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Westrex RA-1231 16mm... anyone have one?

Nicholas Lymberis

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Only if it has every bit of electronics you need and I suspect it doesn't.

I would strike up a conversation with the seller and see if they can supply everything you need; again, I suspect they may not have it.

Too bad I sold my RCA 16mm optical sound recorder about 10 years ago.  It had everything and all the accessories that came from the factory.  It sold for $5K USD and, at the time, I was very glad to get that much for it.

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Not trying to discourage you but the subject is quite complex depending on the system; it simply cannot be plugged-in and fed an audio input.

There can be precision, stabilized power supplies for the lamp, audio compressors, impedance matching networks, patch panels, a dedicated (and proprietary) microscope for trace alignment and focus, tone generators for test and alignment procedures...

On and on.

Have a look at the procedure for doing Cross-Modulation tests to obtain proper exposure on Variable Area tracks:


Try to dig up a operator's manual for any sound camera and see what it takes.  I had one that went with the RCA unit; it was several inches thick.

GOOD optical sound is hard.

An Auricon (and I have owned every model made) can give you a reasonable track if great care is taken, but its not on par with a dedicated sound camera.  You can treat it like a dedicated sound recording camera by simply plugging the lens port with a cap and just record track.

BTW; the Auricon came with both Variable Area and Variable Density track recording capabilites, depending on the galvo installed in the camera.  Take great pains to avoid the Variable Density models if you can.

You also may not be aware of the potential sync issues with the Auricon and modern digital sound recording systems, which are inherently synchronous.

Unless modified, the Auricon depends upon AC Mains sync of the line voltage frequency, which will drift in relation to a highly sampled digital recording.  You would probably have to replace the Auricon motor with a crystal sync motor.

There is much more to this than meets the eye...

Edited by Frank Wylie
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