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Re: Reel to reel quality

Different engineers will argue about the quality of different brands/grades
of tape.  Specifically one "measure" or issue is how different
brands/formulations sound, not only right after a take, but after a few
sessions of overdubbing.  Some tape is thought to have better "staying
power" if I can make up that term.

Now, if only I could remember what brands of tape people think well of in
this "overdubbing" mode.

However, while the tape can be important in "shading" your sound, there are
other more important issues than the tape   You probably know about all
this, but just in case...

1) Tape head alignment is critical -- over time they adjust, and as they
move playback of recordings of tape that was recorded at a different
alignment will be inaccurate.

2) Correctly calibrating and setting any noise reduction (NR) -- most 
don't use noise reduction because they don't keep regular maintenance of 
frequency/signal parameters.   Frequency balances become all squewed if a
tape is recorded with some kind of NR, and then played-back later when the
NR is not set exactly the same.   (As a studio tech in the 80's I got to 
the dolby's" on two 24track studers every week -- for each track, 100hz,
1000hz 10,000hz.  You can imagine the hours of fun that gave me but I did
get to sit in on the Yardbirds sessions while they were working under the
name "Box Of Frogs.")

3) Tape speed -- 15ips or 30ips?  Not all tape is formulated for BOTH
speeds.  This is a fundamental choice to make and will effect the NR
circuits too.  Practically no one uses NR at 30ips.  Then again, you don't
get many minutes of music per tape at that speed.

Hope this helps...


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "S V G" <vsyevolod@yahoo.com>
To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 3:13 PM
Subject: Reel to reel quality

>      Hey gang,
>      I've done some looking around on the Internet for the past few days
and haven't come up with
> much info yet (including some Yahoo Groups) so I thought I'd try this 
spring of like minded
> techies and gear heads.
>      In one large step backwards, I recently took the plunge and 
an Otari 8 track
> ($14,000 a decade or two ago, nowadays cheaper than recording software)
I'm looking to purchase
> some blank tape for it, both for professional recording and also for
recording rehearsals.  I've
> been looking at Ampex/Quantgy 456 just because I know it's an industry
standard.  So two
> questions:
>      1)  Is 456 really the way to go?  Or are there other high quality
tapes out there that would
> serve me well?  Does it depend on the application?  I'm recording mostly
electronic music along
> with a fair amount of musique concrete.  By electronic music, I mean
modern day synths and analog
> and digital processors.
>      2)  On eBay there are many auctions for used tape that has been bulk
demagnitized as well as
> "new" tape that is several years or decades old.  I am aware of the
difference in quality between
> virgin and demagnitized tape, and I am also aware of 25 year old tape
starting to delaminate or
> have the oxide coating come off as you play it.  The questions are: How
old can "new" tape be for
> it to still be viable (assuming good storage conditions), and Does used
tape degrade faster once
> it's been run through the machine and then put into storage for many
>      I'm looking for both 1/4" and 1/2" reels (10.5")
>      Any specific advice would be welcome and especially any links to
websites that contain more
> info.
>      TIA,
>           Stephen
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