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tape question Plugin Bundles
Old 24th November 2018
Gear Maniac
BoomWomb's Avatar

tape question

Looking for opinions on whether it makes sense for me to re-use tape multiple times. I have a bulk eraser, but I typically don't use it and have been buying tape per project. I use 7" 1/4 rolls, so it's not too pricey right now.

I watched a youtube video with Chris Mara where he says he re-uses tape (he has 1 inch) for about 6 months.

I heard someone else say they re-use tape up to 150 times, and I heard someone else say they re-use tape about 25 times before they consider it spent.

When I first got into tape, I was told that I would "lose a generation" every time I re-recorded my 1.4 inch on my Teac 4 track.

I have read on here that on the Fleetwood Mac rumors album, they re-used tape a lot, which is why there are tame high frequencies on the record.

To me, that album sounds good--I don't hear the highs as muffled. I sometimes wonder if the vocals are a little quiet, but I seem to not think that every time I listen to it.

Of course, I will experiment. But being relatively new at this, I always wish to have expert advice as one of the variables.

Why do so many people think so many different things about tape re-use?
Old 24th November 2018
Lives for gear
The phrase “Lose a generation” regarding tape is usually referring to the HF and clarity loss and the additional noise that happens when you copy from tape to tape.
There isn’t any generation loss from reusing tape, because each use is a first generation. If a tape is in good condition and is bulk erased prior to reuse, then the “25 times” reference seems reasonable.
This doesn’t apply to 456 or any other problematical formulation that tends to shed oxide or backing, and I would expect fewer quality uses from thinner tapes (407 compared to 406, for example).
The high end studios tended to bad mouth tape reuse, but they had a profit motive for advising new tape for every recording. My experience doing demos with used/erased tapes, and the endless hours we ran the same short loops of tape as “tape delay before reverb” leads me to believe you can get a very high number of factory spec reuses if the tape is a good formula and the machines are regularly cleaned and have no functional problems.
Old 24th November 2018
Lives for gear
And on Fleetwood Mac and some other golden era albums, the problem was the extremely high count of overdub takes, where the same song, or a song section might run through the machine more than a thousand times. They literally wore the oxide layer significantly.
If I had made a dollar for each time I heard “Let’s try that again” in the 70s and 80s, I would have wasted even more of a fortune doing stupid things and I’d probably have died a long time ago... Happy thoughts!
Old 24th November 2018
Gear Maniac
BoomWomb's Avatar

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