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3M 966 Tape - comments? Consoles
Old 1st March 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
3M 966 Tape - comments?

3M 966

Does anybody have any comments or knowledge on this tape?

Thanks in advance!
Old 2nd March 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
Er, anyone?
Old 2nd March 2007
  #3
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jomo1234's Avatar
 

I believe that tape formula was called 996, not 966

It was a wonderful tape which had a really great consistency from reel to reel. You could hit it with a hot signal and it took it well. 996 was also a thicker tape (1 mil thickness?) and was tough on the tape transport. I definitely noticed the increase in tape machine maintenance after switching from 499. It's a shame it isn't in production anymore. When 3M sold their tape/recording division to Quantegy, they apparently modeled their GP9 tape after the 996.
Old 2nd March 2007
  #4
It was the best recording tape ever made. I could slam it at +9 and it still had 2/3 less THD than 456/226 at +3.

When Scotch went out of the magnetic media biz, I sold all my analog recorders, they knew something, they discontinued their recording tape, cassettes, video tape, floppy discs, etc.

That something was the hard drive and they knew in the early 90's that it would sink magnetic media so they got out pronto. I took their lead and followed, pronto.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 2nd March 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
It was the best recording tape ever made. I could slam it at +9 and it still had 2/3 less THD than 456/226 at +3.

When Scotch went out of the magnetic media biz, I sold all my analog recorders, they knew something, they discontinued their recording tape, cassettes, video tape, floppy discs, etc.

That something was the hard drive and they knew in the early 90's that it would sink magnetic media so they got out pronto. I took their lead and followed, pronto.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Even though it's an average day in my average life, I'm still marking it on my calender as the day I finally agree with Jim Williams !

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 2nd March 2007
  #6
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
I was a huge 250 fan... but I never really took a shine to 996... I thought it sounded kinda flat and "plastic"... but that could just be me.

Peace.
Old 2nd March 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
I was a huge 250 fan... but I never really took a shine to 996... I thought it sounded kinda flat and "plastic"... but that could just be me.

Peace.
The "flat" thing was something I dug about it (I assume your talkin' bout depth of field?). My ass was mainly parked in front of 4000E and at the time I thought(?) it was helping to combat how agressive, i.e." kazoo" like my situation sounded. A far as plastic, that was my feeling about 499. But, whatever.

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 3rd March 2007
  #8
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Hey....guess what?

There actually is a 3M 966 recording tape. I've used lots of 996 but haven't tried 966.....but it does exist.
Attached Thumbnails
3M 966 Tape - comments?-966.jpg  
Old 3rd March 2007
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

MUTHA F*CKR!?!?!

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 3rd March 2007
  #10
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronzie View Post
MUTHA F*CKR!?!?!

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Yeah, no sh*t.
I did a google on it and found a note on the MRL site that it was later numbered 986, but I couldn't find out any more about it. Possibly a "low print-through" formula or some such specialty item?
Old 3rd March 2007
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

But if you flip the label. GUESS WHAT??? HA HA HA HA. Us clever Yanks.

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 3rd March 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
That's my dilemma exactly. I've been given some old 24-track recordings on 966 to sort out and I would like to know a little more about this tape. I have never seen it before. I start work on the project in a couple of weeks, as we are gpoing full blast right now.
Old 3rd March 2007
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

So after looking at the specs on the mrl website, it looks to me like it was a formulation

for voice work. Also looks like it could (?) take elevated levels. The only thing I garnered

that might be a minor issue is the thickness of the tape (it measures rather thin) and

the tension handling of the machine. I wouldn't sweat it.

Ron Allaire, Skyline

P.S. Pray for tones and notes !
Old 4th March 2007
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I have a hazy memory that 966 was the same formula as 996 but with thinner backing. I could be dreaming though.

Old 4th March 2007
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

If the "oxide" lounge can't remember we're doomed.

Ron Allaire, Skyline
Old 4th March 2007
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Here's the comparison between 966/986 and 996, from
www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/3mtape/aorprod2.html :

966/986: Introduced 1992; base thickness, 1.38 mil; oxide coating, .49 mil; total thickness, 1.95 mil; remanence, 1.25 flux lines; coercivity, 365 oersteds; retentivity, 1600 gauss.

996: Introduced 1990; base thickness, 1.42 mil; oxide coating, .63 mil; total thickness, 2.13 mil; remanence, 1.7 flux lines; coercivity, 360 oersteds; retentivity, 1700 gauss.
Old 20th June 2008
  #17
Gear Nut
 
@¶,*ƒƒƒ&™'s Avatar
 

3m 966 is a low-print formulation. Silvery sounding. Sonically similar to the Quantegy GP9, but marketed to compete directly with Ampex 456. It's a music mastering tape. It did not suffer the same fate as the 996 formulation, which while being very R & B friendly with ensuing low-end bump, had an obnoxious white powder or dust on the back to allow it to more smooth move through the transport of a tape machine. It offered huge nightmares for a Studer A-820 or A-827 transport. Slipping and jamming while winding at high speeds.

Anyhow, ergonomically more workable with less of a shaped frequency response than the 996. Good tape. You can still find it at some retail outlets online and occasionally on ebay.
Old 27th September 2013
  #18
Here for the gear
 

3M 966 compared to 3M 996

I have been using 966 and 996 regularly for 10 years on a 2" MX80-24. 966 is the more reliable of the two, the reels have performed flawlessly. Extremely low shedding, and on my machine, flat at 30kHz (15IPS).

Two reels got stored and unused for two years in another studio. When I got them back, they were somewhat sticky. I library wound them, cleaned the lifters and used them for a day, and they came back to life, no more stickiness. I have concluded it is better for tape to be used than stored. Perhaps the warmth from the machine evaporates moisture from the formulation?

996 is another thing. i have five reels, and after a day of use they each exhibit moderate shedding. (Heads need cleaning 3 times per day). If they have been stored for some time and not used, they start off quite sticky and leave a fair amount of residue on the lifters after the first pass. I have baked them three times over the years however and each time they become serviceable again.

For the same calibration, at 1kHz 499 returns +2dB at 1k, +2dB at 100Hz and -1 at 10kHz. So greater overall retention but the high record EQ needs more driving for the same bias. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people talk about tape having a 'sound'. Because when you think about it, it doesn't have a sound any more than rust on a bike wheel has sound. Maybe the qualities we hear from formulation to formulation are more due to the characteristics of the EQ's in the machines than the differences in tape. Just a thought.
Old 27th September 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

Helpful post. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mooed music View Post
I have been using 966 and 996 regularly for 10 years on a 2" MX80-24. 966 is the more reliable of the two, the reels have performed flawlessly. Extremely low shedding, and on my machine, flat at 30kHz (15IPS).

Two reels got stored and unused for two years in another studio. When I got them back, they were somewhat sticky. I library wound them, cleaned the lifters and used them for a day, and they came back to life, no more stickiness. I have concluded it is better for tape to be used than stored. Perhaps the warmth from the machine evaporates moisture from the formulation?

996 is another thing. i have five reels, and after a day of use they each exhibit moderate shedding. (Heads need cleaning 3 times per day). If they have been stored for some time and not used, they start off quite sticky and leave a fair amount of residue on the lifters after the first pass. I have baked them three times over the years however and each time they become serviceable again.

For the same calibration, at 1kHz 499 returns +2dB at 1k, +2dB at 100Hz and -1 at 10kHz. So greater overall retention but the high record EQ needs more driving for the same bias. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people talk about tape having a 'sound'. Because when you think about it, it doesn't have a sound any more than rust on a bike wheel has sound. Maybe the qualities we hear from formulation to formulation are more due to the characteristics of the EQ's in the machines than the differences in tape. Just a thought.
Old 8th October 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
6 1/2 years later I still have those reels of 966 and they still sound good - esp. at 15 ips.
Old 13th September 2014
  #21
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

996 was indeed excellent and it's nearest neighbor is the still in production ATR Mastertape.
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