Reel to Reel tape side help
am radio
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#1
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
  #1
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Reel to Reel tape side help

Hello, So I have a few teac a 3300's and 2300, all 1/4 inch tape. The shinier side should NOT be in contact with the heads... is this right? I know how to store tails out now, (play to end of take up, and store) but why does it seem that some of the reels I got have the shinier side in facing the hub? which means the shinier side will hit the heads, WHY would someone flip the tape? should I just twist it and re spool it? am I right in thinking that the shiny side should always be on the outside of the spool so as not to touch the heads? thanks guys.
am radio
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#2
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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ALSO, with a 2track tape recorder such as these ones... (teac a3300) I notice there is side 1 and 2, if I play to end of side 1 and flip reels, will i hear side 2? or side 1 in reverse?
am radio
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#3
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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god damnit I would kill to just talk to someone who knows about reel to reels for just 5 minutes, I twisted the tape and went shiny out, and now it sounds all muffled, then I twisted again and my reel to reel is playing all weird speeds! I can't tell what side should be touching the heads!
#4
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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John Willett's Avatar
 
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It depends on the tape.

The oxide side is matt and the backing tape is shiny.

This is normally consumer tape and the shiny side is out and the matt side towards the heads.

However - professional tape normally has a matt backing on the other side of the tape. This helps winding and reduces static and print-through.

With this type of tape the backing is more matt than the oxide side.

Just make sure you know which type you have and which is the oxide side.
am radio
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#5
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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ok so i have scotch 206, which has a protective backing, this is an exception! shiny side in towards head on this stuff.... got it...... but usually. yes shiny side should be on the outside for most tape, unless using scotch 206, 207 etc.... I love how I answered my own question on gearslutz!
#6
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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What brand of tape are you using? It depends....
"Back coated" tape which is higher quality mastering grade has the matte (dull) side out and the shiny side toward the heads. Typically the back coating is more black and the head side is more brown.
Older tape reels were not back coated and they typically are the reverse with shiny side out and dull side in.
You obviously can tell on a new sealed tape because they are never wound "tail out".
If your using used tape from an unknown source then you could find that someone wound it tail out...but that was typically done to calibration tapes and master tapes for archiving and storage.
You can also just test it if your in doubt. It won't record right inside out...it will be very masked and dull sounding like you found out.

Always clean and demagnetize your heads before recording or playback. And then check your heads and guides for residue.
All old used tape will leave some residue and affect the sound. Old tape is especially bad because the oxide is brittle and dry and is coming apart. Some old tape brands are really bad and have SSS (Sticky Shed Syndrome) which is an age problem where the binder and plastics start to break up and get sticky and then rub off onto all your heads and guides.

On the Teac deck it is a 4 head 2 track which means it plays and records stereo in both direction (auto reverse deal). You have to flip it over after playing side 1 if the deck doesn't have playback controls in both directions.
It is the way most pre-recorded reel to reel tapes were made to save tape. Many tape reels had a sensing foil and the deck had a detector that would start side 2 when you came to the end of side 1. Most albums were recorded side1/side2 just like the LP's were done.
Hope that helps...I think that was more than 5 minutes...and above all have fun!
#7
21st July 2012
Old 21st July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by am radio View Post
ALSO, with a 2track tape recorder such as these ones... (teac a3300) I notice there is side 1 and 2, if I play to end of side 1 and flip reels, will i hear side 2? or side 1 in reverse?
Side 2.

The 3340s were 4 tracks in the same direction. (The head stack was divided into 4 tracks, onto which one could record four simultaneous different things.)

But the 3300s are Two-track decks. So, the head is divided into four regions.. but only region one and three record and playback recorded material. So, when one flips the tape over... the stuff that was on region one/three is now in the location of the tape head where regions two/four are... and the stuff that was previously on region two/four in the forward direction are now flipped onto the one/three region and playback.

So, there are four tracks on the tape. If you played that sort of four track tape on a 3340, you would hear forward audio on tracks one/three... and backward stuff on two/four.
am radio
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#8
22nd July 2012
Old 22nd July 2012
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Cool thank you! does that mean I can record on tracks 1 and 3 and then flip over and have 2 and 4 still available for recording? I never would have thought that.... 4 tracks on a 1/4 inch tape ... nice....
#9
22nd July 2012
Old 22nd July 2012
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Yes, that's what it means.

However, due to the thin track width... your signal to noise is going to be very bad. Not at all pro. Unless you think of ultra low-fi as a pro option.

If two track is your thing, find a 1/2 track machine. Two tracks, one direction only. Or even better, two track 1/2 inch tape. Now, you've got something.

Best!
am radio
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#10
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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However, due to the thin track width... your signal to noise is going to be very bad. Not at all pro. Unless you think of ultra low-fi as a pro option.

If two track is your thing, find a 1/2 track machine. Two tracks, one direction only. Or even better, two track 1/2 inch tape. Now, you've got something.





Thanks, yes you are right about the s/n, I am using these machines in repro tape mode to master back to logic, so I have one tape version master, then I line them up and eq them differently. The digital version for the low's and high's... and the tape version for the mids. Just ****ing around. Love the lo fi. but I would still like to know what a 1/2 track machine is? I know what a 1/2 inch two track is.....
#11
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by am radio View Post
However, due to the thin track width... your signal to noise is going to be very bad. Not at all pro. Unless you think of ultra low-fi as a pro option.

If two track is your thing, find a 1/2 track machine. Two tracks, one direction only. Or even better, two track 1/2 inch tape. Now, you've got something.





Thanks, yes you are right about the s/n, I am using these machines in repro tape mode to master back to logic, so I have one tape version master, then I line them up and eq them differently. The digital version for the low's and high's... and the tape version for the mids. Just ****ing around. Love the lo fi. but I would still like to know what a 1/2 track machine is? I know what a 1/2 inch two track is.....
1/2 track is merely the name for a 2 track head design which records in only one direction. They can be 1/4" tape or 1/2" tape or even larger like 1" machines.
Unlike consumer stereo 4 track machines which can record stereo in two directions the 1/2 track machine only has two channels heads and are physically wider than stereo 4 track bi-directional machines which have 4.
Hence 1/2 track machines record more area onto a piece or 1/4" tape than the consumer stereo 4 track. This gives you more headroom and better signal to noise. That's why they are also referred to as mastering decks.
#12
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiostuff View Post
the 3300s are Two-track decks. So, the head is divided into four regions.. but only region one and three record and playback recorded material. So, when one flips the tape over... the stuff that was on region one/three is now in the location of the tape head where regions two/four are... and the stuff that was previously on region two/four in the forward direction are now flipped onto the one/three region and playback.
Seems the A 3000 came in two versions. Quarter track (4 tracks - 2 tracks in each direction) and half track (2 tracks in one direction)..
am radio
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#13
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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interesting.. I wonder how I can find out if mine is a 1/2 track 2 track , or a 1/4 track 2 track, is that how I would say it? just by looking at the heads I guess!
#14
23rd July 2012
Old 23rd July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by am radio View Post
Love the lo fi. but I would still like to know what a 1/2 track machine is? I know what a 1/2 inch two track is.....
A 1/2 track machine is a 1/4" tape width, with only two tracks on the 1/4" tape. Flip it over to play it and you will hear the the two track audio program in reverse. Called half track because each of the two tracks occupied roughly 1/2 of the available tape width.

This was the standard tape deck in most studio for years. 15 ips, 1/2 track.
#15
24th July 2012
Old 24th July 2012
  #15
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First, I noticed that someone said that storin tails out was only done with calibration tapes and masters.
Nope, evertything should stored tails out.
The main reason is that pre-echo from the print through effect is reduced if you store tails out.
It also creates a smoother pack on the reel compared to rewinding.
If you think about it... it makes sense to store tails out because once you have played the tape it is in it's stored position.

TAILS OUT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHICH SIDE OF THE TAPE IS FACING THE HEADS.

Another minor thing... HALF TRACK is not the same as 2-TRACK (1/4". 1/2" 1", etc...)
HALF TRACK was a two sided MONO format that became obsolete with stereo radio broadcasting.
It was a MONO track that took up most of one half of the tape.
You could record out to the end of the reel and then flip the reels and record the othe "side" on the other un-used half of the tape.
a lot of people erroneously call 2-TRACK as HALF TRACK, but it isn't the same.
HALF TRACK was so long ago that people have either forgot about it or they never even saw it used.

Another point... 1/4" QUARTER TRACK is the bi-directional, stereo, consumer format.
1/4" 4-TRACK is four tracks at once in one direction.
Quartertrack has the stereo pairs of tracks staggered:
#1 LEFT >>>>>>
#2 RIGHT <<<<<
#1 RIGHT >>>>>
#2 LEFT >>>>>>

It would seem like you could play a 1/4" quarter track recording on a 1/4" 4-track, but the track spacings and positioning varied between manufactureres.
It is hit or miss.

BTW AM RADIO.... it is either 1/4" quarter track or 1/4" 2-track.
I would imagine it is a 1/4" quarter track because the 1/4" 2-tracks are rare.
You can easily tell if it is a 1/4" 2-track by flipping over the tape after recording on one side.
Flip the tape and record the other direction.
If the new recording almost completely erases and records over the previous recording it is a 2-track.
If you can record in two directions without erasing the program on the other side it is a quarter track.

Also, most erase heads erase an area wider than the recorded track.
This erases any risidual signal that results from fringing.
Fringing is the recording in the area outside of the width of the head's gap.
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