The Wollensak 1580

                        The 1580 Restoration


The 1580 that I purchased in 2008 has been working great since day one. However this past year (2013) it had slowly developed a hum in the left channel. Because I value this machine so much I decided it was time to send it out for a complete restoration. The machine was shipped out to an Electronics Technician in Florida. The machine arrived at his house, only to have been damaged in transit. Apparently my packing skills were not up to par. The Technician (who will remain nameless, as not to bombard him with restoration inquiries) assessed the damage, and indicated he would be able to repair those parts damaged in transit. Well that damage basically amounted to 12 hours of labor to get everything correct. The Technician, as you can imagine, was ready to pull his hair out! The next part of the restoration involved repairing the amplifier section. Upon inspection the Technician was able to verify the hum I had been hearing was indeed in the left channel, and would require replacement of  the electrolytic capacitors. In fact the entire amp section would need these caps replaced. Well the fun didn't stop there. The Technician discovered other various issues with the amp section. The power supply was part of the problem, but he also suspected possible issues within the "Network". We discussed various solutions over the phone, and decided he would go ahead and swap amplifiers. I was lucky in that he had a "donor" 1580 parts deck. The headache didn't end there either. The erase head was also having issues and it was decided to go ahead and replace it. What other parts did my wonderful Technician replace? The following; the main capstan belt, counter belt, reconditioned all rubber idler wheels, and cleaned the entire chassis, plus lubrication of all necessary parts, etc. he also installed a better fan for cooling the internals of the 1580, as well as new motor mounts. Basically he cleaned every nook and cranning. At the end of this restoration my Technician decided it would be in the best interest to build a custom crate in which to safely house the 1580 for shipping it back. Photos of this crate, and of the restoration can be seen below. I would like to personally give a shout out, and a thank you here, to the technician who painstakingly restored my 1580 back to new! His attention to detail, and his commitment from start to finish can not be fully expressed into words. Let me just say when the machine arrived I was in awe of the packaging that he did. Also I must clarify, the 1580's cosmetics were disassembled to avoid damage while shipping. I am glad this step was taken as there's no telling what kind of damage might have occurred had I sent the entire machine. When the machine came back to me I reassembled the outer casing, and other various parts. When I put on the first tape I was blown away! It's never sounded so good! It was money well spent. So as you can see this was a major undertaking, but as I stated well worth the effort!

The transport disassembled.

The motor, (1st photo). Followed by new motor  mounts, (2nd photo), and new felt, (3rd photo).


Testing the tubes, (1st photo), Amp section, (2nd photo), and new Capacitors, (3rd photo). 

The 1580 inside the custom made shipping crate, (1st and 2nd photos)

The 1580 all back together again!

The W1580 featured on this web page can also be seen at;

 For a slide show presentation of the W1580 check out this YouTube video I created.

The Wollensak 1580 is a 4-track, dual speed (3 3/4 and 7 1/2 ips) single-unit stereophonic tape recorder with fully flexible control facilities, inputs and ouputs. The 1580 has matched dual recording and playback preamps, dual 11-watt amplifiers, and dual built-in speakers.  The manual proclaimed "Your new Wollensak 1580 Stereophonic Tape Recorder is a compact, lightweight,completely self-contained machine capable of recording and playing back all stereophonic and monophonic tapes. And with wollensak's exclusive new Tab Control Panel you enjoy unmatched ease of operation and flexibility of use. "The Wollensak 1580 is a prized possession embodying every advanced facility for enjoying the wonderful world of captured sound.  The manual states "Scotch Brand Magnetic Tape, as supplied with your recorder, features silicone lubrication to reduce head wear, and has recording characteristics precisely matched to your 1580 for superior recording. With its dual 11-watt amplifiers and dual stereo speakers, the 1580 performs admirable as the basis of a high fidelity stereophonic music system. The Wollensak 1580, with its dual recording preamps and playback amplifiers, is ideally suited for sound-with-sound recording. Independent operation of the tab controls allow you to play a taped program on one channel while using the other channel as a public address system to make comments. The Wollensak 1580 makes an excellent portable public address system. The exclusive new Wollensak tab control panel provides the utmost in convenience and simplicity of operation. Mechanical and electrical functions of both channels are independently controlled by the four 3 position, power-operated roller tabs. Wollensak's patented Balanced-Tone emphasizes the very high and very low tones, varying the degree of emphasis as the volume changes to compensate for the characteristics of the ear.

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