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Calibration tape rental?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #1
Gear Nut
 
MoTech's Avatar
 

Calibration tape rental?

Is there someone renting calibration tapes? It looks like a decent idea on paper since calibration tapes are very expensive if you run multiple speeds and equalizations and you need them very seldom if your machine holds calibration well (full blown pro master recorders).

I.e. I need for my Otari 1/4" machine:

30 IPS (AES)
15 IPS (NAB)
15 IPS (IEC)
7.5 IPS (NAB)
7.5 IPS (IEC)

MRL Calibration tapes.

To buy those tapes it would cost me nearly thousand bucks!

Anyone rents those instead?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
Unless you demagnetize you machine...can you even get a Handi-mag anymore ?..you run the risk of ruining an alignment tape.
Purchasing these should cost you closer to $500.
In the US we never see 15 or 7.5 IEC...so unless you need to play back older tapes...or you're making masters for bin loop duplication...you can skip those.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #3
Gear Nut
 
MoTech's Avatar
 

Yep, you still can get a proper Calibration tape rental?Han-D-Mag kit, brand new but very expensive.

I have a simpler demagnetizer that works to same effect. Never ever really had a thought of doing calibration before complete de-mag and clean of the machine. I'd guess those who'd rent will check their tapes before they come back.

In Europe most of the stuff is IEC. NAB is an "old american" sound (most love it due to it's more "pushed" EQ - but some hate it since it's not really a precise sound, on final mixes it also depends on style - rock, metal etc guitar stuff tends to sound better in NAB, while electronic, jazz etc sounds better in IEC, IMHO at least).

All of my tracking I do mostly in IEC since it works better for more modern machines and sonics IMHO. Yet I occasionally I tend to use NAB creatively in some settings, i.e. tracking drums or beefing up any tracks. I also love NAB in 7.5 IPS and running old tapes for some lo-fi tratment. But it's IEC for most of my stuff to keep 'em sonics "straight" for the lack of a better word.

I got my Otari calibrated, but used it for some time now so need to re-check it.

If no renting available then does anyone knows a cheap source for new MRL tapes then?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoTech View Post
Yep, you still can get a proper Calibration tape rental?Han-D-Mag kit, brand new but very expensive.

I have a simpler demagnetizer that works to same effect. Never ever really had a thought of doing calibration before complete de-mag and clean of the machine. I'd guess those who'd rent will check their tapes before they come back.

In Europe most of the stuff is IEC. NAB is an "old american" sound (most love it due to it's more "pushed" EQ - but some hate it since it's not really a precise sound, on final mixes it also depends on style - rock, metal etc guitar stuff tends to sound better in NAB, while electronic, jazz etc sounds better in IEC, IMHO at least).

All of my tracking I do mostly in IEC since it works better for more modern machines and sonics IMHO. Yet I occasionally I tend to use NAB creatively in some settings, i.e. tracking drums or beefing up any tracks. I also love NAB in 7.5 IPS and running old tapes for some lo-fi tratment. But it's IEC for most of my stuff to keep 'em sonics "straight" for the lack of a better word.

I got my Otari calibrated, but used it for some time now so need to re-check it.

If no renting available then does anyone knows a cheap source for new MRL tapes then?
Bring your machine to someone who has one and get someone to dub you the tapes. It's not that difficult, and probably much cheaper. It won't be full track, but that's not really that important, unless you are really anal about it.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIKEHARRIS View Post
In the US we never see 15 or 7.5 IEC...so unless you need to play back older tapes...or you're making masters for bin loop duplication...you can skip those.
But the OP is in Europe - maybe he would be better to skip the NAB ones
Old 3rd February 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
I believe MRL still makes two speed tapes...which costs less than 2x single speed tapes.

Don't y'all have a alignment tape manufacturer in Europe ?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Take you machine to a tech and have them set up your machine according to what you want. That is the simple answer. Probably you could take it over to your nearest big radio station and they could do it for you.

No rentals on alignment tapes.

Otherwise, order new from MRL. They will custom make whatever tapes you require.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Take you machine to a tech and have them set up your machine according to what you want. That is the simple answer. Probably you could take it over to your nearest big radio station and they could do it for you.

No rentals on alignment tapes.

Otherwise, order new from MRL. They will custom make whatever tapes you require.
The only comment I can make to your always very sound advice Plush, is that I am not too crazy about transporting a machine after a full alignment [mechanical and electrical] as things can slip ever so slightly [mechanically usually] depending on the machines build and condition. [Not one of your beloved Nagra's of course].

If you love tape [and I do!], then you need the proper tools to use and maintain. Get the split speed tapes as Mike suggested if you need to save money, and maybe share ownership with a fellow owner or user in your area. A tentelometer, spring scales, O-Scope's, AC Voltmeters, Multi meters, Audio Precision AP-1 [the best for alignment!], etc. are all required tools. Perhaps a tech could visit you as an option? IF you do transport, try and avoid mechanical shock, which is tough with a 100 kg rollaround...ha!

BTW- A lot of folks are using IEC at 15ips here in the US for multi track and 2 track, so much so, that I likely to have to buy a set of those tapes, as I keep getting mixing and mastering requests with that format, and am tired of borrowing tapes...

Best-
Jonathan
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