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25 Minute Tape Loop
Old 27th January 2017
  #1
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25 Minute Tape Loop

Not sure if this is in the right spot but...

I have recorded an ambient soundscape for an artshow using mainly tape looping (very familiar with creating short tape loops, mainly with ****ty opshop euipment) and some live recording. Got it all down. I've now had the idea to use one of my old reel-to-reels to create a tape loop of the whole thing (has to play the whole time) and have it playing in the art show on the physical tape machine as a groovy/wanky exhibit type thing. Problem is it's 25 minutes long. Any ideas as to how i'd even begin to go about creating a tape loop this long? Thought i read somewhere you could create 12 minute tape loops using a regular cassette? Lofi is the aim here, so sound quality isn't super important. Another idea i had if the big tape loop is just practically impossible is to play it forwards and then rig it to play/rewind so as to get the whole piece in reverse at the same pace as going forward then forwards again etc. etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 27th January 2017
  #2
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mikefellh's Avatar
Forget physical tape and go digital.

In my situation I created an 8 hour "tape loop" or "mix tape" of music for an art installation...I set it up in a single directory on a laptop and use a "simple" mp3 player software that would be set to repeat forever. Since it's a laptop it would survive a power failure, and should the computer reboot I put that file in the startup routine so even if the computer did reboot it would start playing the file using the MP3 software again set to repeat.

I would never consider tape for something like that today.

With thinner tape it could be possible to create a 25 minute tape loop with an 8-track tape cartridge (without switching tracks) but with thinner tape you are asking for problems.
Old 27th January 2017
  #3
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whippoorwill's Avatar
continuous cassettes were made for answering machines at a time, these were maybe 10-15mins long...
but 25 minutes is insane for a loop on reel to reel, you are talking about hundreds of foot at least, even at 1.75ips thats still about 218 feet. You'd have to create a path for it, you could break that down into two posts to thread the tape over and back on (like nails on a wooden board)
if you made them 2 foot wide and made them zig-zag back and forth it would only take about 106 nails in a board to thread around and you might want to put some sort of soft rubber on them to make sure the tape didnt deteriorate TOO quickly...
Old 27th January 2017
  #4
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
continuous cassettes were made for answering machines at a time, these were maybe 10-15mins long...
but 25 minutes is insane for a loop on reel to reel, you are talking about hundreds of foot at least, even at 1.75ips thats still about 218 feet. You'd have to create a path for it, you could break that down into two posts to thread the tape over and back on (like nails on a wooden board)
if you made them 2 foot wide and made them zig-zag back and forth it would only take about 106 nails in a board to thread around and you might want to put some sort of soft rubber on them to make sure the tape didnt deteriorate TOO quickly...
now that is thinking outside the "REEL" ... the Rube Goldberg Tape Loop !!!

to the OP,

how big is the space you have to do your thing at the exhibition ??

how fast is your machine running ?? see above for 1.75 = 218 feet

which machine are you planning on using ??

can you fake it ?? use the reel to reel as a prop and run the loop digitally ??
Old 27th January 2017
  #5
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There's a great article in the last Tape Op about Chris Walla's Tape Loops album. He was running very long loops on reel to reel. He talks about using mic stands as guides on the feeder and take up sides of the machine and having a hundred feet of the rest of the loop on the floor. It's a really cool read and a good album too.
Old 27th January 2017
  #6
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkshop View Post
There's a great article in the last Tape Op about Chris Walla's Tape Loops album. He was running very long loops on reel to reel. He talks about using mic stands as guides on the feeder and take up sides of the machine and having a hundred feet of the rest of the loop on the floor. It's a really cool read and a good album too.
yes, a great read .. i just pulled my hard copy of Tape Op out of the mailbox !!!
Old 27th January 2017
  #7
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In the old days (back whan dinosaurs roamed the Earth), the way this was handled was by using what was known as a "bin loop":

(They were most commonly used for automated tape duplication systems.)

I have rigged them up myself (homebrew) by using masking tape, paper, etc. and a trash can (or whatever).

Here's something to give you the idea:
Old-School Show Control: Binloops
Old 27th January 2017
  #8
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mikefellh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
continuous cassettes were made for answering machines at a time, these were maybe 10-15mins long...
You mean SECONDS!

The OGM (Out Going Message) endless loop tape is usually just long enough to record the OGM, and you can usually choose 30, 60, or 90 SECONDS....it would play the OGM until it gets to the metal splice, and then switch to the ICM (Incoming Message) tape to record the message.

If the endless loop OGM tape was 10 minutes, it would take forever to get to the splice to trigger the ICM. Notice no teeth from the reels on this 30 second endless loop cassette:



Now there WERE longer OGM tapes, but they WEREN'T endless loop, and there would be a sync code recorded on the tape when you finish recording your OGM (you can see the teeth from the reels on this 30 minute OGM tape):



For this particular OGM tape, it would be rewound after the ICM was recorded and the phone was hung up (but it's a different type of answering machine than the one that uses an endless loop OGM tape.
Old 27th January 2017
  #9
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whippoorwill's Avatar
of course youre right, facts can mesh into each other sometimes...
Old 27th January 2017
  #10
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andow's Avatar
 

You could try to get one of these old 8-track cartridge recorders. I think you can get over 20min on a stereo track and it's an endless loop... super low-fi too
Old 27th January 2017
  #11
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
In the old days (back whan dinosaurs roamed the Earth), the way this was handled was by using what was known as a "bin loop":

(They were most commonly used for automated tape duplication systems.)

I have rigged them up myself (homebrew) by using masking tape, paper, etc. and a trash can (or whatever).

Here's something to give you the idea:
Old-School Show Control: Binloops
thx for the Bin-Loops link .. that was some cool reading .. and scary Disney of course !!!
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