I just got my adat xt-20 serviced for the tape transport, but i am still experiencing this nasty digital distortion spiking when nothing is coming into the inputs, it seems to be only happening on tracks 1,3,and 7...
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Re: volume digital distorted spikes in adat-xt20
Check your operations manual on proper grounding of power and input cables. High gain circuits are very sensitive to ground loops and can produce phantom noises. Also, static charges on input cables can do this as well.
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This is an answer which is general to all tape cassette decks. I think it probably applies to yours but this may or may not be the case.
The tape is transported past the "read" head by a pinch wheel and spindle that come up into the cassette on either side of the tape. The spindle runs at a very constant speed and with the tape between this and the (rubber) pinch wheel sounds are transferred fro the read head to the electronics for amplification etc. We are not concerned with that here but with what physically happens to the tape after the pinch wheel. Under normal circumstances a belt is driven from the electric motor to the take-up reel of the cassette. This usually runs slightly faster than the spindle/ pinch wheel so that the tape winds cleanly onto the take-up reel. If this belt is loose, has come off entirely or is otherwise not working properly, then the spindle/pinch wheel will continue to feed the tape but it has nowhere to go because it is not being wound onto the take-up reel, except out of the cassette into the tape desk mechanism. In this case it often gets wrapped around the spindle/pinch wheel assembly and gets into a very nasty tangle, causing serious damage to the tape and possible damage to the deck.
Hope this explains your problem.
Have you check and make sure that the belts are working well?
Is the pinch roller working (spinning)?
A worn out belt will make the mechanism not to operate properly resulting in shutdown to avoid damage to the tapes.
Prying the door open is not the first thing that should have been done. The mechanism for the tape transport is having a problem in that it either need service or the belt is too loose. A Technician would open the deck get the mechanism in the stop mode and then eject the tape. Any other way just damages the unit and might make it unrepairable.
These units are mechanically in need of a good cleaning and application of new grease in the slide plate mechanism. The Play idler that was in the last one i rebuilt was sent off to Terry'srubberrollers.com to have it get new rubber on it. There is certainly a lot of work to be done on these units but they can be made to work again. Personally though, I would just get a Teac A2300S or SX and use that as the overall maintenance and longevity will be better in the long run. I have serviced hundreds of them and I still do. The design of the Teac is not so much dependent on all kinds of mechanical parts as the Sony is. The last TC366 I worked on took about 4 to 5 hours to correct all it's problems. Then when you are done you still have a lever activated deck where the Teac is a solenoid deck with remote capability. I worked at both Sony factory Service and Teac Factory Service so I have had experience in each item.
I have advised people before that replacing belts is not the only answer and sometimes people that are not experienced can upset some part of the deck without knowing it. We don't yet know the model or brand of the unit and from the description this kind of points to a Piano key or lever key type deck. I could also be a cam system deck. This complaint of buttons not staying down would not apply to a tack switch or solenoid type transport. Like Jerry says a visit to a good Tech is the answer. I have been doing tape decks for 40 years and have worked at Sony and Teac service shops. If you need my help let me know. I am near Chicago.
Resistors are good at causing distortion, you might spot one that has burned or broken. If the distortion is in both channels, which by what you say it is, then you might be looking for something common to both channels. Perhaps an IC.
Degraded tape, dirty heads (clean with acetone and Q tip but don't get on plastic), dry coupling capacitors.This assumes that the distortion that you refer to is dirty or fuzzy sounding audio. If a new tape, recorded and played back, sounds ok then your electronics are in good shape. That means your tapes are junk. If cleaning heads takes care of it, well that's pretty obvious. If your capacitors are dried out you will need to bring it in to a repair shop.