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will this work?
Old 31st May 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

will this work?

I am selling my Otari 1/2" 8track. I would like to digitally archive not only my tapes from that machine, but also 1/2" 4-track tapes from college and 1/4" and 1/2" half-track masters from my old band. I have zero dollars to spend, no access to 30ips or 1/4" machines, so I thought I could use my 1/2" deck for all of the above.
2 questions: For a total of maybe five 1/4" tapes, would it hurt the heads?
For the 30ips stuff, can I play it at 15 and do something in the digital domain to make it sound right?
Thanks
Randy
Old 1st June 2011
  #2
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
but also 1/2" 4-track tapes from college and 1/4" and 1/2" half-track masters from my old band. I have zero dollars to spend, no access to 30ips or 1/4" machines, so I thought I could use my 1/2" deck for all of the above.
I doubt it would 'hurt' the heads. Playing a 1/4" tape through a 1/2" pinch roller and tape guides does seem to me to run a big risk of snagging and possibly ruining the tape itself...

you could digitally correct for speed differences, but that will be the least of your problems .....the tracks and guard bands of the other formats will almost certainly not line up properly on the heads of the machine you have.

even tapes made on the correct machine often need to be lined up

You may find that one channel will be missing or only partly there as it overlaps or does not overlap the paths where the heads are situated. Some tracks may be gone altogether as they land 'in between' the heads, or they may have a lot of noise.

Playing back a 'wide' format on a narrow head, you will get incorrect bass response due to fringing.

the word "archive" has a 'once-and-for-all' type of connotation attached to it. Do it right or don't bother. Making a half-assed transfer of something and then trying to fix it later in the computer is not "archiving". I would ask you how many times in the past have you successfully played your 1/4" tapes on your 1/2" machine, but I am sure the answer is 'zero'. Selling your machine is not an excuse to start with the Mad Scientist experiments now.

transfer the tapes that belong to that machine, save your other tapes for some time when you are not so broke.
Old 1st June 2011
  #3
Here for the gear
 

If it wouldn't hurt the machine, why not "archive" now as a safety backup at least, and if I can afford to do the right way later, I'll do it again. In meantime I would be able to listen to them and have medium peace of mind until that later, better dupe possibility comes along.
How bad would fringing effect be? Wouldn't wide format play over multiple heads? Or is that in itself a problem?
Thanks
Randy
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