Tape Guide (Mar. 1981)

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Speed Traps

Q. I do a considerable amount of dubbing, using two Dolby-equipped tape recorders. I am concerned about converting a prerecorded tape from 3 3/4 ips to 7 1/2 ips. When transferring at different speeds, am I losing quality, and if so is there any way to compensate?

- Dan Karsch, New York, N.Y.

A. If you are going upward in speed, there should be very little, if any, loss in quality when dubbing with good equipment and proper procedures. For play back of the tape to be dubbed, use the quieter of the two machines, because playback noise is usually more of a problem than recording noise.

If the tape to be dubbed is not Dolbyized, the input signal to the recording machine should go through the Dolby recording process but the playback signal should not. If the tape to be dubbed is Dolbyized, the Dolby mode should be used both for playback and recording.

Not-Talking Heads

Q. In the record mode, my deck intermittently ceases recording so that only previous material is played back. Are the erase and record heads at fault?

- Jerry Farrar, Long Beach, Calif.

A. I doubt this. Rather, it seems that the oscillator may be intermittently cutting or shorting out. A component in the oscillator circuit may be responsible, or there may be a break or short in the leads from the oscillator to the record head. You probably need the help of a competent service technician to locate and cure the trouble.

What's Your EQ?

Q. Why do most cassette recorder manufacturers use record equalization and bias, while a few use playback equalization, and some use both record and playback equalization and bias?

- Mel Muracka, Honolulu, Hawaii

A. All tape machines use record equalization and bias in recording, and playback equalization in playback. In playback they use the same equalization, conforming to an industry standard.

However, machines may differ in their amount of recording equalization and bias, depending on the tape for which the machine is intended and the manufacturer's ideas on the optimum combi nation of low distortion, low noise, and extended treble response. Most cassette machines provide a switch which allows the user to employ basically different kinds of tapes (such as ferric oxide versus chromium dioxide); this switch may change not only the bias but also the record equalization and even the amount of audio signal fed to the record head.

Roast Deck

Q. On a warm day the cassette well of my deck may heat up to 105 degrees. Is this harmful?

-William Madlener, Chicago, Ill.

A. Electronic equipment is usually rated to work properly up to a tempera ture of about 140 degrees, so I don't think that 105 degrees is anything to worry about.

As Above, So Below

Q. I am going to buy an open-reel tape deck. The problem is that some decks have the drive capstan above the pinch roller, while others have the capstan below the roller. Which way is better?

- Jerry Ubels, New Westminster, B.C., Canada

A. I doubt that it makes any significant difference whether the drive capstan is above or below the pinch roller. Ability of the deck to drive the tape with minimum wow and flutter and at steady speed depends on other factors, such as the guide system, use of a flywheel, tension arms, flutter wheel, nature and quality of the motor, etc.

Bottoms Up

Q. I have read that cassettes should be stacked end up rather than flat. If they are stored end up, then the weight of the tape will press on a single point, whereas if a cassette is stored flat, each turn of tape will rest on its edge so that the weight is distributed uniformly.

Which method is correct?

- G. Kornfilt, Istanbul, Turkey

A. The recommendation to stack tape end up is usually made by tape manufacturers. Flat storage tends to damage the edge of the tape, apparently leading to serious problems more easily than if the tape is stored on its end. If tape is fairly tightly wound, end-up storage is not likely to be harmful

---If you have a problem or question on tape re cording, write to Mr. Herman Burstein at AUDIO, 1515 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036. All letters are answered. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.---

(Source: Audio magazine, Mar. 1981; Herman Burstein )

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