Tape Guide (Sept. 1978)

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Six-Headed Advantages

Q. What are the advantages of a six headed tape deck?

Larry Weissmann, Butler, N.J.

A. A six-headed machine would be one that records and plays in both directions of tape travel. One set of three heads is for erasing, recording, and playing in one direction, while the other set is for operation in the opposite direction. This eliminates the need to exchange reels when the tape has run out in one direction, and prevents the loss of valuable material in recording.

Re-taping Query

Q. I have been doing my taping at 3 1/4 ips, but now I want to retape these reels at 7 1/2 ips. What t want to know is whether by retaping at 7 1/2 ips I will gain in dynamic range, and by using a Dolby unit at the same time, can I reduce noise on the tapes?

-Anthony Mattina, Staten Island, N.Y.

A. Retaping your 3 3/4 ips tapes at 7 1/2 ips, with or without Dolby, will not improve anything the noise, frequency response, dynamic range, distortion, etc. Whatever is on the tape will remain, there, including the undesirables as noise, etc.

Noise Reduction

Q. Is there any type of hiss filter I can add, or insert, between my amplifier and tape deck to reduce the hiss on my prerecorded tapes ?

-Nelson Wong, Seattle, Wash.

A. Several noise reduction devices have appeared on the market to deal with noise already on tape (or contained in other program sources such as discs and radio broadcasts). I suggest that you visit your local audio dealers to find out what is available in this respect.

Purchase Preference

Q. I am thinking about purchasing a tape deck. There are two models, with and without Dolby, and I would like to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. Which is preferable?

- P. Kramen, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A. In general, if two machines are fully equal in all respects, except for the inclusion of Dolby, I would prefer the one with Dolby, particularly if you are interested in recording at 3 3/4 ips, and even more so at 1 7/8 ips. The Dolby accomplishes a worthwhile reduction in noise, particularly at speeds below 7 1/2 ips. The only disadvantage I can think of is the substantial increase in price of the deck, owing to the inclusion of the Dolby unit.

Transferring to Tape

Q. I have several hundred long-play stereo records and I want to put them on tape. I would appreciate any information you could give me to insure that I get the very best results.

-William Ure, Hanford, Cal.

A. Yours is a broad question and I think that the best answer lies in the instruction manual for your tape machine. I would suggest that you be careful to avoid recording at too high a level as that will cause excessive distortion. Ordinarily you will obtain good results if you keep the VU meter from going above 0 VU. However, on some program sources, particularly those with sharp transients, it may be necessary to stay below 0 VU. Experience is the best guide.

Since you will be taping from records, you can do a bit of experimenting to arrive at the best recording levels, and then erase and re-record those tapes which are unsatisfactory. Make sure that you choose a good quality tape, of a type recommended by the manufacturer of your deck.

Dirty Heads

Q. I have tape "dirt" in one of the gaps of the record head of my tape machine. I've tried alcohol and Q-tips, but cannot remove it. Would you know another way to clean the head since I'm getting a frequency loss in that channel.

Mark Briskie, Wantagh, N.Y.

A. It appears that your record head is seriously worn if you cannot easily remove the dirt on it. Replacement is indicated.

However, I'm not clear as to what you mean by "loss of frequency." Are you referring to treble loss? If so, such loss is usually due to a worn playback head or record-playback head.

If you have a problem or question on tape recording, write to Mr. Herman Burstein at AUDIO, 401 North Broad Street Philadelphia, Pa. 19108. All letters are answered. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

(Source: Audio magazine, Sept. 1978; by Herman Burstein)

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