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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Sun 14, 2018 12:50 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
Posts: 880
pixellany wrote:
Revealing my ignorance.....what is a "back-coated" tape?

Beginning in the early 70's, manufacturers began backcoating tape, or putting a layer of material on the back of the tape. This improved performance, such as cleaner stacking on the reels during rewind, and it also helped lubricate the tape and made for smoother transport through the recorder.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Sun 14, 2018 12:53 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2590
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
When tape was perfected in the U.S. in 1947 brown oxide was bound to an acetate film. The face of the tape showing the acetate film was shiny while the oxide was dull. So for the first 30-ish years of recording - one recorded on the dull face of the tape.

This was an important distinction for early tape operators to make due to the fact that in addition to the common A-wind reel (oxide facing the center of the reel) there were also a number of B-wind recorders on the market which - due to head location facing away from the operator rather than toward him - required that the tape have the oxide facing outward like on a cassette.
'
As stated - starting in the early part of the 70s, recording tape became available where - at first - BOTH sides were dull and fuzzy - and one would record on the LESS dull side instead of the MORE dull side.

These fuzzy and (usually) black coatings were tooted to improve tracking through the recorder as well as improving the winding to minimize edge damage which was common for non-back-treated tapes.

As the 70s wore on into the 80's and higher and higher quality tape became available, it became possible to calendar the oxide coatings to a mirror smooth finish. This meant that a tape op would now be recording on the SHINY face of the tape rather than the dull side, confusing many tape operators.

These guys would then take the tape out of the box - see the dull side out - put a half-twist in and rewind so that the shiny face was showing outward and then try to record on it.

Can't tell you how many times people brought their brand new (and expensive) tape back to their audio salons complaining of ``dark muddy and muted sound'' which of course would happen when attempting a recording on the base face of the tape rather than the oxide face.

Even though the claims about better tracking through the recorder and better packing on the reel remained dubious, no open-reel tape since then has been available without the backcoating except for FM-modulated instrumentation tape or digital multitrack tape.

But everytime I teach an analog multitrack recording course at e.g. a junior college someplace - I tell them instead of buying the now-normal backcoated tape from the major manufacturers, I tell them to get all the NBC and instrumentation tape they can find.

Most of those old e g Tascam or Otari half inch 8 track or 1 inch 16 track etc that the schools would be buying anyway all record at a then-standard 185 nWm where most backtreated tape was 250 nWm (high bias) and some went even as high as 325.

Trying to use tape made for a 250 or 325 recording on a deck calibrated for 185 would result in a very top heavy and thin sounding recording - similar to recording on a chrome or metal tape with the CHROME or METAL switch off.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Sun 14, 2018 12:56 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
Posts: 880
dberman51 wrote:
Ampex and 3M (Scotch) both had problems with the urethane binder used on their back-coated tapes. The binder would absorb moisture and disintegrate, causing a sticky mess of binder and oxide to coat a tape recorder's heads, tape guides, etc. causing terrible squealing even causing the tape to stop in the machine. This is called Sticky Shed Syndrome (SSS). It affected only back-coated tapes of the late-70s into the 1990s at which point a new binder solved the problem. I don't know if it affected BASF, Maxell, or TDK back-coated tapes. Non-back-coated tapes from any manufacturer didn't have the problem.

-David


David,

TDK is starting to suffer from loss of lubricant. This manifest a white powder, it's somewhat fixable.

Maxell does not suffer from SSS or LoL. (Lubricant loss)

At this time, BASF appears to be in the clear, just really dusty.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Sun 14, 2018 3:55 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
Posts: 880
ndiamone wrote:
When tape was perfected in the U.S. in 1947 brown oxide was bound to an acetate film. The face of the tape showing the acetate film was shiny while the oxide was dull. So for the first 30-ish years of recording - one recorded on the dull face of the tape.

This was an important distinction for early tape operators to make due to the fact that in addition to the common A-wind reel (oxide facing the center of the reel) there were also a number of B-wind recorders on the market which - due to head location facing away from the operator rather than toward him - required that the tape have the oxide facing outward like on a cassette.
'
As stated - starting in the early part of the 70s, recording tape became available where - at first - BOTH sides were dull and fuzzy - and one would record on the LESS dull side instead of the MORE dull side.

These fuzzy and (usually) black coatings were tooted to improve tracking through the recorder as well as improving the winding to minimize edge damage which was common for non-back-treated tapes.

As the 70s wore on into the 80's and higher and higher quality tape became available, it became possible to calendar the oxide coatings to a mirror smooth finish. This meant that a tape op would now be recording on the SHINY face of the tape rather than the dull side, confusing many tape operators.

These guys would then take the tape out of the box - see the dull side out - put a half-twist in and rewind so that the shiny face was showing outward and then try to record on it.

Can't tell you how many times people brought their brand new (and expensive) tape back to their audio salons complaining of ``dark muddy and muted sound'' which of course would happen when attempting a recording on the base face of the tape rather than the oxide face.

Even though the claims about better tracking through the recorder and better packing on the reel remained dubious, no open-reel tape since then has been available without the backcoating except for FM-modulated instrumentation tape or digital multitrack tape.

But everytime I teach an analog multitrack recording course at e.g. a junior college someplace - I tell them instead of buying the now-normal backcoated tape from the major manufacturers, I tell them to get all the NBC and instrumentation tape they can find.

Most of those old e g Tascam or Otari half inch 8 track or 1 inch 16 track etc that the schools would be buying anyway all record at a then-standard 185 nWm where most backtreated tape was 250 nWm (high bias) and some went even as high as 325.

Trying to use tape made for a 250 or 325 recording on a deck calibrated for 185 would result in a very top heavy and thin sounding recording - similar to recording on a chrome or metal tape with the CHROME or METAL switch off.


One thing. You got to be really careful about tape though. Some non backcoated tapes destroy heads very quickly and with heads being almost unobtainum, it's something to think about.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 4:10 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2590
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Artcurus wrote:
One thing. You got to be really careful about tape though. Some non backcoated tapes destroy heads very quickly and with heads being almost unobtainum, it's something to think about.
John French can make anything you want for any once-available tape deck. http://www.jrfmagnetics.com He's kept `em operational for 40 years. Most of the widely available ones - he runs off a lot of a couple hundred and keeps `em in stock. Ampex, Studer/ReVox, Otari, Marantz, Uher etc etc etc.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Tue 30, 2018 4:19 pm 
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Posts: 1161
Location: Dos Rios, CA.
When I first bought an ADAT (digitally recorded SVHS tape) 8 track machine in 1993, shortly thereafter the same "back coating" problem occured with Ampex SVHS tape which quickly became "Quantegy" as a brand name...I think it took them a few years to correct the problem I heard, but I never again bought that brand for recording original material...Mostly used BASF and then later Fujifilm SVHS tapes as they held together well after repeated multi- tracking and abuse


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Oct Tue 30, 2018 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2590
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
ampstamp88 wrote:
When I first bought an ADAT I mostly used BASF and then later Fujifilm SVHS tapes as they held together well after repeated multi- tracking and abuse
Going to a jr college that was across the street from a duplication plant was fortunate.

Before Metal Particle and Metal Evaporated tape was perfected enough for digital (MP/ME analog cassettes had been available for nearly 10 years by then) the dupe house was using genuine DuPont chromium dioxide for a lot of their normal standard VHS dubs (some of which have the little bitty barely noticeable `BASF CHROME' logo on the bottom).

Lots of short ends of hubs - most nearly a full VHS worth - meant that certain enterprising young double-majored recording and broadcast engineer men (who shall remain witless) who were too poor to buy ``real'' ADAT's/SuperVHS in the stores - drafted themselves to get the leftover shells from the TV department (which had ten times the budget of the music dept) and spend long hours after class and on weekends loading the shells with the new tape - splicing on new leader and winding them all up to use on the next session.

After which the same certain engineer trainees who got their first jobs at the aforementioned duplication plant across the street could now stay late at work (after swing shift) and do the same thing automatically while sweeping up before shutting down for the night instead of sitting there doing it by hand in the school recording or broadcast lab with disassembled VHS rewinders and lab gloves until the janitors came around to check if everybody had gone.

Once they converted to DA-88/98 (4-track hi res 24/96) - same thing. TV station shells and leftover short ends from dupe runs - and leftover shells from airline movies which used the same Hi8 format as DA-88 - and long nights after 2nd shift at the dupe house running the short ends into shells.

Now that everything's on hard drives and files - I think the guys coming up anymore are missing out on either knowing or else having to come up with the kinds of double-major and other workarounds we had to deal with.

Not to mention the guys before us who were having to be double majoring in music and computers so they could use the leftover 9-track half inch computer tape - or the guys before that who were double majoring in broadcast news and music so they could use the leftover half inch videotape on e.g. Tascam 38's and the Otari 5050 half-inch 8-tracks and etc

The funniest thing was - the guys who inherited all the leftover tape that maybe had only a handful of plays left and no recording - both analog as well as digital - whenever we unloaded an old analog tape or computer tape or half-inch or 8MM TV videotape - we wound em all onto the leftover 9-track and 8MM reel to reel computer hubs and just left `em.

Well when everything went to hard drive, they called all of us to come haul out everything from all the different areas which had previously just been storage because they wanted to use the space to put in their new offline editing suites after the TV and music and computer science/animation departments were merging.

Seems like guys had been doing these same kinds of odd workarounds for 70 years because we found 7-track FM-modulated quarter-inch 11-1/4 IPS multitrack from the late 50s - and three of the players which we merged into two that ran - and the same thing for V-Cord II transverse video recorders being used for high fidelity FM mono recordings for the radio station (ten years before VHS and Beta Hi Fi had been perfected) - quarter-inch Akai video recorders doing the same thing to leftover Language Lab audiotape and dozens and dozens of other formats most people would have never heard of even if they'd been there.

Now that money is not a problem anymore and people are getting rid of lots of these formats for next to nothing, I'm slowly rewinding all these back onto their respective formats to give them one last play to transfer and restore.

All the ones I've done so far have played nearly perfectly for the one or two takes I needed to get a complete transfer - except for the previously mentioned Ampex - but 99% of those came back after a baking in a fruit dryer.

And then for safekeeping after I did data repair on all the files after being transferred to reduce e.g. block error problems - I striped `em all back onto newer versions of their same formats as well as onto 4K Blu-Ray for safekeeping.

Course the only people that loved it were the guys who were in it or on the crew - and to show their kids and grandkids - but (shrug) eh - it was fun doing the transfers anyway.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Nov Fri 02, 2018 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 17, 2016 6:51 pm
Posts: 90
Quantegy 631 works well for me on old machines. I think fairly easy to find new old stock. If you have a higher end deck which can do high bias, google Capture 930.


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 Post subject: Re: Where to buy recording tape
PostPosted: Nov Wed 07, 2018 6:44 am 
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Joined: Mar Mon 05, 2012 6:35 am
Posts: 376
Location: Chicagoland, 60194
http://www.splicit.com/Reel-to-Reel-Recording-Tape-s/122.htm


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