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The wider and faster the tape, the better the fidelity and quality of the recording. But obviously this uses up more tape and so the higher the cost.
These are all things to bear in mind when investing in a tape machine and when buying tapes for either playback or recording purposes. More tape width means more information storage capacity so the wider the tape, the better the potential fidelity. NAB reels were typically used in studio and professional settings while CINE reels also known as Trident were the norm in domestic applications.
The more important consideration is reel size since your choice of machine could potentially limit the tapes you can play.
The most commonly-used reel sizes were 5, 7 and Most domestic decks were deed to play commercially-released 5 and 7-inch tapes, whereas To play For master tape copies, make sure your deck can take When it comes to tape recording formats, again there was typically a difference between professional and domestic use. In the case of stereo recording, professional studio machines were usually two-track also 2 inch reel to reel half-trackwhich means that the left channel occupies one half of the tape width and the right channel the other half.
Oh and there are also some old commercially-released mono tapes out there. In the early days of tape, mono recordings were either one-track a single-sided recording occupying the full width of the tape or two-track a double-sided recording where the recording occupied half the width of the tape, which was turned over to read in the other direction.
Takeaway points Most vintage commercially-released tapes are four-track aka quarter-track while pretty much all current master tape copies are two-track aka half-track.
Like vinyl records, open reel tapes can be recorded at different speeds and obviously need to be played back at that same speed. Tape recording speed is expressed in inches per second, abbreviated to ips. In general, the faster the speed, the better the reproduction quality. The usual professional speeds for quarter-inch tape were 30 ips and 15 ips. Make sure your deck of choice offers the range of speeds you need.
This needs to be undone at playback. CCIR is the more modern of the two and is what most currently produced master tapes copies use.
Most tape machines are one or the other, but some machines can be switched between the two again, the Otari MXBII is a good example. A handful of hi-fi manufacturers are now making external tape amplifiers which, like a phono stage, allow you to upgrade an old tape deck by taking a direct feed from the tape head into a modern, high quality head amplifier. Since tape decks typically offer one or the other, you might need a switchable add-on.
Tape operating levels are measured nano-Webers per meter eg. Over the years the typical standard operating levels used for recordings changed, as tape manufacturing improved and audio electronics became more advanced. Takeaway points There are two key contexts in which you need to consider operating levels.
First, when choosing a deck, make sure it has adjustable output levels so that you can enjoy tapes with varying operating levels without compromising on sound quality.
Second, when having your deck calibrated during initial set-up and subsequent servicing, you need to decide what operating level to calibrate it to. See the above-mentioned blog for full details. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Loading Comments Required Name Required Website.2 inch reel to reel
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Reel-to-reel tape is the new vinyl