tech/engineer who is changing my Tascam 42B from NAB over to IEC so that I can play some of the new reel to reel tapes available. He is also the gentleman who is building my tape head pre amp. I also want to see how he wants me to proceed regarding upgrading or changing tape playback heads. Once he has provide guidance I will then go to the link you provided. Thanks again sir. :)

Music Speaks Volumes
Like you say, the 40 and 50 series is used a lot but not as much as you would think. I see them now and then as repairs and people that buy them for little money from shut own studios. The BR20 is NOT a better machine than the 42 or 52 or 62. It is more a conventional design closer to the Tascam 32. The better stuff uses the Woelke heads I don't know if Flux heads are that much better but John at JRF would know. Some people spend a lot of money needlessly with chasing rumors I have seen. Oh, who am I to comment- just a Teac Lead Tech.
Oh, who am I to comment- just a Teac Lead Tech.

You seem pretty knowledgeable, so it's probably not necessary to close each new message with your credentials. It's also not necessary to reply to threads that fell silent a year ago. ;)
I see your point. The fact that he is trying to get away from great heads in the Tascam 42 is troubling in that those are some of the best heads they had in any of their equipment. I have yet to have to replace one that was worn out. They last much longer than any other heads they have used. I post this not to cause trouble but for those who might open this thread to read through it. He should probably stick with the heads in the unit and not worry about the Nortronics heads that were designed in the 60's which is what John has. I put some JRF Nortronics heads on a RT909 and they worked but were not at all the equal of the original Pioneer heads. I have to wonder why these guys with tube preamps wreck good machines to chase some elusive goal. They just end up wrecking these machines I think. Let them do that to Akai machines as they are already wrecked by design.

Oh, as to the lack of use of these machines, it depends on who you talk to. I have a lot of clients that use the Tascam machines that drive them to me from out of state for me to repair them. They are not all that rare as one would be lead to believe. I have a 62, 52, 42, 32 and several 4 channel decks of the line. Without saying it you probably can guess why.
Perhaps so but also because the opportunity arose in the line of business I was in. When I was breaking down the KISS FM studios in Chicago about 2007, I said to the boss what do you want to do with this thing? I was pointing to a 42OB in the rack. He said get rid of it. I did right into the back of my car.
Read this thread recently-classy response to a unprofessional/snarky poster Skywave.
I think he is one of the bosses here. Regardless, some of my comments at times can be too straightforward and taken as abrasive. I try and help people with their needs as far as tape decks go but some people find the need to ignore common sense. I talk to a lot of people every day about tape decks and I get the idea that I am well liked. Back to the bench 123 decks to fix yet. I do not look forward to using the Nortronics heads. I think they are the last resort. I am in talks with AM Belgium about making new heads.

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