Museum of Communication object page

Merryfield Gramdeck Tape Adaptor

Manufacturer Andrew Merryfield Ltd
DescriptionGramdeck. In original box. Tape head output to co-ax plug. (See Objects 4890, 4891)
FunctionTurntable to Tape Converter
TypeMagnetic Tape Reel-Reel
Object No4889Accession-LocationA31/2

The “Gramdeck” was an adaptor that could be attached to a conventional record player turntable. It then used the rotation of the turntable to operate a drive tape mechanism. By default, setting the turntable to rotate at 78 rpm would cause the tape to travel at approximately 7·5 inches/sec which was a standard speed for tape recording.

The unit included a record/replay head, a Lustraphone LD16 microphone, and a small amplifier to match tape head and microphone. (Those items are not shown in these photographs.)

The units were sold directly by Andrew Merryfield Ltd, 29/31 Wright’s Lane, Kensington, London W8. The main practical advantage of the Gramdeck over conventional recorders was that it was much cheaper. The Gramdecks tended to sell for around 10 UK pounds at a time when complete good quality home tape recorders tended to cost over five times this amount.

The 7·5 inches/sec tape speed would allow a recording duration of about 30 mins using a 5" spool of standard-play tape. The claimed frequency response was 60 Hz - 10 kHz at that speed. Longer durations could be recorded by using the slower turntable rotation rates of 45, 33, or 16 rpm. However this would mean that the tape speeds then departed from the standard values. So the results would become difficult to replay on conventional tape machines.