Analog tape media...where to go from here?

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
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#1
Hello analog tape brigade!

So, we direct resources -- time and treasure -- to enjoy THE best analog recording and reproduction.

Then...there is the tape. Where do we go from here when the analog tape media is so poorly slit that
the tape does not track properly, perfect deck alignment notwithstanding? :mad:

Where do we go from here when purportedly fresh tape stock looks like this...:mad:

Half-inch tape stock.jpg Half-inch_tape stock.jpg

I submit that the quality and quality control of analog tape manufacturers may be at a nadir.
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#2
Now for some good news: :cool:

Azimuth adjusters.jpg

Azimuth adjusters installed, Studer A-820/2CH, 1/4" head assembly
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,633
4
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#3
Now for some good news: :cool:

View attachment 36684

Azimuth adjusters installed, Studer A-820/2CH, 1/4" head assembly
Sam, don't like the look of that tape!!
OTOH, you have to admit that tape does sound great! Your Studer is really the best source component..:cool:
Even with LP's, we still occasionally get bum copies. Luckily the vendors I typically do business with have great return policies.
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#4
Agreed, Davey! Imagine the consternation of pros in an important recording session discovering cr*p tape.
Quoting my ace Studer whisperer, "The curse of sh*tty modern tape" apparently applies to ATR and RTM tape media stock. :rolleyes:
Well, you've heard of NOS tubes...I'm on the hunt for NOS tape. :p;)

 

Tom B.

Member Sponsor
Jul 10, 2011
153
0
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#5
Sam,

The tape in the top photo (the tape that's making a brown mess all over your nice machine)....what brand is that?

Or, from the text it sounds as if you're having problems with both brands mentioned?

Rgs,
Tom
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#6
Hi Tom,

If I recall the texts/information from the Studer Whisperer, correctly: ATR Magnetics Studio Master --> dropouts (1/2" stock as documented in the photos...1/4" wouldn't hold alignment);
RTM SM900 --> poor slitting resulting in mistracking (uncertain if this occurs in either 1/2" and/or 1/4" stock). I'll update as I receive further clarification.

My additional concern is this may be the very same tape stock received and possibly, used by MRL. I've been compelled to return cal tapes, previously. MRL is a good outfit and addressed my concerns.

ATR Magnetics tape sourced from VK.
RTM SM900 sourced from Full Compass.
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
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#8
Yep, it's a major drag, Bruce. As I understand it, The Studer Whisperer switched from RTM SM 900 to BASF Studio Master 900 for lining up the A820...so far-- so good.
 
May 30, 2010
13,964
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Portugal
#9
I've used thousands of reels of RMGI/Pyral/RTM SM900 tape over the years and have NEVER had a problem with the quality of the tape itself. Like you, I've had bad luck with ATR and use RTM SM900 exclusively.
Does the SM900 carry a manufacturing timestamp in the box or reel?
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#10
Sam,

The tape in the top photo (the tape that's making a brown mess all over your nice machine)....what brand is that?

Or, from the text it sounds as if you're having problems with both brands mentioned?

Rgs,
Tom
Hi Tom,

I believe the pics are of 1/2" ATR Studio Master. Charlie has abandoned the RTM SM 900 for BASF Studio Master 900 for audio alignment purposes on my A-820
.


 
May 25, 2010
747
8
18
SF Bay Area
#11
Hi Tom,

I believe the pics are of 1/2" ATR Studio Master. Charlie has abandoned the RTM SM 900 for BASF Studio Master 900 for audio alignment purposes on my A-820
.


Is the BASF SM900 NOS? I thought they went out of the tape manufacturing business a long time ago.

I don't use SM900, but have been using a fair amount of RTM SM911, SM468 (only 1/2") and LPR35. So far, I've had good luck, but only with maybe 15-20 cases or so total. So small sample size. I only have a little experience with ATR (only 1/2") I think about 12 reels total, with no problems. My recording requirements are not as stringent as those who are doing live recording - where bad tape costs a lot of time and money.

Was there a golden age of tape manufacturing? I remember the sticky shed problems of the late '70s and early '80s. And lots of slitting issues from prerecorded tapes from the '60s.

One thing I've noticed is that some of my safety masters from the mid to late '80s have really beautiful library winds - really smooth, while others are not as even. I would attribute the latter to slitting problems. If so, can one pick out slitting problems by looking at what the packing looks like on new tapes? It won't solve the backing problems or uneven coating, but it should identify slitting issues. Does that seem like good thinking? Many greater experts on this thread than me.

Larry
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#12
Is the BASF SM900 NOS? I thought they went out of the tape manufacturing business a long time ago.
Larry

Well, Larry -- ya know about "NOS" (anything)...it's kinda sorta like "master" tapes, safety copies, et cetera. Ya pays your $$ and ya takes your chances.
- A. Rand
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#13
My recording requirements are not as stringent as those who are doing live recording - where bad tape costs a lot of time and money.
Larry
...and frustration. I can well imagine a few instances of bad tape, contributing to a less than satisfactory session, resulting in an engineer's/producer's aversion to using that
tape stock -- maybe, for a good, long time.
 

Tom B.

Member Sponsor
Jul 10, 2011
153
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0
#15
Last year I had a new reel of 1/2" RTM SM911 leave some material on the guides of one of my machines, so I just use it as a shop tape.

OTOH I'm also sitting on a dozen new reels of ATR stock.....

Tom
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,562
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#16
Does the SM900 carry a manufacturing timestamp in the box or reel?
The U.S. importer gets pancakes and then assembles the reels and boxes for shipment. All the tape I get has been manufactured within the past couple of months.

I have some 1/4" ATR tape sitting here that I will probably just give to someone.
 
May 25, 2010
747
8
18
SF Bay Area
#17
The U.S. importer gets pancakes and then assembles the reels and boxes for shipment. All the tape I get has been manufactured within the past couple of months.

I have some 1/4" ATR tape sitting here that I will probably just give to someone.
Bruce, I notice that the metal reels are getting more and more expensive. They can cost close to as much as the pancakes. One thing that RTM has started doing is selling the tape in plastic trident reels for a few bucks more than the pancakes. I've seen the extra cost as between $5 and $10 a reel, much less than the metal reel surcharge. I think RTM is making those tapes in reel form in Europe. Of course, your machine needs to be able to use the trident reels.

Larry
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,562
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#18
Bruce, I notice that the metal reels are getting more and more expensive. They can cost close to as much as the pancakes. One thing that RTM has started doing is selling the tape in plastic trident reels for a few bucks more than the pancakes. I've seen the extra cost as between $5 and $10 a reel, much less than the metal reel surcharge. I think RTM is making those tapes in reel form in Europe. Of course, your machine needs to be able to use the trident reels.

Larry
Seems Don is having trouble sourcing metal flanges. Tape is plentiful..... it's the metal reel vendors that are holding up new shipments!
 

srs148

New Member
Jan 4, 2016
25
0
0
#19
The U.S. importer gets pancakes and then assembles the reels and boxes for shipment. All the tape I get has been manufactured within the past couple of months.

I have some 1/4" ATR tape sitting here that I will probably just give to someone.
Hey Bruce, if you're looking for a home for that ATR tape, I'll gladly take my chances with it. I don't work with nearly the volume tape you do, but have never had a bad batch of ATR, nor RTM. With that said, I've only been using open reel decks for less than five years.
 

c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,034
3
38
#20
Last year I had a new reel of 1/2" RTM SM911 leave some material on the guides of one of my machines, so I just use it as a shop tape.

OTOH I'm also sitting on a dozen new reels of ATR stock.....

Tom
:( Maybe, you'll be lucky with the others. :confused:
 

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